After running RR50 last February I went on a fact-finding mission to unearth the brightest, lightest, and most durable head lamp I could afford. With the help from numerous runners on the Ultra List, I chose the Black Diamond Ion.
Before tonight I had not used the headlamp for anything other than goofing off.
The schedule called for eight miles and I promised myself I would run on trails. At 3pm the temperature in Kingwood was 94 degrees, making my decision to run at night a whole lot easier. I was feeling a bit lazy, so I decided to run the two-mile bayou rim between Kingwood Drive and Walnut Street. Naturally, I would have to do this route four times.
When Andrea saw me wearing the head lamp she had a distinct look on her face that read; “You look like an IDIOT”. I can’t say I blame her, because frankly, headlamps look a little silly even though they are totally functional for the task at hand.
The fit is every different and I was sure it would be bothersome once I started running. My original assumption was completely wrong. The bands stayed in place and the headlamp was no more inconvenient than a sun visor. Now, if I could find a headlamp built into a respectable looking visor I would be set!
The light was incredibly bright on both the low and high settings. One of the first things I noticed tonight were countless sets of “eyes” on or near the bayou. It was somewhat creepy seeing this many animals on the bayou. Initially I found it difficult to determine what kind of animal I was looking at, or rather, was looking at me. The eyes were close together and probably belong to an animal the size of a raccoon. Most of these eyes were in tall grass, so it was nearly impossible to make a quick animal identification.
Years ago, before I was “Bill, the guy that runs”, I was better known as “Bill, the guy that hunts”. As a hunter I learned small little things like, most predators have eyes close together so they can focus on their prey. On the other hand, the eyes of prey are anatomically further apart, so they can spot stalking predators. All this has happened over years of evolution and has been taught to me by my uncle who is an AMAZING “Outdoorsman”.
During my first two mile loop I saw no less than ten different sets of eyes matching the exact same profile. I saw a lot of other eyes too, but they were easy identified as rabbits as they leaped into the woods when I approached too closely. On the second loop I was more comfortable with the light and I had found a decent running rhythm which afforded me more time to categorize these nocturnal creatures. With the light on the high setting I finally caught a break when I found one of the animals walking up the bank of the bayou.
It was a shocking revelation to realize all these eyes were merely domestic CATS. Who would have known!?!? I suppose they come to the bayou at night to catch frogs, snakes, or whatever. Either way, there was something at the bayou they all wanted. On the third lap I tried to count the number of cats I saw on the bayou. I’m sure I missed a few, but I counted 14 cats on a single two-mile loop.
The run went well, partly due to my attention on the ‘eyes’. There is one distinctive problem running with a headlamp. The light beam shines downward and it dilutes your dept perception of the terrain, because there is a lack of shadows. You’re basically looking into the hole, and if the hole is not too deep it looks like the rest of the terrain. The issue caused me to twist my left ankle several times. Nothing serious, but it is sore from being hyperextended several times.
Push-ups: 81 (That's right, one more than you K!)