I had a blast pacing you this weekend. However, I don’t want you to have the wrong impression of me. I have a few confessions that I would like to make.
I was nervous too
I have run quite a few marathons and know that I can do the distance. However, as a first time pacer, I wanted to prove myself. I didn’t want to say, “Hey, follow me!” and then say “Hey, I will see you at the end I am just gonna take a break here.” So I have to confess I was nervous too. I didn’t want to let you down. I knew your nerves were bigger and that’s why you couldn’t see mine. 😉
I had to go to the bathroom too
Every one who has run a marathon has worried countless times about using the bathroom. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, you worry about the ole “pit stop.” This was actually my greatest worry. I am a bit of a straight lace and like to follow rules. The week leading up I kept thinking, “Can pacers take bathroom breaks?” I didn’t even want to ask for fear of the response. The morning of the race I was limiting my Gatorade intake just in case. In fact, I only drank because I decided I would rather be the pacer who used the bathroom than the pacer who fell over dehydrated. Tough call, but I made it. At mile 10 it dawned on me, “I have a pace partner and that is what he is for.” I guess using the bathroom was permissible after all. Or did I just rat myself out?
I am more inspired by you than you are by me
There were a number of times when you would say, “Wow, so you guys can just run these things in your sleep?” OR “It is pretty inspiring to know you can get to a point where 26.2 is no big deal.” First, 26.2 is ALWAYS a big deal. And more importantly, you are more inspiring than me. You took on a challenge that few people in their lives ever will. Furthermore, you set a time frame on this endeavor. When you set up a time frame, you set up a chance to succeed, but you also set up a chance to fail. It takes guts to risk failure. It takes courage to say you want it and line up with a group of people who are going for it. You did that! You went for it! You inspire ME!
It wasn’t “easy”
You also asked if this is “just easy for me.” While the pace may be a pace that my body has adapted to, a marathon is not “easy.” A marathon can be very taxing on the body. Furthermore, the time spent on my feet is greater than the amount of time I normally run. So it is still a challenge and I was honored to tackle my challenge as you tackled yours. Truly, I was honored. P.s. If you don’t believe it wasn’t easy, see the photo below:
I was faking the last few miles
I know what you were thinking as we tackled miles 23-26.2. You thought you were going to die and “will I ever see that finish line.” I could see that mix of desire and despair in your eyes. That is why I was yelling and pumping my arms and saying, “You are the only people out here that matter. All these people came to watch you.” I was faking it for you. Sure, I was tired. Every long run is tiring. But you and your goals matter. So I was faking it. I was singing your praise and showing strength because I knew you needed it.
I feel very guilty when you thank me
Pacing has been one of the most enriching running experiences of my life. I loved every step of the way. I got a totally cool jacket. I got a free entry to an incredible marathon. I didn’t have to do my Sunday long run alone (priceless). I got to meet all of you! Pacing is special. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity. So when you say, “Thanks for what you do” I feel guilty. Yes, there is a level of sacrifice involved, but the reward is so great. I just set a PR in the marathon less than 8 weeks ago. I was not this excited about that as I am for having had the opportunity to pace. So when you say thank you, I feel a little guilty saying, “You are welcome.”
I am addicted
I have always been told, “Awareness is the first step.” Well I am aware. I have a problem. I like marathons. I want to pace again. I wish I could do it every Sunday. I have also been told, “You know it is an addiction when it interrupts other aspect of your life.” Well I should be working, not typing this out. But what am I doing? I know my non-runners friends don’t care, but I tell them about it anyway. I can’t get enough. Pacing was fun. I am addicted. I look forward to the next opportunity.