Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hyannis Marathon

Today’s headline: Whitecaps on the puddles in the street.  The big news today was the weather: cold, windy, and raining.  I've been happy to finish every one of my 71 marathons, but never happier than today, no fault of the race committee.

My Race:

Temperatures slid from 43 to 37 as the day wore on, with winds increasing.  Rain was pretty constant, letting up only in my last two miles or so.  Misery index: 9 of 10, where 10 of 10 would be 34 degrees & sleet, or maybe 90 degrees without shade.  This was easily the coldest weather for any marathon I've run.  One in St Charles MO was similar, not quite so cold, but with so much rain that the course became flooded and the race was cancelled while we ran it.

My pace was slower than usual because of the weather.  Gear: Wind jacket with mock-turtle LS technical shirt underneath, running pants with running shorts underneath, normal shoes with regular (not thin) running Wrightsox, ear cover band, visor, and mittens.  In addition I carried an extra shirt, knee covers, and a large trash bag, just in case I couldn't handle the cold.  None of that extra stuff was needed, and in fact it slowed me down in the last few miles because the extra shirt got waterlogged and dangled behind me.  Live and learn.  I didn't get cold until I stopped and went inside the finishers’ building.  I had aimed for a finish of 5:30, considering the weather, and my actual time was 5:34:59.  Good enough for second place in the 70+ age group, though there were only two of us in the age group.

Whining: No serious injuries.  My quads and hip flexors spoke up a lot, starting at mile 11 and gradually worsening until the end.  Calves threatened to cramp a few times but didn't, and my speed was ultimately limited by the pain in the quads and hip flexors.  I suspect that the temperature affected those muscles.


My sweeties finished too, and now have run a marathon or a half marathon in 49 states.  One more to go!

The Hyannis Marathon:

This is advertised as a “winter marathon,” and so it is.  I ran briefly with a local woman who said that her friend had flown up from Florida to run because she wanted to find out what a winter marathon was like.  I’d say she got her money’s worth.  Hyannis is on Cape Cod, so it is subject to strong influences from the Atlantic, but by and large the weather is not too different from the weather in Boston, also close to the Atlantic.  Boston, on Friday, would have been a wonderful day for a marathon; perfect temperature, no rain, snow, or wind, only perhaps a little too much sun!  Otherwise perfect.  Saturday in Hyannis would have been pretty good too.  Not today.  Not, however, the fault of the Hyannis Marathon!

In fact, the race committee did publicly discuss cancelling the marathon outright, and might have done so if the wind estimates had been higher, (50 mph was mentioned but didn’t materialize).  They kept us well informed and made the decision at 4:00 pm Saturday, as they said they would.

Finisher's medal
Running conditions were: (1) Roads completely open, plowed curb to curb; (2) Lots of big puddles in the roads, full of very cold water, not quite ice; (3) Sidewalks existed on maybe half of the course, and were mostly plowed and mostly free of debris from the blizzard two weeks ago.  I used the sidewalks a lot, especially in the second half of the two-loop marathon: (4) Traffic was worse than advertised on the race web page, and because of the puddles in the road some runners were doused by thoughtless passing drivers.  One driver doused a runner (not me) so thoroughly that I resolved to unload my full 72-year dictionary of invectives at him if I ever saw him and his VW Beetle again.  Happily I didn't - I was pissed;  (5) The rain rarely let up, never for long, and at one point near the Atlantic it was actually sleet.  Ah well, I’m from Minnesota and I can handle anything!

Volunteers were WONDERFUL!  It’s one thing to spend 5 or 6 hours out there running, with the body heated by the effort, but quite another to spend that time standing in one place.  Huzzah! to all of the valiant volunteers, and police as well.  I love you, and I high-fived a lot of you.

We three all thought that the Hyannis Marathon race committee and the race itself were great.  Aid stations were well-placed and sufficient.  The only area for improvement was the number of porta-potties: The first location after a race start has to have more than one!  In fact, this race is big enough to support at least two at each location.  Not only would this reduce the lines, but then two people running together might not have to wait for each other.

Splits: 12:25, 23:05 (2 mi), 23:09 (2 mi), 17:29 (major natural break), 23:37 (2 mi), 11:54, 14:08 (natural break), 11:59, 11:25, 23:36 (2 mi), 49:33 (4 mi), 13:15, 42:19 (3 mi & natural break), 26:39 (2 mi), 13:32, 16:56 (1.2 mi), total 5:34:59, pace  12:47.

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