by Clara Grandt on August 21, 2012
Runners usually seem to know what’s happening with the weather as a lot of us seem to compulsively check weather statistics each day. We can usually tell you the high and low temperatures, cloud coverage, humidity levels, and precipitation percentage. This summer ‘s weather seems to have plenty of surprises in store, though. I’ve found myself in some intense stormy weather, and it’s been causing quite interesting and adrenaline filled finishes to my runs! The storms that have been blowing through have reminded me that there are things to appreciate in the conditions that we usually hope we don’t have to get caught in.
Not too long ago, while finishing the last two miles of a run and running through the middle of the arboretum (a tree museum), the sky turned a dark blue-grey and then to a brownish color when the wind suddenly picked up. At first, it was just leaves blowing through the air, but then branches started flying horizontally across the path. Next, the trees started swirling around, looking as if they were in a mixer. Dirt and dust blew up to sting our eyes and skin. Then, as thunder clapped and lightening flashed, we heard branches cracking and falling in the woods. We had picked up our pace significantly by this time to make our way back to shelter as soon as we could. With nearly a mile to go, a tall tree snapped and we watched it come crashing down to lay in the path in front of us. It turns out that was part of the storm system that put thousands of people out of power for many days on the East Coast. Thankfully, we made it back safely, but what an experience!
About a week later, I was planning on doing a run outside, then meeting my coach to do some track work afterwards. Unfortunately, there are these storms called “bow echos” that were blowing through the area at the time I was planning on being outside. One came through, and using our best judgment, we decided it was not safe to be outside running in a storm that produces 70 mile per hour winds and torrential downpours. That storm had blown a batting cage from the university baseball field over the outdoor track fence and smashed it against the fence on the other side of the track… those things are big! So, this time I decided to run inside, and then when the storm had settled down, I did my speed work outside through puddles and while the sky continued to rumble and light up.
Just this past week, the storms came again. I was finishing another run, and in the last twenty minutes, it started to sprinkle, which grew into a rain shower, which grew into a rainstorm, which grew into a power wash! The rain and wind worked together to pound and blast against my skin and in my eyes until I could barely see, and the sky let out deep rumbles of thunder. At each forceful blow of wind, my adrenaline pumped harder and the wind took my breath away. It was actually kind of fun and refreshing. I stopped avoiding the deep puddles that were becoming streams down the roads. I splashed through them with excitement, feeling somewhat tough and Rocky-esque to be taking on this storm, although I really had no choice since I had to get back to the place I had started from anyway.
I had started my run from the hospital gym, and when I finished, there wasn’t a thing on me that hadn’t been completely saturated. I walked in with my shoes squishing at every step, thinking about the incredible power of a storm and how sometimes it’s nice to know that even a storm can feel good to run through rather than just the hot, lazy days of summer, or the calmness in a perfectly mild day. As I passed a woman on her way out, she looked at me and said,”Are you ok??” I had to chuckle a bit at the irony of being asked that question by someone leaving the hospital as I was walking in and replied with a grin, “Yeah, I was just running.”