Monday, October 4, 2010

Running in the Rain

There’s something magical about running in the rain. It’s oddly peaceful – the sound of the raindrops muffles the street noise and the general wetness disallows an ipod. Trails and roads are less crowded since only the super-dedicated or the supremely unfortunate are out on a day like today.

Some of my best running experiences have been in the rain.

I remember one run specifically in high school. It was absolutely pouring, which is rare for Northern California. In a frenzy of excitement my teammates and I ran around Petaluma like a pack of crazies, splashing through puddles and making general mayhem. We ended our run by sprinting around the corner, screaming like soaking wet banshees and cannon-balling into the high school pool, running shoes and all.

In college, my first run with the Cross Country team was a drenching day along the Charles – across the BU Bridge, up through Cambridge, and back along the bike path. That run’s degree of exhaustion and good-workout-achyness set the tone for most of my college running career.

Running in the rain, like running in the dark, somehow feels faster. And I certainly feel more hard-core when I’m the only one running in an all-out downpour. 

My first summer in DC was a particularly rainy one. I ran every evening after work, and sometimes the rain was so heavy I couldn’t open my eyes. I ran along the Mall, watching the lightening strike the Washington Monument and Smithsonian Tower, and wondering if it was unsafe to be out (but obviously not really caring either way).

I’m not a big gear person, but after that eyes-closed run I hit up CVS to get a visor. Visors/hats are absolutely necessary for rainy runs! The brim is like an umbrella for your face, saving you from squinting and keeping your hair from tying itself in wet tangly knots.   

I can only think of one really bad rain-run experience: Cross Country Regionals at Van Cortlandt Park my senior year. It poured all night and all morning, through our warm-up and as we lined up for the gun. The race started with two tight laps around a baseball field that was more of a foot-deep swamp, churned beyond recognition by a couple hundred of the East Coast’s most competitive distance runners. We were so muddy afterwards that a teammate and I took over a gas station bathroom to attempt to wash ourselves for the long ride back to Boston. I don’t think the station manager was too pleased…

Are you a rainy-run fan? Or more of a tentative treadmiller when it gets too wet outside?

PS – I promise you an AMAZING Weekend Report once I get pictures. It involves a wedding in Vail…In the mean time, enjoy the rain!