Monday, November 14, 2011

Scaredy Cat

Why are we afraid of the dark?

For those of you that don't think you're afraid of the dark, step outside on a night time trail run!

Seriously though, what is there to be afraid of? Where did this feeling come from?

With the Daylight Savings Time rolling back, my trail run had to be done in the dark. Pitch dark with just a lousy headlamp. Well I suspected it was lousy but not as bad as it turned out - this headlamp sucks! As I am running through the trails I can hear many many things stirring in the leaves around me. Big things causing branches to crack, little things scurrying around and sometime I would catch the glare off a pair of eyeballs and have no idea what it is.

How is that scary? It shouldn't be. Right? Is this anxiety some kind of pre-programmed defense mechanism? Did we inherit this feeling from some genetic soup that says night time is dangerous? Admitedly I've never been attacked by anything at night. OK except a Bat that humped my headlamp on a bike ride one night. It just kept flying into me while the wife just pointed and laughed. So I can't say I have any experiences that would make me afraid of the dark. Now I do have a bit of an imagination. I would like to point my finger at Hollywood and that darn TV. Scary movies, I hate them. Not because they pretty much all suck, but because I don't voluntarily enjoy being scared. I'll pass on the scary shows. So as I'm runninng along I can feel the werewolf stalking me, the witch watching me and the guy in the hockey mask weilding a machete is just behind me so I better not stop running now! Is that it? Is that what makes me so anxious?


So my first night run went well. I put in some serious distance but had to back off at the end because my headlamp was not good enough to judge depth, so I kept tripping over roots and potholes. Admittedly I was talking to myself alot, this is the one and only time I would justify bringing music along with me. I do ALL my training sans audio device but I wouldn't mind a bit of a distraction while running in the pitch dark. Sure we've all run in the winter along a dark road, but its not the same when you're in the middle of a dark forest all alone. I don't get scared on the country roads the same way I do on the trails.

I followed up a perfect week of training with a perfect fail of a weekend. I didn't do anything. If I don't get out that door FIRST thing in the morning, I won't get out at all. This weekend - I plan to get up early and get the workout out of the way. That's the plan anyhow.

Trail Run - 1.5hrs


  1. This is hilarious to me because I totally freak myself out in the dark. I run in Caratunk, which although different from a trail, is in the middle of nowhere. And so the coyotes start howling and I get all freaked out when I hear a little branch crack...anyway

    Also, if I don't get out in the morning, it just doesn't happen.

  2. I don't like running in unknown areas at night. Head lamp or not, you don't know the lay of the land and you are just welcoming a stupid injury with arms wide open.

    I definitely will run at night, but its on roads or trails that I have pretty much memorized the terrain.

    I am not afraid of the noises at night... just of braking my ankle!

    Better get those workouts in or your trail running homo group is gonna drop you! haha.

  3. I was doing a 14 mile run on trails in a canyon out in CA last winter and went a little too far before turning around and basically was racing the sunset. It got very dark and I still had a few miles to go and I was TERRIFIED. At dusk I had seen a large animal, like a coyote or something (at first I thought it was a mountain lion and nearly crapped my pants), so I think in the dark I was worried there were beasts lurking about that I couldn't see! I also worried about tripping and falling, but actually sped up because I was so scared! If I had a headlamp and was in a place where large cats don't eat you, I think I would have loved it. I did a lot of my long runs at night this season and there is something magical about it. Now biking in the dark, that's a different story...

  4. I don't like being in my basement alone in the dark, forget the middle of a forest!



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