Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seattle Half marathon 2008 pacing experience

7:30am Seattle, WA
Temperature: 53F, Cloudy
Humidity: 100%

Background:

My Seafair marathon pacing experience was not as great as I would have liked it to be so I pined for another shot at redemption. After my sfx I was not sure if I will be able to ramp-up in time. After all this was a commitment I was making and I could not fail... Luckily, I noticed that I did maintain some of my fitness. After a test run on the Sat before, I was good to go.

Expo:

There was a "meet the pacers" segment at the Expo where I got to answer quite a few questions - most of them not related to pacing but it felt great to be able to help. I also met Dane in person for the first time. I had read a lot of his race reports and was looking forward to buying his new book. Too bad I could not get him to sign it since it was not out yet. I would also get to see him finish (as a 3:10 pacer) the next day.

Race:

We could not have asked for a better November day for running - just perfect!

As I waited with my pacer pole before the race I again got to answer a bunch of questions not related to pacing :) Glad to help. The pacer pole helped standout in the crowds at the start.

I thought the start at the backdrop of the Space Needle (which had a lighted Christmas tree) provided a great ambiance.




mile 1: 8:02
I slowly worked through the crowds to work into race pace...

mile 2: 7:56
I lost my GPS reception so I was running completely by feel. I now had a group following me... I ran through all the water stops during the run. It helped me avoid congestion and dealing with a pole and a cup while running...

mile 3: 7:46 (short?)
Onto the I-90 bridge... I hoped my legs would be OK with the concrete.

mile 4: 7:57
mile 5: 8:23 (long?)
Through the I-90 bridge tunnel. I again had no GPS reception...

mile 6: 7:15 (???)
I needed to makeup some time on this mile but perhaps I overdid it. The finish goal was based on gun time. I would have a buffer on chip time. I did not want to have to make up time as we hit the hills. I did apparently loose some of my group :(

mile 7: 8:07
As per plan, the goal was to slow down during the hills... I had done so many long runs along this part of the course. At least that was counting for something.

mile 8: 8:23
The nasty E. Madison hill that I would add to the end of my 20 milers. Did not feel that bad today :)

mile 9: 7:58
Most of the job was done. On pace ...

mile 10: 7:51
Saw Chuck at the water stop and exchanged pointed fingers :)

mile 11: 7:51
It was great that some runners thanked me for pacing as they passed... Nice of them to say so. I thanked them for running.

mile 12: 7:58
Had words of encouragement for a couple of fading runners.

mile 13: 7:58

The finish was in the Memorial stadium... Nice!





mile .11: :58
As I approached the finish line I turned the pacer pole and waved it in celebration on a job mostly well done. At the finish someone thanked me for being there when they really need it. A lady indicated that my red shoes helped (didn't realize that :)). I shaked hands of some 1:45 finishers.

Result:

Gun - 1:44:53
Chip - 1:44:26
OA: 631/7277
Male: 496/3062

Conclusion:

This run meant more to me than a mere pacing gig. It felt good knowing that in a small way I helped some people run their race. Post-sfx, this was a small but important step towards being able to train for another marathon!

In the journey of life we fall down several times. However, like a toddler learning to walk, it's important that we never give up! We have to get up and try to walk the roads of life with renewed vigour, wiser and smarter!

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