The forecast for today in Santa Cruz calls for 97 degrees with sun. I guess we officially entered Spring sometime in the last week or so, but 97 is a bit out of hand. The 10 day forecast puts partly cloudy and 58 for the high on race day in Reading PA - that's absolutely perfect weather for running.
Not sure how the race will go. I put together the image above so that I could compare the elevation profile of a course I know well (Bella Vista in green) with the approximate route of the race (Blues Cruise in blue) on Sunday. The vertical scales are the same and each segment represents about 15.5 miles. In the case of the blue lines, the top represents the approximate first half and the bottom the second half.
Obviously, my Bella Vista run involves long steady climbing, but the second half of the Blues Cruise course is repeatedly punctuated by short steep climbs. Many are steeper than anything I've been training on regularly. Were this race run in the opposite direction, I'd know precisely how to run it, but because the easy miles come first, I have no idea.
Assuming the trails aren't too muddy, I'll suppose I'll run the first few miles on a pace which would set an insignificant marathon PR. I know I can crack 3:30 at the distance on the road now and expect that 3:15 isn't out of the question. I logged a bunch of miles this year with the hope of running a low 3 hour marathon in November, I'll call on those miles during the first half of this race.
This is an "All-In" strategy. I'm hoping to log good miles in the first half of the race and then hang on in the second to get to 4:30. The problem with this approach is that there is a tremendous opportunity to blow up in the second half and fail to reach my race goals entirely (sub 5 hours, smile, sub 4:30).
We shall see, now it's time to pack. I'll get a short run in this afternoon in the heat, tomorrow is a day off spent in an airplane then Thursday I'll get out for a quickie on the beach in Ft Lauderdale and hop a plane to Vermont. Looking forward to some foliage, a good race and some quality time with the family. Hopefully VT will even grant my request and provide a bit of snow while I'm there...
Thanks for reading, and try not to over analyze.