Running in the 'Meda: Running in the rain

Running in the 'Meda: Running in the rain

Marty Beene

I ran a 10k a couple of Sundays ago. Yeah, the same Sunday it was raining cats and dogs.

Running in the rain can be fun. No, really. As long as you're wearing comfortable clothes, it's actually quite fun to run around, splash in puddles, hear your shoes going squish, squish, squish with every step. Running a race in the rain can also be fun, as long as you're not shooting for a particular time. I was running for a particular time, so ...

Don't get me wrong, I still had fun. The Greek Independence Day 5k/10k was holding its 20th annual race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, and this was my third year doing it. The event has a laid-back vibe, enthusiastic organizers and volunteers, and the post-race food - well, let's just remember it's the GREEK Independence Day race. Enough said, right?

For me, I had two goals. One was to win my age group. The other was to run under seven minutes per mile. The second goal was a bit of a stretch goal, since my spring speed work is just getting underway.

My first goal was looking good as I glanced around at the other runners warming up. In part because of the forecast for heavy rain, the field was only about 20 or 30 runners for the 10k. I didn't see anyone who looked like they were my age, much less my age and faster than me. So my prospects were looking good this year. I took second in my age group each of the past two years - each year some guy showed up from out of town and beat me. Grrrr.

So the race started promptly at 9:00 a.m. Literally 30 seconds after it began, the rain started. Fortunately the wind, originally forecast to be blowing at nearly 15 miles per hour, was almost completely calm. But I was soaked by about Mile 1, which I reached in precisely seven minutes. "Hey," I thought, "maybe I can hit that second goal." Then I slowed down a little, first to 7:10 in the second mile, then to 7:20 in the third. Rats. Will I slow even more?

No! I actually held that 7:20 pace for the rest of the race, finishing in a little over 45 minutes, which was about 7:15 per mile overall. I was happy! I did actually win my age group, beating the only other 50+ guy by several minutes.

The post-race awards and socializing were nice. The only negative was the persistent steady rain. I had zipped back to my car to change into dry clothes right after I finished, but started getting cold during the awards ceremony, so I didn't hang around too long.

Once I got home, I reached into the back seat to grab my wet clothes. Whoa! They weighed five pounds, at least! I always wear something synthetic when it's raining so my clothes don't soak up too much water, but they do hold some. No wonder I was slower than I had hoped. Have you ever tried going out for a six-mile run while carrying a five-pound weight? Sheesh!

So what's next? The next road race for me is a big one: the Bay to Breakers. Unlike many participants, I try to run that race - a 12k, not a 10k - as well as I can. This year, I seem to be at a decent fitness level with no injuries, so I'm hoping to dip below 52 minutes, which would put me at a second or two faster than seven minutes per mile. More on that race in a future blog.

Which Bay Area road races are your favorites?

Marty Beene, a USA Track & Field certified coach, is owner of Be The Runner; he coaches adults from beginners to veterans individually and in groups. Marty can be reached at


Submitted by Meg Mom (not verified) on Fri, Apr 11, 2014

Congratulations on your win!

Submitted by Marty Beene on Mon, Apr 14, 2014

Thanks, Meg Mom! One of the things I like about these smaller races is that you don't have to be a superstar to win a medal....