This has been one of my favorite running experiences to date. Not only is this course #totesgorgs (that’s totally gorgeous for anyone over 30) but I was able to pace 2:40 with the Run Your Race pacing team. It was a great experience. Great, great, great experience. This has quickly became one of my favorite races.
A large group of my running friends were running this as well so it was turning into a party as well. Since I was pacing I wanted to run with my friends Christy and Jill. I wanted to help pace them into a new PR. I really, really wanted to run Jill in because she’s wanted to run a sub-2:45 half for a while and it has been frustrating for her that she hasn’t gotten that yet.
After spending the night on Susette’s couch on Friday night, we had a 3am wake up call so we could catch the first bus up American Fork Canyon. That was a first for me. I’ve never taken the first bus to the starting line. And, I won’t lie, I was kind of upset they didn’t have a drawing for people on the first bus like other races do, but … meh. I was just excited to be there with friends.
When I was on the bus I became a tad concerned that I didn’t bring a jacket. I am horrible at this. I really tend to make bad decisions when going up canyons. But, once we got off the bus I was quite surprised that it was somewhat warm. For once I made a good decision. Well, okay, an unintentional good decision?!
I love the starting line of races. There’s an excitement, nervousness and party atmosphere that is contagious and fun. Plus, you’re there with your friends and thousands more unrealized friends. And, it was a party up the canyon. Plus, I was able to catch this awesome panoramic picture of the starting line and canyon … #totesgorgs (see definition above) …
I don’t know how you can NOT love that view. That’s why I will ALWAYS run the American Fork Canyon and Timp Half Marathons from here on out. It’s awe inspiring in beauty. I wish this picture could even do it justice, but it just can’t …
One thing I really love about pacing with this group is that they try to have to pacers per time. At all times one pacer is on pace, while the other one kind of floats and encourages other runners and helps them through hills, hardships, mental challenges, etc. I ran with a first time pacer, Jay, and he was perfect to run with. We traded off holding the pacing sign while the other talked to fellow runners. It worked out perfect.
You don’t see too many half marathons with a 2:40 pacer, but I loved the pace. In a sense, I felt like I was running with my people. We ran with a lot of first half marathoners, some getting back into running and others who are in the middle of their own fitness journey. Jay and I were able to share out stories on a few occasions. Jay has lost over 80lbs. and is training for his first marathon. I couldn’t think of a better pair to somewhat … push up the rear.
There were a couple of runners throughout the race that I really connected with and helped through some mental blocks. Most of them were all first time half marathoners. And, it was awesome getting to know them. I love asking the first time runners the question … why? Because the answers vary. And, during this run it was no different.
A few were in the middle of their weight-loss journey and were working towards a marathon, some were getting back into running after years away and one runner said … “because I had to do SOMETHING with my life.” That really stuck with me, because I think that’s what kind of started me on my journey. I had to do something with my life. I had to become the person I saw in my mind. It was awesome being able to run them in and impart with them some of my lessons of running, because I felt like I could relate with many of their journeys.
Needless to say, it was a great experience.
The one runner that I was MORE than excited to run in was Jill. I told her we would get her a new PR and we did. She did really well during the race. She was ahead of our pace until about mile 11 or so when we caught up. But, we were still WAY ahead of her goal of 2:45. Since Jay and I were trading off with the pace, I decided to run Jill in. I had to. I wanted to. Her journey has inspired me.
I have seen Jill lift herself out of a dark place and gain confidence in not just running, but herself and in her motherhood. The example that she and Mark set for their two daughters doesn’t go in vain. While they both train hard, Jill fights for every mile. I have so much respect for that aspect in her personality. She’s a fighter that won’t give up no matter what anyone else says. And, she fights to be that example to her girls.
Now as she trains for her first marathon it’s been fun watching how it has changed her and her family. I’ve seen a confidence come over her that only training for something like a marathon that brings. Even though recently she’s been frustrated with some of her training runs and timed races she keeps at it. This race she really needed a mental victory of under a 2:45 and I wanted to help her with more than anything.
So that last mile we ran together. I encouraged her … she sworn some (and I laughed) … but once we turned into that last quarter of a mile Mark greeted us and all three of us ran into the finish line. That last tenth of a mile Jill then just BURST through and sprinted to the end. To a 2:43:08 time! Just a tad less than two minutes to spare. I was SO happy for her. So, so, so happy for her. She got her goal. I know without a doubt she will be ready for the Big Cottonwood Marathon.
Overall, I loved this race … TREMENDOUSLY. I needed this race. The past month or so has been a difficult running month for me. After running the Utah Valley Marathon I think I got a little burned out. I’ve kept running my races, but during the week I just lost motivation to be consistent. But, this pacing experience really was a difference for me. Being able to share my story, listen to other people’s stories and seeing goals realized was a great reminder for me of how much I LOVE running.
Running for me is not always about the running as evidenced during the race. It’s just running that brings us together.
Total Mileage Breakdown for 20142014 Training Miles – 444.55 miles 2014 Walking Miles – 45.2 miles 2014 Race Miles – 225.0 miles
2014 Total Miles – 714.75 miles Monthly Total Miles for 2014 January – 100.0 miles February – 100.0 miles March – 130.0 miles April – 140.5 miles May – 108.65 miles June – 83.3 miles July – 68.3 miles