It rains in Vancouver. It rains in Vancouver a lot.
I moved to Vancouver on Halloween 2006. It rained and snowed for the following five months followed by an unseasonably cold summer. There was one stretch when it rained everyday for over 21 days. I was not impressed. Luckily I was not running competitively at that time so I did not need to spend hours training in the rain. If it rained I would go to the pool or get on my bike trainer in the living room for a workout. I would run in light rain but tried every method possible to avoid it.
Rain and wind are two weather phenomena that I do not enjoy. Give me heat, humidity and blazing sunshine without a skiff of wind and I am happy. The hotter the better! Living in Vancouver I have had to learn to cope with training in rain and wind without the possibility of heat. I have my light weight rain gear (thanks to MEC and Triathlon Canada), my wet-day trainers and a good dose of motivation. I have also learned something important about the rain, it keeps people indoors.
I can't quite say I love running in the rain but I am starting to enjoy it more. Today will serve as a good example. As I got home from work it was starting to rain. Feeling quite tired after a busy day, I quickly got ready for my run before I had a chance to sit on my luxurious and inviting bed. I did not want to be tempted to see if my pillows were as soft as when I got up this morning (it is always good to check once and while to be sure). I put on my spandex shorts to prevent wet chafe (how romantic...), two t-shirts, arm warmers and my gloves. Out the door I trudged into the wet. I ran the three blocks to the Seawall and hit a different wall, a wall of wind and rain. The weather conditions were cold, wet, windy and generally miserable. Even the ducks were looking at me like I was some type of freak-out weirdo. I made it along the Seawall to Stanley Park when the benefits of running in the rain paid off. The majority of my run was in the trails of the park, approximately four of six miles. I saw two people. In a city of a few million people I ran in one of the most beautiful urban parks in the world and saw two people. I had the mossy ancient cedars, the ducks/swans/beavers (though I am not into beavers), babbling brooks, soft trails, lakes/ponds and wildflowers all to myself. This is when I enjoy running in the rain.
I also have to admit that a good old fashioned thunder shower at the end of a hot long run is wonderful and very romantic (minus the chafing). Rain in general, if there are no chores, is very romantic. It may be hard to appreciate in the city but I can imagine being out in a cabin in the woods, after a hard workout, with only the sound of the raindrops on the roof, a loved one in bed beside, a nice fire crackling to keep the room hot. A nice situation in which to enjoy the rain. I digress with unrealistic romantic notions of fairy tales. The one thing I tell myself when running on days like today, when the rain is cold and harsh, is that these are the days when the guys I will beat during the next race are sitting at home, taking a day off, because of the wretched weather. And besides, we race rain or shine. One needs to train in the rain to win in the rain!
Yesterday was a beautiful day for running. I ran my tempo and was back up to forty minutes. I decided to split my workout between trails and the Sea Wall. I did not want to aggravate my foot so I kept the terrain to a minimum. It was a satisfactory run. It seemed to take me nearly 25 minutes to really warm up. I was not as sluggish as I have been and I believe my body and mind are back into the groove of training.
I got a little surprise in the mail last week. A gold medal from the Sun Run. It turns out I won my age group. I have a guilty confession, I really like getting medals. I am not a huge fan of sitting through age group awards but am thrilled to get the medal. I would trade socks, water bottles or bike lube for a medal (all prizes I have won). It is the uselessness of the medal that makes it so great. The one reason for that useless piece of cheap metal on an ribbon is to recognize my hard work and guts on race day. They range in shape from circles to squares, tear drops to random circles with clear plastic (thanks ITU!), coat of arms to maple leaves. Regardless of the shape or color I love them all. I guess that must be the gay in me, bring on the sparkles!