Running with a Headlamp or Do Not Step in the Dark Spots


Some of you know that when the sun angles are low at noon and the tree leaves begin to die due to lack of their lifeblood, chlorophyll,  I am inspired do strange things like bake gluten-free bread, dipping it in butter and honey before consumption; dig baggy, fleecy pants from the depths of the closet and wear them around the house with my wool socks; and obsessively check for Pauschalreisen to destinations, anywhere in the world, that boast palm trees, sand, and an ocean.

Have I mentioned that I am solar-powered?

The only reason I can come up with for having lived 12 years, 11 months in Alaska was that my doctor was kind enough to give me drugs.

Here in Germany, things are better. I am drug-free (with the exception of vitamins), and the low sun angles don’t cause me to lament (as I did in the arctic): “It is NOT NATURAL for people to live here!”

The real cause for my autumnal doldrums in beautiful Deutschland is that when it is cold, dark, and possibly raining at 5:30 am, I would rather stay under my cozy feather comforter than get out of bed.

However, this morning I fought my way out of my cocoon, got out my headlamp and glow-in-the-dark shirt, and hit the farm roads.

Being solar-powered, I don’t like running in the dark nearly as much as I enjoy running with the sun on my face, but I know that even on the worst days, when I’m sure my nose will have to be amputated due to frostbite, and I KNOW that my run must be THE slowest run in the history of mankind, and I grumble the entire time about the sucky weather/darkness/trail/aches/fatigue/life-in-general, I also know I have NEVER regretted going for a run.


Naturally, I have some observations and tips on running through the dark German countryside, should you ever get the chance to join me:

  • Your sense of smell will be enhanced
  • Potent farm aromas motivate you to run faster
  • Your sense of hearing will be enhanced
  • You can hear cows snoring
  • Your imagination is enhanced, and if not channeled properly, you will be certain critters are hiding in the fields, waiting to pounce on you
  • Sugar beet harvesters look like giant, alien spacecraft in the dark–do not be afraid!
  • Some farmers harvest REALLY early
  • Dark spots on the path MUST be avoided, even if you have to give a little leap mid-stride (trust me on this–you’ll thank me later!)
  • Dark spots on the path are squishy
  • Your dog will want to roll around on your shoes if you have stepped in a dark spot on the path
  • Always check the batteries on your headlamp BEFORE going out
  • A dying headlamp makes running with no moon more exciting but not particularly more pleasant
  • Come to a complete halt before staring at the stars

I had a fabulous six-mile run this morning and was completely energized when I got home. Though I feel out of shape (from too much bread–thanks to Bofrost’s new line of gluten-free yummies), running is something I have to do for my own sanity–especially this time of year, when palm tress and oceans seem out of reach.


One response »

  1. Keri, this left me laughing but sympathizing with you! I love fall but the early sunset is kind of a bummer, I feel like going to bed at 7pm. It must be the pre-hibernation syndrome kicking in. I admire your resolve getting out of bed and actually running before sunrise! I can imagine the conversation the cows are having about your! “And they think cows are strange animals eating grass everyday? Look who is running for no apparent reason in the dark and the cold?”

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