Some people run to get out of the rain. Today I purposely ran for almost two hours in it. The temps were in the low 70’s and I was comfortable in a t-shirt, shorts, and hat to keep the rain from running into my face. The trails provided a shelter at times from the rain, this is true, but half a mile in I was soaked and feeling an amazing connection to the dirt and mud under my feet.
Why I Love to Run in the Rain. . .
- The glistening rocks and roots on the forest floor that I have to maneuver across, posing a new challenge, and keeping me focused on the moment I am in.
- The overgrown tree limbs and blueberry bushes that brush against my skin leaving their wet, refreshing marks.
- The mossy and slippery footbridges that I have to carefully cross without my feet sliding out from beneath me.
- All of this set in poetic motion to the sounds of pouring rain hitting the tree tops, the brim of my hat, and the earth around me.
- The absence of others, as most people don’t tend to venture out on a day like today for a fun little hike. (Although I did see two other people out today!)
I guess in a way you have to be some kind of introvert in order to enjoy spending hours upon hours alone with your own thoughts and feelings as an ultrarunner. As a Mom of two busy and active boys, and a teacher to about 100 middle school students, you can probably imagine why I crave and look forward to the solitude of my trail running. Although for me it goes a little deeper. I enjoy being alone with my thoughts, particularly in nature, moving freely through space and time with no one else to worry about. No one needs anything from me during these times. No one is asking me questions. The due dates and daily demands of parenting and teaching disappear for these hours and it is just me, the earth, the sky, and the flora and fauna of the Pennsylvania trails. It is rejuvenating and soul-filling in a way that I wish I could express more deeply to those of you who have yet to venture into this sport.
Sure I run to prepare myself for the next big race. That’s a given. I mean you don’t want your race to be a total suck-fest, right? Setting huge, seemingly unattainable goals in the sport of ultrarunning can be scary, empowering, risky, and exhilarating all at the same time. Working toward those goals, for me, is a gift. It is a gift I give myself every time I lace up my Lone Peaks and head out to a trail head to log some miles. It is a little slice of my day that I can look forward to and know that I am doing something to reach my goals, but even more importantly, I am doing something to feed my soul.
We all feed our stomachs, but when is the last time you thought about feeding your soul?
What is it that makes you feel the most like yourself?
Pics from today’s run….
Cameron/Masland Mansion at the top of the mountain in Kings Gap State Park. I am forever running trails around it, but never stop to go through the grounds of the mansion during a run, so I decided to today because I was having so much fun.
Kings Gap Water Tower
Kings Gap Garden
Today’s fuel of choice, which I enjoyed while sitting on a rock in the pouring rain at Scenic Vista Overlook.
I know it looks like I jumped in a pool, but honestly I was the same amount of wet after my run two Saturday’s ago in sun, upper 80’s and ridiculous humidity. I’ll take today’s conditions anytime!
How do you feel about running in the rain?