A Good Run

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I didn’t leave on my run until nearly 7:45 PM.  The sun was already setting softly behind the dark and dense Floridian forest that’s situated right behind my in-laws’ house.  I vaguely thought, “Hey, it’s getting pretty dark out there, and I’m not wearing my light” – I have a flashing light I clip onto my shirt when I run in the dark – but I really, really needed to run.


Throughout my life, I have used many ‘escape mechanisms’ when I need some time for myself.   Running, booze (hey, I’m honest), and reading have jostled for top position over the last few years, but now running is Queen.  And although I’m an extrovert through and through – I do share my life on the Internet, after all – I’m one of those people who REALLY need alone time everyday to recharge and refresh myself.  And for me, there’s no better and healthier battery jolt than a long, solitary run.


So it was with that mindset that I left my in-laws’ house.  I decided to run to my favorite running trail, which I showed you this morning:


Before the boardwalk begins, the trail is dirt and runs throughout a mangrove swamp for about 0.5 miles.


Anyway, this trail is quite lovely and charming during the day.  At night – well, it was sort of frightening!  Just imagine it – pitch black, the trees swaying in the ocean breeze, the sounds of water slapping up under the boardwalk and against the shore, birds and bugs chirping louder and louder as you approach.


Cue the obligatory “don’t do this at home” speech.  Yes, I realized about 50 feet into the trial (which is in a private and gated neighborhood – for what it’s worth) that running alone in the dark on a deserted trail through a mangrove swamp was probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.  And it was dumb.  But it was also pretty… awesome.   My heart was thumping out of my chest for the entire time I was on the dirt trail + boardwalk.


My favorite trail spit me out onto a side street, and I quietly padded up the road.  I was suddenly startled by a movement to my left and saw a large, velvet-brown deer with the biggest ears and these wet, deep eyes.  Seven feet away, I came to a halt, and the deer and I stared into each other’s eyes for nearly a full minute.  And then I ran home.


It was lovely. 5 miles in 53:45 minutes.


Mid-day snack was a Strawberry Banana Smoothie from Starbucks (yes, twice in a day):


Pre-run snack was an English muffin:


And dinner was actually leftovers, revised:


I mixed the leftover roasted quinoa + black beans, roasted broccoli, and carrots with pumpkin.  I put the whole thing on a bed of spinach for a simple yet filling meal.


Going to turn in early!


How do you recharge your battery?



  • mindy @ just a one girl revolution. September 27, 2010, 10:04 pm

    My recharging/retreating mechanisms are running, reading, writing (as in journaling, not blogging!), sometimes a good drink, or just putting in a movie or favorite show on DVD and zoning out for awhile. It really depends on the day.

  • hippierunner September 27, 2010, 10:06 pm

    I’m glad you made it home safe! I also recharge through running. It’s the best boost.

  • Carolina John September 27, 2010, 10:07 pm

    A good run makes the world seem like a better place. Good job!

  • Cyndi @ Weightless Life September 27, 2010, 10:07 pm

    I recharge my batteries by reading a good book, or writing. At heart I’m a total nerd, and doing those things always make me feel better.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 27, 2010, 10:08 pm

    I totally need to be by myself to recharge. I am actually having a nice relaxing evening by myself right now! The husband went out and asked if I wanted to go, but I really just wanted to be by myself! 🙂

  • Kristy @ KristyRuns September 27, 2010, 10:08 pm

    Definitely running. It gives me that “me time” and I always feel better about everything afterwards. It’s like my own personal therapy session where I can take my frustrations out on the pavement. 🙂

  • Jess @ atasteofconfidence September 27, 2010, 10:11 pm

    some alone time and exercise 🙂

  • Chelsea @ Strawberry Sweat September 27, 2010, 10:13 pm

    I have always wanted to run at night alone, but I am way to scared to do so (especially in downtown Minneapolis). I bet it’s a rush though!!

  • Alyssa September 27, 2010, 10:14 pm

    I hope everything is going ok with the family emergency. I’m keeping you all in my prayers 🙂

  • Carly September 27, 2010, 10:15 pm

    I wish running did it for me. Exercise definitely does but I am still not able to go running, I get too bored. I am hoping to change that. Right now I do pilates or yoga to recharge. That, and reading. Always works 🙂

    Glad yo

    • Carly September 27, 2010, 10:16 pm

      glad your safe! is what that was supposed to say. Oops 🙂

  • Sarah September 27, 2010, 10:15 pm

    Have you ever done Meyers-Briggs? I had to have one done last year and everyone assumed I would test as an extrovert, but because of the fact that I need alone time to recharge, I tipped over to introvert. Most of my friends told me the results were wrong!

    I agree with you about running. I love running with people, but sometimes you need to get out by yourself.

    • Holly B September 28, 2010, 9:18 am

      I learned in a college social psych. class that that is precisely the definition of “introvert.” That is, “recharging” your battery through alone time, or colidarity. Extroverts recharge through being with others. Funny enough, it has nothing to do with being outgoing, enjoying social outings/happy hours or blogging your life 🙂

    • Kate @ Spoonful of Vigor September 28, 2010, 12:16 pm

      The Myers-Briggs is not the most valid or reliable test. It’s reliability is particularly questionable; test-retest studies have shown anywhere from ~40-80% of those who take it test as a different type on retest. Additionally, it lends itself very easily to confirmation bias. That is, it’s easy to make any of the type descriptors seem to fit.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) September 27, 2010, 10:16 pm

    I cook! I just get into a rhythm and it feels good. Totally clears my head!

  • JenATX September 27, 2010, 10:28 pm

    one time i went on a long run when the sun was starting to set. then my iphone broke (it got wet in my hand from the sweat, wow), then my knees starting killing me forcing me to walk, then i thought i’d try a “shortcut” which turned out to be a dead end. I ended up on a deserted road in the dark. I’ve never been so scared before! needless to say i won’t be running far from home when the sun is going down

  • Erica September 27, 2010, 10:31 pm

    Running definitely helps me “recharge”. If I’m tired and cranky or in a bad mood and I just don’t feel like running I know it’s time to lace up my shoes because running always perks me up!

    Another big thing that helps me recharge is going for a long walk with my dogs.

  • Elizabeth September 27, 2010, 10:34 pm

    Getting a nice relaxing massage!

  • Stephanie @ Off The Eaten Path September 27, 2010, 10:51 pm

    I didn’t know starbucks made smoothies! Looks yummy 🙂

  • Amber K September 27, 2010, 10:57 pm

    That would scare the heck out of me! It makes me nervous enough running in my neighborhood during the day!

    I totally need some time each day just for myself as well. Otherwise I go completely batty.

  • Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul September 27, 2010, 10:59 pm

    I’m very much with you on needing some alone time once in a while – and running certainly fulfills that need for me. I get very grouchy and anxious if I haven’t had time to decompress!

  • maria @ Chasing the Now September 27, 2010, 11:03 pm

    I don’t require a lot of alone time, but I do need my exercise time. It’s my way of staying centered and focused.

  • holly @ couchpotatoathlete September 27, 2010, 11:11 pm

    I haven’t done it in a while, but I love running like that! There is a trail near my house that leads to a not-so-nice part of town and sometimes I get such a rush from running near there when it is near dark. Yeah, not totally safe but when my heart is just pumping so fast I run so good!

    *When I typed “pumping” I first typed “pumpkin” — its on my mind 🙂

  • Nicole - yuppie yogini September 27, 2010, 11:18 pm

    I honestly love night running. It pisses me off that bad guys make it unsafe, but I find such solace in the silence & stillness of night.

  • Eileen September 27, 2010, 11:24 pm

    I need alone time daily also. I tend to workout at night and then am “recharged” and stay up perusing the internet (shopping, blogging, reading the news, chatting) and then fall asleep way too late. I just wish I could switch and be a morning person and wake up 2 hours earlier than my brood but until then, this will have to do.

  • Michelle @ IronDivas September 27, 2010, 11:27 pm

    I definitely use any kind of exercise to recharge, but running (which I just recently fell in love with) is the ultimate mind clearer I have found… espcecially when done alone.

    My other favorite stress reliever when I have alot of aggression is kickboxing… because you can actually visual the person you have in mind, lol!

  • Camille September 27, 2010, 11:28 pm

    Running is my main stress reliever too.
    There is nothing like it!

  • Mrs. Muffins September 27, 2010, 11:31 pm

    I agree, running solo is the best way to refresh. I’m constantly juggling roles as mommy, wife, blogger, friend, etc. and when I go out for a run, I’m nobody but me and there’s nothing to do but run. Your run tonight reminded me of a dark morning on one of my routes — it’s through the woods and my iPod had died so all I kept hearing was rustling of leaves and I just kept waiting for something to jump out at me!

  • Jodie September 27, 2010, 11:31 pm

    I love to run! We live in the Northeast and I am already mourning the warm, long days which enabled me plenty of time to run. I also need alone time every day to recharge my batteries…i am a young mom of four kids and a long run is usually just what I need at the end of the day. I also today had an amazing run…it was a little colder than I prefer (64), and drizzling…but I got dressed and ran anyway. It was phenomenal. Thanks for an awesome post!

  • Julia September 27, 2010, 11:35 pm

    i’ve done a dark solo trail run too (though by accident!) It was actually one of the coolest runs ever. I could not see two feet infront of me; I couldnt even see where I was stepping! It was like running with my eyes closed. Have you ever tried it? It feels like you are floating! It was kind of surreal…. I’m glad I didn’t get hurt. And though I def can’t actually RECOMMEND anyone go do this purposefully… it truly was an exciting and memorable run!

    • Caitlin September 28, 2010, 8:39 am

      haha i have tried running with my eyes closed. very fun!

  • Wei-Wei September 27, 2010, 11:41 pm

    Great run, Caitlin. I’m glad that you can find such happiness in running – it’s almost like exploring and running, all in one.

  • Susan@MomSwimBikeRun September 27, 2010, 11:46 pm

    I definitely get my recharging with a great workout. As a mother of 3 small kids you NEED time to yourself. Recharging with exercise makes me a better mom and I’m setting a good example for them.

  • Melissa @ TryingToHeal September 27, 2010, 11:46 pm

    isn’t running like that kinda invigorating? I’ve done that in the woods, with the threat of coyotes, bears and other rampant animals…but it’s so much fun!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) September 27, 2010, 11:47 pm

    A solo exhilirating run can be the perfect end to a day cant it 🙂

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa September 28, 2010, 12:14 am

    I could not agree more about alone time and running time. When I cant focus because something big in on my mind (I had a family emergency recently too) running always does the trick to get me to focus.

  • kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com September 28, 2010, 12:42 am

    a good run always re-charges my batteries <3 actually if i get coffee after too i definitely feel 'on top of the world' <3

  • kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com September 28, 2010, 12:44 am

    wait.. why doesnt our starbucks sell those smoothies, urghh no fair!!! lol

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) September 28, 2010, 1:10 am

    I get a massage to recharge. Sometimes a few massages over a series of a couple weeks … sometimes a facial too 🙂

  • Maureen @ Notes on a Visual Life September 28, 2010, 2:06 am

    A good run definitely makes me feel better about life. But for a true recharge (physically and emotionally) 11-12 hours of sleep is the ticket. Sleep is my favorite escape.

  • Heidi - apples under my bed September 28, 2010, 3:03 am

    oooh scary run indeed! really gets your heart pumping! and that deer experience must have been surreal.
    I love to run or exercise in general to recharge. But I also find a bath, or putting on a movie, or even an episode of SATC really helps me. I too need that “me time”.
    Heidi xo

  • Emmanuelle September 28, 2010, 4:24 am

    I also need time alone to recharge and refocus. Yoga is my number one (exactly what I did yesterday after a not-so-great day), but reading, having a bath, and yes, running, do the trick too.
    I went running first thing this morning, it was still dark outside and the city was slowly awakening, scary at times but the streets were mine, great feeling!

  • Orla September 28, 2010, 4:55 am

    Running or Sleeping.
    I am a terrible sleeper and for me a good night sleep with no waking up in the middle/struggliing to sleep/ bad dreams etc is the ultimate battery charger.

  • Lauren September 28, 2010, 6:58 am

    I always say that half of the reasons why I choose to run first thing in the morning is because its the only time of day when I feel that I have to myself. While the rest of the world is sleeping, I can get in my “me” time.

    But running in the dark is scary.

  • Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama September 28, 2010, 7:05 am

    I have tried all of your escapes, and I agree that running is the best one. After running I feel like my mind has gone through and through all the thoughts it needs to think about and I can relax and not think so much when I’m done! (hmmm….does that make sense??)

  • Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun September 28, 2010, 7:13 am

    My escape is running as well! I love the rush I get after a good run! 🙂 Your trail sounds like it would be wonderful during the day! LOL 😉

  • Stacey September 28, 2010, 7:43 am

    One time I went running in the evening and saw a grey fox scurry into the woods, and I thought that was totally awesome. Or I used to go running early in the morning at about 5:30 and it would feel like I was the only person in the world. So quiet and calm. Exercise is the best way to recharge my battery. It gets my mind off of everything and allows me to have ‘me’ time. Glad you were able to get your in too 😉

  • Anne P September 28, 2010, 7:49 am

    Beautiful post. Running is how I de-stress, too, or just quietly reading a book for fun. I haven’t gone running at night in a LONG time – but I love how peaceful and quiet and mysterious everything is. It feels like it’s just you and the world, and no one else exists.

  • Kaci September 28, 2010, 8:06 am

    Any exercise helps me recharge, but since I’ve been more into running a lot more lately I find it’s the one and only best thing to do to recharge. Glad you made it back safe and sound, I would be sooooo scared. I’m such a wuss when it comes to the dark.

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman September 28, 2010, 8:14 am

    Aside from sleep? Reading. A good novel is the best escape.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 28, 2010, 9:17 am

    Sometimes risky runs can be kind of exhilerating! I’ve never run at night, but I’ve run along an isolated trail that I’ve been warned not to run on alone. It makes the run kind of exciting. 😉

  • Marci September 28, 2010, 9:43 am

    That post was like reading a story. Great story telling. Dark running is a little more scary than peaceful for me, especially in a big city. Just don’t know who is going to pop up! I like alone time too, for me it’s just being in my house with no tv on and I can recharge.

  • CarrieBeth James September 28, 2010, 10:02 am

    i can remember when i first started running it was summertime and i would run in the afternoons. fall came quickly that year and i remember finding myself out running one night, with it getting dark quickly outside. the wind was swaying the trees, and the cool fall air was nipping at me. i SPRINTED home i was was so scared. (good extra workout i guess) what can i say? i’m a scaredy cat!

  • Krista (kristastes) September 28, 2010, 10:49 am

    Last week I had an 8-miler planned and finished up running under the moonlight at my high school rubber track. It felt amazing…just me, track, moon, music, dark.

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) September 28, 2010, 11:33 am

    I heart leftovers made over! You get a new meal w/o all the work. Win win.

    To recharge I usually get some alone time nearly everyday when I work out. I often do it alone and this gives me some time to center my thoughts and reflect on anything that may have been bothering me… My workout’s not only give me that endorphin boost, but they’re often outside which usually, in and of itself helps to recharge me.

  • Amykinz @ Foodie 4 Healing September 28, 2010, 12:39 pm

    I used to “escape” by eating… it turned into a compulsive-overeater, eating disorder, actually. Today, I’m happy to report that I’ve recently tested the theory about exercise as a means of escape and IT WORKS! I love to go for a run after a long hard day or if I’m in a fit of emotion. And my days of overeating on M&M’s and jelly beans are over!

    • Caitlin September 28, 2010, 3:40 pm

      yay! good for you.

  • Satu September 28, 2010, 12:56 pm

    Hmm, I think Feldenkrais is for me a way to recharge.

    Running through mangrove swamps sounds incredibly cool to me. 🙂

  • Sarah September 28, 2010, 1:15 pm

    I was feeling absolutely drained and discouraged last night. I went to a yoga class (I almost skipped it!) and just put all of myself into that class. And afterwards, I just felt so much better.

  • elaine! September 28, 2010, 2:30 pm

    Wow! You have nerves of steel. I’ve had to run solo through the forest in the dark a few times as part of a relay race I do here in the Reno-Tahoe area, and it freaked me the heck out. I imagined bears… cougars… ninjas… I have way too vivid an imagination. But in the moments I could get over it, it was incredibly peaceful and amazing running through the forest at night. 🙂

    That quinoa salad looks aaaamazing, by the way!

  • Lisa September 28, 2010, 2:54 pm

    I’m the same way. I used to escape through endless hours of TV and movie watching. Eating. Reading. Then running became my escape when things got stressful. Since I have to take a 6-8 week break from running…imagine my sadness and frustration now that I don’t have that outlet. 🙁

  • Krista September 29, 2010, 11:59 am

    I get scared on trails in the daylight….I couldn’t imagine running on one in the dark! YIKES! I think I watch too much CSI, Criminal Minds, etc!! LOL

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