Passing the Final Exam of 22

4 miles short of the real thing. Long story short, I passed the test and can finally start “the taper”. The peak of the training is over, only 18 days left. The idea of running a marathon always worried me, especially during those days after being wiped out on a long run which wasn’t even close to a marathon distance. And those consecutive weeks where there was no sign of progress, making 26 miles seem like a hopeless distance.

Running a 22 miler is the perfect solution for a shaken confidence. It’s the prefect marathon simulation. With such a great course and good company, the miles just fly by:

A Manhattan loop more or less.

It’s hard to believe that I’m writing this now; that I’m ready to run the NYC marathon! Based on my latest performance (22.12 miles in 3:32 hours @ 9:36 min/mile pace, including breaks) I should have a 4:00 – 4:15 marathon, but with so many variables, anything can happen.

So whats my strategy for a 4 hour marathon? I have to maintain a comfortable 8:45 – 9:00 min/mile pace for 2/3 of the race so that I can afford to drop it to 9:30 – 9:45 on the Queensboro bridge and the final 10K. Based on my history, I am the king of positive splits; the master of getting slower and slower as the distance goes past 16 miles. Going too fast (8:30 or less) for too long will wipe me out and going too slow (9:30 or more) for too long will obviously knock me out of the 4 hour limit. But this is just the physical.

The mental strategy? DO NOT GET CRAZY! 47,000 runners, the 2 million cheering people throughout, all of my training being put to the test, my friends counting on me; I must have the same clear mind as if it was the 22 miler final exam. Most importantly when things go sour, I have to remain calm. It won’t be the end of the world if it takes longer than 4 hours, even 4:30. 

The fuel? 4 GUs and 4 salt packets, one for each hour. The nightly carbo loading special: half pound salmon with a BOX of pasta. The pre-race meal: oatmeal, peanut butter, vitamins, tea. Must bring some fig bars and nuts to the starting line since it will be hours until the race actually starts. Clothes? Almost exactly what I wore to the 22 miler.

Most importantly, there is 2 weeks to master taking pictures and video on the run using my phone for the ultimate post. I’ll start practicing tonight.

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