Friday, February 15, 2008

Was I Being Followed?

Today, I decided to go running outside. Though 41 and winds out of the WNW at 19Mph, it was sunny and beautiful. I really can't wait to start running outdoors everyday. At least with the added winter gear this year, I can run a few times a week outdoors.

A strange thing happened on my route back though. Running back along there was this silver sedan. A Ford Taurus, I think. It was about a block behind me as I was heading southeast along Greenway South. Forest Hills Gardens is a majestic and beautiful place to run through. It is also a private residence, and no cars are allowed to park in there without a permit. Also, there's a neighborhood watch program inside as well.

Anyway, as I had crossed Puritan Avenue on Greenway South, I noticed the road near me shining and could tell there was a car with the lights on driving not too far behind me. I always run in the opposite direction of traffic, so that I can see anything coming my way, but on two-ways, I always get a little nervous because you never know if a car swerves into the opposite lane.

Instinctively, I made my way onto the sidewalk and let the car pass me. The car continued ahead very slowly, and came to a creeping stop right near Rockrose Place. It then started to make a U-Turn and headed back the way it came. As it passed, it slowed down. At this point it caught my undivided attention. I looked directly inside the car. It looked a like a woman, but I could not tell for sure. The person was wearing a wool cap. No heat in a car that looked fairly new? Strange, I thought. I also noticed a light shining from the person's hand. It was a cell phone.

I was now at Rockrose Place myself and made a left onto it. This event kinda creeped me out a little bit, so I jumped onto the sidewalk again. I don't like running on the 'walks, but I had a sixth (and paranoid) sense right now going through me. I was wondering if this person was going to change direction again and follow me.

I passed the Wendover Road and came to Greenway North. Double-parked with the lights on and to my right on Greenway was a man in a white van. I noticed that as I started to cross Greenway, that he started to move. I immediately increased my speed to complete the crossing of the intersection. I stayed on the sidewalk. And then...

The van made a right and started to follow me. Although I was booking (this means "running fast" in New York-ese) the van managed to trail me being careful to stay just behind me until I got to Markwood Road. The distance between Greenway and Markwood is exactly one-tenth of a mile. As I came to the cross between Markwood and Rockrose, I blasted across the street, but not before looking back to see where this van was. As I crossed to the north side of Markwood, I made my right, heading towards Union Turnpike. The van made a right as well and as he passed me, he slowed down and was on his cellphone. He looked hispanic, but I couldn't really say for sure. Somehow, he tried very hard to not look at me, when I did at him. Once I got to Union, I was pretty frazzled, and nearly crossed onto oncoming traffic. Very stupid. I turned right back onto the curb and behind a parked van. Once I had the light, I jutted out and ran across the 'pike to the Kew Gardens side. I motioned with my body as if I was going to turn left onto Union and run towards Queens Blvd. to see if I could bait this person into doing the same. He did. Once I knew he was on a one-way, I turned around 180 degrees and headed back to make my left onto Park Lane (the name of Markwood changes to this after crossing Union Tpke).

After this, I did not see either car again. Nor did I feel that I was ..... followed? It was a bit unsettling. Who would want to be watching me and why? Not in trouble with the ex's or the law either. Don't have many enemies that I know of that would go to such length. Could it have been the Neighborhood Watch Patrol doing their job? Perhaps. I wasn't going to slow down though, that's for sure. Running up Rockrose for that 1/10 of a mile with that van directly behind me was probably the most bone chilling experience I've had while running, in quite a while.

I guess these are the risks one takes when one takes their lives to the streets. Still, I wouldn't give up my love of running for anything in the world. It's what makes me, "me". And that makes me feel alive.

Addendum: Someone had asked me if I got the license plate numbers. Well for the mini van, it was BLU-4898 (or some combination of 4, 8, and 9 I believe). Freaky, right??

1 comment:

DGA said...

That is so freaky! Were you able to get their license plates numbers? Are they stealing running gear now in NY, while is being worn by a runner? Did NY get even lower than it was? Too many questions and no answers, but you need to be extra careful when running alone in the streets of I LOVE NY, not.