Thursday, January 26, 2012

Running Blind

Tonight's run was awesome.  I parked at Pine Lane and ran out-and-back to Boston Store for 8 miles.  I started at 6, so I had to use my headlamp from the start.  From the first few steps on the trail, I knew it would be a slopfest!  There was a steady mist of rain which made it really foggy out.  It would've been good to have a handheld light tonight since it was difficult to see very far ahead of me with the headlamp.  It was like a car when you turn your brights on when it's foggy out.  Plus every time I breathed, my view was blocked even more.  However I needed my light on so I wouldn't trip.  I pointed it down so I could see my next step and any roots ahead of me.  It helped that I have run this route many times and can visualize in my head the entire trail, almost every root and rock.  It was a little nerve-racking not being able to see into the woods and I had this thought in my head that I'd run into a deer or coyote.  That thought came and pass quickly though since I had to concentrate on each step.  It amazes me how few times I trip with all the roots and turns along the way.  I think it's a combination of knowing the trail, calculating where to land before each step, running "light" on my feet and just plain luck.  It's almost like a dance.  At night you get in a trance and forget about the mileage.  It always seems like you're running fast since you have no scenery to judge your speed by.  I think I do run faster at night though because I'm more relaxed, yet more focused. 

Along the way, I encountered a pack of deer that were laying down on the ground until I disturbed them.  They were probably just as surprised as I was and thinking "what the hell is he doing out here?".  A mile and a half further down, I heard a noise ahead of me on the trail.  I shut off my light so I could see better further ahead.  I saw three guys in regular clothes, which really surprised me.  I was just glad it wasn't an animal.  I told them I thought they were deer and they joked that they're just friendly bears.  I meant to ask if they were training for anything on the way back, but never saw them again. 

As I got closer to finishing my run, I was headed down the big hill right before the stream crossing.  I saw a bunch of headlamps coming up the trail towards me.  After saying hi to them, I then realized it was Thursday and it was the Crooked River Trail group run.  Looks like I wasn't the only crazy out tonight.  However, instead of going to Boston Store, they turned down Initiation Hill back to Peninsula.

I finished the run, changed clothes and hopped in my car.  What a great run!  Nothing compares to that feeling of being tired, yet energized from a grueling workout.  I tried to keep the pace up and worked twice as hard to do so due to the mud.  I try not to let the weather conditions affect if I'll run, especially the condition of the trail.  Every time I've decided to go for a run (particularly at Pine Lane) when it's wet, rainy and muddy, I've never regretted it once.

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