As part of his final prep for the Western States 100 in two weeks Jamie planned a night time run to get in some training on unfamiliar technical terrain in the dark. I met him at Blackstrap Hill in Falmouth along with Stephen and another Jamie and we headed out just after 8pm as the sun was beginning to get low in the sky. There was still plenty of light at first but as we ran up and down some nice rocky hills we were treated to great views of the sun setting behind the White Mountains.
We kept the pace pretty easy, no one wanted to try to run fast in the limited light, and I certainly wanted to save plenty for my long Saturday run. I attempted to skirt around or jump over some of the many puddles that we came across but they just kept getting bigger and bigger and it was pointless to try to stay dry.
After about 4 miles I headed up the famous Three Bitches hill to finish my run while the rest of the guys continued on to get in 10 miles. By now the last remants of daylight were fading quick and I got to see a few things that i don't normally get to during day time trail runs. Like fireflies and bats. During my last mile through the woods there were numerous bats (or one really aggressive one) that kept swooping down from above right in front of me. Pretty cool.
Last year as I was preparing for a long stretch of night running at the VT 100 I devised a pretty slick lighting system. I took my Petzl MYO XP headlight that has an external battery pack, removed the head strap and attached the lamp and battery pack to a triathlon number belt. The advantage of the tri number belt is that is has a plastic closure that makes it easy for taking off and on. I've found that wearing a light lower on my body is similar to the effect of carrying a flashlight but your hands are free, and having a steady light shining on the ground right in front of you makes navigating technical terrain a lot easier. I also wear a smaller headlamp directed straight out in front of me for spotting further down the trail.
weather: upper 60's, overcast
conditions: wet trails with big puddles
gear: Inov-8 Mudroc 280, Wright Socks, shorts, t-shirt, hat, Petzl MYO XP, Petzl Tikka Plus