*WARNING: The following video and excerpt contain strong language and sensitive content about assault. It may not be appropriate for all audiences.
By: KELLY HERRON
Date: Sunday March 5, 2017
Distance: 4.78 miles
It wasn’t easy getting out for my 10-mile training run today, but when the day’s temperature hit a high of 38 degrees, I could no longer put it off.
Two years prior, this would be a Sunday Funday reserved for day drinking. But shortly after getting sober - I had so much free time - why not train for a marathon?
I now realized that what I signed up for was running in harsh elements that very few people are willing to endure. The rain was coming down sideways when I got to Golden Gardens and the beach was nearly empty.
I spotted the park bathroom, my halfway point, and decided to take a quick break before heading back home. The concrete walls and steel toilets reminded me of a prison cell. With my GPS still ticking, I tried to make it quick - I wrestled with my compression pants to get them back up my cold, sweaty legs and they suctioned tightly against my skin.
After quickly rinsing my hands under ice cold water, I put them under the hand dryer. Just as I felt the relief of warm air, I became aware that something was very wrong. I turned around to see my worst nightmare standing in front of me. A right out of the movies bad guy.
He lunged at me like a bear on the attack, backing me into the corner. This isn’t happening, I thought. And then the smell - the pungent foul stench of human filth. As reality sunk in, he threw me to the ground and I decided that this was NOT GOING to happen. “NOT TODAY MOTHERFUCKER!!!”
Pinned by the weight of his body on top of my back, with the side of my face on the cold concrete floor, grit in my teeth, I threw my elbows back at him scampering under the stall wall - I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU MOTHERFUCKER!
A phrase I had heard in self-defense class 3 weeks prior rang in my head - “Fight Like a Savage”. With my one free hand I dug my claws right into this motherfucker’s eyeball.
I remembered another phrase from class: “Hard Bones to Fleshy Places” I pounded the side of my forearm into his skull. I flashed back to my childhood rough-housing with my big brother. I knew if you thrashed around enough, you could sometimes catch a break. I did. At least for a moment.
With a newfound agility, I maneuvered into the next stall and kicked my foot up to the stall lock. My adrenaline was so powerful, I jammed the door right into its frame.
My heart sank as the creep followed me under the stall wall and got on top of me. As I took repeated blows to the head, the finish line I thought I was approaching started to slip further away. What would my life be like if I didn’t get out of this?
I then heard a familiar voice in my head, the same one I have heard in the last .2 of a half-marathon. “C’mon Kel, girl you got this, you are almost there. Go Hard.”
With one last surge, I pulled myself out the front of the stall from under him and with the muscle memory of every burpee I had ever done, found myself on my feet. I lunged for the door while that sorry piece of shit was trapped in the stall, a loser in every sense of the word.
I will have to add six miles to tomorrow’s training run because this is not going to stop me from becoming a marathoner. Not today, not ever.