The Carlsbad Marathon is a week away. I did my last long run of about 10 miles yesterday, and have only a couple 3 milers next week before race day. I showed up really tired at my last marathon, so I am trying to take it a little easier this time around. I had originally planned on a three week taper to rest up, but I fell behind in my training when I was back home in Washington.
So my peak long run was last weekend, and I did something a little different this time. I ran with my buddy Sean, and he suggested we run part of the marathon course. I have never run any part of a course ahead of time, and I don't even want to drive them if I can help it. For some reason, I always felt that if I saw the course ahead of time, I would psyche myself out. I always check out the elevation profile on paper, but I like to leave the in-person experience for race day.
We decided to run 20 miles together, and basically ran the course from the 3 mile mark to the 23 mile mark (so the finish line will still be a surprise!). Early and late, the course travels along the ocean on a road with a few small rolling hills, but there is a pretty significant hill halfway through the course. On paper, it looks pretty ugly, but fortunately it wasn't as bad in person.
We had near perfect weather, and I can only hope it will be the same a week from now. A 20 mile run is never easy, but it was certainly made more enjoyable by running with Sean. He is a faster runner than I am, so we don't get to run together very often. We did start together at the Surf City Marathon back in 2008, but the pace was too fast for me, and too slow for him. On Sunday, we ended up finishing the 20 miler right at my hopeful marathon pace. This is faster than recommended for your last long run, but we were just running by feel.
The time passed by quicker than normal as we chatted about every little thing. He did more of the talking because I was panting a little harder than him. When he mentioned this to his wife Marci, she mentioned that it was much the same when she and I ran together at the Marine Corps Marathon in 2006.
On race day, we will be running separately at our own pace, but Sean, Marci and I will be at the start line together. It is going to be great!