When I think about all of the things that had to happen for me to end up being a pacer for a marathon, it kind of blows my mind! Through the little races here and there, seeing my friend Tammy several times at different races, joining the RunningAddicts (through Tammy’s suggestion), getting the opportunities to volunteer and pace at races… it has certainly been an interesting 5 years since I picked up running!
I was given the opportunity to pace the Morgan Hill Marathon for a second time this past Sunday with the RunningAddicts (photo creds go to Amy and Albert):
I was pacing the 4:10 group with my co-pacer Adam (who is a GREAT pacer and racer):
The race started at 7am, and we had a pretty big group of people with us for the first half of the race:
This race is very well organized and all of the aid stations are well-stocked with fluids and cheering volunteers! Adam and I decided to trade the pacing stick at every aid station (about two miles apart).
As a pacer, it is very important to discuss pacing strategy with the racers and to stick with it. We planned to jog through the aid stations, and keep an even effort overall, since this race is hilly!
They are just nice rollers for the most part until around mile 15 with a big climb and a huge drop.
That is around the part when we lost some of our group, but there were a couple of guys who stuck around near us.
As a racer, you just move forward, but as a pacer, we have to really plan according to the mile markers. Though we got a tiny bit tripped up by the distances between certain mile markers (one was missing, a couple were super far from each other and the last one was super close), we just had to adjust the pace as best as we could and go with it (luckily, it was only like this near the end, and we had been consistently around 30 seconds ahead of pace for the whole race and not too far off from the pace goal. We decided that we definitely didn’t want to be over 45 seconds ahead because that’s too fast).
Anyways, there was one racer (pictured above in the sky blue shirt) who stuck with us the whole race until mile 23 and then he said he was still feeling okay, so we happily sent him off and told him he had better stay ahead of us (he came in a minute or two before us and PR’d!). All we could ask for is for at least ONE racer to have that kind of race… to stick with us for the first 20-23 miles and then take off and PR!
^[That is some intense heel-striking on my part! Whoops!]
Adam and I came in about 30 seconds under our pace goal (which we were happy with). Official time: 4:09:31
Here is Garret (or Derek?) who PR’d and kept us company for almost the whole race!
Here is our other racer who was with us until about mile 22:
I then turned around and started walking back up the course. I needed to find Amy T. from Fitnessmeetsfrosting, who was running her FIRST full marathon!
AND THERE SHE WAS, smiling and not hating me (I told her at some point, she may hate me for talking encouraged her to run a full marathon, hahaha)
Amy T. was doing GREAT! She didn’t need to walk for the entire last mile and she totally kept it strong (even though when I saw her around mile 19.5, she said, “I’m dying!”). I didn’t wanted to say too many things… I just stayed by her side, and a tiny bit ahead to kind of push the pace.
She finished strong with an incredible kick at the end, and I got chills and butterflies watching her finish her first full marathon! (Love this photo taken by Amy’s mom):
I was SO incredibly happy for her accomplishment. We had a lot of conversations on our long training runs, and she had so many doubts, but I knew that if anyone could run a marathon with such a short amount of training, it was Amy 🙂
And here is a beautiful moment when she went into the arms of her boyfriend:
Oh! Her parents were also there to support her along the course!
What an incredible day and a beautiful morning for a race!
Amy D. and I went all the way out to Santa Cruz after to catch the last few hours of the Surf City long course triathlon! Linh had finished before we got there (he swam-biked-ran too fast!):
And we got to see Eric come in!
These guys also started their race at 7am, but they were still racing even after we had finished our pacing duties, haha:
Amy D. and I stayed until the last racer came in, volunteering with another girl from my school (Katie):
Oh, yeah. I was asked to be in a little clip for a video they were making for the triathlon. I was so embarrassed about acting and I kept cracking up at the end of it when I didn’t know what else I was supposed to say:
^I apparently laugh with my whole body, haha.
I didn’t want to see it but he had me watch the little clip and I got so embarrassed… I really didn’t want to see myself on film.
[Thanks, Amy D., for capturing these candid moments!].
Loved every bit of Sunday!
How good are your acting skills? [Mine, in this case, was super awkward, hahaha]
What were the weather conditions for your last race? [Morgan Hill Marathon was sunny and cool (low 60’s at the end) with some wind from mile 20 to 23]
Tell me something you did on Sunday!