Night Striders

author : Ontherun
comments : 0

Sometimes things do not always go as planned, but an interesting and entertaining experience can come of it.

I have been training to do my first marathon as part of my triathlon training all summer. In about 4 weeks I am to complete my first marathon. As part of my training I had to recently do a 3 hour run, my longest to date. Unfortunately for me, the time I normally carve out for my long runs was not available last weekend. Let me explain.

Normally I go for long workouts on either Saturday or Sunday mornings, starting around 5 AM. This is actually a little later than I normally start my workouts during the week, so I am sleeping in just a little. This early start also allows me maximum family time during the weekend. Well, on Friday night I informed my wife I would be looking for a 3 hour run. She let me know she would be at work late and would appreciate it if she could sleep in on Saturday. Done, no problem.

 

Saturday evening rolled around and I decided to have a backyard campout with the family. What a great time. Problem was, I forgot that my wife does not do tents well, and I stayed out with the kids alone. Thus, the early Sunday workout was toast too. The rest of the weekend was just too busy to knock out a long run.

Sunday night, I decided I would go long before work on Monday. I packed all my gear, including gels, lunch for work etc. into the car and set the alarm. I had forgotten how early a 2:20 AM wake up call was, but I got up anyway. I dragged my sorry butt out to my favorite running spot, the lake. I have run it at least once a week for over 3 years. It is relatively well lit, flat, and smooth. I was pretty sure I could run it with a blindfold on. Anyways at 3:20 AM, I started my nocturnal shuffle.

I had seen stars out when I left my house, but a light cloud cover kept me from enjoying them as I started my run. I could see the rising moon, so that was cool, but not quite the same. I kept my MP3 on real low volume, just in case someone came up behind me (not that anyone else would be crazy enough to be out this early). The only company I had on this early September New England morning was the occasional bunny, and some ducks and geese floating in the still water. As my first 3 miles flew by relatively uneventful. the stars came out, but that did not last long as the fog seemed to come with them.

Low and behold, by 4AM the other night striders started to fall out of warm beds and start their days migrating around the lake. I was startled by the first figure of the morning walking at me through the fog on one of the least lit sections of the run. I was scared, as I did not expect anyone else for at least an hour. Shortly after I started to see cars in the parking lots, so I knew I was no longer alone.

I have made a habit of checking my shadows from the street lights as an early warning system from those who might pass me. It is always nice to see someone’s shadow creeping up before they pass you. Well for the first time, this did not work. I was almost knocked off my feet when a gent came striding by, almost shoulder to shoulder, at 4:30AM. I am not sure who was more caught off guard. It could have been me, because I never saw or heard him coming out of the darkness behind me. It could have also been him, by my overreaction to his presence when I swung around to get into a defensive posture while I continued to run. In just a brief moment, he pulled away, and I go back into my rhythm.

The remainder of the run was uneventful. Other tired creatures continued to find their way down to our training grounds. They put on their workout gear and stretched out in the twilight. Others continued around the lake like it was breakfast for the soul. The bunnies I had seen early in the run went back to bed. The geese and ducks that had been floating on the water moved on. The sun started its daily ascent into the sky. All I can say is it is nice to know a route so well that you can run it anytime, day or night. Changing up the routine a little can take an average run and make it a whole new experience.

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date: November 7, 2006

Ontherun

Father of two, devoted husband, Clydesdale, hope to become just an age grouper someday. Competing in the 40-44 bracket this year. Have done a 1/2 Ironman tri, a marathon and a bunch of sprint and oly distance races. Member of BT since 12-1-03

avatarOntherun

Father of two, devoted husband, Clydesdale, hope to become just an age grouper someday. Competing in the 40-44 bracket this year. Have done a 1/2 Ironman tri, a marathon and a bunch of sprint and oly distance races. Member of BT since 12-1-03

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