Creating our own nice weather

  • By GEOFF ROES
  • Friday, September 25, 2015 1:08am
  • Sports

It doesn’t rain every day in Juneau, but when we get into weather like we’ve had lately, it sure begins to seem like it does. Even the “nice” days this time of year generally consist of 23 hours of light drizzle followed by one hour of small “sucker holes”.

The good thing is that once you adapt to this climate, you really do start to believe that these are in fact nice days. Weather that would be considered horrible in most other climates comes to be thought of as a nice day. Out of necessity we learn to take a cup half-full approach, even when it’s raining steady enough to literally fill that cup half way in a few hours.

As an avid runner, or any outdoor enthusiast, it can be pretty hard to cope with these wettest times of year here in Juneau. It can be especially daunting if you live in a house — like I do — up on a hillside, with large windows leading to a wide sweeping view. This is great when it’s sunny and you are dreaming up adventures you will soon take into the spread of mountains you can see in the distance, but when it’s socked in and raining, and you can’t see anything in the distance, only a panorama or rain drops in the foreground, this can be a really hard time to get out the door to go for a run.

It becomes so easy on these wet days to daydream while drinking your morning cup of coffee about all the things you can accomplish indoors that day. Maybe this is the perfect day to catch up on your two years of backlogged New Yorker Magazine articles. That dining table you’ve been telling yourself you are going to build out of scrap lumber — what better day than today? You’ve lived in Juneau nearly a decade and have never been to the City Museum. Looking out the window again, the museum certainly sounds like a better option than going for yet another run in the rain.

Then I remember that I could simply go to the gym and run on a treadmill. This is when I finally snap out of it and remember that the rain is never really falling as hard as it looks from the front window. I lace up the shoes and somewhat reluctantly head out the door.

It’s definitely raining. It has definitely been raining for the better part of the past month. For that matter it’s been raining for the better part of the past decade.

Gradually, as I run though, I realize that it really isn’t raining that hard, that it really doesn’t generally rain that hard in Juneau. I get into the forest heading up the Mount Roberts Trail and the tree cover is enough to block the rain completely.

Within minutes I realize I am over-heating. I laugh at the irony of having just spent two hours indoors procrastinating going out in the rain for a run, certain the wetness will lead to being cold and uncomfortable, and within 15 minutes up the trail I am feeling warmer than I have all day.

As my run unfolds I completely forget that it is raining, or that it really ever rains in Juneau. Another wet, drizzly, cool day is becoming nicer and nicer the further I run.

I return home an hour later completely renewed and excited for the day. I check the tide tables thinking that maybe I’ll go out to Sheep Creek and try to catch a couple Coho for the freezer, or maybe I’ll see if any friends want to gather in the evening for a North Douglas beach dinner. Anything to get some more outside time on this now surprisingly “nice” day.

After a quick shower though, I glance out the window and notice that it is looking rather rainy and gloomy once again. I guess it’s time to start digging that scrap lumber out of the garage and get cracking on that table. First though I’ll just read a couple magazine articles in hopes that the rain lets up a bit so I don’t get wet going outside to get to the garage.

Several hours later and I’ve finally got the lumber organized, ready to see if I have any chance of actually building my own table, when my phone begins to buzz with text messages. One reads: “It’s getting sunny. Want to head out to the beach for dinner”? Another says: “Care to soak up some sun and drink a couple beers at False Outer in an hour”?

I glance out the window and notice a few tiny “sucker holes,” each about the size of a Subaru. The rain has even diminished to the most gentle of drizzles. I check the hourly forecast and notice that the chance of precipitation has dropped from 90 percent to 60 percent for the rest of the evening.

It’s going to be a perfect autumn evening in Juneau. The table will have to wait for another day. I quickly push the lumber to the side of my living room and begin to gather the essentials: wood, beer, matches, lawn chair, and of course, a rain jacket.

An hour later I’m with a few friends, sitting around a fire on the beach in a light drizzle. One of them asks if I bothered running at all on such a wet day? “Yes,” I tell them. “I went out in the late morning and it actually dried up and got really nice for the hour I was out”.

My friends all look at me in disbelief. This is when I remember that they were indoors all day, looking out the window at a wet, cold, gloomy day — not out running through the forest, creating their own “nice” day.

“Well, at least it’s nice now,” one of them adds. “Yeah, at least it’s nice now, ” I agree. The reality, of course, is that’s it’s been raining all day, and for the better part of a month.

Luckily though, if we get out and create our own “nice” weather there is a nearly endless supply of it there for the taking.

• Geoff Roes lives and runs trails in Juneau. He has run more than 40 mountain, ultra, and trail running races all over the world – winning the majority of them. He is the founder and director of the Juneau based Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp. He can be reached at grroes@yahoo.com and more of his insights can be found on his personal website www.akrunning.blogspot.com. He is also a regular contributor at www.irunfar.com. “Running Wild” will appear in the Juneau Empire every other Friday.

More in Sports

An estimated 185 people, many dressed in unconventional attire for running or walking, take off from the starting line outside Centennial Hall during the Only Fools Run At Night on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau revives its summer solstice spirit with Only Fools Run At Night

Runners and walkers in madcap costumes fill downtown streets as race returns after six-year absence.

Lydia Jacoby, Alaska’s gold-medal swimmer, announced Tuesday she is withdrawing from the U.S. Olympic Trials. (Alaska Sports Report photo)
P.J. Foy does not advance, Lydia Jacoby withdraws from U.S. Olympic swimming trials

First-ever Juneau swimmer to compete in trials finishes 49th among 61 competitors Friday.

Trout Unlimited's Matt Boline holds a container with coho fry for official documentation of anadromous fish use in an unnamed creek in the vicinity of Juneau. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Survey says…

Our floatplane cleared the notch in the snowy ridge then turned slightly… Continue reading

Juneau’s PJ Foy, shown winning the 2023 100 yard butterfly in 48.27 for Thunder Mountain High School during the ASAA state championships at the Dimond Park Aquatics Center on Nov. 4, 2023, qualified for the 2024 June Olympic Team Trials by swimming a 100 long course meters butterfly in a personal best 53.44 on March 16, 2024, at the Speedo Sectionals in Federal Way, Washington. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire file photo)
Alaskans secure spots at 2024 Olympics; Juneau swimmer PJ Foy will try for his spot on Friday

TMHS graduate seeking to qualify in 100-meter butterfly at U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

At least one female wood duck has invented a novel feeding technique. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Wood ducks, redstarts, yellowlegs and flowers

Mid-June, and a few days ago we saw a wood duck with… Continue reading

Competitors in the AlaskAcross 2024 race prepare to depart from Eagle Summit at 10 a.m. on June 8, 2024. From left are Bruno Grunau, Mark Ross, Forest Wagner, Mike Fisher, Sarah Hurkett, Clinton Brown, Tracie Curry and Curtis Henry. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Journey through a sub-Arctic summer night

“You guys are the result of thousands of years of selection,” Fran… Continue reading

Barn swallows firmly attach their nests to walls, so they support the weight of nestlings and visiting adults.  (Photo by Bob Amrstrong)
On the Trails: Spring to summer

Spring temperatures were cool this year, but the lengthening days gave birds… Continue reading

In the spirit of Dolly Parton’s country music roots, race participant Mendenhall River Community School Principal Eric Filardi runs in costume with young Lucy Vogel wearing heart-shaped sunglasses as they enjoy the sunny Saturday weather on the Airport Dike Trail race course. About 85 runners participated, many wearing pearls and pink hats provided at the starting tent. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
Busting out the pink and pearls at the first Dolly Dash

Dolly Parton-inspired fun run raises funds for free books for kids.

A cruise ship makes its way through early morning fog last summer. The passengers who have been arriving lately have not been experiencing similar tranquility. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Racing the weather

Daylight is unstoppable this time of year. Not like up in the… Continue reading

Most Read