Raining Man

Motivating yourself to do something when you wake up is hard. Even making coffee, the snooze alarm’s Kryptonite, can be difficult.  When you have to get up for exercise it’s harder.  When that exercise is outside in the rain, simply putting one foot on the bedroom floor is cause for celebration.

I recently completed a 10 week running course to get back into shape, and I am now able to shuffle forward continuously for 50 minutes at a time.  As I neared the end of training I started planning for the literal “next step” which would involve a basic workout being thrown in with the running schedule.  This new plan started two weeks ago, and even though I’ve been up on the workouts and cross training (video of “me” on the elliptical), I’ve been falling behind on the running.  Something about blizzards and polar vortexs made that part a little more difficult.

Miraculously Mother Nature lifted her polar jet stream northward and the weather showed a chance for me to get back on the road for this morning.  7/45 degrees.  Almost clear roads.  And rain.  Rain starting sometime in the morning.  As I planned my attack last night I set my alarm for 6:45, hoping to get out and squeeze in my run before the rain set in.  Of course, best laid plans rarely come to fruition.

If it's AM, it's early.

This morning when I woke up at 6:43 the first thing I did was grab my phone and shut off the impending alarm.  I didn’t want to wake my girlfriend, AND I thought I might get away with a little more sleep, since I couldn’t hear any rain falling.  The tiny active voice in my head was losing to the loud slumber voice, and I started drifting back to sleep…

“You should check the radar.”

Fine tiny active voice, I’ll open the radar app and see OH MY GOD….

Although it was currently dry, an iron curtain of rain was approaching from the West.  And judging by the speed and direction, it would get to where I live exactly as I finished my run.  That was if I started running…five minutes ago.

Artist's Rendition of Approaching Rain

Anyone who has had to do anything in a hurry in the dark knows how that works out.  Countless furniture run-ins, mismatching clothes, missing equipment, a silent “I can’t wake my partner” blind panic that takes twice as long as it would if you just turned on the lights and said “sorry, just a second.”  But after being on the other side of “lights on during sleep” we all know why we leave it dark.

Five minutes later, loaded up with my running clothes, shoes, and trusty headphones and phone with music and running app loaded and ready, I took the house key off the keychain, Health Card out of the wallet, tucked them in and stepped outside.  After two weeks of -400 degree coldness skewering my throat the “warm” air felt like I was breathing a cozy blanket enveloping my lungs with life giving oxygen.  I took my first steps and headed out for my run.

One reason I like to run in the morning is because it gets the exercise out of the way.  Sometimes running at the track I’m really only half awake, so I’m not overly conscious of the fact that my body would rather be doing anything other than running.  Another reason I run that early is because in the winter there aren’t many places you can run without needing spikes or snowshoes.  That usually leaves the road, and the less oncoming traffic you have to deal with when you’re just trying to get exercise the better.

Road Runner

After five minutes of running, avoiding the run-off puddles and still icy spots on the road edges, I felt it.  Drip.  Maybe it was just sweat?  Drop.  Drip drip.  Drop.  Drop drop drop drop drop drop…

…the rain was already here.  And although a little rain never really hurt anybody, any runner will tell you, if you’re not dressed “properly” for the weather it can make the last 90% of your journey that much more of a “let’s get through it” instead of a “I’m bettering myself and I LIKE it” moment.  Thankfully just as I headed out I grabbed my outer “just in case it rains” layer, which breathes like a plastic bag with holes stabbed in it, but does a good job keeping the damp out.  And so I soldiered on.

30 minutes later I turned the final corner back to my home, shirt soaked, shorts soaked, shoes so full of water they could support a small pondish ecosystem, and for some reason a right knee that thought movement was the last thing it should be doing.  For anyone who’s run in the rain before, you know that feeling of turning the key, stepping into the house, and peeling off the spongy layers like a crab molting underwater.  It’s horrible and wonderful at the same time.  And it begs for an immediate response…

…the world’s…greatest…shower.  I’ve been covered in mud, sweat through to the other side of my body in the summer, five-days-of-bathing-in-a-lake-while-camping dirty, but there’s something about taking a shower after you’ve worked out in the rain that feels like angel tears massaging the filth away.  Glorious.

Like Liquid Pixie Dust

And there’s a different feeling of accomplishment when you finish running in the rain.  It’s one thing to motivate yourself to get out and run.  It’s another to do it before 7 or 6 in the morning.  But if you can run before dawn in the rain, you can pretty much do anything.  Well, you feel that way.  So long as it involves shuffling along fighting oncoming traffic while getting wet, I think I can handle it.

As for my prep, I’ll pay closer attention to my equipment.  That Health Card I grabbed?  Library card.  At least I’d have something to read on the way to the hospital. sports

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