Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Runner's Almanac - Day 53, Night run

Since I am going out of town Friday, I know I need to get a good long mid-week run in since it may be the only one of the week. I recently acquired one of the Petzl brand headlamps so I I grab it on my way out. It’s only 6:30pm, but it starts getting dark by 7:00pm, so I want to be prepared. Not only for my own safety, but so I can be seen by others. It is quite different to run from dark to dawn than it is to run from dusk to dark. At least during an early morning run, you know that the sky will lighten up. But at night, it just keeps getting darker…and darker. And with that comes the inability to see one foot in front of the other, even with a lamp stuck on your head.
My first reaction with the Petzl is that I will have to get accustomed to its constant movement. I tighten it around my forehead, but still I am very aware of the small weight on my head including the batteries inside. I put it high enough on my head to offer enough light and not be constantly reminded of its presence. The route I take is well lighted at parts, and completely dark in others. The soft glow of the light does not fare so well on a dirt path as the light reflects off the dust in a way that makes everything look blurry and out of focus. So I naturally slow down my pace in these areas, and to avoid any holes or rocks that can otherwise throw me to the ground.
There are other runners and walkers tonight and unfortunately none of them have any lightening or reflective gear on. The only lights I see are from a couple of bicyclists, and even a dog, whose owner did not have any reflective gear on themselves. At least the dog will be safe.

I highly recommend using something in the dark. Although my light is very helpful from the front (not sure if I blinded anyone, but at least they see me coming), I would recommend a reflective vest as well.
As far as the night run, I enjoyed it. There were elements of fear and adventure when running in the dark, but the lamp gave me some sense of security. It’s also nice when the weather is cool – But no that it is getting colder, it may not be as ideal. But I got my 6.5 miles in, so there are no complaints.

Happy running!

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