The Wood-Fired Blog

To Ironman, nor not to Ironman…

I learned a number of things from Boston 2012; some good, some not so good. But one thing was certain. Boston 2012 was hot. Or, as one running friend put it—the highway to hell.

First off, a couple of basic numbers.

89ºF. The high on the course as we were finishing the race, though some local thermometers saw pockets of 92ºF.

More than 2,000. The number of runners who were treated by medics or hospitals for de-hydration or heat exhaustion after the race.

Less than 500. The number of runners who accepted the BAA’s offer of deferring their entry and race next year (though they have to pay twice and attend registration this year to pick up their racing pack to qualify for the deferment).

22,000. Runners finished.

3:53. My race time.

2:55. My best race time.

2:58. My race time at Boston last year.

3:51. My previous personal worst (excluding the Las Vegas double) race time at Big Sur two years ago (6 days after running Boston).

3:42. My first marathon in 2008, which I ran with very little training.

2.00 The number of minutes per mile I ran slower than Boston last year.

OK, I was slow.

On the upside, I had a great experience in 2012. Dinner with running friends before the race, our running club hung out at the athlete’s village before the race, I ran the entire race with friends, and we all met up for dinner and beer afterwards. I also saw our daughter at college, had dinner and lunch with here, and I even got to watch one of her track works. So it was an all around good experience.

The actual race, on the other hand, had its ups and downs. The good news is that my knee held up well, and it didn’t give me any trouble. I’ve started running again post-race, and everything seems fine. That makes me very happy.

Plus, most of us were smart. Our group went out slow and held our pace pretty much the entire race, and we talked with the crowd and gave high fives to hundreds of kids along the course. All of which is good, as there are many (many) reports from runners who tried to run a fast pace and crashed—either walking, not finishing, or ending up in the hospital.

But the heat really got to me. I thought that by running at such a slow race that the race would be a walk in the park—but it wasn’t. I overheated in the last few miles and got a little dizzy after the race for the first time ever. I have always thought of myself a pretty bullet-proof when it comes to running, so seeing stars, and having to sit down and pack ice on my head was a real surprise. Looking back, I think I stopped dumping water on my head toward the end of the race and perhaps didn’t drink enough Gatorade (though I did drink at every aid station—roughly every two miles) toward the end of the race. So I was a little fried.

Which brings me to Vineman, the Ironman triathlon I am thinking of signing up for in late July. It’s in Healdsburg, CA, which means it’s going to be hot. So it isn’t the mileage, it’s the heat that has me concerned. And the time has come to decide. There are about 100 spots left before it sells out. Ironman. Or not.

Meanwhile, I still have the Big Sur marathon to look forward to—a week from Sunday. Which means that I still have another race where I can put together a pacing plan and enjoy the day. Running on the rugged edge of the western world. It’s a great race, and it has been selected as one of the world’s Top 3 marathons by numerous publications.

It might be windy; it might be cold; it might be raining. But we do know one thing. It won’t be as hot as Boston.

More to come soon on oven curing, the new, small (and not yet released) Presto oven and hearth bread. Lots to look forward to!