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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Get wet. Get dirty. Run Dogwood.

Yesterday was THE day.  The day I had been waiting for.  The day I had been training for.  The day I sacrificed blood and sweat for.  The day I spent the last 12 Saturday mornings on the trails for.  It was Dogwood.  And it was amazing.

I haven’t been this jacked for a race in a long time.  Part of it was the fact that it was a new challenge: 25K and a trail race.  Part of it was this amazing running family I’ve discovered.  I felt so ready.  I was ready.  Even now, feeling how my body responded after the race, I KNOW I was ready.  I’m not sure I could have trained any harder.  I was prepared.  And I am so thankful for that because this race is NOT the kind you want to jump into unprepared.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Here’s an elevation snapshot:

Dogwood Elevation

The course: beautiful.  Picturesque.  Stunning.  There aren’t enough words to describe how the leaves looked and how well maintained it was.  Perfect.

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I didn’t stop to take many pictures, mostly because I was too busy feeling amazing.  It’s been a while since I felt THAT prepped for a race and that good in general.  Eventually my glutes started to get tired and my shoulders started to tense but after 16.5 miles, I feel like that’s to be expected.

The event directors were amazing.  The volunteers were amazing.  The course aide was amazing.  Everything was top notch.  I can’t wait to do this again.  I may take on the challenge (15K and 25K on back to back days) but I haven’t decided yet.  I do know that I’m going to be there again next year and I’ll be counting the days!

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Review: Pebble watch!

Last weekend, I upgraded from a Jawbone UP to a Pebble smart watch. If you can call it upgrading, I’m not sure they’re on the same level at all. But I returned my UP and got the LAST Pebble in town. The day before they were supposed to be released. It’s amazing. I think the biggest excitement for me is that I have a watch screen that looks like a Pokemon battle from a GameBoy. So cool. Yes, I’m a nerd.

The biggest draw about this for me was that I HATE having to pull my phone out during a run to change music or check my pace. I’ve been interested in getting a Garmin but it seems silly to me when there are so many GPS apps for android or iPhone that, to me, do exactly the same thing. And this does way more than a Garmin. I can use all day as a functional watch, it receives notifications from my phone, there’s apps for sending navigation to the watch, music controls, plus all of the running stuff. And whatever else is developed along the way!

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So, now that I’m two runs in, here’s my review! I love it. Currently, the only app that integrates with it is RunKeeper. I was using Runtastic and I still am in the background because ALL my runs are in there. Runtastic emailed me and said they’re currently developing integration for Pebble and that’s great news for me. Call me if you need a beta tester!! RunKeeper is a great app and they did a wonderful job for being the first running app on Pebble.

The pace is your current pace and the distance seems very accurate. I run the same routes so I know what they should measure and this seemed to be spot on. I know so many people have complaints about GPS signal or losing distance on a run but so far, so good. I also like that you can hide the screen if you’re not interested in seeing pace or distance.

My couple of complaints are that if you get out of theRunKeeper screen during a run, it can cause your watch to disconnect from your phone via Bluetooth. If you’re receiving a text or changing music, that has caused my watch to freeze multiple times and disconnect. It has (so far) always reconnected and popped back up with the RunKeeper screen. But it is a pain. I’m not sure if it’s the app or the watch but that does happen.

Overall, I’m in love with it and would totally recommend it to others. If you can find one 🙂

Sidenote: it was so humid yesterday!! I sweat like a crazy person anyway, but this took the cake. My shorts were so soaked with sweat from mile five on that they were falling down from the weight. Old Navy!!! Get it together!!

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