It doesn't rain often here in Southern California, but it does rain. We're no Pacific Northwest to be sure but we have our rainy season. Right now we are in the middle of a forecasted 4 to 5 days of continuous rain.
My plan called for 18 miles on Saturday morning. The rain had already begun on Friday. All day long I fretted over the possibility of having to run that many miles all wet and chilly. I really wasn't looking forward to it. I don't mind running a few miles in the run but 3 hours out there was just messing with my head. But the CA Cruisers are just like the US Postal Service, we run rain or shine.
When I left home Saturday morning at 6:00 there was a light drizzle. By the time I met up with over a dozen intrepid souls the drizzle had become more of a heavy mist. Actually not so bad for running. Getting started in that was much easier than having to get started in full on rain.
A very funny thing happened about 2 miles into the run. Here we are, a bunch of middle- to late-aged folks out for our long run. We'd all dressed for the weather with long sleeve tech shirts, hats, assorted rain gear (jackets, ponchos, trash bags) and our fair share of extra percentage points of body fat. The mist had subsided so most of the rain gear was now tied around our waists. As we ran down Fairmont Blvd in Yorba Linda we were over taken by a trio of college guys. They must have been team mates. They could have been triplets or clones. Each one was dressed in black shorts and running shoes and nothing else and none of the three had more than 0.5% body fat. It was quite the contrast to our little band of runners. It was no time before they were well off in the distance never to be seen again.
I ran with Margaret again. She had 16 on her schedule so we decided to share much of the run together. Most of the runners ran a shorter 6 mile loop. When we hit the river trail we left the group and did an out an back on the trail. About 8 miles into the run the rain started up again and continued for the duration of the 18 miles. Luckily the temperature was in the mid 50's and there was only a light breeze, so I never got too cold.
It is nice to run with a partner on these long runs, but Margaret usually runs at a slower pace than me, so once again I didn't meet my long run pace goal. This weeks goal was 9:39. We were doing just less than 10 minute miles for quite a while. 15 miles into the run we had a cumulative pace of 10:12. The miles began piling on and the fatigue piled on too resulting in a final pace of 10:33 for the entire 18 mile distance. I ran the last mile and a half alone but was unable to pick up the pace as much as I would have liked to.
I've been good at hitting the paces mid week, now I've got to start concentrating on hitting the paces on the long runs as well. I might try running on my own to be able to get closer to the planned pace and forgo the camaraderie of the Cruisers for a couple of these long runs.