Since the March race that Hannah and I were going to run was canceled due to the Covid-19 virus, the main goal of tonight's run home from work was to scout out a 5K length of road in the Grunewald which this weekend Hannah and I want to run twice in order to complete our Grunewald Exclusive 10K Race so that we are able to continue our 24-month streak of running a 10K race or more every month.
I got out of work about 18:30 and took the S-Bahn around the north ring to Messe Nord, ran up the stairs and immediately took off west down Heerstraße into a dark evening approaching night. What was a bit surprising was just how dark it became as soon as I turned off Heerstraße and onto Am Postfenn which is the road that takes you into the Grunewald and eventually along the 8K+ Havelchaussee which puts you out in Nikolassee/Zehlendorf.
There were some street lights at the beginning but the city street quickly gave way to a paved forest road surrounded by trees and blackness with the lightly lit dome of the late-evening sky illuminating enough of my environment to see where I was running. For awhile I ran in the middle of the road as the paths on the sides had at times branches or uneven areas. But especially after reaching Havelchaussee where there was only one path on one side of the road, I just turned on my smart phone flashlight and ran full speed illuminating the path in front of me.
When I would turn off my headphones, the absolute solitude in nature reminded me of the runs I would do when I was a teenager in Colorado. The only difference seemed that instead of being in the middle of a Rocky Mountain landscape, I was in a forest surrounded by 3.5 million people, albeit a city one had no sense of since the forest is so large it keeps its encompassing urban setting far enough away that you don't know it is there.
The only signs of human life were the road itself, an occasional forest bus stop, and at times the distant lights that one could see through the trees across the Havel, lights from the yacht club houses along the shore to Kladow.
When I put my headphones back in and ran full speed with my jiggling smart phone lamp, it produced a kind of spooky Blair Witch feeling albeit with a pumping techno house beat, a very unique experience. In any case, I practiced extreme social distancing and got lots of cool, fresh forest air.
In the middle of the Havelchaussee stretch of road, I found the Grunewald Turm which is going to be the starting line of this weekend's Grunewald Exclusive 10K Run with Hannah. The route is much more hilly than I remembered it being from years past, but I think it will be a perfect exclusive route with no stops and only two places to cross the road at the intersection of Havelchaussee and Am Postfenn, once on the way up to Heerstr. and once on the way back, although I suspect that there won't be that much traffic on this road even in the day, especially in a city that is in near-Ausgangssperre mode because of the epidemic.
I reentered civilization at the far west end of Spanische Allee and headed east toward Zehlendorf, but kept on Am Schlachtensee along the S-Bahn all the way to Mexikoplatz, a memorable part of the run where I still had with lots of leg energy (20K) and wide-open running down the bike path with no bikes, in fact, I think I only saw two people outside the whole way to Mexikoplatz.
Due to the lack of people out, it seemed less like a Thursday evening after work and more like coming home late on a Sunday night at two in the morning. Once at Mexikoplatz, I took some smaller residential streets down until I found Potsdamer Chaussee, refueled at a gas station with a bottle of multivitamin juice, and then took off again on a solid 5K straight route to Botanischer Garten where I turned south and headed home.