A few weeks ago, when my friend Melody and I got together for a trail run, it was dark and we weren’t thoroughly prepared for it. Two weeks ago, we met up at a slightly earlier time and were better prepared for darkness. That is, after I dug my headlamp out of my drawer that apparently still had the batteries in it. Thank goodness those batteries worked because I don’t think I’ve used that thing since April.
But my gosh who’s idea was it for us to start at 5AM?!
Hmmm…To be honest, I believe it was a joint idea.
While I wasn’t planning on being out there as long as she was that day, we both wanted to start early, and get done early. So I say, bring on 5AM because the earlier the better! Lucky for me, she’s perfectly okay with starting just as early as I want to, and vice versa.
The evening before, I did have some slight concerns regarding how I was going to feel during the run because you see, I didn’t really run much that entire week leading up to it. I ran twice for a total of eight miles, and four of those were the day before on the road. Not my best approach going into a longer run – my longest run since the end of June. But I figured if I need to slow down, I will. If I need to walk a bit more, I will. Or if I felt absolutely great and I have to leave Melody in the dust, I will. HA!
It’s easy to describe how this run started: very dark, and very quiet. While I’m not new to being on the trails when it’s dark, it’s been a long while since I’ve had that.
The trail was all ours. We talked as loud as we wanted and every time I heard something rustling in the brush, I quickly offered up a, “Good morning!” to whatever critter was trying to get in our conversation.
With a few patches of running, the first section is mostly hiking up. We reached the top and turned back around, where we had a few patches of hiking up, but it was mostly running down.
At this point, it was still dark which I didn’t mind. Well, I didn’t mind because I wasn’t alone. And knowing me, I probably wouldn’t be out there all alone at that time because I’m afraid of the dark. Actually, I’m afraid of the dark if I’m all alone, on a deserted trail, with hungry mountain lions, or coyotes, or barracudas hovering nearby. But even with others, the only thing that would give me the heebie jeebies is shining my light into the brush and possibly have a pair of glowing eyes glaring right back at me.
Melody and I continued to run down the trail and then we saw them. Two bright shining eyes, a couple of feet above the dirt approaching us. We couldn’t quite see the elongation of the body, but it was lean. And it was coming straight towards us. Those bright shining eyes bouncing up and down with its pace getting quicker by the second. And then it reached us.
“Hey sweet buddy!” We both love dogs so we didn’t mind.
Soon afterwards, the darkness began to fade away and the light started to peer out.
By the time we made our way back up the hills, we saw them clearly and I missed the dark. But it was still quiet and peaceful. Although I most likely contaminated the quietness with my singing. I had songs taking up residence in my head and they wouldn’t leave – “The Pina Colada song,” “…Baby One More Time,” and “(You Drive Me) Crazy,” which I’m sure I was making Melody crazy with my lack of singing ability.
Lucky for her, me and my singing were done after 15 miles while she carried on for another 7. That is, until the next time we ran together.
Again, we wanted to get done early, and while Melody initial threw out a 6AM or 6:30AM start, an earlier start meant an earlier finish and that was too enticing for us to pass up.
This past Sunday, we met up at zero five hundred, but this time, the moon was a bit more brighter than usual. Maybe remnants of the recent Harvest Moon. Because I anticipated the steep darkness, I also brought my handheld flashlight as extra reinforcement.
I wish that flashlight had brought me extra energy because I was tired and Melody was under the weather. We did our best and pushed through, especially between miles 8 through 12. Those may have been the toughest of our 16 miles that day. The climbing just didn’t seem to let up, and neither did my singing.
This time it was “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys ringing through my head. Even as we made our way up the mountain, the song kept spewing out of me with no shortage of made-up lyrics.
Everybodyyy …. yeahhh …. on the trails …. yeahhh …
The irony was, there wasn’t a whole lot of everybody on the trails.
One step in front of the other, no matter how slowly was all we could do.
Maybe we were supposed to go slowly all along. The peacefulness, the views, and sunrise were just so magnificent. We could see the clouds rolling over from the Pacific Ocean. We stopped and took photos; photos that didn’t truly capture the beauty of what we saw.
There was a moment when I said, “Let’s just stop for a minute and listen because this is the quietest we’re going to have all day.” Living in a full-thriving city with constant noise is probably one big reason I love to escape to the trails.
Of course we actually joked that maybe we shouldn’t advertise how beautifully gorgeous this run was, or else everybody (yeahhh …) would be out there and it would get extremely crowded and we wouldn’t have any room to move. Okay, that probably wouldn’t happen. Because in order to do so, people would need to be out on the trails early and in the darkness to experience it, and not many people want to do that. And that’s perfectly fine by me.
Thanks for reading.