Last Long Run Before the Marathon

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.

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