3 weeks to Ojai 2 Ocean. Time for my 20 mile fast finish long run. The last 5 or 6 marathons, I have gone to a half marathon in order to do this, but today, I stayed here in Palmdale. I wanted to mimic the O2O course so here was the plan. Start beside Highland on P12 and run up to the aqueduct and 5 miles west. We would turn back and run to where we started. After our opening 10 miles we would run from Highland down P8, to 15th past the mall, work our way to Sierra Hwy and then head North ending at Ave J.
At 6 am I arrived at P12. Dave Weary, Sarah Bird and Eric Dombrowski were there to meet me. Off we went. Once we got up to the aqueduct Dave requested we run on the dirt side heading out. The pace settled in at around 8:15. About a mile before we got to 60th we spotted Clay running on the opposite side of the water. Moments later Tiffany also came running to us – on the dirt side. Dave, Sarah and I decided to have a little fun and run through the pipes under the aqueduct. West of 60th, at 5 miles we turned and headed back.
7 or so miles in Sarah began to have some problems and it became apparent that she would have to drop out after 10. Clay invited her to run with her later this evening. Clay’s plan for the day was 13 this morning and 13 more at midnight. I guess if you are going to do something as crazy as a 24 hour race, then you do something as crazy as 13 miles at midnight. I wonder where he is going to run it?
I decided to start my marathon pace miles after mile 8. This way that first mile would be on an absolute flat course and would help me establish a pace for the rest of the run. So, Dave, Tiffany and I accelerated ahead. When we got to the cars we stopped to replace water bottles. Eric came in not too far behind us and Sarah came along soon enough.
As Dave and I started the last 10, Dave announced that he would not be staying at my pace. So, the last 10 I was on my own. I headed out. The temperature was starting to rise, but the gradual downhill helped. The run went according to plan, except I was unable to do the final two miles even faster. By this time the temperature was up into the 70s. I had finished my second water bottle at mile 15 and the water fountain on the bike path did not work. Of course, the fact that these two miles were miles 99 and 100 in the last 8 days could also have had something to do with it. So, I simply tried to maintain pace all the way to the finish. I hit 20 miles a few hundred meters before getting to Ave J. So, I figured I would wait for Dave there so he would know he hit 20 as well. (He had told me he did not have his Garmin.) Once he got there we walked to the corner together. Cheryl always has water in the trunk. We grabbed some bottles and began the ride back to Highland.
Looking at the splits and the totals – other than not getting an extra fast finish, it looks pretty good! 20 miles in 2:36 – 7:49 average pace! The final 12 average pace was 7:21!