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Marathon Memories

September 10, 2009

Got caught up doing stuff around the house on Wednesday night and didn’t go to bed early enough, which resulted in my not getting my sorry bottom out of bed for my easy 8-miler this morning. I reasoned that I need my beauty/migraine-prevention sleep; besides, the Lamb and the Monkey are both in school on Thursday mornings (I’m sorry, did the entire angelic host just break into the alleluia chorus?), so I figured as long as I went really s-l-o-w and took water along, or went on a watered course, why couldn’t I just run after I dropped the animals off at school?

So, after dropping the Monkey off at preschool, and some cast-offs at our local Goodwill, off I went to our beach road. Thanks to the fact that this is my second year running, I am now a wiser runner than before, and I followed some ground rules of summer running.

  1. Wear a visor.
  2. Take sunglasses along.
  3. Bring an extra shirt.
  4. Bring a change of shoes.
  5. Bring two towels.
  6. Bring a large container of ice water.
  7. Bring a hand-held water bottle.
  8. Bring flip-flops for after the run.

The hand-held I ended up not using, because the beachfront road has plenty of water fountains. The one rule I did not observe, which is especially paramount in Florida, is

Check the radar before you set out.

Why is this important, you ask? Ah, my dear friend. It’s funny you should ask. You see, I intended to run four miles south and then head back to my car. Not having a GPS strapped to my wrist (yes, I miss him), I had to go by feel, but still, that was the plan. I even forgot my stopwatch, so I was genuinely clueless as to my time and distance, and I genuinely welcomed the freedom. As I started to run south, I noticed the sun wasn’t out. Perfect. It would keep the temperature down.

Then I noticed it was more than overcast up ahead–it was getting downright cloudy. Yep, those were storm clouds. I wondered how far ahead they were, and within a few minutes knew that I would not avoid the rain if I didn’t turn around and head back. But rain itself doesn’t scare me; when you run you get wet anyway. I didn’t see lightning in the clouds, so I forged ahead. Pretty soon the cars headed northbound toward me were wet; next, the wind around me changed in direction, taste, and feel–you know how it gets before a storm. It was fantastic to be running in it, to have the freedom to know I could. Beachgoers and dog companions had to rush home, but I had no immediate need to get out of the weather–it posed no threat to me, and I kept heading into it.

It wasn’t so much that the rain started as that I ran right into it. It was, almost immediately, a hard rain, aimed at me, the kind where the raindrops hurt as they sting your skin. I had to keep my face down, in spite of the visor, to keep the drops from hitting my face. The volume of the water, and the angle of the sidewalk as it is built on a small incline from the road, was such that deep puddles had formed already; the water had actual currents on which small leaves whizzed by. My new Brooks got soaked through on their first run.

I ran on, exhilarated, getting crazy looks from drivers, remembering my run at Gasparilla, how cold and tired and discouraged I’d been, and noticing how different pouring rain feels when it comes upon you at mile 2 instead of mile 22. I didn’t turn around–I lifted my knees a little higher through the really deep puddles, and pushed on, laughing, until I got to my turnaround.

Then I headed for home. Now the wind was at my back, the water not so painful, though still coming in buckets. I heard thunder now, and my pace quickened until I got to my car, exhilarated and exhausted, just over an hour later, and, I discovered later, just short of the 7-mile mark.

It was hard to pretend to get dry from either sweat or rain as it continued to pour, but I did shuck my drenched shirt and shoes before stretching out one of my towels to sit on for the drive home.

Friday, the week’s sole rest day; Saturday, a shorter long run with some beach miles thrown in. I feel good, in the meat of training for the half, as fall advances on me and obligations pile on. This new, six-day running schedule is beginning to fit me better, like that pair of jeans you had to lie down to button on at first but that eventually fits your behind just right.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2009 11:45 pm

    I had a similar run-in-the-rain experience at the beach last week. Headed out with my hat to protect my mostly bald head from the sun. About 1/4 of the way through the run, I met the rain head on. I’m sure the folks driving were wondering which mental hospital I had escaped from.

  2. run4change permalink
    September 14, 2009 7:44 am

    It is funny, starting in a month or two, EVERY run I take will be in the rain and that will last for around 6 months. YUCK!! It is not the southern kind of rain though. It is generally not such a down pour as a cold slow rain with smaller drops.

    Also, I did not realize that you have been running for two years. I thought it was much longer. This was an neat realization.

    Another funny thing: I had a marathon abou 4 hours north of my home this weekend. It went well but when I was in the town, I saw a suburban with a very special liscense plate. It said:
    ZOOKEEPER! 🙂

  3. the Ringmaster permalink*
    September 14, 2009 2:23 pm

    Bob, that’s exactly the looks I was getting as I ran. J, that’s a great license plate! Maybe that’s what I need for my birthday: personalized plates? I’m off to read about your latest marathon.

    And yes, I’m very much a rookie at this whole running thing. I thought my inexperience would be obvious by the multitude and variety of my mistakes? 🙂

  4. run4change permalink
    September 14, 2009 4:37 pm

    Oh not obvious at all. I was thinking you were pretty much a pro. 🙂 We have been running for about the same amount of time. Cool

  5. September 14, 2009 9:22 pm

    haha i have been noticing the opposite lately – my jeans that usually are a tad loose were a bit snug this morning from the reduced mileage/slack running lately… whoops.

    glad you made it back safe in the rain storm. getting caught in bad weather is rarely fun – i get worked up wondering how bad it will get.

  6. September 16, 2009 3:40 pm

    Jason, that’s funny/not-funny that you, Mr. Ultra, have been running for such little time. That’s amazing!

    Lindsay, I’m up three pounds too. Oops!

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