It is only a few days before I leave for the Virginia/Washington D.C. area to run the Marine Corps Marathon. I have started thinking about my race strategies and what I hope to accomplish. The race’s website, though, leaves a bit to be desired.

Their course map is atrocious. It is really neat in terms of how it works, but they do not offer a downloadable PDF that I could print off and study. If they do, then I could not find it.

The elevation map is useful, however:
Marine Corps Marathon Elevation Chart
Looking just at the elevation profile, this just might be my easiest course yet. There is a short climb in the third mile up to not even 250 feet above sea level, with another climb up to about 150 feet from miles 5 through 8. After that, you are looking at what has to be one of the flattest courses that I can imagine up until you finish at the Iwo Jima memorial.

My general game plan is to take it a little conservative for the first few miles. If I run at a 7 minute pace at any point through mile 3, I will not mind at all. I will probably let myself stretch my legs out from there through mile 5, where you drop almost back to sea level. I will probably be around 6 minute pace or a little quicker through here. From 5 through 8, I will aim for 6:25 pace or 6:30 pace. Once I am past there, then I will try to run around 6:15 or better for the rest of the race. At a conservative estimate, that puts me at around 2:45:05. That will serve as my base line that I am going to beat.

I have set up the website here to update as I pass each check point. The Athlete Alert system will let know where I am and will leave an article here on the site. If you were here earlier this evening, then you may have noticed that I was testing the system.