I did my first ever night-time trail race yesterday evening - wahoo! Will was shocked that I even wanted to give it a try, because, as he quite frankly puts it, my night vision stinks. Add to that my not-so-stellar navigational skills and I kind of understand what he was getting at. But I needed a mid-week kick in the pants in the form of something way outside of my comfort zone, so night-time trail running it was.
The race started off with a moment of silence for a dear friend of the race organisers, who sadly lost her life to cancer this past week. My heart ached as I stood at the starting line and thought of this brave woman (35), and said a prayer for her husband and three small children. I huge reminder for each of us to celebrate and appreciate every minute of this life.
|In loving memory of a brave, beautiful woman. [Source.]|
The race started just after 17:30 and consisted of three laps of approximately 3.5 km each, thereby catering for all fitness levels (runners had the choice of doing as many laps as they felt comfortable with). Since it's only properly dark from about 18:00 onwards, I knew I'd be okay for the first lap or two. You see, my headlamp recently mysteriously disappeared from the face of the planet (I suspect that a certain Miss K had something to do with it) and Will's flashlight is a complete nut case (don't ask). That left me with only one lighting option for the race: My teeny, tiny little braai light...
|Perfect for a night-blind, directionally challenged woman on a night run. Not.|
The route was amazing. It took us along some gravel roads, over a dam wall, down some steep descents and up the mother of all embankments. It kind of reminded me of a Voortrekker (scouts) camp at school - running it was so much fun!
|The mother of all embankments. That's not me in the picture, but it just gives you an idea of some of the terrain en route. [Source.]|
My fun predictably lasted until approximately 18:00, when my teeny tiny little trusty light could no longer stand its ground against the dark. Or perhaps I should rather say that my fun only began at this point, ha!? The poor souls who ran behind me... I shamelessly and unintentionally led an entire portion of the field astray by scaling the embankment at a completely wrong point - oops! Note to all: Never, ever follow the lady in the pink jacket during a night run. Never.
|See that little loop in the map at 7 o'clock? That's where I kind of lost the plot a bit...|
In the end I decided to call it quits after two rounds. 7.49 km in 46:21 - not to bad for a blind mouse on the run. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely. It was just the kick in the pants that I needed. There is a note to self, though: Next time you venture outside of your comfort zone, do so wearing a bright, flashy headlamp.