A mile in their shoes

(yes, I know it’s been awhile….)

Pacing Duty.  Some people love it, some people hate it. 

I was having a conversation about being the “pacer” for someone with a friend of mine who isn’t a runner.  First there was the explanation (“I’m ‘pacing’ – running with someone whose normal pace is slower than mine to ensure that they cross the finish line within their goal time.”) and then followed the question:  “but why?”

I’ve always enjoyed pacing people.  Maybe it’s because I love seeing people accomplish their goals, especially when it wasn’t long ago that they thought their goals were totally out of their reach.   Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I know that because I’m running at a slightly slower-than-normal pace, I’ll have enough energy to annoy the hell out of them (it’s amazing how aggravating ‘cheerful’ and ‘encouraging’ can be, given the right circumstances).

In the end, though, one of the reasons that I most love it because there’s this huge return for very little work on my part.  As long as I’ve done my math correctly and know where the splits should be, all I’ve got to do after that is be a cheerleader.  Talk about no pressure!  It’s an easy way to race, that’s for sure.  It’s such a relief to be on a race course but not worry about crashing, burning or hurting too much.

But now – my first half marathon race in quite awhile.  I’m pacing only ME.  The last time I put it all out there for a half mary, I blew up around mile 10.  Dizziness, nausea and all around not feeling well did me in…  after hitting my pace for most of the race, I walked the rest in and all my goals for the race melted in the hot sun.  That’s left me with two things:  this annoying seed of doubt about my abilities, and also this incredible motivation to get out there and tear up the course.

Come Sunday, around 9am, we’ll see how I did with pacing duty, whether or not I had the smarts and guts and legs and lungs to get me across the finish line faster than 1:52:46.  That’s the goal this time.

At this point, the training is behind me and there’s no changing anything about it.  Am I ready?  Did I do enough?  It’s hard to imagine someone who toes the line who doesn’t have those thoughts from time to time.  What am I 100% sure of?  This is gonna hurt.  Oh yea, there will be pain and tears and a small voice telling me it’d be easier to quit.  But you know what else I’m 100% sure of?  That I’m ready and this will be my most fulfilling pacing duty of all time.

Bring it on!


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