Friday, October 25, 2013

Pacing isn't for Sissies

A few weeks ago I ran my annual "get your ass back in shape" half marathon.  The race where I realize that I didn't keep up my training as much as I thought I had over the summer.

Last year the Showdown was the race that changed my life.  It's where I met one of my best running friends...which led to my current status as a run coach.

The race it self was a beast; it was hot, hilly, and I was in horrible shape.  But I loved the big burnt orange medal, the personalized bibs, and  mostly, I love the race director, so I vowed to not only run it again this year, but give back, by being a pacer.   I was selected to pace the 2:45 group and was excited.

I knew that pacing was going to be tricky.  I'm an erratic runner.  While some of my friends can "set it and forget it" my pace is all over the place.  In a 6 mile stretch, I can go anywhere from an 8:30 mm to a 12:30 mm.  In an effort to improve, I'd been working on a much steadier pace throughout late summer/early fall.  To really practice, I did my 10 mile long run on the treadmill, at a 12:33 pace so that I could really learn what that 2:45 half was supposed to feel like.  It was a struggle, since my "natural pace" is a bit faster.   I thought that would just make race day easier.  (I was wrong). 

This year's race wasn't any better weather-wise.  It was hot, the ozone was horrible.  The course was challenging, and everyone who had started out in my pace group dropped off by mile 8.  I chugged along, and as much as I wanted to quit, I couldn't because I was a pacer.  And pacers aren't allowed to be sissies.

I think the way I was feeling from mile 8 to mile 13.1 is pretty accurately depicted in *the best race photo ever*