Friday, March 14, 2014

Who's watching your blog?

So folks, do you know who's watching your blog?

I thought I did. I can name quite a few people off the top of my head who follow my blog, mostly friends and family and local runners in my area (with plenty of overlap in those categories). I imagine the same is true for a lot of you reading this with the exception of some the famous bloggers who occasionally comment here. *grin*

But I'll tell you what - the answer may surprise you. It sure surprised me.

Wanna know who found my blog recently?

Ummm...well, I'll give you a clue! Two Cook County police officers showed up at my door on Monday.

(Does any story that starts with "I was interviewed by two police officers" end well?)

Yeah...you read that right. Monday after I dropped my daughter off at school and got my son down for his nap, two police officers from a different county than the one I reside in knocked on my door. (Woke Miles up from his nap, but that's sort of neither here nor there.) They made clear that I wasn't in any trouble, but wanted to come in and speak to me.

 Don't worry, he handled it better than I did.

Whoooooo boy. So, they wanted to talk to me about the Muddy Monk races I've done this year. (I didn't know this at the time, but I found out after they left that if you google the names of those races, I'm on the front page of results. And, apparently after clicking on my blog, one of the officers recognized me from last month's race.)

They had stacks and stacks of paper printed out. They'd printed out my blog entries, my pictures, race results from at least the Frozen Five, some stuff about the race listings, and more that I didn't see. They had lots of questions for me - confirming dates for races, did I recognize the race director, was that my line on the results sheet they'd printed, and a whole lot more that I'm forgetting right now. It felt like a verrrry long interview, and then they asked for copies of my emails to and from Muddy Monk, explaining that there was an issue with the permits for the races and a whole bunch of other stuff (something about the company not having liability insurance for one of the races and not having a permit for another? I will be honest, I was so freaked out by having police in my house - because that's for criminals!! dude! - that I only caught about half what they were telling me.)


Can I just say, yikes?? I think I've mentioned before, but I'm not really much of a rule breaker. I felt guilty running under a friend's race bib - and that's not illegal. In my 30 years of life I've had one speeding ticket and felt super guilty afterwards. My only detention in school ever was from too many tardies (which, long story, was outside of my control). Anyone want to guess how I felt with two police officers interviewing me about races I'd run?

That about sums up my feelings.


And the worst part was, they asked me not to contact the race director or blog about my experience until Friday! Friday! That was particularly anxiety-producing because when running a race causes you to get a visit from the police - and not in a friendly, hey good job running! sort of sense - you kind of want to contact the company right away. (Or maybe that's just me!) Let's just say I've slept fitfully the past few nights. Although, I did find it funny that the officer joked about being interested to see what I'd put on my blog about this.

I spoke to the race director from Muddy Monk this morning to give him a heads up that, yanno, running his race had brought the police to my door. (If I was a race director I'd want to know that!) There's another race in the series tomorrow which the police had told me if it was in Cook County they'd tell me not to go, but since it's in Lake they wouldn't advise me at all. So I sort of wanted to know if things were good and if I had a race or not!

And here's where I feel a little bad, because I startled the race director. The police had made it sound like I could contact and blog Friday so...I did/am. But the race director hadn't actually heard anything from them yet...But he did reassure me that yes, there's liability insurance (whatever that's for at a race...we sign waivers so I'm not totally sure?) and a permit for tomorrow's race and as far as he knew it was all good to go. The race tomorrow is in Lake County, not Cook.

So that was my adventure. Have you ever been startled by who reads your blog or worried about someone finding you from your blog?

12 comments:

  1. Yikes! That would startle me!

    It's funny you mention this because I did a search for my full name yesterday and came across my blog once and a comment I left on another and went and deleted those items, because I don't want my blog searchable by my name (although some people have used it so it's out of my control, and like here, I have to use my google account to comment, so that makes it difficult). They probably found it easy to come to your house since you give your full name in the sidebar. The only people I worry about reading my blog are certain family, and people I don't want to know much about me, but eh, I put it out there.

    I wonder what is going on with Muddy Monk and Art. I know he had to cancel a race last minute and move some around. I hope everything is okay!

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    1. I thought about that. I think they would have found me anyway since they were physically at the races but I'm sure that didn't hurt them in finding me. I've thought about changing it but at this point I've been using it so long in so many different online venues that I'm not sure how to extract myself actually! Something I wish I had thought about 10 years ago.

      I hope everything is okay too. This left me nonplussed and when I spoke to Art he seemed caught off guard too. He did mention the December race when we spoke but he was definitely surprised that this earned me a police visit! :(

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  2. Conicidence, my husbant and I were talking about this sort of this the other day - we were watching a movie in which the two main characters were questioned by the police at their home. My husband was all "you should never talk to the police!" Of course that prompted a conversation as to why. Because I had never really thought about it, plus he knows much more about the law than I do. So, PSA, you have the right to refuse to let the police enter your home without a warrant and to refuse to answer any questions without a lawyer present. You never know when you might be dealing with a crooked or lazy cop that just wants to pin a crime on someone. (Although I doubt they could pin anything illegal about a race on the participants, at least, I hope they couldn't.) It might be paranoid, but it's good to know (and exercise) your rights.

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    1. Embarrassing confession but my husband is actually a lawyer. The first thing out of his mouth when I called him after they left was "You know you didn't have to let them in, right"? I think he was a little irritated I spoke to them without him present, but while I realize now after the fact that what you're saying is totally true, police officers, no matter how nice, are intimidating. And I am by nature very by the books so my instinct was to be totally transparent...messy dining room and all, haha.

      And yeah - I certainly hope that running in a race can't get a participant in trouble! Scary thought.

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    2. I never would have thought twice about it had I not had that conversation with my husband. I was like "what, I can say no to the police?" But, in hindsight, that makes sense. I mean, "you have the right to remain silent" ... and that's if you're being arrested.

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  3. that would have completely freaked me out too...I would be nervous letting them into my house, I would probably request the meeting to be at the police station, in case these weren't real officers. I had two cops show up when I was barely preggo with V. I had been out of town for a trial (used to be a paralegal) and my cat evidently went crazy and cried up a storm while I was gone. Someone must have reported him, so when they saw lights on, and I was asleep because I was exhausted, they stopped to be sure I belonged there, asked for an ID and everything...

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    1. I was definitely freaked! I had initially stepped outside to speak with them but I had my 5 month old and it was chilly...I couldn't leave him alone inside and I didn't want him out for a while...meh!

      Ohhh poor kitty and yikes I bet that was scary!!

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  4. I would be a little freaked out too!! Crazy!

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  5. OMG I cannot believe this happened to you! Holy crap!

    I did today's race, which was in Lake County, and the Cook County FP cops showed up for some unknown reason. We were told that we could park in the lot of the church across the street, and then when I was heading back to my car after the race, the sheriff was driving down the road telling us on the loudspeaker to move our cars immediately or we would be towed. As much as I love Muddy Monk and their races, I don't see how it is possible for them to continue on.

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    1. That was about my response!! I was totally freaked.

      Yeah I was there too. The parking situation was definitely irritating, I actually had to have my husband leave the race which never happens - he drove the kids around!

      I posted in my race recap from this morning's race but they were there to give him a small ticket (relatively small - my single ticket in my life was bigger than what he told me they gave him). I talked to him after the race because I wanted an update since yanno...the cops had been at my house. Lol.

      I hope they continue on! It sounds like other counties are feasible. I hope the parking situation gets cleared up though, that was definitely not fun. =/

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