You could say I signed up for the Portland Marathon on a whim. I thought it would be fun. I'm not specifically trained for a marathon, and a road marathon at that. But I've completed two 50k's in the past two months. So I know I can do it. Really, that's a great feeling knowing that I'm trained to a level where I can decide last minute to do a marathon. I think that will probably be a goal for my future training. To always be at least marathon (or 50k) distance trained.
The real question is whether I'm marathon PR ready. I run hills frequently but I haven't done any dedicated speed work in quite awhile. I'm slow, so my PR is very average. However I'm pretty sure I haven't reached my potential yet. I know there are more marathons in my future. So I don't want to get too wound up about this one. My first marathon I finished in over 5 hours and breaking 5 hours seemed like the holy grail to me at the time. My new goal is sub 4:30 and based on my PR (2:02) for the half marathon, that shouldn't be too difficult for me. However, I do think I have a fear of speed, of pushing myself to the next level. Most of my PR's have meant feeling like I'm going to puke my guts out at the end.
I've toyed with the idea of running without a watch or regard to pace and just running how I feel. But I think I need to be more focused than that. (My one marathon DNF was due to lack of focus.) I've printed out a pace wrist band (which I'll instead pin upside down to my bib.) And I'm going to try to hang with a pace group. I've never done that before.
Here are my goals:
1) Beat my Portland Marathon PR (2003) of 4:45
2) Beat my marathon PR (2005) of 4:37
3) Come in under 4:30
And of course, the bottom line is I want to have fun doing it!
P.S. After re-reading this post, I feel the need to point out that my heart still lies with the trails! I can see running the occasional road marathon, but maybe I'll swear off them if I break 4:30. : )