So, We Ran a Half-Marathon in the Dark


Actually, it's more than that, even.  We paid a babysitter for the privilege.

It turns out that we live in the middle of a robust ultra-marathoner community.  (Technical definitions vary, but think "crazy-ass people who run 50 or 100 miles in one go".)  Two of the events put on by the local group are a pair of fun runs--"Coleen's Sweaty Fat Ass Run" in the summer, and a corresponding "Coleen's Frozen Fat Ass Run" in the winter.  Saturday night was the "sweaty" version.

The course was a 3-mile trail loop, through wooded areas and fields, and the idea was that you could run the loop as many times as you wanted between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.  The boys (Sweet Husband and Nice Running Friend) wanted to get off a half-marathon for their 30, I needed to do at least 14 miles for my marathon training plan, and Nice Running Friend's Wife was--quite sensibly--just going to run as many times as felt good.

We managed two loops before it got dark, then stopped for headlamps.  I enjoyed chatting with our friends--it was a social outing, after all--but when I ended up by myself for most of loop 4 I wasn't sad either.

I can't think of the last time I've been in the woods alone after dark.  Sure, I was getting passed by the occasional speedier runner, but for the most part it was just me and the bull frogs.  The moon was a perfect sliver of fresh-cut Hubbard squash.  At one of the water crossings, I couldn't help but stop for a minute and douse my headlamp to look up at the sky.  There were stars I haven't seen since I was a teenager camping with my dad at the lake--the teapot (Sagittarius), the "marvelous M" (Cassiopeia).  One of my favorite yoga teachers often describes mountain pose as "standing purposefully on the earth".  For a moment there, in the dark, I was.

And then, we finished up--5 loops total--and headed for the smorgasbord of food.  (Ultra people are a little crazy, yes, but they know how to eat.)  Sunday morning's aches and pains were rough, but even so, I think this is going to become a thing.