Last night it rained. It’s amazing how the weather works. Just when the smoldering heat of July in the desert becomes more than one can stand, and literally holes people up in their homes until the late evening hours, the clouds shatter and rain cools the poor, torrid souls of the desert. Today I ran. It’s not like the first time in a long time or anything, but today I really let it go. Recently, I’ve been logging about two to three miles every other day because I simply cannot stand these dog days. But today, after half a banana and downing a bottle of water, I took off. Quite literally. I laced my Nikes, started my HRM, and flew from my doorstep.
I planned on 3 miles. Nothing hard, just easy strides. But after bursting out my front door and feeling a cool blast of air on my face, my plans changed. I kept telling myself that this weather calls for more than just an easy jog. The light mist in the air left a cool, welcomed slick on my skin and I decided not to stop until I was really tired. Take advantage of this while it lasts, you know? So I ran. After about a mile, the darkening clouds tore open and let out the leftover rain from the overnight downpour. Now we’re talking! It was probably a good thing that I was wearing sunglasses. It wasn’t bright, but the lenses kept the rain out of my eyes. Frankly, I wouldn’t have minded if I had forgotten them.
I kept my pace steady, reminding myself to stretch this out as long as I could. Sometimes a car would drive by, and I would imagine what they were saying about me. Not that I cared so much as I was curious what one thinks of a soggy runner. Maybe they wished they had laced up this morning and took to the wet roads. Who knew. What I did know was that running in the summer rain is priceless. It sends you back to your childhood when playing in the rain seemed magical. How stomping in puddles made us feel so much bigger than we really were, and listening to the thunder tested our bravery.
After reaching my second water checkpoint at a park 4 miles away, I sat on a bench and rested a spell. That half of banana and water from the morning was probably vapor by now and all I had left was my will and urge to finish strong and take in some more of the cool weather. And so I did. Before taking off, I spotted a runner on the trail who I had passed going the opposite direction. He looked tired, but he almost seemed to be smiling. I took a turn around the baseball field near the water fountain hoping to pass by the wet runner one last time. I wanted to share a sort of ‘goodbye and have fun’ wave with the only other person I saw out today. He seemed pleased and smiled. I picked up my pace and was on my way back. The rain had stopped and was more of a cool, wet spray now, but it still felt so good to be running in it.
When I reached my front door, I had run eight miles. My body was tired, I was very hungry, and my clothes were soaked. I didn’t plan on running that far, nor did I prepare for it with the right kind of food, but I loved it and I ran strong. I suppose this is because my run today was more like playing in the rain. On the truly hot days (reaching 110 degrees), when I usually wait until seven to run hoping for cooler temperatures (in vain most of the time), I run because it is my routine; because I’m keeping up my fitness and staying in shape. On those days I prepare. I can’t really say that I pound the pavements on days like that because it’s fun. But just for today (maybe tomorrow if I’m lucky), I ran outside to play.