Zero Dark Thirty


I grew up next to a farm.  Every morning the roosters would crow as the sun came up.  The sun always came up before I wanted it to.

I’m pretty sure this is what they were sayin’…hey, it’s time to get up!  Time to start the day.  The sun is up.  You can see now.  Wake up come feed me!

I personally think they were celebrating a night of keeping the hens safe. In the dark danger can lurk…coyotes, fox, snakes, owls a whole myriad of chicken feeding predators.  Those roosters were alerting the farm…hey, it’s safe to come out again!

Just like the roosters, as runners we should be wary of the dangers that lurk in the dark.  It’s that time of year when runs in the morning or evening are done before or after work….and it’s dark out.

You might be thinking what dangers should I be a concerned with as a runner.  I live in a safe neighborhood, I mean heck I leave my house at zero dark thirty (5 am).  The rest of the world is sleeping.  In fact, my neighbors call me the rooster cause I’m up so early.

The short answer is you don’t know what danger lurks when you can’t see and others can’t see you.

I had a friend that ended up in the hospital after falling head over heels over a neighbor’s pile of wood that had spilled ever so slightly onto the street on trash day.  It wasn’t normally there, but this day, it was. $5,000 dollars and an emergency room visit later, my friend was left asking how could I have avoided this?

When it’s dark out, you can’t see.  You either have to rely on faith or you need a light source.  Street lights, headlights, a flashlight.  Something that gives way to your path as you trot along.  Visibility is key.

It’s also important to be aware of some common dangers.  I’ve already mentioned one with the trash. Dogs are another.  For some reason dogs are out super early and late in the evenings.  I have two theories on that.  One, there owners are taking measures to ensure that no one sees their dog pooping or ,like the rooster, those dogs are in tune with nature and their rhythms are simply different than ours. Did I mention they like to chase runners?

Don’t forget about cars too.  Unlike you with your body warmed up, alert and blood pumping, cars on the road early or late are focused on coffee or getting home.  It’s a recipe for not paying attention.  Like I tell my kids.  Assume they don’t see you OR make sure they can see you.

I’ve found that the best way to make yourself visible is to carry a light.  Here’s a before and after shot..


There are some amazing products available today that have little to no impact on your running form or comfort and they increase your safety two fold.  I recommend you invest the $50 and save yourself that emergency room visit.

Your family and your body will thank you.  And if nothing else, don’t go running until the rooster crows.

Be safe out there.

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