a map of shelter-in-place locations were lightning to be sighted within 10 miles of the course. Having years ago come within 100 yards of a lightning strike and realizing its tremendous danger to runners I fully support the race organizers' efforts, if for no other reason than to heighten awareness.
Fortunately, this preparation was not tested. The race started as planned at 7 AM since no lightning was sighted within 100 miles. However, the ongoing light rains caused wet and slippery conditions, which combined with starting temperatures in the low 60's and the near 100% humidity the race was appropriately put in the "Yellow" Heat Advisory status. This was justified as I've found correlations which point to a necessary heat stress related slow-down amongst marathon/half-marathon runners when:
- The average race temperature plus the dew-point is more than 120°F (this morning's was 65°F+60°F=125°F). Consequently, a reduction of ~20 seconds per mile was warranted as this slow-down was ~5°F above 120°F.
- The average temperature in degrees Fahrenheit is over 55°F. A recent study found that in general marathoners slow by 19 seconds per degree for temperatures above this level. While quite simplistic (since it ignores both humidity and the runner's average pace), using today's average 65°F would translate to an 8 seconds per mile slow-down.
Moving on, consistent with Sean Wade's advice the next stage of my training will focus on improving my running form and my shorter distance race performance. In this regard next week I've got an appointment for a "basic biomechanical and gait analysis" from a bioengineering wizard with Memorial Hermann's Sports Medicine Institute. I'm looking forward to it and the follow-up strengthening and stretching exercises, which I will incorporate with my ongoing Kenyan Way training.