A few months back I volunteered to pace this race and was selected to pace the 1:50 group (8:24/ mile). I thought that this was very doable despite the fact that I was doing most of my running this year at a slower pace and my longest run so far this year was 10 miles. I felt like my achilles was healing and thought this would be a good test to see if I could continue to ramp up my training.
In the few weeks before the race I ran the half marathon distance is close to or faster than the 1:50 I was supposed to pace so my confidence was up. Especially because both of the routes (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/163303103, http://connect.garmin.com/activity/167580097) I ran seemed like they'd be much more difficult than the race course.
The night before the race I drove to SLC, picket up my packet and pacer shirt and sign then headed to my mother in laws house in Sandy, UT for the night. I didn't get to sleep until about midnight and to get to the start I got up at 5am. I wasn't sure if I would have time to ride the train up to university so I just drove to the start area and found a parking spot. I wandered over to the start, waited in line for the porta-potties and then dropped off my back of stuff to be taken to the finish.
|Self shot at 5:30am. No one else was up|
They had been making a big deal about how warm it was supposed to be so I was super hydrated. I decided to carry a bottle of water for the first while. I got to the start and got organized with the other pacers and at 7am it was time to start.
We started off and I tried really hard not to start too fast but we were going a little faster than the pace. A couple of miles into the race the hydration was kicking in. I handed my pacing sign to a Canadian guy in the group to carry on and jumped into the porta potty. When I got out I took off to catch him. After a few minutes I caught up the the 1:45 pacer. I realized I must have missed my guy so I pulled off to the side and began to walk while watching for my sign. Eventually the guy came around. Turns out that he had stopped at the porta potties too. Oops! That was ok because it actually got us closer to our pace.
We continued on and I made sure to chat it up with everyone around me. Most of them were not trying for my particular pace but thought it was helpful to know where they were. I took another potty break around mile 5 (I kept the sign with me) and downed a gel.
As I continued, I kept trying to gradually slow down my pace. I was averaging about 8:10-8:15. I was intentionally getting ahead of the pace because of a hill in the last mile or two but I didn't want to be that far ahead.
I had a blast talking to people, encouraging them, thanking the police, etc. A few times at road crossings I actually walked across acting like a crossing guard. It just seemed natural given my super bright shirt and sign. What a blast!
At one point I slowed down to let a lady get in front of me for a picture. I told her I'd make her look good. Not sure it worked.
The crowd started to thin out in the last 3-4 miles. I tried to stay steady but ended up loosing a few people. When we hit the last hill I still felt great so I concentrated on encouraging runners up the hill. There was one guy that really wanted to break 1:49. I kept telling him that he could do it. Turns out he did.
At the top of the hill, I stopped to encourage people up the hill. From there you could see the finish and I knew I was still ahead of pace. I started running sideways and backwards, waving people on to a strong finish. It was so much fun. I ran on to the finish and completed the race with my trademark somersault over the line. I crossed the line about 1:50:20 or so on the clock but my garmin and chip were the same at 1:49:42. So I think the mission was accomplished.
|This is in the finishing stretch.|