Well, the race is over, and I will recap it in its entirety tomorrow. Today though, I just had to post about just how much fun I had today. If you read my blog regularly, you know I took on the challenge of being a pace leader today for the first time. I was not sure how it would go, but I absolutely loved every minute of it!
It felt so good to be running a race, as it always does, but today was extra special. Today I ran for others instead of myself. Since I had not run this race before, I didn’t know the route, or the challenge it would bring. I purposely chose the 8:00 mpm pace group to lead because of this. I felt confident, based on past races, and my average Half Marathon finish times, that I would be able to hit that mark without a problem. This meant that I would be taking this race at a slower pace than I usually run. It also meant that I would have to remains steady, and even paced throughout.
Turns out the race was quite a rolling course. Full of fairly decent sized hills. But what goes up, must always come back down. I managed to start with a pace in the first mile right at 8 minutes, and slowly, but surely shaved a second or two off (just in case), as the miles ticked by. Talking with the group, cheering them on, giving words of encouragement was different, but something I really enjoyed. Again, I was running this race for them, and wanted them to do well. They were all strangers at the start, but felt like I got to know each of them just a bit.
Having a big group of people just behind me was very unusual. Normally this would annoy me, and I would try to break free, and increase my pace to get away from the herd. Today was different. I knew that I was leading them, they were supposed to be on my heels. For this reason, I was ok with it.
As the miles wore on, the group often drifted apart. Some would run further up, others would fall back. Some eventually were lost for good. There were true runners out there, all running for different reasons. All running with me to reach a new goal. Without bantering on and on about it, the day was a success.
As the final mile approached, I encouraged each and every one of them to run past me, to really finish strong. Normally at this point of the race, I would be doing everything possible to increase my pace, and pass as many runners as possible on my way to the tape. Today was all about cheering them on though. It was tough to let others pass me. It’s my competitive nature that wanted to come through. I held it back though, and pushed my group to the finish.
I am both happy and proud to announce that they were all thrilled with their finishes. They all made the mark, they beat the 1:45:00 finish time I was pacing them for. Even I came in at 1:44:08, a pace of 7:57. Not bad for a first time pace leader.
We all took home a great medal for our efforts.
As for my first pacing experience? I loved it! I will do it again, probably many, many times. It felt really good to be out there volunteering my experience as a runner, and helping others achieve their goals. It felt awesome, actually! Many folks from the group thanked me profusely after the finish, which really made me feel good. It’s a great thing to give back to the running community, and I encourage all of you to volunteer in some way at a race. Without volunteers, racing wouldn’t happen. I sure enjoyed myself today.
- I’m a Half Marathon Pacer!!! (plaviska1970.wordpress.com)