4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

5 Days to the Chicago Marathon

with 4 comments

5 days to the Chicago Marathon!  And I decided to take a rest day this morning.  I could have ran, and under other circumstances I would have, but with only 1 day off after a hard triathlon, with some muscle soreness in my legs, just decided to give it one more day.  In a perfect world, I’ll run Wed, Thurs and Saturday, but I have to be at work extra early tomorrow and a morning run might be difficult.  We will see.  I did walk to and from work today, which is 1.8 miles each way.  Not much, but enough to stay loose.

So now there is a lot of chatter about the weather forecast.  When the 15 day forecast first included 10-10-10, the forecast was looking quite chilly, with the high forecasted to be in the 50’s.  Not sure exactly what happened, but the opposite is now being predicted.   It is now supposed to be warm, with a high in the mid-70’s, although with a morning low in the 50’s.  Since the race starts at 7:30am, heat really should not be a factor for much of the race.  However, the temperature is not the only value in the equation.  The most important factor, at least for me, is dewpoint.  If the dewpoint is below 55, then conditions will be perfectly comfortable.  If it gets below 50, then the conditions will be great.  However, if the dewpoint is up towards 60, or in the 60’s, then it will be uncomfortable, regardless of the temperature.  We probably won’t get a gage on dewpoint and humidity for another couple of days.  The other factor in the equation is the sun.  If it is in the 60’s, with low humidity, the conditions might be great.   However, if there is a lot of sun on the course, and the run is into the sun, then it can also become very uncomfortable.  I don’t know anything about the course to know if sun might be a factor or not, so hard for me to judge.

The folks organizing the marathon are certainly taking the weather seriously this time around, after extreme temperatures in 3 recent years.  Today, they sent an email to all participants outlining their Event Alert System, a color coded system to alert runners on the course about the conditions.  On the surface, it seems quite hokey and easy to mock, however, on race day, if conditions become extremely hot again, that system should allow for better communication with participants about what is happening, and when to slow things down, and when to (potentially) shut it down.

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Written by SCL

October 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm

4 Responses

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  1. I did a 10m race in Chicago in late May, and they had this system fully in place for it. I am not fond of this system, because it’s unclear on what they are basing their decisions. It was in the 80s the day of the race – warm but certainly not unsafe or unmanageable – and they canceled the race about 2hrs in. You could use the justification that most people had finished by then (and they had; not all, but most), but I didn’t like the fact that the race was stopped. The consensus amongst runners at the finish was one of confusion, since there didn’t seem to be a good reason for the cancellation. I don’t want to see that happen at the marathon (where the “threat” level goes higher and the race risks cancellation in any but the direst of circumstances).


    October 5, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    • That is definitely hard to understand. What are you supposed to do when the race is ‘cancelled’ in that scenario? You still have to get back to the finish! I think a warning system like that is good to warn participants of the risks and the care they should be taking as conditions change in a race, but cancelling a race mid-stream like that just seems nonsensical.


      October 6, 2010 at 4:36 am

      • I totally agree, and it was weird because they just kept repeating “The race is canceled. Please stop running.” It was just really really weird.

        But then again, that was almost exactly what they did in 2007 – the police went onto the course to tell people that the race was canceled and that they should walk the rest of it (like, at risk of forcible removable if they ran).

        So I support this system in theory, but most runners who’ve trained for a marathon can differentiate between “great conditions” and “elevated danger.” Then, if/when they cancel the race, then what?

        Let’s just hope for the best on Sunday 🙂


        October 6, 2010 at 7:27 am

  2. hoping and wishing everyone good luck 🙂 perhaps itll be overcast, no humidity and 60. one can hope!


    October 6, 2010 at 8:22 am

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