Running in the Rain

By: Sam LaBrie

After a couple years of running ultramarathons, I’m happy to be training with Rogue for shorter races.  I was lucky to find Carmen Troncoso’s group to provide guidance, support, and fast, fun running buddies.

10 years of running

I picked up running relatively late, when I was 36.  Before then, I kept in shape playing (obsessing over?) Ultimate Frisbee on local and national club teams.  But I kept on getting hurt and needed to try something less painful.  Running was an easy choice.  Within a year or so I was running in most of the local road and trail races in St. Louis and training for marathons with an informal group.  The highlight was qualifying for Boston at Grandma’s in 2003.  I moved to Austin about 4.5 years ago and found a home with Gilbert’s Gazelles for marathon training, chasing the elusive sub-three.  I achieved my goal, finally, at Sacramento in 2008.  I was happy, but mostly relieved.  Marathons are tough enough to finish and trying to run a couple fast marathons a year was draining and often frustrating.  I had always enjoyed trail races and decided to spend most of my time training for and running ultras.  I’ve run 3, most recently the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 this past July.

Running with Rogue

Training for ultras is mostly about putting in the time.  We didn’t do much speed work and I realized how much I missed those workouts.  I had followed Carmen’s many racing successes through the local grapevine and had heard about her training group.  She agreed to take me in and help me train and compete in my new 45-49 age group.  I’ll be running in road and trail races.

It’s been only a few months, but it’s working.  I’m faster and stronger.  The group is talented, with the fastest women in town (Chris, Cassie, Amy, Tia, Carmen).  We have a few old guys who try to keep up with them and there is always someone to pace with.

3 great runs in the rain

I spent the summer running lots of miles in the heat and now it is so great to run in the rain.  The cool drops hitting my face, jumping puddles, muddy legs, I love it all.  I’ve had 3 great rain runs this fall.  The first was in eastern France.  I stayed in Metz for a night and woke up to rain.  I ran past the beautiful train station, under the hilltop cathedral, and along a river.  It was before 8am so I was surprised to see a soccer game with older (30-40) men in uniforms, but no spectators- what were they doing?  I kept going along the river and out into farmland, with potatoes, cabbage, and squash ready to be picked.  It was a total of about 10 miles with puddles, rushing river, old euro-stuff, and green countryside.  The second was an Xterra trail race in Warda.  It was during the first real rain here in 6 months and it was a serious rain, with sheets of water.  The race was 20K, 2x10K loops.  Only about 40 of us actually showed up due to the weather and we ran the rolling course through pine trees, cow pastures, and an oil well.  A real Texas run!  It was dangerously slippery only in one short spot, the rest was solid, but under water.  The third rain run was with Carmen’s group.  We ran 18 miles and hit many of my favorite Austin roads- LAB, Scenic, Balcones, Hancock, Shoal Creek.  We finished on the Shoal Creek trail, picking up the pace as we got closer to the pool.  Rain the whole way, a fun group, and egg tacos- a perfect November morning in Austin!

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