I used to be relatively lucky with race weather. This year, it's been one weather disaster after another, for the most part! At the Shamrock marathon, I faced some strong winds, at the London marathon, periods of torrential downpour, at a four-mile, a 100-degree heat index, at the VA Beach half, 93% humidity.
Tomorrow, for the Richmond half marathon, they are forecasting thunderstorms, with rain heavy at times. Some forecasts predict that the storms will be over by 8:00am, leaving lighter rain, while other forecasts have the thunderstorms continuing on through the race. What this means for runners is:
- Wet, heavy shoes, with the potential to blister
- Lack of crowd support and entertainment
- Fewer volunteers
- Increased risk of slipping/falling
- Chafing, heavy clothing, etc.
I am worried about all of these things, plus straining my groin like I did in London because those muscles work overtime to help you maintain your balance on wet pavement. I am more worried about getting sick, given my experience at the VA Beach half marathon, which resulted in me being sick for about six weeks. And of course, I am agonizing over what to wear. I packed pretty much my entire running wardrobe! The key item, though, will be my hat with a visor to keep the water off of my face. I've proven on a few occasions that I race well in the wind, so I am not worried about that.
On the plus side, it won't be cold. It's supposed to be in the lower 60's, so I won't need gloves. I am seriously thinking that running in a sports bra without a shirt might be the best option to avoid a soaking garment just hanging on me the whole time. Body Glide will also be key!
My original plan was to drive down to Richmond (90-minute drive) at 5:00am and arrive at 6:30 for the 7:30am race. However, the storms are supposed to be quite severe during that period, which is not safe. Not only is it not safe, but it would take a lot more time than expected, and I wouldn't be able to "relax" and just cruise my way along. Upon hearing the forecast, I booked a hotel this morning, so I am leaving work at 3:30 to drive down there. There will still be rain and darkness to contend with, and a lot of traffic, but it will be safer, and I won't have to worry about that stress on race morning. I think that I would seriously be tempted to not even leave my house in those conditions!
My original goal was 1:47:xx, with an average pace of 8:10-8:13. Based on my speedwork sessions during the past few weeks, this goal seemed to be well within my reach. Heck, even a 1:46:xx was looking like it might be possible. But now, I am not so sure! My main objective will be to avoid slipping and injuring myself, and I am hoping that the weather doesn't dampen my mood. Being mentally "happy" and "excited" is a key element of racing. I likely won't have my iPod, either.
You can track me via text message alerts or emails by going here. I don't think you will need my bib number, but just in case, it's 5567. The race is using the D-Tag system, which is known for incorrectly recording splits. So if I seem to be running really fast or really slow, then it's probably just the D-Tag!