Liz the 2 nd 1/2 is not very hilly, but there is Sandy lane between mile 24&25 - just as we get back into Chester suburbs Huntingdon - the road goes down to the river and then back up. The down and up are probably each only 500mtrs or so - it's just most of us are a little tired by then, but hey it's only 500metres or so then it's a mile or so of flat or down to the finish and the support gets awesome when we go down to the Groves riverside in the last mile or so
Yes Heather having 3 times in mind is normal. When I'm running for myself I have several goals- finish, finish in pb , finish not in a personal worst. Following every race, like life itself,there's many points to analyse what went well and whatcould have been better. In Paris this year I set off with the 4hr pace group - a bit foolhardy I thought as pb is 4:17, but persuaded by my daughter- I managed to stay with the grouptell into second half. Last 2-3miles tough ( hey it's a marathon) but with some good banter with a SAfrican &Irish in last 2 miles delighted with a 4:18. Of course disappointed with the lost minute .
Happy tapering , don't do anything rash, enjoy the excitement building.
Heather & LordB - as others have said race pace is usually a bit better than training so follow the pace group of your goal IF you've run some at that pace, chat with the pace group and pacers for support and for planning the 2nd half. First half is largely flatter than 2nd, so we'll all need a bit of thought re 2nd half. As pacers we discussed yesterday that we may bag a few seconds only in first half to allow fothose slowing on Farndon hill, and sandy lane- but otherwise we'll be keeping to pace.
Having run all the marathons run on this route - I do think it's a great test in 2nd half