Whew, I got it done!
Here is the USTAF map and elevation of my monster run yesterday.
I took the roads off because I am paranoid. It could all be in my mind but yesterday a man in a black pick up truck passed me 3 times in the span of 4 miles. Sure he may have been lost but it seems I only notice men driving slowly past and looking at me--never women. But that is probably because the women asked for directions and know where they are going. At any rate, if I see the same car 2 times in less than 20 minutes I pull out my phone. I know that isn't a huge threat but I do call someone and give a description of the car/person so that if I go missing there will be clues.
Like I said, I'm paranoid.
But for those from the area to get an idea of the scope I started from an area close to Hwy 92 and ran out to the Lower Roswell Road area and then looped back.
Please note elevation chart.
This course was the most forgiving of the 3 24+ milers I mapped out when planning my run. Honestly, I am not really sure exactly what this chart is telling me but it looks like lots of rolling hills and few steep climbs and some nice downhills--at least that is how I remember it going. Not certain what the total climb of 1668 ft is referring to--the whole course? Or the total elevation change: 3,363 ft. Thoughts? Like maps, I'm not so good at reading charts either.
Okay, let's look at Chickamauga's elevation chart for comparison.
Can anyone by looking at these two charts tell me which course seems harder? Are they similar? It looks to me like Chickamauga is more forgiving but it could be that how the elevation is shown is deceiving. It does look like from the data that I have that I had greater elevation changes in my run. Is that right? Thoughts? Opinions?
Are you wondering why I am so preoccupied with the details of this particular run and not the others?
It is because the 24 miler is the bench mark run of my marathon training plan--and yes, I am using "plan" loosely. It is pretty much my "dress rehersal." I test out my nutrition--yesterday was 2 Expresso Love Gu's (these are the best!) and one vanilla Gu and about 50 ounces of water. For the race I will probably do 4 Gu's. I might use some electrolyte drink but they tend to give me dry mouth and make me want more water than I need.
The 24 miler is also important because the past marathons I have trained for the 24 miler generally tells me what I will do in the full 26 of the race. For example, for my first marathon I ran a 25 miler a month out. I finished it in 4 hours and 20 something minutes. I ended up running the Atlanta full in 4 hours and 8 minutes. For the OBX marathon I ran a 24 + training run in 3 hours and 45 minutes. I ran the full at OBX in 3 hours and 42 minutes a month later. I do think had it not been pouring rain I might have been faster. I can't recall if I did 24 miler for GA ING but I don't think I did.
So I am cautiously optimistic about what yesterday's 24+ miler is telling me. I finished in 3 hours and 36 minutes. An 8:48 pace. This time is of course minus the 3 times I stopped to refill my water bottle, have a GU, go potty and buy sunscreen. I always subtract the pit stop time since in a race I won't have to stop nor will have to stop at street lights. Experience has shown me that my time actually spent running is what really matters. And, for what it is worth, I think all the stopping makes it harder to get started. Just feels easier to keep going. But since I don't have a sag wagon or aid stations in training I kinda have to stop.
I should also say that yesterday was pretty much-- for me-- about as perfect weather as I could hope for--60's, breezy and sunny. This run was at least 20 degrees cooler than my other 20+ milers. Only thing better would have been if it had been overcast. Ever with the picky, I know. Anyway, experience has also shown me that I always get to have a perfect weather day for my 24 miler. Unfortunately experience also tells me that I always have horrible weather for my marathon.
So knowing all this and adding up my helter skelter training methodology I come up with a predicted marathon time of 3:35 for me. But we'll see how the rest of the training goes. I still have 30 days until the race for things to go from good to bad or from good to better.
Thoughts? Opinions? Advice?
Oh, one final post script: A big ole congatulations shout out to my buddy Joe at the Big Peach Running Company. He was the 4th American at the Chicago marathon. And get this, it was his first marathon. 2:29--very impressive.