I have cancelled runs when I see an ominous cloud in the sky, and, living in Melbourne, there are often ominous clouds in the sky. I have successfully evaded running in the rain for some time.
It has been a hectic day at work, imagine 24 four and five year old children on a rainy day stuck inside, need I say more?? Consequently, I left work late and had no time for a gym session before school pickup. No matter I chirpily thought to myself I'll run laps of the footy oval at Hunter's training tonight. Great plan. Smile smugly at coming up with plan B and marvel at how flexible I am.
It IS cold, but I took precautions...fluffy headband to cover ears....check. Three layers of tops....check. Gloves for chilly hands....check. Comfy slippers to keep in the car for when I finish running....check.
I am SO prepared.
I hop out of the car and watch my son and husband run off to the team. I click on my heart rate monitor and start on my first lap of the grassy oval.
I should stop here and point out, we have had about three days of rain. The footy oval is not of Olympic standard....in fact it could double as a horse paddock when junior footballers aren't kicking balls randomly across the surface. A lush carpet it is not, it's more like the rental share house carpet with strange odours and several layers of cigarette burns.
Two steps into the run and I hear squish. About a nano second after that I feel the creeping cold wetness caressing my foot through shoe and sock, about the same time a smell not unlike a mixture of wet earth, wet dog and wet cowpat hit my nose. Gross.
I trudge on, trying to find the driest parts of the ground, a bit like finding the driest parts of the ocean really. I could feel mud flicking up behind me. Instantly my head was saying STOP! You don't DO wet running! Yuk it's all muddy! You are going to STINK and be so cold.....
and then I JFDI......Just Freaking Did It.
My shoes are wet already, My aim was to run for the hour, I was here already, might as well do it. Was I not the woman who ran Tough Mudder in January? Now THAT was some mud.
Checking my GPS after every couple of laps, I was doing well. At about kilometre 4 ( 10 laps of the oval)....it rained. That good old Melbourne rain, not quite a mist, not really a downpour, just constantly irritating misty soaking rain.
I was over it. I'm cold. I'm squishing. I have mud all up my back and legs. I stink of mud and now it is raining. Why the hell am I doing this to myself?
Then the lightbulb flashed over my head.....
I LOVE RUNNING.That's why. I love moving, I love being outside and running, feeling the breeze, seeing how far I can go. I love the rhythm my breath goes into with my feet, I love the thinking time or chatting time depending on whether I'm running alone or with others. I love hearing the beat of my feet against the ground, I love the warmth that spreads throughout my whole body. I love the feeling of flying when it is a good run, I like the feeling of overcoming when it is a not so good run.
Mind you, it took me another 2 laps before Brains Trust here figured that out. I'm not running for time, I'm not running for places or sheep stations or recognition. I'm running because I love it.
My whinges blew away like the misty rain. I wiped the face of my watch to check on progress for time to time but most of the time, in my head I was Gene Kelly, tap dancing away like a fool without his gumboots on.
I was running in the rain and I was hap hap happy again.
And the bestest of best bits of all about running in the rain? Coming home to a gloriously hot bubble bath to restore the pink into your toes and the molten syrupy relaxation in my muscles.
Now, I know, the next time it rains, I will most likely hesitate. I'll consider cancelling the run. I'll have the same excuses lining up like an army in my head. However, I've done it now. I survived. I am no longer a Rain Run virgin.
And exactly how far can one person run in sodden muddy joggers, soaked running gear and on numb legs during a one hour footy training session?
Well, about 10 kilometres, and still have energy to tap dance back to the car.