It’s funny how life changes so drastically and so quickly. Six months ago my fall race line-up was one out-of-state half marathon. When my former best friend backed out of the race without telling me (I found out via Facebook post), my race calendar became blank. Clean slates and fresh starts are my forte, though.
At first I was set to go to the race solo if I couldn’t find anyone else to go with, but then realized the race would be overshadowed by the hurt of being betrayed by the people I had viewed as my closest friends. This was late-May.
By mid-June I was just coming back from being sick for about 6 weeks when I was looking at trying to make it to the Chicago Rock ‘n Roll race. Long story short a few friends I know connected me to new friends who needed to split costs for Chicago, so three strangers met via RnR Chi. It was awesome – I’ll have to write on that full experience later.
Anywho, the reason I mention Chicago is because it was a package deal for me. Rock ‘n Roll caters to my inner 5 year old, enticing me with shiny bling. Run both RnR Chicago and RnR St. Louis (where I live) you get a super cool extra medal. And I just HAD to have it. So there was fall race #1
Shortly after running Chicago a friend forwarded me an email about becoming a pacer for the Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis, I had started pacing in December and really enjoyed it, so even though I was already registered I applied.
Then one day I kind of stumbled onto the pacer list for another local race and dug around until I got some contact info and emailed them to ask to pace that race. Which was two weeks before RnR STL. They added me to their pacer list and I now had two fall races.
I hadn’t heard about pacing RnR so I proceeded to train for pacing MO Cowbell, which was a much slower pace than I normally run, so I worked on making that my typical pace. Of course as soon as I succeeded I got word that I was on the pacer list for RnR — just a mere 3 weeks in advance. Time to ramp it up with some dual training!
On top of that, the MO Cowbell pacer organization reached out asking for pacers for the Halloween Half marathon, the week after RnR. Of course I said signed up.
That was how I ended up running three half marathons in four weeks. Here’s how they went:
First up, MO Cowbell. It was my first time running this. It was supposedly mostly flat with one hill at mile 10. Let’s just say there was more than 1 hill, they weren’t bad, but let’s be honest when discussing elevation, please! I went out of my way to train on flat routes! It was also 97% humidity and they made pacers wear a pseudo-performance T-shirt (I typically wear sleeveless into December). I overheated about half a mile into the race. I may have also had some nutrition and sleep issues and I bombed the race. I came in 5.5 minutes late. Nothing in my training indicated I wouldn’t reach my goal. I was running faster pace in probably more difficult conditions, but I am only human and this happened. Nothing I can do about it, but try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Boy was I nervous about RnR. Not only was I pacing, but I was signed up to the be the 2:15 pacer, which was 15 minutes faster than I finished MO Cowbell. I was doing well with training and running well under pace, but my confidence was pretty broken. I decided to bail from pacing. I was already registered, so I could still run. Well, in chatting with the folks at Fleet Feet, I agreed to pace the 2:30 half & they refunded my registration fee, which made the stress of pacing worthwhile.
I was really glad that I went with the slower pace, it ended up being another warm October day in STL plus, I ended up having the great honor of helping two-first time half marathoners reach their goal. It was probably one of my favorite race experiences.
The Monday after RnR was kind of rough. I was hurting. It’s funny how running slower than your normal pace hurts SO MUCH! I was slightly worried about pacing ANOTHER half in 6 days. I rested, used my foam roller & air compression boots, went to every yoga class I could and kept running to a minimum. It worked and I was feeling back to normal come the end of the week. Which was good, because I couldn’t fail two pacing duties with the same organization in a row — and my first two at that. Could. Not. Fail. Period.
So Halloween is by far my favorite holiday and I LOOOVE to dress up and I love to run in costume, but I’ve obviously never paced in costume and we have pacer shirts to wear, so I opted for knee-high Halloween socks, but then was worried about the socks, whether cushioning would be enough (blisters mid race are NOT good), would they be too hot with my compression sleeves underneath? Probably I gamble I should not have taken under the circumstances.
HUGE sigh of relief! It was a very weird day. The race was delayed 15 min & the 5K before the half was re-routed. The news later reported that a suspicious package was being investigated at the start of the race. Mile markers were off, a car was driving down the race course and at the end a runner passed out and I went sprinting to the finish to get medics to the scene. Also, I didn’t really have any followers from start to finish. There was one who stuck with me through 15K and was very appreciative of my support, but she decided to take a walk-break. Which, as I know, sometimes you got it, sometimes you don’t.
That’s what I love about running. A runner is a runner and we are all the same, regardless of our pace. Some days we have good runs, some days they aren’t so good, but the thing about runners is that we continue to lace up and do our best.
While October isn’t completely over, my racing/pacing is for a while. I’m looking forward to a little rest & recovery and getting started working on my next set of goals.