As I sat in the parking lot at the Nature Park waiting for Donna to get there, it started coming down even harder, taunting me - yeah, you thought you'd get away with a dry run - ha! I'll show you dry! In anticipation of heating way up as I always do on a run, I was in shorts, short sleeves and just a thin fleece vest even though it was only 38 degrees outside. Donna arrived, we whined at each other for a few minutes and off we went.
True to form, the first 15 minutes or so of the run was a glorious exercise in complete and utter suckage. My hands got very cold and then went numb and the rain was relentless. All the body parts threw giant hissy fits like a bunch of spoiled children - one way or another, they were gonna be heard from. Finally, I found a trace of my groove and started warming up, literally and figuratively. The rain didn't let up for the entire run, but as most of us crazy-assed runners know, especially the Oregonian types, after a while you hit a point where you just can't get any wetter, so it really doesn't matter. However, warming up apparently sent the signal to my sinuses to immediately start "double-time production" (for lack of any other polite terms) and before I knew it, the river started running like I had the head-cold from hell.
Oh well. Can't win for losing, I suppose. Being there was nothing else I could do, I swiped at my nose with the collar of my vest as gracefully as possible and we veered off the paved path onto a trail. It didn't take long for the real fun to start.
We progressed from bark chips to pine needles to wet leaves, which then degenerated into muddy patches we could at least partially dodge, and then to 10 and 20-foot-long stretches of ankle-deep mud that were impassable in any other fashion other than straight through the middle. All around us were veritible ponds of water where the ground just couldn't absorb any more, making it look more like a Florida swamp rather than a forested Oregon park. At one point, there was a huge puddle that encompassed the entire width of the trail (and then some) and was also too big to jump, and it was clear there was no getting out of it - at least one foot was going in, and possibly both if I couldn't lengthen my stride enough. With gritted teeth I went for it - one shoe completely submerged with a rush of freezing water. My other landed on the opposite side - far enough to avoid complete submersion but not enough to keep from giving those toes their own chilly snap-to.
We did this particular loop of the park twice. Don't ever let it be said I'm not a glutton for punishment! At the end, though, we showed off our mud-covered feet to each other as water dripped non-stop from our hair and our noses and fingers, and we crowed about being hard-core. Suddenly it occurred to me right then that in reality, this was the first truly hard-core thing I've done in a very long while - perhaps my whole life. And wow, did it feel good.
Here we are, a couple of drowned rats, but this photo doesn't come close to adequately portraying just how wet we were. I literally could have wrung water from my clothes.
Look, ma! Mud!
Today was an hour and 10 minutes, next week we'll push it to an 1:15 or perhaps 20. We've decided to give the mud a rest and go run the Promenade downtown.
And rain? Bring it on, baby!