The Malibu Marathon 2014 was the start of my first official pacing gig…and it couldn’t have been the worst and best experience of my life.
My interest for pacing grew from a non genuine place in my running heart. “I want to run a free race! Pacing shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Sign me up!” It’s very true what they say:
When you begin something that’s not from the heart, you finish it with a huge life lesson learned.
Looking at the course map, it displayed a seemingly flat with a tainted description of it being a fast course. I thought pacing a 5:30 for a full marathon was going to be a walk in the park since it’s a slower-than-average time for me. Easy, right?
The first ~5 miles were fun until my legs realized “Hey, the terrain isn’t changing. It’s too flat!” Yup, my legs have a mind of their own and don’t prefer a flat course for long periods of time so they started buckling. The view didn’t help the situation until the course wound through fancy schmancy homes and the beautiful ocean water appeared ahead. This was where it got interesting, too…with them hills…rolling hills, to be exact…incredibly high rolling hills, to be extra specific.
Having to keep a slow, steady pace for 5 hours and 30 minutes was incredibly taxing on my body. It was hurting and my mind began failing. “This hurts…that hurts…what the…I can’t finish this…I can’t…” My pacing partner kept trying to get my mind right but I was a ball of crazy emotions. Runners were depending on me to get them through their goal time in exactly 5:30 – no more, no less. I told my partner “Go. Go without me. I’m done.” She said “You start it so you have to finish it.” What she said is how I live my life on a daily basis so why on Earth would I quit now? Even though it was an absolute struggle, I almost crawled my way to the finish with tears ready to stream down my miserable face.
Though I crossed the line 4 minutes behind goal time, my pace lead assured me that almost everyone had a rough race with it being really hilly and the course lies we were initially told. Still, I was disappointed in myself and wondered why the heck I got myself into pacing the first place.
I signed up with the mind frame of “It’s a free race!” but succeeded with a fresh outlook of “I inspired many runners to keep going. If I’m inspiring them, I better follow my own inspiration during times of despair.” An advance runner even told me as I was hobbling in the sand “You paced this advanced course? You’re an advance runner now.” I believe that all things happen for a reason so there was a huge reason why I signed up and had this official pacing experience be my first. I had a new appreciation for pacers/pacing, I should pat myself on the back every so often, and this was a challenge to better myself because
If you believe it, you can and will achieve it.
Until the next post…
keep on running!