I wasn't going to do it, but Adam suggested it, so what the hell -- guess my time for Sunday.
Here are the relevant data:
1. My marathon PR is 3:24:16. This was at last year's Frederick. The course has changed and will be significantly hillier. In that race, I went for the BQ for the first 3 miles before backing off (knowing it was undoable) and ran a positive split 1:38:54 (HM PR at the time!) first half and 1:45:22 second half. The weather was windy as hell (20 mph gusting to 30 at the end), but completely overcast and temps were great (50-57). I ran Cherry Blossom in 1:09:49 that year under perfect conditions, running a perfect race and not a second slower than I could have. My mileage leading up to that race was in the 55 mpw range.
2. Current weather forecast is 56 - 61 during the race, 70% humidity, 90% cloud cover, light winds, and a chance of rain (forecast seems to get better every day -- upper 60's and high cloud cover doesn't sound bad). I ran CB in 1:08:49 this year and didn't really kill myself doing it. I also ran an 8k in 32:45 on a similarly ideal course. The 8k was pretty damn windy though. CB was pretty windy, but the course only made it a factor for maybe a mile. My mileage this year is probably in the 65mpw range. I've had some low weeks for injury but a good number of 70+ mile weeks.
3. The only "indicator" workout I've done is 7x800 in 3:09 with 2:12-2:19 rest. This wasn't at all hard. I honestly think I've improved since CB. I had done nothing faster than MP until the week before CB except the aforementioned 8k. Last year, I started speedwork maybe 6 weeks before CB and improved dramatically over that time. I feel like I might be considerably faster than the 1:08:49 would indicate. Endurance and race day conditions are really the open questions.
4. My strategy is going to be to use feel, goal, and heart rate to find a pace. I'll push for goal pace if it doesn't make me hit 173 bpm (which I know won't work) or makes me feel like it's unsustainable. I'll go faster than goal pace if my heart rate is still 169/170 and I feel good. I really think I'm going to know 4 or 5 miles in whether it's possible and it will be a binary thing. I do believe there's a fair chance I'm going to look down and see 7:20 min/mi and 169 on the garmin at the same time.
5. Injuries. I picked up a twinge of the hamstring tendon thing again on Sunday and it's lingered through today, but I always have something taper week, so I'm not worried.
6. Optimism level. I honestly think I have about a greater than 25% chance of BQing, which is good enough to give myself a chance on race day mentally.
Guesses? Adam is in with 3:15:33. Mindi, the optimist, said 3:13 and change, which I'll call 3:13:30 unless she says otherwise. I'm not offended by non-BQ guesses (in fact, I think it's good motivation). Closest time -- no "Price is Right" scoring. Tie goes to the lower time.
What do you win? Any suggestions? I have some books I have two copies of. Does statistical mechanics or partial differential equations pique your interest? Maybe there's some other crap in my house I can get rid of :-)