November 19, 2009

The Solitude of Night Running

I love night running. I have always loved something about the way that going for a run in the dark makes it a totally different experience from a daylight run. You only have to run the same route in the light and then in the dark to get a feel for how they are worlds apart.
Tonight I had an awesome run on what I have named 'the Tunnel Mountain Loop'; it's about an hours loop that I have found and it works great as it is mostly on a super quiet road so I don't have to worry about traffic not seeing me, and even if there is a vehicle there are no street lights so my little headlamp bobbing away is very visible from quite a distance.
A good 40mins of this run is on a totally unlit road that climbs gradually up and then flattens out to rolls up and down. On any night this would be awesome but I am loving it right now with the snow on the ground and the snow covered peaks. I tend to head out right after work when the final tiny remains of daylight are fading. This means that I can start out seeing the ever distant silhouettes of the mountains glowing white on the sky, but before I realise it it is totally dark and the longer I run the more stars start to pop out from the dark sky. The snow underfoot is awesome too as it makes everything so much clearer - I can see my footsteps below and it was eerie tonight to see that my footprints from my Tuesday night run were still the only ones at the side of the road, bar a few animal tracks.
When I ran this route on Tuesday I saw not a single car on the unlit section, and although I saw 6 tonight (positively busy!) there were still so few that I felt that I was in a world on my own. This is one of the main things that I love about running in the dark; because you can see so little you truly run in the moment and can get totally lost in your thoughts as there are so few visuals around to disturb you. There is also, for me at least, the slight apprehension of what might jump out from around the next dark corner! More than once tonight my headlamp caught a reflective sign ahead and I jumped a little thinking it was an animals eyes shining back at me! I have fond memories of simply running to keep up with my friend Bill on a night run in Squamish, I didn't care if I killed myself - I was going to keep up to the chatter and the headlamp of Bill running ahead! Or another time when Bill and I ran very early one morning from Deep Cove (North Van); again it was snowy and to run through the forest in the dark with the branches literally laden with snow was great....until Bill started to mention ghost stories!! But regardless of the fact that I always run just a little bit scared in the dark, there is nothing better than getting out in the dark, escaping from the rest of the world and just zoning in on the few footsteps you can see ahead...

1 comment:

  1. I can totally relate!
    Night running rules! I always tell people that you can only see what is lit up by your light so there are no distractions. Same with night skiing where you can go fast because you can focus on what is ahead and not worry about people come from the sides (at least on the mountain run at Squaw)or other visual distractions.
    Funny about the signs, the other night running forest roads i would see things I would never see in the day: old forest service tags or other small geological survey signs etc. one of them looked just like little eyes.