But it's also a fun race. It's run through beautiful farm country, mostly vineyards. Part of the race traverses a levee road along a creek that is isolated and picturesque, though the road is in poor condition and has an exaggerated camber that bothers most runner. And while the course is almost entirely flat, it is almost always windy, and the wind can act like a hill. Today the winds were relatively light but still an issue at times on the course.
I ran the 30K as a dress rehearsal for CIM. My plan was to run as close as possible to my CIM goal pace of 6:29, which would allow me to break 2:50 in the marathon, if only by a few seconds. And I did that. After a quick 6:21 start, every mile but one was within 3 seconds of 6:29, and the one that wasn't was just four seconds off, at 6:33. My final pace, according to my Garmin, was 6:28. So I passed the test, right?
Not entirely. Unlike Sam, I did not finish the race feeling as if I still had "several miles" in me. I didn't even have a cool down in me, opting instead to head straight home and cool down with a cold bath. My heart rate also drifted upward throughout the race. That's normal, but it drifted into the high 160s, which is too high for me. Some of that might have been the wind, some of it might have been the fact that I wasn't tapered and trained normally through the week leading up to the race. But it's still a concern. I know I could not have run another 8 miles at that pace today. But today was not Dec. 6.
I was pondering backing off my goal pace by a few seconds per mile when I did the math on my final time and the pace behind it. My time was 1:59:45. That comes to a pace of 6:25. My Garmin had the course short, and thus said my pace was slower. But if the course was indeed 30K, or 18.6 miles, then my pace was three seconds per mile faster than I intended and four seconds per mile faster than my CIM goal pace. So maybe I don't need to back off my marathon goal pace. I just need to stick to it and not run faster, on purpose or by accident.