Pacing A Race
You want people to rely on me? What?
That is what I asked myself when my friend, Linda Word with ForWord Running, asked me to be a pacer for the RunTheBluegrass race this past weekend. I have to admit that I was super nervous about the experience… knowing people were going to be relying on my pace to finish that race within 2 hours of the start time. And on THAT course… the hilliest, most beautiful course around. Talk about pressure.
I don’t want to tell you how many times I drove that course, memorizing every turn and every weird little pothole. Nerves all the way up until the moment I started my watch on that morning. (Well, I was nervous the entire run through that hilly course.)But boy was it awesome.
I think the best part of pacing a race is the encouragement I tried to give other runners. When you know you are running for someone else, it changes perspective and really makes you appreciate all the hard work you have put into your sport and you get to see all the hard work others have put into theirs as well. The new people I met, the great conversations, welcoming the wonderful people from other states that came to participate in the most beautiful half around…. it was just amazing. Runner’s high the whole time.
Pacing puts a whole new perspective on a race as you run with confidence and you run with conviction. You know exactly what you need to do to get it done and you do it with a huge smile on your face as you hear people say, “No! You cannot pass me!” and they turn on the gas and take off. That made me laugh and couldn’t have made me happier. It makes me appreciate all those who have paced races I have participated in and encouraged me to keep it up… keep that pace going so the “guy with the sign” couldn’t get in front of me. Pacing really gives you a motivation that nothing else can as you forge through those miles knowing exactly when you are going to finish and knowing you can do it and still have gas in the tank.
I would encourage anybody to pace. Let me tell you… if I can do it, you can do it. I started running just over two years ago and have battled through injuries, self loathing, and much more to keep my feet out on the road. It has been a long, rough, yet very amazing two years as I have participated in many races and many group runs with the best running group around. Running has given me an opportunity to see what I am made of and what more I have to give… and that was really important to me over the last couple of years. Pacing a race might not seem like a big deal to most, but the discipline you have to have in order to put that pace shirt on and encourage others to do their best while running a race yourself takes a great deal of confidence that I had to reach deep down to find. And I am truly grateful for finding it.