The joy of violent weather

Good-weather runners come out only when the sun shines, the rain and snow and hail don’t fall, and the temperature hovers between 50 and 80 degrees. That’s fine, although these treadmillers, when they do grace the park with their presence, tend to clog the trails in Central Park that are so sweetly deserted during ice storms, windy 10-degree mornings in March, and the muggiest summer evenings.

In any event, my running friends and I are all-weather runners, a term that gained new meaning this morning. I left my Washington, DC hotel at 7 AM for a quick 6 miles around the Mall. Good trails, great sights: one of my favorite routes in the city I often visit for work. I wore a tanktop and shorts, a hat and sunglasses against the –notably weak– sun.

Then as I made my way past Obama and Washington toward Lincoln dark clouds moved in breathtakingly fast. Within minutes I had to take off the shades in order to see. Crazy winds started whipping around, and as I did some marble-stairs repeats at the Lincoln Monument the rain began to come down.

CNN later called it violent weather, with wind gusts ‘powerful enough to bring down small trees and power lines’, accompanied by torrential rain. ‘A rough start of your day in the DC area, folks.’ No kidding. Trails instantly turned into streams, streets into rivers. The city was dark and suddenly deserted. My shoes became heavy wet clogs.

The temperature dropped at least 10 degrees and as I kept running, strangely alone in the capital, I felt  invigorated. Some earlier soreness in the right knee and tightness in the lower back was gone. Back at the hotel the moody tiredness had lifted and I was ready for this day.

That’s the gift for the all-weather runner, every day.

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