Last night was my first after dark run of the year. I got started a little after 6 PM on the Upper Back Bay trail. Two mile out and back for a total of 4 miles. The real surprise was when I downloaded my Garmin this morning. The data showed a 9:36 pace with an average heart rate of 82% MHR! I've always thought that I would need to slow down to hit my heart rate targets. I guess that's not true! I just went out and ran at a pace that was comfortable. Since it was dark, I couldn't check my watch as often as I normally do, so most of my run was done by "feel".
I broke out the night running gear too. It wasn't quite dark when I started, but by the time I was done it was full night. If I'm running after dark, I try to stick to trails where I won't have to compete with cars. But, there are still a lot of bikes whizzing by on those trails after dark! I really don't want to be hit, so I deck myself out in a reflective vest and a red blinker to be seen (hopefully) from the rear. The one thing that I was missing last year was a good headlamp. I was using an old Black Diamond LED lamp that my son bought 6 years ago when he started in Boy Scouts. While the lamp was adequate for being seen, one of the downsides of older LED lamps was that the light was highly unfocused - which is a fancy way of saying that the light was not bright enough to see much in front of me. So, I went over to REI yesterday and bought a new headlamp. I settled on a Black Diamond Icon (pic on left). All I can say is WOW! This thing gives so much light I feel like I'm a police helicopter! It's a little bulky, but battery life is supposed to be 90 hours, and I can now see the horsesh** on the trail before I step in it! Highly recommended if you run or hike at night!