Running in the Dark; Running out of time; 1 week till Race Day

This is one of my favorite running songs.

Running in the dark:

If I had  been less busy or better prepared, or maybe just spent less time playing random grabass  last week I would of written a post called Running in the dark is great for your pace.   The problem with running in the dark being great for your pace is the motivating factor behind this is not some magical environmental thing that happens when it finally gets dark outside thereby rendering your body free of all the weight that daylight brings or some other  such zen running crap.   It’s just your basic FEAR.  I’ve always considered myself more of a fight vs. flight girl.  But I can now tell you that if I ever decide to make the flight choice I’m better prepared for what that is going to feel like.    It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a proper running post and the last few weeks of training have blended together a bit in my mind.   Except for one thing, running in the dark  when you weren’t planning on it.  Twice at the end of long runs, running buddy and I have been caught in the dark.  The first time on the country roads  with no sidewalks we  have on most of the roads near us along with unlit asphalt hood paths, with all kinds of cracks and valleys in the pavement and no lighting.  We ran quickly because we wanted OFF the pavement and back onto the slightly less treacherous paths.  We were unprepared for night running and were a little at the mercy of the cars coming toward us, it was not a fun mile or so.   White hats and white shoes was about it, and I’m tell you all bravery aside it wasn’t enough.   She had just joined me on the last 4 miles of my 8.0 and I should of been just beaten, but during the 5th mile I was seriously booking it.      The only other time I’ve been that scared of cars while running was over the winter on the ice on the pavement in rush hour traffic.   I’m adding flashing safety lighting to my list which also includes arm warmers I want to wear on Saturday, but that’s another running topic.    Sigh, yeah, sometimes we are not smart girls.   As we carefully navigated the darker hood paths we talked about how it was indeed getting darker sooner and we would need to plan better to be safer on our evening runs.

So a few short days later we were standing on the paved rail trail  for what we thought was plenty of time for our 9.0.  The problem was that a-it wasn’t really enough time for our 9.0 b- our 9.0 turned into 9.71 and c- the adventures during that 9.71 were plentiful and added time as well as distance to our run. Somehow we found ourselves in what felt like complete darkness for the last 1.5 miles or so.   This trail closes at dusk, for a reason. Well for several reasons,  including it’s not lit, there are multiple tunnels and  complete tree overhangs, it’s an easy go to place for pervs to attack running women.   We get through the first bit knowing we are running to population, a street crossing with shops etc.  We run the last bit to the car, and it’s further than we think, and the trail is getting less and less populated even by the bikers on it past curfew.  Usually I am a bastion of bravery.  But this is a bit creepy, a little horror movie. It’s beautiful and scary all at the same time.  We are tired mentally and physically because we have been running for 2+ hours.  No one wants to say out loud they are scared, finally I do it.  “I’m starting to get freaked out you’re too far ahead of me”.   We close our gap.  There are two of us I breathe in.   Do I have fight left in me, I breathe out slowly? I decide I do and so I relax a little bit to try to enjoy the scenery and the moment, being on this trail in this darkness is not likely to happen to me again, I want to try to enjoy it. It is eerily haunting and beautiful and terrifying all at once.    We finally make it back to the car and then we can relax and laugh at our stupidity all the way home, while making plans to be more safe as the  days get shorter. I swear….

Running out of time:

Later today I’ll be putting in my final 10.o before the Women’s Half Marathon  Race on Saturday.  I have only today and two short keep the legs warm and worked runs ahead of me.  I managed to score my new shoes on Tuesday during lunch and break them in Tuesday night.  I only have to buy arm warmers and give them a try  before race day. I try to follow the NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY, rule.    Runny buddy and I have discussed outfits, we both tend to race in whatever we trained most in.  I still have to solve a sport beans carrying issue, but I’m giving that a dry run tonight.   I must go fill up the Diet Mt Dew cup with water NOW before I even write any further….ok now, where was  I.    We have rides to and from worked out. She is driving us down there because I am leaving directly from the Half Marathon to go on the annual Labor Day BGC  Family trip to the Chateau.   The Family and Dog will have to meet me near the end of the race and cheer us on.  A mutual friend  is meeting us at a specific spot near the end to run the last few , the hardest, the most wrenching emotionally and on your body miles with us. To renew us with her spirit and her energy.   Almost all of the plans are laid and just have to be executed.  We’ve set the goal, we made the plan, we each stuck to it as best we could, and we are ready.  This will be my buddies very first 13.1.  She is anxious about her ability. I think she discounts the 38.4 two day walk she has under her belt too much. She is a badass, she just doesn’t believe it quite fully herself yet Or maybe hse knows but just doesn’t like to let herself get too cocky, I really haven’t known her all that long.  I can tell you that running with her and in front of and behind her has brought us closer than  we ever would of gotten in passing at neighborhood events or FB status updates.   My running buddy is my friend now.  Along the way to becoming my friend she was  my confessor, my coach,  my commiserater.    My only goal for Saturday is to be able to hang with her for the entire thing so we can look at each other and give the nod.  “We got this, let’s go girl” as we  sprint, run, jog, walk, stumble, crawl or whatever we have to do to get it  across that finish line.  Hopefully somewhere in the 2:45-2:55 mark.

Then it will be straight to family vacation time and  I can spend a week reveling in the soreness and glory that comes with another (hopefully)  13.1 medal on  my dreams board.   Before I dive in and continue to train for the next one.   Which is November 5.  If I’m feeling really freaky I’ll run the hilly one on October 15, but I don’t really see that happening.  Right now I just need to keep plugging away at the list of things to do while  looking forward to the  10.0 waiting for me before dark and the 2+ hours that gives me of running therapy.

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