Friday, June 10, 2016

Fun things to do in the dark

I woke up this morning and everything hurt. Or rather, I woke up this morning because everything hurt. As if my body had become an alarm clock, rousing me with aches instead of "Awake My Soul" like my iPhone alarm clock does. I turned around on the bed, positioning myself into legs-up-the-wall pose and laid there for a few minutes. Then I got up, drank a lot of water and foam rolled. Well, mostly I just laid on the ground on top of the foam roller. I'm pretty sure that's how foam rolling works. Good job, I congratulated myself, lying on the ground is an important part of training.

Why all this lying around you ask? Well, July 23rd is fast approaching. And that is the day that I will try to run for 12 hours in the dark at Candlelight 12 overnight ultra. It will be like Christmas in July, where we'll find out if I am on the Nice or the Naughty list this year. Will I get the present of lots of miles and aid station candy or the dark black coal of terrible no good very bad failure? Only the Ultra Claus knows.

I do not know how to run for 12 hours overnight. (Or, more accurately, how to move forward for 12 hours. I assume there will be crawling at some point. Possibly some skipping if caffeine is involved.) But my goal in training has been to practice running on tired legs in the dark. This past Saturday I ran a hilly trail marathon, which was an excellent start to the whole tired legs thing. Then I ran Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and did Fit1 on Wednesday night. This was in preparation for the main event: running loops at Corbett's Glen from 8:00-11:00 on Thursday night.

I don't know how to run for 12 hours, but I do know how to talk about it incessantly until people agree to join me on the nighttime running adventure train. So Mark, in his awesomeness, met me at my house a little before 8:00pm and we ran to Corbett's Glen. There was a car in the parking lot with a license plate that said 100ULTR. I got very excited that there was an ultrarunner somewhere in the park. We tried to think of some non-running related interpretations of the vanity plate, to no avail. Our brains saw signs of running everywhere. There were two other cars in the parking lot, one with a plate starting with FLT and another with a plate starting with GUU. Mark said Look, Finger Lakes Trail! and I said And that one is Gu! And living in a runner's paradise played in my head to the tune of Coolio's "Gangsta Paradise." Once on the trail, we ran into a guy with a huge camera who told us he was an ultrarunner from Ohio, here for work, and asked us about the trails in the area. We told him about Ellison, Mendon and the TrailsRoc app, and he said he knew Ron. Small world.  We also encountered a painter, a deer, some people out walking their dogs and kids, and a few trains.

About an hour in, it started to get dark enough to turn on headlamps. And then all of a sudden it was really dark. I was testing out my new Petzl headlamp, which is awesomely bright, though it did leave a red mark on my forehead. For the race, I may try to attach it to the front of my vest instead of to my head. After two hours of loopiness, Dave appeared at the trailhead with impeccable timing. Mark headed home and Dave ran loops with me for an hour, then I ran the half mile back to my shower/chocolate milk/bed. Infinity of thanks to Mark and Dave for telling me stories and keeping me moving out there.

I've come to find that the hardest part about night running is not actually the running at night. Once I start running, I'm wide awake and loving it. Running is my new favorite thing to do in the dark (since my most favorite thing to do in the dark is away in Afghanistan this year). It's the trying to fall asleep afterwards and the trying to be awake/functional at work part that's tough. I'm lucky to know so many people who think running for hours at any time of day or night is a good use of time. Now I just need to find a job where napping is considered a good use of time. Does anyone have a vacancy for a mattress tester/ice cream taster?

Lyric of the moment: "As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I take a look at my life and realize it's the best.  'Cause I've been running and laughing so long. That even my mama thinks my mind is gone. But I ain't never crossed a trail that wasn't fly as shit. Making everyone who runs it feel legit. You better watch how you're talking and where you're walking. Or you and your homies might see something shocking. I really hate to trip but sometimes it happens, yo. Gotta get back up and keep going though. Be the kind of G the little homies wanna be like. On my feet in the night thinking this is the life. Spending most our lives living in the runners' paradise..." ~Me butchering Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise"

No comments:

Post a Comment