Tuesday, April 19, 2016

UNFORGIVING

Jimmy Buffett once wrote a song entitled, "It's My Job."

The tune celebrates the dignity of performing one's job, from street sweeper to bank president.

I try to respect the dignity of everyone's line of work, but I must say I do take issue, at times, with those whose job it is to deliver the weather forecast.

As I watched yesterday's Boston Marathon, I was pleased to see the graphic that told me the high temperature would reach 58 degrees, with a mild headwind. Almost perfect conditions, I mused.

Then I watched as the leaders of the women's division labored through the Newton Hills, reading a subsequent graphic which read, "72 degrees."

What?

Come on.

What happened to 58?

The bottom line is, yesterday was an unforgiving day for runners in the 120th Boston Marathon.

Conditions didn't approach the over-90 degree reading of 1976, or the heat of the 1982 race, which was dubbed, "The Duel in the Sun," or even the 80-something blast furnace conditions of 2012.

But make no mistake about it. For most runners, after training through cold winter conditions, yesterday's Boston Marathon felt like a day at the beach. And, when one is running a marathon, a day at the beach is the very last place one wants to be.

There was no cloud cover and there is no shade, (no leaves on the trees yet) and conditions were perfect for spectators, which meant conditions were very imperfect for runners.

Few marathons are as unforgiving as the Boston Marathon. If a runner "Lets the genie out of the bottle," that is, goes out too fast, in this race, the race is lost. Never mind how well you were running at sixteen miles, because, at Boston, that's where the race begins.

One can roll a coin from the start at Hopkinton, and it will continue to roll all the way to Framingham. A fast downhill start could lead to a personal best 10K time at the Boston Marathon. The Newton Hills, however, will snatch that time away and jolt fast starters back to reality.

You can't fool the Boston Marathon. One must enter the race rested and with fresh legs. Run too many races prior to Boston, and the course will make you pay.

Yesterday's times weren't so much slow as they were conservative. Runners who respected the unforgiving nature of the course and the day were able to cut their losses and take what the course would give.

Congratulations to all who crossed the finish line yesterday. You have added your names to the list of Boston Marathon heroes. And you learned that the Boston Marathon is a very unforgiving race.

Everything you need to know about the Boston Marathon can be found in both of my books, at: www.muldowneyrunning.net, amazon.com/author/joemuldowney