Well. It’s almost time. In some ways it was probably best that I had a crazy week, including being outof town at a conference Wednesday afternoon until earlier today. I stayed distracted.

I did end up missing yesterday’s run, but I’m pretty sure those 3 miles are not going to make or break tomorrow’s race. And I got in a zippy 4 today that felt great.

Race goal: Three-tiered goal system like usual. (Who came up with this idea? We all do it. I read it in a book somewhere.) 

C) 3:19, which would be my fastest since my PR in spring 2010, after which I was hurt and didn’t run a marathon again until fall 2012. I ran 3 between fall 2012-2013 (Columbus, Carmel and Monumental), but I haven’t run one since. 

B) 3:15, which is a funny goal to have because it has never been my goal yet I’ve run on both sides of it several times ā€” two 3:16s and a 3:12. That’s 7:27 pace ā€” not far off my average on my long runs. And there’s a pace group for it (see “race plan,” below).

A) 3:13, which aligns with my McMillan projection from my 10k a few weeks ago and seems pretty doable. That’s 7:22 pace. I like this goal. The only downside is the lack of a pace group. A 3:13 would make me pretty happy. I think I’m close to fit enough to PR (3:10) but not quite, but a 3:13 would put it within reach.

Race plan: I am going to start with the 3:15 pace group and stay out of trouble. At the debacle that was the Derby Marathon, I basically did everything wrong. That said, it was a good learning experience. In fact, the idea of signing up for a marathon with the intent to drop out around 16-18 and running your goal pace is not a terrible idea, really. (If you could time it right and find one cheap.)

I’m going to stick with the pace group through halfway, tentatively. Maybe just through 10 if I feel really good, maybe through 16 (or later) if I don’t. 

But somewhere around halfway, I’m going to pick it up. So about a 1:37:30 half. That means I need to make up a minute on the second half of the course, which would be 7:17 pace. The idea would be to ease down from 7:27 but try to stay comfortable through 20, then push. 

Note: I’ve made plans like this for most of my marathons and I’m not sure I’ve ever actually executed them past mile 15. But that’s okay. They make me feel better and they keep me from going out too fast.

Want to see how it goes? Race start sat 8 a.m. EST, so you can start watching for me around 11:10 a.m. Runner Tracking | Live Results