A scary run- what was I thinking?

A scary run- what was I thinking?

One of the downsides to 5K racing during marathon training is trying to fit in long runs.  Timing them right can be a bit tricky.  Fortunately, 5K’s don’t leave me as sore and tired as they used to in college (or maybe I’m not running them hard enough?) and my recovery time is faster for 5K’s than in other distances I race.  I’ve been working in my long runs the day after my 5K’s. 

This past weekend was my last “long” run. According to my schedule I needed 17 miles.  With Race for the Cure on Saturday, I decided to get it done Sunday.  The weather was supposed to be in the mid 70’s Sunday afternoon and my husband needed to go to the office to work on his PhD so that left me with Sunday morning.  Before church.  With church starting at 8:15 I needed to be home by 7:30.  Could I run 17 miles before 7:30?  For some weird reason the challenge was a little enticing.

Saturday night I checked the weather and layed out my gear.  At the last minute I decided to bring a little flashlight.  Sunrise was not supposed to be until 7:15 so this run would be mostly in the dark.  I considered running some of it on the treadmill but I really wanted to work in real roads and hills to help me focus for NYC.  I knew the basic route I would run but I knew the first four miles would be the hardest.

My alarm went off at 4:50 and I knew I had to get ready quickly.  I calculated an 8 minute pace and one drink/ fuel stop at Harp’s (local grocery store) would take 2 hours and 15-20 minutes. I was on a tight schedule! I had one piece of toast with peanut butter and drank some water. I put my phone in my spi belt along with two gu’s and carried my water bottle.  When I got outside in my driveway to leave it was 5:12.  Time to go! It was DARK. The hardest part of the run would be the first four miles because it was on the non-lit bike trail and I was carrying my flashlight in one hand and my water bottle in the other.  (I planned to hide my water at the end of the trail.) I also knew I would not be listening to any music since it was dark and I wanted to be extremely aware of all my surroundings.

Mile 1- 8:07.  Very thankful I had my flashlight.  It was pitch black out. Should I really be out here on this dark trail by myself? The correct answer would be NO.
Mile 2- 7:33. Faster than my usual second mile but I was pretty scared. I wanted to get off the trail and into a neighborhood with street lights as quickly as possible.
Mile 3- 7:50.  I can do this. I can do this.
Mile 4- 7:45. I made it! Quick 30 second water stop before I hid my water bottle behind a tree stump.
Mile 5- 7:46. Feeling much safer in a neighborhood.
Mile 6- 8:02. Big hill climb #1
Mile 7- 8:10. Big hill climb #2
Mile 8- 7:46. Am I really not even halfway done?
Mile 9- 8:08. Ok, more than halfway done now!
Mile 10- 8:03. I’m so tired.  Why did I think running this far this early was a good idea?
Mile 11- 7:53. Quick pit stop at Harp’s for gu and water.
Mile 12- 7:47. Saw someone out jogging. First time seeing someone else out on the road all morning!
Mile 13- 7:48. Grabbed my water bottle behind the tree stump on my way back now.
Mile 14- 7:47. The sun is coming out! I texted John to tell him I’d be there in less than 24 minutes!
Mile 15- 7:24. The trail feels so much safer this time around.
Mile 16- 7:34. Almost done!
Mile 17- 7:32. Home by 7:35.
Total run time- 2:13:03. (7:49 avg.)

I made it home in time for a quick shower and we did make it to church on time. I did not stretch, roll, ice or have my post run protein smoothie. Does a coffee and donut in Bible class count towards recovery?  I had planned to nap when Ashton napped Sunday afternoon but ended up sorting through Anthony’s closet and clothes doing his seasonal clothes change-out.

By Sunday night I was exhausted.  It is now Tuesday night and I feel like I am still trying to recover from this run.  Was running in the dark like that the best move? Probably not.  I did not feel very safe out on the trail and I am not sure I will be doing something like this anytime soon.

I’m very thankful it’s taper week.  I ran an easy 8 yesterday and today was a complete rest day.  I have a few more easy runs this week and then Saturday is my last 5K! So far I am not experiencing any taper tantrums.  Honestly, I am tired.  I’m ready to tone down the mileage. Bring on the taper!  I’m ready to go out for a run that is less than 8 miles and be ok with it.

Do you regularly run in the dark?  Have you been scared on a run recently? Do you welcome taper week or does it drive you a little crazy?

18 thoughts on “A scary run- what was I thinking?

  1. Haha, that second mile description cracked me up. I run in NYC sometimes when its dark, and my pace always picks up about half a minute per mile… especially if I see a rat, or I convince myself that someone is following me. But hey, this method works really well for tempo runs! 🙂 Nice job getting in those miles before church – I always manage to make us miss the worship when I do my long runs before the morning service!

  2. Wow, running by 5:12 a.m.?! I am thoroughly impressed.

    I have only run one time in the dark – during SoCal Ragnar last spring. It was fun – but definitely scary. And dangerous! I stepped into a hidden hole on a dirt road and ended up bruising one of the bones in my foot!! But it was totally worth it!

    Good luck with the taper!


    1. Stepping on something and getting injured that way was definitely a concern. Bringing a flashlight really saved me!

      Thanks for the taper well wishes! 🙂

  3. I do all my runs in the darkness of morning. With kids activities and everything else with the wife, I would be gone to much if I waited till after work to train, so I Choose early mornings. I actually like running watching the sun come up.

  4. I think it’s great you got it in – running at that hour is hard enough,mnevermind making it a long run. Congrats on getting it in and finishing your last long run of the training!! Enjoy the taper and your last 5k:)

  5. I always run in the dark and have been made nervous twice. Both times I went back home very quickly. Being speedy helps because you get it over with so quickly! Sometimes the things we do to get in a run is a little nuts, but it will be worth it in the end!

  6. I always run in the dark. And, I’m usually scared. Right outside of my driveway I’m afraid of skunks. I do not want to be coming into work after being sprayed by a skunk. The other reason is horrible, but there is a family that lives down the street, I don’t think her son lives there anymore, but I KNOW for a fact that he does meth. I’m afraid of meth heads. I’m not even sort of kidding. The 1st 800 is dark and the houses are spaced quite a bit. Once I cross the bridge I’m in town and it makes me feel so much better. But the first little bit out and the last little bit in scare the crap out of me. I look for cars and pay attention so I know if it is a regular 5 am car or not. I’m sure they think I’m crazy!! And when a car is approaching I scope out how quickly I can get to someone’s door if I need to.

    I think I would be so much more scared on the trail though. That’s why I don’t run ours. It is short, but it is good to be able to make the loop sometimes.

    you get a lot done during your runs! It made me laugh reading that. 17 miles… goodness. I went on a 7 and thought it was taking years! That one had me rushing for church too.

    1. Yikes! Meth heads DEFINITELY would scare me. Who knows what they will do and when they will be out? I guess you always have a pretty speedy first half mile and last half mile!!

  7. Most of my runs are forced to be in the dark, too. I’ve learned to not be so jumpy, but my husband’s never comfortable about me being out there. I stick to nearby, well-populated neighborhoods, wear visible clothing and always carry my phone.
    Glad you got it over with safely. Enjoy the taper!

  8. I do a lot of my running in the dark but usually around roads. One morning, though I was running through a nearby park where a vagrant ‘lives’. It was really dark and I couldn’t see at all well but I did see this great looming shadow rise up next to the path. I nearly died of fright but it was just Timothy (our vagrant is so well known around the area that we’re on first name basis) having his morning stretch.

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