Dear John (Long John that is)
My first organized race was the Peterborough Gatorade half marathon. This race takes place in February - being from Northern Ontario one tends to equate February with adjectives like cold, frigid, inclement, bitter, biting, niveous, cutting, nipping, piercing and bleak. So, what happens when one decides to run a half marathon with a longest run of 45 minutes (ever) under your belt in February? You dress up like you normally would for regular winter activities like ice fishing expecting to be a Popsicle at some point. My cool attire consisted of some running shoes (which may have even been Stan Smith tennis shoes), long johns - yes both the pants and the matching under-shirt, wind breaker pants (blue just in case you care) and the race long sleeve cotton shirt that the organizers so graciously provided (I still have this shirt). Of course as you can imagine, after a couple kilometers I was nicely warmed up to say the least. By the 10KM mark, you could have boiled eggs in my pants. I recall seeing one of my proud supporters on the sideline with a horrified look on his face as he cheered me on (Thanks Darwin). I later learned he thought I was basically done, but he cheered for me anyway. Oddly enough, I managed to rip off a 1:59:33 wearing my pile of clothes. Must have been some race day magic pulling me along as I don't think even now all those years later I could suit up like that and grin through it. That was the beginning of a passion for the sport and some very important lessons learned. I don't recall if I chaffed or not, but chances are high...