I did start the Dances With Dirt 50k in Hell, Michigan in the dark, but somehow that didn't count in my mind. This weekend, that changed and it was SUPER FUN!
For Christmas I got a fancy new Petzl Tikka RXP headlamp. I don't like to wear headlamps, but I had this idea that if I had a higher quality headlamp I might feel a little more comfortable with night running. TheTikka RXP is recharable, has a comfy headband, AND it has fancy pants reactive lighting! So, when there's more light in your environment, it dims itself, when it's really dark out, it shines brighter. It also has a wider beam than my old headlamp, it turns out that takes away from some of the tunnel vision problems I get with a headlamp. So, basically, it's magic. Like a magic genie lamp that's strapped to your head. And the strap is orange, which I also enjoy.
So, back to my run this weekend. I wanted to get on the trails, and running with someone sounded more fun than running alone, so started making plans to run with a friend. But, she had to start early.... Like pre-sunrise early. Normally, this would result in me saying, well, let's just run on roads then. But this time, we said no let's run on trails, in the dark. We somehow roped another friend into a predawn start and from there the plan was set.
For some reason, the simple act of running for 30-40 minutes on the trail before dawn, made the run infinitely more exciting to me. I couldn't wait for Saturday to come. That's a feeling I've been missing. I love to run, but it becomes so automatic for me that I sometimes forget how much I LOVE to run.
I got to the parking lot early and looked into the woods with with the light from my car lights.
I was nervous, excited, and darn near giddy. When all three of us were there we nervously chatted for a bit and then we were off. Slower and quieter than normal, I kept adjusting my headlamp to get it comfortable and trying to figure out where is the best place to look. Before I knew it there was a bit of light in the sky and we had already gone a mile. Once the sun really started rising, we picked up the pace to try to get the best view and the best picture of the rising sun. My friend behind me kept saying, hurry! We have to get to the top of that over there! And the views just kept get better! I definitely screamed NATURE with a raised fist as we skittered up to one ridge line and then next trying to get the best view.
For a recovering slightly burnt out runner, this run was a breath of fresh air. Instead of worrying about mileage, speed, splits, fuel, and bib numbers, I was out in the woods with two great friends, racing a sunrise. Runs like this make me fall in love with running all over again. And that's exactly what I needed.