I can hear the wind and rain as I lay in bed at 4 a.m. Going to be a wet one today. Won’t be the first time I’ve run in the rain. Won’t be the last.
The temperature is not bad – near 60 — but the wind will make it feel colder and The Beast on the Bay race, which is at — and in — Lake Erie for 10+ miles, is likely to be even colder. I debate my options and ultimately decide on a layer of Under Armour, which I wear below my blue Superfriends team shirt.
I’m not unhappy that I have to wear a base layer. I prefer cooler temps when running. And I like how U.A. makes me feel—firm and sleek—two things my 44-year-old body is not anymore without compression gear.
I put on one of my favorite black running hats to keep the rain out of my eyes and my hair contained. The hat stinks when it gets wet, the bacteria from tens of thousands of beads of sweat and miles upon miles of runs as woven into the fabric as the white swoosh on the front, but I put it on anyway because I like the way it fits.
I arrive at Waldameer with my Chevy Trailblazer’s radio blaring Beyonce’s Run the World, like a silly 17-year-old schoolgirl. But, I don’t care because I’m happy and it’s fun and because girls do run the world.
My teammates are already gathering and passing around a giant bottle of Jack Daniels’ Tennessee Fire. Some are clutching umbrellas. Some are clustered under the open gate of a minivan. Some are wearing rain boots and coats in an effort to stay dry until race time.
But, most have chosen to embrace the suck and just stand there in the rain. Wet is inevitable today.
We get on the shuttle bus. It takes an entire bus to deliver the Superfriends team to the race start even with many standing and/or sitting on friend’s laps. The chatter is, as always, near deafening. The windows fog from our breath and the body heat radiating from our damp bodies. The average age of our Superfriends team is probably near 40, though our members range in age from 16 to 60.
When we arrive at the race start, we hit the restrooms. The Superfriends create a super long line that stretches out and around the bathhouse.
More Tennessee Fire. More photos. More rain.
The DJ is pumping up the crowd at the start line and the Superfriends buy in. Soon, we’ve got a dance party going on. We hop up and down (mostly to stay warm, but still…), we dance from foot to foot, we sing out loud and take turns in the center of the circle. It’s cold and windy and it’s still raining, but nobody seems to care.
When we start, we follow a sandy road to the beach that—thanks to hours of rainfall—is littered with mud puddles. At first, I avoid them, running around or jumping over them. But, soon the puddles are so deep and wide that they stretch the length of the road, so I just start stomping right through them, deliberately splashing and kicking water at my teammates in front, beside and behind me.
They gleefully splash me back and we all scream and laugh. Mine is not a fake, courtesy laugh. Not an LOL. Not a grin. Not a self-conscious giggle. But, rather the unbridled joyful and genuine laughter of a middle-aged mom stomping through mud puddles with a whole bunch of Superfriends.
Video by my Super friend, Jon Wolff, here.
About Just Write: “What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”