Doing it in the rain

Posted on June 20, 2012

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Tomorrow I return to Nepal. My love for the place never seems to weaken and I’ve spent this week beside myself with excitement. I’m not running in a race this time but meeting my brother Roy for some volunteering at an eco village in the Kathmandu Valley.  It sounds pretty awesome and more to come in due course but the village, called Hamro Gaun, is run by a Dutch organisation, with the focus on an orphanage, vocational training for women and an eco-friendly sustainable set-up.

I’ve spent much of today packing … not that I need much but as I’ve confessed before, I am the world’s worst packer and get totally distracted.  I’ve yet to travel to Nepal during the monsoon season and I really want to get some good hill runs in … to combat recent weeks of taking it easy and in preparation for a race in the Alps in July which has an elevation gain that I’d prefer not to think about …

Last October when I ran Action Asia Nepal, we were just at the tail end of the monsoon season and I experienced first hand just how wet it really gets.  Forget the typhoons of Asia … Nepal monsoons bring utter chaos to the ‘roads’, landslides aplenty and lots and lots of leeches!

So what to take? I’m taking half the Climacool range because it’s super breathable.  And I’ll take at least a couple of pairs of Cushion Response shoes. There’s no way they can stay dry so might as well circulate and besides, I’ll spot some potential Nepali speedsters and leave them behind. Waterproofs tend to make me hot and bothered but those lightweight ponchos are great as you can just slip them over everything in an instant then throw them away afterwards. A compact mirror also comes in super handy to check whether your lash-tastic mascara is doubling up as black blusher. Also, chafing can be worse so extra lube is a must!

I used to love running in the rain … in both Asia and UK … and whilst some shy away and opt for duvet days instead, it seems crazy. Rain always seems heavier from the comfort of the indoors but once out there, the air feels pure and you get the trails all to yourself. I always feel like a kid again, pounding through big puddles and smelling nature at its best. The shower at the end becomes all the more rewarding too … even if nothing more than a luke warm Nepalese-style trickle …

I think back to running the KL marathon in 2010 with my dear friend Ronnie … a long weekend with spa treatments, retail therapy and vino galore … the two of us, along with my big sis Rosie … with a planned little run in between! The heavens opened minutes before the race started and for a good two hours, it was relentless.  I saw runners all around me just remove their shoes all together as once thoroughly waterlogged, they just become too heavy to maintain any sort of speed.

It may seem easy to find excuses why NOT to run in the rain but think of it instead as a really great exercise in overcoming challenges.  Half the battle in a race is having the right mindset and overcoming adversity so if the weather isn’t just as you want in training, you’ve got the best conditions to train in, right?

You’ll also learn to be more physically comfortable and adaptable in different weather conditions … again, important because in a long race, you can experience sun and sleet, rain and hail, wind and calm, all within a matter of hours.

So the next time you wake up to rain pounding against your window, forget the snooze button and the thought of waterlogged trainers and just get out there … running in the rain is much like singing in the rain … after some stomping and splashing, feeling childlike and carefree, you’ll spend the rest of the day with a secret smile that not even the darkest cloud can wipe away …

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