Thursday, November 20, 2008

Running in the dark

Winter is rapidly approaching and that means more running in the dark. While many people will stop running because it is unsafe to run in the dark, you can make it safe. Running in the dark can be an exhilarating experience. If you desire quiet, this may be your game!

I carry 2 flashlights on my person in the winter when I know that it is going to be dark. The flashlights are more to be seen rather than to see. When the trail is clear and there is enough ambient light, I prefer to run without a flashlight. I love to see the stars and the moon. If I am out for at least an hour, I have come to expect to expect at least one shooting star to make an appearance across the horizon. I love to see the stars disappear at first light and witness the planets take over the sky until the sun washes them away.

When I am in a known skunk zone, I turn the light on full power. I want these stinky creatures to know that I am getting close! I have been sprayed once and suffice to say it was a very stinky experience. During one of my dark runs, a loud herd of wild pigs brushed by me. Yes, I was scared! LED flashlights were not available and I did not carry a flashlight as the batteries lasted maybe an hour.

When I approach major road crossings, I flick my light on. I have had near misses with bicycles that displayed no lights. Even pedestrians are dangerous if you don't see them.

I completed 2 runs this week on the trail that started out light and ended dark. My 2 boys accompanied me on the runs and we timed the runs to coincide with both freight and passenger trains as they made their journey through scenic Niles Canyon. As the trains passed by, we all yanked our arms up and down to signal to the engineer to blow his whistle. My boys are so thrilled that they can make the trains whistle!

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