Thursday, April 21, 2016

Falling in love with nighttime runs

Running in the dark is turning out to be quite an adventure. After 20 years of running, I have finally gotten my first black toenail. And black eye! It's getting legit up in here.

My alarm went off at 3 o'clock this morning, but I was already mostly awake. My brain was ready to run. My legs, not so much. Ideally, you want both head and legs to be on board at the start of a run. But you really only need one of the two. Danielle came over at 3:30am, because she's the very best kind of friend, a partner in crazy/potentially ill-advised adventures! We ran to Ellison Park and hit up some trails (Allegedly. The park doesn't technically open until 6am). On the way there we were questioning how creepy this run was going to be. Fortunately, it was not actually that creepy, though we did see several pairs of eyes glowing in the woods. One of them was definitely a deer because we could see its body. The others were also probably deer. Or werewolves. The moon did look pretty full. It was very dark and quiet, just us, the Big Dipper and the hills with eyes.

We headed back up Coyote's Den, where we were supposed to meet Bob and Allison at 5am. We got there around 4:45 and didn't want to stand around getting cold, so we figured we could do a loop of Corbett's Glen (Again, allegedly. That trail was also not technically "open" yet). But that took longer than expected so we were a little late getting back to Ellison. We saw Bob's empty car and headed back down Coyote hoping to find them somewhere on the trails. It was still super dark and I was worried that we wouldn't find them, but thankfully we did! I would have felt bad if they got up early to join this insanity and we somehow missed them. As the four of us ran, the sun started to rise. I was lost in the beauty and the magic of the moment. Which was the whole point. I mean, I need to practice running at night as part of my Candlelight 12 training. But especially this week, as Pete is going even farther away, I needed a little middle of the night trail magic.

At this point my legs, which had been heavy at the start (due to the cumulative effect of Fit1 and spin class and hill repeats), were feeling pretty good. We made it up Booty Maker hill, then on one of the flats I tripped on something and went down hard. I didn't even get a chance to have one of those oh shit I'm falling and I am powerless to stop it moments. One second I was vertical, the next my knee, hand and face were hitting the ground. Somehow my shoulder managed to hit a tree on the way down. Because apparently I don't do that whole Kung Fu movie thing where your opponents come at you one at a time. This was a taking-on-the-whole-forest-at-once kind of fall. To date, it is my most epic trail fail. I came away from it relatively unscathed, save for a shiner, bruised knee and dirty face. But my bones were all still on the inside where I like them and I could still run, so (f)alls well that ends well! I am actually kind of happy about it. I'm always worried about falling on the trails, but somehow once the thing you're worried about actually happens, it ceases to be this big, ominous thing. This is an almost comically timely lesson. I could have done without the black eye, though it does make me feel sort of tough and pirate-y.

We ran back up Coyote's Den and hugged Alison and Bob goodbye. Danielle and I ran back to my house with cookies in hand (Thanks Alison!!!!). In total I got in about 12.5 stupid o'clock miles. Danielle is super badass and went on to meet a friend to run 8 more miles on roads. I went on to meet my friends Shower and Vanilla Bean Latte (This is a concoction that they make at Glen Edith and it is the best at being delicious and keeping me awake at work).

I'm really starting to fall in love with this whole nighttime running thing, albeit a little too literally for my liking. And in large part, it's thanks to the excellent company of my awesome adventure friends. There's a saying "Nothing good happens after midnight." But we're disproving that, one crazy run at a time.

Lyric of the moment: "You pull me through. Because I am rich when I'm with you. When you’re by my side, oh running through the night, catching eyes in the moonlight. We’ve got all the things we need, all the things we’ll ever need..." ~Tiny Ruins "Running Through The Night"

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