Last night I went on one of the coolest runs of my life.
13 members of my running class and our professor, Dr. Horton, ran a 10 mile run up and down Tobacco Row Mountain. That makes 5 miles up, and 5 miles down. When I say up, I mean up. We started at about 1,000 feet and ended at about 3,000 at the top.
|Actual data from my Garmin|
When we started, it was light. Around mile 2 the sun started to set, and it was one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen. We could see the Peaks of Otter from our mountain, and the weather was perfectly clear and bright. The pictures I took just don’t do it justice.
Dr. Horton wouldn’t let us turn on our lights until we got to the top. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this at first, because I really hate being in the woods in the dark. My eyes also don’t have the best night vision and I kept tripping over loose rocks. My eyes adjusted in the end and I could kind of see.
At the top of the mountain was a radio tower, and the coolest view of the city I have ever witnessed. I wish I would have been able to capture it in a picture, but there was no way. All of the lights in the city were twinkling and sparkling, and it was beautiful.
On the way back down, we stopped at two different hang gliding ramps. Personally, I think you would have to be absolutely crazy to hang glide off this mountain, but the ramps were neat to stop at. At one, we all laid on our backs and looked at the stars.
Lynchburg is not that big of a city, but we produce a lot more light pollution at night than I realized. Looking up at the stars from the top of a mountain was hands down the coolest thing I have ever done while running. the sky looked like a night scene rendered in a movie. There were that many stars.I’m sure we still probably couldn’t see all of them because there was still light pollution, but it was still amazing and something I’ll remember for a long time.
At mile 7, we turned our lights off again. For some reason we could see the stars even better from where we were, and took a few moments to soak it all in. We even saw a shooting star! Definitely worth being in the dark for.
|Cool kids wear headlamps|
We ran the rest of the way down in the dark. Our group kind of spread out a little, and since my knees were still a little sore, I found myself towards the back and alone. Normally I would have freaked out a little, but the night was just so beautiful, I felt calm. After a while I lost myself in the outlines of the mountains and the pounding of my feet on the pavement.
It was during those dark, quiet moments that I realized just how much I love these mountains. I take it for granted that they are there, but when I leave them I miss them. I love the way they look first thing in the morning, and during sunset. I love the challenge and adventure they offer. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a part of me.
Too soon, I reached the bottom and joined the group. There, we pigged out on Oreos and potato chips. If you’ve never eaten junk food after a 10 mile run, I highly recommend it. It tastes so amazing that it will ruin all other junk food experiences for you. Post run junk food is magical.
Before this run, I was strictly a day runner. Now, I’m not so sure. Night running is a completely different experience, and I’m going to have to do it some more in the future.