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?