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