We are not going to talk about my curious absence from blogging this past month. I just haven’t had enough time on my hands. There is a ton to recap about each of the individual races I paced last weekend in Asheville, but I just don’t have the time right now to do a recap justice. I guess we’ll settle for snippets, and results…..
Btw…I am still trying to gather pictures from the event, which I have to search for and grab/copy before my long recap posts. But, isn’t this an awesome picture of the Biltmore Estate from a cool spot on the race course?
I had an awesome weekend in Asheville participating in the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge. What is that, you ask? Well, this year the race doubled down, and held the events on two consecutive days. The Half Marathon on Saturday, and the Full Marathon on Sunday. I ran both! I paced both!
This weekend was all about having fun, and running my heart out. Giving back to my fellow runners by pacing them to a specific time goal. For the Half, I paced the 2:00:00 finish group. A very popular group, containing all of those runners out there trying to get the sub 2. The weather was perfect, maybe just a tad on the warm side, but me and my pacing partner Louis brought those runners in at 1:59:23. Just under the mark!
I then refueled, and spent five hours working an expo table for the marathon the following day. All the while chatting up marathon runners, taking gulps of Gatorade along the way. Yes, I had a chair, which I requested! After having run the Half, and having another 26.2 miles the following day, I needed to be off my feet.
Marathon Sunday came so very quickly. Back at it, I felt good. I was pacing the 4:00:00 group for the marathon, and the weather? Not so good. It started raining about 20 minutes before the race began, and would rain intermittently for the entire race. I don’t often run in the rain so it was an interesting twist. Pace the hills for 26.2 miles, in the rain, and mud. All after having run a Half the day before. I felt good though, and knew I could manage it. About 10 miles into the race, my pacing partner Andrea fell off the pace. Now alone on dirt and rock trails, I had to dig in. Climbing, climbing, the often washed over mile 11-12 was grueling. I maintained pace somehow without a helper, and in the quiet. Runners around me, but no one with me. I carried on…..
Mile 12 is when she appeared. A 23 year old medical student from Iowa. Payton was her name, and she was my angel. She sidled up to my left side, and said, “I want to break 4:00:00 today, so I am going to run with you to the end!” I desparately needed the company, so welcomed her with open arms. We traversed the difficult trails on the backside of the Biltmore Estate through the vineyards, past historic barns, up and down, through the rain, the mud and muck. Payton kept me honest. We both almost fell a few times due to slick muddy spots, but I kept on pace. On pace! 13, 14, 15, the miles we left behind….
We stayed together up to mile 23 when she began to fade just a bit. I willed her to keep up, She just couldn’t. She silently started lagging further and further behind me. I had to keep going however. I had a schedule to keep. I had a date with the finish line and would carry whoever I could to cross with me or in front of me. The rain ebbed and flowed, but my shoes kept moving forward. 3:59:32 was my magic number on the day. Made it perfectly to the end, urging runners to beat the clock. It was a magically wet marathon, one I will remember forever. I absolutely loved it. Both days!
39.3 miles, two epic days at the Biltmore. Two spot on pacing days, to boot. One day sunny, one day rainy. Perfect! More details and pictures to come, including why I love pacing, and more on Payton. :). Happy running!