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Person vs. a Traffic Cone

by Meghann on October 16, 2012

Do you want to know the best part about last night’s crock pot rotisserie chicken? I have enough leftovers to last at least two or three more meals. Score!

Meal #1: Chicken tacos!

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err.. taco [singular]. I only had one tortilla left so I just piled on the chicken and ate the top with a fork until I could fold the tortilla without the chicken going everywhere.

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For the filling, I re-heated the chicken in a small frying pan with some salsa. Once it was hot I added it to the tortilla and topped it with 1/2 of a mashed avocado.

I also reheated the leftover sweet potato and broccoli.

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And had the last of the pineapple (that didn’t last long!).

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Awesome lunch.

Brooks NightLife Gear

As I mentioned on Saturday, Brooks sent me their NightLife Jacket III and Infiniti Capri to test out for the blog this month (Full disclosure: I’m a Brooks Ambassador).

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Both pieces are part of their NightLife collection, which Brooks used motion capture technology to develop. In the collection, strategically placed contrasting fabrics, retroreflective detail and active lighting heavily increase not just visibility, but also recognition. This is important for runners who don’t just want to be seen- but want to be recognized as a person vs. a traffic cone!

When I was in NYC over the summer with Brooks, one of the biggest pieces of advice I took away as far as running safely at night is that it doesn’t matter how much reflective pieces you have on, it matters where they’re strategically placed. You want to hit five key motion zones and outline of the body signal to the brain that the wearer is human and moving.

This month I had the opportunity to interview NightLife apparel expert Gabe Maricich on what went into creating the NightLife line, he also shared some tips and tricks for staying visible in the dark.

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1. What’s your role at Brooks and how long have you been with the brand?

As the Associate Product Line Manager for Men’s Apparel, Accessories & Socks I lead the charge around these product categories. This entails developing initial product concepts and collections, creating product briefs, developing consumer insight, competitive market research, concept testing and collaborating with designers, development, fabrics, sales and marketing teams. I’ve been with the brand since December 2010, so two years in December.

2. Are you a morning or night time runner?

I’m an afternoon runner. Evenings if I end up in too many meetings.

3. How would you define NightLife gear?

NightLife, from our point of view, is a philosophy that transcends product alone and centers around keeping runners safe in all lighting environments. Products that fall within our “NightLife Collection” are specifically tuned to enhance the recognition of the runner to the viewer (most commonly a driver). The tools that we employ the most often to do this are: Fluorescence, Contrast and Retroreflectivity (reflective). These tools map to the range of outdoor lighting environments (daylight, dusk and darkness).

4. Are reflective details only found in NightLife pieces or on other Brooks gear as well?

Most Brooks apparel has front and back reflective at a minimum. With NightLife pieces, we ensure that they employ other tools, namely fluorescent colors and 360 degrees of retroreflectivity. Some NightLife pieces also include active lighting to add another layer of safety.

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5. What are your thoughts on wearing reflective vests versus NightLife pieces when running?

My experience and point of view on this is twofold. Sharing learnings with runners so they use Nightlife gear and concepts are critical, if you don’t use it, it doesn’t work! I know, pretty simplistic. Reflective vests definitely have their place: they’re light, they provide lots of additional reflective and fluorescence, they’re easy to pack, they’re sizing is flexible, so you can wear over layers in winter and over a short sleeve in the summer. The challenge with reflective vests is that they don’t tend to be the most comfortable, they can be a bit noisy, the fit isn’t always dialed and they tend to only highlight center chest and back. Many companies even use reflective banding or X’s which can inadvertently act like reflective camouflage, making you look like a caution barrel rather than a runner.

With our NightLife collection, we have focused on recognition, so we place the reflective in key motion areas and use contrast colors, so you are seen as a human in motion. You are also visible from every angle with 360 degrees of reflective. The great value of Nightlife Apparel is that you just put it on and run the way you normally do. The gear and science will do most of the work for you. We use our same great fabrics and runner focused fit, so you can still run in the same soft, quite, comfortable, great fitting and great looking pieces you know and love. This season we further expanded our NightLife Collection around more shorts and singlets so that people running in all climates can still receive the same benefits and additional safety from Brooks Nightlife.

6. Does color make a difference in reflective pieces?

Color, namely Fluorescent colors are one of the three key components to NightLife products. Our materials team works very hard, tuning fabrics and dyes to achieve the brightest fluorescent colors possible.

7. At what distance would you say a car is likely to spot you with the reflective pieces, versus none?

This is the most consistently challenging question we receive around Nightlife. There are so many factors involved in distance/visibility, it would be misleading and a disservice to runners and drivers to suggest a specific distance or visibility comparison. Some of the many factors include: environment (city, countryside, urban…), lighting condition (day, dusk, dark), weather (clear, foggy, rainy, snowy…), driver attentiveness (calling, texting, stressed, calm), even the cleanliness of their windshield can be a major factor. Our point of view around NightLife is not just about visibility (which is important). However, my goal is not just that the driver spots a runner, but that the driver recognizes the runner as a runner (person). This act of recognition in addition to seeing is what can galvanize the desired action (proactive avoidance)

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8. Any new trends for the fall?

Fluorescents as fashion colors are trending hugely right now – I’m sure you’re seeing it as well. This has been a very exciting trend for us and has helped us expand the conversation about NightLife with more runners. This has been particularly helpful for younger and newer runners, who are sometimes a bit reserved about getting kitted out in NightLife.

On the men’s side, plaids prints continue to trend. You’re definitely seeing some prints that have strong surf/snow influence. It’s a lot of fun for us to add these great colors and trend relevant prints to running!

Do you take any special precautions when running at night? Reflective vest? Blinking light?

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