It rained heavily on Tuesday, July 3. It wasn’t the rain that one would associate with a typhoon, but it was an incessant downpour nonetheless. Despite that downpour, I decided to do a run.
People probably think I’m crazy.
This was a rain that resulted in floods over Metro Manila and caused school officials to call off classes. There were deep puddles of water in our subdivision and when cars would splash water on me as they passed me by. But I was on the road, my music player strapped to my arm in a waterproof housing, and all I had was a cap to protect me from the drencher. Dark clouds loomed over the horizon. The air was cool. The rain drops were refreshing.
I love running in the rain.
I don’t know why people believe in that running in the rain results in colds. My mother would strike the fear of God in me by saying that getting wet in the rain leads to pneumonia. When I was in college, we would run in the rain and would hardly get sick. Years ago, in my mountain biking days, we would get drenched by heavy downpours and would hardly get a sniffle.
So unless there is a thunderstorm, or the roads are flooded, I am not going to let rain stop me.
Yesterday I did my weekend long run, long being something around the vicinity of 20 kilometers. Running experts say that the long, slow distance run is crucial for any marathon run. It has something to do with improving the body’s ability to utilize fat as an energy source as well as strengthening one’s mental fortitude to run for long hours.
I figured that I’d run for 25 kilometers. That’s the farthest distance I’ve ever run in training mode. I did a 32K in last year’s Run United 3, but that’s a running event and it’s easy to get swept by crowds and the festive, competitive atmosphere. This LSD run would be a solo run and it had the potential to be a boring, tedious run.
One challenge in doing a long run is finding the appropriate route. I could go around the park over and over again, but I’d probably want to shoot myself after the fifth lap. I could venture outside my subdivision—at 5:30 am traffic should be light—but if I venture out too far I risk getting side-swiped by jeepneys and reckless drivers. One tip to runners who run in busy streets: run against the traffic. You really need to see the oncoming vehicles. A few milliseconds of reaction time can spell the difference between life and death.
Ironically, it’s not the cars nor the trucks that give me problems. The two-wheeled vehicles—motorcycles and bicycles—are the ones that give me pause. They weave and they don’t always follow a straight line. They see you coming towards them and they don’t know if they should move right or left. Some of them focus only a few meters beyond their front wheel and they get surprised when they see you running towards them!
I figured I keep my pace really slow. Something like 7:30 to 8:00 per kilometer. I know that’s really slow. And after the first 5 kilometers I began to get bored. I decided to speed up to about 7:15. Still feeling good. At the 11 kilometer mark I was up to 7:00. Then, with 10 kilometers left, I decided to move up to 6:50. I remembered my long run of the week before, which was a 21 kilometer run, where I struggled in the final 10 kilometers. I remember a quote of Jeff Galloway: “As you push a mile or three farther on each long one, you push back your endurance limit.” I repeated that line over and over again as I pushed past 21 kilometers. The thought in my head was “For every kilometer I take, I push back my endurance limit!”
I finished my 25 kilometer LSD run in 2:57. My problem now is that most running experts say that I shouldn’t run more than 3 hours. They say that there is no physical or aerobic benefit from running more than 3 hours. Maybe my next weekend LSD will be a double run. I have never in my lifetime done a double run.
But I’m really tempted to go for 30K. Maybe I’ll do that in the 2nd week of July. A 30K with a 7:30 pace means a 3 hour 45 minute run. Gulp! That probably means I have to wake up at 4 am!