So I'm going to run tonight.
I don't have a specific plan, more of a "launch from the house around 2AM and try to avoid the drunks" intention. After that, go wherever inspiration takes me until I rack up a couple/three hours of easy running for my long run.
I remember my first night time runs. I was fifteen and trying to get in shape for football. Skinny me needed every advantage I could get so I lift like a fiend and started running, three times around the circle that formed the community park.
Barefoot. I was, apparently, ahead of my time.
The cool kids, juniors and seniors, hung out at the park in the pines, smoking and drinking. I'd turn the corner, headed towards the playground area. A couple of the cool ones would cheer me on - genuinely encouraging, not the "Run, Forrest" crap we catch now - but most would watch and toke or take a slug from a bottle of Lowenbrau.
Three laps equaled two miles, that's what I figured, good enough for a football player. Despite all the lifting and running, I came into the season at about 6'3" and 140 pounds.
Might have been nice if someone had noted that I wasn't going to get too much bigger and maybe I should stick to running. Oh, well. Lots of lessons to be learned on a football field, even for skinny guys a half-step slow but whose motor ran all the time. What I couldn't do in talent, I made up for in effort. A runner's mentality.
I've put in a fair number of night runs since then. Swept the trail at night for the Smuggler's 50 outside San Diego. Trained at night for my first 24, turning 40 miles around Mission Bay. Just barely dodged a skunk on another night run at a local track and again on the trail along the Snake River. Obviously, all the relays (Hood to Coast, Rainier to Pacific, Spokane to Sandpoint) had night legs
My favorite moment of my 24 hour ultra at the track on the Cuyamaca College campus was laying on my back, looking at the stars at 3AM. My wife was helping me stretch my hamstrings - I was so tight, my stride was about eight inches long. The stars were dazzling and the temps cool and I told her "I could go to sleep right here."
My leg hit the ground with a thump and she told me to get my ass back on the track. I laughed because she couldn't have said "I love you" any more clearly.
A couple of winters ago, I began going over to Hells Gate State Park and running the trails there in the dark. I am sure they have regulations against it - they're in the process of shutting down nearly all the single track while continuing to bring in concrete mixers for "site improvements." They also have posted billboards on keeping the trail natural looking.
I ignore a lot of that and just run the single track using a headlamp and bundled because it was cold. When youngest daughter said running wasn't fun anymore, I took her there. She discovered that doing the same type of running, day in, day out, training for cross country wasn't fun.
The trail at night was and she climbed out of her rut.
Tonight, I'm climbing out of the rut. I'm going to go out to play in the dark. I'll take a phone so my wife doesn't worry and water bottles. Other than that, I don't know where I'll end up. Hells Gate is reachable from here - but rattlesnakes come out at night.
Not sure I want to play with them.
I could run in Normal Hill, past all the beautiful old houses, lit by the full moon.
I could stay along the river, hear the occasional fish pop the surface and listen to the gentle sound of waves.
Run gold course. Three are in easy range.
I don't know. It's a full moon, though - or near enough - and the daytime is hot. It's time to get reacquainted with the night and run where the mood takes me.