The Worcester Running Festival was a Wash… Literally

Back in April I signed up for my second half marathon – the Worcester Running Festival half. I felt like it was far enough away that I could train for it, and I always like running races in my home city (like the WFD6K and Canal Diggers, both of which I’ve run twice).

When my knee went wonky on me, it took me a while but I realized that the half would be out of the question. Even if it felt better in time to run the race, I wouldn’t have trained at all. So a few weeks back I switched my registration to the running festival’s 5K, and after a successful WFD6K last week, I was looking forward to another test of my knee. (Plus, this race had bling to look forward to!)

wrfRain lurked in the forecast, and by Saturday it was looking like it was going to be one wet race – 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms in the morning. Gun time was set for 7:15. I packed all black running kit so that I wouldn’t be a soaked, see-through mess, plus SmartWool socks, a visor with a big brim, and a rain jacket. I had studied Running World’s piece on dressing for the rain, and I was ready!

Drew and I arrived in Worcester Saturday night, and the sky was already spitting a bit. Given the super early gun time, we had splurged for a hotel a few blocks away from the starting line in order to avoid a 5am (or earlier) departure time from home the morning of. After a quick supper at Uno’s, I read and tried to psych myself up to run in the rain, which was sounding more unpleasant to me the more I thought about it. Plus, I’d likely be running with a headache, since I had been fighting one off all day and it didn’t show signs of subsiding.

What my evening looked like

I got an email from the race director around 5:30 saying that bib pickup and the post-race party would be held in a underground parking garage – instead of on the common – in an effort to keep everyone as dry as possible. That sounded altogether unpleasant as well… thousands of sweaty runners crammed in a small, low-ceilinged garage in thick humidity. Ugh. But better than standing in the pouring rain, I suppose!

After a night of not-great sleep on a hard hotel bed with trains blowing their horns relentlessly at 5am directly across the street, I dragged myself out of bed when my alarm went off at 6am. With a just-shy-of-blinding headache sitting over my right eye, I changed into my Ninja Kit (TM) and stared out at the pouring rain for a bit:

View out the hotel window, taken the night before when the streets were significantly less wet

I was really not feeling this run, but I really wanted that medal, and I wanted to run again, dagnabbit, dodgy knee be damned. On a whim I checked my email, and there it was – the cancellation. It had landed in my inbox at 5:55am, 5 minutes before packet pickup was about to begin:

The weather has changed for the worst with lightning predicted for the duration of the event. I cannot send runners and volunteers out into an environment where someone could get hurt. Again I am extremely sorry to have to announce this at such late notice. I will reschedule the event as soon as possible and let everyone know the new date as soon as possible.

For a brief second I was disappointed, then that changed to a flood of relief. I didn’t have to run in the driving rain with a searing headache! I didn’t have to feel bad about making Drew and my dad huddle under umbrellas as I ran! I could go back to sleep!! I threw my PJs back on and got another 3 hours of suboptimal sleep and it was glorious.

Also glorious was the peanut butter, Fluff, and banana french toast I had at the Miss Worcester diner, where we took my dad for Father’s Day brunch:

Look at this! The diner had a separate menu just for french toast!

Unfortunately I was unable to finish this thing of beauty… WAY too much food!

Despite my giddy relief about not having to run yesterday, I’m still a little disappointed that I didn’t get my sweet medal. And, given my luck with these sorts of situations in the past, I’m assuming I won’t be able to run the rescheduled race. I suppose we’ll see. For now, my Worcester Running Festival experience was a wash, indeed!

Have you ever run a race in the pouring rain? How did it go? Any tips to share?

Which stuffed french toast would you pick off that menu?
It was so hard to choose!


20 thoughts on “The Worcester Running Festival was a Wash… Literally

  1. It’s nice that they’re going to at least try and reschedule the race. I’ve run some that are just flat out canceled due to hazardous ice conditions. I have also run in the pouring rain! I don’t think there are really any tips to this. Just go as fast as you possibly can to get it over with!

    • Agreed! Rescheduling is definitely better than straight-out canceling, whether I can make it or not 🙂 And that sounds like a good tip for running in the pouring rain! I was especially nervous because I knew I wouldn’t be able to go fast with my knee… I’m glad it worked out the way it did, for my own sake!

    • Yikes, I can’t imagine running across a bridge in a severe storm like that! Glad they were able to change the route and keep the race! 🙂

  2. OMG, I want ALL of that French toast! I’ve run a few races in rainstorms. There’s a half-marathon in October that I usually do and that one, in particular, always seems to be just far enough above freezing that we get rained on instead of snowed on. The worst part is usually just trying to stay dry and warm at the start line. By the time you’re on the move, the rain is kind of welcome. It’s definitely the volunteers that have it the hardest!

    • It was SO hard to choose just one kind of french toast from that list!! Ugh, cold rain for a half marathon sounds terrible, and yes, standing still while volunteering in that kind of weather must be awful!

    • I was certainly relieved 🙂 I’ve run in sprinkling rain before, and that was very welcome in an otherwise sweltering summer, but a downpour didn’t sound too refreshing! At least I would have only been running the 5K… I can’t imagine running longer than that in a bad storm!

  3. I ran a full marathon on pseudo-trails, loads of hills … and pouring rain. It was the PA Grand Canyon marathon … at least it was warm 🙂 Warm and miserable is better than cold and miserable I guess! haha – but disappointing to be cancelled so close to start.

    As for that menu – not the biggest French Toast person … but between the Nutella and Hawaiian and others – I would definitely have found something!

    • Yikes, that must have been muddy and intense! Props for that! 🙂 And yes, I would take warm and miserable over cold and miserable any day, at least when it comes to rain!

      The diner did have a full non-french toast menu as well, but I couldn’t get over the variety! 😉

  4. I kind of zoned out, drooling as I read that French toast list!!! Can I have it all? Sorry your race was rained out, but yay for not having to run in it. :). I’ve only run 2 races in the rain and it never poured. But then we get rain so rarely out here that it was still a big obstacle. Hopefully the rescheduled date works for you!

    • Isn’t that french toast selection ridiculous?? I want to go back to that diner a bunch so I can try all the different kinds! 🙂

  5. I ran in the pouring rain this Sunday! Truthfully, after about 3.5 miles it got kind of old. But I was already running, so I told myself to quit the inner whining. I focused on the good things about it: like how rain was way better than heat, and after a certain point you can just charge through puddles like a little kid cuz your shoes are already soaked, and it doesn’t matter how much water or Gatorade you dump on yourself. 🙂

    • Those are all good things to remember! I *hate* running in the heat, so I felt like I should have been looking forward to cooler weather, but I also think it was a big unknown, having never run in the pouring rain. Better the devil I know, right?

      • Before Sunday, I had only ever run in the pouring rain one time, at a 5k. And that wasn’t too bad, but I was a little nervous that it would suck doing it for 10 miles. Turns out it wasn’t actually that bad. Considering it was June 21st, the weather could have been super hot and humid…pouring rain was better.

        • Oh man that’s right!! Sunday was the 10-miler that I wanted to do if I hadn’t already been signed up for mine! I’m glad the rain didn’t make it too miserable… how did it go all in all??

  6. Definitely a great way to spend the day after a cancelled race! Very jealous of the yumminess that ensued! Have they told you when they’re re-scheduling for? In Wales, it’s always pretty wet so running in the rain is standard! We have the issue where we flake because it’s too warm!

    • Agreed! If I can’t run, sitting in a diner eating deliciously sweet breakfast isn’t a bad way to spend my time 😉 They rescheduled the race for this coming Sunday, which I can’t do, BUT they’re offering free deferment to next year’s race for people who can’t make it, so that’s something! I’ve never experienced a race being canceled due to the heat, but there were times I think I would have preferred that to running when it’s in the 90s (32+)!

    • You know, as far as consolation prizes go, it wasn’t too bad! 😉 And now I have a race to train for next year!

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