Monday, October 14, 2013

2013 Middle Half Marathon 1:45 Pacer report

The weeks before the Middle Half I debated on what I was going to do on race morning. I hadn’t registered for the race. Most of the guys I run with were registered, and the two brothers that I was most competitive with were registered as well.

Brother number one was hindered by orders from his doctor on the pace he could run. Brother number two was capable of running better than my half marathon PR pace. I needed to run 18 miles because I’m in marathon training mode. What to do? Didn’t want to go out to fast with brother number two. Didn’t want to pull brother number one out past the pace he was supposed to run. I always go out to fast in my races and fade in the final miles. Didn't want to stand by and spectate.

Actually had that thought process in my mind finishing up my run on a Saturday before the race. Saw Miles running on the greenway and turned around and discussed the possibilities of being a pacer for the Middle Half. Boom problem solved. I got in the race and hopefully helped some folks reach their goals.

This was my third time to pace a half marathon at this pace. I was more worried this time about the first mile. My ankle and feet are really cranky/stiff and slow to loosen up. I practiced pace all week, but always took at least a mile at around 9:00/10:00 pace to get going. I ran the course the week before as part of a 18 miler and the last few miles didn't go as wanted. Really didn't think a mile or so of warmup was a good idea. It'd be awful ugly for the pacer to crash in the last couple of miles.

Should have known race day magic would make all of that go away. Standing in the corral before the start I was really nervous. Had the GPS watch and a timex watch, just in case. Carried a gel in case I needed it in the final miles. I printed out a band with the locations of water stops. The pace sign wasn't a concern, it's actually lighter than the water I usually carry on long runs.

I'm not much of a cheer leader kind of guy. I explained my job was to keep everyone from going out to fast. Try and think of the race in three sections. The first four miles up to Oakland Mansion should feel really easy. Holding back the pace. The next four miles would be more work to stay on pace up until mile eight. About the point where we would make the left turn on to Rutherford Boulevard. Mile eight is where you see where you where, evaluate start a push to maintain or surge. Mile 9 you get to see who is ahead of you and try to reel them in.

1 7:58
2 7:57
3 7:59
4 7:58
5 8:01
6 7:57
7 8:00
8 8:00
9 7:57
10 7:57
11 8:01
12 8:01
13 7:58

Saw my wife and son number one on the rail coming down the track to the finish. She had to shout or I wouldn't have seen them. Clock said 1:45:08 when I went under it. Official chip time 1:45:04.

My wife made the comment about where all of the people I was pacing. I don't know. Big group all of the way up through mile 8. I remember looking back a couple of times and thinking that I was like a roadblock with the big group that was behind me. But, typically in the half marathon mile 8 is where everyone starts stringing out. Everyone gets really quiet the rest of the way home as well. Some pushed ahead and went quicker, some must have started dropping off. Did have several people thank me afterwards for helping them set their goals. That makes it all worthwhile. Great day for a race. The Tate family continues to put on a premier race year over year.


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