Then yesterday while I was obsessively searching -- er, I mean while I happened to be glancing over last year's results, I noticed that runners who were doing the ascent in the times I had projected were completing the descent quite a bit slower.
Then I re-read the Pikes Peak Marathon site's advice on predicting your Marathon time: "add 1/2 hour to your flatland marathon time. The average descent time is about 63% of the runner’s Ascent time. In other words, the downhill is not free and there are even a few ups on the way down!"
I had been computing my downhill time based on 60% of my flatland marathon pace, not 63% of my Ascent time. So I should probably expect to be descending considerably slower than what I thought before -- instead of a 9-ish average pace, it's probably going to be more like a 10-ish pace. Also, I had added in an extra aid station at Mile 1.2 that isn't actually there. So here's the revised pacing sheet:
|Corrected version, still fairly optimistic|
This morning I completed my final shakeout run for the race, a two-miler to watch the start of the Ascent race. I wanted to get a sense of how quickly the field handled the run on the paved section leading up to the trails. After the elites took off at unimaginable paces, it seemed to me that the regular runners were taking a fairly reasonable approach. Taking into account the fact that I was only watching half the field (the Ascent is divided into two waves; for the Marathon everyone starts at the same time), I felt like I could be in the middle of the Ascent's first wave and be very comfortable. This would put me in the top 25 percent of the Marathon pack, which is about where I want to be. I had been concerned that there would be a mad dash for the trails, leaving everyone pooped before the race had even started.
Final preparations on the last day before the race include staying off my feet as much as possible, eating whatever I want (as long as it isn't likely to upset my stomach), and endlessly fretting about irrelevant details. Wish me luck!
Oh, and one last thing. If you want to follow my progress during the race, there are two possible ways of doing it. One is the race website's "almost live" results, found here. The organizers don't promise real-time results but they can provide splits at various points along the course, assuming they manage to get internet on the side of the mountain. You can also try following my Runkeeper account, which is supposed to provide live tracking but again is limited by internet availability.