Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Race Day Count Down: Day 4

Good news, it's beginning to look like heat won't be an issue on race day.  Bad news, better be prepared to get wet.  The long range forecast calls for a low of 10 c, a high of 19 c, and a 60% chance of rain. Squishy shoes and blisters here we come.  No matter, we'll take it as it comes (not like we have much choice).  
This evening I ran a one mile portion of the marathon route, mile 14 to 15.  For the last 29 years the course went right by my front door on Palmerston.  For this, the 30th Manitoba Marathon, the course has changed to exclude the loop on Palmerston.  We now go straight down Wolseley Avenue between Raglan and Sherbrook.  The reason for the change is to better accommodate the relay exchange at Laura Secord School on Wolseley.  The new route allows for a longer relay exchange thus easing the huge congestion of previous runs.  I'm a little diasppointed with the marathon not going down my street (it was a great location for a quick pit stop and some fresh Gator Aid), but I understand the reason for the change... just don't like it  :>(
Ever wonder why the fastest long-distance runners are often very small?  Tim Noakes (The Lore of Running) says the average height and mass of Boston Marathon winners has not changed in the past 100 years.  The average height of the Boston Marathon winner is 171 cm (male) and 165 cm (female) with a range of 155 to 191 cm.  The average mass of the winners is about 61 kg +/- 5 kg. Interestingly the average height of an American citizen has increased about 1 cm per decade in the last century and yet the average height of the Boston Marathon winners is consistent.  If this pattern carried over to marathon runners the average height of today's Boston winner would be about 10 cm taller than 100 years hence, but statistics show the average height has remained consistent... 171 cm (male), and 165 cm (female).  This information is true of all marathons, not just The Boston.  Smaller runners seem to have an edge, particularly in hot conditions.  Hmm. "Why" you ask?
No one knows for sure, but scientists believe the rate of heat production rises significantly higher and faster in taller, heavier runners than shorter, lighter runners. Smaller, lighter runners simply don't produce the same spike of heat as taller runners.  They also shed heat more efficiently than the taller runner.  It's the same in high humidity conditions; statistically, smaller, lighter runners have an edge.  
To summarize, smaller runners produce less heat and are more efficient at shedding the excess heat.  Taller runners must slow their pace to dissipate the heat while smaller runners can maintain their pace longer in hotter conditions.  
The picture to the left is Josiah Thugwane, gold medalist, 1996 Atlanta Olympic Marathon (5'2", 99 pounds).  Thugwane is the first South African gold medalist.
This evening I ran one slow mile outbound, 4 reps of 1.5 minutes brisk/ 2 minutes recovery, 1 slow mile. homebound.  I came home to a massive carb load fest.  Is it just me or is anyone else having trouble looking pasta in the eye?
Four more get-ups!  The jitters are setting.  How 'bout you?  M 
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