Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hobbler Half Marathon-Pacing the 2:20

Race #22 of 2013
I once again got the opportunity to pace another race.  This would be my fifth time to do so.  I'm happy to do this but will admit there is a little bit of pressure involved in taking all those around you, with a specific goal in mind, to the finish line.  Honestly though, what usually happens is people may have that certain goal in mind and are able to hang around for awhile with me but then I usually lose them later on in the race. Either they set their goal a little too high and can't keep up, or they find they were faster than when they started and they were able to move on ahead.  It's a rare thing to actually have someone run with me the entire race from start to finish.  I can think of two people and one of them is my good friend Josh (whom I actually pushed on at the end to urge him to get in faster than me since I was a little early) and one other person at the Salt Lake City Half Marathon.  Anyway, the opportunity is fun and most people are kind and grateful that we are out there.  Some people hate to see me, (as I pass them) and I just smile and tell them they are doing a good job and keep it up.  Yesterday, at the Hobbler Half Marathon one girl was very vocal and said "Ugh.....I hate seeing those people in yellow shirts!" as I passed her.  I slowed down a little bit and told her to hurry on past me.  I think that made her a little bit happy.  I eventually had to pass her again.  I just had to continue on doing my job.
Backing up to before the race, I got up super early, 3:40 am.  I had to get down to Springville for packet pick-up and to board the buses.  We got up to the starting line and I met up with the other pacers to get my sign I would be carrying with me for the next 13.1 miles.  The morning was very humid, quite different from any race I've ever experienced before.  I usually have to wear a jacket up in the cool canyons and then put in a drop bag, but not today. It was warm and moist out there.  By mile 2 into the race I was feeling like I had stepped out of the shower. This was a completely new experience for me.

The course was beautiful, the weather humid, and the people around me friendly.  I had a number of women running with me and so I introduced myself and we struck up some conversations.  It's fun to chat while you're running to take your mind off the task at hand.  Although, I did need to make sure I was staying on target.  Around mile 6 I needed a potty break and just handed off the sign to one of these cute ladies and told them I would catch up in a little bit.  They were a little nervous to have the responsibility but they did great by the time I saw them again at mile 7.5.  They had kept the pace perfectly.  Around mile 9 I started losing them.  It was getting really warm and they were needing to walk.  I had to keep going though and hoped to see them again.  But sadly, I didn't.  Nearing the end I noticed as I passed a guy that he sped up to try and keep up with me.  We chatted for a little bit and he said this was his first half marathon.  He stayed with me for a little while and even sped on ahead.

As I was nearing the finish line I knew my time was going to be so close.  I tried to speed up so as to be in a tiny bit early.  Up to this point in pacing the different races I have come in slightly under goal, which is exactly what we are supposed to try and do.  The weather was just warm and I was feeling fatigued.  As I got to mile 13 it was exactly 2:19:00 on my watch. I knew I had .10 left to run and 1 minute to do it.  No problem.  I turned a corner to head into the finish line area only to discover there was still quite a distance left to cover.  I started to really book it.   The course ended up being slightly long and I came in at 2:20:18. Yikes!  18 seconds past goal time! That's the first time this happened and I became a little bit nervous that I was going to be fired.  As I came into the finish line area and got my medal and my timing chip removed from my shoe, I grabbed some water, an orange, and a creamie and headed over to find the other pacers. I was quickly relieved to find out that almost everyone of them had done the same thing.  Most all of them had come in almost 20-30 seconds late. Whew!  Maybe I wouldn't get fired after all. It's a little tricky when the course ends up being a little long.    
There were some fun things going on after the race.  A lot of activities for the kids and delicious french toast was provided by Magelby's. Nice big snow cones were a fabulous treat too.  It was just nice to sit in the grass and visit the other pacers and reflect on another half marathon in the books.


Amy @ Run Mom Run said...

I laughed at the "moisture". I haven't heard anyone pray for "moisture" since I moved from Utah. We have humidity, rain and even mist here, but no moisture. ;)

I bet you are a dream pacer. Happy, consistent and personable. They would never want to get rid of you! If I ever run a race you're pacing I'll have to run with you from start to finish just to enjoy your company!

Doran & Jody said...

Awesome!! As soon as I get some wheels for my foot you can pace me!!

Renee said...

This is so fun! I wondered what race you were running that day. I'm sure I've seen you pacing before... Did you pace vigor half this year?