Saturday, July 28, 2012

Midnight Long Run

Today wasn't the craziest run I've done, but definitely close to it.  The original plan was to run 10 miles with some of the BCRs on Sand Island at 9 PM.  After my fall yesterday, I wasn't sure I could go.  It was going to be a small group anyway.  Some showers passed through around that time, so the run was cancelled.  I was at a pool party an hour away, so that was fine with me.

As I was driving home, that running bug hit me.  After the run was cancelled, I asked Kelley if she wanted to join me in the AM for a run.  She said she needed some sleep.  I knew it would be hard for me to get up, plus I was thinking if I did that I would want to watch the Formula One race.  Therefore, I decided that I would get the run in when I got home.

The Nor-Bath Trail is my regular night run.  I've run it quite a few times alone.  It is nice and quiet by myself.  The road crossings can suck in the day, but they are fine at night.  When I started out it was actually around 11:30 PM.  I've run late before, but I don't think I've ever run that late.  I certainly haven't run over 10 miles anywhere near this late at night.  I guess I'll be decent at 24 hour races since I enjoy the nighttime so much.

I had to walk quite a bit to get a signal on my GPS watch.  That was frustrating.  I guess it was still probably cloudy after the storm.  As I was walking with my light on, I think a bat might've flown in front of me.  That is one cool thing at night.  They might be harder to spot, but there are different creatures out there.

Running with a headlamp can certainly be awkward.  It takes awhile to get used to just lighting up a small area in front of you.  It is also weird because you bounce around and so does the light.  I think running this way would actually be good for practicing smoother form.  The biggest issue was actually avoiding all the moths and other night bugs.  I'm sure I ate quite a few of them.  I guess they would be a good source of protein.  The headlamp wasn't tight enough and thus rather frustrating to run with.  It kept sliding down my face and I would have to readjust it.

Another thing that sucked were all the spider webs.  I took one on early and was covered the rest of the run.  I ducked under a few more, but they probably hit me some too.  When I got into the car and even when I was back home, I was still picking them off me until I took a shower.

Early on in the run, my legs didn't feel great.  I did a lot of standing at the party.  Plus, this was my sixth day running this week.  I was definitely beat up.  Knowing that I'm planning on taking off a couple days was a big help to push me through.  It also helped that I didn't look at my watch too often since it was dark out.

Everything was smooth as I kept going along.  There were some asphalt sections that my knees and feet didn't enjoy.  Surprisingly, it was my feet that were the real problem when it came to soreness during the run.  It was also more of my big toe than my injured toe.  Maybe my compression sleeves helped my calves.  One of the asphalt sections went through a neighborhood.  Some guy was in his garage using power tools after midnight.  That must've annoyed his neighbors.

After the neighborhood, I hit a section behind a plant.  It is kind of beat up and shady.  I was a little worried that I might bump into some weird people there.  I also thought maybe some teens might hangout in an area like that.  Thankfully, I ran into neither on any section of the run.  I did see a decent sized animal in this part of the trail though.  It may have been a cat, but it looked bigger.  I'm thinking it was more of the size of a mid sized dog.  Perhaps it was a fox.  I'm not sure.  I saw another similar creature later on as well.  Mostly, I just saw the eyes on that one.  I never did get to see the color of either of them.

I ran out farther than I ever have before.  The trail crossed active railroad tracks and then a road.  I couldn't see if the trail continued on, so I just turned around.  I was definitely close to Northampton at that point anyway.  I was hoping to run out to 4.5 miles and this was at mile 4.35.  That was close enough.

One great thing about running out very far is that no matter what you have to go all the way back.  There was a lot of uphill early on the turnaround and my legs were screaming.  I knew if I quit though, I'd end up walking back anyway and it would take longer.  I pushed on.  I just focused first on getting to mile 5, then 7, then 7.5 and after that, just mile after mile.  It makes the run much easier to break it apart into baby steps.

When I say uphill, the trail really wasn't that steep.  I was just beat.  After that, it definitely dropped downhill.  I didn't run any harder, but my times dropped and my legs came back and felt great.  It was a lot like the gradual long downhill at the end of the Freedom to Liberty Run.  The other great thing about coming back was running on familiar ground.  I came over three bridges in a row.  I knew where they were.  I then passed Bicentennial Park and then Airport Road.  I turned my headlamp off at most road crossing.  I didn't want anyone to see me and possibly attack me.

Even though the temperature wasn't bad it was still quite humid or at least damp after the rain.  My shirt got fairly soaked, so in the last 3 miles or so, I took it off.  I didn't have any protection for my nipples and didn't want them to chafe.  It was very cool going shirtless.

When I got back to Jacksonville Road, I was right around 9 miles.  I typically don't run on the east side of Jacksonville Road.  The trail doesn't go very far in that direction.  It turned out to be perfect today though.  It went out half a mile and I was able to finish right around where I started.  Driving along the road, it didn't seem like it went that far, but I'm glad it did.

This was such an enjoyable run.  I love running at night.  It is so calm and peaceful.  I am such a night person.  This time of year, the temperatures are so much cooler too.  I'm might have to run a few more of these.  I'm even thinking of running them later, like two or three in the morning.

It was another productive and tough week.  My aching knees really need a rest and I'm finally going to give it to them.  I'm definitely taking two days off.  I'm hoping I have the willpower to take three days off.  My body certainly needs it.  It would be a great way to taper before next weekend's Blue Eagle 5k.  Hopefully I'll be disciplined enough to hold off from running until Wednesday.  Who knows with me though.  I need to listen to my body a bit more now.

10 miles - 1:28:08 (8:49 pace)

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