Last night I did my first ever nighttime trail run. It’s different to run in the dark with just a headlamp. Normally, I’m one who prefers familiar routes and certainly routes that I can actually see. The act of hurling myself into the darkness on uneasy and unknown terrain stretched me in a good way and taught me some things about myself.
- Headlamps can provide focused or diffused light. Given the choice between a spotlight shining brightly where I’m to take my next steps or a less bright but more broad light on the path as a whole, I prefer the latter. I like to see a little more of where I’m going, even in less detail.
- Before last night, I would have described myself as one who looks straight down at her feet when trail running. Turns out, I actually look a few steps ahead on the path before me, like you’re supposed to.
- I prefer to run in the back of the crowd rather than the front or even the middle. I feel less pressure that way, and I like being able to look ahead and see the lights and movements of others.
- I don’t hesitate to walk where needed. If I see large rocks or fear that they are slick, I am completely okay with walking.
- On the trails, with friendly and supportive people nearby, I enjoy the excitement of darkness rushing past me.
- I’ve long said that I enjoy having run. These days, as my running gets stronger and as I’m a bit more adventurous with it, I’m finding that, more and more, I’m enjoying the running itself.
I started trail running last fall in an effort to avoid the post-Ironman slump I sometimes experience. I did a few shorter trail races – 5Ks and 10Ks – just to experience what a trail race felt like. And I enjoyed myself. So this year, again after Ironman, I got back into trail running. I’m doing a few of the same trail races I did last year, but I’m adding some distance this year. I’m signed up for a 20K trail race this December, and my hope is to do a much longer race next fall, maybe a 30 miler.
This is my way of mixing things up, keeping things interesting, and continuing to challenge myself. It’s good stuff.