While this is a huge accomplishment on it's own, we did it in the pouring rain and I have to admit I actually enjoyed it :) Nine (9) of us started at 3:30 am to willingly run in the rain. It had already started raining, so we knew what we were in for. This is a lot harder than begin caught in the rain, because it takes deliberate mental strength to start when it's already wet all over, but we all had to run at least 18 miles and didn't want to reschedule or have to do it on our own.
It was only a light rain when we started, so it we welcomed the cooling effects because it was still warm out. But within a 1/4 mile it started to pour and we were all questioning our sanity. Although we were all complaining, not one of us really had any intention of turning back. We all welcomed the new challenge and were in for the long haul. The rain was never heavy for long, but it was constant. On the off chance when it stopped raining, the wind would pick up and spray us with water from the trees above, so we were never dry. Thankfully, it was not cold so it made it feel refreshing and I would much rather be drenched in rain than sweat. So once I got over being wet, it was fun splashing around puddles. We tried to avoid them so our shoes wouldn't be squishy, but it was a futile attempt since the rain never stopped and the streets just accumulated more water. I was pleased to learn that my shoes and socks were great at keeping my feet dry because I never felt uncomfortable.
At 8 a.m., I still had 8 miles to go while most everyone else was finished. Despite the rain, we picked up 3 more runners and went out for another 5 - 8 miles. I knew I'd have company through 23 miles and was prepared to run the last 3 alone, but my group is amazing and would have none of that. I'll admit that I am grateful because it would have been mentally tough to keep going alone in these conditions. I had these 2 guys with me through the very last soggy step, and it really helped me forget about the rain and pain and finish with a smile. I felt like a celebrity running with an escort :)
When we returned to the start, our fearless Director Laura was waiting for us with donuts and coffee, and a ribbon that said "All Star" that my group bought me (I had posted on Facebook earlier about running a marathon even without a medal at the end). I am so very touched by my group's compassion, and impressed by their determination to accomplish their goals regardless of the circumstances. Many of them were beginners when we started in June, and have now completed several races with impressive results. Their hard work has paid off, and I'm so very proud of their accomplishments and thrilled I am able to be part of their journey.
I'm really glad we did not cancel this run and I got to experience these conditions, because you never know what race day will bring. I've now run in scorching heat, freezing cold, and pouring rain. I swear, I don't even know who this person is anymore because 3 years ago I would have laughed at you if you said I'd even attempt any of those things. Training for a marathon is grueling, but it is so rewarding and I learned so much about how far I can push my limits and I'm not done yet! :)