The other day on Facebook, mother runner Cyndie reminded her active pals about the importance of making themselves visible when exercising outdoors in the dark. She told a tale that had happened that evening to her, an avid runner training for a marathon. Behind the wheel of her car, Cyndie was at a stop sign, and she carefully looked both ways--twice, I recall she wrote. Things looked all clear. Yet as she started to drive forward, two runners clothed entirely in black ran in front of her car. They weren't carrying any lights or wearing any reflective gear, and she nearly plowed into them. Thanks to her quick reflexes, she stopped in time, but it left her shaken. Cyndie just shook her head, thinking if she--a runner--had missed seeing the stealth runners, then they didn't stand a chance against inactive or inattentive drivers.
The moral of Cyndie's story is as clear as a cloudless sky: When you are running outdoors in the dark or low light (which, in Oregon where Cyndie and I both live, might mean noon on an overcast winter day!), you need to assume drivers won't see you. You need to take extra steps to be seen and stay safe.
Like wearing RelaxReflect apparel. RelaxReflect was founded a few years ago by a professional triathlete, Espen Kateraas, and his wife, Jean, who decided reflective apparel doesn't need to make the wearer look like a 1970s crossing guard. Jean designs the garments' bold graphics, including interlocking circles and tribal designs, which the company dubs, "edgy visibility." Perhaps our faves: leggings that scream, "BADASS," down each leg in vivid, see-me reflective letters.
For today's giveaway, RelaxReflect has generously given us an outfit to ensure one of you ladies won't be an invisible runner this winter. Starting from the bottom up: Winner's choice of either the Giant Star Leggings or Giant Star Skort, paired with either a 13.1 Half-Marathon Tee or 26.2 Marathon Tee (we love the idea of your goal distance being broadcast to passing cars!). Finally, to make the outfit complete--and so insanely cute--a Giant Star Shrug. This unique topper is perfect on mornings (or evenings) when there's a nip in the air. Once you get warmed up and want to tie the top around your waist, though, you don't have excess fabric flapping around your waist. (I have a running shrug from another company, and it's by far the chic-est item in my running repertoire.) All these pieces are made from sweat-wicking materials, ensuring you stay dry while staying safe. They're all available in black, white, hot pink, or grey, and in sizes XS-XL: RelaxReflect is definitely looking out for all runners.
To enter to win, go to the Comments section on of this post (on our website) and tell us: What do you do to stay safe during the dark running days (and nights) of winter? It can be wearing reflective gear, a headlamp, flashing lights, or staying indoors on the treadmill. Tell us what you do to be seen.
[Some fine print for this fine prize.] This sweepstakes is open to those over 18 and residents of the United States AND Canada (!). It begins on 1/9/13 and ends on 1/15/13; the winner will be announced on 1/19/12. One entry per person. The value of the prize is $192-$198. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Void where prohibited by law.