Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mission Bay Long Run

AM: 1 hour 36 mins. incl. 5x90 sec. pickups (14 miles)
PM: Rousey!!!

Seeking out a change of scenery for our long run, Jordan suggested we drive out to Mission Bay near the Sea World headquarters and run out along the ocean. Again, this would mean that our enti
re run would be on pavement, but just like yesterday we thought the ocean's stunning vistas would make for more than a fair tradeoff. Jordan's schedule called for 14, and though I haven't run this far in a while I just decided to tag along for the duration. The way I see it, if there's ever a time to bump up the mileage it might as well be when I have a respite from the sweltering heat and humidity of Charlotte.

We parked the car in a large parking lot near the boardwalk, secured our valuables and set off into the morning mist. The sky was overcast and foggy, more like the NorCal weather Jordan is accustomed to than the sparkling sunshine we've seen here the past few days, and for the first few steps we felt a distinct chill in the air. I loved it. I wanted to keep the pace from getting out of control early on, so we made the conscious decision to chill for the first seven miles of our out-and-back journey. These miles took us north along the bay with the boardwalk shops to our right and the crashing ocean waves to our left. After three or four miles the boardwalk came to an end, but we stayed the course by meandering along the undulating oceanside roads. There were a ton of other runners, cyclists, walkers and tourists out and about, all of them keeping us company even though we never exchanged any words. Our turnaround was forced just a few meters shy of seven miles at the La Jolla cove, where to our pleasant surprise we spotted a group (school? pride? flock?) of sea lions basking in the ocean breeze on a craggy outcropping of rocks. We stopped for a few minutes to watch before heading back the way we'd come.

A few minutes later, Jordan announced that he was beginning a set of five 90-second pickups, each with five minutes of recovery in between. Though I knew I couldn't keep up with him, I decided to give it a try since I hadn't really done a second workout this week. Why not count my longest run in months plus pickups as a workout? The best part about this strategy was that it made the remainder of the run pass quickly, so that by the time our uptempo sections were over we only had a few miles left. I was thoroughly exhausted at this point--the distance plus the demoralization of getting absolutely destroyed by Jordan on the pickups had worn me down--but I didn't want to pansy out and slowly shuffle to the finish. Despite my heavy legs I made a conscious effort to keep chugging along at a respectable clip, and after a few rough minutes we reached our makeshift finish line. I was pleased to see that we'd completed the run in just over 95 minutes, a brisker pace than I usually maintain for long runs even though we'd started out conservatively.

In the evening we were in for a special treat, a reunion with my friend and former coworker Mike Rouse. I first met Rousey in the spring of 2005 at the Boston Marathon; I was attending with my dad, who was running, and Mike was working the expo with Mizuno. At the time he was the Mizuno sales rep for San Diego and Hawaii; as you can imagine, it was a pretty tough life. Anyway, several months later when I graduated college and was looking for my first job, Mike and a few other Mizuno-ites helped me land a tech rep position with the brand. Five years later we've both moved on (me to Brooks and then grad school, he to Zoot and now to his current position as the VP of Running for K-Swiss) but we've always managed to stay in touch. Mike knows absolutely everybody in the running industry and is best buddies with Jordan's boss Paul, so needless to say we made sure to try to find a chance to meet up with him while we were here in town. It also should be mentioned that Mike is a pretty hardcore runner and triathlete, having completed numerous Iron Mans and the most excruciating race I could imagine, the Ultra Man (which consists of a 10k swim, 260+ mile bike and double marathon). Just yesterday, in fact, he completed an "easy" five hour training run. His wife Kimmie is no less impressive, and on not a few occasions I've retold the story of the time she competed in the Iron Man World Championships with a broken collarbone. (In case you're wondering, she swam with one arm, rested the injured arm on the handlebars during the bike, and then just let it flop around during the marathon.) To put it mildly, Mike and Kimmie's exploits are legendary and thus there is no shortage of stories when they're around. It was an absolute blast to catch up with him after a few years' absence last night.

The man, the myth, the legend: Mike Rouse


caitchris said...

So did you do a long run with your camera just so that you could take a picture of you kissing jordan's cheek? Although it does look like you are trying to give him a hickey on his neck.....

come back to charlotte so i don't have to run alone without any girl talk

mrn said...

no running with the camera, just grabbed it from the car when we finished. but it would've been sweet to snap a few photos of our view if i'd had it along.