San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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February 13th, 2010
Run with Moe: Cool times at Austin Marathon

Run with Moe: A column
San Marcos Runners Club

While most of us are wondering where the warmer temperatures are, there are some people that are very glad for the cool mornings, especially on Sunday.

Sunday (Feb. 14) morning will be the start of the Austin Marathon, and because the race is “sold out,” it is assured of being one of the largest here in Texas. With temperatures to be in the high 30s to low 40s for the start, and only warming up a few degrees later in the morning, it is an ideal run for the marathon entrants.

It will feel cold at the start, but the body temperature will warm up and runners will be very comfortable after only a few miles. As the runners move along the route, the discarded clothes from over-dressed runners at the start will be seen along the side of the road.

Experienced runners know that you do not wear a new warm-up uniform at the start of the race, then try to tie it around the waist or carry it in the hands when trying to complete the 26.2-mile run. Experienced runners dig down in the bottom of the drawer and pull out some of the grungy, old sweat shirts or long sleeved T-shirt that will serve as a warm up while standing around waiting for the start of the race and maybe for the first few miles.

After that, it will more than likely be cast off to the side of the road, leaving room in the running drawer for the new shirt given at the Austin Marathon. Out with the old and in with the new, as the saying goes.

Usually, if a runner can keep the hands and head warm, that is about the only warm clothes other than running tights or shorts and a shirt. Sock caps are the most common head wear, as the cap can be pulled down over the ears in the beginning. As the temperature warms up, it can be rolled up to cover just the top of the head.

Gloves are good at keeping the hands warm. The most common wear is the knit gloves that have good ventilation and work to keep the hands warm. My favorite was the yellow or gold cotton or fleece garden gloves. They kept the hands warm and were very inexpensive, so I could discard them with no great financial loss.

The one other point in favor of this glove is that it is soft. Running in cold weather has a tendency to also make the nose run a little, and rubbing your nose with the knit glove is scratchy, causing a rash after the race. The garden glove is soft, absorbent, and so much better for keeping the runny nose clean during the run.

I have heard from a good number of local runners that are planning on running the marathon and will try to have their results next week. It is a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. After running 26.2 miles, if someone gave you a box of chocolates for a gift, you would not feel guilty about eating a few and maybe a few more for the road.

The Vancouver Olympic Games start this week, and it is always fascinating to watch the speed skaters fly around the track. It is hard to imagine just how fast they are going until you see the times that they record. Knowing how fast runners complete the 5K and 10K distance in races, and then comparing the same time for the speed skaters over those same distances, it is hard to imagine someone going that fast.

Speeds of up to 35 miles per hour are not out of the question for a speed skater, and it looks like they are just gliding along. But each 400-meter lap time lets you know that the skaters are moving at a very rapid pace.

Downhill skiers are right up there when it comes to speed. Skiing downhill for two miles and having times within hundredths of a second for place winners makes you wonder what little thing the second or third place skier did to cost that precious time. Going that fast in a car is one thing, but standing on top of two boards coming down a hill is something else.

Great viewing ahead for two weeks, but don’t forget to put in your own time on the road between events.

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