Last Saturday was supposed to be my final 20 miler of this training cycle, but I've been still struggling a bit with my shin splints (or whatever they are) so I was very cautious. I ended up running 13 and then biked another 30, which got me to the right amount of time and calorie burn anyway. I have two actual 20 milers and an 18 under my belt as it is, so I'm thinking I'm okay.
I took yesterday off (still wary about the ankle) but today I headed down to the track at my local high school to do one last final hard workout. One of the editors at Runner's World - Bart Yasso - came up with a workout that has come to be known as "Yasso 800s". The idea is that you run 10x800m intervals, with your slowest interval's pace in minutes and seconds being a great predictor of your marathon ability in hours and seconds. That is to say, if you can run all 10 800m intervals in 4 minutes (4:00) or less, you should in theory be able to run a marathon in 4 hours (4:00:00) or less.
It was a windy, hot and humid evening tonight, and I was feeling sluggish after eating a bunch of crap for lunch (I lied to a number of coworkers and told them that I was just doing it to start off my taper; the truth is that I can't pass up fajitas and cookies and birthday cake sometimes). So not ideal for my intervals. But I still managed to get in an awesome set - my slowest interval was done in 3:26. That means that (in theory) I can run a 3:26 marathon. That's a 7:51 mile pace the entire way, which is actually something I think I could do on a perfect day right now.
So that's a good mental boost going into the taper. And the other set of good news is that my ankle/shin - the one I've been nursing along - is also feeling incredible. I'm excited and ready for this race.