Seriously, I am through training in the rain. I was scheduled to run 20 miles on Saturday, my last LONG run before Florida, and those of you in and around KC know how bad it stormed Saturday morning. The thunder woke me up at about 4, and I laid there awake until my alarm went off at 5 hoping that the storm would blow over. But no such luck. So I got up and headed over to our meeting point. The rain let up a little bit as I was leaving the house, so I was hopeful that it would stop all together.
Kris and I usually run 2 miles before the main group start just to get them out of the way, but it was lightning quite a bit when we got there at 6, so we decided to just wait until 6:30 and start with the rest of the group. The lightning didn’t decrease, and it was raining pretty hard again by the time 6:30 rolled around. Not many people showed up (wonder why??) so Eladio had to combine several groups so that people wouldn’t be running alone in the dark and the rain. Most people in my group were only going 8 or 10 miles, but one person was going 20. As we started out, I was still debating about whether or not I was actually going to do 20 miles.
The first 2 miles were on the trail along Prairie Star Parkway, and were actually pretty enjoyable. It wasn’t raining TOO hard, so it was kind of nice to be out in the rain. At least I wasn’t hot. I don’t know if my skin was absorbing the rain or what, but by the time we got to the aid station at mile 2 I had to pee really bad. Luckily, there was a nice wooded area right by the trail there, so I just went back in there and dropped trou. Much better. I also ditched my long sleeve shirt at this point because it was soaked and weighing me down. It wasn’t overly cold, so I felt fine in a sleeveless top.
We kept chugging along, thinking the storm HAD to blow over, but it wasn’t. The rain and lightning weren’t letting up at all, in fact it almost seemed to get worse as we went on. At mile 4, the other guy that was doing 20 miles had gotten way ahead of us, and most other people turned around. There were a couple of other ladies doing 10 miles, so I at least had a little company for the next mile. After they turned around at mile 5, I was all by myself. I couldn’t see anyone ahead of me, and there was nobody behind me. Great. The sun had finally come up enough to that there was a little bit of light, so that was good. As I got close to mile 6, I finally passed some people going the other direction. Just about then, the clouds really opened up and it just POURED. This was the kind of rain that I wouldn’t want to be driving in, let alone out running in. I was so tempted to turn around, but I kept thinking “an Ironman wouldn’t make excuses and turn around”, so I kept going. At the mile 6 aid station, I had to pee again, but it was in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I figured I was already soaked and it was raining hard enough that nobody would notice, so I just stood there and pissed my shorts while I drank some Gatorade. It actually felt kind of liberating!
After that, the course turned down this country road, and I was sure I was going the wrong way. Just when I was ready to turn back, I saw some Runners Edge flags and knew I was actually going the right way. Running down a country road by yourself in the middle of an early morning thunderstorm is a little surreal. I turned onto another road, and was surprised to see that it was a frontage road along K-7. It was raining so hard that I hadn’t even been able to hear any traffic. About that time my stomach dropped and I had to go. NOW. But I was right along the highway, and there weren’t many trees. Every tree and bush I passed I debated about whether or not it would hide me very well. Much to my delight, right at mile 7 I came up on Smiley’s Golf Complex and noticed that there were a couple of cars in the parking lot and the lights were on in the club house. The rain and lightning also picked up significantly right about then, so I decided to head in and beg for them to let me use the bathroom. I was surprised to get up to the door and see a couple of other Runners Edge people taking cover there. They were all doing 20 miles too, so I would have some company.
We waited a few minutes for the rain to let up a tad, and then headed out again. This was beginning to not be fun. We made it to the aid station at mile 8: only 2 more miles to the turn around! My shoes were soaked and starting to get very uncomfortable, but I figured I could make it. Right as we got to the aid station, Shawn pulled up and asked if any of us wanted a ride. We all said no, even though I was tempted to take one. My shoes and socks were soaked and were getting very uncomfortable, and I was cold. But I really wanted to get those 20 miles in. We had to cross the highway and run along another frontage road, and by the time we got across the highway, 2 more RE people had pulled up in their cars asking if we wanted a ride. Why would I want a ride? Isn’t running 20 miles in the middle of a thunderstorm normal??
As we got to the 10 mile aid station, the rain let up substantially and we thought it was going to stop. But as we turned around and headed back, the rain came back on full force. And it was painful! The wind was blowing it straight into my face so I had to keep my head down and turned to the side, and I noticed that the rain was bouncing off the road. Hey wait, that’s not rain! That’s HAIL! No wonder it hurts!! I was officially miserable at that point. I was cold, wet, my feet hurt, my hips hurt, and now it was hailing on me. Just as I was thinking that, another RE guy pulled up in his car and asked if I wanted a ride. “No, I’m fine, I’ll make it”. WHAT?! He drove off and I just about beat myself upside the head. Why didn’t I take a ride!? Because I am doing an Ironman in 3 weeks and I didn’t want to be a baby and puss out of my last 20 mile run. Either that or I am just stupid.
We made it back to the aid station at mile 8, and the guy in charge of it was there waiting for us to come through so he could clean it up. “Does anybody want a ride back?” Again, I said no. I kept shuffling along, and now my feet were REALLY hurting. Wet socks and shoes rub my feet really bad. I was not a happy camper. The cotton balls and tape that I use to save my pinky toes had long since worked their way loose and were wadded up in the bottoms of my socks. So I had my toes blistering up on top of the general pain in the rest of my feet. As we neared the aid station at mile 6, I was still thinking that I could tough it out, but the guy in charge of that one was there to break it down and before I could stop myself I asked for a ride back. Aaahh!! I wanted to cry, from my feet hurting so bad and feeling stupid for taking a ride. On the way back, he said that most people had taken a ride back in quite a while ago, so I was kind of proud that I stuck it out as long as I did.
When I got back to my car, I took my shoes and socks off and both of my socks were bloody. D’oh! I guess my feet really DID hurt! My pinky toes were all blistered up, but aside from that, I didn’t really see anything that would have bled. My feet were red from being rubbed so much, I guess maybe they had bled? Who knows. I was just happy to get my feet out of those shoes and put on a dry shirt and pants. So I only got in 14, but given the conditions, it was just as hard as any other 20 mile run I’ve done.