I did my last fast workout before the Grand Rapids Marathon today. I went out 1 1/2 miles easy and the tempo ran it back. My pace back was about 7:10 so not an all out tempo, but steady. I like to do these short tempos before a race because usually after I run a tempo, my next few runs feel quite easy yet I am running faster. That is how I want to feel Sunday morning, easy and faster.
I will do one more run before Sunday, another 3 mile easy run most likely on Thursday, and then the race. I have an optimistic confidence going on in my head and I hope it doesn't burn me. I have goals for the race that sound very reasonable, something I have done before. But I also feel nervous as I have tried this before and crashed and burned badly. I feel I trained very well this summer and I had a good half marathon to build the confidence more. Now I just need to do the rest right before the race and then just execute.
The goal for Sunday will be to run with the 3:44 pace group and see what happens after 20. I did this last time I ran Grand Rapids 3 years ago and finished in 3:43:21. It was a good pace group and I even tried to go for it after 21 but the group reeled me in and I hung on until the last mile where I faded just a touch but still got the desired time (the pace group was 1 minute ahead of pace).
So what is with the 3:44 pace group and not 3:45? Well, Grand Rapids has a little fun with their pace groups. They created pace groups that run the pace of a celebrity that actually ran that time. So I will be in the "George W's Running Mates" group named after President George W. Bush who did run a 3:44 marathon once. Other pace groups they have are:
The Sub-3 Lancers - 2:59:36
Pi Pacers - 3:14:15926 (get it?)
The Billy Baldwin Racer - 3:29:24
Will Ferrell's Sub 4 - 3:56:12 (is it just me surprised that Will Ferrell actually ran a Sub 4?)
P.Diddy Pacers - 4:14:54
Team Oprah - 4:29:20 (must be nice to have so many trainers helping)
The Penguin Brigade - 4:44:44
Al Gore's: An Inconvenient Pace - 4:58:25
Notice all the teams are pretty close to a time milestone so it is fun to see them do this.
Mike has decided to join Paul & I in the road trip to Grand Rapids. He will run but as he says, only for fun and to "get the state". I already have Michigan but Paul & Mike do not. I am at an even 10 states but they are a few ahead of me. I think this will be 17 for Mike and 15 for Paul. Mike and I will each add another state in November when we run the hills of Tennessee, Monkey Style.
It is a big marathon weekend all over. I counted 27 marathon this coming weekend. If you are running one of those, good luck! If you are running Grand Rapids, I hope to see you and extra good luck!