Rain Showers Bring Energizing Powers

by julie on March 1, 2011

Rain makes me drowsy.  On rainy days, all I want to do is curl up with a book and fall asleep.  So when yesterday’s weather report called for torrential downpours, hail, high winds and lightening – I thought, “Hurray, I don’t have to go running.”   Rainstorms aren’t for runners, or are they?

I went about the day, huddled under my umbrella and scurrying from building to building.  I winced when a few drops hit my face.  I raced around – practically panicked and holding my breath – to get out of the rain.  Unconsciously, precipitation was the enemy.

Yet, as Washington DC’s tempest droned on yesterday, a strange urge grew in me – an urge to run.  But how?  I don’t belong to a gym right now.  I thought about joining one, just to avoid the rain, but the treadmill wasn’t appealing.  The only other option was outdoors.

Arriving home around 5pm, it was still raining hard (although the hail and t-storms had passed).  If I was going to satisfy my craving, I had to go quickly.  What little “daylight” was left under the thick grey clouds was slipping away.

Running along my street sidewalk, I squinted as a side-wind blew rain directly in my eyes.  Two blocks from home, a car hit a puddle, spraying muddy water against my ankles.  I cringed.  Wearing just a t-shirt and shorts, I felt naked – exposed and vulnerable to the elements.  I’d even left my iPod at home – afraid the wet conditions might ruin it.

Thankfully, I soon turned onto a local running path.  As the noisy rush-hour traffic faded, the more subtle sounds of nature filled the air.  The rain pattered softly like a constant calm heart-beat.  A nearby stream roared loudly, overcapacity because of the storm. Waves of frothing bubbles tumbled downstream with exuberant energy.

The forest landscape was a mixture of dark trees and dead grass and shrubs.  Yet, I couldn’t help but smile when I spotted some bright highlighter-green grass rising between the matted hay – the first sign of spring.    

Fresh natural aromas caught me off-guard – scents of evergreen and pine trees, the smokey flavor of a near-by burning fireplace, and the raw clean smell of rain.  No laundry detergent or soap could even come close to this.  I closed my eyes, tilted my head back and breathed deeply, surrendering myself to the undeniable beauty of my surroundings.

Towards the end of my run, I approached a steep hill.  My quads ached just looking at it.  My t-shirt – completely soaked – weighed heavily on my shoulders.  Over the past few months, I’ve been struggling up this hill – usually stopping halfway to walk.  Yet, much to my own surprise, I gracefully ascended the incline in the rain yesterday.  I ran the whole way – a major personal feat!

In a recent post, I wrote about my difficulties getting back in shape this winter.  Although I’m certainly not in marathon shape now, I am slowly regaining my sense of strength and athleticism. And yesterday, I discovered joy and energy when I least expected it, running in the rain.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

The Dreamer March 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I had planned to do groceries on Sunday…its been a few weeks since I've done my weekly trip. Though I had left over delivery pizza from Friday that I was still working through.

I had somehow failed to sleep to noon like I had done on Saturday…and the sleepiness was coming, having decided to take a one day break from my Provigil. But, I got ready to go and opened the front door….to see that it was raining.

Nothing hard or anything, but the long lingering kind that had been going for a while and wasn't likely to stop soon.

So, I didn't go out…I changed into something comfortable and curled up on my sofa…. I probably should've at least cleaned my mask…but lately I keep getting slammed with massive sleepiness a few hours after waking that its surprising what I do manage to do.

Perhaps I'll get around to doing groceries next weekend, meanwhile…I think I order Chinese tonight.

Reply

Saraiah March 2, 2011 at 10:55 am

Lovely!! For those of us living in "developed countries," it can be easy to forget, or never even know in the first place, how soothing and joyful being in the natural world can be.

There are studies that show that looking out a window at even one tree leaves people feeling better and being more productive than if they look out at an urban landscape devoid of plant life. There are even studies out now that show that taking a walk in the woods before learning something new facilitates that learning, and walking in urban environments does the opposite. Amazing stuff for those of us conducting the majority of our lives inside buildings.

And I won't even get started on our lack of extended exposure to bright light…

Reply

Anonymous March 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I always love to run in the rain. There are less people on the trails, and I feel like I'm "extra tough" when I do it.

Reply

Melissa March 3, 2011 at 3:10 am

As, always…you amaze and inspire me! What beautiful observations. Your post reminds me of the theme of 2 of my favorite poems–I'll send them to you! xoxo

Reply

Be Morris November 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

I came across this post when looking up whether or not there is a connection between my narc and the weather. The weather in DC is killing me today and I feel I'd prefer some torrential downpour than the subtle drizzling. I, too get a rush of energy from storms but this weather is causing a nap to daunt over me. I cannot function at all right now but your article is very inspiring. Did you run in Rock Creek Park? Also, thanks for keeping up this blog I tried for a while and I hope to get back to it.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: