Luckily, running in those stormy conditions was such an adventure that the miles slipped by almost unnoticed. It wasn't until after I finished that I noticed blood on the heels of my shoes and the front of my shirt.
I've logged hundreds of miles in the rain since that day, and I've learned a few important lessons along the way.
Beware Chafing2 of 7
The most important thing you can do in wet conditions is protect yourself from chafing. A dab of Vaseline on my heels and two strategically placed Band-Aids would have saved me from several days of painful showers. Apply it liberally to all areas that might chafe.
Don't Overdress3 of 7
Runners often forget they heat up as they run. A good rule of thumb is to add 20 degrees to the expected race temperature and dress for that. This is the temperature you'll feel after the first mile or two.
Dress for the Conditions4 of 7
Wear a shirt made of a moisture-wicking technical fabric, and avoid cotton. Add a breathable, water-resistant shell if you think you might be too cold for a single layer. A plastic trash bag works well as a pre-race poncho.
Shorts are usually fine to wear in the rain. If you want to keep your legs warm and protect them from wind chill, you can try smearing Vaseline over your quads and hamstrings.
Your socks and shoes are going to get wet, but you can try to keep them dry for as long as possible by carrying them to the start in a plastic bag. Merino wool socks will keep your feet warm even if they're wet.
Wear a Hat or Visor5 of 7
The hat will keep a bit of heat in your body, but even better, it will keep the rain out of your eyes. Try to find a running-specific hat made from synthetic material that won't become heavy after getting wet. Sunglasses with clear or lightly tinted lenses can provide additional protection.
What To Do With Wet Clothes6 of 7
Before grabbing a post-race beverage and swapping war stories from the day, change into dry clothes as soon as possible. Make sure to bring a change of clothes, a towel or two, deodorant and a first aid kit.
When you get home, wash your race gear right away and dry out your wet running shoes. There are few things in this world that smell as bad as a pile of wet running gear. Most running shoes aren't dryer-friendly, but you can speed up the drying process by shoving balled-up newspaper in your shoes.
Have Fun With It7 of 7
Adults don't get a chance to play very often. Provided the storm doesn't come with lightning, run, jump, splash and turn your run into an adventure. As songwriter Tom Lehrer once said, "Bad weather always looks worse through a window."