Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Obsessing about the weather

A favorite pasttime of taper crazed marathoners is to obsessively check the weather forecast for the day of the race. Why? Well, for one, when you're running less than usual you've got more time to psychoanalyze every single miniscule factor that could contribute to your ultimate success or demise. For another, weather is one of the biggest factors determining success (or demise) at a marathon. Take, for example, my two runnings of the Missoula Marathon. In 2007, it was blazing hot and I struggled to a 3:32, walk-jogging my way through intense calf and quad cramps for the last few miles. In 2008, the weather was perfect and I pounded out a 3:09. Of course, I had trained more and was in better shape in 2008, but if it has been hot again like 2007 I never would have gotten that BQ.

Another reason Boston runners in particular obsess about the weather is that late April weather conditions are notoriously unpredictable in Boston. It has snowed on race day and it has been in the 90s. As recently as 2004, temps climbed above 90, causing many runners to drop out or run much slower than they had planned. In 2007, a fierce noreaster blew through the weekend before the race and the organizers came very close to canceling it, but the race ended up going off in just as the 30-40 mph winds and driving rain started to subside. So, why obsess about something that is so unpredictable and that you can't control anyway? Like I said, we don't have much else to do. Obviously, I'm hoping for something between 2004 and 2007 conditions when I make the journey to Boston in a couple of weeks. About 47 degrees and overcast would be ideal for me. Will I get that? Probably not, but I can dream.

Fueling the taper madness weather obsession is the weather forecasts themselves. Accuweather provides a 15 day forecast, which you can imagine is about as accurate as a monkey doing long division, but do you think that stops us from checking (repeatedly). Hell, no! In just two days, the Accuweather forecast for Boston on April 20th has gone from 62 and rainy to 47 and partly cloudy. What will tomorrow hold? More importantly, what will April 20th hold?? I sure as hell don't know, but I guarantee you that for the next 13 days I'll be watching the rise and fall of the Accuweather forecast like an investor watching the Dow average rise and fall. And, if 47 and partly cloudy holds, I'll be yelling "BUY, BUY, BUY!!!!" at the top of my lungs. Should be fun....

1 comment:

jen said...

Ah, taper madness in full force. :D

You know, '07 wasn't THAT bad. Waiting around Athlete's Village was yucky and cold but the race itself was fine. I'd say you have a 90% chance of some pretty decent weather. Look what you've been training through for God's sake!! Just relax and think happy thoughts. You're going to have a blast no matter what. I'm so freaking excited for you. :)