Surfing is my sexy new kid on the block; always fun and exciting, always making me chase the perfect conditions for my limited abilities. I love it. But like many new boyfriends (I imagine, haven’t had me one of those in forever) the thrills are high but the work to get them is hard. Windguru, Magic Seaweed and Edgar’s Kite Spot all have to be consulted before heading out. I’m not even talking about the kit or all the staring at the waves that has to happen.
But Running! Running is my solid all-time favourite bestie, even if it has taken second place these days when the surf is up. Reliable and dependable, nearly always available, Running is my feel-good for whenever I want, never mind the conditions. I’m doing the Gun Run again this year and it’s without a doubt one of my favourites, but it does mean I have to stick with a programme for a bit. So with the Runners World Half Master 21k training programme breathing down my neck and dictating a run, I kept checking the weather. I was looking for that break in the rain that lasts just long enough for me to be smug about my perfect timing afterwards. I thought I found the gap but then, without even the first few fat drops as warning, the rain started bucketing down. Already soaked I carried on, reasoning that the heavy rain wouldn’t last long and I’d probably be dry in another ten minutes anyway. I was wrong. Here are a few things I learned:
- Heavy rain can start suddenly ten minutes into a run, last for exactly forty-five minutes, and clear immediately as you reach your front door.
- Like your own personal afdakkie – a sun visor can keep the rain out of your eyes even when there are sheets of water falling.
- Long running pants and a long sleeved run top can double up as a wetsuit when it’s very very rainy. You do not feel the cold.
- Motorists with their wipers going hell for leather will see you running on the pavement and they will slow down ever so slightly. Some look, others wave, one or two laugh. What kind of madness? Is what I can nearly hear them saying. I’m hoping that’s all, since I’m not sure how much wet t-shirt there was in the wetsuit.
- Blue tooth headphones are reasonably waterproof just don’t touch them too much or they make weird fizzy sounds into the music.
- An iPhone screen stuck in a fabric running pouch stuck to your stomach can get very wet but still be fine afterwards.
- Squelchy running shoes are awful but better than most surf booties.
- You can still get a weird ankle tan stripe between the end of your running pants and your socks. I’m not kidding. It’s real.
- A hot shower after a rainy run is better than chocolate.
- Rain, even pouring rain, does not ruin a run.
So now don’t go dismissing me as some kind of lifelong run nut, or even an exercise nut for that matter. I was more likely to run away from phys-ed at school rather than seek out any kind of exercise. But six years ago when my youngest son was three months old the combination of a tricky baby and cabin fever propelled me into running shoes. (Yes, nothing to do but run for it!) Since then a little run has been a constant feature of life, with a bunch of races thrown in every now and then for fun. It’s brought me great friends and, even if I ran every race there was to run for the next fifty years, way way more laughs than medals. I wish I’d found out about this magic happy pill when I was young(er)! But I remind myself that the upside of running with my 40 badge is that every run is a triumph – how I feel for those poor souls who lose the joy when they compare current personal bests to the ones they pulled out when they were 20.
But me and my 40 badge figured it out this morning. Happiness is a Run, even in the rain, with a Side of Surf. Who knew?
Found your happy spot recently? Let me know. And yes, a Triathlon counts (sleep, snooze and a long nap)…