Race #9 of 2013
A local guy by the name of Jonathon Crampton, who is head of the Utah Race Pacers, asked me to pace the 2:20 group for the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 20th. Of course I jumped at the opportunity but secretly, I was scared to death. I've never paced before but have wanted to. Having a free race entry is a pretty awesome perk I'd say. Salt Lake Half Marathon is a pretty big deal and an expensive race and I had decided not to sign up for it. So when this opportunity was handed to me I decided to give it a try. Adidas is one of the sponsors for this big race and all of us pacers got free shoes to run in, so that was a huge perk as well.
Well, back up a couple weeks earlier to today! I was asked only a short time ago if I would jump in and pace the Winter Strider's Half Marathon up in Ogden Canyon, above Eden, Utah. I knew instantly I wanted to because the head of this pace group, Walter Brown, said I could have a companion helping me. My friend Hollie said she would love to do this with me and I was ready for a so-called "practice run" at this pacing before the "big deal" at Salt Lake. Me and Hollie would be pacing the 2:30 group which is basically an 11:26 minute pace.
I set the alarm for 3:55 am. Yes, that is not a misprint. Eden Utah is kind of far away. I got dressed and ate a bagel and some banana and peanut butter and got out the door by 4:30 am. I was picking up Hollie and Josh in Bountiful and then heading up to Eden. I needed to be there by 6:15 am and we made it with time to spare.
We met a few of the other pacers and got our bibs pinned on and our singlets put on over our shirts. It's still pretty cold in the mornings, especially up in the mountains so I dressed warmly. These early Springtime races are a little hard to guess how cold it's going to be when running. I was brave and ditched my gloves and coat at the starting line and had no regrets.
Cory Reese, minus the jumping. Big eyes and thumbs in the air, it was Hollie's idea, promise.
Having somebody run by your side for an entire 13.1 miles was simply awesome. We chatted with others around us as well but oftentimes it was just her and I. Josh hung with us until about mile 6 and then he said he tapered off to go flirt with somebody. Go Josh!
The miles seemed to fly by and next thing we realized is we were coming into the finish line and it was over. This seriously seemed like the fastest half marathon I've ever run. It's amazing what some good conversation and good company will do for a run. The weather was cool but gorgeous. The scenery was peaceful and beautiful. We passed horses, sometimes running too. We passed a couple of ponds with big reeds and frogs croaking like crazy. I told Hollie that was something I never hear where I live.
We were told that we should try to come into the finish line no more than 30 seconds ahead or behind. We were so proud to be there only 15 seconds early. I think we passed the test and now I feel somewhat relieved and a little more ready to pace the Salt Lake Half Marathon in 2 weeks.