A while back I worked with a person at one of my clients who loved the word penultimate. Being in marketing we are all prone to hyperbole, and this fellow used to regularly describe the products or brands or events he was working on as the “penultimate” example of whatever that thing was. In meeting after meeting he would bust out penultimate with nary a single challenge. Finally in one meeting someone stopped this guy mid-sentence and corrected him;  “you mean ultimate, not penultimate”. Apparently serial adjective abuse was only one of his many idiosyncrasies that annoyed his bosses and before you know it he was canned. As luck would have it the big boss associated my company with this guy because he and I had worked together in the past when we were both at different firms. Before you know it, we were canned too. Oh the good times.

Of course penultimate doesn’t mean what he thought it meant, even though it kinda sounds like it should. Penultimate means next to last, not the “ultimate ultimate”, which people might assume it means, especially when someone is using the word that way so confidently in a business meeting. Today, in the interest of people not getting fired (but maybe fired up), I will use the word correctly on the occasion of my penultimate 20+ mile run. Ever. I mean it. EVER! Next and last is the TCSNYCMarathon!

My ongoing conundrum of the relative effects of heat versus fueling is diminishing somewhat thanks to continuing cooling temperatures. But I still have to come to terms with the fact that my starting time in the marathon is 5 hours later than I normally begin my run. I posed the question of whether I would be better off running later in the day today so I could practice race day fueling more accurately but run in temperatures 25-30 degrees higher than the likely race day weather, or go out at my normal time in the cooler air without having any pre-run nutrition other than Gatorade. Coach Matt got back to me and said it was a really good question though one he hadn’t dealt with before, so he wasn’t sure what the right answer was. But he was impressed that I was taking the NYC Marathon so seriously! So I got that goin’ for me.

Took me 3 hours and 24 minutes to run 21.2 miles today, which is a leisurely 9:39 pace -way off my typical half marathon time (see picture!) but just a tad behind my goal pace of 9:15. I was hoping to gauge how much I had left after reaching the 21 mile goal, so on the final downhill run I decided to turn it up a notch. Unfortunately my mile 21 jelly legs were not up to the challenge and I ended up falling for just the second time in my running career. Luckily I fell in an area where they are doing construction and the street had a fine coating of sand that helped me glide down the incline with minimal road rash and no race ending injuries. So dodged a bullet but no good gauge for my reserves after 21 miles. I am figuring that with the typical 50’s temps (high 60s- low 70s today), fewer hills and race day adrenaline I might make up the pace difference. But I realize that I will also have to add 5 miles to today’s run. Oh, and not fall. If I can do those things I might enjoy the TCSNYCMarathon so much that today will not have been my penultimate 20+ mile run.