A few drops of rain spattered on the windshield as we headed towards the forest for our training run. The temperature was already hovering in the low 40’s, so the rain wasn’t exactly welcome. Quickly, before cell reception was lost, we checked the radar on our phones.
The image on the screen wasn’t promising. As we moved north towards the trail head, an ominous colored blob on the screen was moving towards the west. We would be meeting the blob about the time we started our run.
A cold rain was not what I wanted to accompany me on my run, but it was what Mother Nature had dealt me. I tell myself that these are the days that build my inner strength, that build my mental fortitude and in a strange way, it builds my determination. It’s these bad days that numb me to the uncomfortable times that will surely come during an ultra-marathon.
We had not prepared for rain, the forecast from the night before had put it coming in later that afternoon, which is why we had opted to start this early. The cold front would not allow the temperatures to rise much, so my short sleeves would not be of much use. I did have a rain jacket in my truck, so that could be of some use.
As I head off, the rain gets harder, but the temperature is steady. The hourly forecast had been updated and now called for the rain to taper off, at least the last few miles might not be as bad.
My luck and, more importantly, the forecast, would not hold.
I am training for the Leadville 100 and the Rocky Mountains are notorious for changing weather conditions. This rain, I tell myself is merely a trial run for what lays before me. I will be running a race that could be in the mid 30’s at the start and climb up to the 70’s.
In the first few miles, I start to get use to the rain and being a little cold. I start to get my focus on the run and ignore the discomfort of the weather conditions.
These are the days that make us. If all the training miles were easy, we would not know how to handle the hard times during our races. As the old saying goes, smooth seas don’t make a sailor. Rain, cold, heat, hills; they make the runner. If I can learn to handle days like this, it will only help me in the end. It will not guarantee me a finish, it will simply aid me in my quest.
Leadville is a legendary race. It did not come by its reputation by being sunny and easy. The days when most people don’t run or opt to run on the treadmill, these are the days when I will earn my finish, these are the days that I will earn my buckle.