Monday, February 02, 2009

Pacing 3:30 Surf City Marathon Runners

I was feeling a bit anxious as this was my first attempt at pacing. This time it was not about me; it was about those runners who wanted to tag along and run 3:30 or as close to it as possible.

My ride had Frank (a team member who was carpooling and who was pacing the 4:10 group) and I a bit nervous as the cars did not seem to move and it was already 6:30. We were a little less than a mile from the start. Marathon was to start at 6:50. I asked Frank if we should start jogging to the start and he said yes. On our way there we had to make a pit stop. We left that pit stop with about three minutes to go. We could hear the Anthem being sung. As we approached the start, we hear that the wheelchairs are given the green light. I wish Frank good luck and I head to meet the other 3:30 pacer... with only 30 seconds to spare.

Right away the pace felt surprisingly easy. I tried to maintain an 8 mpm pace. At 10 miles I was a bit ahead with 24 seconds banked. At twelve my feet started feeling tired (wore shoes w/ 250 miles on them) and my left knee was bugging me. At this point I was about 10 seconds behind the other 330 pacer. Then at 13, this kid tells me that he intends to run with me for the rest of the race. He was a god-sent savior as my mind was beginning to struggle (I have only ran longish once since the NYCM - 17 miles at 8:24 pace). Travis and I hit 20 miles in 2:39.43 or 17 seconds ahead of the intended pace.

I just stayed with him and finally around mile 21 I was given a zip-lock with orange wedges that did the trick. I felt renewed. I had taken three hammer gels at 5, 12 and 18.5. So nutrition-wise I was fine. Maybe the high humidity in the first half dehydrated me too much.

In the latter miles, the other pacer and I encouraged two runners to pick it up as they looked strong. We ended up finishing in 3:29:54. Not too bad says I.

It felt really good to have been able to "help" two runners achieve PRs and to encourage Travis as he was fading at the end. Would do it again in a heartbeat. One negative was the misplacement of mile markers. They threw me off a couple of times, but was able to adjust.

I must note that running a marathon is so much easier on the mind as on the body; racing is tough, really tough.

Temps were cool and foggy during the first twelve miles and they warmed up a bit after 13. 50F/82% at 6:50, and 60F/53% at 10:20.


Arcane said...

Congratulations on the great pacing duties! Great job!

yumke said...

That's some spot-on pacing! Great job, I don't think I could ever do that :)

Quinto Sol said...

One interesting fact was how large the group was at the start and how small it ended. There were a couple of runners who would fall behind for X reason and would literally sprint to catch up to the lead pacer, not knowing how much they were going to pay for those quick sprints.

As for my clubmate Frank, he really messed his group up... he was ahead almost nine minutes by 14 miles!!!

261 to 26.2 said...

Had a blast being the "other" pacer with you! We nailed it, huh? :)