I ran a gmap pedometer certified half-marathon yesterday morning as my last hard workout prior to the Baltimore Marathon. I even woke up at 5:15, just like I will on marathon morning, and waited until the marathon start time of 8:00 to begin my run. Usually I begin my Saturday run at about 5:45 so I can get some miles in before my son wakes up, and then we finish the run with a few miles together. Yesterday I ran solo to get a feel for where I am as far as my ability to hold a steady pace for several miles. My son woke up earlier than usual, especially for a Saturday, around 6:15. After breakfast, he helped me gather my gear (shoes, and camelbak), and fuel (grapes - I’ve never tried eating those fancy gels and gues, maybe I’ll get some free samples at the race expo). After that we worked on a Thomas the Tank Engine puzzle and read about Nimo and his lucky fin.
By 8:00 I felt pretty good. I begin most Saturday runs with a slow jog to loosen up the legs. But having been awake and up for a few hours naturally stretched my muscles and I was able to comfortably begin running at a faster pace. Except for the very high humidity, it was nearly perfect running conditions (overcast and ~65 F). I felt strong over most of the route, which included big hills over miles 7 to 11, and finished in just under 1:40. I am happy with where I am and think that a 3:20 marathon is reasonable. Of course a 1:40 half-marathon doesn’t automatically translate to a 3:20 marathon, however, I ran yesterday on tired legs and yesterday’s hills were longer and bigger than the marathon course hills, and there were no cheering crowds and bands playing along the route yesterday which can contribute to “marathon magic.”
I learned a very good lesson yesterday too. Even without the cheering crowds and bands along the route, I felt so good and ready to go at 8:00 that I did the first mile in 7:00 flat. I averaged 7:37 for the entire run, so to begin with a 7:00 was starting out too fast. The Baltimore Marathon’s first three miles are uphill, and with the added excitement of running with thousands of people I will have to really concentrate to run at a pace that feels way too slow. A few 7:00 miles at the start of that course will make for a bad marathon experience for me. Now it is time to rest up, fuel up, and mentally prepare for marathon day. Yeah!
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