If only it were that easy.
Tomorrow is the Chicago Spartan Super, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared before a race.
There’s the concern about my fitness level, although that’s not that unusual. Of much more concern is the conditions.
Tomorrow it’s scheduled to be 95 and humid. And my heat (no pun intended) is at 11:45.
I can’t blame myself for not preparing for that part. We’ve had a pretty cool year so far; I doubt we hit 80 around here before today. So there’s not even been any chance to get acclimated to the extreme heat a little bit before running in it.
I hope there’s enough water. Spartan is normally good with the logistics of races, which is a good sign (Last year’s Vermont race notwithstanding) but there have been a couple ungood signs as well. First off: On Monday this week, they sent an email asking for volunteers for this weekend. In all the Spartans I’ve done (this one makes 6, so that’s a pretty grandiose way of putting it) I haven’t gotten one of these requests. I don’t know what exactly that means, but the obvious fear is that the event will be understaffed. And, while hopefully that won’t affect water (or anything else; I’m certainly capable of demanding that everything be perfect because I’m special!), since water is going to be one of the most safety-critical factors tomorrow, I can’t say I’m not frightened that it might.
A second bad sign: I haven’t gotten any kind of confirmation email from Spartan about the event—you know, the “here’s your bib number, here’s your heat time, here’s the stuff you need to know, print out your waiver before you come” thingy. I’m registered—I got my heat time from the website—so this glitch is something that may be nothing or may be a sign of an impending shitshow. I hope it’s the former (and, to be clear, Spartan has sent out other stuff to me, including updates to the parking situation since apparently the planned lot has flooded) but anxiety is a magnet to itself.
Anyhow, I’ve already made a couple concessions to the heat. First off: No Fez of Inspiration. It’s a stiff fabric that wouldn’t retain water (a friend recommended soaking a hat in water to cool off during the race, but that’s not practical with the fez) but would trap heat. Second, I’ve already planned a run/walk cycle, rather than the usual “try to run the whole thing” approach that I’ve tried but not succeeded at in an outdoor Spartan yet. 3 minutes running, 1 minute walking. Hard limit to start; if I get a couple hours in and am feeling okay I might extend it, but I’d really like to not collapse.
My code for the memory wall is HOTEL 1991845. If I don’t get credit for remembering the code for a full year after it was included but not checked last year then I will personally poop on someone’s face.