You know those times, when you do something that’s way outside your comfort zone, and when you have finished it you think that was insane, I must be nuts, but there was something inside your head that said you need to do this, so you did.
The reason I am writing this is I just had an experience last evening that fell into the crazy category. This had me reflecting on my past running, and I realised that many of the best memories that we have, are not just about the things we accomplished, but they include the ones where we were actually sometimes in survival mode, or at least running a pretty fine line that could have ended in a serious situation.
My most recent incident arose, because my present location is in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, which being on the fringe of the tropics, means it has a rainy season from November through to March, combine this with the fact that Darwin is known as the lightning capital of the world, with more lightning strikes than anywhere else on Earth, strikes of course being the one that hit the ground with the potential to fry you, not that pretty stuff up there flying around in the clouds.
Well my little adventure started with a nice cooler evening, perfect for a run after a hot humid day, a few clouds around in the dark, and some of that pretty stuff up there in the clouds, so I pulled the shoes on and hit the road, hoping for a nice easy 8km run, and everything was cruisy for the first couple of kilometres, then the rain started, which I don’t mind as it’s cool and fresh, however the rain soon turned to a tropical down pour, followed by the thunder and lightning, so it was pick up the pace and head for home. This is the part where it can get quite scary, because initially you hear the thunder crashing around you, and you see the bolts of lightning, but when you hear the crack of the lightning traveling through the atmosphere and hitting the ground, you realise you are in trouble because the next one could be coming your way, needless to say those last 2km were at speed, and it took some time for the heart rate to return to normal. Just another one of those running adventures we survived.
Other situations have arisen throughout my running life, many that I can laugh about with fellow runners, because they are the only ones who understand running craziness, and others that you don’t say too much about, because you feel a bit of an idiot for having attempted them anyway.
Like going out for a run on the first day of a new year, which were I was living, happened to also be the middle of summer, so knowing that when the sun comes up it will probably start to warm up, I grab a 300ml bottle of water on the way out for my planned 8km hill workout. But plans can change, and as I’m running the hills, I look up at the top of a small nearby mountain, thinking what a cool place to sit and make some plans for the coming year.
Well 2.5+ hours later, I am sitting on top of a rock with an empty water bottle in my hand, admiring the view of the plains and the village far below, and thinking about the prospects of a great year ahead. Then it’s time to realise, the sun is up, it’s hot, and you have to make it to that village far below, so you turn on the mountain goat mode and you're gone, and despite the bit of suffering on the way down, it is a lot of fun and you make it back.
Though you’re feeling dehydrated when you finish this little adventure, the most embarrassing thing is people asking where have you been for the last 6 hours, you were just going for a short run, and as you mumble, oh I just thought I would go a bit further, they walk away muttering, crazy runner. Another little misadventure done and dusted.