Much ado has been made about the weather forecast for this weekend’s California International Marathon. I peeked at the 10 day forecast last weekend and saw that rain was imminent. As race day approached and the three weather sites I visited insisted that rain, wind, flooding and cold temperatures were almost 100 percent certain, I made the tough decision to cancel my plans to race.
My first reaction when I saw rain in the forecast was to carefully review my race from the LA marathon in 2011 which saw torrential rain and 50 degree temperatures. I was miserably cold that day and my hands were a color purple not normally seen in nature. I desperately wanted to stop at one of the many Starbucks on the route and pour a hot coffee over my head.
With that experience behind me, I hauled ass to REI and had an in-depth discussion about gloves with a knowledgeable and patient employee. I settled on a pair that is wet-suit like in nature and promised to make my hands pucker. I added a multitude of clothing options to my race-day attire, none of which would ultimately keep me warm or dry. With a wet-suit on my hands, I did consider using one for my body as well, but that is just crazy talk.
With race day looming closer and the weather looking more and more evil, I has some tough conversations. I decided to stay home instead of toeing the line. The rationale being this, with a limited number of really good marathons left in my legs: why waste one on a day that is already starting off unfavorably?
This is certainly not the attitude of most diehard runners. In past years when CIM experienced horrible conditions, only an additional 3% of racers were no-shows over the normal rate. But, my goal is not to simply finish the race. I want to run as fast as my training has dictated I can run. Running a PR in a marathon is difficult under ideal circumstances; the rain, wind and cold make this endeavor less probable, especially for someone like me who hates being cold.
It was not an easy choice, one that has left me awake at 2am and sent me to the computer to write this blog. But, Mark astutely pointed out, “At least there is nothing wrong with you. You aren’t sick or injured.” Ah, very true. In the past I have been faced with this very decision, race or not, because I was unsure if my body was up to the task. After months of rehab after rib surgery, there is no doubt about my fitness and health. And, no matter what, a DNS (did not start) is way better than a DNF (did not finish).
I can say unequivocally, the training for this race was fun. I relished the hard work it took to come back from surgery and start running fast again without pain. The marathon was meant to be the culmination of all of this hard work, a symbol to end this chapter of my life.
Now, I will take a small break from structured training and enjoy some jaunts around the trails with Diesel the Dog.
To all of the racers at CIM this weekend, stay warm and good luck.