Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blog<Running> Fun in the Rain

This past Tuesday was the kind of rainy day that makes you want to just stay inside and do nothing. For most of the day, I was your normal middle-class American. Running between building and car, trying to stay dry. Side-stepping puddles to avoid an hour or two of soggy shoes while you sit behind a desk. It's kind of funny how much less you care about getting wet when you know you can take the shoes off.

One benefit of running barefoot is that rain is less of a deterrent than heat. There is a little discomfort while transitioning from dry to damp, but since I'm a pretty heavy sweater* I'm used to working out in wet clothes. Still, I didn't see any of the usual evening runners/joggers. Maybe they didn't want to mess up their shoes? For the unshod, a little water is no obstacle.

So, I was happily running through the rain, coming up on the end of my first half-mile loop, when I saw a guy gardening out in his front yard. Ordinarily I'd think this guy was crazy for doing yard work in the rain, but I suppose if you put our 2 activities in a line-up you'd get just as many people calling me crazy. On the other hand, I looked like I was having fun, and this dude looked like he may have been escaping something worse.

As I got closer to him, he looked up from his spot on the grass and stared for about 10 seconds before finally yelling out "doesn't that hurt!?"

I was at the end of my first half-mile, maybe 20 feet from the spot where I usually stop to verify the quality of my form by examining my feet (sole-searching as I like to call it**). Since I was going to stop anyway, I decided to have a quick conversation with the guy. I explained how it helps your form. I explained the concept of removing the cushioning of shoes to force you to run smoothly. I brought up the fact that thick-heeled, modern running shoes have only been around since the 60's.

The guy didn't seem convinced, as there was still a hint of "you must just have a high pain threshold" in all of his responses. After about a minute of neither of us convincing the other, he told me to "keep it up." I said "thanks," and for my closing argument I yelled back over my sholder "it's more fun than running in shoes." I then proceeded to stomp my way through a 3-inch deep puddle. I may have played it up a little to make sure he knew that, at that moment, I didn't have a care in the world.

I passed the guy 2 more times for a total of 1.5 miles***. A ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary day.

* By pretty heavy sweater, I mean that I perspire a lot. Despite what you might have heard, I am not a fashionable, winter-time, article of clothing.
** I don't actually call it that. I'm so sorry.
*** A new personal best for barefoot running.


  1. Love this Kyle!

    Sole Searching...sounds like a book title : )

    You have once again inspired me to move today. I had a long week at work and was convinced that it was okay for me to just do nothing on my days off. So thank you for reminding me that moving is more fun than sitting and that my thinking is not always reality.

  2. Haha, I loved the sole searching joke, even if you don't actually call it that!

    Hmm, going with mom's idea for a book, this is the kind of little personal narrative that would go nicely in a collection of essays or a more personal life-based book about running. Just sayin'.

  3. I think everyone appreciates a good pun every now and then.

    Mom: Glad I could be your inspiration for the day. :)

    Mel: I've been reading a blog on runner's world called The Marathon Virgin. It's probably not so interesting if you're not into running, but he writes about more than just "the run." He gives a more personal view of his running/training experience. I tried to ape that style a little with this post.

    Also, with the slow progress I've been making, I'll actually have enough content to fill a book by the time I run my first 5k.

  4. Well, there's great value in the slow and steady stories. The main problem for many people is that they start too strong and get burned out. Your story is a good example of stick-to-it-iveness.

  5. And a great blend of research and personal narrative. This is the stuff that inspires people to move Kyle....and keep a sense of humor about it too!