Saturday, February 12, 2011

And Away We Go....

Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning. - George Carlin (1937 - )

Hi Guys - Well, that above quote is about as close to accurately predicting the weather as I can get. But, for those of you that are going to be running in the Mercedes Marathon or Half Marathon tomorrow, it LOOKS LIKE it's going to be cold (30 degrees) at the start. So, you say to yourself "well, that'll be easy. I'll just put on a bunch of layers and be toasty warm". OK, couple of things wrong with that. #1) if you've been reading RWA, you know one of the few constants in this world is that you will warm up when you start to run. #2) there will be virtually no wind to speak of in the morning, #3) the humidity will be low, and #4) it will be sunny and it's supposed to warm up to 55 degrees by noon. See, the problem here is that you have to walk from your car to the start. During that short time frame is when you'll probably try to make your decision as to what to wear for the race. You're nervous, it's dark, and you're not thinking clearly in the first place. Focus on what you've learned, folks. One long sleeve, and possibly a light short sleeve or singlet over that. If you want to start in a windbreaker, and then toss it to a friend or tie it around your waist, that works. GLOVES are essential!!! Gloves that you really don't care about are great because you can toss them when it gets warm. However, I have been known to wear gloves until the temp got into the 60's - guess they just become a traveling partner. If it's really cold, a couple of those "HotHands" to stick in your gloves are great to generate some heat. They make the equivalent of "HotButts" too, but I haven't tried them, so I can't tell you their worth. I know some of you don't like hats, but that's where you will lose most of your body heat, so it's probably a good idea unless you like complaining (not always a bad thing - it warms you up, too). Probably the thing I'm asked the most about when it gets cold is "Should I wear tights?". Well, not when it's 50 degrees, and unless you can think of quick way to change, you'll be pretty uncomfortable when the temp rises and you feel like you're cooking from the bottom up. If it's windy and cold, I might wear tights - and they feel good - but in a marathon where it's going to warm up, I don't think it's a good idea at all. You'll be miserable enough without adding to it.

This is just meant to be a quick primer for tomorrow and not a overall discussion of all cold weather gear. If you ran last year, it was 26 degrees I think, so just look at last year's photo and see what you wore then. Can't be simpler than that. I wish you all the best of luck. Over and above everything else, remember this is just a run. Put it in it's proper prospective. We all have goals. Sometimes we meet them and sometimes we don't. When you don't, you figure it out and try again. When you reach your goal, pat yourself on the back for a while and then get back to work towards the next goal. Goals are a lot more than 26 miles of pavement in Birmingham, Alabama. For all you TNT folks, your individual goal pales in relation to what you have done - raised monies that will be used to eradicate a most horrid disease that is the leading cause of death from cancer among children. Each of the dollars raised is that much closer to a complete cure. So, tomorrow, whatever your time is, be proud of yourselves. The same goes for those raising money for our local Bell Center for Early Intervention. Whether you've raised money for charity or not, you've put in lot of work over the past few months and tomorrow is test day. Have a good time being the star.

I'll be pacing the 5:00 group, so before the race, stop by and say Hi so I know somebody reads this. Or better yet, run with me for a while. Tomorrow is kind of a personal test for me. Due to having too many birthdays, gradually my once proud marathon & beyond lifestyle has taken a dip in the toilet. If your joints go south, it's hard to log the magic miles. Whereas 20 miles used to be a weekly run with friends, my last marathon was 23 months ago, and I've only banked two 20 milers in the last 18 months, so "nervous as a kitten" is putting it mildly. So yeah, I have goals, but they're way different from even just a couple of years ago. I want to finish with my group (I've niftily paired myself up with Marie Bartoletti as my co-pacer - she's done 195 marathons & ultras and is like dependable clockwork. So, if I falter, she's like gold for the group). If not with the group, I want to finish just to get in that "marathoner" mindset that only us that have done these distances that others call "crazy" know what that mindset means. So, just like you, I'll toe the line and see what tomorrow brings. Whatever the outcome, I thank the Great Runner upstairs that I still can toe that starting line and I always thank Him for friends like you all. Even if you're not with one of the pace groups, run or walk a smart race. And somewhere, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, I'll see you on the roads - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

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