A narrow beam of light illuminated our path as we bob along. Our breath formed a light yet steady fog bank in the cooling night. Turning back to look for us, our dog Rocket’s eyes glowed a devious green. His black fur hides him almost completely from view. The stars filling the sky beamed down on us as the full moon gave the trees an eerie glow. There is no one else save for the creatures we can hear rustling in the tall grass as we race by. Each foot plant is amplified as we complete one interval run after another. With daylight savings time ending, our trail runs have become nocturnal.
Petzl headlamps allow us to do this. These lightweight modern versions of old miner’s lights have allowed us to continue our trail running even in the depths of darkness. In towns like Boulder, such lights are commonplace for runners and mountain bikers out exploring the foothills west of the city. Not so around Topeka.
If we didn’t have a dog that lives to run free in the wild or knees that love the soft impact provided by the dirt, grass and ash trails we cruise along, we wouldn’t need these lamps. Without them, though, Laura, Rocket and I would be lost.
For some years Laura and I have been doing most of our runs in a series of intense intervals broken by short periods of rest. Many recent studies speak positively on the effects these intervals have on speed and metabolism even for runners of limited abilities like myself. Laura swears by these intense runs as the key to her fitness.
Once fall and winter arrived though, our runs together came to a screeching halt. We tried fields around town lit by distant streetlamps with little success. The footing was too unstable, and we always worried that Rocket might chase an animal into a street.
These lamps were met with skepticism by Laura a year ago, as are most of my schemes initially. Bless her though, Laura, generally, is always willing to give my flights of fancy a try. After one evening of slower intervals, we soon found ourselves racing along with complete confidence. We have only come across one opossum staring at us as we came around a turn, but Rocket has chased all sorts of animals that run hiding into the tall grass lining the trails giving the run an even more otherworldly feel. Truly, it does feel like cosmic (not comic) running.
The comic part comes when we occasionally drive home with the lights in blinking mode. That’s when everyone that stares at us at stoplights know while our runs might be otherworldly, our minds are out of this world.