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Summer Rains and Runs

Summer Rains and Runs

It's pretty crazy. Here in southwest Missouri we nearly set a record for rainfall in the month of May with June also looking wet. Even though we don't have a major river around here, like in St. Louis and Jefferson City, where flooding was a big issue, we still have homes around here flooded and plenty of flooded roads and the ground is saturated.

It seems that this is a weather pattern that moves northeast -- meaning states such as Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan often get the same weather we get, only a bit later.

So, why talk about rain and running? Well, there are some things runners need to keep in mind when the atmosphere is super hydrated and you're dealing with an overabundance of rain.

First off, right now it's late May and already around here, the humidity is off the charts and with temps getting into the high 80s (and some morning temps already run in the high 60s), it's a sweatfest. I'm already wringing out my shirts after early-morning runs as my body is working to adjust to the humidity and trying to keep cool. I can't imagine what it will be like in a month from now (with heavier-than-normal rainfall predicted for the at least the next three weeks). For runners, this means, hydrate and hydrate often, AND EXPECT your performance to drop — you'll tire more quickly, run more slowly — until your body fully adjusts (and I'm not convinced it ever really FULLY does). So, expect it and don't beat yourself up if you find yourself struggling.

Of course, with more rainfall, runners need to be extra diligent about traffic (if drivers missed seeing you before, you're MUCH harder to see in the rain) and you also need to be aware if rain is accompanied by lightning. You really don't want to be running along a road where you're the highest point for yards and yards (or you're running directly underneath the highest points, such as large trees). Some people may scoff at lightning, but why risk it? National Weather service say the U.S. has 43 fatalities per year due to lightning and more than 400 people who are not killed, but left with varying degrees of disability.

By the way, I'm not sure how much rain your area is experiencing, but if you're running in the rain, be aware of low water crossings and flash flooding potential. If it's raining hard "upstream," it may not even be raining much by you and when a flash flood hits, it really is like a wall of water that comes carrying all sorts of branches and debris (the reason so many people drown) . . . and it's even more dangerous if you like to run before the sun comes up (or after it goes down).

Something people don't always think about when running and you have an abundance of standing water due to heavy rains/flooding is you're also going to have an abundance of insects -- especially mosquitos. I know I've heard that Michigan mosquitos and hummingbirds are frequently mistaken for each other, but the point being, you are a mosquito buffet. : )

Now, typically, when I'm running or immediately after I stop running, I'm not too much of a mosquito target as I'm pretty sure any mosquito that lands on me, drowns. : ) HOWEVER, when you're stretching or standing around post-run talking with your friends, you are a definite target and some mosquitos do carry some pretty nasty diseases . . . so just be aware that mosquitos, gnats, and other flying fun will likely be VERY PLENTIFUL this summer . . . and if you can find some waterproof/sweatproof repellent, you might want to experiment with it.

Also if you run in the daylight hours, you may want to try running with sunglasses designed to be used for running to keep insects out of your eyes — I know I've accidentally run into clouds of gnats before and they just hit my sweat and stuck to me like glue. ( They've gotten into my mouth and eyes (and I WISHED I had sunglasses on).

Okay, if it keeps on with the heavy rain pattern, it's only a matter of time until you end up home soaking wet and your shoes pumping out water at every step. Best way to dry them is to pull out the insoles and stuff them full of newspaper (yeah, you may have to hunt some down as newspapers aren't as common as they used to be). Anyway, after 30 minutes remove the soaked paper and replace with some more. The paper pulls moisture out of your shoes and gets them pretty dry.

Well, pay attention to the weather patterns and adjust your runs and times accordingly. Don't ignore severe weather — it's important to give "mother nature" the respect she deserves. : )

Have an awesome run today!


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