Monday, February 16, 2009

We were just *this* close!

What an experience this weekend..... pacing my friend Adriana for the last 10 miles of her first marathon!

I gotta tell ya.... I was more nervous about this than I was for my own first marathon last year! I mean if I have a bad day, or need to stop for a bathroom or whatever..the only person affected is me! But she was going to be counting on me to hit her 8:42/M pace and I couldn't let her down!

It was a really fun day. I parked my car up by Shoal Creek/Anderson Lane...right around mile 17. Then I walked down the course from 17 - 15 to where I was supposed to meet her. It was REALLY COOL to get to see the leaders and everyone else who was going sub 3:55.

It was funny to see so many expressions from folks I knew who were running and saw me...there were like "WTF? Why aren't you running? Get in here!" But it was really fun just cheering people on. (Shocker -- I know. Me, enjoying cheering.)

So, I got to the corner of Great Northern and still hadn't seen A yet. This was not a good sign. Then the lovely and talented MEREDITH passed by with her awesome 3:50 group! YAY Meredith!!

It was great to see her, but not so great to not see A. But within a few moments I saw her waving frantically at me. YAY! There she is! Ok, here we go.

I had her check her watch because I couldn't figure out how long she'd been running since I'd heard they'd started late. Turns out she was about 4 minutes behind her cumulative time according to our handy dandy pace bands. Ok...we had some work to make up.

Other than being a bit behind, she was doing great. She appeared to be taking plenty of nutrition along the way and I was carrying a water bottle so I offered her water in between water stops until we ran out.

We ended up getting into a good pace. I figured we try to pick up some time on the downhills and keep our average pace on the ups and that should eat into the 4 minutes a little bit, right? I figured we had 10 miles to make it up. That seemed doable. And appeared to be working as I kept checking the cumulative time at each mile marker...for about 7 miles.... then it started getting tough.

A couple times she said she wanted to walk...just for a bit...I said, "NO WALKING! You may run slower, but we are NOT WALKING." So we slowed for a bit and then we'd pick it back up. I remember one time after the turn from 15th, I looked back and she was walking. I hustled back to her, but my hand on her back and said, "C'mon. Get it going. Just jog. Then we will pick it up. C'mon. You got this." And she did indeed pick it back up and get going.

Dean Keeton was a killer. Everybody was having a hard time with that hill. I her and everyone else who was around us to just keep working up the hill...recover after the crest...keep the legs moving...big arms, little legs...go, go, GO! We made it up and kept going.

At this point, I forgot to check the total time and just kept trying to motivate, get the pace up, keep going. I had no doubt that she would finish...but I was worried about meeting her overall time goal.

Our paces for the last 10 ended up:

She finished at 3:51:38. Which is AWESOME for a first marathon!

The only bummer is she missed her Boston Qualifying time by 39 SECONDS!

Ugh. So frustrating!! I feel like I had known exactly what our cumulative time was and just how close we were, I could've communicated that to her and I'm sure she could've found a little extra in the tank to make it.

I got some awesome advice today from another friend with a similar pacing experience and he suggested having the runner either wear two watches at the start and give on to the pacer when the meet up or just have the runner hand her watch over to the pacer so the pacer knows EXACTLY what the cumulative time is.

Damn. That's a good idea. It would have been a GREAT idea if I had known Saturday. Shit.


Sadie J said...

You are a great friend to run her in and keep her motivated. That is an awesome time for a first marathon, BQ or not.

Chad missed his BQ time by 37 seconds a few years ago (the really cold year with the chip malfunction). His chip was one of the few that had recorded correctly...bummer. It will just make it even more sweet when she does get the BQ.

Congrats to Adriana for staying tough at the end.

Shorey said...

Good effort, D! Pacing is a lot of pressure, and I'm sure Adriana appreciated you being there for her.