Facing the Heat

First things first, I ran 8 miles for my long run today. It was a t-o-u-g-h tough run. I ran on the roads around our house and the hills are just relentless. I wore shorts and a long sleeve fleece jacket, and even though it was 36 degrees outside I got pretty hot with the sun on me. There’s a quote from a book I’ve been reading the past few weeks called A Life Without Limits, by Chrissie Wellington, that says: “some sessions are stars and some are stones, but in the end they are all rocks and we build upon them”. Today was a stone, but it sure was pretty outside:

 

I read an article in the January/February edition of Running Times called Facing the Heat. It discusses the growing number of races that have had to be shut down due to heat, and who is to blame. The article alternately points a finger first at the inexperienced/under-prepared/first-time marathoner, then at the veteran/fast marathoner, and finally at the race directors/officials.


The article begins by referencing the mid-race cancellation of the 2012 Green Bay Marathon. Initially the race director, Sean Ryan, got the brunt of the criticism. Most of the reviews on marathonguide.com blasted Ryan and I read more than one that stated Sean Ryan needs to step down from his position if the race has any hope of restoring faith in future participants. But then in a turn of events, the veteran marathoners turned their criticism on the “first-timers” (those participating not with a time goal, but with a goal to finish) for Ryan’s cautious approach. One reviewer of the marathon went as far to say:


 
“It was the inexperienced runners that didn’t heed the warnings their bodies were giving. I changed my goal from ‘a BQ’ to ‘finish at Lambeau rather than the hospital’. If more runners had done the same, the race would have probably gone off just fine. “
 
 
In addressing the issue of the inexperienced runner, Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon, makes the proposal of a qualifying system for marathons.
 
 
I am not opposed to this idea. I think it would help address the growing number of “inexperienced” participants that full marathons are seeing. However, Phil Stewart, director of the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and publisher of Road Race Management newsletter, makes a good point that the recent growth of half marathons is actually beginning to address this problem.
 
 
Maybe within the next few years, the marathon will not see so many participants, as the popularity of the half marathon continues to grow exponentially. So if the “first-timers” are to blame, it is because they rely too much on course support/aid stations and are quick to blame race officials when something goes wrong. But what if the inexperienced runner is not to blame for these race cancellations?
 
What if it’s the fast/veteran marathoners? The article goes on to discuss faster, finish time-oriented runners who are unwilling to adjust their goals to the conditions.
 
 
They go on to cite last year’s Boston Marathon, which allowed participants to defer to 2013 due to expected record high temperatures. Around 2,200 runners chose to defer, but many others chose to participate and did not do so cautiously. Out of the field of veterans, 2,000 ended up in the medical tent and 200 had to be transported to the hospital, according to the article. So if the veteran marathoners are to blame, it is because they are unwilling to adapt their goals and strive to achieve them at all cost.  
 

Finally, the article turns it’s pointed finger on the race directors. It is true that with the growth of the sport and influx of slower-paced runners, they have become more cautious. But who can blame them? No one wants to be the one that put a “black eye” on the sport due to some major disaster. If we are to blame the race director/officials, it is because they have become overly cautious with the growth of the sport.
 
 
McGillivray sums it up nicely when he states that it really is a shared responsibility, and the blame cannot be put on one individual group. It is the job of race directors to be there when you do get in trouble, but it is the responsibility of the participant to be well-prepared and realistic. As someone who hopes to complete her first full marathon (possibly in the near future… hint, hint), I will be adequately prepared to complete the distance. I am not a fast runner, so I guess that puts me in the category of “finishers”. But I do not feel that means I should not be allowed to participate in the event. After all, every veteran marathoner had to run a first marathon before there could be a second, right?
 



A rest day and Mary Poppins

Today is a rest day before my long run tomorrow morning. The chimney sweep guy came to inspect/clean our chimney today. I am sad to report that having your chimney swept in real life is not as exciting as they lead you to believe in Mary Poppins. Just wanted to save you the disappointment.

 


We use a woodstove to help heat our house but have been unable to use it the past few weeks due to a problem with the chimney. The sweep was able to get the chimney cleared and the woodstove is back up and running!

I am planning to do my long run over at the same trail that we ran at last night. Hopefully the sun and wamer (upper 40’s) temp’s we had today helped to clear it off somewhat. Otherwise it could be a pretty interesting run tomorrow.

Snowy run

Good news! We never lost power last night, thank goodness! We did end up with a total of close to 10 inches of snow. Here’s a view from our back deck this morning:

This evening I went for a run with Barry after he got home from work. We drove over to the biking trail in town, and ran 3 miles at a pretty slow pace. The trail was covered in snow (at times as deep as my shins) and had some icy patches, which made it difficult to run. There were also several downed trees and limbs across the trail that we had to climb under/over. Barry snapped a picture of me at the entrance to the trail and we tried to get one of a tree across the trail. It was already dark outside, and we took them with a cell phone, so they didn’t come out very good.

Today I was off work, since it’s a state holiday (Lee-Jackson Day). I had a low-key morning and spent time getting the house clean, doing the dishes, and watching this week’s episode of Dance Moms.

This show is so ridiculous, but it entertains me. I’m pretty sure at least 80% of it is scripted, but whatever. It’s fun to play “rate the crazy” and rate stuff from the show on a scale of 1 to 10. You gotta love those guilty pleasure shows.

Snow and some Mexican food

I couldn’t go for a run after work today because the weather took a turn for the worse. The rain started up again last night and it continued to rain today until it switched over to a heavy snow this afternoon. It has been snowing hard all afternoon and we already have about 8 inches or so. The dogs are having a good time with it, though!

Hank running around in the yard
Hank and Scout playing on the deck


It’s weather like this that makes me wish I had a treadmill, as much as I hate them. Since I couldn’t run, I decided to do some p90x. I did the cardio workout, which is my favorite one. Anyone ever done p90x?

Last night we went out to a local, new to us mexican restaurant. They brought out the standard chips and salsa, except the salsa turned out to be freshly made. It was delicious!

I got a beef enchilada/beef soft taco dinner combo and Barry got the enchiladas supreme (one chicken, one beef, one bean, and one cheese). The chicken enchilada turned out to be the best out of everything, and I will be getting chicken enchiladas the next time we go. Barry’s plate was more colorful than mine, so here’s a picture of his.

The power keeps on flickering, so cross your fingers that we don’t lose power! I better hurry up and heat up my vegetable soup (and maybe also grab a shower).

R.I.P. Asics

The rain finally relented this afternoon! I was beginning to think Virginia had become confused and thought we were located in the Pacific Northwest instead of on the East Coast. Remember what I said about duck weather? Well I’m surprised we don’t have ducks paying in the pond that has formed in our backyard.

I spent the majority of the day today thinking it was Thursday. In a way it is kind of my Thursday, since Friday is a state holiday and I’ll be off work. That makes tomorrow (Thursday) my last workday. So I guess aside from being disappointed that Grey’s Anatomy isn’t on until tomorrow night it doesn’t matter too much.

It warmed up to 50 degrees this afternoon and I got to run in shorts. I ran 4 hilly miles on the roads around our house. My legs were feeling tired today, but it was nice to be outside since the weather was better. I did hit one really windy section of road, just before my turnaround. For about 4 tenths of a mile I was running straight into a gusting wind. I was so glad to turn around and head back! And then I came home to this:

Courtesy of this little booger:

 

I guess you shouldn’t leave a 4 month old puppy to her own devices when you leave the house. We have a crate we usually put her in, but I figured I wouldn’t be gone long and she’d probably just sleep anyway. Wrong! R.I.P. Asics…. Honestly the shoe itself is still usable, I just need to get a new shoelace. Lucky I have two other pairs I’m currently running in.

"I've opted for fun in this lifetime." -Jerry Garcia