You’re Only Wet Because of the Rain

I intended to run 30 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday this weekend. Or maybe a 25/25. Whichever. This was supposed to be my last weekend of intense training before I start to taper for my 50 mile race on May 9th.

Well, lo and behold I got a little too dehydrated on Friday night for various reasons (some of them legal, some of them not so much, but all of them in the name of self care), and even though I was asleep by 11pm with all of my running stuff prepared for 30 miles the next day, once my head hit the pillow it didn’t want to rise for a really really long time–like, until 9 the following morning. And I so didn’t feel like starting a 30 mile run at 9am–it’s just too late for me. Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day, too. I actually ended up running 4 that afternoon–in my sports bra and shorts. It was that fucking sunny and nice out.

Alright, so we’ll do this double-long run shit on Sunday and Monday. It will be fine.

Insert – Rain. Lots of rain.

Not flooding rain, and not just a drizzle, but a steady stream of slightly more annoying than just light rain, rain. Dumb rain.

I’ve always told myself that it doesn’t matter if it’s raining when I need/want to run–I should just run anyway. After all, come race day, the race won’t be canceled just because of some water. It’s good training to run in the rain, just like it’s good to run into the wind. And actually, I’m not completely sure of what people’s aversion is to running in the rain. Getting wet? Um, hello? Don’t you sweat? Can’t you just get dry later?

I remember this summer when I was training some high schoolers with Team M3 to run the Chicago marathon, we were scheduled to run a 14 miler one Saturday. We were actually supposed to run it the previous Saturday, but it had been lightening, so we rescheduled. This following Saturday, it was still pouring, but no life-threatening lightening. So we ran. I had a 3 mile bike ride to where we started, and by the time I got there, I was completely drenched. Not just sheets of rain–we’re talking fucking quilts. Heavy. Constant. Pouring. Soaked.

It was so much fun. The youth made a game out of it–try to jump into the middle of every puddle. Most of these puddles were calf-to-knee deep. Whatever. They were already soaked. Why not have fun?

So while the youth were having a blast–splashing, shouting, laughing, and stomping around in this 14 mile downpour, what are the adult mentors doing? We’re running in the grass trying to avoid the puddles. Huh?!? Because we might get our soaking shoes soaking wet? And while all of us adult people were smiling and laughing at the youth, not one of us jumped in on the fun.

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At what point does this shift? Does it have something to do with a forced sense of responsibility? Have we lost the sense of why jumping in puddles is fun?

What are we hoping to hold onto by trying to keep dry in a downpour?

So Sunday–it was raining–and I was like, fuck it, I need to do this long run. Plus, I had ran those 14 miles in a downpour this past summer, so why not 30 in a light shower? Or, how about 20? As I set out to do 30, I knew that distance wasn’t going to happen, so I settled on 20 with the thought that I’d do another 20 or 30 the next day.

The first 10 miles were absolutely fun. Running in the rain makes me feel like a bad ass and a free-loving kid all at the same time! I was going a steady pace, and I took to my strategy for how I got through this past Chicago winter–don’t resist the weather, just accept it for what it is and celebrate it with every step.

And that worked for 10 miles.

Then I turned around and headed back up North to my house.

And then I realized there was wind, and now I was running into it. Plus, the wind was carrying the raindrops special delivery right into my face. It was cold, windy, rainy, gray. And hard to keep my eyes open, too.

I change my mind. Running in the rain fucking sucks.

How easy it is to instantly change your perspective.

I finally, finally got done with the 20 in a time of 2:46. Not bad. Besides, I honestly think running 20 miles in the wind and rain is as emotionally taxing as running 30 miles in perfect weather. I’ll take it.

I was so not looking forward to doing another 20 in the rain this morning. So not looking forward to it to the point that I had packed all my shit up in preparation to get to my gym by 5:30am, so I could run 20 miles on the dreadmill. How. Boring. When I woke up (an hour late, but still an hour before the sunrise–as if you could see the sun in this gloomy weather), it sounded like the rain had let up a little.

Yeah!

Just kidding. By the time I got out of the door, it was still raining. I ended up doing 11.5. In the rain. Again.

I’m trying to stay positive about all of this. I was telling myself earlier that I could do another 8 tonight, maybe when it stops raining. After the past two outings, I just can’t handle any more drops in my face. But now I see it’s going to rain (and snow–WTF?) for another two days. This hating-of-the-rain development in my life is something I’m really curious about. Shouldn’t I just be able to do what I do–enjoy myself and be prepared for running in any kind of weather–and not be so affected by the elements?

One thing that I did keep telling myself during the last few miles of the miserable-ish 20, is that at least my eyelashes weren’t freezing together–something I experienced while doing a 26 miler on Christmas this year.

That thought helped me to pick up my pace for a bit, until I thought, “yeah, my eyelashes were freezing together, but at least I was dry.”

Seriously. What is this aversion to wetness? Even when I was soaked and running in the last mile of the 20, I was still dodging puddles–skipping around barely visible pools of water in shoes that were making sloshing noises because I’ve been running in the rain for almost 3 hours. God forbid I step in that tiny puddle.

I shake my head at the absurdity of it all, and yet I smile. Although, I’m probably only able to smile now because I’m dry, drinking coffee, and I won’t be running again until Wednesday–when it’s going to be warm and sunny. At least there’s a smile shining through something.

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Chelsey, I really like the idea of not “resist[ing] the weather, just accept[ing] it for what it is and celebrat[ing]it with every step.”

    In the winter up here I so often get pissed at the world when it is pelting me in the face and seeming to resist my very standing upright, but maybe I just need to learn how to lean into it and let it hold me up or move with it.

    I also want to re-remember (how) to play in puddles. Thanks for giving me lots to think about!

    • 2

      chelseyclammer said,

      yeah. it took my 3 winters here to just learn to love it and accept it for what it is–cold. i’m going to try and apply the “love it for what it is” philosophy to other parts of my emotional life…hope it works out 🙂

  2. 3

    TBat said,

    you are tough as hell.. what? running in the rain vs running in the freakin below 20.. comon! ha ha ha….
    well, not that I prefer clichés by any means, but some people simply say it better than me:
    “There is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people”. Bill Bowerman… the crazy old coach from the rainiest state in the country.. 😉

    However, you ARE totally badass, so you can go ahead and tell Bill and me to PISS OFF!

  3. 4

    Pat Hall said,

    Been running, biking, hiking in inclement weather for years. A tip…think oatmeal (or whatever warming, visceral word). One day (~ age 10) dipping into the freezing water of the Western Springs pool was unbearable. Mad as hell (I really liked messing around in water), I pretended it was warm, mushy oatmeal. No more cold, but only for a few minutes. Learning the power of visualization & positive thoughts has helped with bone chilling, hypothermic cold that I absolutely hate. Make friends with the wind (I call it “W”) & rain…use your mind to relax, visualize & by all means have fun like a kid. Negative thoughts bring pain so challenge yourself is to stay positive for 20-30 miles. Ha! Best of luck on Ice Age…think “ice is nice”.

  4. 5

    zapros said,

    lately it’s been warm rain. much more welcoming than icy drama.


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