Watch Your Step

Hello running friends!  The time changes this weekend, plunging us early am runners back into darkness while allowing the after work crowd some daylight running.

Whether you run with the sun or in the dark it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings.  Drivers are distracted.  Bike riders and dog walkers also pose a hazard and they may not notice a runner sharing the street.

So here’s a list of my top safety tips.

Lighten Up.  When I go out in the morning I wear a reflective vest, snap a blinkie light on my hat or shirt, affix velcro straps around my ankles and carry a Knuckle Light.   Cars cannot see you until they are upon you.  That teeny little strip of reflection on your shoes?  Useless.  Get smart and be safe.

Pairs are Perfect.  If you are heading into the hills, grab a pal.  A lot of our fantastic trails take you deep into the woods or open space.  And trust me, when  you’re out there you are OUT THERE.   If you do go solo then make sure you let someone know when you left and when you expect to be home.  And bring your cellphone.

You Lookin’ At Me?  You think drivers see you at crosswalks but often times they don’t.  In fact, this morning I crossed the street and was midway in the crosswalk when a car approached.  I kept going across as the car slowed and immediately had to jump out of the way when this gent rolled through the stop sign.  He was that oblivious.  So don’t just assume drivers see you.  Make eye contact before crossing.

On the Down Low.  If you’re running in the dark or on the trails, lower the volume on your NPR podcast.  Or take an earbud out.  Don’t be oblivious to the sounds around you.

Taking a few safety precautions will ensure that you not have a great run, but that you come back in one piece.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

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Happy Happy Joy Joy

My run was great today.  With that said, you all know that I “process” a lot while on my runs.  Sometimes I plot my day, figure out my schedule or do some planning.  Sometimes I “write” my blog in my head as I run along and sometimes I have arguments with people that I have issues with.  (Have I mentioned that I’m diametrically opposed to conflict?)

Today I got a bit annoyed during my run at various outside forces so I thought I’d share them.  Because we all put our cranky shorts on one leg at a time…

1.  If I’m able to squeak out a breathless “morning” as I’m climbing a hill, at least you can reply in kind.  Or nod, or give me the finger.  Some kind of acknowledgement that we are sharing space on the planet at this particular moment in time.

2. Our neighborhood has the least illuminating street lights, probably on earth.  Are real bulbs too expensive?  And while I’m speaking of street lamps, why so few?

3.  Stop signs are not a “suggestion”.

4.  Skunks should have a glowing white stripe.  For the second time in two weeks I was ambling along with a sudden realization it wasn’t a cat running next to me.

5.  If you drive, please stay in your lane.  The bike lane belongs to those of us not surrounded by a few tons of metal.

6.  Don’t let your dog  jump up at me.  Or chase me.  And I don’t care if “he’s friendly”.  Your pooch has caused me to stop running and I forgot to pause my Garmin.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

If you are an outdoor runner, odds are you have to run early in the morning or late in the day.  Running in the dark can be a bit scary at first but if you prepare and are aware, you can get out and back safely. images night

Here are a few of my tips for safe running at night or in the early morning hours.

Wheels Always Win

Use crosswalks, make eye contact when crossing in front of vehicles, be aware of cyclists screaming down the hill behind you and most importantly, let anything with a wheel have the right of way.

Light it Up

I am amazed, AMAZED at the number of people who run in the early morning and late evening hours that wear dark colors head to toe and do not carry a light or have a stitch of reflective gear on them.  At the MINIMUM, please grab a small flashlight.  If you are running against traffic turn the beam to face cars and if you are running with traffic (this is important) let the light shine behind you.  That’s right.   Turn that beam so it’s behind you and cars, bikes and those crazy fast moms pushing jogging strollers will see you.

Creepy People

Every now and then I’ll run one of my normal weekday loops and I’ll see some creepy-looking person walking down the dark part of the street.  I have no desire to show Stranger A that I’m some super brave chick so I just cross the street and then turn my head back a few times.   I do this for 2 reasons, 1) to make sure they know that I know that they’re there and 2) so if they start chasing me I have time to react.  Crazy thoughts go through my head when I run alone.

Check your Volume

I love loud banging music like the next person but when I’m running in the dark I tend to keep the volume low so I can hear if anything is going on.  Dogs or other animals charging or Creepy People (see above) trying to get me.

The Wild Side

This one I didn’t even think about until I ran into a coyote that I swear to God started to follow me.  I live in an area near a ton of open space so people often see deer, skunks, racoons, bobcats, coyotes and even a mountain lion (if you believe the comments on NextDoor) that come down from the hills.   I’m not saying you need to stop running outside but be aware that you could face something furry on a dark run and you should know what to do.  In my case, I turned and shouted “HAAAAA” about 10 times and then ran to the maintenance person cleaning the bathroom at the Civic Center lagoon.  Who, I am not embarrassed to say, laughed at me.  Whatever.

Needless to say I have given that loop a break for a few weeks.  Better safe than sorry, I always say.

Good luck with your running and be safe out there.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

 

Let there be light!

While running, walking, biking or even skipping in the dark, common sense tells you to hold a flashlight or wear a headlamp that will illuminate your path so you don’t trip or hit a pothole.  Now let’s use a little “Keli sense” to light up your backside.  Here’s why.

When you are walking,running , or biking with traffic, as most people do,  drivers cannot see you in the dark until they are almost upon you.  By adding some light in the rear, drivers will be able to see you from afar.

But don’t just rely on the itty bitty reflective bits on your running shoes.  They are not enough and drivers will not be looking at the ground – they need to see your body lit up like a Christmas tree from about 100 yards away.

To light up your backside you can use a blinking bike light clipped to your shorts, you can wear a vest that has reflective straps or even mark a big “X” on your jacket with reflective tape.

Trust me – you want to be seen.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

Under the Cover of Darkness

As I sit here and wait for a sliver of daylight so I can go for my morning run it’s as good a time as any to provide my top 3 tips for safe dark running.

1.  Ditch the dark colors.  While black may be slimming it can also be most dangerous if you are running on a dark road.  Wear light colors with lots of reflective parts.  Think “radioactive” and “glowing” as you select your wardrobe for that early morning or evening run.

2.  Let there be light.  Grab a flashlight, a headlamp or attach a flashing bike light to the waistband of your shorts.   You not only want to be seen by drivers or bike riders, you want to see cracks in the cement, a curb or a bush that’s overgrown along a path.

3.  If you have to run alone (ladies I’m talking to you) bring a cell phone and run in populated areas.  Dark o’clock is not the time to run the lonely path out to the reservoir or country road.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂