Ugh creepy dude WHY
The rogaining (winter street orienteering) season started last night! I was nervous for weeks beforehand and freaked out for the first few minutes running in the dark with a headlamp, a sharpie, and a map, but eventually calmed down and put in a pretty good performance.
There was one unfortunate first last night, though. This is my third season participating in this sport and even though, by its very definition, Street-O (as the kids call it) is running around on dark streets and forest trails on one’s own, I have never felt unsafe or vulnerable to the point where I’ve had to change my route. Until last night.
I had just collected my last control point (what is the name of the barbershop?) and was headed back to the finish line, on pace to arrive just before the one-hour time cutoff. I had planned the fastest route back but as I neared the shortcut through the forest, I saw a man walking the same way. If I kept on my trajectory, and he kept on his, we’d be alone in the dark forest together for a few hundred meters.
Now, of course I pass lots of people - men, women, both together, or alone - as I participate in this sport. But they are walking dogs, or they are decked out in reflective/sporty gear, or they are, in fact, my fellow rogainers. This guy was none of those and for reasons I can’t pinpoint, he set off all my creep alarm bells.
I had to make a quick decision about what to do. (Don’t worry, I and all other women in the world are really efficient at this kind of thing, thanks to constant practice.) Stay on the same route, definitely get back to the finish in time, but also have to share a dark forest path with Dude? Or re-examine the map, find a different route, hopefully not get lost, but definitely not get attacked? I chose the latter. Oh look, you can see the moment here, thanks to my GPS watch tracking:
The red line coming from the bottom of the image shows my route to the barbershop building control point, where I pause to write down the name. Then I start back along the same path toward the forest before taking an abrupt, almost-backwards left (cutting across the grass, even, to get away from Dude) toward Kustavintie - lights, people, traffic, safety.
I did make it to the finish on time but I let out several audible, frustrated “harrumph” noises as I ran. Something about the encounter’s threat to my safety compounded by possibly throwing off my rogaining results really peeved me. Do not mess with my rogaining results! Hmph.