Safety First

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Morning!  I am having some problems with both Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful, so if you recently e-mailed me, it might take a me while to get back to you.  Silly blogs! Technology hates me.


Breakfast, however, was delicious:


I had a bowl of banana oatmeal.  I can’t believe I didn’t try oatmeal until I was 22!  What was I thinking?


My oatmeal contained:


  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 sliced banana
  • Toppings:  granola, flax, and blackberries


I love using the little appetizer spoons from Crate and Barrel to eat things like ice cream, yogurt and granola, and oatmeal.  It forces me to slow down and enjoy my food.


Plus, wheatgrass and coffee:


While I ate, I stared at these pretty flowers that Ryan brought me last night.  Isn’t that sweet?  Ryan is such a nice person.


Safety First


Holly recently e-mailed me to ask,  “I was wondering if you had any thoughts/info on "safety devices" for running.  Now that it gets darker earlier, I get a little nervous about my evening runs in the dark.  I’ve looked online and seen combo whistles/pepper sprays on lanyards for female runners, but I was curious whether you or any other blog readers might have any other suggestions.”


I get this question a lot, and I think it’s wonderful that women are proactive and concerned about their safety when exercising outdoors.  When I run alone in the dark, I make sure I’m wearing light-colored clothes and I wear a blinking light that clips onto my shirt.  I also always wear my RoadID.   I think it’s important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings and keep your music turned low.


Obviously, I’m more concerned about being hit by a car than mugged, so I didn’t have any good suggestions for Holly about safety devices for protection.


Do you carry pepper spray, a taser, or a similar safety device while running?  What brand?  What other steps do you take to ensure your personal safety when exercising outdoors?  Here’s to hoping no one ever needs to use any of their safety gear!



  • megan November 24, 2009, 8:28 am

    I used to not carry anything, but recently when running around where I work, I’ve been stopped by a few homeless men telling me I look pretty. That freaked me (and my husband) out a little, and he went out and bought me a little pepper spray key chain and told me I have to run with it from now on. It’s just a $10 thing from wal-mart. it’s a pain to carry it, but I guess better safe than sorry…

  • BethAnn November 24, 2009, 8:30 am

    I have a spibelt and always carry my cell phone in it with money just in case…I also wear light colored clothing if I have to run later. Generally though, I get my butt out of bed early so that I’m only running in the dark on the tail end of my run. I’m really not comfortable with it…I would rather cut mileage for the week than risk getting hit by a car or mugged/raped. No deal. Good post…hope you’re feeling better <3

  • BethAnn November 24, 2009, 8:31 am

    I mean I get my butt out of the house early haha…sometimes I run in the morning so that it’s not dark at all or only for a little bit. The hard thing though, is that anything can happen at any point in the day…I just try to be aware of my surroundings at all times.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 24, 2009, 8:41 am

    I don’t run, but always worry about my husband running in the dark. I think it is so important to be prepared! GLad you feel better. 🙂

  • Anita November 24, 2009, 8:43 am

    I run with my dog. I don’t know if she’d really protect me if anyone tried to hurt me, but just having her there would deter most people from approaching me!

  • Abbys Vegan Eats November 24, 2009, 8:43 am

    Im not a runner, but I walk a lot. Now that its dark after dinner, I always take my husband’s reflective bike stuff with (I literally hold a flashing headlight) Although Im sure I look ridic, you cannot miss me!

  • Lizzy November 24, 2009, 8:45 am

    i dont have anything, but certainly think its a good idea to get something. WHen i would run in the early morning when it was still dark out, i def would wear bright colored clothes so that people would see me. i think its a good idea if you do have a spibelt that you carry something of protection just incase. i mean you can never be to safe anymore!

  • Nicole November 24, 2009, 8:46 am

    I don’t like running in the dark, but if I have to, I make sure that it is on a well lit, busy street. This is so I will have witnesses just in case anything goes awry. Pepper spray is a good idea too!!

    Glad you are feeling better!! 🙂

  • Kara November 24, 2009, 8:52 am

    For one thing, I make sure to let someone know where I’m going and when I’ll be back, so if I’m not home when I say I will be they know where to look for me. I also make sure to bring my cell phone with me, stay in well-lighted, high traffic areas, and keep my headphones off or at a really low volume so I’m completely aware of my surroundings.

  • Karla November 24, 2009, 8:55 am

    I’m sort of terrified of running outside because I’ve read too many stories of women getting abducted while running. I think it’s such a shame that as women we have to fear sexual assault (and honestly I think our society teaches us fear, we’re always told not to walk alone at night and such). The idea of men wielding that power makes me sick. I wish I could say women should be empowered not to fear but honestly I think it’s best to take precautions.

    I don’t run outside but to those who do, I think pepper spray is a good idea.

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 9:00 am

      i actually worked as a sexual assault counselor in college, and i have to say that a healthy dose of awareness and suspicion are GOOD things. i cannot even begin to tell you how many women would start their stories with “i had a weird feeling about this guy/this situation, but i ignored it…” thats not to say that it’s a women’s fault if she’s assaulted, because under no circumstances is it, but it does say that we need to listen to our inner voices and trust them. it’s ok to be cautious!

  • Anne November 24, 2009, 8:58 am

    I always carry my pepper spray when I run. I tuck it into the back of my sports bra so I don’t have to hold it in my hand the entire time.

  • Liza November 24, 2009, 9:01 am

    I bring my cell phone, but I also run around campus usually so the campus police drives around 24 hrs. a day, so my early morning dark runs are somewhat safe. I do the saemthing with small spoons, when I go to TCBY I ask for a small tester spoons, just for your reason, to make it last longer!!!

  • Allison November 24, 2009, 9:01 am

    Okay, I guess I’m a really unsafe runner. I don’t have a light or anything! I am asking for a Road ID for Christmas, though. I guess the best thing I do to stay safe is run with a partner or a group.

    Now, I do wear a head lamp when I bike in the dark. This is quit a sight! 🙂

  • lisa November 24, 2009, 9:07 am

    We almost had the same breakfast! I also had oatmeal with banana but added a bit of almond butter, ground flax seeds and raisins! Such a great way to start the day, right?! I love your idea of using appetizing spoons. I’ve never thought about that but will definitely try!

    Since I run in NYC, often in Central Park, in the morning when it might still be dark out, I purchased a small pepper spray from one of the local running shops that fits easily in my hand. It’s also small enough to fit in the pocket of some of my cold weather tops. I’ve never had to use it (almost did on a crazy racoon once though) but it’s nice to know I have it in case I do need it. When I ran while visiting my family in Michigan this fall, I took a small LED flashlight. It is so dark there I would never have been able to run without it! Thank goodness I have a great Mom who thinks about things like that!

  • Amy November 24, 2009, 9:07 am

    This is a topic that is very important to me. I too have a blinking light that I clip to the back of my hat.

    I always be sure to wear my jacket/pants with reflective strips also.

    AND the most important thing, run AGAINST the traffic!

  • Laura November 24, 2009, 9:08 am

    All great suggestions…biggest one for me is I always let my husband know where I am actually running if I am by myself as well as how long I think I will be. The odd time I have had to do a long run alone, he will meet me at different points just to make sure I am ok.
    He rocks.

  • Britt - Runnerbelle November 24, 2009, 9:08 am

    When I run at night or in the early AM I wear all or some of the following – reflective vest, blinky lights, head lamp, bright jacket. I live in a fairly safe area, so I’m not too concerned about safety in that sense.

  • Erin November 24, 2009, 9:09 am

    Your pictures look absolutely amazing since you got the new camera. Wow!

    I try to run during daylight hours but a lot of my friends who run in the dark carry cell phones. It’s a pretty safe neighborhood but bordering a big city, there are scary situations sometimes.

  • Lee November 24, 2009, 9:12 am

    I had the same little C&B spoon and loved eating ice cream with it. Last weekend I turned the garbage disposal on and heard an awful noise. There went my little condiment spoon. 🙁

  • Katie November 24, 2009, 9:13 am

    I wear my RoadID all the time and pack money in my shoe wallet in case I twist my ankle and need to take a cab. If I have to go for a run that’s more than 2 miles long and it’s dark (which is very limiting, since it gets dark at 4:15 now), I make the 45 minute trip to the gym because I just don’t think it’s safe for a woman to run through a dark park on her own, especially while plugged into headphones.

  • MelissaNibbles November 24, 2009, 9:14 am

    I’m the most unsafe runner out there. I run at 5am when it’s pitch black in a dark green tshirt usually. I don’t have a roadid and I blast my ipod. Also, I hate carrying my keys so I leave them in my car with the car unlocked in my driveway. If you don’t hear from me for awhile you can assume I’m dead.

  • Diana (Mymarblerye) November 24, 2009, 9:17 am

    I’m thinking about getting mace. I was running outside the other day and I screamed bloody murder when a squirrel ran out…

  • Meredith November 24, 2009, 9:21 am

    I keep meaning to ask… what kind of granola do you eat? I never know what is a good kind to buy.

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 9:28 am

      there’s a brand called harvest that i like. i also buy quaker simply natural because you can get it in bulk from costco. neither is really “healthy”

  • Amanda November 24, 2009, 9:22 am

    I always run by myself, and often when it’s dark out. I look like a goof, but I run with a reflective vest and a blinking light, I wear my RoadID, and I recently got mace. A 23 year old woman in my town was attacked while running so I ordered this mace (it’s cute and pink!) .. it gives me peace of mind!

  • Katy @ These Beautiful Feet November 24, 2009, 9:22 am

    I’m nervous to run outside too! I would run in the neighborhood and definitely not when it’s dark if I have to run alone. My stepdad has RoadID since he bikes, I think my mom is getting me one for Christmas.

    I am SO glad you mentioned where the spoons are from. I was literally searching spoons on your blog because they are so cute! I love the smaller spoon thing, I am big on using smaller plates to help me eat less and feel like I ate more. 🙂

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat November 24, 2009, 9:24 am

    I recently got my first Road ID and I too have a blinking red light that clips onto my shirt. But I’m still pretty chicken when it comes to running in the dark so I try to schedule my runs for the day time or at least close enough to when the sun comes up or goes down. It’s harder this time of year!

    Caitlin, I had only tried oatmeal once (just with milk in the microwave) and I hated it, then I finally figured out how to make it when I was 25 and it’s been love ever since 🙂

  • Jesse November 24, 2009, 9:27 am

    we recently just purchased some safety gear to use while running when its dark out … head lamps and reflective ankle straps. also, i never realized it before, but a lot of our running gear has reflective strips on it too. we have yet to get Road ID but its on the list of things to acquire ASAP.

  • jodie November 24, 2009, 9:32 am

    I hope you are feeling better. How nice of your hubby to pamper you.
    I try not to run in the dark by myself, I normally drag the husband with me.:) If all else fails I will run on the treadmill. I ran in the dark by myself once and I would never do it again. My plan that morning was 3 miles, I ran the first mile, trying to be as aware as possible then the second mile came around and I saw this “human form” with a cap on, not moving. Well you can imagine that scared the living daylights out of me and I hightailed it home not looking back. Usain Bolt would have been able to catch me. The funny part to this story is 2 days later in the daylight I ran the same route, and guess what, it was not an actual person standing there but ” an iron model of a person”. I had a good laugh at myself, but at the time it was scary.

    Oh that alfredo looks delish, can you post the recipe?
    Have a good day.

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 9:36 am

      no recipe – its just pasta, cream sauce from a can, frozen packaged veggie meatballs, and green beans 🙂

      • jodie November 24, 2009, 9:59 am

        Thanks Caitlin. Super easy.

  • Heather November 24, 2009, 9:32 am

    Well, back when I was running alot (lol) I did wear a road id, and I also had pepper spray. I always wanted a taser, but that’s alot to carry while running. I want one for safety in general though.

  • Ryan @ Greens for Good November 24, 2009, 9:36 am

    I LOVE my jogger’s pepper spray! I carry it with me anytime I go outside at night, if I go for a walk or even a run. It straps perfectly to your hand and you can run without having to hold onto it. It has perfect access for your thumb to hit the trigger if you ever need it. I bought mine here for $10.50:

  • Katie November 24, 2009, 9:36 am
  • Christina November 24, 2009, 9:39 am

    I love the little spoon – it’s so cute! I eat WAY too fast. Maybe I should invest in one 🙂

  • alli November 24, 2009, 9:42 am

    i enjoy running in the dark morning more so than during the day. i think morning running is more safe than night running. however, i still run at a near by high school track. there are a lot of people that walk/run there. my mom even goes there everyday. almost everyone knows everyone, too. some even let my mom know if i was or wasn’t there a particular day.
    also, i always tell my husband when i plan to be back or i will call him when i am done. that goes for biking and hiking as well. i think it’s important that our family/friends know where we are if something should happen.

  • Brie (The Fit Bride) November 24, 2009, 9:45 am

    I definitely recommend taking a self-defense class. They are fun and I feel much more confident in scary situations!

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing November 24, 2009, 9:46 am

    I hope you are feeling better today. It sounds like a tough procedure to have to go through. Thanks for your honesty about it all though, I’m sure many women are going through something similar and it’s always so helpful to have a support network!

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance) November 24, 2009, 9:53 am

    I TRY to remember to carry pepper spray when walking, but I usually forget. Good thing I’m a black belt! 😉

  • Katie November 24, 2009, 9:56 am

    I keep saying I should get something, but haven’t yet. I try not to ever get too far from my house and stay away from anything suspicious.

    Hope your feeling better today! And you make me think I would like oatmeal, but it does a number on the tummy.

  • juli November 24, 2009, 9:58 am

    I was actually thinking about this a lot this weekend. Although I run during daylight hours -I’m still concerned about running into a wild animal on my trail runs. I guess I should have at least some pepper spray on hand, although I don’t know how that would work against a bear or cougar. I should really check into this.

  • RhodeyGirl November 24, 2009, 10:00 am

    I have those same spoons. I always eat with small spoons and forks because I like small bites so much more!

  • RhodeyGirl November 24, 2009, 10:00 am

    Also I feel like you would appreciate this… PB and I just signed up for a Sprint Triathlon in July in New Jersey. What were we thinking?!?!

    Want to join?!

    • Caitlin November 24, 2009, 10:21 am

      hahaha YES you guys are awesomeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels November 24, 2009, 10:02 am

    I either go to the gym or run on my days off in the afternoon. I’m intensely afraid of the dark so that deters me from any early morning or after work runs.

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee) November 24, 2009, 10:05 am

    I do a lot of my workouts at the gym, but when I am out and about my neighborhood, I use a pocket on my running top for my driver’s license and my house key, and stay aware of my surroundings!

  • brandi November 24, 2009, 10:14 am

    I’ve always wondered about safety things like that while running in the dark. I’d be more worried about being kidnapped/assaulted than being hit by a car, strange enough. I’m just super paranoid about things like that.

  • Haleigh November 24, 2009, 10:31 am

    Such a cute little spoon 🙂

  • Anne Marie@ New Weigh of Life November 24, 2009, 10:32 am

    I didn’t try oatmeal until I was in my 20s either. I can’t believe I stayed away from it for so long!

  • Erin November 24, 2009, 10:33 am

    I really like the little spoons idea!

    I haven’t run outside much lately due to the darkness, but I really like all these tips. My dad is a freakazoid about precautions as a runner – I remember him having the brightest, loudest, most highlighteriffic clothing when he used to run. It was so embarrassing as a 13 year old girl but I’m sure it saved his butt a few times!

  • Jenna November 24, 2009, 10:40 am

    i am the same caitlin! i just tried oatmeal for the first time this year! i was missing out on yummy goodness 🙂

  • Shelly November 24, 2009, 10:42 am

    I live in New Orleans, and the early dark has definitely affected my evening runs. I always run with a buddy during the evening (whether it gets dark early or not) but lately we have been sticking to running through a college campus near my house rather than going into the park, which is not as well lit. Our run is shorter, but now we just hit the gym afterwards.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) November 24, 2009, 10:59 am

    I tend not to run in the cold so I don’t worry about protection. But in the summer I try to make sure I have ID on me.

  • Courtney November 24, 2009, 11:06 am

    I have an issue with the pepper spray idea because this is something that could easily be taken from you and used against you. Also, practice spraying it and see how easily it can blow back in your face, making you even more vulnerable. You are probably better off carrying something such as a whistle or some other noisemaker to alert to someone you are in danger.
    Adventures in Tri-ing

  • Lindsey @ EatReadRun November 24, 2009, 11:08 am

    Great topic – I’ve been asking around for advice on this as well lately. I live in NYC and run in Central Park and along the East River and have found myself already running less and less with the loss of daylight. Where did you get your blinking light? I need to invest in that, a RoadID and a mini-pepper spray as well. I don’t want to be trapped to the treadmill all winter long. Great suggestions from you and all the commentors. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my fears of running in the dark and that others do it and are okay.

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg November 24, 2009, 11:19 am

    I carry pepper spray when I run at night, even though I stick to well-lit areas, especially after the sun goes down. It might seem like overkill, but I say better safe than sorry!

  • Loretta November 24, 2009, 11:33 am

    When running outdoors, I try to run w/ a friend or one of my sisters. If that isn’t possible, I always carry my pepper spray. It makes both my husband and I feel better. Also, I am constantly scanning my surroundings. I typically run at a super populated running trail so there are people around. If I get a weird feeling from someone (especially in a neighborhood), I will hightail it home.

  • Melissa S. November 24, 2009, 11:39 am

    i have a red blinking light that i wear when it’s dark, and have a runners pepper spray that i won from ryan on her blog earlier this year that i’ll carry too.

  • Lu November 24, 2009, 11:51 am

    I’m glad that you are pointing out the safety aspects of running and exercising outside. I’m glad your procedure went well.

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner November 24, 2009, 12:02 pm

    I try not to go running in the dark, but if I do I wear reflective/light colored clothing. I’ve never carried any weapons though! My boyfriend would probably like that since he gets nervous when I run in the dark haha

  • Ashley November 24, 2009, 1:14 pm

    It is important to note that in some states you must have a license to carry pepper spray, and the like.

  • Jen November 24, 2009, 2:42 pm

    I don’t run in the dark, which pretty much means I’m not running at all right now. Dark when I leave. Dark when I get home. Why does work always get in the way of fun stuff?

    I am getting a gym membership next week, so I can start running again, on the safety of a treadmill 🙂

  • Erin (Mommy on the Run) November 24, 2009, 3:27 pm

    I run with pepper spray, but my sister actually runs with a small gun strapped to her ankle! She has her handgun permit and lives in a “transitional” neighborhood in Memphis. Crazy huh??

  • Jessica November 24, 2009, 5:38 pm

    It’s funny, because until I started reading blogs I wasn’t an oatmeal fan either!! I actually have had it before, but was never a fan of plain, banana-y oatmeal! After introducing nuts/nut butter, fruit and cinnamon to the mix….i’ve never gone back! 😉

    PS, you’ll be happy to hear that my mom and I are seeing NEW MOON this weekend!! We’re excited.

  • Red Head, Yellow Dog November 24, 2009, 7:01 pm

    I take my ferocious (ha) golden retriever with me on runs. Hopefully no one ever tests how “mean” he is..which is not at all.

  • Jolene ( November 24, 2009, 11:06 pm

    No I don’t carry anything … I haven’t heard of anything dangerous happening where I run (around the park) in my city. Also, I don’t think we can buy pepper spray in Canada for personal use.

    That spoon looks SO tiny when you are actually holding it! It is even smaller than I thought it was 🙂 So cute!

  • Morgan November 25, 2009, 8:51 am

    If I am running in the early a.m. or p.m. I ALWAYS run with my pepper spray and never with an ipod. Safety first means being 100% aware of your surroundings and music can be distracting. It took some getting used to and sometimes it still gets boring without the music but I’d rather be bored and safe. I flip flop my mace from hand to hand as I go or if I’m in downtown I might put it in my wrist sweatband so it’s out of my hand but within reach.

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