ORN: 8 miles, 1:14:03, 9:15/mile
After much navel gazing over the past week, part of it with you fine readers here on the blog, I had theorized that my target MP for Portland would be 9:20. I arrived at this from several angles.
First, it was slower than a predicted pace from my last two half-marathons, which would have put the pace around 9:10. Second, it was quicker than what seemed to be a more subtle increase over my effort on the hilly St Louis marathon course in April, which would have put it around 9:30 or so. Third, a 9:20 pace leads to a 4:04-ish time, 4:06 with a fade the last five miles or so. And THIS would be a very, very satisfying time if I can achieve it. A sub-4 marathon will come in time...this is not my last marathon. Fourth, I'm doing more miles for this marathon...I'll be over 40 miles/week now for about 5 straight weeks before the taper, while I only touched 40 once in my prep for St Louis.
So, 9:20 it is.
But all that was theory...I had to test it this morning.
The plan called for 8 miles at MP this morning. The plan also calls for the long run on Sunday to FOLLOW the MP run on Saturday. But church occupies my Sunday mornings, so my training plan flip-flops Higdon's schedule. So, after 17 miles yesterday, I set out this morning to see if my legs could hold a 9:20 pace.
I wasn't sure at first, but they did. Splits looked like this:
9 01, 9 29, 8 54, 9 25, 9 14,
9 36, 9 09, 9 07.
Held the pace, with some gas in the tank at the end. After yesterday's long run, my legs felt a bit tired, somewhat like they'll feel around, say, miles 12-16 or so. Thus, it gave me some hope I could hold the quicker pace on slightly depleted legs.
Since theory seemed to match practice, I'll go with it. Did I ever mention I'm a Purdue engineer??!!
Thanks for all your input on this. I'm comfortable with shooting for a 9:20, barring unusual cicumstances or injuy.
Persevere. At any pace.