I couldn’t even fall asleep last night until after 4 am. I’d been up late studying my running stats in my log book and rereading passages in my 3 favorite marathon training books, looking up likely temperatures for the day of the race, and studying my smart coach training schedule and the pacing chart I’ve got. Yes, I’m obsessing!!!! 

I’m trying to decide if I should really give it my all on race day (and risk hitting the wall partway and dragging my weary self to the end), or taking a conservative approach. Hmm…. The 20 miler from this week really was something to be proud of I felt. In past weeks, B and I shut off our Garmins when we take potty breaks (we usually have two on a really long run), and when we stop and admire the dam, then one more time when we hit the golf course to buy a replacement Gatorade (we usually sit down for a couple of minutes and open up the Camelbaks to refill them again too.) I’d say we easily had an additional 20 minutes that we didn’t account for 2 weeks ago. So…. that means since we counted every single minute yesterday – our time was closer to 40 min better than the week before! That’s GOOD! And the golf course stop alone was at least 5 minutes on Sat, so if I take that off our time (since we won’t need to stop and purchase drinks or refill a Camelbak in the race since there will be aid stations along the way), closer to 3:47:20. It was also pretty darn hot and those Camelbaks are a good 5+ lbs each to pack on our backs.

I really am wondering if with all of those factors if we CAN go for the scheduled pace from the smart coach of 10:53 for a goal finish of 4:45:45. That would just be so darn amazing — but I’M SCARED to push too hard early and peter out at the end. Hmm..

I am thinking of holding back the first two miles like I did at my 10k this summer (where I felt great and finished with an ave pace of 10 min/mile. But, since a marathon is so much longer, I’m even wondering if I should aim for about 11 min/miles the first 5 miles and then to ease up to race pace. Hmmm…

Some of my training guides say I should take it easy and comfortable the first 13 miles, then increase my pace in the second half if I have it in me by that point. I just wonder if that would hurt my overall time.

My brain keeps telling me NOT to focus on time at all – this is my first marathon and I should just do it to finish — but the competitive side of me is kind of getting a kick out of really going out there and pushing harder and seeing what I’m made of!

10 miles into B and I’s run on Sat our ave pace (including walk and stop breaks) was 10:43. I felt GREAT! I still felt pretty great at mile 15 – but seemed to struggle after 16 – 20. Usually I finish even my training runs with a nice kick — but not that day. I was tired and worn. My last mile was closer to 12:40 (I had walked a lot more in that mile.) I really don’t want to keel over at the end of my race. But.. the heat really seemed to bother me the most since it was inching towards 92 by that point. That won’t be an issue on race day (ave temps are closer to 40 – 65). AND.. there will still be 6.2 miles to go once I hit that 20 mile “wall”.

Any thoughts guys???? I “think” I should do the first two miles in 11/min miles, then gradually surge up to an ave 10:53 (race pace) and see if I can hold it for the duration. It would be such a shock to me to REALLY break 5 hours! My only expectations all along have been to get about a 5:30 – so maybe I should just relax and let myself just enjoy the day of the race and see what happens on it’s own. At my 10K I had no expectations and I really surprised myself. Maybe it can happen again that way without a lot of thought. Hmmmmmmm

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