Nattlöpning: Quiet night trail running
Sunday evenings are almost dead. You don’t expect anything to happen, except lonely traffic lights changing colors. It’s past 10pm when I finally get out. Running in darkness instead of light the running experience is more about sounds than sights. The gate to the sleeping forrest trails greets me with a metallic grin. Gigantic debris, is what meets the eye, deserted and dull. Fallen logs scattered along muddy riverbanks, reamins of a landslide or hurricane.
A flowed ancient stairway covered with sheer ice takes me to heaven’s black embrace. Finally sky below. I turn my back to the city skyline, take a deep breath of the just-below-zero-air and caress the beloved trail with my 19 spikes per shoe. Anything else wouldn’t do a night like this. I’m flying and smiling my happy ‘trail-smile’. Thankful and eager, jumping over black holes, trying to keep my feet dry. Sudden eerie howls scare, but as long as I’m running the noice from the spikes overshadow other sounds. To hear better I take off my windbreaker and stuff it in the backback.
Suddenly my headlight dies. Just like that, without any prior warning sign. But instead of turning back I decide to carry on, deeper into the dark forrest. Since most of the trail is covered with ice and snow it’s still pretty runable even in darkness. And I really want to run. Alone in the forrest, having to rely on my night vision and nimble feet, fearing falling on a rock head first. During a night run in the forest years ago I passed a man lurking behind a tree. As I negotiate a descent of a steep rocky trail transformed to a frozen creek I’m crossing my fingers not having to experience something like that again.
I know this trail since many years, where to anticipate hazards. I didn’t even bring any mobile phone for safety. Thoughts of being chased runs through my mind. But, they’d need to have Icebug (Anima Buggrip) shoes to keep up with me, cause the trail is all ice. It’s actually amazing that it’s possible to run like this, on sheer ice. When I look back no wolves come chasing, but I keep up the pace anyway. You never know… My heart beats to the rhytm of my legs as we hurry home. Running lightly when possible, clinging on to what I can in the steep, icy passages.
Before leaving the black web of trees and bransches I stop and see the picture. The lone runner’s stride between sleeping trees on the ground, like it was an elephant graveyard. It was a good run. I return to civilization racing the tram the last stretch home. But next time I’ll bring charged lamp, and an extra one for safety.