Saturday, 31 January 2015

Why do we go running in the pouring rain?

It's the question that's been whirling around my head this morning after completing my 7th Park Run at Lanhydrock and quite frankly the worst one so far.

Back in early December I took part in my first ever park run and although it was pretty cold it was bright and the ground fairly firm. I enjoyed the experience, running with friends and family and enjoying the countryside and brisk fresh air. I ached terribly after that first event for a good few days but I was also fairly hooked. I wanted to beat my own time, I wanted to beat my friends time and that lead me to attend park run each week.

Admittedly I missed a few over Christmas as I was staying with family and drinking a fair amount and staying up late in the evenings and the thought of running around a cold park at 9am compared to staying in the warm and eating and drinking won hand over fist. But now it's the new year and new years resolutions come into play. Dry January takes a hold of our social life, not because we want to stay sober but for the other two reasons being that we consumed so much over Christmas one more drop would physically make us sick and secondly we have no money!

So back to Park Run. I really enjoyed my first one and loved my second one. Achieving a time quicker than the first kept me enthusiastic for the next one and then I had a break for Christmas. The new year has started well achieving quicker and quicker times. I got up this morning and the wind was howling. I thought to myself it didn't sound great but knew that running into the wind would only push me and make me stronger! I checked the weather forecast and the description was 'Light rain shower' What's the harm in a little light rain, I'd be running through the trees through a lot of it so won't be that bad!!!

How wrong could I have got, whilst driving to the park which is about 12 miles from where I live the heavens opens, thick heavy hail stones pelted the car and for a brief moment I thought about turning around and not bothering. But then I thought, What's the point, I'm up, I'm out what's the harm in a little light rain!!

I arrived to Lanhydrock and the temperature gauge in my car read just 2' degrees, but it wasn't raining! I bounced out of the car and shivered in the brisk icy wind and thought again to myself at least it's not raining. I jogged down to the start line and met a few friendly faces. We commented on the cold and were we in fact mad and agreed that we were lucky as it was raining.... Well we spoke too soon,

As the event organisers talked to the runners and thanked the volunteers for their time the heavens opened once again. The sky got darker and darker and we were pelted with hail stones and torrential heavy rain. As the running got under way it was now pouring down, we headed through the park into the cover of the woods but this didn't make a difference and rain was hammering into my face. I wear glasses all the time but the rain pouring down them was making it impossible to run so whilst half running I scrabbled into my pocket and put my glasses in their. I now had the challenge of water pouring down my face into my eyes. The whole ordeal was brutal, horrible, I hated it. I couldn't think for one minute why I was doing this and why my boyfriend is at home snuggled up in bed in the warm and dry and I'm running around in the P***ing rain, gusting winds and freezing temperatures.

I plod on around the course just wanting to get to the finish get home and get in the shower and get warm. Once through the finish line I walk up away from the course back to the car park and start chatting with a fellow park runner about how mad we must have been and how horrendous that was, yet at arriving at our cars wave goodbye and chorus "See you next week" See you next week? SEE YOU NEXT WEEK??? You've got to be kidding me!! As I strip off my high vis running jacket as it was currently pouring water down my backside and throw on my thick winter coat I realise that I'm just as wet through the next layer too and putting on my coat was pretty pointless and just making that wet from the inside too. I sit in my car shivering, slightly red faced with water still pouring of my face and I'm still questioning why on earth I just did that.

I drive home with the heating and blowers on full blast and the car steams up terribly with the amount of water in there. Annoyingly the rain now stops and the sun even breaks through the clouds for a short moment. I look down at the passenger seat and notice the puddle on the chair from my running jacket and as I change gear, hear the squelch of water in my trainers. Once home I strip of the layers, and yes I'm wet right through and weighing a ton. My running jacket, my long sleeved thermal base layer, my support top and a sports bra every single one is soaked through I strip off in the kitchen throwing everything at the washing machine and do a soggy, cold jog to the bathroom where the shower is the best thing in the whole wide world. I wash off the mud from my ankles and the bit's of random foliage on my face and get warm and once back to some normality start to think about my time for the torturous 5km.

So I knew I wouldn't be getting any PB's whilst running head on into gale force winds and the flapping around taking my glasses off and getting them zipped up safely in my pocket wasn't a great start either, But, I felt like I ran for more of the course this week, I got further up that horrible big hill before needing to walk, I ran further across the muddy boggy field because I wanted to get across it quickly and get out of the wind and rain and back under the cover of the trees. I logged onto the park run website to check out my time and there it was  30:24. Only 32 seconds slower than my personal best and the second fastest time out of the seven 5km that I have completed,

I'm then already checking the weather for the following Saturday, wondering if it's not as windy and if it's not as wet would I get a quicker time, The thoughts of running in the pouring rain and how much I hated it and how horrible it ws has faded and I'm once again looking forward to next weeks run where hopefully I get another chance of getting a new PB.

Running is addictive and through the volunteers and Park Run initiative I'm addicted. I look forward to the run, the sense of achievement the friendly people and for some strange reason, even pouring rain hasn't put me off this time!

Running in the rain