I am currently obsessing over PACE. I was kind of obsessing on my own, but last night, while running through the park, run club leader asks me out of the blue, "are you going to go for four?". Why, oh why, did he go there? Then, while laying in bed last night, the subject came up with my better half. Thus, we have a new rule in our house: No talking about the marathon in bed. The five minutes of discussion we had was just enough to get my mind good and revved up, thus delaying my trip to dreamland by about an hour.
I started this journey on a Runner's World plan that, based on previous half marathon times, projected a finish time of something like 4:02:00. I was working that plan alongside PJ's plan (the three day a week plan). While I felt I needed to ditch RW and trust my leader, I initially could not let go of the RW plan because the 4:02:00 finish time was oh, so appealing to me.
At week five, I did officially ditch the RW plan. I attribute the ditching to lack of confidence, lack of time and fear of re-aggravating the stress fracture. Summer scheduling with two active kids was just not real conducive to running more than three times a week. I decided that I needed to just focus on finishing, and let go of any other expectations. Let me go on the record right here and now as saying that a four hour marathon is a very lofty goal, and I am not underestimating that.
The problem I'm having now is that I feel like I'm so dang close to being able to do it, and the 20 miler went really well (far better than expected)... so why not try? If I were to start out with the four hour pace group and bonked, I could still finish with a respectable time. Heck, finishing in any amount of time is respectable in and of itself.
I want to be reasonable, I want to finish strong; but I don't want to sell myself short, either. I want to think this through and be reasonable, but I also want to make a decision, commit, and stick to it. Dang, this is hard.