Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dressing for the Rain...and Ultrarunning

Runs in the rain require a bit of thought.  For example, here in the mid-Atlantic we are loving two days of steady rains (we need it).  Yesterday I took a local run where the bride dropped me off on her way to work and I ran back home.  This road run was safe, flat (there were hills but no mountain crossings), and fairly short (90 minutes).  Basically I just had to dress for my immediate comfort, which on this day meant short sleeves and a hat.  I made no attempt to shield myself from the rain; rather I just embraced it and went with it.
Contrast that scenario with a backcountry run where I’d be out for hours, over varied terrain and elevation.  In that case I would instead opt for rain protection—in other words, try to stay at least somewhat dry.  That would mean a thin long sleeve synthetic shirt with a thin nylon vest over it.  Sure, over time I’d get wet anyway from rain penetration and sweat, but I’d be wearing a layer and a half of insulation that would help keep me warm during those walking breaks or if the wind kicked up.  I also always carry a space blanket and some fire-starting materials should I ever be incapacitated on the trail until help would arrive.

Help would arrive for you, wouldn’t it?  You DID remember to tell somebody—even if it was a voice mail—to some level of detail where you were gonna be, right?


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