Most Montanans are guilty of repeating this tired, old saying at least a few times each spring: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.”

We all know that in this state, Mother Nature is about as predictable as the winning lottery numbers for that $640 million jackpot. A bright blue, cloudless sky can cook up a hailstorm in a matter of minutes, just as a mid-afternoon flurry can turn into a warm, pleasant evening at the drop of a hat.

Lately, I feel like my luck with the weather has been comparable to my luck as a lottery contestant. I spent the better part of last Saturday taking in a track meet under sunny skies — so sunny, in fact, that I got my very first sunburn of the year!

Inspired by the stellar performances I witnessed at the meet, I headed out for an afternoon run later that day. There were a few innocent-looking clouds overhead when I left my apartment, but about a half-mile in, the wind picked up and a cluster of dark, heavy storm clouds rolled in. By the one-mile mark, I was soaking wet.

The next day, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds intermittently, and the wind came and went throughout the morning hours. After much debate, I finally decided to take my chances with the rain, and I laced up my running shoes again.

I headed over to the Sentinel High School track for a short workout. Not long after I arrived, I felt the familiar drop in temperature that usually precedes a big storm. My sense of foreboding increased as the wind picked up. Before I knew it, I was running through sheets of laterally blowing hail, squinting my eyes to avoid corneal damage.

Somehow, I finished my workout. By the time I headed home, the hail had turned to rain, but the hurricane-like winds were stronger than ever. I drove past another runner who was shuffling along the sidewalk with his head angled downward against the wind. He looked miserable.

“Just wait five minutes,” I thought.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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