So now that I completed the half at what was at the beginning of the year my goal race, I have started to have them. What are they?  They are the dreaded anti-motivations. All of a sudden the lunch routine has become dreary and I'm not motivated to run mid-day. I do have a race on my schedule on Thanksgiving, so that's not it. I've tentatively picked some spring races, so that's not it. And I have wanted to run after work. So that's what I have done a few times  recently. Running after work is okay, but it also presents some problems. I haven't been getting away from work as early recently and it's been getting darker much, much earlier.

I hadn't realized how early it was getting dark until last week. I was really looking forward to doing a long trail run, but was trying to fit that in, plus run with the kids so they keep a few miles on their legs for the Drumstick Dash. It didn't take long for me to come up with a simple solution; run long on Friday evening while Jil was busy at church and the kids were at swim practice. I dropped the kids off at 5 for practice and headed for the wooded trail. The trail was everything I had hoped for. Serene, full of nature sounds broken only by the crunch of leaves under my feet. After the first loop, the shadows were getting really long, but I figured I could at least get in one more loop (I was hoping for three). Besides, I had expected this and had a camping light perched on my head. About half way through the loop I realized I had made a slight miscalculation. It had become really dark, but not dark enough that the lantern could do enough to really light my path. The lantern really wasn't strong enough anyway (make note for Christmas list here). And as it got darker, the sounds got louder and more frequent and seem to come from all directions. During the first lap I had encountered very few roots in the path, but now I seemed to stumbling on something every few strides. Luckily I made it to the end of the loop without falling or twisting anything, and I hightailed it out of the park to finish on the safety of the streets.

But the story doesn't end there. After swim practice I was relating my experience to the kids over dinner, explaining that I had probably made a poor decision to go to the trail at that time of night. And I'm lucky I made it out without an injury. That's when they dropped the bomb...."we couldn't believe you went running in the woods after dark on Friday the 13th!"

I couldn't believe I had missed what day it was. I'm now adding a new step to my pre-run routine; in addition to checking the weather and my gear, I'm also checking the calendar. And I'm staying out of the woods after dark on all days - at least until I get a better lantern.

Artist for Song in Title: Michael Jackson


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