Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Unto The Breach

It is marathon time again this Saturday morning. I’ve staged a mental taper intervention and now it is time to get this thing on.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast appears to be uncooperative. I have run in rain. I have run in wind. I have run with snow falling. And I have run in nice, perfect 50 degree weather. On all of those occasions, the runs have been strong and true.

However, like most, my body does not react well to heat. There is ample evidence testifying to my lack of running acumen above the 70 degree threshold. (I hope I do not go to hell for I would have to become a cyclist.) Saturday’s race is calling for heat. Sure, they say low of 57 and high of 80 on race day. That means, it’ll be 57 degrees at approximately 3 am and 70 degrees by 7:00 gun time…and rising. It’ll be a warm one so I’ve already adjusted my carefully plotted race day goals.

Goal #1: Survival.
Goal #2: Attempt to BQ under 3:21.
Goal #3: Do not deliriously hallucinate…unless it helps obtain goals #1 & 2.

It’s a shame, really. All of this awesome training seems destined to be blown to smithereens by weather whimsy. I will do my best to control pacing at the beginning – to refrain from racing against the rising mercury – to prevent overheating, blown gaskets, uncoiled springs, and flying nuts and bolts at the 20 mile mark like a demented cartoon jalopy.

There is a distance to cross. A breach to conquer. Like Indiana Jones during his Last Crusade, I must choose my path wisely before a misstep sends an over sized table saw blade through my race.

My apologies to Shakespeare:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the road up with our spiritless runners.
In training there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of a race gun blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest runner.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of races past!
Runners that, like so many Prefontaines,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their shoes for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your Garmins; now attest
That those whom you call'd marathoners did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to race. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made on roads and trails, show us here
The mettle of your spirit; let us swear
That you are worth your training; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘Let’s race! Ready, set, go!’

On second thought, clearly Shakespeare owes me the apology. I should have been his editor.

See you post-marathon, after the 26.2 mile breach, dear friends, once more.

Happy trails.


Phil said...

Pay more attention to your body than usual during a hot marathon. Remember that after a couple of hours, you won't be thinking clearly. I ran Chicago in '07 and '08 and even when it hit upper 80's, I couldn't figure out why people were dropping out.

Vava said...

Good luck!

Xenia said...

I totally feel your pain. But you're smart and crazy so you'll push through. Good luck!

aron said...

stupid weather. i hate when it messes with races. its good to adjust your goals for the warm weather, but i will send my prayers to the weather gods that it stays cool until noon!

X-Country2 said...

Heat like that is just an excuse for you to go topless. You know you're looking forward to that.

Anne said...

My first ever half-marathon is this coming training had been going so well. I felt so ready...and now I'm freaking worried (scared even)! We are expecting sunshine and high
80's...that usually means very high humidity!!! Yikes!

Jess said...

You can do this. Grab water at all the aid stations, even when you don't feel like it. (You probably know that already, but still). Good luck!

David said...

Let me suggest split-sided shorts. Preferable with some animal print - cheetah, perhaps.

Is it too late to grow a porn star mustache before Saturday.

Pam said...

Good luck!

Lauren said...

YOu will survive and you'll do great. The body does great things when it needs to. Some meth would work too ;)

Annie Cat said...

Love the Shakespeare. Good luck on Saturday. Like the new goals. I had to DNF a lousy 10K on Sunday because I didn't allow for the heat (89 and humid) - need to get better at that before October's marathon (Chicago), remembering what happened in 2007.

All the best!

Deb said...

Wow - awesome poem!!!!! But who's this Shakesbeer of whom you speak? Must be some weirdo MI runner dude.

i predict that you will handily meet Goals #1 and 2. (We don't really WANT you to meet Goal #3, as delirous hallucinations make for fine blog posts.)

GOOD LUCK!! Start slow-ish, drink at every water stop and lick your arms from time to time for some much needed salt. Mmmmm...salty goodness...

gottatri said...

Ohhh man...this is going to be brutal. If you see me laid out in the road, roll me into the ditch so I don't get run over. :-) Good luck!

Viper said...

Ignore the heat and it will go away. Run well and drink well. Kill, kill, kill! Cheers!

Robin said...

Good luck. And if it gets really hot, just think what would Dick Beardsley do? BQ it!

Jess said...

Good luck with the 26.2. I hope the weather cooperates for the most part or that there's lots of shade on the course for you!

Sun Runner said...

It's Michigan...there could be a big weather shift in the next 24 hours for all we know. You could wake up tomorrow with clouds and 45 degrees.

Either way, good luck storming the castle!