A Word of Caution

I was running through a rough area this past Sunday. Really rough. I was approaching a man from behind when I saw him give me a half glance back, and suddenly reach for the back of his jeans. And pull out something long and black. It was quite an adrenaline rush; I was certain he was pulling a gun on me. Thankfully, the gun turned out to be a cell phone.
But as a word of caution, that I recently read on a biking forum: don’t make eye contact in these types of areas. For bikers it’s even less of an issue, because they go considerably faster, but for us runners it’s imperative.
If you look someone straight in the eye it can be misconstrued as a challenge, which is obviously not what you want on your peaceful Sunday morning run. Though I’ve never been seriously bothered in a rough area, I’ve heard enough stories to be wary. If you wear an iPod you could be at risk for a mugging, though for most other runners the dollar or so they keep as water-money isn’t much of a lure. But it’s always best to avoid trouble, and one of the best ways to do this is to avoid eye contact. Oh, and run fast. That way you’ll be out of there quicker and you’ll have a nice time too.