"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

-Henry David Thoreau

Monday, May 18, 2015

Pacing a Half Marathon

Last year I thought it would be cool to become a pacer at races. I never did much about it besides look into what it took (pretty much nothing besides contacting the pacing group). Finally, at the Dogtown Half, I made a point to talk to the guy I followed on Instagram that was the owner of American Flyers Race Pacers. He explained how it worked and got my email to send me the race list and sign up sheet. I watched for months. The list fills up really fast once it was opened, so I couldn't ever seem to get on a race. They needed someone last minute for a small race called West Mountain Marathon and I offered to do it. It was for the half marathon at the 2:10 pace. It was a little slow for me, as most of my halfs are in the 1:40s, but I figured it would be good not to have too much pressure for my first time.

I got to the race a bit early and got to chat with the other pacers and get all ready. They were really friendly and I liked the environment. We were talking about being alone for part of the race since it was so small. I liked that for my first one, even though I didn't have much worry that I could get the time.

We started off and I had a group of about six or so people around me. I talked with one guy for about three miles. There was a small hill and most of the people fell behind. I was alone for a few miles, but every time I would pass or see someone I would encourage them and say good job. It was actually really hard for me to hold back on my pace. It seemed that my legs never really fired off like they would if I went a little faster, so it made them feel heavy and made the race feel harder in a way. It was also hillier than I anticipated, thought that was good since it was a training run for Ironman St. George. It was an out and back course so I was able to see a lot of people and cheer them on around the halfway point. On the way back, I was sticking around a group of five or so women. We all would pass each other back and forth. I was doing really good at sticking to the paces on my pace band. I got to talk with one lady for a few miles and we talked about pacing and our favorite races. The last three miles there were only a few people around me. One lady talked to me for a bit and I ended up leaving her behind a little. As we were going down the last two miles, she was only a little ways behind me so I tried to stay in her sight. This is where I was a little worried about hitting the right time. I looked right on, but I didn't want to make a mistake. The company wants you to be within thirty seconds of your pace, so I didn't want to be too fast or too slow.

That lady caught up to me and we pushed it to the finish. I knew we were right inside 2:10, so I kept the same pace and ran through the finish line with her ahead of me. 2:09:15. I was a few seconds too fast, but in the circumstance with running in with that lady and no one even close behind me, plus it was such a small race, I decided that was pretty good for my first time.

I ran a few more miles with another pacer, and then booked it home so that Zach could head out prairie dog hunting. It was a great time and I look forward to pacing again.

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