Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Running in Pittsburgh

My boot is off and while I can't run yet, my first mile since August isn't too far off. It's been hard to resist the urge to lace up my New Balance Berringers and head out through the falling leaves and the crisp cool air. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons for running and conjures up comforting memories of long cross country runs with friends and morning races where we waited at the start line, puffing out cloudy breaths then launching ourselves over frosty grass toward the finish.

Fall running. I love it.

But I can't do it this year. I am still in recovery mode from an almost-fractured heel bone. But I'm healing and I'm allowed to do fall walking! 30 minutes at a time, for two days a week for two weeks. Then I can progress to four times a week for two weeks. I could be running by Thanksgiving.

So, fall walking. I like it.

But fall walking or running also means running in the dark. I'm not one to get in a morning workout before the sunrise, I'm more likely to squeeze in a few miles after dinner after the sun has set. Our Pittsburgh neighborhood has more than enough hills but has a serious deficiency when it comes to streetlights and sidewalks, so safely running in the dusk or even dark means running smart. I wear bright clothes like my bright orange CUCB jacket and this year I'm adding some lights from Nathan that Kevin from Elite Runners and Walkers recommended.

Test 1 in Maryland: pass!

Test 2 in Pittsburgh: pass! 

My husband and I both went on long runs earlier this year with the Nathan LightBender strapped to our arms.   I wore mine during an hour run in Maryland where it is hot and humid and the sweat was pouring off of me - and the LightBender was completely comfortable. I will admit I was worried I'd move my arm weird while wearing it, or it would slip down and irritate me, but none of that happened.  I couldn't feel it at all.  The Lightbender adjusts to the width of your arm with a simple velcro strap and as you can see, I wore mine on bare skin. I had no chafing, no irritation. 

My husband also wore it on a long run but his was in Pittsburgh. Didn't make a difference, he said he didn't notice it either. He is not a guy who goes running with a lot of tech but he said he would wear this happily on runs and rides. That's a huge endorsement!  

On my fall walk, I wore it over my jacket sleeve and it bothered me even less. I put the LightBender on my right arm because as all pedestrians know, you walk or run facing traffic, right? Of course all pedestrians don't know this and it irritates me so bad when I see people walking their dogs or running with headphones on the wrong side of the road, just waiting for a car they can't see or ear to come flying over a steep hill and not know they are there. 

While I was at Elite Runners and Walkers Kevin also recommended the Nathan Light Spur. On my fall walk, I popped it on my the back of my right shoe and soon forgot about it. 

Nathan Light Spur on my right
Cars coming up behind me would see the Light Spur, cars coming toward me would see the LightBender. Yes, I am a runner concerned with safety. You can read about my strong opinions on bike helmets here. 

The Light Spur is very bright, totally unnoticeable but the worst part is I always have to ask my 8 year old where it is! He loves wearing it while playing soccer in our backyard at night and loves wearing it as he rides his bike up and down our road even when it's middle of the day bright. He thinks it is the coolest thing he's ever seen. It does have a bit of a Tron look.  I feel pretty good about the fact that he loves wearing the Light Spur because I know no driver will fail to see him at any time of day. 

Nathan's Light Spur is visible even in late afternoon
Both products are around $20 and there are very few reliably useful running products that are that affordable. I recommended stopping by to pick yours up when Elite is having a big sale day and make sure you comb through the racks! I have scored some sweet Smartwool deals there! I know some runners feel invincible, but I've had some tough injuries this year so my motto is 'better safe than sorry.' If you run in the dark, grab one of these, grab both and tell Kevin I sent you!