Saturday, August 6, 2011

~Stormy Weather...~ (you have to sing it in your head!)

With the temperatures hovering in the low 70's during my usual running time, I've been chomping at the bit to get some rainy runs in.   Puddles have become my favorite thing recently, and I've made wet roads my bitch (pardon my french) since the unfortunate blister incident back in January, so with the warm weather came the desire to get out and get wet.  I had tried to catch rain storms a few times over the last few weeks, to little success.  Since my house is in a relatively heavily wooded lot, the water dripping from the trees frequently make me think it's raining and some mornings I have been all excited until I get out on the road and realize that there isn't any actual rain.  One recent run had some light sprinkles for about a mile but it stopped and then it was just hot and humid out, which isn't the most pleasant running environment.

"...and I start to complain when there's no rain..."  -No Rain, Blind Melon

I would finally get my wish on July 28th.  I had planned on running maybe 4-6 miles that morning, and was up at 4:30AM to give myself plenty of time to get up and around and hit the road before work.  The rumble of thunder could be heard as I walked downstairs and I was a little sad, as I tend to chicken out when there's lightning about (hey that rhymes!).  I spent my usual 15-20 minutes checking email, the weather map (which showed plenty of rain cloud) and the local news and realized i hadn't heard any thunder since coming down.  It was time.

I could hear the rain in the trees and it seemed like a good pour, so I quickly grabbed my running gear.  I don't particularly like running in wet shirts, so after a short debate with myself I decided to go sans-shirt.  This is something i wouldn't have even considered in years past, as a big fat guy who was sensitive about how disgusting I looked.  I'm still relatively heavy, but after all the weight I dropped last year the idea of going outside, running no less, without a shirt was a semi-comfortable option.  It was still slightly nerve wracking, but it was about 5:00AM and still nice and dark so that gave the extra push I needed to head out in just my shorts and calf sleeves.

Anyway, I threw my phone in an arm band to track my run (I am participating in a study ad need to know how far I am running) and headed out into the....  surprisingly NOT rainy weather?  Damn.  Apparently the trees fooled me again and I silently promised to chop each one down with a rusty hack saw for their treachery.

I headed out on the roads nonetheless, and while it was pretty humid it was a pleasant run.  I was once again sad that the rain had apparently stopped before I got out there, but it was a nice comfortable pace so it eased the pain.  After about a mile things would change.

The drips started in an area where I assumed they were just coming from the trees.  I cursed the trees there too, for having the audacity to tease me so.  As i ran though, I noticed it was starting to get a little misty.  Getting better!  After a few minutes I found myself in a gentle sprinkle, which brought my spirits up a lot, but again it felt like a tease.  Then I heard it coming.

Getting up near the businesses at the junction of Parkview Avenue and Oakland Drive I heard this weird roaring sound from the trees to the west, and then it got louder and I realized it was coming from the roofs of the buildings across the street.  "Here it comes!" I quietly gushed as I ran.

And then it hit.  The weather went from gentle sprinkle to full-on downpour in about 5 seconds.  The rain was nice and cool on my skin, which had gotten a little clammy from the heat and humidity.  I felt a huge smile spread across my face as I let my cares go by and live in the feeling of the rain coming down on me.  I was so glad I had decided to leave without a shirt.  I could feel every drop as it hit me and it felt like a tiny cold massage.  In a shirt you can tell you're getting rained on, but all you get is a wet, heavy shirt.  Without the shirt I could feel so much more and it reminded me of the first time i had run without shoes: there was so much more of the world to experience by removing one of our protective layers and it was an incredibly freeing experience.

I must have looked like a compete lunatic to the cars that drove by.  Here's this guy running in a rainstorm wearing only some shorts and what look like socks with the feet cut off (I remember being a non-runner and not getting the idea of calf sleeves) and he's got this crazy grin on his face.  He must be off his nut!

It didn't take long before I realized a single problem with the joyous experience that was running in this storm: my arm band was certainly not waterproof, and if I ruined my phone because I was crazy enough to take it out in the rain I would be very sad (I essentially do everything on my phone).  so rather than make the full out and back (from where I realized this), which would have been about 4 miles, I decided to take a more direct route back home.

It was about a mile back to the house, and while the smile never left my face I was slightly worried that I would ruin my expensive piece of technology.  Cars continued to pass, their occupants no doubt wondering about my sanity (or lack thereof).  By the time I got home I was soaked to the bone and looked like I had just gone for a swim instead of a run, but the smile was bigger than ever.  My only regret was having to come in early.

Next time I won't bring my phone.

1 comment:

  1. I love running in the rain -- and the less clothes you have on, the less you have to get wet and heavy! A few months ago I had an amazing run through Harlem during what felt like a monsoon, and think I got more than a few looks from people suspecting I'd lost my mind. But then, I think that's an occupational hazard of being a smiley runner . . .