For only the second time in my life, I just entered a race that I have no intention of finishing.
Back in the old days - the year 2000 - I took a one year break from running ultras. I ran short stuff for that year, with a year-long goal of a sub-3:15 marathon, to qualify for Boston. My target marathon was NYC. My last long run was a planned 22 miler, with 16 easy miles and then 6 hard miles to finish. I decided to do the run as part of a marathon in NY - the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon. A good friend from college who had been chasing my marathon PR for years was running that day, and it was a chance for us to hang out for the weekend. (He did get my record, running 2:55 that day, and I don't think he's run a decent marathon since then.) I started out at a 9:00 pace, and I felt great. By mile 6 or so, I was picking up the pace. By mile 10, I was running sub-8. At mile 14, I dropped to a sub-7:30 pace and took that to the 22 mile mark. Then, I stopped and waited for my wife to pick me up. But, the aid station people told me she couldn't get to me right there. So, I started walking. Then, I got bored and started running easily. I ended up finishing the race in 4:02, I believe, with a 20 minute rest in there. So, my planned DNF didn't work.
As it turned out, I should have raced that day, as I believe I could have run 3:20 or better that day. At NYC, I had a cold and struggled to a 3:43.
My last long run in my current marathon training is scheduled for 10/18 - two weeks from tomorrow. That happens to be the day of the Maine Track Club 50K and 50 miler, a race that a number of my friends run on a regular basis. The race is done on a 4-mile loop. I want to run 24 miles - 18 easy and 6 hard - and I want a flat course with easy access to aid. This course is perfect for doing that.
The race starts with a one-mile out and back, so you hit the start-finish area at miles 2, 6, 10, etc. After my 4th full loop, I'll be at 18 miles. From there, I'll run a hard loop and then half of a hard loop. At that point, I'll have to walk back to the start/finish area. From there, I'll spend some time cheering on some fellow runners and just hanging out.
This time I'm really going to DNF. Honest.