Thursday, August 31, 2006

Night fever, night fever...

Another amazing night run up Mission Peak. Same route, run from home to Stanford Ave. trailhead, up main fireroad, around the back side then up and over the peak. Headed out after dinner around 8:30pm or so. It was a warm evening in Fremont, but you never know what the temps will be like on the peak. I wore a long sleeve running shirt (sleeves rolled up) and carried a vest and gloves in my waist pack. Turns out that I didn't need any of it as the weather was as perfect as perfect can be. I didn't even roll my sleeves down the entire time. It's unfortunate that I didn't know this beforehand as I could have left room for a camera in my pack. The air was cool, but not cold and completely clear. The moon, while not even half full, was shining very brightly in the western sky above the trail. It didn't even feel like night going up the face. While I brought my tiny little Petzl Zipka headlight, I decided that I would attempt the entire run without it. I certainly didn't need it on the front side. However, once over the ridge the moon was blocked by the peak and it became much more challenging. Running while barely being able to see the trail is an interesting sensation. I told myself it would improve my balance and train me to lift my feet more. This is relatively smooth fireroad that had been recently re-grated and I have it pretty much wired so I don't think it was really dangerous. However, every time there was a significant dip in the trail my stomach would sink momentarily before my foot discovered the ground a few inches lower than expected. There were also a couple of near misses snagging my toe on invisible rocks or lumps of dirt.

the entire way up, the view of the valley and bay were so clear that I kept wanting to stop and look, but told myself it would be even better from the top. It was. It's hard to describe how perfect the view was. I could see all the shimmering lights down through San Jose to the south. The water on the bay reflecting the light of the moon. The peninsula hills, the east bay and all the way up north all perfectly visible. I just sat there looking. I felt as though I could stay all night reflecting on my life here in the bay. I looked north-east to where Mt. Diablo should be. My childhood home from age 9-18. Not really visible, but I could imagine its shadowy outline. I looked to the bottom of the bay where I work and thought about all the craziness that my team and I have endured this past year. Then, my eyes and mind returned back to the base of the hill. To Fremont. I looked to the lights where my house should be and thought of Zane and Freddy who, at just after 10pm, would be gettng ready for bed. Then I thought I should probably get going. I told Zane that she was allowed to worry if I wasn't back by midnight. The last thing I wanted to do was cause her more stress after all she's been through lately. I wanted to reach down from on high and give her a kiss on the forehead before heading off.

The run down was uneventful with the exception of a deer and me scaring each other in the dark. I gasped and it bounced swiftly away up the hill. The moon continued to illuminate the trail brightly for my return trip. In fact, it was almost too bright at times making the trail details difficult to see. As I descended, I watched as the moon dropped lower in the sky to the west. Like a sunset turning from yellow to orange to an almost crimson color. A perfect ending to an almost perfect night. Almost...


NOTE TO SELF: No matter how yummy your homemade chicken enchiladas are, save them for after the run.

...night heaver, night heaver...

6 comments:

Catra said...

I love your story. I will be out there Saturday night. I'll start around 5pm and run for maybe 4 hours. My last long run bfore I start my taper for Wasatch 100.
Thanks for sharing.
Catra

Eudemus said...

Catra, glad you liked it. Saturday is a non-running, family day for me. I'll be doing my long run on Sunday.

Wow, Wasatch. That's next weekend right? I'll try and follow your progress on their web site. I think that Beat Jegerlehner, who I met at the Santa Cruz 50K, may also be running that race. I never thought of ultra-running as a spectator sport, but I guess the web makes it possible.

miki said...

that was a sweet report Steve. I'll have to do that route at night again myself one of these days.
I love that how much you adore your family really comes through on your blogs. It's nice.

matt said...

that was a magnificent report, Steve. you have inspired me to do more night running, too. my goal through all of this is to have my running endeavors impact my wife and son as little as possible. it isn't anything that my wife is requiring of me. in fact, she would prefer that i be more rested and feels i would be safer during the day. however, for me, i just can't stomach the idea of being away from my family on the weekends during the prime hours of the day. plus, this nighttime running is too exciting to miss. i went out and bought the petzl tikka plus and plan on redoing my Bulldog run next weekend starting at 3am. I thought I would try it tomorrow, too.

Thanks as always for the inspiration. You really put me there with your vivid writing.

Eudemus said...

Miki, glad you liked the report. I am considering doing the run again this Wednesday since it will be a nearly full moon. Thursday is the actual full moon, but I have a family obligation that night.

Eudemus said...

Matt, thanks. I really like the aspect of night running that it doesn't steal as much time away from family and other responsibilities. The only thing you loose is sleep. I'm glad to hear that my report inspired you. Good luck on your solo Bulldog and be safe. I will look for the report on your blog.