The problem with running trails, especially in the dark of night, is that you may not always see the turn ahead. You keep pushing forward till you crash face-first into a tree. Or maybe you forge through underbrush to reorient yourself on a lost trail, only to discover you just bathed yourself in poison ivy. Some mistakes are unavoidable, even with are eyes open and ears listening. You want to believe the course is true, the path ahead clear of pitfalls, the map accurate in its scale and plotting. Till you recall one uncontrollable aspect of the endeavor. Your ego.
You don't want to know you are lost, just how to get back on the path. You are uninterested in learning how to avoid repetition of past mistakes, such as the poison ivy or dehydration or overexertion. You just want desparately to get from Start to Finish as quickly as possible, the consequences of potential folly be damned.
Fail to learn from the mistakes of the past and you are doomed to repeat them in the future. You may not be so lucky as come away with only a nasty rash or bloody scrape.
Could I have avoided the mistakes which left me bruising and ragged. This is a question that probably plagues many people in my position. So often the loose gravel along the trail does not make itself known till you are skittering along and crashing onto your ass. I have spent a few weeks looking back down the path, examining it for signs that may have foretold of peril. To be honest, I may have ignored the warnings had they been accompanied by air horns, strobe lights and stripper poles. My eyes were that blinded.
Never again is a pretty cocky statement to make. Never is a long time. Again, well that seems to happens frequently. It is just a matter of when. With any luck I will be able to spot the trouble and dig my heels in with space to spare.