It is officially taper time; St. George is a mere 17 days away and I feel like I am ready, or at least as ready as I can be.
On Saturday morning I did a 4-mile pace run and am happy with the results:
1-1/2 mile warm-up
Mile 1: 8:04
Mile 2: 8:14
Mile 3: 8:10
Mile 4: 8:12
1/2 mile cool down
I was supposed to stay in the 8:20 - 8:25 range, which is about 20 seconds faster than my goal pace; obviously I didn't do too well in that respect. Maybe this means I am going to bust out an unbelievable marathon or maybe it means I need to work on my pacing......
On Sunday morning I was up & out the door bright and early to meet Vicki for our 22 miler; she mapped out a great course in the Wilsonville/Sherwood area, which is just a little South of Portland. It is a beautiful, more "pastoral", area and a very nice change from the city. Our friend Pat met us for the first 8-mile loop so we donned our safety vests & head lamps and headed out into the darkness; we enjoyed a nice and easy pace for this portion of the run. This part of the course was relatively flat, but I knew the hills were coming. We dropped Pat off at the car, grabbed our sunglasses, hit the restroom at Starbucks and took back off.
The next 18 miles clicked by as we chatted and enjoyed the beautiful countryside; it was a spectacular morning in the Northwest and just a pleasure to be outside. We climbed some pretty good hills and I found a nice little 12 acre piece of property, with a house, that could be mine for a mere 1.2 million :-)
We made it back to the cars (and Starbucks) with an average pace of 9:37 for the distance; we even ended up with negative splits, I don't think I have ever had negative splits on a long run before. I was tired when I finished but knew I could have gone 26.2
It was intentional that I did my pace run on Saturday and my long run on Sunday; I was supposed to be fatigued for Sunday's run. I was supposed to run on Monday, but I decided to take a rest day, I was tired and will run Tuesday instead.
It is all coming together; we will see how I fare on race day. I decided to run with the 3:50 pace group, my goal for St. George is 3:53. I think it is a realistic goal. Check out the elevation map of the course:
As an extra added bonus, the race is on my birthday - a birthday PR would be the best!