route I'd chosen is not quite 18 miles, but close enough. It's a course that I've run many times, parts of it or in the other direction. I picked it because it's a single loop with some rolling hills. Also chose to run it the opposite direction to get the biggest hill out of the way in the first 3 miles. That still left a couple of rollers at the end, but that's part of the training.
Started out slow and checked the Timex Ironman at roughly where the first mile on the Garmin usually beeps. It was slow. No biggie. I wanted to ease into my run slowly and have something left for a fast finish. The last few long runs have been to quick at the beginning and no gas at the end. Great morning for a long run, low 40's grey morning. Head wind for the first several miles and it took my hands about 4 miles to warm up. I ended up hitting the lap button 4 times for reference so I could at least see if my fast finish was successful. Near as I can figure, it was right at marathon pace for the last 7 miles.
In the end, no Garmin didn't really change my workout. I started slow, picked it up in the middle and pushed steadily home for a fast finish. It would have been nice to know what my pace was on those miles, but I'm ok with knowing the energy level was there to push those final miles home and even up the couple of rolling hills on the way back. The overall pace isn't where I've been in the past, but it's starting to come back. Just run baby!