Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Every night this year so far...

I went out to see a Really good movie today with my wife and then came home hoping to get a run in. It was starting to get dark when I got home so I purposely took my time gathering up my gear and getting dressed for a night run in the 43F weather. I love the Craft base layer that I have. I bought for cycling originally but it's very tight fitting and keeps me quite warm running, especially considering how thin the material is. The base layer was great under a free 2006 Badwater Endurance Run shirt that I got at the 508 last year and a jacket. I went with a pair of cycling tights instead of shorts.

I loaded up on gear for the run as well. I took my new lightweight REI gloves for their first run. They weren't as snug and warm as I'd hoped. I'll try them again when it's colder to see how they do in weather where I really need gloves. I also took my Petzl Tikka headlamp for it's first run tonight. It's a 3-LED head-mounted lamp for running/hiking. It's fairly bright, especially for a $27 lamp. It lit up the trail/road enough for me to see where I was going and not run off of an embankment or into a tree but having the light on my forehead took some getting used to. The light was illuminating smoke or fog in the air in front of me when I ran, making for a hazy view that was a little confusing at times. I think I'd get a stronger light if I were doing a night-time race.

Finally I brought both my Ultimate Direction waist pack/bottle holder and my hand-held UD bottle with the neoprene hand strap. I wanted to try the waist pack again to see if I still didn't like it. Plus more water! I wasn't as annoyed with the waist pack as I was the first time I ran with it. It didn't slosh around as much and I found a way to make it sit more comfortably toward my side. I think I'll hold onto it.

So the run itself was great. I almost never go running at night. I'll start out in the afternoon and let the time get away from me and end up running at night but I rarely have in the past gone out for a night-time run. Every time I did, I ran around neighborhoods with streetlights every 100 meters and cars driving by all the time. Where I live there aren't streetlights. There wasn't much car traffic tonight, and the only source of light at night, the houses are pretty far off the roads, providing little or no light to the streets.

With the head lamp I had enough light to make out the road ahead of me and see where to run and where to avoid for the most part. I stumbled a couple of times, but never fell down. I ran out toward the Horsehead bay sign and then continued on toward the Tunnel Trail. I'd never been on the trail at night but I've run on it enough times that I could probably navigate it just fine without a light at all. There was a little mud on the trail but it was easy enough to avoid. It was neat running on the trail at night with only my head lamp showing me the way. It was a fun and slightly uneasy feeling thinking about what else might be out there on the trail with me. I never see any wild life on the trail during the day, and didn't see anything tonight.

I got to the top of the trail and jogged down to a turn-around point I like off of Kopachuck Dr. I get the uphill and then the resulting downhill, hit the turn-around point, and then do the hill over again. I made the whole route a simple out-and-back course to minimize the car traffic that I'd encounter and to run both ways on the trail at night. When I was running on the roads I tried to stay a little bit away from the shoulder where the road was more level and tried to run with my body a little bit more upright. I noticed a difference running this way and it felt better on my sore knee. I'll have to try more of that on future runs

Speaking of future runs, I took 2 days off after my last run because I got a little bit of knee pain from the last one. I figure I can back off between runs if it gets bad and see about finding a runner-friendly doctor / physical therapist. Scott Jurek is a PT up in Seattle but he's not on any health plan. Seeing him might be overkill though.

I took 3 walking breaks during tonight's run out of caution. They seemed to help. I'm trying to get into a habit of taking regular walking breaks during my runs just to make things a little easier on my body despite them slowing me down on shorter runs. If I ever get back into ultramarathons I'll have to train that way on longer runs so I should just accept them now as part of the way I run and get over looking at my pace. If I could program the Garmin Forerunner to do two separate countdowns, it'd be easier to stick to them. Watch goes beep, I walk.

I notice that the Garmin has some trouble collecting data during my runs. When I download the data, I see points in the graph where it will lose signal to either the satellites and/or my heart rate chest strap. I can blame the satellites on the trees everywhere or the clouds/weather, but the chest strap with a fresh battery? I dunno.

I listened to a pretty good This American Life podcast during the run. It had two stories, one about a factory owner in Texas who was abusing foreign labor in his Texas factory, the second about a poorly reported news story in Idaho concerning a man said to be a sexual predator who was working as a referee at a hockey rink. I love listening to TAL podcasts on the run, and this one turned out to be almost the perfect length for the run. It ended about 1/10th of a mile from home.

Great run overall, especially running on the trail at night which made me wish that I was in good enough shape for / had time to train for another ultramarathon. I'd love to do something like Western States or give the Cascade Crest Classic 100 a shot, even though it's quite hard even by ultramarathon standards. I long for the days that I can spend more time training, and live close enough to trails to do a few longer runs a week and then some really long trail runs on weekends.

My map:

kopachuck and back at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks

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