Taylor Woods – you didn’t leave your email address so be sure to email me in the next few days so I can get you hooked up with your ProCompression socks!
As I mentioned, this weekend’s race goal was to change the pace: as in pace my neighbor Angel and her friend Margot to their goal for their first half marathon.
In the first race excitement, Angel was promptly at my door at 4:55, while I had been out of bed for all of 5 minutes and was trying to quietly change in the hallway and brew my coffee without waking up the rest of the fam. After a pleasantly uneventful ride and parking, we did the tour de port-a-potties and got ourselves into the corral with a “comfortable for the first time” amount of time before the race started.
As usual the race was pretty seamless (that said, the full marathon got started 30 minutes late): smooth start, well-stocked and placed stations and lots of signage letting you know where to go. I was sure to sport my kid-proclaimed and selected “laser lemon” ProCompressions and a pair of matching aviators….
The ladies wanted to run a 1:50 and I made a solemn promise to get them there, no matter what it took. While I love a good race day, I think enough years have made me jaded…a little crabby and annoyed. Watching the first-time jitters, excitement and thrill was so. much. fun.
I knew the ladies wanted to wear their headphones and music and I had my headphones in, but left them off so I could listen for heavy breathing, dragging footsteps and could just watch how they were feeling to make sure we were sipping water bottles and walking in the finisher’s corral 1 hour and 51 minutes after the race started.
The first 5 miles of the Long Beach half course FLY…then 6-9.5 miles get a little tough on a straight shot on a beach bike path. Until mile 7, Margot and Angel were killing it: they looked great, sounded great and seemed to be feeling good. Around mile 7, it got a little tough for one of them. And then they switched it up (the other struggling a bit more) and I had to get pretty annoying repeatedly saying things like:
“You didn’t run 10 miles fast to quit now.”
“Just move your hands and your legs will follow.”
“Think about whatever it takes to make it through the last 5k, posting 1:4-something, something on Facebook or think about red wine…whatever it takes.”
“Stop looking at your watch, let me get you there and you just worry about running.”
What did I know: That I was annoying them and they kinda wanted to kill me.
What else did I know: If I wasn’t annoying them I wasn’t doing my job.
A good pacer will take you to your wall and then push you right through it….and any insecurities I had about being obnoxious had to go out the window to do that, which wasn’t easy for me.
The following conversation may or may not have taken place around mile 11:
“I’m running in front of you for a bit, you just need to stay with me….[about 90 seconds pass and I turn around and look at them] Does it help you at all to know I’m peeing in my pants right now?”
So that happened – It’s been a while since I’ve flat out peed myself during a race in a few years, but apparently my post-first born bladder issues came back….super fun.
The last half mile was balls to the wall pushing it and a literal sprint to the finish. I wasn’t tracking our splits very well (just watching my pace bracelet to ensure we were on track), but the last 2 miles were FAST. These fabulous ladies definitely negative split the race and I was so impressed by their effort and results.
At mile 3, I knew they were going to nail this goal based on how strong they looked, and when we passed through the finisher’s chute at the 1:49 mark, I turned to see two of the biggest smiles (then panic and exhaustion) and that outweighed any PR I’ve had.
While I spent most of the race trying to in tune with their needs, I had a few concerns of my own going into the race:
- My Knee. I went out of the gate a little tight (not painful, just tight), but by mile 1.5 it had loosened up and felt great. Around mile 9, when the wheels were coming off for everyone on course, my knee got a little painful (beyond tight) and as I was thinking about how to manage it, if I would be able to finish, etc, and just as quickly as it started, the pain disappeared with a slightly lengthened stride.
- My Endurance. Uhhh…..Errr…I haven’t run more than 13 miles since APRIL, and hadn’t run more than 10 miles since 4 weeks ago, so I wasn’t exactly confident in my fitness level. I might have a little soreness the next few days, but my family said they’ve never seen me that relaxed and refreshed looking at the end of a race. I never felt fatigued or tired the entire race….just a little sore at points.
A huge thanks to ProCompression for giving me the opportunity to change my pace a bit and run the Long Beach Half Marathon – it was an amazing race and still ranks up there as one of my faves.
Did you race this weekend? How did it go?
Have you ever paced someone before? What was your experience like?