Place: 134/265; 7/30 age group
On Friday night, I ran the Beat the Heat 5K. It is a fundraiser race that the local high school XC team hosts. I'm not sure who in their right mind thought that it would be a good idea to have an Arizona race in August at what is usually the hottest time of the day....but they must have some connections with the big guy (John Candy - RIP) because the race has had rain the last two years and had 20 degree cooler than normal weather this year.
I was running this race with the normal Phoenix Runner Crew: RunningLaur, Rio, and JeffG. Unfortunately, Jeff txted me 55 minutes before the start with "WTF? The race is tonight and not Sunday???" I honestly thought that he was joking and was going to pop around the corner and de-pants me. (That was what normally happened to me when I was in High School) Turns out he wasn't kidding or going to de-pants me. That didn't stop me from looking for him for 30 minutes.
I hate night races. HATE HATE HATE. Before a race, I'm usually nervous enough to create a diamond between my clenched butt cheeks. As it is, with night races, I "get" to stew about the race all day long. I'm bad about hydrating, resting, and my stomach is always a little off. Fortunately, for this race, Lauren took me up on her offer to pace her. To say that I jumped at Lauren's request would be like saying that Bozo the Clown was a 'happy' and 'just a little bit creepy' guy. Check out her report here.
So, my race report is primarily from a pacers point of view. This was her race - I was just there for the free T-Shirt, the free Fuze juice drink (along with Fuze drink girls!), and to run 9:15 min miles.
Mile one was a combination of dodging elementary schoolers who sprinted the first 400m and me doing my best to sprint ahead and get a picture of Lauren while we all had enough oxygen in our brains to know which was was forward. My pacing strategy for this mile was to just act like it was a normal run.
I was only moderately successful in taking good pictures
Mile three was spent one of two ways. First, I continued to do all of the talking. No more questions, just statements. "10 minutes left.....you can do it" etc. Lauren had previously said that she is a pretty good follower, so I spent around 1/3 of the mile about 10 feet in front of her pushing the pace. Every 60 seconds or so I'd let her catch up, would tell a witty antidote (check the dude in the jean shorts!), and then would continue with the 9:15 pace as requested.
The result? A new PR! She crushed her "all time" PR by 25ish seconds and killed her "recent" PR by 1:30. I can honestly say that this was one of the most fun races to date. I was able to help someone achieve their full potential - which is what running is all about.
I will most definitely pace again - in fact, I think that I am going to look into pacing a full marathon. If you know anyone who is a race director in one of the states that is white in the right bar let me know! How could I argue with these results?