Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Prelude to Pacing

As a member of the global running community, I'm always fascinated in the myriad of ways by which our presence as individuals and as a whole enrich the lives and experiences of those within and outside that community. Some of us run races to raise money for charity. Others take on loftier challenges and bigger goals to bring attention and raise awareness for public health concerns (See Sara Stanley in RunRideInspire Project). Still others write blogs, engage in twitter, and produce podcasts that educate and inspire their audience with stories from their own adventures on the road. Heck, even the lonely runner who does none of these things but only complains to his non-running buddies about his ITB acting up in the middle of a weekend long run is contributing to the community by advocating for our sport and engaging others in a conversation about health and exercise. What a wonderful feeling it is to know that no matter who we are, no matter what we do, or who we know, as long as we're consistently getting out there, day after day, running, biking, swimming and staying active, we are all doing our part collectively and sharing our passion for everyone in our communities, our cities and our country to lead healthier lives.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I am heading into the city to participate in the NYRR Manhattan Half Marathon. For me as well as for a lot of the local runners I'm sure, it will be our first road race of the new decade. The excitement and energy for this 13.1 mile race through two loops of Central Park has been palpable on blogs, twitter, and facebook for the past few days. The race has been sold out for weeks and during my visit to the NYRR headquarters for bib and t-shirt pickup on the first day of registration, I overhead a conversation between the volunteers that they had to call in extra help because there wasn't enough manpower to handle the crowds at the t-shirt station. Wow!

Personally, when I was putting together my race calendar for the first half of the year, I never envisioned that I'd be running this race. It's still early in my marathon training cycle, I'm still building up my mileage slowly, and I'm nowhere near my tip-top racing shape. But when my friend Brandon asked me to consider pacing him for his PR attempt in this race a few weeks back, I did not have to waste much time coming up with a response. Unbeknownst to him, he inadvertently created the perfect scenario for me to participate, run, but not race this race! Not only will I be completing my scheduled long run for that week at a 7:15 pace that is perfectly comfortable for me, I also get to run in scenic Central Park, help out a friend, hang out with other Flyers and friends who I haven't seen in many months and develop my skills as a consistent race pacer! (I have serious aspirations of being a BQ pacer in a marathon later this year or the next, but that's another story for another day...) Since the inception of this idea, we've invited several other twitter friends to join us and our impromptu 1:35 pace team for the race tomorrow. I am absolutely thrilled, extremely excited but a little nervous at the same time. The Central Park course, as anyone who's ever run there knows, is extremely technical. There are so many hills, big and small, that to maintain the same pace throughout will be difficult to do. I will do my best to maintain a consistent effort and avoid having to speed up or slow down too much at the end. I sincerely hope I do a good job and everyone who runs with me will have a pleasant experience.

Best of luck to those racing this weekend, both here in the city and elsewhere! Let's all get out there and inspire!


Julie said...

Hi Lam,
You are such a nice guy for helping your friend out with his pacing! Wow, 7:15 is perfectly comfy for you! Good Lord, I could maybe try really hard to do that for a 5k and that is pretty much it:) I hope that you have a beautiful day running in Central Park tomorrow! Take some pictures if you can. I can't wait to hear how it goes for you and your friend:) I will most likely have my new post very late tonight or tomorrow morning. Obviously if I am typing this right now, I lived through mine:) Have an awesome day tomorrow Lam!!

Anne said...

Have fun tomorrow...and wow, 7:15 pace sounds like a "run" in the park for you :)...that's so amazing!

Anonymous said...

have fun man! that's so awesome that youre pacing your friend. good luck to him too

Cris said...

Think I'll be watching and taking pictures. Probably on Cat Hill.

I'm coming out; so you better get this party started.

Ansky said...

Well said Lam. I'll be with some Twitter folks as well. We'll be running somewhere between a 1:45 - 1:50 pace. I remember coming to NYRR races and not knowing a soul. That is not the case anymore. I am very thankful for my new running friends and the support and inspiration a draw from them. Maybe I'll see you out there tomorrow.

pen said...

that's fantastic that you are helping your friend like that! you're a great friend!

good luck, tomorrow!

Jocelyn said...

So awesome that you are pacing peeps. So speedy :D Can't wait to cheer you on tomorrow

Adam said...

I heard you guys on the podcast talking (chat room'ing?) about the possibility of pacing. I'm an epp or two behind, so I'm glad to hear that you're doing it.

Being a pacer would be so much fun - enjoy it!

The Laminator said...

Thanks for all the support and encouragement!

Just as a quick update, the Laminator pacing team came in at 1:35:20, landing my friend Brandon, a 9 min PR!!! Get over there, read his race report
and congratulate him on a job well done!

It was fun times for all! I'll write up a pacing report for this race a little bit later.

Hope you all had yourselves a great weekend!

B.o.B. said...

Hope you had a great race. I always look forward to your recaps. And thanks so much for the condolences and kind words. This community is indeed amazing. :)

Morgan said...

I'm so behind on my reader!

So awesome you are going to pace a friend. I will be hitting refresh after I post this comment to see how it turned out! :)

Also BQ pacer?!?!? That is an excellent goal for you. If ANYONE is capable of doing that it's you!

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