“Climate is what we expect. Weather is what we get.” –Mark Twain
As late as Friday night, the weather forecast for Saturday morning predicted drizzle and temps in the 60s. But when I woke up, it was 43 and pouring. Perfect weather for 14 miles, yes?
This is a lie–it never got above about 45.
Based on the forecast I had originally planned to wear short sleeves, but what I saw out my back door made me change into a long sleeved shirt, and at the last minute I grabbed the Columbia jacket I’d bought back in May when it looked like rain at the Cleveland half. I tossed my phone into a ziplock bag and headed out.
The route starts through a residential neighborhood, then turns onto a wide concrete path that runs alongside a major highway. Somewhere around mile five, as I ran into a 45-degree headwind, I asked myself why the hell I signed up for yet another half marathon. Even with my jacket, I was cold, and I had so far yet to go. I regretted the capris and wished I’d worn my warmer tights. The exposed skin of my shins had turned a rosy pink from the cold.
It seemed to take forever to get to the seven-mile turnaround. Long stretches on busy roads led me to make bargains with myself–things like “run to that stoplight, then rest while waiting for the crossing signal.” This strategy afforded me few walking breaks, though, since I think I encountered only four stoplights along the three-mile stretch of road.
Finally I reached seven miles at an intersection with a convenience store on the corner. Their “Fresh Tacos!” sign taunted me–I wanted nothing more than to stop for a taco. But I settled for a watermelon Gu Chomp and started the return trip.
I thought perhaps the most interesting thing I’d encounter was the cattle drive mural under the highway.
Only in Texas
But I was wrong. As I took this picture, I noticed the drizzle turning to real raindrops. And in the two minutes it took the light to change and give me a Walk signal, the raindrops got bigger and more numerous. I dropped my headphones into a ziplock and stuck it in my jacket pocket, checked that my phone was sealed in another ziplock, pulled up the hood on my jacket, and crossed at the light. By the time I hit the path, it had become a downpour. Thunder and lightning cracked in the not-so distance. For a while, as I ran up the path along the highway, I was the tallest thing around, which made me kind of nervous about the lightning. But I did the only thing I could–kept going.
They say if you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait a minute and it will change. No such luck this morning. For the next four miles, I ran through sheets of rain and the resulting ankle-deep rivers of runoff. My shoes and socks were completely saturated, and I saw no point in jumping over puddles. Did I mention it was still about 45 degrees and windy?
As I approached 12 miles, a car pulled alongside and asked if I wanted a ride back to Rogue. Damn, that was tempting. It took massive willpower to say, “Thanks, but I’m okay.” A couple of minutes later, another Rogue stopped with the same offer, and again it was tempting. I was touched that folks were looking out for us and appreciated the gesture, but I was determined to finish under my own power.
And eventually, I did, although it took me forever. My shoes squished, my gloves dripped water all over Rogue’s floor, and my entire lower half was soaked. My jacket had done a decent job repelling the worst of the rain, but my shirt was damp. One of the coaches offered me a t-shirt from their freebie pile, which I accepted gratefully. After some foam rolling and general defrosting, I activated the heated seats in my car and headed home.
On this run, I burned more than 1500 calories. So for the rest of the day, I think I will sit by the fireplace and work on correcting that deficit. So far I’ve had coffee, a breakfast taco, and three pieces of pizza. Naturally, now that I’m done, the sun is coming out and things are warming up, but I’m going to enjoy the first day of my winter break on the couch.
Did you #JFR today?
How do you recover from a long run?
What’s your favorite post-run food?