Running is going well. 6 weeks into my running bout, I'm feeling good. 1hr 10 minutes has been my longest run so far. That's going to change this weekend, on my big birthday adventure. As usual, I'll post details afterwards.
Last night I went on a solo night run.
It was cold and windy when I went out the door right at sunset. I'm determined to conquer my fear of being alone in the dark woods. Or, if I can't conquer it, find some coping skills, a way to live with it, and not let it stop me from doing this sort of thing.
I headed up the road and into the woods. Little flakes of snow fell here and there as the wind whipped through the trees overhead. I enjoy the feel of the forest as the sky grows darker after the setting sun. I run softly, leaves crunching under foot.
I smile. I'm out here and I'm not sure what is going to happen. As I run I search for the reason, the root of my fear. I think about control for a while. Am I afraid because I am out of control? How does that differ from the daylight? Does being able to see what just made that noise, the one that sounds like footsteps give me some false sense of control?
I continue to run. It is dark now and I turn on my headlamp. I need a new headlamp. I have an old Black Diamond $20 special. I brought my 300 lumen Night Rider Mako 5 along just in case, but for now, I run in the dim light.
My thoughts turn to focus. Maybe my focus is wrong. Maybe if I stop focusing on what might be out there, lurking, and shift my thoughts to what is really happening, my fear will lighten. I try this method. I force myself to stop looking into the darkness for the negative. I focus on breathing in the cold air. I feel a glimmer of relief, a glimmer of hope, and start having fun. I turn on my commuter light and pick up the pace. Focusing on nothing, just like I do when I run in the day light.
The chances of me dying out here are probably a lot less than if I were driving in traffic.
Focus, leaves crunching, wind blowing, city lights in the distance. All things that make me happy.
After 30 minutes I turn around to head home. I continue to focus.... on nothing.
Back out of the woods, onto the pavement and home.
I'm glad to say that I was not freaked out and jumpy as I have been in the past. I'm hoping that a good dose of night running will help me get past this block and I can get out and enjoy the woods again as I used to.
Don't let your fears hold you back!