This is the second running of Race 13.1 Greensboro and my second time pacing this race. Just like many of the Race 13.1 races, we start from a shopping area, Friendly Center. At first it seems strange, but I actually love it. What does a shopping center have a lot of? Parking spaces! There is never a mad dash or stress trying to find somewhere to park for their races. As a person who stresses out finding places to park, I appreciate it!
Many of us in our group were running or pacing this one and we all met right around 6:30am. We made the obligatory port-a potty stop and then moved to our respective areas of the starting line. Cindy was up ahead at 2:00 and pacing solo. Christie and Johnny were pacing 2:15 and I was at 2:30. My pacer from last year was paired with me again this year! It was nice to see her! Cara and Christine were also running it for the first time!
Right at 7am, we were off! The heat and the humidity were kicking from the get go. This year was a lot warmer than last year and by mile 2, I was already sweating. For those who live in town, the race turns out of Friendly Center and heads towards Hobbs Road, where we follow that all the way the newer section of the Greenway by Fleming Road. For those who don’t live here, it’s a roller coaster of a course! It’s a challenge as a pacer to stay even. The uphills are hard and some are steep. We have rolling hills here in Greensboro; these hills are different. We purposely avoid running down Hobbs.
We were running as even as we could. I would run comfortably along the downhills and tackle the hills without powering up them. Cara would yell my name back occasionally as she’d spy a hill up ahead. It was cracking me up! You couldn’t do anything but laugh. At mile 3, my co-pacer unfortunately started getting calf cramps to the point that they were really painful. She slowed down just a bit, but they would not let up. By mile 4, I was running by myself. I kept on through the two neighborhoods that connect Hobbs to the Greenway. Cara and Christine were with me along this section. I was feeling really relaxed and enjoying the flattest section of this race. It was a great break from the hills!
I should mention that from mile 3 on, my watch was off with the mileage and it was growing with each mile. I was trying my best to cut corners, but by the turn around, I was off per mile, hitting the markers at .2 over. I hit the turn around at mile 6.8 (clearly should have been about 6.6). I was trying to do the math to figure out how to adjust my pace to ensure I was close to 2:30 with the added distance. Right now, I would have been over by a minute or two.
I stuck to pace as we turned an headed back. I picked up the pace just a bit, still not powering up any hills, by mile 9. I was hoping that it was enough to ensure being close to 2:30. At this point the real deal hills show back up. There is one hill crossing Westridge that is an absolute beast. I walked up part of it. I continued along the course, seeing several of our friends out there volunteering! It was a great boost to see them!
At mile 12, I realized that I was off a bit with my time. I figured that if I walked up the last hill, I should be good. It’s one of the tougher hills, coming at mile 12.8. I walked up it and I cheered on several near by runners, encouraging them to go! We were so close! I got to the top of the hill, knowing I had a little bit of time, to encourage the remaining runners coming up the hill! Cara and Christine were right there and we ended up catching up with each other to head through the finish line together.
I finished right at 2:27 with 13.3 miles on my watch. As a seasoned half marathon runner (this is number 38) and I’ve paced 7 races now, I get how pacing works and take pride in being a pacer. I misjudged the pace I needed to make up the extra bit of mileage. I have come in on time for all but one of my pacing races. I felt ill in Raleigh and still finished at 2:16 (pacing 2:15). Cara was my pacing buddy and she took our runners with her in that case.
Pacing is more than just finding the target pace and sticking to it. It also being there to encourage other runners, be the support those people need, and to be the eyes and ears on the course. There’s a reason there are usually two pacers for each time. When in tandem, the work is split among both of us. I had to make the call I made about pace and I’ll stick by it. My head was making the right decision and my heart was agreeing. I also don’t regret stopping to cheer on runners as the conquered the last big hill. If I provided even a boost of much needed motivation to one of my fellow runners then I did my job!
We grabbed our medals, which are awesome!! Love that they changed them to fit each city they host a race in! They are truly unique. We caught up with our friends and grabbed some ice cold chocolate milk! It totally hit the spot! We stayed around just a bit. Some of our friends were out there cheering and volunteering came to the finish line too. My co-pacer came through the finish line and I went to check on her. Poor thing felt miserable! I felt bad for her. I could tell that she was in pain.
The organization of the race itself is down to a science for all Race 13.1 events. They have everything where it is supposed to (water stops). The volunteers and police officers along the course were awesome! So encouraging! There was plenty of water stops along the course, about every two miles. The race tees are some of the best! I love that the medals represent each city. It’s a big, heavy medal also! The post race festivities are great and go on until the last runner comes through. I love that they don’t pack up before all their runners are in.
The course is a beast! It’s one of the toughest routes to run in Greensboro. The Greenway section is a nice break from the hills, but some of those hills are not easy. If I was a first time half marathoner, this course would be a bit discouraging. It’s not that we aren’t used to running hills here; these are just some of the more challenging ones.
Did you run a race this weekend? How did it go?
Go be awesome! 🙂
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