Friday, November 28, 2008

Predicting the End

With one week to go before Memphis it is time to make some predictions about finishing times. I mentioned this before but with the one year break between marathons, in many ways I feel like I'm doing this for the first time. Since the first one back in January of 2004, I gained a ton of experience and the confidence to know that I can cover 26.2 miles. This time around, although I put in a full 6 months of training, I go into Memphis with the lowest mileage base of any marathon. Since June I've covered just over 500 miles. For my first I covered 650 miles.

So what am I hoping to see on the clock when I cross the finish line? I've got several options and points of reference.
First, since this feels like the first one again, I would really like to better the time from that very first marathon, Rock-n-Roll Arizona. My time there was 4:34.

Based on the 20 miler I did 5 weeks ago, the predicting calculators give me a 4:26. If I could keep the pace just below the 10:00 per mile mark I could even eke out a 4:20.

The 22 miler a couple of weeks ago in the unseasonable hot and windy weather gives me a predicted finishing time of 4:48. I'm not really happy about that. The marathons where I've exceeded that time were all special circumstances; LA with heat in the 90's, NYC after 2 days of walking the city, and two trails marathons on muddy hills. Memphis won't fit any of these extenuating circumstances so I think I can do better than 4:48.

I have yet a third option. Memphis will mark the third year in a row that Joe and I have gotten together to run a marathon during the beginning of December. Last year we had great time with Wes, David, Lana and Michele as well. Memphis marks the end of Joe's three fall marathon challenge. Usually on race day its every man for himself. I've given serious consideration to running along with Joe, step for step, following his 3:1 run:walk plan. Joe is predicting a 4:40 finishing time. That keeps me safely below the 4:48 I dread and about equally beyond my conservatively acceptable time of 4:34. No matter the final time I will have achieved my real goal of simply moving one state closer to 50.

We'll have to see what the weather brings our way and how we each are feeling on race day. I may not make the final decision until the gun fires. Your thoughts?


Nick said...

You've put the time in regardless of mileage. Just get to the finish line without hurting your self (like I did), and your best time will show through.

Best of luck.

Burger said...

Whatever goal you decide to go with, don't forget to have fun out there!

(personally speaking, I say if you're feeling good at the half-way point, go for a PR)

Joe said...

As my wife often wryly observes, the planning is more than half the fun of these races.

Well, the weather is turning in our's prediction of race day says 40 at the start, 55 at the end. A far cry from the Santa Ana flame thrower you ran in.

A further strategy is to simply go for a negative split. Go conservatively for the first "lap" and when we head back out into Memphis at mile 14, ease the pace up a bit, to what might be a 4:20 like pace.

In any event, the key thing is to finish with little, if any, pain in the shin.

Gee, do you think we'll spend further time evaluating this??!!!

Anonymous said...

Whatever happens - run strong and run your own race. Enjoy!

david said...

Enjoy the fact that you are going to be able to tow the starting line...Looks like the weather is going to be great...see you in Memphis.

Pat said...

you and joe are going to have a blast. I wish I could join you. both in TN and at such a fast pace.

Good luck,


David said...

Sounds like a good start plan. How you feel at 20 miles is really all that matters. What can you do a 10K in on top of 20 miles with Joe?