Last October, when Ingrid and I were running the Somerset 8k, she told me that long distance runners should avoid getting their shoes wet at all costs because it weighs them down. At the time I thought such a rule couldn't apply to me, that I'd never run any sort of distance where that could matter. Turns out, I was wrong.
As promised, I would run yesterday morning, rain or shine. And, let me tell you, there was no shine anywhere in site. There was only rain. Unlike some people, though, I actually love to run in the rain. But I do know it can make a run more difficult, and I had never done it for longer than six or seven miles. Without hesitation, I dressed up in my brightest running gear (to bring a little shine to the morning), mapped a route into Maryland and back. And I peaced out. I took a before picture that I am unable to share with you due to technical difficulties.
I ran the first three or four miles and everything was pretty normal. My feet were damp but not soaked, and I was safe on a sidewalk, and the only real challenges were the steep rolling hills of Massachusetts Ave. Somewhere around mile four, it became impossible to avoid puddles. They were everywhere and jumping over them was fruitless. I avoided them as best I could but my shoes became pretty quickly drenched in water. My feet were all soggy and slushy and my legs were carrying noticeably more weight. I would do this for eight more miles.
Then it got even more wild. I came to the intersection of Mass Ave and Goldsboro road and it was byebye sidewalk. I have driven on Goldsboro Road many times and had a slight suspicion that there wasn't a sidewalk but I initially used google maps to create this route and I assumed that google's walking directions would take into account the presence of sidewalks and would not let me walk on a road where they don't exist. I was very wrong. Not only were there no sidewalks, there were also places where there was no shoulder. Or where there was a small shoulder on one side and absolutely none on the other so I would zig-zag back and forth, choosing to run on whichever side I was less likely to be killed on. Keep in mind that it was dark and rainy. And know that this is a curvy road on which cars drive upwards of 40 or 45 miles per hour. And it is surrounded by woods so there is no chance of running alongside it. After crossing River Road, it was a little better and I didn't have to do my little zig-zagging routine. There were pretty wide shoulders on parts and, when there weren't, there were grassy yards I could run in. It was very hilly, though, so this was still no picnic. And, the grass was so full of water that every step I took was a sloshy, wet, mess. My legs continued to be splattered with mud but since I was practically taking a two hour long shower, I There were many times that I contemplated giving up and just slip and sliding down someone's front yard. That wet and slimy grass was oh so tempting.
This was, hands down, the most intense run I have ever done. I wish I had the pictures to prove it. The conditions were wild but whatever. The big accomplishment, and the intensity, is that I kept going and I ran twelve miles through it. Had all twelve been like the ones on Goldsboro, I might be passed out somewhere at the bottom of someone's natural slip and slide but they weren't and I eventually made it back to civilization. And, by civilization, I mean sidewalks. When I got home, there were people digging holes on my street and the power was out. I took these few pictures with Josh's camera and then passed out.
It'd be nice to think I don't have more pictures because I was smart enough to not even bring my phone on this run with me. Because DUH! It was pouring the whole time. But, no, not that smart. I brought my phone, in my little arm band (which I thought was waterproof), covered by a plastic baggy. But it still got wet. It is semi-functional but the home button doesn't work and I can see little bubbles of water under the screen. So I have turned it off and buried it in a pile of dry rice. The idea of running twelve miles without my little Nike Plus friend telling my my speed and distance every mile is unfathomable. But the sad part is it didn't even occur to me not to bring her. I am way too reliant on technology. So maybe I'm not as intense as burly as i thought I was. Or maybe I am more so because I may have sacrificed hundreds of dollars just to monitor my run. The verdict is still out.
There are far more beautiful things in this world than iPhone's though so I'm not letting it get to me. Running in the rain is one of them. And sleeping in the mountains is another. I'm off to do the later of the two and the sun is shining. Hopefully it will be as intense, but much less wet, than yesterday. Here is a preview of what's to come in celebrating Josh's birth!