Lessons from Running a Marathon in the Rain – Successes and Failures

Just FYI, I’ve had to edit this post to remove watermarked race images. Instead I’m leaving you to your imagination of what the photo would have looked like.

1. The folders of my neck
2. The bottom folds of my butt
3. The front of my ankle where the foot meets my leg

Those are just three things that chaffed that I didn’t even know could chafe.  The backs of my knees get an honorable mention.

I’ll spare you photos of the battle wounds and for the most part most have healed, but if there’s one lesson about running in the rain is that things will chafe.  Things will chafe that you didn’t think were possible to chafe, like my neck… I guess there’s enough neck fat for it to chafe. While I was prepared for the usual, I put Aquafor in all the spots I usually prepare, I should have just dunked myself into a tub of Aquafor instead.

There are plenty of other lessons learned and forgotten from the swim that was the Hyannis Marathon.  My race recap is up but here I’ll just share what I learned and how I prepared to run in the rain.

Good Idea – Trashbag + Different pair of shoes Pre-Race

Although this was not the outfit I ran in, I wore my trash bag and a pair of boots before race start.  Parking was 10 minutes away from number pick/race start and I stayed dry a little longer by strutting this trash bag and rain boots instead of my running out.  I saw a good amount of runners running in the trashbag but I ditched mine once the race started.

Bad Idea – Thinking I won’t get wet, You will get wet 

INSERT PHOTO OF MY TRYING TO WIPE MY HANDS ON MY WET RAIN JACKET

If you’re wondering what I’m trying to do in the photo, I’m trying to wipe my hands and dry them except there is nothing on me or near me that is even remotely dry.

Good Idea – Wearing wide-brimmed technical fabric hat

INSERT PHOTO OF ME SOAKED IN MY WET RAIN JACKET AND A LOVELY WHITE CAP COVERING MY FACE

That’s my holy, praise Jesus, I cannot believe I have reached the finish line face. I got that fashionable hat right after Boston Marathon, and didn’t open or test until race day. As wet and miserable as I was, I would have been a lot more miserable had the rain been hitting my face and eyes the entire time.  The brim protected my eyes and face for all 26.2 miles. Tony ran without one and said the rain hitting his face was very unpleasant.

Bad Idea – Not Bringing Ziploc Bags

I brought my phone and an extra pair of socks and stuffed them into my rain jacket that was supposed to be water proof.  It was for the first 2 hours, and then just like everything else and so were those extra pair of socks I wanted to use at mile 20 when my shoes started cutting into my ankles.  Ziploc bag would have probably made a better barrier for my socks and phone.

Good Idea/ Bad Idea – Layers

INSERT IMAGE OF TONY RUNNING IN WAY TO HEAVY SOAKED LAYERS. HE IS WEAR HEAVY SWEATPANTS THAT ONLY GOT HEAVIER WHEN WET.

Tony in beast mode during the race.  It’s very important to be careful on what you wear.  Any heavy or excess fabric you have will get wet and will be a lot heavier with water.  Unlike my other races, I am not wearing anything frilly like a skirt or even thicker tights because more fabric just means more water.

INSERT IMAGE OF RUNNING WITH JUST MY RAIN JACKET AND THIN PAIR OF TIGHTS

My rain jacket gets kinda stuffy so I only wore a t-shirt underneath for the race. I still haven’t decided if that was a good idea or a bad idea.  I got very cold during the second part and can’t decide if an extra layer, even if it was wet would have kept me warmer.  Rain makes the weather feel colder and being wet, with wet clothes make it hard for your body to warm up so I don;t know if more or less layers would have warmed me in wets and wind.

Good Idea – Bring an extra set of dry clothes

Bad Idea – Don’t leave it with Tony whom you can’t find post race

INSERT RANDOM PHOTO OF ME RUNNING ON THE CURB OF A ROAD RIGHT BESIDES TRAFFIC AND A UHAUL TRUCK.

This photo isn’t actually related to anything but I wanted to share it.  The guys behind me got serious beast faces on and running along a U-Haul truck in an open road in the rain wasn’t fun for anyone!

Good Idea – Dry your shoes but don’t use a dryer 

Mizuno with CatAfter the race I just took out the inserts and let them air dry.  A long time ago I made the mistake of putting the shoes in a dryer and that killed them.  I wore my shoes from Hyannis for a long run today and they felt good as normal!

I have a million excuses but the truth is, I run because it makes me happy

  1. Its hot
  2. It’s inhumanely humid
  3. The AC is broken
  4. I’m bored
  5. This should be my taper week
  6. I’m covered in more sweat than I’ve had in a while
The list of excuses of why I stopped my second run today at 7 instead of 12 can continue but the truth of the matter is I run because it makes me happy and when I’m not happy (such as when its hot, intensely humid, and boring) I stop running. B I’m not an elite athlete and I’m beyond the recommended 30 minutes of exercise; therefore, sometimes I accept my excuses and call it a day. B I think a big part of me mentally has checked out for the week in the excitement and anticipation of my DC Marathon weekend.
The runs today were actually good. B I knocked out 6 miles during lunch at incline 3 in under 52 minutes which is my new record on these new treadmills.
I took it slightly easier for my post work run with 7 miles (although when I started I intended on 12), 62 minutes, on incline 2 and I just could not stop sweating. B I swear I could have saved a drought in all my sweat!

I also started researching in anticipation of worst caseB scenarioB in DC –B torrential downpour of rainB

The best running in rain advice Ibve read so far:

b Once you are wet, you are wet. Itbs really not going to get much more uncomfortable…b

Some tidbits I intend on following:

Dress in layers but DONbT over dress b Rain can make the weather feel a lot colder and yet hot and sticky at the same time. B The most important layer is the one closest to your body so make sure it’s a technical fabric (not cotton), which will wick water and sweat away from your skin. COTTON KILLs!!! Although I tend to wear cotton tank tops during summer races (Theybre cuter!), they will never dry and I definitely donbt need the extra weight of rain water. B Your outer layer (if necessary) should be a wind- and water-resistant jacket or vest.B Ibm packing my REI rain jacket if it gets really bad, but will try to avoid wearing it as it looks like high of 70s and even with the air vents I canbt imagine it not feeling stuffy. Donbt over dress as more layers just means more wet weight.B Dress as you would have for a dry but cloudy run.

Lube yourself up! b Chaffing becomes a bigger problem as your clothes get heavier and wetter.B Bodyglide/Vaseline and anything that will keep your skin from getting those clothes burns and don’t forget the toes!

Shelter yourself with a garbage bag and a hat b A garbage bag as a poncho seems like a simple solution to minimize clothes wetness while you wait in your coral for the race to start.B Once the horn goes you can toss if off to the side (donbt be rude, I hate when runners shed layers mid-course, give up those 2 seconds and throw your crap to the side of the course) Meanwhile a hat with a brim (finally a purpose for those baseball caps) will minimize some of the rain that will slap your face.B

Protect your gadgets b I canbt run, especially in rain without my music or podcasts.B Ibm reading that ziplock bags do wonders so Ibm going to bring a few.B Waterproof fancy cases work too. =)