Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Running in the Rain

I'm totally stuck in lab tonight, and I would be pissed but I snuck a run in so I'm proud of myself. Let's see...Sunday--run; Monday--off; Tuesday--bike and weight lift; Wednesday--run. Not bad, not bad, especially considering I'm just getting back into it.
The thunderstorms finally came in today. Our lab is on the 8th floor and we have windows on all sides, including a nice view of Forest Park and the arch. Around 1 p.m. or so, the thunderheads came rolling in, dark, thick, and ominous. They came from the north. It started raining in one direction but it was still sunny if you looked out of an east window. Very cool. Of course, I was stuck at the radioactive bench so I didn't see it. I just saw everyone huddled at the windows. The sunlight was blotted out with black clouds. Everyone "oooohed and aaaahed" as the lightning bolts zig-zagged across the sky, followed by crashing thunder.
By the time 6:00 rolled around, I was still stuck playing with radioactivity, irritable, and wondering if I would be able to get outside at all. Finally, I had an hour incubation. I checked out, gave myself the all-clear with the geiger counter, and ran to the window. A steady drizzle. Okay. I could smell the rain wafting in through the ventilation system. It sparked a surge of energy in me. I just had to be outside. I checked the weather on my computer. Strong thunderstorms all evening. Crap. I looked outside. Screw it. I changed and ran out the door.
All the street lights were out, and it was madness crossing the 8-lane street to get to Forest Park. Apparently, some drivers believe that when the lights go out, it just means an automatic green, of course at a really, really high speed. When one car hesitated, I jogged out into traffic, praying the other cars would follow suit. Reluctantly, they did. Bastards. Maybe they're jealous they couldn't be out too. More likely, they just wondered what the crazy girl was doing out in the rain running into traffic.
I began the descent into the park, skipping down the steps, high-stepping through the mud. A couple of times, I skidded in the slippery mud, holding my arms out to my sides to regain balance, and then continued on. I jumped over puddles, crossed the wooden bridges and reached the gravel path. Steady drops of rain fell with muffled patters on the leaves of the trees, thickly lining the paths. The birds were everywhere. Ducks with their ducklings and a flock of Canadian geese with their quickly growing goslings, soaking up the refreshing rain, eager for the drops of relief after months of dry weather and a steady week of 90 degree, humid weather. Robins reluctantly hopped out of my path as they feasted on earthworms, crawling to the surface to abandon their flooded homes only to meet the doom of a yellow beak. An egret picked its way through the pond with its spindly yellow legs, snaking its slender white neck forward, searching for fish. Forest Park was crawling with critters, but was completely deserted of people, which was a refreshing change.
Beads of rain-mixed sweat ran down my cheek. Steady drops of rain cooled me, allowing my energy to feed my engine. I focused on form. Shoulders relaxed, supportive core, stretched up chest, even breathing. I bent slightly forward from the hips to engage the glutes and focused on pushing off with my outer hips, keeping my knees parallel. With each step, I landed lightly on my toes, bouncing off again immediately. No rest for the weary feet. With each stride, I picked each leg up a little higher from the knee, like a 5-gaited horse. I shortened my stride slightly and increased my rate of turnover, and before each footfall, I pulled my landing foot under my body, allowing it to efficiently land on the forefoot, and engage my engine to shoot it forward for the next stride.
I felt strong, I felt great, and for the first time, I believed that maybe I could regain what I had lost. If you were a horse, what type of horse would you be? I would be a Thoroughbred. Hyper, skinny, built for endurance, and just wants to go. That's me. Oh. And I'd be a mudder. Something about the rain makes me want to get out there and just sprint.
Now that I got my run in, it's okay I'm stuck here in lab. It's okay I spent 90 minutes cleaning up after all my radioactive crap. It doesn't matter. I got my run in. After I got back, all I needed was a bar of soap and a hand towel. I jumped in the shower in the bathrooms down the hall, and in 10 minutes, I was ready to go back to work. I had a good recess.


Kevin said...

What fun that sounds like :). I love rain storms.

I have never ran in the rain though. I dont know how I would like it. It began to mist the other day when I was on one run which was very refreshing because it was so humid, but that was the extent of it.

We probably caught the tail end of your storm system last night. While I ran in my neighborhood, I got to hear some wonderful thunder and see some lightening and clouds off in the distance...but it never turned into a storm.

It's funny, you always talk about seeing nature and animals while you take on your jaunts, but since I have only been running outside for a short while, I have never gotten to experience much of that. This morning, however, my mind was reminded of your blog as I ran my first morning run. I was out my door at 5:30 this morning, and I got to see several different birds and a few rabbits as I made my way around the secluded streets. It was so peaceful and I felt like I was the only person awake...just me and the animals.

Mon said...

I give you props for running in the rain! THAT is dedication! I aspire to have that much! Rain to me, would've meant, I had an excuse to be lazy for a day!!

Your description was good, I felt like I was there, does that count as my exercise for the day? Oh well, worth a try!!

I'd be one of those little mini horses that just look cute and serve no real purpose but to be pets. But I aspire to be a stallion!! Or a mustang!!

Rachel said...

Kevin, I love running as a way to feel a part of the community. Espeically to get oriented when I travel. Running in the park allows me to see more of nature, although trail running would be the ultimate. Try running in the rain sometime. It's so refreshing and it's beats hot, humid weather any day!

Mon, running in the rain for me is easier than running in the heat. Miniature horses are great. They can be potty-trained and some people keep them indoors with them! Some people even train them as seeing-eye horses b/c they're as smart as dogs but have longer lifespans (40). Cool, huh?

blake said...

I love running in the rain. I used to have to during track and x-country but rain wouldn't stop me from running anyway. The best part is peeling your clothes off when you're done!!