Temps that never top the 40s.
And snow in higher elevations.
And through all but lightning and snow did our merry group of marathoners-in-training go as we ran around Coronado “Island” (it’s actually an isthmus) and the Silver Strand bike path that connects it to Imperial Beach.
For the most part, we were lucky. Thick, ominous clouds held tight during our warm-up at Tidelands Park this morning. Many of us had awakened hours before to thunderstorms and pounding rain, but neither was present at the start. And many had heeded advice to wear windbreakers or synthetic material to mitigate the pending downpour. I’d brought 60 big black garbage bags for those who needed them, but few did. That’s good because the track club president/volunteer coordinator immediately swiped them to, of all things, collect trash.
With the downtown San Diego skyline to our right and picturesque parks and neighborhoods to our left, we moved along the perimeter. Even under the gloom of gray skies, each home’s architectural uniqueness awed those of us conditioned to condos and tract housing. It takes a lot of money to buy here now. It took our group only about 35 minutes to hit the historic Hotel del Coronado (pictured above in sunnier times), cross Orange Avenue and head up the bike path. Everyone knew this was the tough part. It’s flat, which is good, but barren, which is not. I chatted for awhile with a photographer named Andrew who had open-heart surgery about a year ago. This is his first marathon. His story helped distract me from the growing wind gusts.
At the next aid station, I reunited with my training partner Tara -- and the rain. It was light but steady and cold. Then suddenly a cell opened and shot out millions of pellets of hail. It stung our faces and any other exposed area before moving on way too many minutes later. A harder rain followed as we turned to head back home. Back in civilization it was cloudy but calmer, just as when we’d left it about 70 minutes earlier. During the final two miles along a golf course, I told everyone that if we were going to be exposed to the elements and to use this as a character-building experience, then we needed the variety. You can’t brag about running in rain, but that hail is another story.
We returned to the waterfront park with 13.5 miles done in 2:10. We should have run 5 minutes more, but special dispensation was granted (by me) for running in such foul weather. I felt terrific, not tired. The carpool was pretty upbeat on the way home, too. In addition to having fun with “Molly,” Sylvia’s new minivan that talks to you, we were excited by all the possibilities this bad weather might bring. With regularly scheduled outdoor events cancelled, we could finally take it easy for a change. Stay put. Kick back. Read a book. Watch TV guilt-free. Cook some comfort food. And be glad the run was done.