I typically call myself an all-weather runner. My epigram usually goes: "I don't do lightning or black ice." Today, it was 39 F and raining moderately heavily by my run time. I didn't want to face layering up to the point where one's clothing is essentially a diving wet suit, then getting home soaked and managing all that drenched fabric. Luckily, I have a dreadmill in my basement gym. So, I did my five miles on the treadmill, along with my iPhone, YouTube Music, and my Jabra earbuds. I must acknowledge that I would find doing an hour on the treadmill impossible without these musical tools.
The treadmill is a different experience for me. Running in Maryland involves perpetually going up and down hills. It's impossible to hold a steady pace at a steady heart rate and experience precise changes in heart rate as you vary the pace. 2024 will mark the 20th anniversary of my return to running, and it's all been in my neighborhood, where nothing is flat. I recently had the opportunity to stay at a hotel in New York on a half-mile oval-shaped road in an office park. The terrain was flat. I had an excellent, fast, strong run where my pacing synchronized perfectly with my effort and heart rate for five miles. But that was outdoors. Things always plod much more on the dreadmill.
I did some quarter-mile accelerations, enjoying my control over the selected pace, distance, and, thus, heart rate. The treadmill offers control for interval work that is absent on the road or track. However, I've read or heard somewhere that Dr. Jack Daniels, perhaps in his "Daniels' Running Formula," finds that his runners who do their speedwork on the track are tougher-minded. I can see how this might be true. Running outdoors exposes the runner to the vagaries of weather. If you need to run at a certain pace, you need to do it, never mind the wind or heat or cold or rain. I agree with him.
Notwithstanding, I have run two marathons in weather like today's. One was in a drizzle for most of the race in Corning, NY. I fondly remember some cows running along with the runners as we passed a pasture. I also remember a fierce encounter with the Wall on that day. The second was the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon. It poured for my first roughly 16 miles. At one point, as we wound up the road in Rock Creek Park, the rain suddenly increased. By that point, the runners were so resigned that we let up a cheer for it. But in the woods, the trees protected us from the wind. In East Potomac Park, the wind drove the rain sideways right into us. Then, to finish us off, the weather cleared by Crystal City. The temperature shot up to nearly 80 F, unusual for late October. The sun then proceeded to pound me into the pavement over the last six miles. I remember both experiences fondly.
Maybe the next time we have weather like this, I'll be out there. But not today.
1/9/2024: All-Weather Runner
- Category: Log