Zeke and Dan: thanks for the advice and encouragement.
I have a new goal time for the marathon: six hours fifty-nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds (the race course closes in seven hours.)
I did my final long run of 24 miles last Saturday. The deer were frolicking; the bunnies hopping; the birds flitting; the dogs were still sleeping. Everything was great until about mile 18.5. I was averaging 9:40 per mile (app. 50 seconds slower than my race goal time.) I was not hurting; I was not struggling; I was not even breathing hard.
At mile 19 my legs pulled over to the side of the road and said "Okay, that's enough today. You can finish without us; we're going back to bed."
The last six miles were progressively slower. The 24th mile was 14:39. If I had kept running I think I would have actually reversed time and went back into the past and maybe saw Ben Franklin or a dinosaur.
I knew that I was slowing down and tried all my normal "tricks" to speed up. Nothing worked. I could understand this if I had been in pain, had an injury or was gasping for breath. I felt fine. I just couldn't go any faster.
I drank losts of water and sports drink and had 3 gels during the run (one more gel than my 20 milers.) I was tired afterward but felt fine the next day.
It's also very funny how slow I was going at the end. It was almost like watching somebody else and thinking "that poor old man needs a ride back to his house."
I'm tapering now. Thanks for any suggestions.
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