CONQUERING FEARS OF RUNNING IN THE DARK 

Updated: Jan 21, 2020

A Beautiful Story of how Candace is facing her fear of running in the dark head on! By Candace Gonzales




When I started trail running I never entertained the idea of running at night.  Why would one run at night? To begin with, there are so many things that go bump in the night, and running at night seems like a perfect opportunity to bump into one of those things.  For example, bears and snakes tend to be more active at dawn and at dusk. Same as bats, skunks, bobcats and possums.  If you are anything like me, you know nighttime is when moths are more active and there is nothing more terrifying than a moth flying right at your face!  Okay, maybe that is an overstatement on the moths, but still they freak me out and I know I am not alone on that.  Not only do you have to worry about animals at night but also if you grew up in a superstitious household like I did, you might worry about La Llorona, Sasquatch, chupacabria or the boogeyman.  All those factors aside, you should still try night running.

Night running is a perfect opportunity to conquer fear. Maybe you are not scared of all the things listed above but we all have some type of fear in our life.  Perhaps it is a fear of losing someone you love, fear of the unknown or fear in your professional work life.  Regardless, just about everyone fears something. Night running might not necessarily take away any anxiety you have due to that fear however, it is a great way to help ease anxiety and conquer fear.   

This past July I had the opportunity to run a 12-hour night race as part of a relay team.  When our team signed up, we were all excited about the event.  We were looking forward to spending time together and participating in our first nighttime event.  However, as the race got closer we all realized that we had some fears about running at night.  We were all a bit of “fraidy cats” and each with our own reasons. Most of those reasons involved running into a bobcat or some type of nocturnal animal. However, the evening of the race, we were all excited regardless of those fears plus it was go time. We all had to get out there and conquer our fears, after all that’s what we signed up for.

My first leg in the relay was going to be in the darkest hours of the night and was over eight miles.  The night of the race there was no moon and the sky was pitch black except for the twinkling of the stars.  Prior to my relay-leg our team was waiting on a member of ours who is a strong runner and whose time we had anticipated based on her skills.  However, when she did not come in at her targeted time we knew something was wrong.   Our team became worried about her and it was the first time I felt a real fear. I was worried about what could have happened to her and I was trying not to think the worst. Thankfully, she came in unharmed and safe.  When she came in she was a little disoriented but she was uninjured, and that was the most important thing. While she was ou