I wanted to get in a night loop on the Tennesse Valley > Muir Beach > Tennessee Valley section of Headlands 100. By my pace sheet calculation, I'll run this 7.9 loop from ~9:30 PM to midnight--aka, DARK. I pulled into TV around 10:15 and started running down TV road. The beginning was okay, but then I increasingly began to scare myself into a tizzy.
What if there was a new Hillside Strangler out there? Every squeek sounded ominous. I turned off my light, and the dark was near absolute. As I began the climb up Coastal Fire Road I tried to reassure myself that I would see anyone approaching me...unless they were wearing night vision goggles like in Silence of the Lambs (cue screetchy scary music). I went from telling myself I'd cut the out and back down Muir Beach, to turning on Fox and cutting the loop down to 3 miles. As I got closer to the car, I pulled out the key and had my phone on 9-1, ready to push the last 1.
As this blog post is proof of, absolutely nothing happened to me besides my own stress. It was beautiful to be up above the city, looking at the lights spread out, but I was too nervous to enjoy it. I run quite often in the city after dark. I've run in the dark by myself above SCA. I've hiked hundreds of miles by myself (some in the dark). Just something about today freaked the bejabbers out of me, and I'm glad to be back home.
I wore my "One" shell jacket, wool socks, fleece hat, gloves, and Sugoi tights. Got hot almost immediately, took off gloves. Also took off hat and unzipped jacket. I was just debating whether I should take my jacket at all on the night loop, when I got higher and the wind picked up. Yep, I should take a jacket. And a pacer. My headlamp held up fine, and I experimented with using my handheld.
My split chart is in draft form. Right now it shows a 30:12 finish, which would be fine by me. Thank god it's not Hardrock with two nights!