Friday, October 19, 2007


because you never know what you're going to get, to paraphrase the wise Forest Gump. Today was one of those days.

And you've heard it said that God never gives us more than we can handle. I also like to believe that when we have challenges to face, the test is also in how we handle them. Same goes for running, or any long training workouts. The purpose is to not only see how fast or far we can go but to see how we are going to handle ourselves while out there. Today was one of those days.

Severe weather had hit our area, and many other parts of the Midwest, overnight, leaving many without power, downed trees, ruined homes. But the weather people said no more rain would be likely until at least noon today. They were wrong.

It was warm when I got up, still in the 60s, but very windy. Still, I thought it might be another shorts day. So I dressed in shorts and a long sleeved technical T, but as soon as I stepped out the door, I realized the temperature must have dropped. A quick check told me the temperature was now in the 50s with a 17-20 mph wind. So, a wardrobe change was in order. Back to tights and short sleeves with my hoodie wick-away. Only the wick-away had a broken zipper. :( Instead, I grabbed a lightweight zip up sweatshirt, figuring I could always take it off if I got too warm. After all, it wasn't going to rain until at least noon. They were wrong.

When the mist started hitting the windshield on my drive to the park, I had a fleeting thought to call the run off, wait to until tomorrow. The sky was dark and gray. It was already 8 am and the street lights were still on. Still, it probably would cleqr up, because after all, it wasn't going to rain until at least noon.

Out of convenience, I had decided to do my last long run before the half on the 28th on Friday instead of Saturday. But an emergency project had come up at work with a new client that was going to require many hands and many hours of work to complete on time. I had already planned to take Friday off work with many attorneys out either at a retreat or in trial, so I didn't want to let the possibility of a little mist change my running plans, because, after all, it wasn't going to raun until at least noon. And now I would be working Saturday, if not Sunday, so there was no turning back. Besides, part of me needed to be out there and part of me wanted to be out there.

When I got to the park, I knew I would be out there alone again today, because everyone else would be working. It also meant the workers would still be working on the bridge over the path, so I was going to have to maneuver through their equipment and the mess they still had to clean up before next week's race. What I didn't expect was the huge flooded area on the path, with one of the workers trying to shovel off the mud that had obviously washed down the hill and onto the path. But the flooded part! Yikes, no way did I want to ruin my shoes in that. Then I noticed someone had conveniently placed stepping stone boards from one end of the huge puddle to the other, so I used that as a bridge, making my way over the water without saturating my shoes. And at this point, it was still just misting some so it felt a little refreshing on my face, since I had also not worn a hat, thinking it would be too windy. Because, after all, it wasn't going to rain until at least noon.

Sometime between my first and second walk breaks, that thought that it "wasn't going to rain until at least noon" started changing. They were wrong. It was raining. Now. Hard. I was still within reach of turning back. But no, it won't last that long, I'm sure. I was wrong.

It rained, lightly, then hard, but steady, and sometimes blowing in the face. It rained the whole time I was on the river path. It rained coming off the path, now harder and blowing more being out in the open. I decided to put my hood up, not wanting to catch cold, although I wasn't cold. I considered a lot of things: do I want to turn around at 9, 9.5, 10 or beyond? Again, I reminded myself that I needed and wanted to be out there. Keep going, at least to the 1 hour mark, and then see where you are.

At one hour, it was still raining, harder now. Cars going by were spraying me with more water, but I hardly felt the difference. My shoes were starting to feel wet though, as the puddles were becoming deeper and more frequent. Running on one side of the road too caused water to run off from the other side, so I was now splashing with every step. I still was in fairly good spirits, nothing was hurting too much, and I was already on the return trip.

I changed my route slightly, hoping to add a little more distance without taking me too far off course, but the slant of the road, the puddles, and the nonstop traffic soon sent me down a dirt road leading back to the park road. At this point, it was just don't think. Keep going until the next break. Keep loose. Don't think.

Coming off the unpaved road onto paved, I had a bad twinge in my hip/groin area and thought for a moment I would walk. Oh no, its raining much too hard to stop now. So I continued on, and on the next walk break loosened up the hip and that seemed to help. I had a short way to go to get back to the river path, so again, I willed myself not to think of anything else. Just the path. I know I was checking my watch more frequently at this point, but I never felt a need to stop, and the rain was a good motivator. Once I got to the river path, the next thing to think of was the bridge, then the bend in the road, then the flooded area, then the road, then the park.

So that's how it went. I didn't allow myself to think of being done, just getting to the next part of the run. From the bridge to the end of the path is probably the hardest part of the run because you know you are almost done but it doesn't seem to come fast enough. In hot weather, most of this is unshaded too, and on a rainy day like today, it would mean getting pelted from the wind and rain.

When I came to the flooded area, I found more of the path was now flooded, so I had to wade through a section before coming to the stepping stone path I had used earlier. But the water here too had risen some, so walking across the pieces of wood was almost like walking on water, as they swayed and slid in the mud. Just past here was my last walk break and I wanted to be done in the worst way. I still had about a half mile to go, but now had another problem. I had to find a bathroom quick! They've added a new playground section at the park with bathrooms there, so I was glad to come across that. But it was muddy and unpaved around the area yet. Still I decided it was necessary to stop. I had a few more minutes to go.

But to quote Forest Gump again, "I don't feel like running anymore. I think I'll just go home." So I did.

Riding home, I was listening to a local talk show on the radio and the topic that day was "Do you have bad neighbors?" Well, you know the answer to that. I just had to call in and give my account of my recent experience with the jerk next door. I wonder if he heard it??

I was completely drenched when I got home, but I'll tell you what, acid rain is SO nice for the hair and skin!

And another tip to remember when you're shoes are wet? Take out the insoles and stuff with newspaper, changing it as it gets wet. It helps your shoes dry faster and hold their shape. And that's all I have to say.


Flo said...

Girl, you have my admiration!! I don't know that I would have continued on in the face of such weather. Good for you. Now, have a chocolate :)

bunnygirl said...

Great job! I won't usually start running if it's raining, although I'll continue on if it starts once I'm out there and committed.

You earned that chocolate! :-)

jahowie said...

You are hardcore!! :-) It was very windy here yesterday too, so I just ran on the treadmill.

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

That was some serious stuff!!

I would have quit, no doubt in my mind. But you kept on going. Good for you!!

Sunshine said...

I'm just going to keep hoping that training run in the rain doesn't prove to be prophetic of the weather for the 28th. But if it is you sure are practiced up at running in rain. Good job.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

I like the rain but the giant mud puddles, not so much. Did you get lots of "you must be crazy, lady" looks? I love those!! Makes me feel strong, like no one else would be out there running in these conditions but me. Yeah, you did it!

WADDLER26.2 said...

I wondered where our rain had went to that we were supposed to have. It was dry for my run. Way to hang in there. Sorry.

Sunshine said...

Sweet Pea here was impressed with that good-looking box of chocolates.

Clare King said...

Thanks for sharing your pictures of the race course. I am coming from Alaska, so it is helpful to have an idea what I am getting into!! Looks like fun. Thanks again, Clare King