Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Boston update

It's just five days before I'll be running the Boston Marathon. So how are things going? Well, as I had mentioned, I've started a caffeine fast, and I'm now two days in. The first day was fairly tough. I was sleepy all day, and just felt a little sluggish. By the end of the day I was starting to get a headache. Fortunately I wasn't on a wine fast, so I had a couple of glasses of wine and felt much better.

I think the larger issue is that when I'm not consuming caffeine, I'm missing out on caffeine's properties as an appetite suppressant. I've gained about two pounds since the start of the fast. This isn't especially unusual for me in a taper: The reduced mileage that is necessary in the weeks before a marathon mean my body isn't burning as many calories. So even though I've been carefully following Fitzgerald's diet plan, I'm finding it difficult to resist an extra snack before dinner. My plan this afternoon if I feel a similar urge: have a small salad with oil and vinegar dressing. Just 40 or 50 calories but quite filling.

I've also been tracking the weather forecast for race day. On Sunday the (very) early forecast was looking good, a high of just 56 on race day. Today it doesn't look quite as good, with a forecast low of 38 but a high of 60 for the race. Since the race doesn't start for me until 10:20 a.m., I'll be finishing after 1:30 p.m., near the warmest part of the day. On the other hand, it looks like we just might have a tailwind: The wind will be WNW on Sunday (pretty much the perfect wind), switching to SSW on Monday, but possibly not until after the race.

The National Weather Service forecast for Boston even gives an hourly view for Race Day. Here's the relevant portion of the graph:



The red line on the top graph gives temperature, and as you can see, at 10 am, the forecast is for about 50 degrees, rising to 57 or 58 by 1:30. The second graph gives the wind forecast, and as of now, it looks to be shifting from a tailwind to a crosswind during the race -- at any rate, the winds are expected to be light, with a top speed of around  6 mph. The bottom graph shows that humidity should be low and there should be roughly 50% sky cover.

At five days out, this forecast is definitely not set in stone, but it seems to be settling in on reasonable weather. I'd love it if the temperatures stayed below 50 for the entire race, but this forecast seems workable; certainly much better than at Rocket City last year.

Now it's just a matter of holding out those last few days, not overeating, and surviving the caffeine fast. At least I really do seem to be getting over the flu, so hopefully I'll be fully healthy and ready for a great race.

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