Wednesday, February 6, 2013

And the sky opened up

Last week, we had an unseasonably warm spell for a couple days in Grand Rapids, MI.  On Tuesday in particular, it was warm, all the snow was melting, and it rained off and on all day.

I decided when I got home from work that I felt like going for a run in this crazy warm weather (probably around 55 degrees F).  It hadn't been raining for a while that afternoon, so I figured I was in good shape.  I put on my warm wind tights and a fleece shirt without the additional layer of a sweatshirt or vest that I would normally wear in the winter.  It felt great!

What a day!  But as Murphy would have predicted, as I was approaching the geographically farthest point from home on my route, it started to rain.  Nothing big.  Just some sprinkles.  I like running in the rain when it's warm.  But then the sprinkles turned into drops, the drops turned into sheets, and I was quickly running in a full on downpour.  The sky had broken open like a dam.  I felt like I was standing under a waterfall.

The pooling rain water started to combine with melted snow into rushing streams across lawns and down sidewalks.  My shoes were the first to get soaked.  But I hadn't gone a minute in that downpour when the rest of my body was drenched, too, head to toe through every layer.  

What I was amazed by was that my technical clothing kept me warm despite being inescapably wet.  I was so wet that my tights were trying to fall down due the weight of the water soaking the fabric (thank goodness for a drawstring!), and I had to keep ringing out my shirt to lighten the load.

I could have stopped under the overhang of a nearby house or tried to find a car port at the apartment complex close by, but I didn't know how long the rain would last.  I decided that continuing on and finishing the run was the fastest way to get out of the storm.  Fortunately, it only lasted a few minutes.  I spent the rest of the run tugging up my tights and ringing out my shirt, but I was comfortably warm.

I passed another drenched runner as I rounded a corner to take the bike path back to my house.  We shared a laughing hello at our dumb luck and how not unpleasant our uncommon circumstances were proving to be.

What a funny adventure!  It made me appreciate ultra runners and other athletes who endure extreme conditions for extended periods of time with no easy escape if things go wrong.  And it made me thankful for fleece and nylon!