#thatswhathesaid

Last week I posted about street harassment, PTSD, and the bystander effect. I was feeling pretty empowered until about 12 hours later when I attempted to go to the gym again. I had the day off on Friday so I went to the gym at nine in the flipping morning. I made it all the way there without a single harassment.

On the way home (10am), a car pulled over, rolled down the windows and stopped.

Driver: GOOD MOOOORNING!

Passenger: Nah, man! Look! She fat as hell!

I hate everyone.

Except maybe Meghan Trainor.

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PTSD/anxiety/The Bystander Effect

Today you’re getting a crash course in social psychology.

I work out 5-6 days a week. On 100% of those days I wear compression shorts or capri pants. Yes, they’re made of spandex. My house is a half mile from my gym, 3 blocks from the track, and a mile from the running trail. So, 5 or 6 days a week I make a 10-20 minute walk from hell. On 100% of the days, I get catcalled, whistled at, followed, barked at, and verbally sexually assaulted. If you’re thinking this is tied to my neighborhood, it’s not. Remember that it happened on the bike trail in Arlington too. The common denominator is simply the act of being female and outside.

These shorts are NOT an invitation.

These shorts are NOT an invitation.

This is a problem that over 90% of women report experiencing, so I normally ignore it, but this week I feel compelled to speak out.

On Monday I walked out of my house and before I had even reached the stop sign, a man walked out of his apartment and started following me.

Guy: “DAY-UM BITCH! Where you work out at???”

Me: Head down. Silence. Walking Faster

Guy: Oh, you don’t want me to know? You don’t want me to get in SHAPE like you? Yeah, I’d like to get in your shape. haha.

Me: Walking so fast I’m pretty sure I’m going to trip on the sidewalk

This guy followed me for HALF A MILE. He followed me all the way to the gym. I knew I’d be safe once I got to the gym because only members are allowed inside, but I couldn’t stop thinking that it’s really just a matter of time before this happens in the opposite direction and someone follows me HOME.

PTSD/Anxiety:

The Centers for Disease Control reports that street harassment is the most common form of sexual violence for American men and women.  Studies show that 70-99% of women report being harassed. Long term effects include depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)- not to mention a reduced sense of safety that can limit mobility and victims’ social and civic engagement. Symptoms of PTSD can include nightmares, flashbacks, feeling unsafe, and high levels of stress.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 8.42.17 PM

What can I do?

Victims- You have every right to confront your harasser. Be firm, be quick, and keep moving. Say “STOP IT” or “THAT’S GROSS”, but be prepared to keep moving. Do not engage the harasser, and also know that it’s ok to say nothing at all if you feel that is in the best interest of your safety.

Research shows that writing about traumatic activity can help reduce anxiety and begin the healing process. I encourage you to write about your trauma. Write it here in the comments section, or in your private journal, or on your instagram for the world to see. It’s up to you. 

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Bystander 2 Bystanders– There’s a social psychological phenomenon known as “the bystander effect”. The effect occurs in situations where one person is in need of help, and the amount of help they receive is inversely related to the amount of bystanders- basically- the more people are around, the less likely someone is to offer any help. There are a variety of social factors at play here, but a big one is the “diffusion of responsibility”- meaning that people believe someone else will help. It’s not their responsibility. Remember that the next time you’re in a crowded building and you smell smoke. The more crowded the room, the less likely anyone is to pull the fire alarm. 

If you’re a bystander to street violence, speak up, take pictures with your phone, alert police, or ask the victim if she/he is ok. 

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When you wish upon a star…

I am officially registered for the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando.

I did this race 2 years ago, and missed it last year because it sold out faster than a Justin Bieber concert. This year, the race sold out in about 4 hours.

I’ll be running with my BFF Meredith, my Sister-in-law, and my friend Christine. My SIL is making us all Little Mermaid themed costumes. I’m Ursula- by FAR the best Disney character of all time. Watch out, you poor unfortunate souls!Ursula

 

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Drinking water is harder than it looks

There’s a great new cartoon about marathon running featured on theoatmeal.com. I highly recommend checking it out. One of the many topics in the cartoon is the dreaded water stop.

Water stops can be tricky because if you actually stop, slow down, and walk through the station, you’re almost certain to be run over. You’re also likely to pour most of the water on your shirt, or to choke on it.

Shameless stolen from theoatmeal.com

Shameless stolen from theoatmeal.com

There is a trick to this, which should keep you from giving yourself a bath or water boarding yourself.

As soon at you grab the cup, crunch it so the top of the cup looks like a taco. This will keep the water from sloshing out as you run. It will also allow you to pour the water into your mouth slowly.

Stolen from shutter stock

   Stolen from shutter stock

taco

See? The top of the cup looks like a taco. You’re welcome.

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Race Wrap Up- Tour De Cure

OK, to be fair- the TourDeCure is not a race. It’s a tour. BUT I still rode 106 miles, so give me a little credit.

Selfie

Selfie

We started out slow on Sunday, when Josh learned the importance of keeping jumper cables in your car. You live and you learn.

The century started in Reston town center, went 25 miles up the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, and ended up in Percellville where we took a 50 mile loop through the hills, then back down the trail the same way we came.

Team Name- Fear the Beard

Team Name- Fear the Beard

Along the way, we stopped at many rest stops filled with friendly volunteers, cheerleaders, amazing Subway sandwiches, and eager nursing students armed with band aids and sunscreen. The most hilarious thing that happened on this ride was that Tim managed to get a tan on just one side of his body. True story.

The hills were grueling and unforgiving, and the ride took us over 9 hours. At the end I decided this might be harder than a marathon. Physically I feel fine today and at the end of the ride I felt pretty good, but mentally I was drained. A 9 hour event is a very long event. It was definitely a Yogi Berra day. 90% of this ride was 50% mental.

At times I have entertained the idea of training for an iron man. I think I’m going to go ahead and put the nail in the coffin on that idea. A half iron man? Maybe. A full iron man? No thanks.

I want to thank Josh and Tim for encouraging me and supporting me. You guys were great team mates. Also, a big thank you to all the amazing volunteers. Your kindness and warm smiles made those rest stops the best part of the race.

 

 

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Close Encounters- sexual harassment on the Washington Old Dominion Trail

photo

This Sunday I’ll be riding the Reston Tour De Cure 108 mile century ride to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. I’m still shy of my fundraising goal, so any (tax deductible) contributions (even $5) would be a great help. The link to donate is Here:

http://main.diabetes.org/site/TR/TourdeCure/TourAdmin?px=10100499&pg=personal&fr_id=9361

Last week I was riding 72 miles solo as a final preparation for this tour. That is when I had an unfortunate encounter. I was riding along the Washington Old Dominion trail at about 4pm. It was broad daylight. There were plenty of other runners/bikers on the trail. I came to a particularly challenging hill and couldn’t get my shifters to switch to my small ring, so I began a very slow and difficult ascent. As I was attempting this hill, a middle aged man approached me. He was jogging, but was able to keep up with me while I navigated this hill.

At first he engaged me with friendly banter. “Tough hill, eh? Nice weather today”. I exchanged pleasantries for a second, but it only took a second for him to reveal his true intentions. He gasped at my black and white bike shorts. “OH MY G-D ARE YOU WEARING WHITE SPANDEX?? That’s the hottest thing I’ve ever seen”. He quickly became graphic and disgusting and spent the remainder of the hill sexually harassing me. He was obviously trying to make me uncomfortable and embarrassed. He told me he could see through my shorts (he can’t) and that he was enjoying seeing me basically naked  on my bike.

I was completely shocked and unsure of what to do in this situation. I didn’t know if I should ignore him and deny him the satisfaction, or if I should start screaming and alerting other people on the trail, or if I should just yell “STOP BOTHERING ME!” It’s a tough call. I don’t really know of any protocol for this type of situation. Anyone with thoughts or insights is welcome to share them in the comments section.

I also just want to put it out there that women in short skirts/white bike shorts are never responsible for creeps like this. I’ll be proudly wearing my black and white shorts this Sunday.

BIke 2

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Everyone wants to see more pictures of Tim

Last week I posted that I am riding a century ride (108 mile bike ride). The ride is the Tour de Cure, which is sponsored by the American Diabetes Association. I have to raise $250 to participate, so I posted two things- a picture of my friend Tim Tracy, and a link to my donation page. Two people clicked the link (yay Emily and Jerry!). The rest of you clicked Tim’s picture.

How can I use this to my advantage? What if I promise to post at least 5 pictures of Tim if I raise my $250? Maybe there should be a gold and platinum membership? If you donate $50, I will directly text you pictures of Tim and his glorious beard.

In all seriousness, thank you so much to the people who already donated. And to encourage more people to click my link, here’s a free picture of Tim.

Here’s the link to donate:

http://main.diabetes.org/site/TR/TourdeCure/TourAdmin?px=10100499&pg=personal&fr_id=9361

Tim's beard

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