It was dark. It was cool. It was calm and foggy. And it was the same wake up time as on a normal training day. This day was different. This day was the final 20 mile run before the marathon. This was the final hurdle before taper.
Runs that start at 4:45 a.m. and are planned for nearly 3 hours always pose one serious question. Glasses or sunglasses? I went with sunglasses, which was a good call.
The first mile out, I knew my pace needed some moderation. Just about 7m 45s to the DQ which marks mile one. Way too fast for a 20 miler. I backed off a bit to what I hoped was closer to 8m 30s or slower (I really only know a few mile markers, so mostly I go by feel).
Overall, the run was outstanding. The temps stayed down, and I was able to make a few decisions. My last 20 miler was in my Asics Gel Kayano XIs. This one was in my Mizuno Wave Alchemys. Due to a foot cramp around mile 18 and some heel pain post run, the Alchemys will sit this run out and I will go with the old faithful Kayanos. Given the improved pace, I only needed two Gu gels for the run, and will probably carry only four on marathon day (three for the race, one "just in case"). And I am well set for a sub-four hour marathon. I completed today's run right around 2 hours 50 minutes, pretty much an 8m30s per mile pace. That included two pit stops (one for refueling, which definitely won't happen in the race). If I can maintain that pace on race day, I could walk the last 6 miles and probably make 4 hours.
I also spent a lot of time running through scenarios about IM MOO '07 in my head. Mrs. Pol has said she is ready to support the program, which is huge. Now, there's just the minor issue of paying for the race. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and may just pull it off. With the crew that is planning to be there, missing it would be nearly a crime. Luckily, the TBC lawyer is facing the same decisions, so I'm not worried about finding representation.
Keep Iron Wil and all the others running IM WI 2006 in mind, this week. They are in the final stretch, and many will be travelling before the weekend gets here. They can all use our support as they face their own IM races.