Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Adventures with Mother Nature

I am linking up with MarciaPatti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.
Today's topic: What is your ideal temperature/conditions for running or race day?

If I could order up the perfect weather from Mother Nature, it would consist of temperatures in the 50s, partly sunny, low humidity, mild breezes. Hello springtime and autumn!
Source
A lot of my fellow runners like overcast skies, but I really appreciate some sunshine. Maybe not a full-out blast of sun, but patches of blue skies are great. I enjoy wearing sunglasses to run.

Weather perfection aside, I am happy to run outdoors in temperatures ranging anywhere from the 30s to the 70s.

My upper-temperature threshold is probably higher than average. Typically I like to dress more warmly than others. I might be wearing capris, a long-sleeve shirt, and gloves while others are wearing shorts. For example:
Kim and me at the 2014 Prairie State Half Marathon
On a side note... I have a theory that the more elite of a runner you are, the less clothing you wear (which definitely applies to Kim's running prowess versus mine). Case in point:
Let's flip over to the other end of the climate spectrum. My low-temperature running threshold has gotten weaker in recent years. A few years ago, I would run outdoors as long as the temperature was in the teens or higher. Now I'll draw the line if the temperature is below about 30 degrees. I don't mind running in the snow or in a "warm" rain, but cold rain (e.g. when the temperature is 33 degrees) is the worst, in my opinion.

I have definitely learned to appreciate the beauty of the treadmill.
I used to hate the treadmill for the boredom factor. These days, if I have the choice between the treadmill and battling Mother Nature's challenges, I won't hesitate to pick the treadmill.

Now, please allow me to reflect on my running weather history. I have run in all kinds of weather extremes. 

The coldest race I've ever run was at the 2013 PNC YMCA Turkey Trot where it was a balmy 15 degrees.
I have run in blizzards and ample snowfall:
Anne and me at the 2013 Chicago Running Bloggers Holiday Party
The windiest race I ever ran was the 2011 Chicago Spring Half Marathon. I wasn't blogging at the time, but in short, this is a lakefront race where there is exactly zero protection from the elements. That day, the winds were gusting at 30 MPH and up and it was raining horizontally.

The warmest race I've ever run was the 2013 Strike Out ALS 5K where the temperature was in the 90s. Luckily/unluckily, I don't have a good action photo from that race. Therefore, to demonstrate my "meltdown" look, here's a picture from last year's Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon (temps in 80s, humidity of 372%):
Thanks to my rain jinx, I've run so many races in torrential rainfall that I've lost track of them all. Here are a couple of examples:
The 2014 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon
The 2015 Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon
The closest I've ever come to running in a veritable monsoon was at the Chinatown 5K. The rain came down in such torrents that there were ankle-deep puddles everywhere. This picture doesn't even begin to do the conditions justice:
Natalie and me approaching the finish line
What is that expression, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger?
Sigh.

What are your perfect running weather conditions? Tell me about some of your most extreme weather experiences?

34 comments:

  1. Amusingly, I ran two of those same races (2013 Strike Out ALS and, of course, the monsoon that was the Chinatown 5K). I think the coldest race I've ever run was the 2014 Lincolnwood Turkey Trot where I believe it was 15 or less at the start. This year's S-No-W Fun Run lived up to the snow in its name. And I think the windiest was the Lakefront 10 Miler but I don't remember which year (maybe last year?).

    I'm also with you in that my penchant to run in any kind of weather is dwindling. I've run outside when it's 0 degrees but now I kind of don't feel like I have to, you know? Like, if I skip a day because the weather is cruddy it doesn't mean the world will end or that I'm any less of a runner. Right now my preferred temps are very similar to yours!

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    1. Ah yes, we have both shared some of these nasty race weather experiences together! Thankfully we've also shared several races where we both PR'd. =) One of the Lakefront 10s that we both ran together was indeed very windy, I remember. What is it with Turkey Trots and bad weather, right? At least the S-No-W run is aptly named!

      Totally with you on feeling like it's no longer necessary to push ourselves to run in exceptionally bad weather. Quite the contrary, I actually believe it's really harsh on the body. I know all the hard-core runners will disagree with me, of course. But I definitely also appreciate that life goes on if we elect to avoid running in awful conditions!!!

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  2. Oh, mother nature....she is a fickle one. I swear, we plan, and she cackles hysterically.

    I can (and have) run in just about every weather. For me, and this has happened to me several times, the worst is when it changes mid long race by dropping 10 or 20 degrees. And then all of a sudden I am no longer appropriately dressed and freezing my ass off. Sigh.

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    1. LOL - you nailed it, Bobbi! I have this vision now of Mother Nature being like the Wicked Witch of the West anytime we plan things out. =)

      You HAVE run in just about every weather! I remember reading about some great weather diversity across all of your recaps over the years! YES on the conundrum that is the weather changing mid long-run or mid long-race. It goes both directions with temperatures rising or dropping and it's so hard to deal with, indeed! Too bad aid stations can't be equipped to help out with weather changes on the fly, yes? Sigh...

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  3. Wow!! You've had a little bit of everything! I think it is so awesome that you have run in all of those conditions!

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    1. Thanks Ana! It's both a good thing and a bad thing to run in all the different extremes, in my opinion. It's big on experience, but not so much for enjoyment. =)

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  4. Love the pic of you at the turkey trot! You know me, I like it cold for running and will only run indoors when my path is snowed in. Luckily, I haven't run on a treadmill since early last year!

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    1. Thanks Pete! You are one of the most hard-core runners I know. =) I can't even visualize you on a treadmill!

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    2. Yes, on those really cold days during the winter the personal trainers at the gym are like, "surely your not going to run outside today!" Also, others have called me crazy. But go ahead and call me crazy for enjoying fresh air and the great outdoors! Doesn't it seem like time goes by more slowly on a treadmill (maybe because it is somewhat monotonous/boring)? Or maybe I'm constantly staring at the mileage meter too long and it seems like the cumulative mileage increases too slowly! :)

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    3. Time definitely goes by more slowly on a treadmill! I totally agree that it's mindnumbing to stare at the mileage reader to see it crawling upwards the way it does. Hence, the art of distractions comes into play. I usually listen to music AND watch TV on closed-captioning at the same time! Double the distractions to keep me going! =D

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  5. Thanks for the nice shout out :)

    My perfect running temps are 30s and overcast :) Over 60 and I am struggling! And I don't have the mental power to use the treadmill like you do! So I am outside for almost all of my runs :)

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    1. Anytime. =) I know you definitely prefer the colder end of the spectrum when it comes to running! Weather is no match for you!!! I was just telling Pete I can't visualize him on a treadmill and I have a tough time visualizing you on one, as well.

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  6. I was about to say - you can't discuss weather limitations in running without touching on China Town! Lol! That was quite the experience. Definitely the wettest race I have ever done. :-)

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    1. That Chinatown race was epic. Now that it's over, I can look back on it and laugh at how insane the experience was, but at the time it was just madness!!!

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  7. Yep, Yep, I was right, You are a hard-core runner. Lace up those racing flats!
    I am such a wuss about running in inclement weather. I'm on the treadmill ALL winter. (Although the gym child care is a perk there too). I used to do a winter race series in Denver but I'd wait until the Weds before the race to sign up every time so I could check the forecast.
    I agree that partly sunny and 50s is the perfect weather for racing, but I'd be on the opposite clothing spectrum in shorts and a tshirt - I hate being too hot! And gloves, ARG - I hate running in gloves. Even in cold cold weather I take them off after a mile or so.

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    1. LOL - thanks Kelly. =) I was on the treadmill pretty much this entire past winter, too. I used to sign up for races way in advance to take advantage of early-bird discounts, but now I also try to hold off on winter races as long as possible so I can check the forecast, too. My one beef with temps in the 50s is that for me, they are right at the in-between point for wearing shorts vs capris. Usually I prefer capris because I get annoyed with my shorts riding up on me, but at that temp range I could go either way. What do you do with your gloves when you take them off? When I do, I usually stuff them in my pockets but the bulges make me look funny in photos. =D

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  8. I was definitely nervous when it was raining when I was walking to the corrals for Tink. I haven't done a race in the rain yet and I was worried my luck had run out.

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    1. Isn't it insane that southern California is in the midst of a historic drought, but it rained during the Tinkerbell race? Actually, I was joking that with my rain jinx, I should purposely run races out west to aid with the water shortage. =)

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  9. I'm pretty much game to run in any conditions, I guess! Windiest would have to be Big Sur! I hate running in the wind more than running in the cold.

    I love all your pictures!

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    1. Wendy, you are one of my hardest-core runner friends! I can imagine there are few challenges Mother Nature could throw at you which would keep you at bay. I can only imagine how windy it must have been at Big Sur! And wind is a killer, for sure - especially a cold wind. Thank you so much!

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  10. I ran that Chi Spring Half in 2011 as well! I was this close to turning around when thunder started rumbling around mile 3. That sideways rain stung it was blowing so hard. The pics from that race are amusing.

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    1. I wish we knew each other back at the time! That race is on the top of the list of races I should have DNS'd but was too stubborn to skip. I remember how much that sideways rain stung, too! It was one of the worst weather experiences of my life. You too?

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  11. Ha! I love all your race pics! That bella clava (sp?) is pretty awesome, maybe my fav.
    I love your pic with Kim and yes there is a contrast in dress lol :) She is one of my favorite blog buddies, it is fun you really get to run with her!
    I can take cold, if it isn't too windy! My favorite is probably upper 40's and low humidity is always preferred.

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    1. Thank you so much, Karen! I feel like I look like a bank robber, LOL, and have learned to NOT walk into stores or other public places while dressed like that. =) Kim is awesome and I'm so glad you are blog buddies with her, too! Yes, wind is awful, and when you mix it with cold, it gets ten times worst. I like upper 40s, too! Low humidity, ALWAYS!!!

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  12. I'm with you on liking warmer weather! Right now I'm in a waiting room wearing jeans and a sweat shirt and the people around me are in shorts and jeans ha This AC is COLD, crazies.

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    1. It drives me nuts how offices so frequently have the AC CRANKED up during the summertime! My office is like that. I keep a sweater at my desk which I wear frequently during the summertime. CRAZIES INDEED! =D

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  13. I must be elite, because I always dress lighter than others. :) I've been wearing a tank or short sleeves at a couple races this year while everyone around me has been wearing jackets. I think I just run hotter than most, and I'd rather feel cold than overheat on a run.

    Awww, that picture from the Chicago Running Bloggers party. I think that was the first time we met!

    My perfect running weather is 30-40 degrees, tops. I'm more likely to get out on sunny days, but the sun causes me to melt if it's too hot (like now OMG WHY IS IT SUMMER ALREADY?!)

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    1. You, my friend, are ELITE!!! I had another friend ask recently if I had the choice between being too warm or too cold during a run, what I'd pick. I would go with too warm, as my climate preferences indicate, but it's a tough choice!

      I love that picture from the CRB party! It's one of my all-time favorites! Big cheers to that gathering being the first time we met!!!

      I hear you on the sudden summertime temps. It's so true about how we never get a springtime here. It's just cold cold cold cold cold and then HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT. It's like we go straight from the freezer to the oven every year!

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    2. Wait... that can't be right. We did SUP together in the summer of 2013, so we must have met at the party in 2012! Ah, these years all blur together after a while :)

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    3. Ahhh, yes! I was thinking the winter of 2013 seemed a little recent! Indeed, the growing years of friendship are a thing of beauty. =)

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  14. Thankfully I haven't had to deal with downpours at races yet. Rain but not super crazy rain. I love spring and fall running weather and it seems like the spring weather has already run out over here and we're getting warmer temps and the humidity is slowly rising as well. I've heard its going to be a warmer than usual this summer so that will suck but I guess I'll just have to go jump in the pool after I run this summer :)

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    1. You are so lucky you haven't had to run in downpours, Kayla! Here is hoping my rain jinx doesn't impact RnR Chicago. =) Likewise - we went straight from winter to summer here, too. I miss springtime! I love the idea of going for a swim after completing your runs. Talk about great rewards, not to mention pseudo ice baths for your muscles! =D

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  15. My ideal running conditions are 40's-60's. Some sun is nice but not blazing. You have been through a lot! Love the pics to show you in the different elements. :) Moving from NJ to CA has been a big change for me. I used to run in the snow and humidity, now I am running in drier and sometimes hotter conditions. Not a bad change though. :)

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    1. Sharon, how did I not know that you once lived in NJ? For some reason I thought you were a CA native. Indeed - that's an ENORMOUS contrast in running climates! It must make you appreciate your beautiful and temperate surroundings even more. =)

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