Crystal Stokes says she only jogs about once a month, making it all the more unlikely that the 27-year-old Mountain View resident would have to fight off an attack in the middle of the day.
But that's exactly what happened on Sunday, Nov. 29, while Stokes, a personal trainer, was running on Stevens Creek Trail. She managed to fend off the assailant, and police later arrested John Detches, 32, on three counts of assault with attempt to commit rape.
"I really rarely jog," Stokes told the Voice. "I really only run once a month so it's kind of a fluke thing."
Stokes said she was only about a mile from home when she jogged past the man who attacked her.
"He was just standing on the side of the trail," she said, adding that he looked like "just a regular guy, just kind of chilling."
"I didn't even think twice about running by him," she said. There were many people out on the trail, and it was broad daylight.
"He just reached out and bear hugged me to his chest and picked me up like a little baby," she said. Stokes, who is five-foot-three with a slight build, said her arms were pinned near the attacker's face, "where my hands couldn't flail."
"Initially I thought it was a joke, that a friend had set me up," she said, but then the attacker began to walk with her toward a nearby ravine.
"That's when I kind of went a little crazy," she said. "I grabbed his jaw and pulled it really, really hard and then he backed up back to the road and let me go."
After he dropped her, she said, he took off on his bicycle, and she started jogging again. Stokes said it took a minute for the attack to sink in.
"I just thought, 'That was weird,'" she said. "Then I got scared and realized how serious that really was."
Though she was shaken up that day, Stokes said the incident hasn't changed her feelings about jogging alone, or using the trail.
"I still don't feel intimidated because I feel that the chances of it happening (again) are so slim," she said. "I feel pretty confident that if it happened again I'd be able to handle myself."
Stokes said she has not had any formal self-defense training, though friends have been giving her tips since the attack.
"I still want to go out alone," she said, adding that she's considered bringing a cell phone with her -- although in an emergency situation she may not be able to use it anyway.
"I really think we should always say where we're going to be and when we're going to be back," she said. "As long as you inform somebody of where you are that's one of the very best things you can do."
And if a person does attack, she said, "Try to remember everything. The finest details can really help (the police) catch the person."
According to police, after Detches' arrest, Stokes helped confirm him as her attacker by picking him out of a photo lineup.
"I think it's awesome," Stokes said of the arrest. "I have to say, I've not really worked with police much at all, and I was so, so impressed with the Mountain View Police Department."
"The fact that they caught him, it just makes me feel happy for all the other ladies," she said. "He was getting bolder with his attempts."