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Digital Running Club » Columns, Downsizing » Enjoying the Elements

Enjoying the Elements

5:30 AM

“Ohhhh…I can’t believe it’s morning already and it’s still so dark outside,” I thought to myself as I rolled over to turn the alarm clock off. Knowing that potentially one or two friends might be meeting me at 6:30 AM for a four mile walk, I knew I needed to get out of bed. For just a fleeting moment, I thought about resetting the alarm until 6:00, but dismissed the thought and got up.

I typically get up an hour prior to walking to allow time for morning pills to kick in, to fix a healthy breakfast, drink a couple of glasses of water, and have a little time to do whatever needs to be done. As I was eating breakfast, it was still dark outside and I could hear a gentle rain.

I opted to wear light knit pants, a T-shirt and a zip-up exercise jacket. I debated about grabbing a pair of gloves, but figured I’d just be removing them within a half hour of the walk anyway. Grabbing my stopwatch and keys, I headed to the Walgreen’s parking lot.

6:30 AM

As I suspected, no one showed up to walk with me. I’m sure they took one quick glance at the weather and decided to snuggle back under the covers. After a quick swig of water, I started out on my walk.

As I walked through Main Street it was raining gently and still fairly dark. The street lights were still on. From time to time I would feel a gust of wind, but didn’t give it much thought. As I began winding through the side streets off of N. Main Street, the wind and rain really began to pick up. When the wind was behind me, it blew right through my clothes and I was chilled instantly. I began to regret not wearing gloves and was wishing that I had a rain repellent jacket on. While walking on a particularly sloped sidewalk, the wind was to the side of me and I felt as though I had to call on every muscle to keep me from sliding down the slope as I walked.

Back on level ground, with my hair and clothes wet, I found myself smiling and thinking that it’s actually kind of fun walking in the elements! I was walking around big puddles, stepping long over little ones, and having to constantly decide if I thought the road or the sidewalk was the better option to walk on. It was kind of like a game and it certainly wasn’t boring!

With the exception of a few cars driving by, hearing a bird every once in awhile, and of course the splatter of rain, it was eerily quiet outside. I never saw anyone else out walking, not even an occasional dog out with its owner.

7:15 AM

Approaching the midway point, I spotted the “Dead End” sign that marks my turn-around point. Because of all the rain, there was a huge puddle in front of the sign. Determined not to short change my walk, I found myself quickly walking to the sign. I stomped through the puddle like a little kid, and just for added fun, grabbed a hold of the sign pole and twirled around it–laughing as I twirled! No one was around to see me, and frankly, I wouldn’t have cared if they did!

Realizing it had taken me 45 minutes to walk two miles, I was determined to keep the second half of the 4 mile walk at 45 minutes as well. This would bring me 13 minutes under my time from the last 4 mile walk.

With fingers numb from the cold wet air, and feeling the weight of my wet clothes, I began to retrace my route. Whether it was because of being wet or my nose was actually running, I pulled out my one and only tissue and realized it was drenched and of no use.  Wondering what a “serious” walker or runner would do in a situation like this, I used my jacket sleeve to wipe my nose and began to laugh. There was no way I was going to let the elements get me down!

I noticed two of the street lights finally turning off as the grey skies lightened up some. I wondered if I would start seeing other walkers, but was still well aware of the light rain and the occasional guest of wind.

As I was weaving in and out of the side streets, any time that I wasn’t aware of breathing heavy, I forced myself to walk faster. There was no way that I wanted the second half to take more time than the first half. Other than being soaked, I felt great! I wasn’t tired or achy, and was enjoying dodging the puddles.

7:48 AM

With about a half mile left to go, and still determined to keep these two miles under 45 minutes, I began to walk as fast as I could. With arms pumping, a smile on my face, and my wet clothes stuck on me like a second layer of skin, I told myself that unless I thought I couldn’t breathe, I needed to push myself.

7:58 AM

Yes! I made it back to my starting point in 1 hour, 28 minutes and 12 seconds. The second half of the walk was two minutes under the first half and the entire walk was 15 minutes under the time it took me the previous week!

As I stood by my car reaching for my keys, I looked up and let the rain hit my face. It was my way of saying, “Hey! Thanks for the great walk! You sure gave me a workout and I had a fun time!”

Sitting in my car and letting it warm up for a bit, I began to blow on my fingers and rub my hands together. I needed to get the cold numbness out of them before driving home. Taking a hot shower and then feeling the warmth of the blow dryer as I was drying my hair, made me appreciate the walk even more. My hands were finally warmed up. It was barely 9:00 AM and I knew some people were just beginning to think about getting out of bed.

In an odd surreal way, I feel like I experienced an excursion that others missed out on. As the skies continued to clear up and the wet sidewalks and roads began to dry, no one really knew what the weather was like, just a few hours before!

Written by

Barb Bergerson lives in Western New York. She has a passion for helping people and getting to know their life stories. She teaches part-time in a jail, is a church administrative assistant, and enjoys freelance writing. Barb loves spending time with her nieces, playing games and relaxing by her pond. She’s excited about focusing on her health and getting back into the game of life. Get updates on Barb's progress on Facebook.

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27 Responses to "Enjoying the Elements"

  1. Matt says:

    Some of my favorite workouts and best races have been in the rain! It is like being a kid again!

    • Barb says:

      Later on that day people were complaining about the rain, and I just would smile and say, “Go out and enjoy it!”

      • Marilyn Edwards says:

        One of my favorite memories from childhood is the fun we had playing in the rain when it wasn’t storming. Today I’d rather travel when it’s rainy and cool and I find the sound of rain on the roof so relaxing. If I still lived near you, I’d be right out there with you.

        • Barb says:

          I hear you on that Marilyn. I remember when rain would rush out of the end of the gutter, mom would let us put our swimsuits on and wash our hair in the rushing water. We thought it was a lot of fun! lol

  2. Amanda says:

    Oh Barb we are too much alike! One cold spring morning, last year, at 5am I forced myself out of bed to meet a friend to swim laps at the local high school pool. For a moment I thought about just not going, but couldn’t do that to a friend. Well the friend never showed BUT I think I got my best work out ever in the pool, with out her. Gave me so much more time to push through laps and just think about anything and everything. Also reminded me that I was choosing to work out for me and my health, that no one else could change that. I even returned home, changed into dry clothes and did an additional half hour of yoga. Great work outs like the one you just shared sure have a way of sticking with you and leave you wanting them more :-)
    Keep it up! Love ya!

    • Barb says:

      I’ve had one super rainy day since them and quite a few days w/ a soft rain. My favorite walking weather is misty rain and a light breeze. Good for you for making the most of that day!!!

  3. Emily Gray says:

    Am so proud of you. I would have been one of those that looked at the rain and said I will walk tomorrow. I would not have thought of it as refreshing and fun as you did.

    • Barb says:

      Keep in mind that I have to deal w/ Coach Brian if I blow off a walk! lol I’m in this for the long run…when I think of how many indoor walks I did this past winter, I’d much rather be out walking in the rain.

    • Barb says:

      Thanks Em.

  4. Tracy G. says:

    Good for you Barb! I’m a runner and NOT a fan of heading out in the rain, but I’ve had some really fun runs during our New England snowstorms! With all the rain we’ve had lately, I think I’d be a lot further along in my training if I had the willpower that you have…you’re such an inspiration!

    • Barb says:

      Kudos to you for running in a snowstorm! I’m still not trusting of winter weather, but hopefully in time that will change. Are you training for a special race???

  5. Shelley says:

    I love how you are so descriptive and just reading this makes me wish I was with you!

  6. Dawn says:

    I’m with you Barb. Love a nice cool, light rain for my morning walk. We walked our three miles Monday through Friday this week. As soon as I get showered, I love to check my facebook to see your post and smile at how much you enjoy your walks… Keeps me motivatede!!!!!

  7. Patti says:

    Good job, Barb! Rain isn’t SO bad. I do recommend a ball cap when walking in the rain b/c (1) it keeps you warmer and (2) ithe visor keeps the rain off your face a bit. Keep up the good work!

    • Barb says:

      Now I know why you wear a cap! I have a few that I’ve kept from my chemo days…can put them to new use. : )

  8. Francoise Merry says:

    Barb, you always make me smile, even laugh at times….I should wake up my little grandson and join you…he loves walking and loves stepping in puddles too!!!! I am sure he wouldn’t mind the rain either! But 5.30 that’s a bit early for both of us! Thanks for your smaile, your laugh, your dance around the Dead End sign…Father is looking down at you and joining in the dance! Keep going! Keep writing! love you

  9. Marilyn says:

    Great article. Last week I was out at dawn in a sudden rainstorm that drenched me to the bone in minutes. I found myself laughing aloud because it felt so good. It’s times like that when I feel truly alive.

    • Barb says:

      Your comment makes me smile Marilyn. With the recent trip that you just went on and all the sites that you enjoyed…being caught in a sudden rainstorm is still one of the best experiences.

  10. Debbie says:

    What’s wrong with getting a little wet when the rewards are so much greater! I love how much determination and willpower you have. Keep up the good work, and don’t ever let anyone stop you from Dancing in th Rain!!

  11. Karen says:

    Barb, I love, love, love reading your adventures. I too enjoy being out in the elements, and think of you as a kindred spirit. It is amazing how good everyday is, if you look at it from the correct angle. You are awesome!!!

  12. April says:

    I enjoyed reading your article, Barb! You always give me a laugh. You are doing an amazing job!

  13. Erin Gorham says:

    You are such an inspiration, Barb! Rain, sleet, snow, you’re out there a walkin’! Your dedication to waking up early to walk is quite amazing! If Jeremy didn’t have his knee issues, which means I have to carry a full load at home, I’d walk with you :) I haven’t been walking in a month! Any way, keep it up!

  14. Beckie says:

    great article again! Makes one think about the weather in a different light. Keep up the good work!

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