Falling into Fall

We’re coming up to crunch time.  Time to make some big decisions.  Take stock.  Gut check time.

No, nothing to do with the Marathon or Ironman training.

The big decision is this: do I bring out the winter cycling and running gear or not?  More importantly, even if I do bring out the warmer gear, how much of my summer gear do I hold on to?

At times like this I envy people training in those parts of the country where you can pretty much wear the same stuff all year round.  Oh, I’m sure there are some people in Florida or southern California who will on occasion delude themselves that they need to put on a pair of arm warmers when cycling.  And yes, it is also a matter of the conditions to which you are acclimated.  I’m sure there are people in upstate New York that happily ride their road bikes through 2 feet of snow wearing nothing but a helmet and a speedo.

I’m very grateful that the winters in the DC area are so mild that you can pretty much train outside the whole winter.  But the shoulder seasons are long, so long in fact that the year seems a lot like a bad 80s power suit, made up entirely of shoulders.  Indeed, even when we are supposed to be settled into the middle of a season the weather remains frustratingly inconstant.

You start to get the first hints of fall in early September.  Invariably, however, the weather will heat back up for the latter part of September.  Things settle down a little, but then you’ll get a heat wave in October, usually just in time for the Army Ten Miler or the Marine Corps Marathon (yay for me).  Thing seem to settle into a winter pattern in November where you are almost guaranteed to get a period of ball-breaking cold with temperatures in the teens.  Then what happens?  It warms up in time for Christmas!  Mary and I still have vivid memories of running on the National Mall between Christmas and New Year a couple of years ago in T-shirts and shorts.  The result?  Massively over-stuffed drawers which have to be emptied prior to every run or ride in order to find just the right combination of gear.

And that is all before I start applying the whatever style criteria I’ve selected for the day in question!

Of course, maybe things will be a bit more predictable this year.  Now that I’ve committed to a spring marathon I’m sure that, completely out of character for the area, we’ll suddenly have two-foot snowfalls, ice storms, screaming winds straight from Satan’s deep freeze and be trapped in our homes watching What Not to Wear marathons while we wait for the rescuers with the Saint Bernards to dig us out.  I should take a trip to the supermarket to start laying in supplies now.


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