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Tuesday, March 30, 2010 04:33 pm

Oh, for cryin' in the rain.

Some of you might remember that cartoon "Bobby's World" from way back in the '90s. Bobby's mom sounded like she was from Minnesota, perhaps because it was created by that crazy Canuck, Howie Mandel. Anyway, the mom always had goofy sayings like the title of this blog post, which leads perfectly into the topic: running in the rain.

It’s supposed to rain this weekend, and that means those of us doing the Lincoln Memorial Half Marathon will likely get wet. Initially, that made me dread running, but I’ve been doing some reading that suggests running in the rain doesn’t have to be an awful experience. As it turns out, running in the rain just requires a little more planning. Here are some simple tips to make sure your soggy jog doesn’t make you a wet blanket. (You like those puns? I labored over a hot stove all day to make them just for you.)

-Wear a hat with a brim. I have some bushy eyebrows – a proud Yeagle trait, along with nose and ear hair reminiscent of pussy willows – so my sweat always collects there and drips right into my eyes. When it rains, that problem is compounded by about eleventy billion. (That number is confirmed by a double-blind, placebo-laden study from the University of Guam that I just made up.) Wearing a hat with a brim will keep that rain out of your eyes and let you focus on more important things – like running. It goes without saying that wearing a backwards baseball cap won’t do the trick, but of course you shouldn’t wear a baseball cap backwards anyway, unless you’re a catcher or the POTUS.

-Dress in layers, but not too heavy. The key here is two layers: one to wick the sweat away from your body and one to keep the rain from soaking in. You already know you’re going to sweat, so use one of those sweet mesh running shirts as your base layer to get the sweat moving away from your body. To keep the rain from drenching you right off the bat, wear a light water-resistant jacket on the outside. That will let much of the rain simply slide off before it soaks in. Note that both of these layers are light. Since you’re going to be generating a lot of heat, you don’t want to hold that sweat in, and you certainly don’t want to be hauling around twenty pounds of rain- and sweat-soaked clothing.

-Dress like an electric peacock. Sure, the big race isn’t the best time to impress members of the opposite gender, but the idea is to increase your visibility. Rain makes it hard for drivers to see, and nothing will take you out of the race faster than getting creamed by a car. To make sure you don’t wind up like a bug in someone’s radiator, wear reflectors or something bright. Maybe you could wear that bright orange construction vest you got for your YMCA costume last year. You’re never going to use it again anyway. Be honest; when was the last time you directed traffic?

-Get greased up! Did you see that episode of The Office, when they held a Rabies Awareness Fun Run and Andy’s nipples chafed until they bled? Just like stepping on a rake or getting kicked in the baby-maker, it’s funny when it happens to other people, but not so funny when it happens to you. Chafing is worse in the rain, and it will pretty much make you long for the sweet release of death. Prevent it with some Vaseline or some anti-chafing gel. For good measure, rub it all over your entire body. That way, if someone tries to abduct you, you can just slip away like a shadow – a very greasy and shiny shadow. On second thought, just hit the problem areas like thighs and nipples.

-Wear synthetic socks. Your regular cotton socks are fine for dry weather, but when they get wet, they can bunch up in your shoe, causing discomfort and even blisters. Get some synthetic socks that won’t be affected by the water. You can also fill them with quarters and use them as clubs…but I guess you can do that with cotton socks as well. The important thing here is that you use your socks as clubs wear the right socks.

That’s a pretty basic list of preparations. It shouldn’t be too cold Saturday, so the rain might even help keep you at a comfortable temperature. If you get tired, just imagine yourself in a Nike commercial, just doing it, or a Gatorade commercial with glowing sweat. My sweat glows anyway, ever since I started using hair gel made of uranium. It's got wicked hold, but it might make your hair fall out...

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