Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pacing TRM 1/2

About a week or two before TRM, Charles mentioned he needs more alternate pacer for the 2:20 and 2:30 groups. It doesn't hurt to help a friend by tossing my name in the hat, I figure the probability of needing to do anything more than than is minimal.

A few days before the race I get an email about logistics and what time I need to be at the race morning. Ok, so I was a bit off on this, didn't realize alternates actually have to be at the race and waiting to see if needed. Oh well. Time to set the alarm to 4:15am. I print out the mile splits for both 2:20 and 2:30 finish on an index card and ready to go.

Sunday morning at the NCRC pacing tent. Other pacers are there mingling and I said hi to several people I already knew including Ken, Gary, Daniel, and Charles. Also met Mike finally after been friends on facebook with him. Charles told me if I'm not needed then I can do whatever I want, including running the race or running with a pace group. After a few minutes I see both the 2:20 and 2:30 pacers there with their signs and ballons ready to go. I breath a sign of relieve. I figured it wasn't gonna be easy to held a very consistent pace that I have seen pace groups do over 13 miles. I did read Jonathan's article on marathon pacing and how he mentioned it would be a terrible service to run the paces all over the place and screw the people trying to follow you while running at their very limits.

About 30 minutes before the race, someone jams the 2:10 sign and balloons into my hands. I figured he must need to use the porta potti or something, but instead he said "you have the 2:10". What???

Betsy, the pacer for 2:10 is a no show. I wasn't ready for 2:10. I don't even know what pace that is. Quickly I solicit other pacers on what the mile splits are. Next thing I know, runners start gathering around me and asking me for my pacing strategy for the group, what to do at aid stations, etc. I really haven't thought this through. Crap. I went from speechless to mumbling incomprehensible stuff. Finally someone with a pacer shirt showed up. It's Betsy, the pacer for this group! Hallelujah! She quickly takes over from me and I can see a wave of calmness settles over the runners joining the group.

I went around the pacer tent to figure out what I want to do now that I'm free. My friend Gary is the pacer for the 2:00 group and said I should join him and Amy for that group as the third pacer. Well, technically I have not ever broken 2:00 in a 1/2 marathon. Should that disqualify me from pacing the group? Not a big deal, the only way I have to truly be responsible for the pacing group is if both Gary and Amy drop dead. Not happening.

So in the end I joined them, and had a great time. We consulted three Garmin's and two watches and managed to never be more than 10 seconds off any of the mile splits, and crossed the finish line in 1:59:55. It was fun watching Gary doing such a superb job managing the pace group.

Now time to go back to obsessing about Umstead 100.


  1. That's crazy! Bet you feel like you dodged a bullit! Plus, you PRed for the 1/2 marathon! Sweet!

  2. The PR was an accident but very nice to have. And even better thing was I wasn't running that hard, so definitely lot left in the bank on that one.