|Some days call for the real stuff...|
Saturday was the Country Music Half Marathon, and I ran it as a pacer. I had to carry that sign you see in the picture above for the time on it, with the goal of crossing the finish line at that time. Although carrying the sign was part of the job, the main part was motivating and pacing anyone with me (or seeing me) to finish in their goal time. I had really been looking forward to this for the last couple months. I'd been training for this time and, if I succeeded, not only would I be able to help other achieve their goals, I'd achieve mine also. My half marathon PR before Saturday was (officially) 1:49:19 (Tom King Half, March 14, 2009) or (unofficially) 1:48:30 (training run, September 25, 2010). Any my most recent Half Marathon race was
|All the Nashville Striders pacers|
My goal for Saturday's race was, obviously, 1:45:00. That breaks out to 8-minute miles, so that's what I trained for. It would also be a 3.5-minute PR, so that's what I was aiming for. I ran two training runs on the course over the last couple weeks, and I studied the couple miles I didn't run so that I would feel comfortable with the turns, hills, etc. In addition, I (unknowingly) trained with a crowd: The first time I ran the first 9 miles, I started downtown while all the fans for the NCAA Women's final-four or final game were downtown. Talk about crowds! Then I missed a turn and didn't quite get miles 9-10 quite right.
|It's obvious who took this photo, right?|
The second time I ran the first 10.5 miles, I started downtown while a Bruce Springsteen concert was happening and the pre-show fans were all around. The crowds weren't as bad, but people just were not paying attention and all over the sidewalks. On the plus side, I got all of those miles correct.
Neither run was at race pace, but I was still pretty confident I could perform when it mattered. For Saturday, I kept 9 of the first 10 miles just at or just below 8-minute miles. I wanted to leave time for slowing at aid stations, and I wanted to finish on time. That odd mile out (Mile 7, 8:19), was completely uphill and I purposely slowed there as well. The other miles were anywhere between 7:30 and 8:04). Miles 11 and 12 where a whole other story. My pace faded quite a bit, and I knew that I was falling off the pace given the location of the mile markers. Those miles were 8:47 and 8:52. At this point, I had a few people asking me whether I was still on pace (because I was holding a sign that said 1:45). I said I was close but a little slow. But, there was another 1:45 pacer who was about a minute up the road; to everyone who asked me whether I was on pace, I recommended that they not let me hold them back, noting the other pacer up the road and encouraging them to catch (or at least work to catch) her.
I was using my Garmin to pace (plus I had a bracelet telling me what all the mile splits should be), and according to my Garmin, I hit 13.1 at 1:45:02...however, the course according to my Garmin was 13.35 miles -- a quarter mile long. When I crossed the line at 1:47:02, I knew I hadn't reached my goal but was still thrilled. My overall pace according to my Garmin was 8:01 minutes per mile. I stood in the finish area for a few minutes looking for faces of people who had been around me during the race or with me before, but I didn't see many. That encouraged me, and I figured they'd finished just before me and at their goal time.
A few people came up to me afterward asking about my pace and finish time and saying thank you, so evidently more people were with me (or using me) than I'd noticed. In fact, one guy (Drew) had been running right next to me for nearly 10K and I didn't notice that until I tried to move to the opposite side of the road and moved right in to him. We exchanged words a few times, but I was so focused on maintaining the pace that I couldn't really have a real conversation.
If I had to do it again (or volunteered; I'd do it again), I'd either pace a 2-hour crew or I'd know I could run a 1:30 and still pace the 1:45 crew. The only thing I felt was lacking was my ability to compensate for the long course. I was able to pace the pace I'd trained at, but I wasn't able to run (or maintain) a pace slightly faster.
Overall, though, it was a blast. Post-race, I changed, iced my shoulder (turns out holding a sign is hard work!), and sat around with the other pacers for a while, chatting and listening to the live music and then race-winner announcements. Then it was home to put my feet up!
Official results are here (hopefully they stay at this link, but I never know).
Half Marathon: 1:47:02 (10K: 48:59; 10mi: 1:19:24; pace: 8:10/mile)
Age Group: 70/2,124; Gender: 313/12,509; Overall: 1,099/19,149
|And of course, a grocery trip this weekend. Because |
everyone needs to eat!
Publix Trip (4-27)
|Regular Price |
|Eat Smart |
|5 x $2/2 MQs||$2.95|
|Almond milk (2)||3.00|
|2 x $1/1 PQs||$3.00|
|Bananas (1.89 lb)||0.59/lb|
|2 x $1/1 MQs||$7.98|
|Old Wisc. snack|
|Totals: 24 items||$76.43||$53.13||$12.60 in MQs|
$2.00 in PQs
$0.50 in CQ