With 5 days to go before the Steamboat Marathon, today it was time to do a preview run. Ideally when you do a marathon preview, you wake up at the same time you're planning for the race, eat the same food, and wear the same clothes. I didn't do all that today, but I did want to try out the new shorts I had just bought from Race Ready, a pair of LD Easy shorts with a whole array of webbed pockets in the back for gel packs.
I brought along 7 gels (which I wouldn't be eating) to see how it felt to run with the shorts fully loaded. As it turned out, I probably could have carried twice that amount, along with my car keys and someone else's car keys. Seven gel packs worked quite well -- better, I'd say, than a SPIBelt, which is what I used to carry my gels and camera at Big Sur. I won't be carrying a camera at Steamboat, so I think these shorts will work great. There was very little bouncing, everything stayed in place, and yet when you need a gel, they slide easily out of the pockets.
The plan today was to run an easy 2 miles, then 2 at race pace, and 2 cool-down miles. Race pace, at least for the first 20 miles, is 7:40 per mile, which is actually a pretty fast pace for me even when I'm running only 6 miles. But then again, I don't regularly run any routes in Davidson that have a net elevation loss of 1,300 feet!
Todd and Chad joined me for the run, and as is often the case in group runs, it's always a bit of a challenge running slowly enough during warm-ups and cool-downs. Everyone seems to tend towards their natural pace and not really do a true warm-up pace. So we ran the first two miles at an 8:30 pace, definitely faster than I wanted to go. As it turns out, Miles 3 and 4 of our regular loop are mostly downhill, so these worked great for the marathon preview pace. We ran Mile 3 in 7:32 -- a little fast. Mile 4 was proceeding at about the same pace, and then we reached the only uphill segment of the two miles. Since there are a few uphill segments at Steamboat, I wanted to maintain the pace even on the uphill, just to see how it felt. As it turned out, I ran it too fast, and we sped up for the second mile of preview running, completing it in 7:21. That's good, because I was quite tired after this section, and if we were truly running marathon pace, I shouldn't be breathing hard after just two miles!
Once again, we ran the cool-down miles a little too fast, 8:29 and 8:21. Then Todd and Chad started picking up the pace even more for the final third of a mile into town, and I decided to slow down instead, finishing up at an 8:51 pace. That's more like it. I felt good after the run, and although I didn't run at exactly the pace I wanted, it was good to run with friends one last time before the race. Tomorrow I'm getting on a plane for Colorado!
Details of today's workout are below: