Sunday, March 28, 2010

Me Pace You? Yeah Right.

First of all to my readers and fans, it has been a while since I posted something. Wouldn't you know that "life" just gets in the way sometimes. I have so many stories and re-caps to tell. Have no fear they will all make their way to the blogosphere for you to enjoy.

Now the task at hand. Last Saturday, a week ago, our running group was sitting at Panera's having food and liquids when I hear Beth telling everyone that she is doing the Run For Sight 5k next Saturday. Yeah okay. Everyone kept talking about other things. "Hey! I said I am doing the Run For Sight 5k in Ybor City next Saturday". Okay. Others are running 22 miles and some are going out of town to avoid seeing fireworks. What's the big deal. "I just wanted you guys to know. I could use a pacer because I want a PR." Now when she says "pacer", she was looking at me.

Now I have never officially paced someone for a 5k race other than my two daughters. So I'm thinking, great now I am going to have to hear crying and whining. It's hot out here. When is it over. How far have we gone. Am I going to fast. Am I going to slow. Should I have pottied before we started. Should I eat a banana before the race or after. Do you think I should wear a jog bra....wait scratch that one. This is Beth wanting me to pace. I was actually honored that she would ask me to pace her. I very much agreed to run with her.

I asked Beth what her goal time was and she said 25ish. I told her that would not do. She should go for 24ish. Never settle. I say that and I am sometimes the one that settles. But hey, the pacer can always make the rules. Does not mean he has to follow them.

Our meet time was settled. 6:30 in the a.m. at the Target. Now I would hope the first thing I hear would be, "Good morning. Great to see you. I am so ready for this race." Nope. Since she already broke the boundary in her blog, this is what I heard. "I am having woman issues." Great for me. Yippy. The Run For Sight has now become the "This Crazy Bitch Is Out Of Control 5k." She assured me that it does not affect her personality at all. Once she signed the waiver, we got in Holly's car for the ride to the race.

I stayed in the car while Beth and Holly went to packet pick-up. I would like to say I just rested and stretched while sitting in the car but I was praying instead. I just happened to look over the waiver Beth signed for me and realized she did not use her real name. Oh hell this should be fun. Welcome ipod. Don't leave home without it.

We have now moved to the starting area to stretch and linger. A girl wearing a pink running shirt approached us, well actually Beth, I just happened to be standing there. She said, "aren't you the blogger." And Beth said yes and removed a Sharpie from her waist and reached out as if to sign an autograph or her running shirt or something. It just got kind of weird for a moment. Beth did her best to include Captain Nuts in the whole reading blogs thing but this girl just said the old, "oh yeah I do." Captain Nuts could tell. He knows she doesn't.

So the race was about to begin and I told Beth that I would let her run her pace at first. I would then pick it up when the time comes. I also told her we needed to be towards the front so we don't get caught having to get around people. This would cause us to have to pick the pace up before she was ready. The Star Spangled Banner. The horn. We are off. Sure enough I told her to start getting around people. Don't you just love those runners that either walk or feel that if they are at the front it will somehow make them faster. I know we are not all super fast, I surely am not, but at least put yourself in the right position before the race starts. I digress.

Beth is cooking it. She is running a 7:15 for about the first mile. I am starting to think that I have been Punked. I do not want to say it but I am damn sure hoping that she can not maintain this pace. Only because a pacer is supposed to be with the runner at the end of the race. I know those anonymous posters will say, "not for every race." Well I would hope a pacer for a 5k would start and finish with their runner. Anyways.

She starts to slow a little which was good because I did not want her to fade too soon. She was still running about 7:30 pace. I felt good with this pace. And she only groaned and moaned a few times. She sure kept looking at that watch. Just over the halfway point we caught two high school girls that were running pretty good. The chess match began. Beth dropped them just over the 2 mile point. At just about the 2.5 mark is the first time I heard her complain. She said she was starting to fade. I told her to quit looking at her watch and just run. I would make sure she was going fast enough. Two turns left and we were at 22:50. A woman said that Beth was the 6th woman so far. That had to be great to hear. I thought it was.

Holly was just in front of us. Actually very close. I remember telling Beth before the race started that she could run with Holly. No I can't. She is fast. Knock off the doubting of yourself.

The last turn and the clock had just turned 23:00. Get in there girl, I yelled. She picked it up and finished at 23:21. No puking. She had an excellent run. She filled out her time card and put it in the box. I looked and saw that hers was the only card in the box and there no other cards on the finisher board. I knew that she had won her age group but did not say anything to her confirming it. She did so well that Holly was looking for us at the finish line and did not know we were done. Holly also won her age group with a time of 23:11. Both she and Beth had PR's.

A personal note to Beth. I know you had a few rough days this week but "YOU" kicked ass. Thank you very much for asking me to pace you. I enjoyed it. At some point you will have to pace me. Now for that, "when should I eat a banana" comment. She ate one after the race.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Gasparilla Marathon 2010 Recap (only one)

This will be strange. Me recapping a race in just one blog. I am already nervous and a bit scared. Also a word of warning. This is a marathon recap so there may be some adult language. Here goes.

As I mentioned earlier somewhere, either in a blog, an e-mail, phone call or just in my sleep, I have really slacked off on my Gasparilla marathon training this time around. Don't get me wrong, I do like to run. It's the damn distance that is a pain in the ass. Sometimes literally. The back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and well, you get my point. I was trying to follow some sort of training plan. I am not sure whose plan it was but it wasn't any that my fellow BRA runners were doing. Case in point. On a Saturday long run I would ask, "what are you guys running today?" "We are doing 18." "Oh hell no. I think I will go 8." Or when they did 22.5 miles I must have ran 15. I just figured what the hell it's only 22.6 miles. I have done that before. At least twice.

I was trying to do the right things leading up to the race. I ate a big pasta meal on Friday. No drinky drinky on Saturday and a small dinner before 6 pm. Went to bed early and almost got 7 hours sleep. Got up feeling fresh and ready to go.

My plan was to stick to a 9 minute pace for the entire race which would get me under my 4 hour goal. There were several of us wanting to break the 4 hour barrier. One of which was Redhead. I shall congratulate her now and again later. I should just run with the dude holding the 4:00 sign up and I will be fine. Yeah right.

This would be my first race that I ran with a pace group. Often times I just run my own pace and try not to feel the commitment of having to keep a certain pace. If I feel good, then I run good. If I feel bad, then I slow down. Basic math and science.

I started out with the pace group. This was much slower than 9 minutes pace because we were in the pack. Once the runners started to spread out, then I am sure the pace was going to pick up. Oh it did. Early on, we were running 8:15's to 8:30's. Now I understood that we needed to make up some time but damn this was a 26.2 mile race and we did not need to make up all the ground in a mile and a half. Well anyways I was still feeling good so I was just running with the flow. I eventually settled in myself after mile 6 with an 8:30 pace. Here we go again. I am not on the plan and running too fast early. But I feel good sir. I know you do but you just wait. No not me, I feel good. Good luck with that.

At mile 8 I see Tom standing on the side of the road. He was there to help pace one of us to a Boston Marathon spot. 4 hours 5 minutes. Again I figured if I stay with these guys I will break my four hours. Tom asked where is Holly. I say right behind me as in like right behind me. Turns out she and Redhead were not right behind me. They were running the 9 pace like good girls and were further back where they should be. But hey I was feeling good. Right.

Say hello to my little friend. Mile 16. Glad to see you Walt. Time for you and I to spend some time together. I have somewhere to be 16. Why don't you just slow down a bit so we can talk. Look here 16, I need to go meet 17 and so on. Pretty please. Okay, I'll slow down a little just for you. Fair enough. Now go tell 17 to call me sometime.

Brothers 17, 18 and 19 were all the same. It was their bitchy sister 20 that really slapped me in the mouth. I never said anything bad about her. Well not to her face. This was also the same time that my 4 hour pacing friends go strolling by me just following their plan. And so was the guy with the "4 hour goal" sign. I did not like him now. I tried to pick my pace up but just could not get 20 to stop her nagging. She was having this painful conversation with my quads. That bitch.

I was now at 21. What a great number. Only to be 21 again. I am sure that Greek guy had no idea the significance of the number 21. Blackjack. Legal drinking. 21 Jump Street. I digress. My pace had dropped to high 9's now. I was looking at my watch and realizing that my goal of 4 hours was not going to happen unless I picked the pace up to low 8's. Shiiiiips in the harbour. That ain't happening. I shall just cruise in at this pace. I would still be below 4:15 and PR.

Hey, there is the 25 mile sign. Hey, there is the 25 mile sign. Hey, there is the 25 mile sign. Hey, there is the 25 mile sign. Hey, there is the 25 mile sign. Hey, there is the 25 mile sign. Hey, there is the 25 mile sign. Can you guess my pace right now. I thought 20 was a bad girl. Meet her mother. The mother of all miles. The defining moment. "Your almost there." Is it just me or do you want to punch the person that says that right in the mouth. So I am not alone in that thinking. Coach EK starts to run along side me to pace me to the finish. I am glad he is there but I am so not wanting to pick my pace up.

Just as we pass the 25 mile sign, I hear this voice behind us. I turn back and see that it is B.o.b. I am wondering what part of the course did she cut. She could have at least told me ahead of time and I may have cut the same part. But I realize that woman did not cut the course. She was on fire. As I have mentioned in previous posts, she is becoming a great runner. She does not give herself enough credit. She came by me like I was standing still. Well quit honestly, I almost was. I told Coach EK to take her in. She deserved the pacing. And gone she was.

I did finish in 4:10. This was a PR by 9 minutes or so but still a PR none the less. I did feel a lot better this time around. I could at least talk and recognize my family. Will I do a fourth marathon. Sure, someday. How about the Rock n Roll Denver in October. See ya there.