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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?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jen October 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm

What would have been great is if you had asked him what the key areas of the body are for reflective placement. I don’t have the money or the desire to spend a lot of money on the new Brooks products, but I would like to know how to better use my own reflective snap bands and lights to get maximum visibility. This had the opportunity to be a great PSA-type post. Instead, it was more an ad for Brooks, saying that you can only have maximum visibility with their super special product.

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2 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale October 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

The closest I’ve ever been to being hit while running was (ironically) by an ambulance.
I try to run during daylight hours if at all possible, and keep my dark hours running to the track or sidewalks. I’m fortunate to be able to do this. However, I’m starting marathon training within the next month or so, and with the days getting shorter, this seems like really great technology to have. I live in Canada, so I’d need to use it as an overlayer over warmer under layers, but having had it explained, it really seems like the company is invested in its clientele. Thanks for hosting the interview, Meghann!!
Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale recently posted..No-Trade Clause

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3 Candice October 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I don’t think I have ever been close to getting hit.. Thank goodness! I would not make a great pancake.
I would LOVE to be a brooks ambassador… clue me in?
xoxo
Candice recently posted..Roasted Coconut Butternut Squash with Apples.

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4 Annette @FitnessPerks October 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Cool info!

I’ve never been close to being hit-thank goodness!
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5 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I only have one bright shirt and that’s about it… I really need to get some sort of reflective vest, especially now that it’s dark in the mornings and at night. I’d feel much safer!
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6 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats October 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I don’t like running at night mostly bc I’m afraid of cars. But this jacket is cute enough to make me want to run at night :)
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7 Cher @ Weddicted October 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I must admit I’m bad about taking precautions while running at night – only my shoes are really reflective. I run only on the sidewalk though, around my neighbourhood and I don’t listen to my iPod at night because I like to be aware of cars/people, etc. I should invest in a some better gear, really! Especially with all those great bright colors!
Cher @ Weddicted recently posted..Nails: Wedding inspired shades

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8 lisa fine October 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Definitely enjoyed reading about the features of these products, and that it’s important to think about looking like a person out on the road.

As a Brooks Ambassador, do you get to keep the gear they send you, or do you have to send it back?
lisa fine recently posted..lunch at top of the block sandwich shoppe

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9 Steph October 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I just recently started working out on Bayshore in the early mornings. I have thought about safety, but didn’t know where to begin. Thanks for posting this today! I think I have a plan now! :D
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10 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut October 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I had no idea you worked for Brooks—that is so cool! You look totally cute in your neon pink. :)
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11 Lucy October 17, 2012 at 9:51 am

Hi Meghann,

Long time reader here, first time commenter.

I just wanted to say, without being rude, that as a reader, I’m a little over the infomercial aspect of your blog nowadays. Not one of your post doesn’t sell something or promote something or link to a company site.

I really miss the days where your blog was about YOU and not about products.

Anyway, that was just my opinion.

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12 Sonia the Mexigarian October 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I definetly need something reflective to run at night in. It’d be interesting to know what are the keypoints for the reflective areas.

your neon pink jacket is cute :)
Sonia the Mexigarian recently posted..Wednesday shifts. . .

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