Today was the last long run before the marathon on February 14, 2010. We were to run the final 20 miles of the marathon. We’ve already run this path a few times. The pacers were to run with us too. I arrived before 6 AM (an especially early start) and we were to run between 3.0-3.5 hours but no more. I met my 4:00 pacer. Several of my running class buddies were also there with the pacer including Alvin, Angie, Chase, and Diego. We were to warm-up from Rogue to the Mopac bridge (the Rock) before starting MPG. We started and it seemed that our pacer was running faster than 9:10 during the warm-up. I cranked up my iPod and had it talking in my ears throughout. At the Rock Angie showed me her Garmin saying that the pace had been 8:36 – what! So our pacer was not doing his job at least during the warm-up – ugh. So we started out down Lake Austin Blvd and I stayed with the pacer and group. Things were OK, and I think we were running on pace, but without any mile markers or my own Garmin I couldn’t be sure. Right on to Entfield where the rolling hills begin, and then left on Exposition. At the first water stop the pacer stopped too long IMHO so I did my typical thing and took off early. It was the last time I saw the pacer for the rest of the run. I knew the route and when we got to Great Northern I stopped for water and two cookies at the ball park. I took my time there, and Angie and Chase arrived just as I was leaving. Oh, Oh. They are typically faster than me. Later some of the runners got confused on how to get to Red River and I accidentally followed them on 47th, but quickly got to 48th and Red River. However when returning back to Duval on 41st street I saw that some runners had taken a shortcut and skipped Red River altogether by heading directly down Duval. Somehow I caught up to Angie and Diego on Duval at the water stop (weren’t they behind me?!) and I assumed they had taken the shortcut. Instead of stopping I ran past them and kept going through campus. Am I competitive or what? I was getting pretty fatigued around the capitol but kept hoofing it down Congress to 8th. I thought about calling it quits at the “finish” then but I kept going all the way back to Rogue. I thought it would best simulate the real marathon. When I got back to Rogue my watch read 3:21. Phillip was there smiling like a Cheshire-cat. Angie and Diego arrived a few minutes later. At home I plotted my path and got 22.5 miles. Given that information I calculated my pace was 8:53 minutes/mile and this included a long stop at the Rock, and on Great Northern. Am I happy with the result? Well yes. Since I still have about 4 more miles to complete to get to 26.2 do I have it in me? I think so. Do I trust the pacer? Hmmm, that’s to be seen.