Night Run

On July 18, 2008, in Uncategorized, by Meghan

At 9:23 pm last night, my friend and I dashed uphill from the College “M” Trailhead outside of Bozeman, MT for a night run. The sky was sunset pink and aftermath clouds from the evening’s thunderstorms still flashed lightning in the distance. After a few miles of running, nighttime prevailed and we switched on headlamps to cut the darkness. To the left, the sprawl of Bozeman manifested itself as pinpricks of light peppered over the valley. To the right, empty mountains of wilderness disappeared into utter black. A short time later, the trail dove into deep woods with tall trees swaying and creaking creepily in the wind. The Halloween feel of the woods was further developed by the fact that we startled a Great Horned Owl out of the tree tops. We continued to climb, switchback by switchback. The further we ran from the trailhead, the louder our conversation became, so as to announce our presence to whatever was beyond the glow of our headlamps.

When it was time to turn downhill, we ran smoothly and fluidly back down the trail. On the way back down, we spooked a deer; or, alternatively, that deer might have spooked us. Its green eyes flashed alien-like against the shine of our headlamps before it scampered to a safe distance. The eastern sky, just over the mountains’ silhouette, was rapidly brightening. We knew a full moon was rising, and we were anxious to make our way around the ridgeline to see it for ourselves. We stopped and sat on the benches next to the College “M,” which sits about 800 vertical feet and a seeming half-world above the valley, just to admire the rising moon. There were a few college-age folks here and there around the “M,” and they were probably bothered by our presence, as the “M” is a quintessential place to make out and/or smoke pot in the dark. I have to note that one young gentleman made fun of my ultrarunning headlamp configuration, one light around my torso and one around my head. I didn’t dare tell him that I was practicing for the night running I would shortly be doing during a 100 mile running race.

When we’d had our fill of simultaneously enjoying the full moon’s slow creep across the sky and annoying the current university generation, we made our way back down to the trailhead. But before we arrived, we caught glimpses of a small gray snake and the cutest baby bunny that was already afflicted with the rabbit characteristic of running towards bright lights in the dark that will probably get it killed on the road someday. At 11:11 pm, we arrived back to the car, quickly changed into civilian clothes, and headed into to town for the late dinner for which we were now ravenous.


11 Responses to “Night Run”

  1. Audrey says:

    hi meghan!! i’m glad you’re out and about. your run sounds amazing and i’m glad you had some company fun. you TOTALLY must have been starving by midnight after all those miles. and that’s awesome there is a giant M out there ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. chelle says:

    Headlamps, glad you reminded me. I’ll bring mine to Cleveland. And I guess Jack’s too so I can do the double configuration!

  3. JeffO says:

    Ha! I was telling a guy just yesterday, “For regular people, it’s dinner and then sex. For me it’s dinner and then a trail run. That’s the perfect date.” Okay, so even other trail runners won’t forgo sex, but I’m quite content with just dinner and trail running, and trail running at night is romantic, with the stars and the moon.

  4. Meghan says:

    Audrey- There is a giant white “M” on the side of a mountain outside of Bozeman, MT. This is an odd but common phenomenon in the west.

    Chelle- I have 3 headlamps. I’ll bring you one. But I’ll email you that because chances are you won’t read this in all your packing/moving busy-ness.

    JeffO- Oh I do wish this had been a romantic trail run! More like, it was a great run shared between two good friends.

    Have a great weekend, all!

  5. WynnMan says:

    Hey Meghan! Glad to hear your training is going well for your first 100. You will love it. I am in the hearth of my training as well for Superior Sawtooth 100, Voyageur 50mile next weekend up in duluth. You would love the the Sawtooth 100. It is hauntingly beautiful and challenging. Let me know if you ever decide to do it, I can offer any help I can. I will be moving to the epic trails and community of Duluth within the next year, so I am excited. I will also be out in your neck of the woods of Boezman next summer visiting a friend and hitting some of my favorite trout streams along with trails.

    Yeah, unfortunately my movie prowess is for the birds these days. The movies I once had are all VHS, which is a thing of the past these days. I have found books to be much more satisfying.

    Sounded like your night running lights was a unique set-up. I looked like a UFO when running the 100 last year. I also enjoyed your “training”. I appreciate the real results of training, which is seeing and experiencing beautiful things. Usually folks just post splits, HR’s, numbers, blahhhh. Heck I can’t even keep a training log, that’s how non-scientific I am. Here are some of my highlights:

    * bull moose on the Superior Hiking Trail.
    * timberwolves on Boundary Waters Canoe Area trails.
    * crow mobbing.
    * running without a purpose.
    * beautiful monarch rack in velvet (whitetail).
    *icing in the river and Lake Superior.
    * the damp smell of the woods.
    * roots, rocks, ruts, and lots of hills.
    * the beautiful colors yet to come in the fall and the crisp cool running.

  6. Bob Gentile says:

    almost race time huh ๐Ÿ™‚

    Glad you had a good night run!!

    ahhh poor little bunny…I “believe” you cute little bunny will have many, many years of hopping around even though some(ehem’) think you will be squashed by a car in the near future ๐Ÿ™

    Hop on Bunny, Hop On!!

  7. Sunshine Girl says:

    Ah, yes. The night run. Why is it that everything sounds like a baby crying at night?? The wood are so spooky!!

    How are you with sleep deprivation and night running?? Have you practiced that one yet?? How is your night vision? Mine is only average. It was one reason I have never done longer distance Adventure Racing back in the day.

    When does the taper begin?

  8. Journey to a Centum says:

    Nothing like a deer bounding away in brush and darkness to put a lump in your throat and wide open eyes!

    I like the two light combination as well. Seems to give you better perspective / depth perception for the rocks and roots.

    Last year three of us were trail running at night with a dog. The dog was in the lead and a baby bunny charged straight to the lead runners headlamp and into the dogs mouth. Bye-bye bunny. Woof!

  9. Backofpack says:

    I got my night runs in this week during the relay. I was on a mostly deserted road, once with Rob and once with Jamal. When the occasional car passed by we were briefly blinded but soon recovered. It was cloudy and we talked about how cool a full moon would have been. Not as exciting as the woods, but still fun… I prefer my light clipped to my zinglet in the middle of my torso. I wore Eric’s headlamp too, as an extra precaution, to make me highly visible to cars.

  10. rick says:

    Huh, in Carson city yesterday evening, as I was leaving to head back to San Francisco, I saw an American flag and a big “C” on top of a hill. Carson city was race central for TRT100, I kept saying Reno but it was really Carson city, Reno was where I go lost on the way home:)

    Night runs are a lot of fun. I’d do more of them if I can get people to come out. Sounded like a really great time, the trails at night are much better and safer shared with a good friend. At TRT I also had lots of good fun running and walking in the dark under the full almost full moon, memorable.

    Taper well and thank you, thank you for all support for TRT!

  11. Meghan says:

    Happy Monday! Anyone tired today after a big training/racing weekend? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wynn- The Sawtooth 100 is on my list for someday. Wait, did you just say you’re moving to Duluth!? Whoa, that’s news, isn’t it? Thanks for the kind offers of hospitality, and I may take you up on them. The same is true here in Yellowstone, you’re always welcome. Good luck with your training and racing, and I look forward to hearing how your summer evolves!

    Bob- Haha about the bunny! Did you read Eric’s bunny story here in the comments? Hilarious! I’m calling you today, watch out!

    Leslie- Ohmygosh it did sound like a baby crying out there. How true! I think I’m an alright night person, as I work night shifts and regularly stay up all night. The night vision is another thing, though, I think I’m just a-ok at that. I got our registration on email this morning, whooppeee!

    Eric- Ohmygosh about the bunny, but I bet that dog thought it had won the lottery! Yes, we were admittedly a little wide-eyed after the deer incident. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Michelle- You are the night running expert after this weekend! Yes, I have learning that I like my lights around my waist and around my head, just like you did.

    Rick- Yes, these big letters seem to be on hills all over the west! Yours is just more data to prove my theory! Congrats on gutting out TRT100, and I think you should be proud of yourself!

    Have a great week, all!

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