Last week I borrowed a reflective vest, headlamp and tail light from Adventure Girl so I could try an early morning run outside. I’ll admit that I was somewhat intimidated by the idea of running alone in what is the middle of the night to most people. I got up this morning and put on my running gear, taking some extra time as I figured out the right way to wear the vest and resizing the head lamp so that it fit around my big head. The last task was to attach the blinking red LED to the back making me visible from all directions. That done, I made my way out to the driveway for a few minutes of stretching before hitting the road.
As I turned off my street onto the road past the middle school I was surprised to see how well lit my neighborhood is at 4:05 AM. I felt really good as I ran, it was almost effortless and the temperature, dry, low 40’s, was perfect. I also appreciated that there was no sun bearing down on me contributing to body heat.
As I exited the middle school grounds I was actually startled by the reflected light of a parked BMW whose Xenon headlights glowed malevolently in response to the blue LED from the head lamp. It looked like an eerie blue Jack-O-Lantern. I ended up seeing a number of other cars that reflected this way during the run. My goal was to duplicate the 2 mile circuit that I ran on Sunday and it went by quickly. Or so it seemed. As I ran the final leg up the service road that feeds into my neighborhood I upped my speed hoping to finish with an impressive overall pace. I finished the 2.04 mile run (the Garmin is spot on accurate now) averaging 9:20/mile. Clearly running in the dark alters your perception of speed because I would have sworn that I was tracking at a 9:00 or below pace.
In the end it didn’t matter. It was one of the best morning runs I’ve had and I felt completely safe. I only encountered a car delivering the NY Times to homes and one truck during my route. Otherwise it was quiet and peaceful, just me, some scary car faces and lots of lawn sprinkler activity. I’ll definitely invest in my own night running gear. It’s a great alternative to the treadmill and it can be a good way to beat the summer heat for my daily runs.