Friday, April 13, 2007

The Last Blog Before Boston

Dawn in Vancouver found me wide awake in bed with skies still shuttered against the sun. Even in the dark I could hear the first traffic of the day making the unmistakeable swishing sound of tires cutting through rain on pavement.

I sleep with my bedroom windows wide open - undoubtedly yet one more reason I am single and untaken - and I swear I could see my breath. It was, in a word, cold.

How could I not take this as an omen of things still to come? On the other side of the continent, the poor bastards in Boston were waking up to the same damp embrace and chilly reception of morning. Maybe with a little more wind thrown in for good measure...

In the past 48 hours I have thrown together a few probable outfits to run it, and sadly from the mound of clothes I have assembled, it looks like I am making for the outer reaches of Mongolia in the dead of winter. I will have to take AND run with a hat, gloves and a rain jacket as a bare minimum of weather protection. Will probably, because of the long wait at the beginning, need to equip myself with a top and track or sweat pants I can throw away. I should really run with two thin tops in 42 degree temperatures. Fuck, there is no way all of these clothes, in several hours of rain, are not going to slow me down...

I bet the Kenyans will be running in singlets. Of course they'll get to wait for the start in a heated bus. And their race will be over in two hours and ten minutes.

Got my last note from Jeff Galloway as I fired off a last second missive hoping for some kind of miracle insight, like, every degree you get closer to freezing your nuts off makes you a mile per hour faster... or something like that. You know, the fact that freezing temperatures causes your scrotum to retract and as your balls try to climb back into a nice warm body cavity you become 14% more aerodynamic. The reason being of course, and as you have probably ascertained, that I have outlandishly sized testicals.

Hi Jeff,

The BAA has sent out a warning to everyone running the Boston Marathon this year to expect "heavy rain and high winds".

The Boston Weather Channel says Force 1 Hurricane winds will be battering Boston from the Northeast all weekend.

The temperature prediction for Boston on Monday is 42 degrees or 6 degrees Celsius..

Any suggestions for conditions like these??

How warm should we dress??

Best regards, Vince Hemingson


Worst case is a cold rain. I suggest wearing a polypro type garment next to your skin--either short or long sleeve. Wear another polypro on top of it.

Then, several layers of throw-away clothing with a water proof rain jacket and rain pants over everything. Bring a cheap plastic blow-up pool float to lie down on if you can find a place in a shelter.

Take off the throw-away clothing as you are waiting at the start. You will choose how long to use the rain gear, depending upon the weather. In general, it's best to run with the two layers of polypro, tights or bike tights. You could tie the waterproof garment around your waist for later use.

Prepare for the worst--you can always wear less.

Have a great experience!

Jeff Galloway

So, no miracle words from Jeff.

All of this goes to show you that you can never take a marathon for granted which is part of the beauty and just general all-around awesomeness of the race. You can get all blase about running 26.2 miles after you have done a few and plan and scheme to kick-ass on race day and set a new PB or PR or whatever you want to call it, and the race itself has a life of its own and it just laughs at all your plans and presumption and then like a great Nile crocodile the marathon rears up out of the water and bites you on the ass.

The current weather situation facing the runners in Boston is very apropos, or the fancy Latin root for appropriate. Marathons are themselves a little like forces of nature. I am sure Herman Melville would have appreciated what it takes to run a marathon when he was busy grinding out endless pages of Moby Dick like they were Jeff Galoway-inspired mile repeats. The marathon is like the sea - when it comes to marathons you have have to respect the race, you have to respect the distance.

To quote the great Bill Rogers yet one more time, "The marathon can humble you."

Hear, hear.

Especially if you have wet feet.


Anonymous Patrick said...

I opened my t-shirt drawer this morning only to find a certain Bill Rogers shirt on top of the pile, with the words "The marathon can humble you" staring up at me. Strange coincidence?

Good luck this weekend, Vince, enjoy your time in beantown.

9:15:00 AM  

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