Sunday, January 22, 2012

Running in the Rain

I want to tell you about my rain run today but first, a quick report on our trip to Monterey (scan down to the post run picture if you just want to read about running in the rain).  We had a great time!  We drove down Friday and after settling in to our hotel we took the kids to a nearby fitness center with an indoor pool.  We had a fun time splashing in the water with them.  Then we took them to the basketball court and played with balls for a bit before heading out to dinner.  We decided on burgers and I had a hamburger with cheese, avocado and bacon along with onion rings.  I think I will call this "vacation eating".  Back at the room I contemplated going to the gym to do my Friday workout.  In the end I decided spending time with my family was more important so I settled in with a glass of wine and later had a Häagen-Dazs chocolate and almond covered vanilla ice cream bar.  More vacation eating.

On Saturday we got up and had breakfast at the hotel buffet.  Pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, toast with butter - you get the idea.  Miguel took the kids back to the room to start packing and I enjoyed a few minutes by myself finishing my coffee.  Once packed we headed to Monterey Bay Aquarium.  The weather turned out to be nicer than we were expecting (no rain) and we had a good time.  Of course the kids mostly enjoyed opportunities to splash in the touch pool and running outside.  We got a nice family picture on their patio.  And I got a picture with my lovely little girl.

After the aquarium we headed toward home.  We stopped at In-n-Out burger for a late lunch.  I had a burger with cheese, fries and a chocolate milkshake.  More vacation eating.  Back on the road and the kids fell asleep for the ride home.  

Once home I decided to have Special K Protein Plus cereal for dinner to balance out some of the calorie overload.  Put the kids to bed and relaxed a bit.  Miguel went to the store for milk and came back with a giant slice of cheesecake.  What?!  Well, I decided it was still technically the last day of our mini-vacation and shared it with him.  Besides, I knew I was running 11 miles in the morning so maybe I'll just call it carb-loading.  

I got up this morning hoping for overcast but no rain but no such luck.  It was drizzling at 9am and nothing much changed while I had breakfast and coffee and got dressed for my run.  When I was heading out the door at 10am it was raining lightly.

I started out with a warmup walk and then start running.  I decided not to check my pace or time during this run, felt things would go better if I ran by feel.  My watch beeps at every mile so I could keep track that way.  I had a route planned out in my head but about 2 miles in I decided on a different route that passed by my gym.  That's the nice thing about these GPS watches, you can change your mind without worrying about tracking distance. At the 3 mile mark I ate two Shot BlocksI do well eating two (black cherry flavor w/50mg caffeine) every 3 miles.  A few minutes and a small hill later and I was passing my gym so I darted in and out for water.  The spectacular gym staff cheered me on with big smiles.  That was nice.  Back out the on the road and headed toward the local junior college.  This is familiar ground since I run in this area whenever I do an outdoor run from my gym.  

Mile 6 and I ate another two Shot Blocks.  Feeling pretty good.  What can I say about the rain?  It was cool actually.  It fluctuated from a heavy drizzle to a light rain throughout the run.  I never felt really wet and the rain kept boredom at bay.  Dashing around the occasional puddle, feeling a big rain drop hit my head now and then, having the road mostly to myself, feeling like a real runner - a lot of things about it that were nice.  Mile 8 and I passed my gym again, again darting in for water.

Mile 9 and ate my last two Shot Blocks. I was starting to feel little aches and pains and by mile 9.5 I would have been happy to stop so I ramped up the positive self talk, "You're doing great, you're strong, you have a little discomfort but nothing you can't handle, you're going to do this!, just keep running," - that's the kind of thing that works for me.  A good song came on (now I can't remember which one, something by Tom Petty) and that gave me a big boost.  I begged the "random" gods to send me a good song to finish on and sure enough, Survivor by Destiny's Child came on - I'm a survivor, I'm not goin' give up, I'm not goin' stop, I'm goin' work harder.  Now those are words to run by.

And boom!  11 miles.  Whew!  Oh boy was I stiff.  I walked a bit, stretched some, walked hobbled some more and congratulated myself.  All of a sudden the chill and rain wasn't so pleasant and I was happy to step inside my front door.  Miguel congratulated me and the kids were happy to see me.  I got a quick shower and then Miguel left for his soccer game.  I stretched with the kids climbing all over me and later iced my knees.  I am SO GLAD I got this experience now, no longer worried about rain for the Kaiser half.  What can I say?  My longest run ever and I did it.  I'm a survivor, I'm not goin' give up!

Ok, details about what I wore running in 50 degree rain - you should quit here if this is of no interest to you because I'll probably ramble on quite a bit.  First, a post-run picture.  I felt so tight that it was actually hard to hold still for this picture.

The picture pretty much says it all but I'll add some commentary of course.  I had my new Sugio Versa running jacket on.  Yes, I blew all my money on a running jacket for the rain.  I got it at my favorite local running store, the Marin Running Company, same place I got my running shoes a while back.  Charles, the owner, spent a bunch of time talking jackets and running in the rain which was helpful.  He also gave me some insider tips on the Kaiser half (he's done it several times), which was cool.  I give the jacket a big thumbs up.  The neat thing is the sleeves come off and it becomes a vest so it's like two items in one. The arms are like a little bolero held on by magnets so you just pull and off they come!  Needless to say I had them on the whole time today.  The jacket kept me from getting soaked but my shirt was wet, though I didn't notice it until I got home and took it off.  From sweat or rain who knows, it doesn't much matter as I certainly never felt "slopping" wet and being warm is priority #1 I'd say. This is totally geeky but after the run I shook the surface rain off and weighed my jacket - it was 426 grams.  I weighed it a couple days later when totally dry, 354 grams.  So the jacket had 71 grams, or 2.5 ounces of water on it.  I have nothing to compare that to but 2.5 ounces of water after a couple hours in the rain seems good to me.

The pants are by Paradox, a "technical base layer" that I scored at Costco for $20!  They have a microscopic layer of fleece on the inside.  I'm sure they got wet but my legs never felt cold.   As far as feeling cold, I noticed my shoulders felt cold a few times but nothing intolerable.  My hands felt cold a few times too so I pulled my sleeves down and covered my knuckles with them and that helped.  I figured thinner socks would be best so I wore some Pearl Izumi cycling socks.  By around mile 7 my feet were wet enough to feel a bit sloshy but it didn't really bother me. 

Overall I was happy with how warm I was.  I had considered wearing a thicker shirt (the same "technical base layer" from costco) but Charles recommended a thinner shirt and I'm glad I took his advice and wore the Nike Miler shirt I scored a while back at Ross for $20.  Here's another post-run picture showing the shirt. 

On my head I wore a light fleece lined Columbia headband (that also covered my ears) from Target.  Over that I wore my Headsweats running visor to keep the rain off my face.  The top of my head was exposed but I never really noticed it feeling wet (though it surely was).  If it were 10 degrees colder I might want to have it covered but today it was perfect.  I had sunglasses on for the first few miles but they fogged up around mile 4 so I put them in my pocket.  Speaking of pockets, I also had my Spibelt on (forgot to include that in the picture as it's hidden under my jacket).  I had my ShotBlocks and digital Walkman inside.  

Ok, there you have it.  Probably more details than you will ever need about what to wear for running in the rain.


  1. I love that you share everything - even the crap you ate!

    It is summer in Australia, so my rain running gear is a bit different.

    I actually have the Nike shirt - in purple, but it's been months since I've needed to wear it.

    11 miles - that's nearly 18km!! Woo! The furthest I've run is 9km. So go you!

  2. Thanks for the info about the jacket. There are SO many out there. I don't have one for the rain and would consider one for when it does rain. We ran in the ran plenty last year, and I'm sure we'll run in more rain!

    You look great!


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