Rain whipped against my face. Each step splashed more water into my sloshing shoes. Across the street to my left, the siren call of shelter and a warm meal beckoned me beneath the golden arches.

Mile six.

The rain had only reached me a mile back, but the mini-monsoon wasted no time with washing away hope that this would be an “easy” long run.

It came without warning, no thunder cracks or Thor bolts preceded. And now I found myself, with nine and a half miles to go with soaking wet socks, and my clothes a darker shade than I started with. 

I trudged on.

This morning, I tried to find a worthy excuse to go back to bed. My phone battery was dead, but damn those Samsung engineers for creating the fast charge. I forgot to buy an energy drink last night, but coffee would still do. I also knew about the chance it could rain, but most ultra marathon directors won’t cancel for a little summer shower.

So I packed my fig bars, Oreos, headlamp, and Nuun sports drinks into my Nathan hydration vest, and headed out the door.

The first mile was hell.

Always is.

I contemplated turning around. My warm, cozy bed sounded like an oasis and I wasn’t too sweaty yet to not lie back down if I headed back.

I ran on.

I reached Patterson Hill, overlooking our small town just before sunrise. The skies were light gray; the air was cool, and with three miles down, the sweat poured. This was a little concerning, I’d struggled with some man-chaffe earlier this week and was hoping for the best since my two-year-old daughter had taken my Squirrel’s Nut Butter canister somewhere into the abyss.

By mile nine, the rain stopped, the clouds opened slightly, and I suddenly looked as if I had jumped in the lake to cool down. My shoes still squished; my shirt and shorts clung like a scared baby chimpanzee to her mother; and to those who wish to know, my thighs hadn’t rubbed themselves raw just yet.

My pace was steady, 14-15 minute miles. My legs felt great, seeing as they hadn’t gone any distance over five miles on the road in over two years. I’ve been doing most of my training on a treadmill this year for injury prevention (and to watch movies). 

And even in my drenched state, my morale stayed high; and though I had to climb some of the biggest hills in our area, my stairmaster training seemed to have paid off; and though most of my training has been on artificial walking machines in air-conditioned and dry locations, I made it.

15.5 miles.

And even so, Strava let me know that I beat out all my old long run times for everything above a 10k to the half marathon. 

I’ve been out of the training rut for a few months now and I’m thrilled to see the results pay off. And now it’s back to the grind of the dreadmill, back to the gym and its modern-day torture devices; and back to waiting for my next long run.