I have a friend who I run races with on occasion, who says that she believes in hardship runs. You know the runs you do in the rain or without music or on some horrible terrain. Or you know the ones you do in the freezing rain and sleet for nearly 70 tiring minutes with another insane member of your family.
That was my day after Christmas run with my little sister, Rachel. We decided that we were going to do a BIG run. So, we mapped it out and settled on a loop a little over 8 miles starting and ending at our mother's house. Well, when we started it was just really cold, but only sleeting a little bit. We warmed up fairly quickly and the freezing sleet wasn't a big deal for the first few miles.
It wasn't until about mile 4 that the wind and freezing rain decided to really come down. Rachel was running a bit behind me on the road and the sleet was pelting and stinging my face. I had begun to lost feeling in my hands because my gloves were wet and every time a car or truck came by I was splattered with additional water. Also, my legs were soaked and numb as well because I wore cotton leggings instead of spandex (Note to self: Always check the weather before running).
At one point, I said to Rachel: "I won't phone in for a ride, but if someone we know drives by, I will accept a ride." Well, my husband, Hank, did drive by around mile 7. I waved at him frantically, but he just kept driving. My heart sank. I knew we didn't have much further to run, but it was absolutely miserable outside at that point. I told Rachel I had seen Hank and she seemed slightly disappointed as well.
But, lo and behold, my husband had pulled off to the side of the road about a quarter mile around the bend. I have never been so happy to get into our car as I was in that moment. Rachel and I jumped in and he drove us home. When I arrived at my mom's house a few minutes later, I immediately peeled off my wet clothes and hopped in the shower. My thighs were bright red from the wet, cold rain, but the warm shower helped get my body temperature back to normal and once I was dressed, I felt good that I had done it.
I was excited to have run that far in such poor weather. It was the first time I had gone more than about 6.5 miles and I think considering the horrible weather, we ran at a pretty decent pace. I feel like I won't have to subject myself to one of those runs again anytime soon, but it's good practice in case there's bad weather for our 10 miler that's planned in a couple of weeks.
One other note: I remember seeing people run in the rain and cold and would think: "I'll never do that. I'm just not that committed to running." Well, now I'm one of those annoying runners who run come hell or high water. I guess it builds character to tough out the elements once in awhile.