Route: Hines Park 6 Miler (In the dark)
Distance: 5.5 Miles
Total Time: 56:05
With apologies to Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, I definitely was having some fun tonight. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I decided that tonight I would run my 6 mile route. This would not seem to be an odd choice on the surface. However, I am now running my entire weekday routes in the dark, so my usual plan is to stick to neighborhoods with streetlights....not tonight. Tonight I ventured into Hines Park, in the dark, and then promptly it got darker.
When I enter Hines Park, I run down a nice hill into the park, and it was very creepy to descend into darkness. Luckily I was running with my aforementioned LED headlamp, so it was not too bad. I was not going to run into a pothole or anything. I did have to make a minor route adjustment, as I quickly decided that I was not going to run on the two dirt trails that I usually run on this route, I was going to stick to the path.
As I got further and further into the park I started to get creeped out. There was not a person around, and really the only sound is your breathing and the sound of your feet hitting the path. The only light is your headlamp, pushing back the darkness you push forward. I almost bailed on the entire idea and headed out of the park but something made me keep going.
Around mile 1.5 I started to notice that I was having a harder time seeing the path. At first I thought something must be different, maybe it was just darker in this section because it is heavily wooded, or maybe my eyes were adjusting to the darkness. The truth of the matter was that darkness was closing in on me. My headlamp was dying. I was too far into the run to leave the park, at this point turning around would take just as much time as proceeding on my run. So I turned off my light and ran in the darkness.
I started out totally and absolutely scared. Americans are not used to being in total darkness. I cannot even claim that, because by the virtue of being in a major metropolitan area, there was a faint glow all around the park above the trees. But still, this was much darker then I was used to or comfortable in. I was also approaching a highway underpass that was already my biggest concern. I mean highway underpasses are where hobos and drug dealers sleep, right?
What I thought I was running by
What I actually ran by
BLOG INTERUPTION--- Quick check of my zipcode on city-data.com (watch out, there is a time sucker of a website) shows that there has been no murders in at least 10 years around here, and very very few assaults, guess I am statistically safe. ---RESUME BLOG
So I am not kidding you that adrenaline starts pumping through my system and I sprint, and I mean sprint through that underpass. Of course the sound of my loud footsteps plus the echoing of the cars going over on the highway above just freak me out more. I emerged on the far side panting and turned back to look at where I had just traveled. Of course there was nothing there.....at all.
As I proceed on my route, I start to embrace the darkness. My eyes adjust and it starts to dawn on me how amazing it is to run in the darkness; alone, with nothing but the stars, pavement and rhythm of your breathing to keep you company. It was actually very pleasant to finish out the park portion of my run. The only thing that bothered my is sometimes cars would come down the parkway the path is next to and momentarily blind me, so I started looking the other way when one approached. Other then that, a very peacefull, serene run, even if it was in the dark of night, with no light to guide the way.
Has anyone out there ever ran in the darkness like this? Any cool experiences to share?