I felt like I was going to be kidnapped tonight. I want to know: what would you have done? And how normal is it to be out running in 80-degree weather at 10:30 at night with the hood up on your hoodie?
I think it's very possible all this was a coincidence and I feel bad for judging someone's choice of exercise wear. If you want to wear the hood on your hoodie while running you should be able to. Here's the story of how it freaked me out.
I'm out for a walk alone on the Murdock Canal trail in Lehi around 10:30. The trail is quieter than usual (maybe because of Labor Day?), and I haven't seen anyone else on the trail.
I'm heading back home when I see a car coming towards me (the trail is parallel to a road) slow down and come to a stop slightly behind me. I assume they park because the lights in the cab come on.
This is on a very dark stretch of the trail, and I thought it was a weird place for someone to stop, away from the houses. They could have seen me. I was wearing reflective anklets that were in the headlight beams.
A few moments later I've gone down the trail a bit more and I hear loud slapping running behind me on the trail from the direction of the car. I can't make out more than the person's shoes, but they are coming toward me really fast.
I turn around to try and see them and they stop running. They are now close enough I can see they look like a man wearing white shoes and a dark hoodie with the hood up, but there's not enough light to see anything else.
I'm thoroughly creeped out by now, walking quickly (I didn't want to run unless I needed to) and gripping my keys tightly, feeling like I might need to defend myself. The weird car parking in the dark was enough to have me on alert, and now the runner is a little distance behind me, walking at the same pace as me.
I keep my head turned a bit so I can see them. I can appreciate that they might have been trying to not freak me out by staying back. But it's unclear to me that they are just out running for exercise. Who would be out sprinting in a hoodie in the heat?? Utah is in a heat wave right now, and even though it's 10:30, it’s still over 80.
I exited the trail as soon as I could after I heard the running. I went into a neighborhood where there was enough light that I could see that this person did not follow me and stayed on the trail. I booked it home.
What would you have done? Would wearing a hoodie hood while running be a red flag to you? Would the parked car bother you? How about someone running at you but then walking after you turn to look at them? I can dismiss all these things on their own, but having it all happen at once really freaked me out.
I told my husband when I got home and we went back to see if the parked car was there. It wasn't. We came home and decided to report the whole thing as a suspicious incident to the police. I talked with them about how yes, it could be coincidence, but they would still rather have the report than not and would make note of the area where it happened for patrolling.
Do I feel bad about reporting to the police that someone in a hoodie made me uncomfortable? Absolutely. I don't like anything about this situation and I wish it hadn't happened.
So tell me internet: what should I have done? what would you have done?
Also, I need to get myself some mace.