Most years, I look forward to shorts, and sunscreen, and grilling out, and my wife’s blooming tulips in the front yard. But that was before I started training for a spring marathon, my first. That was before I remembered how much I sweat. Before I remembered how I wilt in the heat. Before I looked up the average temperature in St. Louis on April 10 each year. It’s 50 to 55 degrees.
For most runners, 50 degrees on race day would be as good as winning the lottery. Just ask the thousands of folks that suffer through the Chicago marathon each blistering Fall.
50 degrees sounds cool. Enjoyable. Light-jacket weather. But this year, it’s freaking me out.
Since January 1, 90 percent of my training runs have been outside. In the cold. In the snow. In temps below 35 degrees.
For summer races, I’d probably crave 50 degrees at the starting line, too. Or if most of my training had been done at hotter temps, it would be great to then race at cooler temps. But it doesn’t look like that’s happening. Not even close.
I was incredibly fortunate that weather didn’t wreak havoc on my winter training schedule. Every single one of my 18 training runs in March was outside. In the flesh-numbing cold. And it felt wonderful. My seven miles this morning started in 19 degree weather, and I was thrilled.
As I looked back through my training log this morning, I realized that I’ve had only a single training run at a temperature above 35 degrees. And that one was only 40 degrees.
If the temperature for the St. Louis marathon truly ends up being 50 degrees as predicted, I don’t even know what I’ll wear. I started training on November 1 so all of my gear is designed for colder temps.
So every time I hear someone say, “I can’t wait for Spring.” I think to myself, “I sure can.” For now, for this year, I want to hear the word freezing in the forecast. I want to see snowflakes on the five-day outlook. I want the thermometers to be blue, not red.
Spring will have its season. I just hope it doesn’t start until April 11.