Pacing a Friend- The Manitoba Marathon Race Recap

I love running! I somehow forgot that when I ran the Winnipeg police half marathon last month (race recap here). I had put a ton of pressure on myself to exceed my goal and when I fell short I was disappointed in my performance. This weekend reminded me what I had forgotten, that I don’t run to beat a time or win any prizes. Instead I run for the joy, the pleasure, the feeling of satisfaction of overcoming fears, crossing the finish line, meeting new friends and becoming part of a community. The finish time does not define me as a runner. I am no better then someone running 10:00 m/miles or worse then someone running 6:00 m/miles. We are all there for the same goal in mind, which is to cross the finish line.

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Back in January my best friend Katie approached me about a training plan for a half marathon. She has always been active and healthy but not a long distances runner. She watched me fall in love with running and decided to try it out. I was beyond excited. She went all in, throwing herself into the training plan full force and doing it mostly on her own. She surprised me all along the way how she found the time to crush her training goals week after week while chasing after her 2 young daughters.

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Since we didn’t train together she wasn’t sure how she would do chatting with me all the way through (because we all know that’s how I roll) We decided to do one long training run together a few weeks ago so see how she would do. She killed it even with a slight hangover and she felt ready to race.

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Over the last week we discussed the plan for the race and her goal and how she wanted it to look. She decided to try for a 2:00 hour finishing time which was a bit out of her comfort zone. We set a pace goal and planned for 2 walk breaks.

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The night before the race I got a message from an old friend, Kerry, she was wondering if she could join us at the race. She had the same goals for the race and wanted some help pacing and wanted company along the course. I was excited to have her join us.

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I woke race morning to blue skies and no wind (the killer of my last half). I had slept great and was raring to go. We were in the second wave of runners which gave us a bit more time to get through the insane washroom line. We made it to the starting line just in time to hear the gun go off. Kerry wasn’t ready with her watch but Katie and I had already crossed the start line with our chips and were forced to start running. I was disappointed that we weren’t running with Kerry. I tried to watch for her but started  losing hope we would see her. Just as we headed past the mile 2 marker I heard someone call my name. She had managed to catch up to us after sprinting for 2 miles. Once we were all together we settled into a groove and steady pace just under 9:00 m/mile. I paced us there all the way through.

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We stopped and walked at mile 5 and mile 10 for water and gels which took about 15 seconds each. Everything went according to the plan, when does that happen?! I have never felt so strong and confident at the last mile of a race before. Coming down university crescent I met a new friend and we started chatting. I was not really thinking about the finish. He told me I was a great leader and a strong runner. Such a compliment coming from a fellow runner. After chatting a few minutes I joined the girls as we entered the stadium. We ran side by side in and held hands as we crossed the finish line with a time of 1:58. Victory for us all!!

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Yesterday I fell more in love with running then ever before. The people, the energy, the feeling. I love it all. I am so honored to have helped two amazing women achieve there goals. I can’t wait to go for another run…hopefully with some friends.

Have you ever paced a race for anyone? How did it go?

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