I’ve been doing these Sunday morning “No Runner Left Behind” trail runs lately, it’s a group I started with a couple of friends and we do 4-10 miles every Sunday. If we’re doing closer to 10, we usually try to end up back at the cars in the middle so people wanting shorter distances can bail. It’s a fun group, and I’m happy to be a part of it.
But I did NOT want to go yesterday. I woke up and it was a little under 50 and POURING DOWN RAIN. The hourly breakdown? Rain, Rain, and more rain. 100% of more rain. I was contemplating the fact that, if I wasn’t the one posting the runs, I would probably stay home where it was DRY and WARM. I decided to make an adjustment to our course to avoid parts of the trails that are not marked, shorten the run a bit, and hopefully eliminate the risk of losing people in the woods on unmarked trails in the rain and fog.
And then I headed out. With dry clothes and towels for afterwards. And a mix of dread and excitement.
Because – let’s be honest – there’s a part of all of us who kinda likes the idea of jumping in puddles.
I met the group and we used our headlamps to look at my laminated maps so I could tell everyone what the course plan was. We started out a little giggly because – come on – we’re all standing out in the pouring ran, about to run through the woods, for no reason but just because it’s fun.
The trails were flooded, some just giant puddles, others solid paths of creeks. The rain was pouring and the mud was messy. It was SO. MUCH. FUN. We only ran about 8 miles but we were out there for a couple of hours because the fast runners were waiting on the people like me. Our local photographer phenom was running with us and playing around with his waterproof camera – hence the animated GIF above. He documented the fun and the laughs and I was desperately sad when it was all over.
Getting out the door. That’s ALWAYS the hardest step. I’m three years into my running journey, I’ve done close to 10 half-marathons, 3 25Ks, 1 trail marathon, 3 road marathons, 4 50Ks, and 2 12-hour runs and still…STILL..the hardest step is ALWAYS the one out the door.
But having a great group to run with, and embracing the suck and letting the kid in you free to play? Can make the most dreadful of running conditions awesome and memory making. I’ll never forget yesterday’s run. The laughs, the puddles, the rain, the mud…it was just the perfect combination of ridiculous weather, fun people, and beautiful surroundings. The woods around here are beautiful. And not something I would have discovered as deeply without my rail running community. But yesterday? I was surrounded by beauty and rain and laughter and it was just wonderful. And exactly what I needed to remind me after feeling a bit burnt out – to remind me why I do it. Why I run.