Insane in the Rain
I've been thinking about goals, and inspiration. I think that new mix CDs might be the answer. Fitnessjournal.org will create a map that tracks your fitness progress: your runs will be logged as if you were traveling across the U.S. The whole U.S. is a long way to go, though. It's 2,247 miles between my house here and the house I will move to in April. Somehow that doesn't seem like a good goal for me right now, although I suppose I could try to run that this year... don't think I could before April, though. I like the general concept, though. Perhaps I could try to "run" to Las Vegas--that's 277 miles.
My new GPS has been helping a little bit. I tried to make my out-and-back run on Sunday a full 14 miles, which meant adding a little bit at the end to make up for the dead end I hit at my turnaround point: I could only turn around, climb a cliff, or start swimming. Even though Sunday's run was by all accounts a disaster (with obstacles as diverse as big hills, high winds, mounds of seaweed, and pouring rain resulting in a very slow overall pace), it still felt good.
I started from my apartment, and headed toward the state beach by the most direct route. The road is not my favorite to run on, because a busy, high-speed stretch of it lacks a sidewalk, and the bike lane is not really wide enough to feel safe. It's also difficult because, starting from my elevation of about 140 feet, it rises to 700 feet before dropping off toward the ocean, with a very steady incline and decline--just one massive hill. The descent to the ocean is difficult, since it's over two miles of going downhill, and hard to maintain a good form. All the same, I was in a great mood by the time I crossed the Pacific Coast Highway and headed down the path to the beach--the ocean, whipped by the high winds and lit by the pre-storm sky, was a strange greenish color, and the breaking waves were thick and hit the beach heavily. It was absolutely beautiful, and the beach was almost deserted.
Mainly because it was beginning to rain. Egged on by my GPS, I ran along the beach, until I hit the dead end at 6.93 miles from home. Turning back, I realized that the rain had probably only seemed light because I was running away from the wind. Heading back upwind, however, the rain was colder and harder. Crossing the PCH and facing two miles of uphill, my resolve was definitely wavering, and the main thing that prevented me from taking out my cell phone and calling for help was a reluctance to expose it to the decidedly heavier rainfall.
My GPS again was a source of inspiration. I'd pick a sign a few hundred yard away, telling myself that I'd at least run to there before stopping. I did take a few walking breaks on the way up the hill, but they were quite short: walking is no bonus in the rain. I wanted to get home.
As I reached the curve in the road at the base of the hill, I decided to go a little extra distance--the rain had slowed to a drizzle, and a run this miserable should not be 13.9 miles. It should at least be 14. There were patches of sunshine around the city that I could see; perhaps one would come to me. I passed the turn toward home, and headed down a small hill... only to be met by an absolute downpour.
I cut my extension short, and headed for home... realizing as I did so that I'd locked myself out of the apartment. Luckily, my roommate was home. It was embarrassing, though, to have to be let in, water pouring off me in rivulets, having to explain what I'd been up to. Even though I took off shoes, socks, and hat by the door, there was still a long puddle that followed my path through the kitchen and living room. Even after wringing out each piece of clothing over the tub, puddles of water formed under where I hung them up to dry. Even my heart rate monitor, which is primarily plastic, with a 1" strip of elastic that goes around the back, was dripping wet, forming a little puddle of its own.
The kicker is, after I came out of the shower, the sun had come out. The rain stopped, and the rest of the afternoon was sunny. I had been out through nearly the entire rainstorm.
The insanity of it is, though, that I'm really proud of my accomplishment. It makes me want to run more.
And a nice part is that my shoes look much better for it, although I did get a little sand in them.