It was a dark & scary 16 miler

Or at least it started out that way… The days are really getting a lot shorter!  This week we were going to do either 16 or 18 miles, but we had a 16 mile route Tammy had gotten from Hobbit so we could start our run early in order for her to do a 5-K walk with her mother at 9am.  So we all decided to meet at the scheduled training spot this week, the Surgery Center or ADEQ building, either way over by the River Trail.

We all drove separate cars and arrived promptly at 5:15 am.  It’s pitch black except for the street lights, but in this area nothing is going on, it’s all industrial and very, very quiet.  We strap on our 5 lb fuel belts, grab our hats because of course there is a 40% chance of rain once again, while we are strapping on all our gear I look out at the street and I see a critter, hmm, what the hell is that? I say, a skunk?  No the girls say, oh I think so, no it’s not a skunk, then it turns to walk down the street because it did have it’s back to us and low and behold, a skunk, oh shit.  I’m not really too concerned because in my brain if you don’t bother it, it won’t bother you, but it seems to want to go the same way we are going.  We are walking through the parking lot toward the street and it decides to come over toward the parking lot instead of the street so we are sort of weaving our way back toward the hospital away from the said skunk and it stops at a gutter, hmm, maybe it’s going into the gutter.  Then Kim says she left her Garmin on my truck so we luckily have to turn around and go back and retrieve it, while we were gone the skunk found somewhere to hide.  Whew, one disaster averted.

Finally off and running, it’s probably 5:30 by now, late start.  We turn the corner on the first street and BAM I grab Kim’s arm because I see 3 deer to my left that start running right in front of us.  That scares Kim and Tammy, not the deer, but me grabbing Kim’s arm which in turn makes her scream and that scares Tammy who makes some sort of noise.  The deer just darted right across the street into another field.  I guess we disturbed their breakfast.  Hell, we havent’ even been running for 5 minutes!

Off again and we still have street lights until about the end of mile 1, then nada, no moon since it’s cloudy and threatening rain.  We all have those clip on LED lights which are clipped on our fuel belts, Tammy’s is a hat clip on, but the lights just bounce because of course we are running, but thank goodness we were all smart enough to bring them.  We were running three across, slow, we could see okay, but running in the dark that early in the morning  in a place we don’t run everyday was challenging to say the least.

We heard this cries from some sort of animal over in the woods, God only knows what that was, but I knew we would be turning that way soon, safety in numbers, right?  I think we saw 2 cars coming from the Dam before we turned off on the dark abyss called Isabella Jo Road.  This road is all overgrown, vegetation right up to the trail and all the trees are over the road above your head so even if there were moonlight it wouldn’t get through, dark, very dark even with our lights.  Oh I forgot to mention right before we turned off on Isabella Jo we saw another herd of deer grazing, they just stared at us and I think we had a conversation about deer attacks. Smart.  Oh and Kim mentioned mountain lions BEFORE she knew we were turning down the tunnel of darkness.

It was creepy dark, but that part of the trail went by quick!  You didn’t notice anything but where your feet were landing and concentrating on looking for critters or attack deer.  We finally turned off onto the wooden bridge that would take us back to the main River Trail and what happened next?  Rain.

Oh yeah, we were 3 miles into our run with critter sightings, heart pumping screams and now rain, great.  Well, luckily it only rained for a few minutes and let up, we lucked out on that one!  Right before the rain we were tooling along and we hear a voice “blah blah left”  Tammy and I both screamed or jumped or something, there was some crazy cyclist out there in the dark with this barely working headlamp on his bike that scared the crap out of us and I guess Kim didn’t hear him right away because she had this delayed reaction, screamed and grabbed my arm, I’m surprised we all didn’t pee our running skirts.  What an eventual first few miles!

After the rain we could see a little better, there weren’t as many trees and the trail was wet which made it more visible, I tried to turn off my light a few times, but for the most part we had to leave them on until around mile 5 when daylight FINALLY made an appearance, it was such a relief not to be so tense and wary of everything around us.

Our route took us through Burns Park which was a nice distraction from the River Trail, just a few miles and then back to the monotony.  We ran to the Skatepark made our turnaround, YIPPEE, had a fuel/bathroom/stretch break and headed back, the best part.  We saw Arland, Annette and Michele when we were at mile 13.5, we always see someone we know on the Trail, they were apparently doing a 20 miler!  We didn’t stop, I was afraid to stop anymore, my joints, all of them were throbbing, my feet, back and knees, how the hell will I run a whole marathon in 6 weeks?  I have no idea.

We made it back, Kim and I had talked about adding 2 more miles on to get 18, but once I saw our cars, no way.  We stretched, Tammy headed out pretty quickly to get to her 5-K walk, grabbed our ice cold traditional Diet Mt. Dew’s, said our good-bye’s and within 10 minutes it was raining.  Dodged that bullet.

We survived another long run, this one a little scarier than others, not as tough as last weeks, but still tough, no bathroom issues which was wonderful!  Still had to stop and pee though, probably could have held it, but why?  There were real bathrooms.  It was very humid, not that hot, but I was sweat soaked when we got through, glad once again it was over.  Next week we will try for 20 miles, I think.

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One Response

  1. It’s definitely scarier running in the dark…at least you were not alone.

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