I’m a Half Marathon Pacer!!!

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I received some great news yesterday afternoon!  I volunteered for, and was chosen to be a pacer in the Half Marathon I’m running in this weekend.  This throws such an interesting curveball into my race plan, but I couldn’t be happier about it.  So many reasons come to mind…..

First off, I have been wanting to volunteer at a race for quite some time now, but haven’t.  Reason being, I work most weekends, and don’t get a lot of time off.  Normally, if I request a day off at work, or take a vacation day, it is to actually run a race, not volunteer at one.  Being a pacer allows me to run the race, but also “give back” to the race, and to other runners.  Why didn’t I think of this before now?  Well, I guess being a pacer requires some confidence, and being a fairly new competitive runner (three years now), I didn’t have a lot of confidence that I could go the distance as required, and be held accountable, if you will, to a given pace.  I really have the confidence now, so why not give back, and help others.

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I have been chosen to be the Pacer for the 8 minute per mile group at the Bull City Race Fest Half!  Yes, this means coming in at just under 1:45:00 finish time.  This I can do, and feel confident about.  I have now run 17 Half Marathons, and my average pace is well below that.  Yes, I have run in races where I actually tried to run with pacers to better my time, and sometimes it has worked and other times it has not.  I have been on a course and caught up to and passed pacers that I was trying to beat, and other times, sadly, I have been overtaken by a pacer late in a race.  This all changes this Sunday on race day.  I am the pacer!

Secondly, I have to run a race now that is different from how I normally race.  I have to pace myself from beginning to end, at the same pace.  This I look at as a challenge, and have been wanting to do for quite some time now.  I have tried this in training, and have been very successful, but never at a race.  This will be my challenge, and I look forward to it.  I am usually the runner that goes out quite fast, and gently, over the mid section of a race, finds a slower, more balanced pace for me, and then finishes strong.  On Sunday, I have to start out at goal pace! and maintain it.  This is very important, as I will have runners of different abilities trying to stay with me, so going out at a 7 minute pace or faster is not an option this time.

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Thirdly, there is the whole camaraderie aspect.  This will be the first race where I will be the one doing the guiding, the leading, the pacing.  Others will be looking to me for support.  I am not used to this, but have to do my best.  I am not usually a talker while I race.  The occasional “thank you” to aid station volunteers, or the timely shout outs like “looking good” or ” keep it up”, to other runners near me during a race, is about my norm.  I am not shy, but I just don’t talk a whole lot, or strike up conversations with random runners during a race.  I will have to be more vocal this time.

I look forward to this Sunday, being a pacer.  Now, I may love it, and I may hate it and never do it again.  Time will tell.  I just know that this is a great way to give back, and support the race and other runners.  I will certainly report back with how this all plays out this weekend.  I’ve taken on a new challenge, let’s see how this goes.

Question for you….  Have you ever been a pacer for a race?  If so, how did it go, and what did you think of it?  Any advice for me this weekend?

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10 thoughts on “I’m a Half Marathon Pacer!!!

  1. I haven’t been a pacer, but I’ve run next to them at times. In a race last year the pacer was shouting suggestions like when to take Gu, etc. So you’re right about being more vocal. He also wore a Lucha Libre mask, I’m not sure if that is a requirement or not.

  2. Pingback: Pace Leader- and loving every moment! | Running Wild

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