On Monday night, the weather was so nice I decided to go run at WyCo park instead of pounding the pavement. John was travelling so I was on my own.
With the time change, it doesn't take long to lose all daylight after work. I was at the park by 6:30 and it was already pitch black. I parked under a light at the Ranger station and started up the trail we ran on Saturday. There was just a sliver of a moon, barley making a dent in the inky sky.
WyCo at night it is a scary place to be when you're alone on a relatively unfamiliar section of trail. I figured it would be good psychological training. I took my cell phone and an extra flashlight and hoped it would be a completely uneventful run.
I ran through Three trails, the Archery Range, and halfway through Fester's Wander before turning around. With the leaves on the ground and just my headlamp, it's easy to get confused. I stepped off the trails in Fester's Wander but only for a minute. Good time to head back. As I was on my way back, I started to get spooked by nothing. I swore I saw creatures in the woods and could hear someone behind me. So I scolded myself for being silly and kept heading back.
On a rocky downhill, I managed to roll my left ankle. This one hurt. I slowed down for a little while but kept moving. No big deal, I'll just keep on. It's not like there is a short cut back or anyone would come and pick me up. You're tough, Sam, suck it up. There's still 20 minutes of running between you and the car. Just keep moving so it doesn't get stiff.
I was about halfway through Three Hills on the way back when I heard it. Dogs, barking loudly and incredibly close. Holy Crap. Big dogs. Mean dogs. Run Sam, run! Run faster, Sam, RUN FASTER!! What a moron you are for running alone! At least Shane carries a knife. Should I look back? Keep moving! I wonder which Nerd will come across my carcass first.
Eventually, the barking faded into the distance and all I could hear was the thumping of my chest and my frantic breathing. My ankle was now throbbing, but I saw the last road crossing and felt relieved.
And then this thought: "I bet those dogs really spiked my HR and threw my average HR off." Jeesh, did I really just think that after having the daylights scared out of me?
From now on, I'll save my night trail running for when I'm with the Nerds or at least have John with me. Darkness and goblins I can handle, big dogs are another story. I'm taking it easy on my ankle, too. RICE and easy runs, hopefully no serious time off.