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Apparently, Nike founder Bill Bowerman once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.” He meant me.


Ah, fall.

Amid the fiery foliage, there’s a crisp chill in the air and a bounce in your step from the lovely cool temperatures with which you’ve been rewarded after suffering through all those slow, sweat-drenched summer runs.

It’s cross country season. Officially. The best time of year to be a runner.


Right. In like, New England.

But not in Chicago, apparently.

And definitely not in southeast Alaska.

When fall arrives here, in lieu of apple-picking and hayrides, leaf-peeping and refreshing walks in the brisk air, we batten down the hatches and hide.

Researching the local running calendar before I moved here, I was perplexed as to why there were only three races in Juneau in all of the fall; it is instead the spring when all the races are scheduled. What wasted opportunity! I thought to myself, Fall is THE time to run! Spring is rainy and muddy! They’ve got it all wrong. What are these crazy Alaskans thinking?

Now I know exactly what they’re thinking: fall in southeast Alaska sucks. 

With furious consistency, the months of September, October, and November look something like this:


Accordingly, with furious consistency, when they aren’t in use, my running shoes look like this:


Thank goodness for newspaper.

The fact that it rains (really rains) every day isn’t ideal, but truthfully, I do not mind it so much.

I accept that I will get drenched every time I head out for a trot.

I accept that crossing the bridge in this ferociously windy and rainy weather is now a risky act that may involve me being whipped over the railing and into the channel with the sea lions.

I accept that damp running gear is a part of my everyday life now.

In fact, I’ve been embracing it: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

Every morning when my roommate and I look out the window at the vicious rain, we yell, “Perfect Bogs weather!” (Out of absolute necessity, we both invested in some rubber boots called Bogs. Now we get to wear them to work every single day!)

My next celebration of the weather involved making an iPod mix of water and rain-themed songs. CCR features heavily, but Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks is the cornerstone of the playlist. Occasionally I’ll take my iPod with me when I run, and the rain-inspired music somehow makes me feel a little less whiny about how wet I’m about to get.

And honestly, there is nothing more satisfying then getting back from a long, cold, windy, water-logged weekend run, changing into dry clothes, and spending the rest of the day eating, drinking tea, and lazing on the couch. It’s rainy out and you earned it.

You know what, though?

Everybody’s got a breaking point.

Some days, you might not be feelin’ the prospect of wringing out your clothes and stuffing your trainers with newspaper after spending 60-120 minutes outside in the pitch dark for the 12th day in a row in an environment where it is literally “raining sideways.”



Yes. I’m a pansy. I broke down and joined the local gym — a small, brightly-lit, clean outfit where overcrowding is never a problem (because this is Alaska) and you therefore never have to wait for a machine.

This gym seems to be populated solely by me, my friends, and a handful of mountain men who look like they would rather be doing their pullups on tree branches.

It is perfect, and I am so excited to occasionally escape the rain.

Do you have a gym membership or access to any indoor options during crummy weather?

What is fall weather like where you are?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/10/2010 15:05

    well i’m in new england so fall weather = perfect. but once winter hits i don’t know what i’ll do! i’m not a student anymore so no free gym membership for me AND i don’t have the money for a real one. so sad 😦

  2. 10/10/2010 15:19

    I live in Alabama and it was 90 degrees today. Fall fail!

  3. 10/10/2010 16:17

    Ok, you are my boot twin! I have a pair of Bogs that I dearly love and wear to feed calves from Oct/Nov through about March. Fall is normally “fall-ish” in MN, but it’s crazy warm right now.

    Sigh, yes I belong to a small gym. I run outside through the winter, but on some -20 degree days I just can’t hack it. I also try to do weights there sometimes. TRY is the keyword!

  4. 10/10/2010 16:20

    we have a fairly decent workout room in our apartment building. eh. it does the job (especially since gym memberships in Syd can run about $100/month.) the only thing that sucks is the grunters, especially when you’re the only one down there besides said grunter. listening to sex noises just makes for an awkward workout.

    (btw, i pay $6.50 for a 6″ chicken sub. Australia sucks.)

  5. 10/10/2010 16:26

    those boots are awesome! hello new fashion trend. it was close to 90 here (SC) too. fall in the south is about 10 days in november. make friends with those tree-pull-up men, you may need a ride home again one day soon!

  6. 10/10/2010 16:54

    ‘Tis the price you pay, I guess, for living in paradise and in walking distance to the Kremlin. You can drive yourself bonkers with rage, or you can become a really f’in tough rain runner. Or…you can be like me, and join the YMCA, which is pretty standard with awesome old dudes and weird work-release convicts and me, all together in the weight room. It’s a melting pot, and I like it that way.

    Fall weather in semi-rural New Jersey is gorgeous. Like a postcard. Sorry.

  7. Lacey permalink
    10/10/2010 17:39

    yikes! seriously is it ever sunny? and are there lots of gloomy people there??? glad you joined a gym. i belong to a gym and like to bike/ellipt/stair climb there. sometimes weight train but not lately 🙂

  8. 10/11/2010 04:08

    I tried to deny the call of the gym, but sometimes you just don’t want to get up at 5 to beat the heat for a 5 miler. I can now sleep in and still get a quick run without it being a million degrees. Now I just need to get over my hatred of the weight room.

    Change in seasons? I don’t even know what that is. There’s hot and less hot here

  9. 10/11/2010 04:42

    I gave up on the gym about a year ago and broke down and bought a treadmill. That may be the ultimate in lazy…”I won’t even go to the trouble to leave my house to do my run.” It has worked out great through winter and the super rainy Indiana spring. I am craving real fall weather for outdoor runs now though, not the 90 degree October days that we have been dealing with lately!

  10. 10/11/2010 06:56

    My own playlist tribute to the rain:

    My hometown seems to be skipping fall … from an overheated summer we seem to headed straight for winter.

  11. 10/11/2010 08:00

    Oh dude, I do not blame you at ALL for joining the gym. I have a membership to a fancy pants gym in NYC (I feel guilty about the $$ I am shelling out, but it’s worth it) and it makes winter running bearable. Black ice, slush, wind, yeesh. Sometimes you need a break!

  12. 10/11/2010 09:52

    Fall is perfect running weather in New England..unfortunately I can’t enjoy it while sick/injured. Gr!

  13. 10/11/2010 11:36

    Ah fall, where the high is only 88* today.

  14. Lori permalink
    10/11/2010 18:01

    Ooooh, I hear laughter in the rain……..oooh how I love the rainy days and the happy way I feel inside …..oldie…..but still on youtube!!!!

  15. Uncle John permalink
    10/11/2010 19:08


  16. Murdoch permalink
    10/12/2010 15:24

    I’ll try not to gloat since today felt like a true Fallish New England day here.

    The past 4 years I ran on a treadmill exactly twice, one time after running in 35 degree rain for an hour and deciding to finish my last 4 inside, I can’t recall the other time.

    In college we were all trying to be as hard as we could be, so never any thoughts of indoor running. Now though im glad that I could, if I had a gym membership, get on one for a few miles. Its better than pounding out an icy 10 while getting blasted by the wind and you don’t risk falling or getting hit by a plow. Our store has one and I know i’ll be on it before work a few times this winter.

  17. 10/12/2010 17:42

    oh my you are not a pansy!! I could never ever live in new england during the winter! I do love running in the rain though, but I can see how that would get very old very quickly! burr! you are a champ to get out there 12days in a row! I usually run outside year round (i live in CA so it’s a different story, it rarely gets bellow 50 in the winter) I do use the gym often though for spinning and weights.
    I hope your week is off to a great start!

  18. Mary Lynn permalink
    05/28/2011 17:15

    I’m thinking Spring in Montana is alot like Fall in Alaska! I read this and could so relate. I came home from my run soaked today, and only because I had to get out! (I could NEVER run on a treadmill) It’s been raining for what seems like weeks! Thanks for putting a smile on my face….
    I run in the cold (this is Montana~Memorial Day Weekend and we’re still in the 30’s and 40’s), the heat, snow, rain….you get the picture. My “soft”-ness comes out when it hails. I’ve tried to run in hail, but it HURTS! We sure are a crazy bunch!

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