I got caught out in the rain a few days ago toward the end of an easy eight, the sort of rain that indicates the end of days. It started to sprinkle at mile five and by six was the hardest rain I’d ever been outside in. Then it rained harder. Streets quickly began taking on water and for the last couple miles I was running in ankle-deep puddles as often as not. It was kind of fun until I nearly got hit by a car, after which I sobered up and just focused on Getting Home.
I slogged into the driveway with heavy shoes and water pouring off my body, and paused at the door, unsure of my next move. I couldn’t possibly walk into the house like this; I was a walking waterfall. I looked around a couple times and saw no neighbors and no cars… The Bacon family wasn’t home… I quickly stripped off my clothes on the front stoop and darted inside to get a towel.
I was back at the front door a minute later to retrieve my gear and thought, as I reached outside and gathered it all up, “Man, I’ll bet this stuff weighs five pounds.”
I carried the dripping mess into the kitchen and grabbed Mrs. B’s scale out of the cabinet. The scale went onto the table and everything in my arms went onto the scale.
Yes, it was hard to balance everything on that little scale. Yes, this is the same scale Mrs. B uses to measure ingredients and food. No, no one has ever put dirty shoes on there before. No, I don’t think I will be in trouble. Mrs. B is a scientist; she loves stuff like this.
It’s tough to see the readout so you’ll have to take my word for it: 55.48 oz. Okay, so not five pounds. (I may be in trouble for not using metric units.)
Running Warehouse lists my shoe – Mizuno Sayonara, size 9 – as weighing 7.9 oz., which, presumably, is the bone-dry weight. I cannot describe to you how excited I was to see how much it weighed dripping wet:
Whoa baby! That’s… not nearly as dramatic as I’d hoped.
– 24 hours later –
The next step, of course, was to see how much everything weighed dry. How much extra weight was I carrying in the rain? At the time, soaking wet, splashing through the rivers on the sides of the roads and leaping onto someone’s lawn to avoid a Jeep Cherokee, it felt unfathomably onerous.
Unfathomable onerousness = 55.48 oz. – 26.45 oz. = 29.03 oz. About 1.8 pounds.
You’re probably thinking, “Okay… is that good?” Well, weight is a tricky thing to get a handle on. For example, a 1.8 pound turkey is too small for Thanksgiving and probably too weird to eat, whereas an extra 1.8 pounds of running gear feels like the end of the world. So, allow me to offer you some perspective:
1.8 pounds (29 ounces) of extra running gear weighs:
far less than a small watermelon, but
more than an MXR phase 100 pedal, which may be the best pedal ever made. This one is older than I am. I found it in a pile of junk when I worked at an electrical engineer’s shop in college and he said if I could fix it, I could have it. The rest is psychedelic history.
less than a LEGO Volkswagen bus, which Mrs. B bought me for my birthday and was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received, but
more than a smaller LEGO Volkswagen bus.
pretty much the exact same as 29 ounces of artisanal coffee, which may or may not have been roasted exclusively with solar power.
So there you go. Be sure to think of this the next time it rains.