The other day I glanced outside around 6:30 p.m. and realized it was almost dark. What?! How are we that close to winter already? Do we really have to set our clocks back and lose that extra hour of daylight next weekend?!
For many of us, the short daylight hours mean that some (or all) of our runs will be in the dark. I have grown to like running in the dark after my summer Ragnar experiences, but there is still something about it that scares me. No, I’m not talking about the critters out there. I am scared of drivers. Even though our state law is hands free phone use (and of course no texting) while driving, this has to be the most broken law ever. I have almost been hit on more than one occasion in broad daylight by distracted drivers. So what’s a runner to do? We need to look out for ourselves. Do not expect the drivers to see you – do everything YOU can to make sure they do.
For me, this means I do not run in the dark (or even dusk) without a reflective vest. At one of the Ragnar safety briefings they showed us a picture of a runner without a vest and how they appeared to an oncoming driver at a certain distance. You could hardly see them. With a vest they were very visible from the same distance.
Equally important to me is the ability to hear the ambient noise around me. I do not wear headphones for runs in the dark. I want to hear that car approaching (or that critter or creepy stranger…). The only problem with this is that if I am running for more than a few miles I really miss my music! At Ragnar, I was mostly alone out there so I just turned my music on quietly, headphone free, and played it from my iPhone. It was nice to have music and be able to hear ambient noise, but carrying the phone was annoying. I just figured this was my best option.
But then several weeks ago we got a message from Rob at Road Noise. He asked if we would like to try out their reflective vest with built in headphones. Say what?!! This product existed and I didn’t know about this before Ragnar?
We went to the website to select our vests and I have to say I was impressed by the selection. Most vests I have seen come in one or two sizes. Road Noise vests come in four. When my vest arrived I was pleased that it actually fit me well as opposed to being all “floppy” even after I tried to adjust it. We were also kind of excited that we could order the vest in pink. Yay!
I first tested my vest out on a 12 mile run. I have been doing my long runs on Thursdays (just works better for my schedule) and one recent Wednesday I looked at the forecast and saw it was supposed to rain on Thursday. And Friday. (Not just a drizzle, but significant rainfall.) I know, I’m a wimp and I will run in rain when I have no choice (i.e. a race), but I do not prefer it. So I decided I was going to beat the rain and get those miles in after my daily activities were done. I set out for that 12-miler at almost 10 p.m.
I instantly loved my Road Noise vest. Seriously, this thing is awesome! It completely changed that nighttime run and made the miles fly by. Having music was awesome, but the vest is also really comfortable. I have previously tried/worn two different vests from major players in the “running vest market” and this one definitely fit me better. My iPhone fit easily into the pocket and I was pleasantly surprised how well it stayed put. I did not notice any bounce during the run.
Since running with this vest, I have thought of several other things I plan to use it for. Most notably, I am excited to try biking with this vest. I do not like to wear headphones while biking, so this will be a perfect alternative.