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Head Lamp Season

Mon, Nov  2, 2009 - By Rob Bradlee

Checkout the Toko Blog, the source of Rob's article.

This week a windswept, cold rain brought down most of the foliage. Today a wild autumn wind blew down the rest. Last night the clocks were set back. Today it will be dark early. For us working stiffs that means the beginning of headlamp season. That means some miserable workouts on lonely bikepaths enduring a chilly wind.

I enjoy the heightened sense of adventure that comes from training in the dark. I can run right down the middle of the fairway on the local golf course. The smooth, green carpet is the perfect running surface and the place is all mine. I have been spooked by two pairs of red dots on a distant rise. Were they monsters? No, it was just the eyes two deer reflecting the powerful beam of my Mammut headlamp. Doing plyometric bounds with upbeat music playing on my radio makes the golf course my own magical gym.

Double-pole rollerskiing down and back on the 11 mile Minute Man bikepath is a trip through the backyards of suburban homes and the patches of suburban woods. Some nights I'm blinded by incredibly bright lights coming at me as the occasional biker approaches with two or three super-lights blazing.

With a headlamp there is no sunset and the entire evening is open for training. No problem to do a two-hour or more trail run and ski walk through the Middlesex Fells. One night I noticed tiny diamond-like reflections of my lamplight coming from under leaves. For a long time I assumed it was just drops of water. Considering how dry it was I became curious and looked underneath one of the leaves. Those bright reflections came from the eyes spiders hiding under the leaves waiting for one final meal.

For the next six weeks I will have a familiar routine. Get home from the workout, hook the headlamp battery up to the re-charger, and toss my workout clothes in the hamper. In the morning I'll unhook the battery, stow it in my bag, pile in all the clean workout clothes, and head off to work. So it will go till the temperature drops, Weston fires up the snow guns and turns on the lights, and I can put my headlamp away till next year.