Workouts: On the training blog
Last Saturday I had a pretty exciting opportunity to pace the Riverton Half Marathon. I had been looking forward to this event for quite awhile and knew that it was going to be a very neat experience.
I met up with the pace group Saturday morning and we jogged a 3 mile warm up. We chatted about our plans for the race, the hurricane type winds, and our projected paces.
I was team pacing the 1:50 group (8:23 pace) with experienced Pacer and friend Skip. I knew that I was in good hands and all I had to do was make sure Skip didn't get going to fast. ;) We plugged along the first 3 miles and finished mile 3 about 50 seconds ahead of pace. We had talked about banking a little bit of time in the first few miles to account for the aid station stops and headwind we knew we would get through miles 5-10. Both Skip and I had ran the course previously and I found this to be incredibly helpful with gaging pace and coaching the runners on what was coming.
We had a great group of 10-12 runners sticking with us and I was absolutely loving getting to know them and hearing they're individual running stories. Every runner has a story and I absolutely love that! There were two best friend in our group who had trained together for the race and were both shooting for PR's. I continually assured them that they were breathing awesome, and if they stuck with us today was going to be their day. The vibe in our group was awesome and it was exhilarating to watch everyone working together to achieve a goal. I was in runners heaven.
Around mile 7 the headwind became increasingly bad and that combined with the toughest hill of the course caused us to lose the majority of our group. Skip and I kept gliding along at our pace and turning around to encourage the group whenever we could. At each of the final aid stations we would stop for as long as we could to try and encourage the runners that had fallen behind. I told Skip I just wanted to run back to them and help them but he reminded me that we had a job to do and that was to stay on pace no matter what.
During the last 3 miles of the race we were able to pick up some new runners and encourage them and push them to keep with us until the finish. This was definitely a tough race with the heat, wind, and hills all being major elements but it was exciting to see so many people pushing so hard and accomplishing goals.
And then we finished right on pace. Official time 1:49:55.6.
After the race I waited for a lot of our original group and all of them came in within minutes of 1:50. I was so happy to see that they had stayed so strong and still crushed they're PR's.
Overall pacing was such an amazing experience and I look forward to pacing many more races this year. Pacing definitely gives you an entirely new perspective about racing and nothing can really compare to the feeling of playing a role in helping someone achieve a goal. My favorite thing about pacing is that the race isn't about me at all. Rather it is about those people I am coaching to the finish line. Sometimes in running it is easy to become selfish and constantly obsess about how you are feeling, what your doing right, what your doing wrong, ect. But when you pace your focus is completely shifted onto those people you feel responsible for and you completely forget about yourself. Love that!