Sunday, March 1, 2015

Running in the rain

My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m.  It had been raining all night.  It was still raining, I could hear it.  I got up and walked towards the bathroom where I had laid out all my running clothes. I had some decisions to make.  Shorts or tights?  Jacket or no jacket?  Gloves?  It was too early to make decisions.  I put my socks on and threw the rest of the stuff in my bag.  I walked downstairs naked.

As I turned on the light, Vader, one of my dogs, who is sometimes allowed to sleep in the house, rather than the garage, raised his head.  He looked confused, as if he did not quite understand the presence of the light.  He's getting old, I thought.  He raised his bones and came over to greet me at the base of the stairs.  I let him out.  It was raining hard.  All I could think was this is going to suck.

I'm following a training plan of Jack Daniels and today's workout was 22 miles at easy pace, which for me is somewhere around 7:30-8:00 minute pace.  I got the coffee started, took a shit and got dressed.  I went with wetsuit theory.  A wetsuit only works after cold water enters it and the body warms the water up.  I was certain, no matter what I wore, I would be soaked.  I would at least try to maintain some body heat, so I covered everything.

I got my coffee.  I sipped my liquid crack.  I was hoping it would stop raining.  I knew it wouldn't.  It was pouring.  I got in my car and drove to the coast in Encinitas like a man condemned to his fate.

I parked my car on Highway 101 at the north end of San Elijo State Beach near the restrooms, which always seem to be open, clean and have toilet paper.  I walked with an umbrella, which struck me as ironic, as I would be completely wet in about ten minutes and took another shit.

Back at the car, I popped the rear of the wagon and sat on the edge, protected, a bit, from the rain.  I sipped my coffee.  A few moments later, Greg Fall drove up.  He had let me know he was down for the run the day before, after running 30 miles.  Greg is one of my running buddies.  I only have two, the other being Chris Bryan.  Running buddies are hard to find.  They need to have at least four qualities, they are punctual, they rarely flake, they can hang and you like being around them for two to three hours at a time.

I had posted the run on the SEHRC Facebook page.  One member, with the name of Boston Dos Mil Quince (Boston 2015), had indicated he was going.  We waited until 6:35, but he did not show.  I wore a long sleeve shirt, a light jacket, running tights, a beanie and my Hoka Cliftons.  Greg wore a pair of shorts and his Alta Olympus Zero Drop, no shirt.

We ran south through Solana Beach and into Del Mar.  Out in front of Seagrove Park, we saw a hopeful lone surfer in the water.  Greg and I laughed.  It was high tide and this guy was getting nothing.  Up a little bit we passed a car with a Dakine sticker, with two guys inside, presumably watching the surfer.   Greg pretended to be one of the occupants and joked, "If he gets one, we'll go."

We turned around at the end of Stratford Court, which got us to 7 miles and headed back north.  At the street intersections, mini-rivers ran down the hills toward the Pacific.  We hurdled some, others we just ran through.  It didn't matter.  Every part of us was wet.

The coast was empty.  There were no bikes, hardly any cars and only a couple of runners and walkers. The runners we did see, looked to be quality.  Greg and I were enjoying ourselves.  How often do you have the North County coastline to yourself?

Mile 21.  Done.
Around mile 10 we ran into a fellow SEHRC member Cindy Lynch and her friend Fernando.  I had never met either, but shouted out to them before they passed.  They quickly stopped and we chatted for a minute or two about races and a couple people we each new.

We got back at it and continued running.  We were dead on for my pace and I was amazed at Greg. He was showing no signs that he had put in a hard 30 less than 24 hours before.  We continued to chat and caught up on things.  You really get to know someone when you run.  I've surfed and rode with guys for years, but the conversation gets truncated all the time.  When you run with one person the conversation just flows.

We got back to our cars and I tossed in my jacket.  We then kept going past Swamis, through Leucadia and then turned around at La Costa in Carlsbad.  Neither one of us brought food.  Greg had some water, but I just drank a couple times from a few water fountains.  Around mile 19, I finally felt some discomfort, but not too much.  I was getting hungry, we were talking about food, the rain seemed colder and the wind had come up.

We pressed on and were hit in the face with 30-40 mile per hour winds in the last mile.  Then we were done.  I didn't make 22, but we did do 21.2 at around 7:38 mile pace and it never stopped raining.  I figured I had done enough. There was no way I would have run the 21 without Greg or at that pace.  It would have been a grind.  Instead, we turned the rain into an opportunity to get a bit more mentally tough.

Anyone can run when it's nice out.  What really matters is whether they can run in the rain.

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