2011-06-09

Caught in the Rain

Yesterday was my first experience of year being caught in a surprise rain storm while running. The storm blew in fiercely and suddenly. I was wearing my absolute lightest running clothes: compression shorts and a dry-fit sleeveless shirt. When the rain came down, this material proved to be ideal for wet weather conditions. The shirt was light enough that, even though it was soaked and saturated with rain water, it didn't pull down on my body as I ran.

The compression shorts, though, were the real winners here. I have mentioned them before as part of the tools. They certainly aren't necessary tools, but they provide some important advantages over other shorts you might choose.

First, as mentioned, they are impervious to rain. Even if they become fully saturated, they are skin-tight and therefore do not weigh you down as you run. Second, they are a bit longer than traditional running shorts, which means you can avoid the usual distance running cat-calls. This is not a huge factor for me, but it does come into play from time to time. Third, you can use them as a base-layer when it's cold outside. Fourth, chicks dig 'em! (Well... at least chicks who are into runners...)

Now, when it started to rain, I was about ten minutes into a forty-minute easy run. Especially on an easy day like yesterday, I could have easily made the choice to turn around and hurry home. Instead, I laughed, shrugged, and carried forward. This is kind of important if you plan on entering a road race of any kind.

Part of the fun of road racing is that you can't predict the weather eighteen weeks in advance. September 25th might be an incredibly hot day, or an incredibly cold one. It might be windy, or rainy, or snowy. We cannot know this for sure, beyond a few days in advance. By that time, you will have spent your registration money, booked a hotel, made plans, established a comprehensive blood-glucose-management strategy (or maybe that's just me...), and mentally committed to not merely running in the marathon, but trying your level best to run a great one....

You can't let a little rain get in your way. You have to be prepared to run in any conditions Mother Nature will throw at you - and she could throw some pretty terrible conditions at you. Prepare yourself for this eventuality by embracing all the weather conditions you face this summer. If it's rainy and windy, get out there anyway. If it snows, put a sweatshirt on and laugh. Humans have survived much worse conditions than 2-4 hours in bad weather. We are resilient. Our forefathers subjected themselves to all kinds of hell to provide for their families - and that means us!

Let's make our ancestors proud.