Sunday, March 6, 2011

Running in the rain

For some reason, the first thing I wanted to do after completing a 15-mile run in a nonstop downpour was take a shower.

I had tried to avoid the rain, but circumstances beyond my control were limiting my options. Yesterday was beautiful, but I had just completed three tougher-than-planned workouts in a row. My knee was sore, and my throat was too, so I decided to take the day off. Then I got a message from Tim: "I'm hoping to go long on Sunday; what do you have planned?" Then Ashley chimed in on Facebook: "It looks like rain tomorrow—is anyone running?" At first I thought I could put off the run until the afternoon when it looked like things would have cleared up, but then I remembered we had tickets to see Cirque du Soleil in the afternoon. So much for that plan; it would have to be a rainy 15-miler this morning.

Amazingly, seven runners showed up in a very heavy drizzle, six of whom were interested in running 15 miles: Ashley, Tim, Matt, Chad, Todd (who had already run six), Tony (who was only planning seven), and me. Two sopping-wet hours later, this is what the floor of my bathroom looked like:

The rain-soaked gear was so heavy I actually decided to weigh it. Even with an empty water belt, the wet conditions meant I was hauling around an extra 8 pounds, putting me briefly back above 200 pounds even though I now weigh 192 unencumbered.

But let's go back to the start of the run. I had told Tim I wasn't planning a quick pace like we had done last week. I need to save my energy for a 22-miler on Friday. Chad was pretty much the only runner who was interested in a relatively slow pace. As the rest of the group opened up a 30-meter lead on us, Chad and I started off at what we thought was a reasonable pace. But our splits for the first five miles were still pretty aggressive: 8:18, 8:03, 8:06, 8:18, 7:55. We took a quick break at Jetton park before heading back out on the road, once again, with Chad and I taking up the rear: 8:08, 8:34, 8:25. For some reason at Mile 9 I decided I wanted to try to catch up to Tim, Matt, Todd, and Ashley, so I picked up the pace and ran the next two miles in 7:44 and 8:00, leaving Chad behind for a bit. We met up again at the park for a rest and I had had my fill of running fast, so Chad and I once again joined forces in the back of the pack as the rain continued to pummel us.

At times there was so much rain that I was forced to take off my glasses. If too many water droplets are covering the lenses, it becomes nearly impossible to see, and despite my extremely weak vision (probably something like 20-400), I could still see better without them. Then around Mile 12, we were passed by what seemed like every fire truck within 10 miles, each one wailing louder than the next, and prompting cars to pull over dangerously close to where we were running on the shoulder. Somehow we managed to avoid catastrophe, but we were definitely slowing down. Miles 11-15 were as follows: 8:32, 8:52, 8:53, 8:56, 8:42. I felt pretty good about my 8:22 overall average pace. When we arrived at the CVS, Tim told us they had run their last mile in under 7 minutes! Glad I didn't try to stay with them till the end!

Despite the bone-drenching conditions, it was fairly warm—about 55 degrees, so at least I was relatively comfortable. I savored my nice, warm cup of coffee in Summit as Chad, Todd, and I discussed our racing plans for the next couple of months. Then I came home to a warm shower, which never felt so good.

Workout details are below.


  1. It never is quite as fun to run when you are retaining water. Hopefully other parts of the month won't be so bad.

  2. It was actually kind of fun, in a masochistic sort of way. I'm definitely glad we don't have to deal with this sort of weather very often, though!