Zombie Feet

Or How To Be Able To Refer To A 32km/20mi Long Run As Awesome Even Though It Was Pouring Rain The Whole Time…

This past Sunday was the final extra long run before the beginning of taper.  I’ve done 32km before so I knew that I was capable of the distance.  What I was unsure of this time around was the weather.  Here is my facebook status from Saturday night:

Colin had gone to a friend’s birthday party on Friday night and came home late-ish.  You know you’re old/an athlete when 11:30 is late.  Of course we chatted for a bit and watched some tv and then we figured we should go to bed when it was 12:30.  Nothing like getting about 6 and a half hours sleep before a long run.  Since my mind never wants to shut down once I’m in bed I decided to visualize my run route.  Kind of like counting sheep for runners, I guess.  It was actually quite beneficial.  I got to about 21km before I fell asleep.  At 2am Spud got up and moved to the couch.  I started up the visualization where I left off and finished the run before dozing off again.
We woke up 10 minutes after our first alarm (yes, we set multiples) to the sound of rain on the windows.  Turns out Environment Canada was pretty spot on.  Great.  That made me want to get out of bed…  I decided to go with “better warm and soaked” then “be dry for the first 25 minutes and then have the rain jacket be useless because the water-proofing is no match for this rain.”  It was definitely the better choice.  I ran out of time before I’d had time to make oatmeal for breakfast (my usual) and ended up having a bowl of Kellog’s Vector (Colin’s usual).  It worked out really well and my stomach wasn’t angry at me for switching it up.
Colin laughed at me when we got to the store because I ran from the car to the door.  I figured there was no use getting even more wet than necessary.  I didn’t want to be cold before I’d even begun.  I made sure that I had printed out the route (and covered it in lots of box tape) prior to the run.  
My pacing was pretty good for this run.  I tuned my iPod to my local rock station and happily listened to the “90s Brunch” for 3-1/2 hours.  I made sure that I didn’t try to keep up with people I knew were faster than me.  For the most part I was running between groups, but that was okay.  My final overall pace was 7:05/km and that included my 1 minute walk breaks every 20 minutes.
This was a great run for me because:
  • I dressed perfectly for the weather.  People driving by probably wondered a) why I was out in the rain and b) why I was out in the rain without a jacket, but I was warm.
  • My stomach didn’t give me any heck.  I actually fueled really well.  Fish and rice for dinner on Saturday, Vector for breakfast and GUs on the hour during my run.  After the first GU I had dates and raisins every 1/2 hour, however, I think I still might use meds on race day just so I have no TMI surprises…
  • I visualized the run.  I know I only did it to keep from worrying about nothing, but it totally worked out for me.  Definitely going to do this for race day!
  • I wasn’t trying to keep up with anyone.  I chatted when I was with people, but knew when to slow down and let them leave me behind.  
  • My music rocked (reliving my youth and all that).  I’ve found that having the DJ and commercials actually allows me to zone out.  Not knowing what songs are coming up helps me out too.  I’m not waiting for a certain song to come on to get me motivated.
  • No blisters.  Score!

Things to note when running in the rain:

  • Don’t worry about getting wet.  Seems obvious, but give in to the inevitable.  The earlier you embrace the fact that you will have extra cushioning in your shoes from all the water the better. 
  • Use some sort of body lubricant.  I have used Body Glide in the past, but haven’t been using it lately.  I won some Chamois Butt’r from Kevin at Half Tri-ing a while back and it’s been great.  I don’t ride a bike and technically it’s for the inside of your shorts, but it works really well for feet!  Chafing was the number one complaint from group members, Colin and I included.  It’s also good to remember where you’ve chafed in the past and prepare… I totally forgot that I chafe on my torso directly under my hrm strap (due to my backpack’s chest strap).  
  • Injinji socks keep your toes warm.  Each of my toes was in a little cocoon and it was wonderful.
  • Do not take your gloves off if at all possible.  Unfortunately I had to otherwise the toilet paper would have just stuck to my hand.  My hands were freezing from the time I struggled to put them back on at 16km until I was finished.
  • Your shoes will not be nice and white when you return.  Why I was dodging puddles and mud is beyond me.  My feet were soaked, but I really didn’t want brown shoes.  Besides, the rain washed most of the mud away anyways.
  • Be prepared for idiot drivers to splash you.  Luckily I was able to only get one small splash from the knee down.  Others weren’t so fortunate.  If you are a driver please be considerate and at least try to avoid the puddles.  If you don’t please be prepared to be cursed out and have rude gestures made in your general direction.
  • Bring a towel if you’ve run from your car or a store.  It might be as wet as you are after you’ve attempted to dry off, but it can be used as an inferior blanket as well.
  • Don’t expect to look good at the end.  Drowned rat immediately came to mind.  Colin called me Salacious Crumb when I took my hair out of it’s ponytail…
Yup, we’re nerdy like that…
The Ugly of the run:
  • My feet.  I get this odd type of eczema on my hands and feet if I get too hot that makes little blisters under my skin and then the skin eventually falls off.  Gross, I know.  This happened last summer and then again a few weeks back.  Things looked to be getting better recently – like all the peeling was finished.  Then I added in a 3-1/2 hour foot soak.  Be thankful that even I don’t want to see pictures of it again…  The only thing I thought to describe the way they looked was zombie feet, hence the title of this post.  Aren’t you glad you read the whole thing just to find that out?  
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5 responses

  1. Great job on the run! I am also training for BMO and was out in the rain (we ran from Abbotsford to Chilliwack for a 37km run). What is BC training without the rain, right 😉
    Drowned rats is a great description for our group at the end as well, and my feet weren't looking too hot either…Good luck at BMO!

    April 12, 2011 at 3:42 am

  2. Amy

    Great job running in the rain! I like all of the running in the rain tips, but I've got my fingers and toes crossed that we won't need them on May 1st!

    April 12, 2011 at 4:06 am

  3. awesome job on the run. I actually don't really mind the rain…makes me feel so hardcore when I am done. I have 32km on the schedule for this sunday…yikes.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

  4. Awesome job! I love running in the rain, it always seems so care-free! It also toughens you for marathon day. You never nkow what weather you'll get!

    April 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm

  5. you are awesome! i love how hard core i feel when i run with the rain literally streaming off the end of your nose.

    another point on wet feet: eventually the cold, soggy water logged in your feet becomes warm and your socks (plus the added water) act like a wet suit. 😉 it's true!

    April 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

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