First rule of running: sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t want you to do it.
Second rule of running: if you disobey Mother Nature, prepare to suffer the consequences.
As part of my marathon training program yesterday evening had the day set for hills. The program, set by my new local running group based out of Fleet Feet Sports in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, includes two weekly workouts with all the trainees: the Saturday long run and alternating Tuesday workouts on the track or out on the hills. With my first week of track behind me, I was fully prepared to run repeats on the grueling Calvert Hill (i.e. basically a monster in hill form that I came to loathe through my training for the D.C. Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon). That was until Mother Nature decided to intervene.
I arrived at Fleet Feet store shortly before the 7 PM start, accompanied by at least twenty other runners ready to climb. When we set out the half a mile to the hill, things became interesting. According to The Capital Weather Gang, winds gusted between 50-60 miles an hour. While the feel-like temperatures earlier in the day had spiked to over 100 degrees, the strong breeze did not make the run any more comforting, albeit it did feel moderately cooler. Nevertheless, without feeling a rain drop, we trudged down to the hill on a mission to get in what we could before the impending storm hit.
We made it up the hill once.
As if hills weren’t difficult enough, the gusts and blowing sand made it challenging to stay focused and look straight ahead when running straight into the breeze. But rather than simply cutting the workout short, our run continued, just not on the hill. Instead, the group of us ran about another one mile or so south until the clouds decided to open up and literally shower us. If the breeze hadn’t kept us cool, the rain certainly did.
Typical of D.C. summers, the high heat index from the day built up so much moisture in the air that the only thing left to happen was a later day thunderstorm. Still, since we were still a mile and half from the store, where many of us had left our things, the only option was to run back. Rain may not be an ideal condition for running, but when it happens, it is definitely a motivator to keep the pace from point A to point B as fast as possible. While I cannot say I love running in the rain, a few recent accompanied runs were some of the most fun I had in memory, especially since they meant less tourists crowding the National Mall. And it still beats any run stuck inside on a moving belt with nothing to look at but the raindrops pounding against the window.
To be expected, we returned to the store drenched, a testament to our dedication and – (or some would say craziness). The evening did not go as planned, so it looks like the goal now is to do Tuesday evening’s set workout early Thursday morning. Barring no more rain, the official hill recap is pending until further notice (the rain is also to blame for the lack of photos; the one of the hill above is obviously from a much nicer jaunt up the path). Mother Nature may have successfully prolonged yesterday’s training plan, but she redeemed herself shortly after.
When I arrived home from the evening, fortunate enough to have been given a lift from a fellow runner, I spotted a double rainbow through my bedroom windows. The sight made my slippery sneakers and soggy socks worth it; I couldn’t help but smile.