Generally, the only weather you won’t get during a Nor’easter is lightning, which means that the odds of cancelation for the Cape Cod Half Marathon were virtually nil. Which meant that running 13.1 miles in all manner of wind, rain, sleet, or snow wasn’t out of the question. Each of the retreaters who’d been planning to run had to figure out just how epic they wanted their Saturday to be.

Given that I’d just set a half marathon PR a few weeks prior (did I tell you about my PR?), my only goal for the race was to start at the start and cross the finish line in however long it took me to get there. I didn’t count on 40 mile gusts or pelting sleet but life is full of surprises.

Like how surprisingly fun it is to run in near-apocalypic weather. That’s not the lingering hypothermia talking. It was a total hoot. Because I love a list, here’s why (in no particular order, because that’s how I roll):

  • Once you embrace the suck, you have freed yourself for pleasant surprises. I expected to spent three hours frozen and wet and miserable — and was mentally prepared to just get it done. But it was ten degrees warmer than anticipated, which was almost balmy.
  • Every time your thin plastic poncho develops a hole, make a knot. Soon you’ll have more knots than holes and a metaphor for life to ponder for the last few miles of the race.
  • The course, which winds along the shore, is gorgeous. The white caps and flat gray skies are even more impressive than the perfect blue you usually get.
  • Blowing sand and salt spray is an effective exfoliant.

Erica, Michelle, Lisa, and I model the latest in flimsy plastic running gear. Look out New York Fashion Week.

  • Marianne, a BAMR from NJ (who you might remember from our Seneca 7 sojourn), and I solved all of the world’s problems while we ran. Or, at least, chit-chatted away about pretty much everything when we could hear each other over the wind and surf.
  • When you are soaked to the bone and your shoes are squishy, you can’t get any more soaked. This is surprisingly comforting.
  • It’s also comforting when 50+ BAMRs are out on the course, too. There’s something to be said for doing something supremely silly with a group.
  • The purple bibs the race organizers made for the AMR Retreaters made it incredibly easy to cheer for members of the Tribe when we saw them. I’m not sure if I was hoarse after the race because of the cold or because I was whooping it up so much.
  • When it got hard around mile 11 — not gonna lie, I was ready to be warm and dry by then — a cheer squad emerged from the rain to high-five us home. If you can run down a line of women wanting nothing more than to encourage you to the finish and who you’ve spent the last 48 hours laughing with, do that. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
  • Post-race cider donuts. ‘nuf said.

One of the better choices SBS and Dimity made about the retreat’s location is how close the hotel is to the start/finish line. Not ten minutes after leaving said line, I was stripping off all of my clothes in my room’s kitchenette and, then, in a hot shower. Which was one of the better showers I’ve ever taken. It was up there with rinsing off after my babies were born. It was that good.

In the kitchenette post-race but pre-shower. I left a puddle.

That’s not to say there wasn’t a little bit of damage from running through the storm; my Brooks Ghost 10s will never be the same. But $120 for some new kicks is a small price to pay for the ego boost this race gave me. That is priceless.

Which extreme weather events have you run through? And did you feel like a total badass at the end?

PS: Thanks for all of the race suggestions. I’m going to compile a list and plot my next moves in my next column.