Monday, May 21, 2012

Running in the Rain

I remember being a young child and watching my dad work in the rain.  Whether it was cutting up firewood or building some addition onto his magnificent, Frankenstein-like house, the rain never seemed to stop him.  When he was finished, he’d come inside, shirt and hair soaked, acting as if the inclement weather hadn’t interfered with his plans one iota.  Now when I’m outside working on something or cleaning up my yard, I head inside as soon as the raindrops start falling, thinking my dad must have had quite a bit of determination to stay out there during a storm.

I think I understand why now.

Today I ran a little over two miles in the rain.  I wasn’t going to go, but I told myself that the rain was just an excuse, and so I pushed myself and went.  It started as a light mist, but by the time I had my first mile in, it was coming down pretty hard.  My shirt was already soaked, and I figured I might as well finish what I’d started.  My clothes would be just as wet after one mile as they would after two.

Running in the rain isn’t quite the same as riding a motorcycle in the rain.  I’ve done plenty of that in my life, where each drop feels like a slightly subdued bee sting.  It’s even worse when a storm sneaks up on you unexpectedly, especially when you are wearing just a t-shirt and darker-tinted sunglasses.  Not only do you have to deal with the piercing raindrops, but you have to clean your glasses, watch for huge puddles and pooling water, and hope your tires don’t lose traction.  Not fun.  Probably the only thing worse than riding in the rain is hitting a bird, which I had the misfortune of doing a few years back.  Luckily he hit my chest and not my face, and I was wearing my riding jacket and was only going about 30 mph.  I stopped rather quickly, turned in disbelief and watched the thing flop on the ground once or twice before it died.  I can't even recall hitting a bird in a car I was driving, yet somehow I managed to hit one while riding on my motorcycle.  Very strange encounter indeed, but I digress.

No, running in the rain is quite different.  It’s very empowering, knowing that you are out there, denying yourself excuses, pushing your body to its limits while water trickles down your nose and off of your earlobes.  You still have to watch your step, as the pavement can become slippery and you run the risk of taking a dive.  It’s an added challenge, too, trying to best your last time while enduring through the pounding raindrops.  I can’t say my two-mile time was any better today than it was on Friday, and my cool-down was abbreviated significantly.  My feet seemed to also hurt at the top just below my ankle, probably because I was inadvertently altering my stride to avoid falling.

But boy did it feel good.  Not to sound too much like Rob Lowe’s character, Chris Traeger, from Parks And Recreation, but if you ever need a quick pick-me-up moment in life, especially on a dreary, rainy day, put your running shoes on and go for a little jaunt.  I promise you it’s quite exhilarating, and you'll feel like a totally different person when you've finished, knowing that, yeah, you just did that!

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