Saturday morning I got up to go for my long run in my usual long-run spot (at least it has been for the summer) of Hudson River Park. By my alarm, I should have been out there around 5, but I kept procrastinating and finding other things to do so that it was around 7 before I was actually there and starting.
Started off with my regular route – going south towards Battery Park where I’d turn around and head back uptown. At one part of the path, I had to go and get back on the shared path as a section of the pedestrian-only path was blocked off. With police tape, but I didn’t think much about it and just continued on with my run. It didn’t cross my mind again.
Until I was watching the news on Monday morning.
As it turns out, around 5/5:15, a young woman sitting on a bench (“to watch the sun rise”…though I guess she meant reflection of it off New Jersey as it’s on the WEST side of Manhattan…) was approached by a man who tried to engage her in conversation, then punched her in the face, attempted to strangle her, and dragged her into the bushes where he sexually assaulted her. She IDed the suspect (a guy who was classified as a high risk sex offender and who had recently been released from serving 7 years in prison on sexual assault charges!) in the park and he was already in custody. But still!
Yes there have been some other attacks over the summer – indeed less than two weeks before this, an older woman was sexually assaulted while bird watching in the Strawberry Fields area of Central Park – but this one really shook me. Probably because I’ve gotten so accustomed to the park it feels like home. And also because had I stayed on schedule I would have been running around there around the time it happened.
I knew that if I had three weeks before I could run there again – with taper brain – to let the thoughts of it stew in my brain I’d be in trouble, but it looked like that was what would happen as due to my days off for Tower and Chicago I’m working at the store all other nights. I was upset that it seemed like some jerk who should have been more closely monitored (come on, the system labeled him HIGH RISK) was going to take away a place that’s given me joy.
But then I remembered that we were out of school yesterday (Yom Kippur)! So I set my alarm – albeit not for 0-dark-hundred hours, but still – had a Luna bar and got dressed and headed out.
The plan called for 4 miles at GMP (Goal Marathon Pace). (Well, technically 4 mile repeats, but I missed that part.) I warmed up and took off. Things were going well, and I was keeping an eye on how I was feeling both physically and emotionally. And I made it!! I passed the section with no problem and had a great run!
Actually 1:45/mile faster than my GMP, and I felt I could have gone on a bit more, so that’s a good thing. I just have to keep it reigned in at the beginning of the race.
But hooray!! I took back my power and didn’t let one jerk steal it!! I’m most definitely careful about what I do while I’m running (BIG advantage to listening to audiobooks or podcasts as opposed to music – you can hear all the stuff going on around you as opposed to having music blaring), but I feel like I CAN run in Hudson River Park. Hooray!