Adventures in Pacing

24 Apr

This past Sunday, I crossed something exciting off of my “To Do List” – I ran a half marathon as a pacer. The race was the Kansas Half Marathon in Lawrence, KS, and was expected to have an awesome turnout this year.

The pace group that I was responsible for leading was the 1:55 group. Stacy ran beside me as my co-pacer (she is a seasoned veteran at pacing) and together we had the energy and pacing skills needed to lead our group to their goal!

Smart Pacing

The pacers for this race follow a Smart Pacing strategy. This strategy helps you to run a smart race, and ensures that you don’t start out too fast. It also gives you some cushion on the hills.

I have used the Smart Pace Strategy in all of my recent races, and let me tell you – it works! If you visit the Smart Pacing website, you can learn more about the strategy, and how it can benefit you. There is also a link to Races2Remember, which uses the Smart Pacing strategy to create Pace Bands.

The Pace Bands are genius. They include a number of different races (13.1/26.2) and customize your pace band to that race. These people are SMART. And they know what they are doing. They will create a band just for you, and do it for you cheap. Please, give ’em a try for your next big race. You won’t regret it!

The pace band for my race is shown below.

And it fits to comfortably on your wrist!

Now look at the elevation chart for the race. See how this band compensates for the hills? And gives you warm up time, as well as the inevitable slow down time at the end of the race? Like I said, it is genius. And it will help you to run the way you should run.

The Race

Ok, now I will transition off of the Smart Pacing soapbox, and talk about the race.

Stacy and I lined up at the start, and met our group. We had such a fun assortment of people with us, and all were trying to achieve a goal of breaking 1:55. I love being around people who love running as much as I do, and they were certainly present in our pace group.

The stick is actually quite easy to carry!

The course was hilly, and had some questionable areas (i.e. running at least 5 miles on a sidewalk…..) but it was great overall. And most importantly we were able to keep our group together.

Around mile 11 Stacy encouraged everyone who was really feeling it to take off and finish out the race as hard as they could. We had one guy that wasn’t so sure about this, but after our encouragement he trusted that he could do it, and he ended up setting a BIG PR!

By the end of the race, Stacy and I were crossing the finish line alone. Our group had spread their wings, and flown to the finish. It was amazing to see.

Our official race time was 1:55:11. Best case, we would have finished in 1:54:59, but we stopped right at the end to cheer on some people that needed that extra encouragement (good for them, not so good for our final time).


Pacing was a blast. And was everything I had hoped it would be! Nothing is more rewarding than MULTIPLE people coming up to you after the race, thanking you for helping them reach their goal. Everyone was so gracious, and so kind. They made the experience so enjoyable, and well worth the time I put towards it.

I hope in the future I am able to pace again (if that additional 11 seconds on my time doesn’t black ball me). I also urge everyone who has the opportunity to pace a race to snatch it right up! You will not regret it.

Have you ever ran with a pacer? Or as a pacer?



7 Responses to “Adventures in Pacing”

  1. Heather Iacobacci (@hriacobacci) April 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    How awesome. I ran my first half with a pacer until they broke off for the marathon finish and I think it was one of the best things I did. I was so appreciative of the pacers volunteering so thank you!

  2. nycrunningmama April 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    This is so awesome! I’ve always wanted to be a pacer for a race and this just makes me want to do it more!! =) You seem like such a great person to be a pacer – cheerful, energetic, and friendly!!! =)

    • Anonymous April 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

      I ran the kc marathon with a pacer — best thing I could have done. I ran with the 5 hour pace group and finished at 4:50 ish – great experience and great people!

  3. Corey April 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Awesome job! This does actually give me a little more faith in pacing groups after some horror stories I have heard! Maybe they just need to all take a little lesson from you and Stacey! I definitely need to check out the Smart Bands!

  4. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf April 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    That’s so awesome and sounds like a great experience!!

    • Ktii November 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      Gabe has a persistent penoarslity rather than saying stubborn, it has a much more positive connotation! I’m stealing that!This post is so timely for me. My son, Declan, just turned one and food is totally something I have some secret stress and guilt over. He was a bit slow to start solids because he wasn’t a big fan of being spoon fed. It was such a relief when he learned to feed himself around 9 months! But I find it challenging to present him with new foods because if they aren’t his familiar favorites (cheese, whole grain bread, fresh fruit, plain yogurt mixed with veggie and fruit puree, or whole grain sweet potato pancakes) then he starts throwing them and anything else he has on his tray. He really analyzes his food before taking a bite and anything he can easily squish with his finger is out.I’m really starting to feel like I need to find a way to get him into veggies because the fruit will be way less plentiful after the summer and while I’m sure he could technically survive on dairy and bread it doesn’t seem healthy (wouldn’t want him getting scurvy like a baby pirate!). I also worry about his iron levels, so having him eat a little meat would be nice too.If anyone has ideas on ways to present veggies and meat that are more appealing to kids I’d love to hear them!Also, any tips on how to discourage throwing food? I think part of the food throwing is a developmental thing with testing us for our reaction. He is also hitting then watching us for how we respond. And he suddenly refuses to use his signs (which he loved using only a week ago) and now insists on pointing and screaming when he wants something. He and my husband had quite the power struggle on that one the other night. I try soooo hard to remember he is going through big changes right now and that before I realize it this part will be over and it will be something else that is the issue. And I know that I should be trying to use these moments to teach him what is acceptable and expected and to keep giving him new foods, but I am easily frustrated and often at the end of the day I just want things to go smoothly, so I’ll give in (and then be annoyed with myself later for being such a push-over).Wow, this comment turned into such a vent, sorry about that!

  5. May 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    Those pace bands are awesome! I have been looking for something like that for while, I will definitely be getting one for the NYC Marathon!

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