I'm glad I was wrong.
The First 9 Miles
I made Matt wait a little bit before the start this morning. I had some problems getting everything together this morning. But we hit the road at about 6:15 or so. We started slowly because I was saving up for the end. When I looked at the splits after the run, though, it wasn't as slow as I thought!
We did 9 miles around the streets of Athens at about an 8:30 or so pace. For some reason, I was thinking those miles were closer to 8:40. The last two were 8:08 and 8:01. That had us at the Rec Center at 9 miles. We refilled our water bottles and then hit the tough part of the workout. Two laps around the track, out and back on the spurs, and back home would give us just about the right mileage.
The Last 8 at Marathon Pace
The first mile was a little slow at 7:28. We were still trying to find marathon pace, 7:17. The second mile was disappointingly slower at 7:30. The good news is that those miles weren't very tiring. The third mile was a little fast on the trail where the footing isn't quite as good at 7:12. During this mile I got some practice fueling at marathon pace. The fourth mile was also quick at 7:09 on the trail. It was starting to get difficult! That 4th mile was a mental struggle. We had made it halfway through the hard part!
The next two miles were on the track and both were 7:10. Believe it or not, it was starting to get easier! How can miles 14 and 15 be easier than miles 12 and 13? I don't know. At this point, I knew I was going to make it. I knew I had plenty of energy to hang on to the end. Mile 16 was tougher and we had to stop for traffic which was frustrating. But we still ran it in 7:24. Mile 17 was mostly in the sun, and it was starting to get hot. I felt really strong on this mile! I finished with the fastest mile of the day in 7:08. I honestly felt like I could have run another mile at that pace.
Today was a huge confidence boost! AWESOME!! I probably need to pick up the pace in the early parts of future marathon pace runs. Also, I need to run a more consistent pace during the marathon pace miles. I have to find that pace and make it automatic.