Overall, I would have to say I am confused a bit. My mileage is down to about 30 miles per week and I am seeing better results on my long runs than I did when I was running twice as far per week. I guess going out for 3-5 miles a couple times a week (with the wintry weather we have been having, a lot of the distance has been on the treadmill; which is mind numbing when you are running on a treadmill for an hour) and then loading on the long run (12 miles last week and 15.1 today), I am able to maintain a training pace equal to my marathon pace from my last race. I guess over-training before the last race may have cut performance, but weather and time have put me in this training cycle and so far, it hasn't hurt. We'll see how the New Year's 20 miler goes next week.
My next race is in mid-January in Redding, California. This race also brings other benefits in that I'll be able to visit with friends that I have not seen in over 3 years (other than those I saw 18 months ago). The big challenge for me is not over do it. First, the marathon's first 2.5 miles is on a 6% downhill grade, so I can't start too fast or my quads will be killed. Being in the flatlands, I have had little opportunity to train on similar terrain that I will be experiencing, so there's the first risk. I am getting out to Redding 4 days before the race so I can get a little local training in. Hopefully, the training will help. The second challenge is to not set expectations too high for my visit. The world has gone on for everyone with me being gone, so like I have learned, it is best not to make waves; just ride them.
Anyway, I think this are setting up for a successful run at the race. I am hoping for a time that is sub-4 hours and we will have a really good idea after the New Year's 20 miler. Am getting tired now, so must go. More later in the week!