High viz, low temps

If you’re a runner that lives somewhere in which actual seasons exist, you’re probably experiencing some chilly temps right now.  Thanks, Arctic Blast!   It’s really not that bad though.  It’s more the wind, for me at least.  I feel like I can run faster in the cold and nothing makes me feel more alive than a run in freezing temps.

Of course, with the change in seasons, we’ve also had the time change!  It’s dark early and many runners are still out there, trying to log those miles after work.  Getting your run in is important!  So is staying alive.  I own almost NO high visibility gear or lights.  What I do have is a tiny flashlight and a light band that straps to my arm.  A good start, but not enough.

My favorite local running store, Ultramax, is amazing.  They’re constantly putting on runs to demo new footwear, apparel and equipment from fabulous sales reps from vendors like Mizuno, Brooks, Nathan and Saucony.  Springfield store manager Eric is always coming up with fun ways to demo this awesome stuff.  Last time was a Hot Totty run to demo Mizuno Breath Thermo and Wave Rider 18s.  Duh. Of course I went.  This time was a pub run with high visibility gear.  Perfect timing!  I need to make sure I’m out logging my miles this winter for marathon training and I’m also not trying to get hit by a car.  I love trying stuff out before I buy, so off I went last night for the pub run.

Have you ever given much thought to how drivers see you?  I know I try to stay aware of my surroundings when I’m running, especially in low light, but I haven’t given a ton of thought to what I look like from the road.  Nathan is running a campaign called Get Lit and the pub run was part of that.  Check out this picture they showed us last night.  It really puts int perspective what you look like from a car.

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I have a bunch of Nathan hydration products but no visibility gear.  What Terry had to show us was fantastic!  We got to check out the Zephyr Hand Torch, strobe lights, LightBender and LightSpur, as well as reflective vests.  I’ve had my eye on the Zephyr Hand Torch for a bit and was really excited to see it in action.  It’s rechargeable, bright, straps to your hand, has a reflector on the back, multiple settings AND it’s designed to point down at the ground.  That’s a big hangup I’ve had in the past with regular flashlights.  I need to see the cracks in the pavement I don’t want to trip on, not aimlessly shine light into nothingness.

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I can’t wait to get one of these!

I personally ran in a Brooks reflective vest and leg bands.  I’ve always thought the leg bands were weird but I didn’t notice them at all.  In fact, I almost forgot to give them back!  We went for a short run around downtown and am happy to report we were bright and nobody got hit by a car!  High viz success!

The Saucony Sonic Reflex jacket was the craziest though.  I had to borrow this picture from Competitor because I didn’t take one last night but it’s so cool to see if you haven’t already.

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Ain’t nobody gonna miss you on the road when  you’re wearing that!  And Terry from Saucony was cool enough to give one away.  I didn’t win it, but I’m thinking about stalking the winner and stealing it from him.

What high viz gear do you own?  Do you attend demo runs to test out new products?

Stay bright out there!

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The Mental Struggle

Last month, I registered for my first full marathon.  I’ll be running the 2015 SLO Marathon in San Luis Obispo, CA, my home town.  I can’t express how excited I am for this race and to finally get to run where my family has an opportunity to watch and cheer me on.

That said, I’ve started to become absolutely terrified.  Terrified of the course.  I know it well.  There are long stretches where it’s straight.  There are long, steep hills, most notably the one you hit at mile 3.  At mile 20, you’re still out in winery country, nowhere near the downtown finish. And to top it off, I won’t know a single person racing the marathon.

That’s the scariest part.

Up until now,  I’ve been able to count on seeing someone I know in a race.  If I struggle or hit the mental dark place, there’s going to be someone to pull me out of it.  I feel like in a marathon, it’s just a given that’s going to happen.  It won’t be the same to have people supporting me on the course.  They won’t be able to run me in the last six miles.  That makes me incredibly nervous.  Not the training, not the distance.  The fact that if I struggle, I’m alone.

I’m so ready for this.  I’m excited to kick off training and start logging those high miles and just experience it all.  But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t considering moving up my first full to a race where I will know people out on the course.  I’m not sure the course would be any easier (Little Rock, for those who know that course) but I at least would have someone there to drag me if I needed it.

A New PR!

Since I started trail running, I became pretty laxed on including actual speed work in my training plan.  Normally I include one day per week where I focus on my tempo and run faster.  During my Dogwood training, I ran a 15K road race and smashed my previous PR by something like 10 minutes.  Granted, I had only ever done one 15K before, but that’s pretty significant.  The weekend after Dogwood, I dominated a 5K and an 8K (double day, crazy, I know) and ran my first sub-28 minute 5K and smoked a hilly 8K course in the heat.  3 new PRs made me start to think: can I PR the Bass Pro half marathon?

My road runs were getting faster and more comfortable.  I started to really think I could do it.  But it was one of those things that I didn’t want to announce.  It seems like any time I announce wanting to PR a race, something happens and I crash and burn.  I told a close friend about wanting to try for sub 2:15, which would best my time by 3 or so minutes.  She was confident in me.  But I figured I would wait until race day get my head in the game.

Race day came.  It was cold.  Sleeting just a bit.  Wind.  But I felt amazing.  I felt confident.  My first few miles felt fast and I

was passing people.  I felt so strong.  I refused to look at my watch.  I didn’t want to know how fast I was running.  I started catching people that I knew started out with the 2:00 pace group.  I still refused to look at my watch.  I had no idea until I rounded the corner and came up on the finish line.  The clock read 2:09:30.  I knew I had to haul mail if I wanted to cross at 2:10 and hope for a sub 2:10 official.

I did.  2:09:28.  A 9 minute PR from last year.  Crushed.  It’s amazing what you can do with a little confidence.  I’m still riding so high from this amazing race.

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