I just read everything on this thread. I especially appreciate the comments of those who actually ran the Boston Marathon on Monday, as I did. I am 49 yrs old, male, 190 lbs, 6-1, and I run one half-marathon per month. I ran Boston when I was 22, and this was my first marathon in 27 years. I was a charity runner on Monday, with a "good weather" goal of sub-4:15. I finished in 4:38. I ran the first half in 2:07 (target pace), second half in 2:31 (drastic slow-down). Leading up to the race, I obsessed over the forecast (which was totally accurate – someone on here said the weather was downplayed, but it wasn’t, people just weren’t taking it seriously enough) and I spent many, many hours reading about how to dress for a race in cold, rainy, windy conditions. As a result of my research, over half of the clothing I wore is stuff that I purchased in the days leading up to the event, because even though I live in MA, I never run in conditions like that. So I needed new stuff. (By the way, I really wanted to wear tights, but I couldn’t find a shred of evidence that it would keep my legs warm… so I didn’t.) Here’s what I wore:
1. On head: a) 2XU nylon cap with visor, b) Hood from my waterproof jacket. c) I also had a 30% merino wool hat, but it stayed in my shorts pocket the whole race.
2. On hands: a) REI 100% nylon minimalist waterproof running mittens.
3. On top: a) Smartwool 150g/m long-sleeve baselayer, b) Smartwool 250g/m long-sleeve with half-zip, c) Salomon Bonatti ultra-light waterproof jacket with hood.
4. On bottom: a) CW-X tight pro-shorts, knee-length, b) Polyester/spandex athletic shorts over that.
5. On feet: a) Sockwell circulator compression socks (32% merino wool) up to knee, b) Brooks Ghost 10 shoes.
6. I lubed my chest, neck, waist, crotch/groin, and feet with Aquaphor.
7. Hopkinton before the race was like a muddy war-zone, or a pathetic refugee camp (except that the volunteers were cheerful and helpful), and while there, I wore an old pair of warm sweatpants and an old ski jacket, and I carried an umbrella. I didn’t discard any of these until I was 50 yards from the starting line. I was surprised at how many people discarded their sweats and coats before they reached the start, and how rare umbrellas were. I also ditched my wet, muddy socks and sneakers and changed into dry socks and dry running shoes before entering the corral. I was lucky that my bus from Boston arrived on the late side, so I didn’t have as much time to freeze as most others.
8. In terms of nutrition, I had normal pre-race fuel on Monday morning, then I drank a small cup of Gatorade every two miles and consumed a GU gel every 45 minutes.
My head/face was warm the whole time, and the visor was extremely effective at keeping the rain out of my face, especially when the monsoon intensified. My hands got wet and chilly, but I just made fists inside the mitts and they got toasty. About every 3 miles, I pointed my hands towards the sky and let a few tablespoons of water leak down my wrists (water had leaked in at wrists). My torso and arms got wet, of course, but were never uncomfortably cold (until I crossed the finish line and had to walk three blocks to bag check…. then I started shivering). I thought that two merino wool layers might be too much, especially the second one that was a bit thicker, but it wasn’t. I never had the urge to remove a layer or unzip my jacket. My legs got cold and stiff by mile 10 and just stayed that way. When my wife met me at mile 15 with a bag of dry clothes (more merino wool base layers and wool socks), I didn’t take any of them – but I wished she had waterproof pants to put on. Anything to warm up the legs would have been welcome, and I have a feeling that warmer leg muscles for the final 11 miles may have helped me run faster. I had a screaming cramp in my left quad at mile 23, but a 7-second stretch did the trick. My feet were wet from the start, but my toes didn’t get cold until around mile 18 – though not unbearably so. My calves were certainly chilled but were never very cold. I had no blisters or chafing anywhere.
I have to add that I didn’t hear a single person complain the entire day – from Hopkinton to Boston – even though the medical tents were full with miserable people when I ran by them.