hey friends! So, I run a half this past weekend but I wasn’t racing. Or or just Running. I was an Official Pacer. Such a cool task you say, right? Man, I hadn’t stressed about a race in… forever? Probably since my first half ever, the NYC Half, in 2006!!!
Anyway, I offered to do the 1:50 group, as I had raced the NYC Half mid March in 1:39 so 1:50 sounded like I could do it without stress… that pace was already taken and as I am doing a marathon this year for the first time in… ever… I don’t want to run for 2 hours! So I stepped up and took the 1:45. Ouch, It was going to be tight, but, hey, it’s Central Park, I can do it!
Anyway, I got myself super stressed out about it. About everything! I was supposed to do even pacing… WHO RUNS EVEN PACE??? I have NEVER! You start slow, then you go fast, then you get tired, then you go mental in the last 3 or 4 if you did it right. Well, I was told to come in under 1:45 (which is 8 pace) and to shoot for 1:44:30, so 7:58 pace it is!!! I made a pace bracelet, I fussed with my watch, then tried Juan’s Garmin 920XT as it has (fast and slow) pace alerts but decided to go with mine, I know it well and don’t want to stress with anything new! I was so scared I’d forget to charge the watch, I was having nightmares, I really drove myself crazy (and prob everybody else). It’s so easy to mess up your race and live with it, but when other people depend on me, I get super stressed. I don’t know why it’s so stressful when people depend on me, obviously (why I never wanted to get married or have kids, or plants even!!!!). Then I stressed about the stick, you know, the one with the pace group time on it. I wasn’t getting the stick until race morning, as well as the singlet, so I’d have to figure that out later.
See what I did? Instead of carrying it in my hand, like every pacer does, I covered it in duct tape, then I put it inside an arm warmer, then I stuck it inside my bra, and added a second bra for extra pressure. Gosh was I HOT!! But it worked, and NO chafing!
I got to the corral, walked around to make sure everyone saw me there, the question of the day was “what pace are you doing?” #7:58 was trending! I had a big group around me. I was right at the start line in the blue corral and probably 1 yard behind Deena Kastor, quite insane!
We got moving and soon enough we became one big happy group. Juan was lapping around us, sprinting, and taking approximately 50 million pictures. cutting them down to 15 was HARD. That mile was a bit slow because it was quite crowded.
Don’t we look so happy? Check out Chelsea on my right; she somehow stuck by me the whole race and got a 14 minute PR, that’s INSANE guys!!!!!
The stick was still not moving, which was great. Pacing was averaging 8, we’d go slower on the hills, faster on the downhills and catch up when we needed. I’d signal when I’d go get water and try to give out as many course advice as I could, as well as pointing out fluids, mile splits, or when to speed up or take it easy (hello Harlem hill!). Other times, I just read the signs and laughed. My favorite was a guy on our way up to Harlem Hill with a “I hear fast women” so I pointed him out to whoever was single in the group. Someone had to do the talking, you know?
I have to say, this was one of the most amazing weekends to be out there race. Every single tree in the park was blooming. I would have been really distracted if I had been racing, I am not gonna lie about it. I was ogling and smelling and wishing I could stop for pictures!
After we had crested Harlem Hill, the second time (which: UGH), it actually got a little crowded as we were lapping runners in the first lap, so there was a lot of of weaving. And also, since mile 2, I was SO SO SO HOT. I kept pouring water on my shirt and bras, ugh, I have no idea how people had long sleeves, or pants. On another day, I would have ripped the singlet off (hard to do with the stick there) and run in a bra!!! Why do I get SO hot???
The last mile we brought it in hard. As soon as we got to the Mile 12 marker I told everybody to GO or to hold on to my back for their lives. My last mile was a 7:14… eek, but you know, the sub 1:45 was guaranteed at the point, I wanted to see how hard I could push them all. 😉
I am not gonna lie. I was really worried that I’d go too slow or too fast. It’s hard to do even pacing in a course as undulating as Central Park, and I always run by effort and not pace. But was I SO happy to have done this.
As soon as I crossed the finish line, I went to the side and waited with my stick. Every other person would thank me, even people I had no idea were pacing with me!! It was really sweet and I was so happy to have helped so many people. As I had never used a pacer, I had no idea how many people would follow me…. seems like I was able to help!!!!
Check out this awesome shot from the race page!
And that’s Chelsea, see? Besides the volunteers, I think I high fived 500 people in those 10 minutes there!!!!
I saw Juan, had my apple, got my Gatorade and mylar blanket and went to wait for Flor who was a bit behind. We then waited for the awards ceremony, hey hey, TWO masters in the top 3, which… Deena Kastor… I love her…
Oh Natalie Morales run the race too (and Ivanka Trump, but she was behind and I didn’t see her)
So then we went to EJ’s for brunch and of course, I was freezing. I am always either boiling hot or freezing. WTF? So, there’s one more cool experience to add to the book! (no, there’s no book, that’s what the blog is for!)