Monday, April 14, 2014

How To Run in the Rain

Since it's not too cold, I open the window before I go to bed to better hear the sound of falling rain. Who doesn't like that sound when you're warm and cozy in bed?

Not me, that's who
But since I run in the mornings, an open window is a double-edged sword. Waking up to the sound of rain falling when you know you have to go and run makes you feel anything but warm and cozy. It's already hard to get out of bed in the morning, you know?

I stand at the front door, watching ripples appear in the nearest puddle to gauge how hard the rain is coming down. In my mind, a vicious battle rages between the "can" and "can't do" parties. Well, as I've said before, it's less a battle than it is a massacre. The "can't do" party is loud, angry, and creative in how it tears apart the "can" attitude.

But after the carnage ends and the dust settles, "can" is bruised, bleeding, and unmoved. I step out of the front door, and the first rain drops ping off the brim of my hat.

To begin running in the rain, you start running. This first part isn't too different.

Avoid the puddles, watch for cars, and count the seconds in between lightning and thunder. On my run, the seconds in between go from eight to seven. Uh oh.

My skin, already slick from the downpour, shivers as the wind whips and blows the rain sideways. In the rain, a runner is an exposed nerve. You feel everything more. The clothes soaked and shifting on your back, the heaviness of your muscles, the feeling of your stride. You cannot zone out; life is literally throwing cold water into your face.

Pictured: running in the rain
Under the orange light of a rain-streaked streetlight, I see another runner approach. Her head is bowed, shoulders hunched, and feet moving. If she speaks to me as she passes, I cannot hear anything. The nearby river is coughing loudly as it drinks the storm. It, too, cannot stop running.

Because we cannot zone out, runners should love the rain. Because we cannot zone out, there is something liberating about running during a downpour.

Adversity wakes us up to why we started doing this in the first place. Despite the heaviness of my clothes, I increase my pace. Despite the cold dampness of the air, I begin breathing more deeply. This is hard, but that's why I run. This is uncomfortable, but that's why I run.

I pass under a bridge, and suddenly the ground is dry. Suddenly the sound of rain becomes more distant, as if heard through an open bedroom window by half asleep ears. In the shock of this new silence, I manage a chuckle before springing back into the gray curtain of early morning rain, where lightning once again blanches my path.

The rain tapers off as my run does. I reach the front door again, and though I do not know it now, I will know later that this liberated feeling is fleeting. It has to be, or it wouldn't be so magical. The next time I hear rain upon waking, the sinking disappointment will surface again. Running is hard enough, and now I have to do it in the rain?

Then, on that future rainy day, at the end of that run, I will know again what all runners should know. Running in the rain isn't something we have to do, it's something we get to do. That's the second, and last, step: remember that it's an experience uniquely ours.

No comments:

Post a Comment