Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Marathon Heat and Survivor Horror


So, tracking the weather for the Inaugural Ann Arbor marathon on Sunday, which has gone from the 10 day forecast to the 5 day forecast and now the weekend forecast, I’m kinda delighted to see the temperature for Sunday is a pleasant high of 88 degrees and low of 68.  Sure, the event starts at 6:45 am, but I got to believe it will be mid-80’s at the finish.

Sun Jun 17 

High: 88°  Low: 68°

Isolated T-Storms
Chance of rain: 30%
Wind: SSW at 9 mph 

This morning, Champions for Charity sent out the following information: 
We've been monitoring the heat index and will continue to make provisions to be sure you will have a safe, fun race!  There will be plenty of water on the course, and be sure to hydrate well this week leading up to the marathon.  And...  Medical on the course will be comprehensive on race day.  We have a huge medical team comprised of the head of ER for SW Michigan as lead physician, a full medical staff, Red Cross and HVA (Huron Valley Ambulance).  Medical tents will be fully staffed and well supplied.  HVA has created an emergency plan that will cover the entire route.  If you need help, let someone know to call 911 for any problem.  We also will have Gators, medics and bike teams circulating the course.  If you need a Sag Wagon to pick you up, please let someone at any water stop know that and we will dispatch the Sag Wagon.

In a way, the heat is a bit of a relief since it will be easy to turn the event into a “just finish and enjoy it”, survivalist adventure. I hadn’t been able to pin down any target time goals anyways. I have put in the long runs, but my training was scattered,  and I didn’t want to go all-out since the more important marathon for me is New York in November. I am running this for a charity, and certainly don't want to get injured.

But, with 525 feet of elevation and temp in the mid 80’s at finish, the strategy will all change. It will be some fun, survivalist running. And, in my always sentimental and melodramatic self regarding marathons, it should be even deeper. 

 I am hoping it turns into real survivalist, survivor-horror

 I’m hoping the heat boils all of our childhood fears out of us, and they appear behind us as killer clowns running at our heels and laughing. 

 I am hoping that the Gatorade is poisoned by terrorists trying to spread a zombie virus and destroy Ann Abor, and during the marathon a league of  zombie runners is created who then try to chase and eat runners such as myself who drank only water and used S-Caps for electrolytes. This will make for some full SAG wagons.
 
Ann Arbor Marathon
 Or…

I am hoping that the course is lined with snipers, looking for runners to pluck off who don’t keep a steady pace, and after a few warnings, plug them with one shot, and then bodies start falling all around me. Of course, this is made worse by a new course rule which allows only 3 gus and one water bottle to survive the Long 26.2 mile run.

Okay, I’m  joking, badly, but joking.  I want all of us to finish healthy with plenty of smiles and lots of sweat and tears  -  and I am also plagiarizing one of my favorite novels by Stephen King, called, The Long Walk. The Long Walk was the first novel King ever wrote, and is about an endurance event where there is only one winner, the rest are killed.   

In the marathon-like event known as the Long Walk, each Walker must maintain a speed of at least four miles per hour. If you drop below that speed for 30 seconds, you receive a verbal warning. Once you have three warnings and you slow down once again, you are shot dead by solders riding along the roadside. You are also shot immediately for certain serious violations, (and, of course, this happens in the novel) such as trying to leave the road or attacking the soldiers. Electronic Garmin-like equipment  is used to precisely determine your  speed. Contestants are even known to crawl at 4 hours an hour since their legs have totally failed them.

The book was written well before The Hunger Games, and is a similar, fascist society where the ‘games’ are made as a distraction and to have those in poverty fight with each other rather than against the government.  

Compared to all of that, survivalist running this Sunday will be easy. Just need to add 15 to 30 seconds to my miles, walk through some aid stations to get multiple cups of water as needed, suck down some s-caps since I will certainly be dripping with salty sweat (and, you know, just in case the Gatorade is tainted) and run in any bits of shade that buildings and trees may provide on the street.

In related news, I heard that About 2,200 runners were on the original list for deferment at Boston due to the heat.  This number was trimmed down when  45 of these were identified in photographs as running the race after all.   

What ever happened to the marathon-bandit code of ethics?

**I hope to bring a handful of free paperback copies of The Jade Rabbit to the Ann Arbor expo on Saturday. So, if you see me, tap me on the shoulder, check me into the boards, or just say "Hey, aren't you that really famous cool author dude adored by millions?"  Anyone of the three and I'll gladly give you a free copy. While supplies last.**


"The Jade Rabbit" - A story of a miraculous marathon run

Read "STRAY", by Mark Matthews, now just $2.99

1 comment:

ZAHiDA JAFFER said...

Will be thinking of you this weekend! Another marathon, and hopefully it's filled with all the adventure and horror you heart desires :) Look forward to hearing how it goes.

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