Well that went better than expected. Sunday was the NYC Marathon Tune-up 18 Miler. It is designed to be a hard long run, 7 weeks out from the NYC marathon, but I decided to use it as a last long run/gut check before deciding whether to run Chicago on October 9. The 18 miler last weekend was a miserable slog, and left me with little hope that eight miles more would be anything other than extended misery.
This week turned out to be a different story. I felt a bit sore from Friday plyo, so, again, I wasn't too optimistic. Walking didn't feel great, so how could I actually run 18. There was a pretty good bunch of us from the South Brooklyn Running Club in group E, so we all lined up together. Marcus was going to run with Caylin at a good clip. Andrew was going to find the 9 minute pacers and run with them. Sara was gonna run 9:30s. I had no particular plan . . .
My main thought was to let the crowd slow me down for the first mile or two, and then see how I felt. This worked pretty well, and just as I sort of got up to speed, the 8:57/mile pace group went by. Andrew, who was with me, latched on, I went with him. Marcus and Caylin were off in the distance vaguely visible. For much of the rest of the race, I found myself yo-yoing with that pace group. I descend quickly and climb slowly, so I'd drift forward on the downhill, and backward on the uphill. I believe I was driving the pacers nuts . . .
Coming back up the Harlem Hill, Marcus came up on me from behind. Caylin was run walking, and he didn't want to. We ran pretty much the rest of the race together. He kept me honest going up, and I pushed the pace going down. The downhill miles tended to be around 8:30-8:45. The uphill miles 9-9:30. My average was either 9:00/mile per Strava or 9:12 per NYRR. Either way, that was respectable, considering where I started back in July.
The big story is that I didn't slow down much at the end. Mile 18 was 8:53, and the last half mile kick was at an 8:20 pace.
So, I went ahead and bought my tickets. I guess I'm gonna run the Chicago Marathon. I'm still quite modest about my goals. Aiming at fun and no injury.