Blessed Are Those Who Can Choose their Long Run Day

I was cursed with running in the cold rain

My first clue that this weekend’s long run would be terrible appeared during our monthly board meeting for the Richmond Road Runners Club. We had a race scheduled for Sunday, my long run day, and the race directors expressed their dismay about the weather forecast.

“What?” all of the officers said, as we frantically took out our phones and looked at our weather apps. There it was. 100% chance of rain, with highs only in the upper 30s, with the possibility of a wintry mix to start. 

Oh, no. 

As a hospital-based healthcare provider, I often have to work weekend shifts. It’s usually no big deal… until it is. Saturday was definitely the better weather day, and also a day I was scheduled to work, but there was no way I could swing a 14-mile run before or after. 

And besides, I belong to the Church of the Sunday Long Run. After so many years of running, my body seems programmed to run on this day!

As I watched so many of my friends post on social media that they had moved their Sweetheart 8k to a virtual race, I was super jealous that I did not have the option to move my long run to a better weather day. 

I woke up Sunday morning without an alarm and to the sound of a driving rain beating on the windows of my bedroom. Yikes. 

I looked at my weather app radar to see just how bad these rain bands were. There were a few more areas of red and yellow that needed to move through, and I tried to convince myself that a steady, lighter rain wouldn’t be that bad. 

Finally, I sucked it up and drove to the home base for my run. The rain seemed to have lightened up a bit, thankfully. 

Choosing clothes for cold and rainy runs can be challenging, especially when there is wind involved. It was cold enough for gloves, but I knew it would be futile to wear them. The gloves would just get soaked, and I’d need to take them off anyway. At least if I didn’t have them on for the run, I could put them on for the drive home to help warm up again.

I chose well, Long tights, a singlet, a long sleeve over, and a water-resistant jacket on top. A visor to keep the water out of my eyes. My hydration pack was filled to the max with water and with adequate snacks and salt chews. 

The run was definitely a chipper. I tried to run on the parts of my route that I liked the least first, then ending on more pleasant roads and trails. 

I ran without music, oddly. I started without it, and I simply didn’t find the need to use it.

I listened to the birds. I saw multiple blue jays. I interrupted a cardinal convention. I’ve never seen so many red birds together at one time! And I saw a pileated woodpecker. They are massive!

I counted cars on each road I ran on. It’s often a good distraction. I was surprised by the sheer number of people out on the roads today. 

I encountered very few people on my route. The driving rain and wind and cold meant most people were smart and stayed indoors. 

I was full-on crazy, and I began to truly feel this way.

By mile 7, my midway point, I could no longer feel my legs or my hands. I started to wonder if this is how my patients with neuropathy feel. My hands were so stiff that I couldn’t even open my salt tabs later in my run. And I just gave up on waving at cars who moved around me. It simply hurt too much to open my hands. But the leg numbness was welcome, even if it meant that they felt heavier than normal. 

If I dared take a walk break, I got cold really quickly. I was better off just running.

This discomfort is just temporary, I kept telling myself. 

I exited the last trail portion of my run, and I’d almost reached mile 11. Only a 5k left! We eat 5ks for breakfast, I tell myself. (This is a favorite mantra among my running crew.) 

I underestimated the remaining 3 miles I thought I’d planned out well enough in my head. I had to do a couple of out-and-backs on my return to home base to get the mileage, and then I actually hit the 14-mile mark just over a tenth of a mile from my car. 

Once I got back to my car, I took off my wet jacket and long sleeve shirt, which were dripping, they were so wet, and I tried to dry off a bit. I turned the heat on full blast. I donned my gloves. My windows immediately fogged, but I wanted full heat more than clear windows. No defrost setting for me.

I suddenly recalled that the power had gone out right before I left home for my run. As I drove closer to my neighborhood, I was relieved to see some lights on! And, yes, power had been restored to my house.

I was so grateful! I was ready to eat leftovers and get a hot shower, both of which required power!

I finally warmed up, and now I’m glad the run is over. 

Coaching and training with a team, we tell our runners that we can’t change the weather. We will run in all situations except for major thunderstorms. We must adapt to the conditions. So adapt I did on Sunday. 

Running in the cold rain makes you 100% more badass than those who don’t. It’s science! (Just kidding.)

My less than excited face before my 14-mile run in the cold rain. Photo by author.


Have you ever had to run in less-than-ideal conditions? I’d love to hear about it! 

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness, speaking about the human experience, and in fighting for social justice. Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Boco Gear, SaltStick, SPIbelt, Goodr, Noxgear, and Switch4Good.

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