Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Art of Running in the Rain

Before I even opened my eyes on Saturday morning, I could hear it raining.  Usually I depend on the sound of tires on wet pavement, but not this day.  Before I even made my coffee, I put on my running gear.  That seems to be the simplest trick for getting motivated.  Once you're dressed and have your shoes on, you might as well go out and try.  Knowing that rain was likely, I'd gotten everything ready the night before.  No excuses! 

Still.  I stood on the porch, arms clasped tight around me, and watched the rain come down.  NO desire to go out in that mess.  It was chilly, it was wet, my friends had bailed.  Inside there was coffee, breakfast, more sleep.  Oh man, did I NOT want to go for a run.  Then I said to myself, “you're an endurance runner.  Endure.”  And off I went.

I ran the first mile as quickly as I could manage, to warm myself up.  It's been so hot for so long that I'd forgotten what it was like for the breeze to be cool.  Running in chilly rain is an excellent way to convince yourself to keep running.  Walk breaks are seriously uncomfortable in that kind of weather.  Almost no one was out on the greenways.  I ran at least 2 miles before I saw another person, and nearly 5 before I saw another woman.  (Probably all the women were at the gym doing Crossfit.  Tough ladies, those crossfitters.)  It was so early that my brain refused to focus on anything in particular, not even my long-run mantra. (When I run for hours by myself without music, I find a mantra helps to keep me rolling.)  No breakfast before long runs, so the churning river reminded me distinctly of chocolate milk.  That kept me distracted for a couple of miles.  I tried to compose this blog post, but couldn't keep the ideas in line.  Not that that is particularly unusual in my writing anyway.  (Yay, tangents!)  I imagined what it would feel like to be in the kind of shape that the other women runners appeared to be in.  Tried to figure out if the white shapes on the opposite bank of the river were birds or plastic bags. (Then realized that I was using that as an excuse to slow down.  Not okay, too chilly for that.) 

My running guru once told me that you could switch over to burning body fat as fuel for running within an hour or so.  Mark Sisson claims that exercising in a fasted state will help train your body to do that even quicker.  I'm not convinced.  I suspect that it takes at least two solid hours before my body starts working on its stored fuel.  Ugh.  My mental IQ is pretty decent, but my body IQ probably needs to ride on the short bus.

All in all, it was a damned good run.  Soaked to the skin by the halfway point, I felt stronger than I have since the marathon training days, and I kept up a decent pace from start to finish.  I'm not where I'd like to be as a runner, but I'm much closer than I was a couple of weeks ago.

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