Sunday, November 11, 2007

Playing in the Dark

Wow another crazy wonderful weekend. Exhausting but amazing.

The volunteering went very well despite a couple of issues. More on that later though, wanted to share a really great run I had over the weekend. I hadn't had much sleep so there might be some fuzzy sections. That and I'm drinking a glass of wine.

Saturday, I was at the triathlon race from 5AM - 3PM. It was a full day and I was tired for sure but I was so inspired/excited from watching, talking to a couple of the pros. My particular duties and my pass got me close. I don't follow triathlon close enough to know who's who but I was awestruck anyway. Felt dumb feeling that way, it's just a sport after all but I wasn't able to help it.

I got home exhausted yet motivated. Instead of my planned one hour maintenance run, I geared up for three. I left a little after four. It had been raining and the fog had rolled back into the bay. By 5PM it was dark, I was soaked but grinning ear to ear. I started at a good clip and there was no signs of weakness or the exhaustion I felt earlier. I thought for sure the initial surge of energy would have burned off and I would have been left with my real self. Nope, lucky me.

The real fun started with the coming of darkness. My planned route took me through the trails and dark streets of the Presidio, Baker Beach and Land's End Trail. These are relatively tame trails with no technical sections and I'm quite familiar with them. My real concern was not having a light for the necessary road sections. I had no device to warn motorists of my presence on the road and there wasn't always a sidewalk. I just ran like crazy on those sections:)

Running in the dark on trails without a light is a beautiful thing, the rain and mud was gravy - bonus items. However I don't recommend running light-less on routes you are not familiar with or on a truly moonless night. Light has a way of amplifying the darkness. Instead of a bright spot moving through the dark, I was the dark. I was the shadow swiftly moving, the ghost fleeting through the trees, the watcher in the woods. My senses felt sharper and more in tune. My eyes were constantly scanning, straining for every bit of detail. Where it was too dark, my memory served and I simply picked up my feet higher. Despite the radio tunes piping in on my left ear, the silence was deafening on my right.
I would move in and out of these trail sections, moving in and out of the dark. This was my second experience with this type of running, the first time was for the same reason - I forgot to bring a light. It was exhilarating!

One particular section has stayed with me. I was on my way home, returning the way I came through the Presidio. I was moving through a relatively straight section of trail, amidst tall wispy trees. The fog hung low but it wasn't thick and the rain was still falling. The ground was dark and looking down didn't make a difference. The trail was tame however and I stole upward glances, watching the tops of the trees disappear into the fog. It was breath taking. It wasn't until I was back on the city streets that I felt tired and ready for home. By the time I got back to my apartment I had clocked 4 hours.

This ranks as one of the best runs of the year. Well anyway time for me to turn in, gotta zzzzz to make up for all the sleep I lost this weekend. Club elections tomorrow, wish me luck!


  1. Good luck (I don't think you need it) and you are crazy. ; )

  2. hmmmm it sounds like ur part CAT--with those cat like runs in the dark-lol

    ok I am confused a bit though, not hard to do been jamming with work & getting ready for my race but did you do that dual race this weekend??

  3. Sounds like an incredible run and a great way to end a busy weekend.

    I've never walked/run at night,but if I did, the Presido is where I'd want do it. It's beautiful there at all times of the day.

  4. GOOD LUCK!!!!!

    Dude, running trails in the dark?!? You're insane ;-)

  5. What fun! I did a few of those no-light dark runs back 2 years ago in wee hours of morning, feeling my way on familiar was great. In fact, as I start these days in a dark as well, first 2 miles take me through lighted streets, and then I go into the Tryon park, still no dusk, and luckily I do know every bump on it - I refuse to wear my headlamp. May be I go slower than I could, but I love the way the first grey comes up. Then, on the way back, I rip the speed:)

    Good luck, brother.

  6. I can picture the Presidio from a few visits to the area and I am so jealous that you get to run there.

    What an awesome run you had!!! Congrats!!

  7. Wow, what a crazy run. I'd break an ankle or far worse if I tried running without a light.

  8. Sometimes those unplanned runs are the best! Sounds like a very cool run. I like running in the dark, but not with cars around.

  9. wow sounds amazing :) I think I might have run parts of that before? On my first solo run in SF I tried to run on the golden gate but missed the on-ramp, as it were, and ended up on the trail that continues west, all the way down to Baker Beach. I really do miss night running. I used to run the dimly lit streets of berkeley all the time, and it was just such a peaceful feeling.

    Good luck tomorrow!

  10. Anonymous8:02 PM


  11. Anonymous4:38 AM

    Don't get too carried away that you defy safety.Early warning device of any kind specially on dark roads is a MUST.Not having one is stupid.

  12. Anonymous3:40 PM

    ahahahahaha to mom's comment!

  13. Wow, congrats for an awesome run! Running in the dark alone on the trails would've probably rated scariest run ever for me.

  14. Sounds awesome, Rick. Man, a 4 hour run after a full day of working? You are a machine. Way to go!

    I hope the elections turned out in your favor. All the best!