A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Standing Up for Female Runners (How I taught a douchey teenager a lesson!)

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 I have a story that I am just going to jump right into! 

During my morning runs I pass several bus stops. Around mile 3.5 of my 5 miler, I pass a high school bus stop on my way into a little neighborhood. I pass it again around mile 4 on my way out of the neighborhood. I have my headphones on, but since I listen to podcasts, I can still hear what is going on around me. Twice in the last week and a half, someone from the bus stop shouted at me. They didn't shout right when I ran by- they waited until I was almost half a block away. Then they would shout something like "RUN! KEEP RUNNING!" You know, just to be douchey. I ignored the person both times. (Sometimes, it is best to not give attention to behavior like that. Teacher strategy...)

Well, yesterday morning, right after I ran past the bus stop into the little neighborhood, someone yelled, "RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!" I know it is not a big deal- they didn't say anything derogatory to me- but it was still annoying! Whoever was yelling at me doesn't even know me. And they wait until I am half a block away to do it. It seriously reminded me of being in middle school or high school and getting made fun of.

At that point I made the decision. On my way out of the neighborhood, I would confront the kids at the bus stop! Whoever was yelling at me needed to be called out on their idiot behavior. I rehearsed what I was going to say in my head, and then ran straight up to the group of 5-6 kids at the bus stop.

"So which one of you shouts at me every time I run by?" I asked nonchalantly.

No one spoke, then finally a girl took her headphones out of her ears and said, "What?"

"Which one of you shouts at me every time I run by?" I repeated.

"Matthew," the girl said, and pointed straight at the only boy standing there. I chuckled in my head. Teenagers are just like the six year olds at the school I teach at... they will tattle on each other in a heartbeat.

Matthew stood there awkwardly with his hands in his pockets. He must have been 15-16 years old, tall-ish, slightly overweight, in a black zip up hoodie and glasses. His hair was shaggy and blond.

"Why are you shouting at me?" I asked him. There was no anger in my voice. It was just a straightforward question.

"I don't know," he mumbled.

"It's really immature," I told him.

"Okay," he said quietly.

Silence.

"Okay, well have a great day guys, I'll see you in the mornings!" I said cheerfully, and ran off down the street. Boy was I pleased with myself, and must have run a 7 minute mile on the way home. (I don't know for sure though, as I was so excited after my encounter that I forgot to start my Garmin again.) The only thing I regret is not walking over to Matthew, shaking his hand, and introducing myself. But I hope I got my point across- he was yelling at a person.

Again, I will state that I know the dude wasn't yelling anything derogatory at me, but this was the third time! How long was I just going to ignore him? And I know FOR SURE that if I had been a MAN, he would not have yelled anything at me. The douchey teenager had the balls to yell stupid stuff at a WOMAN, but I am pretty sure he would not have yelled if I were a man.

So that's my story! And seriously... I cannot wait to say hello to Matthew every morning when I pass him at the bus stop from now on!

Has anyone ever yelled anything at you while you were running?

20 comments:

  1. Ha, go Meg! I think that being a teacher gives us the confidence to do things like that. I am so glad you did that! Once I made a comment to two kids on bikes who were blocking the sidewalk and I remember feeling so good about it after. Usually when people shout out at me I can't really hear what they're saying. After reading this it's probably similar to what they yelled to you...lol.

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    1. I agree with the confidence thing coming from being a teacher. And also, while I was direct, I wasn't confrontational. I was just matter of fact... which is often how you have to deal with kids! If the teacher gets all hype, the kid can get all hype and things can escalate... yadda yadda... Though this kid was quite awkward and I don't think he would have gotten mouthy or anything with me, but I didn't know that!

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  2. I love that you did this! I can totally see the teacher in you. Hopefully Matthew realizes (but he probably doesn't) that he's lucky - other runners he may have been yelling at would not have been so nice. I love that you say I made him realize he was yelling at a PERSON. So true. And I can also tell that you had the maturity to recognize that the kid doing the yelling is also a person - albeit a young, immature one with little impulse control trying to impress the lay-deez.

    Finally, I love that you point out that if it were a man he would not be doing that. I want to point this out to every single person who tries to point out that women aren't picked on: if it were a man, would this be happening? Such a sad statement about our society that you're right.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, my initial thought was I am a person. Kids AND adults, like the hide behind the internet and stuff to say whatever they want. He hid behind the fact that it was dark-ish out and I was half a block away with headphones on. Have the guts to say it to my FACE! Oh wait, you don't have the guts to say it to my face. :) The thing about being a woman dawned on me secondly, but it is a very valid point.

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  3. GO MEG! I love that you talked to the kid in a conversational manner letting him know he was being dumb without yelling at him.

    Since I started reading up on runner safety I've noticed the #1 rule is to make sure you smile, make eye contact or say hi to others because it makes you a person and it demonstrates confidence. I really need to get better at this!

    It is really frustrating that women have to deal with this kind of stuff all the time. We must be on the same wave length, because I wrote about someone yelling "nice titties" at me on the blog today. I probably should have said something like you did but I just kept on going because it totally creeped me out.

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    1. Ew, that is REALLY creepy Kristina. I will go read your blog, but I would probably not engage with someone who yelled nice titties. Especially if there was no one else around. That's straight up sexual harassment.

      I have read the same thing you have about making eye contact with people so they know you are a person. All the "protect yourself from crime" books I read recommend that!

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  4. Aaahhh yes, the famous yell from an unknown person while running. Nicely done, Megan! Well, you can introduce yourself to him the next time you see them. I've had many people yell things at me. Two that currently come to mind are as follows: There is a great hill, may about 1/4 of a mile in length, near our house. The one day I decided to do hill repeats on this hill. At the bottom of the hill is a house and two gentleman, maybe both 35-40 years old?, were outside in the garage. By the time I got to my 3 repeat, the one man yelled "Go home!". He must have realized, then, that I wasn't going home and that I ran by their house 5 more times after that.........The second "yeller" was recently down at the beach. I was running in a neighborhood and saw there was a dead end. As I ran by a house, a girl, maybe 14? was outside. She didn't say a word. As I got to the dead end, turned around and continued past the girl at the house again, she didn't say a thing. About a half a block past her house, I hear "Run Forrest Run!". I got a good kick out of that one!

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    1. Oh jeez that guy that yelled during your hill repeat was so rude! That would annoy me so much... especially doing something as DIFFICULT as hill repeats and then getting flack from it!

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  5. I'm a guy, and I've gotten the "run Forrest, run" shout out multiple times. I always smile, because I can run. I'll bet that the shout outs to females versus males are significantly higher though. Your response to the situation was excellent. Way to confront without confronting. I'm sure your adrenalin was really pumping after that! Nice.

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    1. Haha my mom yells "Run Forrest, Run!" when she comes to one of my races. :)

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  6. I am sure Matthew was sweating when you stopped LOL The kids in the neighborhood aren't usually too bad when I run, but the stupid people in cars who honk and yell stuff happens, and I can't confront them. I've probably had a handful of people who honk and scream get out of the road and I get so pissed. Mostly because I do not run on really busy or narrow roads, the roads where I run are wide enough that I can be on the side easily.

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    1. Oh my I have had that happen before...the rando person yelling about getting off the road! Or, the passive aggressive driver that purposefully drives REALLY close, to teach you a lesson!

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  7. Oh this is so great Meg! As a teacher, I use the same strategy, don't get mad, just ask a straight up question and hold them accountable. Are these kids that attend the school district where you teach?

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    1. No, I live in a different district. The bus stop is probably about 8 blocks from my house, so these kiddos have no clue who I am.

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  8. Years ago some little kids that I passed yelled, "Run, Forrest, Run!" Made me laugh for the rest of my run!!!

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  9. I rarely get yelled at, but I get a lot of honks. Nothing pisses me off more. Mostly because it scares the ever-loving shit out of me and my breathing gets all out of whack. Then it takes a minute or two to get back into the groove. Teenagers think they are so hilarious. My running buddy is a middle school/high school teacher and we saw a group of his students while we were running. They yelled something annoying at us and then said, "IS THAT YOUR WIFE?!?!?!!" Good lord, leave us alone!

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    1. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!? Why couldn't they just have yelled, "Hey Miss/Ms./Mrs. so and so???? Beeping scares the crap out of me too!!! The annoying thing about teenagers is that they really and truly act like elem. students but it pisses you off because you can't say, "oh, they're just kids" you know?

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  10. Aaaaah I have so much to say to this. 1) I'm so glad you confronted him. He probably thought you couldn't hear him (he waited until you were far off, he saw you wearing headphones) and was just trying to show off for the other bus stop kids. 2) Teens need to have these moments in order to help them mature into adults, so you did him a HUGE service. 3) Some men (those that cat call) don't stop to think that ANY shout-out to a woman can be taken as some kind of threat. I hate that those men think they OWN the public sphere, that they have the right to intrude on OUR personal time and space.

    I could get really into how much cat-calling offends me, but I'll just leave it there hehe.

    I've been honked at, called at, and even fake-followed (by college-aged boys). People do NOT realize what running while female is like.

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    1. "I hate that those men think they OWN the public sphere, that they have the right to intrude on OUR personal time and space." <----- YES, I so I agree with you on this! Plus, what if his little shout outs escalated to cat calls? I don't know what I would have done if he had cat called me. I probably would have left it go once or twice (just like I did this time), and if it kept happening, I would figure out where he lives and contact his parents!

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