Thursday, March 20, 2014

Shamrock Marathon: Do Pacers Really Help You?



I started race weekend off by arriving at the expo to pick up my packet and while I was there I got a few goodies.

 A sweatshirt, magnet, and some stickers. I met up with my friend Christine and we listened to Bart Yasso speak about his many adventures he's been on throughout his running career.
 
I then went over to the booth to meet the pacers. Luckily the one I wanted to speak to was there. The 3:45 pacer. I knew I probably wouldn't be with them but I was hoping to finish before the 3:55 pacer which was the next option. I never ran with a pacer but I thought to myself what do I have to lose. So my goal was to keep the 3:45 pacer within my distance and not let the 3:55 pacer pass me. I talked to the pacer about water stops and bathroom breaks (because one race I saw a pacer do that) and he assured me that there would be NO water stops and NO bathroom breaks! Which just confirmed that I was going to bring my own water bottle (which I was contemplating earlier in the day).
 
 Later Christine from We Run Disney  and I met up with a few more blogger, Beachy Runner, and This mamma runs for cupcakes. Then it was time for a pasta dinner to carb up and then to make sure I had everything I needed set out for race day! 

I woke up on race morning feeling good. I told myself that I was not going to stress about the race. It just seemed so long ago since I ran my last marathon (May 2013). I knew that I was not as trained as I was last year for this race, but I still had a goal in mine that I was hoping to get. I had my outfit picked out a few days ago, regardless of the weather (because every day it would change). I wanted to wear green because it was a Shamrock race, so I decided to wear my teal arm sleeves from Running Skirts with a matching tank top and capri pants.
This is the closest variation of green I had!

 Since I was wearing my arm sleeves I was able to keep some of my GUs in them, and the rest in my water bottle pouch. This was another nice bonus, so I didn't have to wear my belt. After I got dressed in the morning I went outside and jogged around a bit. I saw the sun coming out, so I was pretty happy with the outfit I decided on. I chose arm sleeves since you could roll them down or roll them back up. I did think that my shoulders may be a little chilly, but thought after warming up a few miles I wouldn't mind. I didn't even need to wear gloves since my arms sleeves wrapped around my hands. I did decide on wearing my head warmer, and I'm so glad I did, because it was very windy throughout the race. 

Now I know I've said this before but I'm going to say it again. As much fun destinations races can be, you cannot beat doing a race in the town you live in. I literally crossed the street and was at the starting line.

I got in my corral, found my gps signal, and listen to the national anthem, and then it was time to start. I did start behind the 3:45 pacer. I didn't feel the need to be right beside him since I listen to my ipod anyways and wouldn't be able to hear a word he was saying. I started feeling good. I told myself I wasn't going to keep an eye on my gps if I could still see the pacer ahead of me. I got to about mile six feeling really good, like I could have passed him but knew there was a long road ahead of me so I chose to stay back. By about mile ten I did lose the pacer which was fine, because no other pacer passed me. That's when we made our turn on the boardwalk and that's when the wind really started to pick up. I thought maybe I could find a taller guy to run behind. Well of course there was no one passing me at the time, and the group ahead of me was too far up. So I did slow up a bit hoping someone would pass me. Luckily two taller guys started running in front of me so I ran up right behind them so they could block the wind for me. I wonder if they knew what I was doing. I was so close to them that I could have gotten elbowed. I was trying so hard to keep up with their pace. I did the rest of the boardwalk until we made the turn off and got close to mile 13. It was then when one of the guys had to make a pit stop. There goes that idea! I knew after crossing the halfway mark I would not get the time I did last year since I was already behind by a few minutes, however, I felt I was still keeping a good pace. I saw one of the guys in my running group cheering on the sidelines and he recognized me, which gave me a little more motivation.

At about mile 15, I looked at my watch it said 2:10, and I was still going strong. I looked on the other side of the road, which was the 23 mile marker, and saw a few "elite" runners that were practically sprinting! I thought it'd be nice to be on that side. I knew from last year that the next several miles were going to be pretty boring running down Shore Drive, although there were a few spectators and a band along the way. Heading into Fort Story it became very windy. I began thinking to myself I wish I had my gloves and a long sleeve shirt. Or maybe one of those cape things that only cover your shoulders, which looked so goofy when I saw them at expos, but thought it'd come in handy at this moment. So needless to say, that sun I saw in the morning, never ended coming fully out, instead it became overcast and very windy! Well I've already completed 20 miles at this time, I could easily do the last 6.2. And that's just what I did!

I remember crossing the 23 miler marker and looking across the street thinking to myself, I'm so glad I'm not at mile 15 now! After getting to mile 24, I changed my gps from distance to minutes per mile to make sure I was within my pace range. Once I hit the boardwalk I knew I was on the home stretch. It wasn't until I passed the 26 mile marker that I gave it all I had and sprinted across the finish line!  Even though I felt not as trained as I should be, I was only three minutes slower than last year, which I was proud of. 

After I crossed the finish line I had my friend meet  me with my sweatshirt and phone, then I headed to the tent for my tasty stew and listened to the entertainment. We were even offered several Yuengling beers after finishing (but I'm not much of a beer drinker so I didn't have any).


 I was able to find my friends Jane and Christine that were celebrating earlier after completing the half. Congrats Christine for a PR! I left shortly after because it was just too cold. I thought a hot shower sounded more appealing than a cold beer.

What are your thoughts on running with a pacer? Do you use them?

~L

30 comments:

  1. Great job!! Genius idea running behind tall people for them to block the wind!

    I actually really like pacers, not necessarily to stay with them, but start with the pacer who's time is one you'd like to get but at the same time not let the next pacer back pass you.

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    1. One advantage of being a short runner is always finding someone taller to block the wind!

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  2. Awesome job!! I have ran the pacers before and I think to mentally use them if I am not sticking with them. If I am trying to PR though I will stick with the pacer just to make sure I am hitting my targets.

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  3. It's nice to know which range of time I'm running at, but I have not used pacers yet. I do the run/walk, and I like the intervals.

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    1. Yes, intervals make the distance more manageable!

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  4. YOU ROCK!!! Great job!!!!....
    that's awesome using tall people as wind buffers!
    I never used a pacer but I probably should - I tend to go out too strong at the beginning & dud out at the end.
    I think arm sleeves are the best just for the reason you can roll them up or down - versatile

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    1. Thank you Rebecca! I'm really enjoying these arm sleeves. Especially that they have pockets!

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  5. Congrats on your awesome marathon!
    The marathon that I am doing in October has pacers and I think I am going to try and stick with them. I have never ran a marathon but I think this may be good for me! :)

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  6. I never officially signed up w/ a pace group but I have started with them before. I like to use them as guides... knowing what group is just in front of me and what group is just behind me. :)

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  7. I love "running" along with you!!!!!!! So much fun to read about your amazing adventures!

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  8. AWESOME! Congrats on an incredible marathon! This race looks like so much fun; I'd love to do this someday. I've always wondered about running with a pacer, but never actually attempted it. I think I might give it a try at one of my upcoming races! Can't hurt, right? :-D

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    1. Thank you! J and A really puts on some great races! Never hurts to try and stay with the pacers!

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  9. Ive always liked the idea of a pacer and actually stayed ahead of the one I wanted to beat at the ING Hartford Half last year. 2:45. but at mile 7 she was blowing past everyone and I couldn't keep that pace. I did finish 2:50 (PR) but it was the first time I had ever seen pacer and I like the idea. Maybe I'll look more into it.

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  10. Awesome race Lacey! I love your outfit and what a great idea to use arm sleeves as a holder for GU! I have never worn them, but may need to get a pair! Your photos are fantastic, you and your sister always are wearing a beautiful smile!

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  11. Wow, Awesome race Lacey!!!

    I ran my last marathon with a pacer for as long as I could. I really enjoyed it because he was quite entertaining. I also ran my PB by trying to stick as close to him as I could.

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  12. Congrats on finishing the marathon! I've held my gels in my arm warmers, too. And tissue!

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  13. Congrats on another marathon completed! I ran the half this year for the first time, but I've done the full 3x, it's my favorite! (I just hate the drive down from PA). I LOVE pacers when I'm running for a specific time. The 3:35 pacer at Shamrock, Patrick Bowler, is partly responsible for me running my first BQ. In 2012, he came back and got me the last mile, and ran me in at a 7:15 pace. I had missed my BQ by 12 seconds the prior year, and had he not ran me in, in 2012, I might have done the same thing. I BQ'ed with 41 seconds to spare..........

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  14. My current PR was run with a pacer, a 4:09 at the Wineglass Marathon in 2012. I was with the 4:10 pacer the whole way, he had time to spare :) That was a huge improvement for me, down from 4:22, but I think the next pacer was 4:25. I gave it a shot and surprised myself!

    Last year I ran Shamrock with the 4:00 pacer, but dropped off after the halfway point. And then I PASSED HER walking at Mile 23. No, I did not speed up. She had a quad cramp. And was walking with the 3:50 (I think) pacer who had a side stitch. Pacer fail!

    Anyway ... great job on your race!

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  15. Nice work! You've gotta love local!

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  16. Great job! I think I might try a pacer for my half marathon next weekend - it can't hurt, and it should hopefully keep me motivated to keep going the whole time!

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  17. Congrats on your awesome finish! I like to know where the pacers are- I think it is a big motivation :)

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  18. Congrats! I've never run with a pacer before, I'm not a big fan of chatting in a race and the pacers I've come across in races tend to be chatty. I bet that that steady pace does help, especially to keep from having to keep looking at your watch. And you had me cracking up with looking for tall guys just to serve as wind breaks! :)

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  19. Congrats on the race!! I wish I was half as speedy as you :)
    I've never used a pacer since they cause me too much stress. I'm an interval runner so it's too much back and forth and I usually always have a bathroom stop and I tend to walk the water stops since it's so slipper and there are all those paper cup obstacles to watch out for. ;)
    I prefer to run with a friend to have company, but still some flexibility.

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  20. As a tall man known for keeping a consistent pace, perhaps I should wear a shirt in my next race with "This Space Available--Jump in Line!" printed on the back. What do you think? :-)

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