It's rare that I'll admit missing anything about living on the east coast but here I go:
I miss running at night.
In Connecticut, I just felt completely (maybe even naively) safe running in the town I grew up in. It was quiet and no one was out at night. If they were, you could see or hear them coming from far away. Then in Manhattan, it was the opposite: everyone was out at night and my Union Square/Midtown running routes were lit up and fairly safe. So running in the dark was something that I did often. Until I moved to San Diego.
It's not that my neighborhood here in San Diego is really unsafe per se, but there are a lot of bums, people living out of RVs that always tend to pop out onto the sidewalk and scare the crap out of me, and unlit corners and underpasses where I run. When I was training for the marathon last year, I used to tell my dad my route for night runs "just in case something happens." As you can imagine, my dad loved that.
Needless to say, when the marathon training ended, so did running at night. If it was no longer "necessary," it just seemed too risky compared to other exercise. Which is frustrating because it gets dark so early in the winter and in the summer it's too hot to run until the sun goes down.
But after getting the V.ALRT, maybe I don't have to be so scared anymore...
The V.ALRT is a personal emergency alert device that uses Bluetooth technology to talk to an app on your iPhone or Android. Basically, when you set up the app, you can choose up to 3 people to send a customized emergency text message to by pushing a button. The device itself is a small little black pendant with a button that you put in your pocket or wear with their watchband or keychain accessories.
With the V.ALRT, now if I'm running in the dark, as long as I have my cell phone with me, I feel a little more confident about alerting Ryan or my dad quickly if anything's wrong. If, god forbid, I do get adult-napped, I won't have to worry about trying to pull out a phone and text. I just have to press and hold the button to send out texts and my map coordinates. Which I have to admit, makes me feel a little safer.
I was so glad that the V.ALRT team reached out and offered me a chance to test this device because otherwise I may never have heard of it. And I really think this might be the gadget to get for the active people in your life this year.
It's also a great device for parents: the V.ALRT can be put on your kids at a fair or an amusement park and if they wander more than 300 feet away from you, it sends you a text message. There's about a billion more cool uses for it... you can make your elderly parents wear one, attach one to your pet's collar to make sure they don't wander too far if you're camping, and who knows what else.
Which begs the question: what would you use it for? Check it out here and then let me know in the comments how it would be helpful for you. One of the commenters will win a brand new V.ALRT!
For those of you who don't win, they've given me a great discount code: just enter VSN20 at checkout. In the meantime, I'm going to keep taking it out running at night to train for my first race since my stress fracture: a little 5K call the Neon Dash!
It's a night race at Qualcomm on Saturday, July 12th and it looks like a ton of fun. Glow sticks and night running? Count me in! And don't forget to tell me if you're running it too - I'd love to meet up!