It was already raining when I went to bed on Friday night. Because I enjoy cool, fresh air, I slept with the windows open that night. Somewhere during the night, the rain became heavy and I rushed around closing some of the windows, but keeping the bedroom windows cracked so I could listen to the steady beat of the raindrops.
Hours later, it was still raining. Now I wanted the rain to stop. I was to be meeting up with some people to get in a long run on Saturday morning. This rain wasn’t just a sprinkle, it was steady. I shot out a few emails to see if I could get anyone to commit to running….after all, I didn’t want to drive all the way out to be the only goof ball that showed up! I ended up calling Sally, who confirmed that she was going – after all, it wasn’t lightening, and I packed up my things (with a couple of extra towels and an extra pair of shoes) and jumped in the car.
Amazingly, there were already a handful of people there. Sure, everyone was just sitting in their cars, but the dedication of this group surprised me. I couldn’t believe there were other people so obsessed with getting in their long run that they’d come out to run in this rain. I worried about my shoes and socks getting so wet that I’d develop blisters. Fortunately for us, the air temperature was around 70.
The group was not the regular size, but still a good, solid showing for this rainy day. Another positive, the trail drains quickly and we reached mile 3.5 (Turtle Pond), a place that’s known for flooding, and it was free and clear. Excellent! We ran on, not a dry stitch of clothing on any of us. Thankfully, the air was warm enough that even I wasn’t complaining of being cold. As we passed mile 4 or so, another runner coming the other way said the trail was flooded out at mile 5.7. OK, well, we could get to that point and just turn around if it’s that bad, we discussed.
At mile 5.7(ish), there is a small bridge. For most of the year, there isn’t even much water flowing through there. In fact, it’s such a small bridge, it’s easy to forget about. I’m not even sure how long it is, maybe 25 feet? Well, we get there and it’s covered with water bursting from a higher section of the forest preserve. It’s loud and rushing by us quickly, pushing broken branches up against what is supposed to be the railing. You can barely even see the railing at this point. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in this forest preserve.
Being the only female in our group, everyone looked at me to see if I’d go through. OF COURSE! We took off our shoes and socks and made our way across the bridge. Slowly, to make sure we didn’t lose our balance, we stepped very carefully across the bridge, one by one, to the other side. The water was cool and rather refreshing! Once across, I squeezed out my socks (I can’t believe how much water was in them) and waited for everyone to cross.
We’re lucky one of our runners, Jim M., had a cell phone on him and we were able to get this quick shot. The picture doesn’t really do the water in the background justice, but if you’ve ever run at WFG, you might recognize this spot and have a better idea at how amazing this was. You can just barely see the railing of the bridge if you look to the right of the guy (Jason) in the orange shirt. I’m sort of surprised Jim’s camera didn’t fry out. You can’t tell in the picture, but it was still raining hard when we took that.
We continued on through the rest of the trail with just minor little puddles to go around. We were again surprised there was no water collection just before mile 8 – another area known for flooding. The rain continued for the duration of this run (and for days afterwards!), but everyone made it through without incident.
Definitely a run I’ll never forget. I’ve always known that I’m a little “too” addicted to this stuff and sometimes don’t know when to quit. Well, the group of runners that ran outside in Chicago on Saturday morning – whether at WFG or anywhere else – are truly a crazy group of people.