Race Pacing Changed My Life


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Hi everyone!

As many of you know, I was given the opportunity to be the 2:30 Pacer for the Modesto Half Marathon this past Sunday.

I am proud to say that it was a ground breaking, earth shattering, life altering experience.

It was an event that I will never ever forget.

To answer your first question…

How close did you get to the 2:30 finish time?

Well… pretty damn close.

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Preeeetttyyyy damn close.

To answer your second question…

Was it hard?

No, actually it wasn’t.

The weather was perfect, running 13 miles is now surprisingly easy for me, and I enjoyed myself the entire time.

Now let’s answer the third and most common question that I got along the course…

Was it hard to hold the sign the entire time? Was it heavy?

Again, no, surprisingly not.

I just felt like I was holding a stick the whole time (which technically I was, but that’s besides the point).

I did feel the wind push against the sign a little, but it was never annoying.

I was proud to hold it actually, knowing that it was a beacon of light for those who were struggling gave me a lot of confidence.

Question four:

Did you get anything cool for pacing?

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Yesssssssssssssss. On top of getting a free entry into the race, a snack pack filled with delicious snacks from the GetFit Team, I received this cool INOV8 hydration pack.

I have been in the market for a while now for a new one…

Embarrassingly enough, the bladder of my UltraAspire pack is discolored and gross (thanks Nuun).

But that is entirely my fault.

I am lazy.

But I digress.

Let’s get to the good stuff!

I have NEVER had so much fun running a race in. my. entire. life.

This is no joke people.

I started the race rolling pretty deep with runners.

I introduced myself to everyone, told them my strategy and made sure they knew I was here to have fun.

Everyone was very welcoming and we banded together to form #TeamAshley

It was trending on Twitter…

(Not really, but it should have been)

Anyway, we all chatted, cheered and had a blast for the first 5 or so miles.

A few runners fell off, but I kept right on truckin’.

After having so much fun from miles 1-5, I realized that I was about a minute or so behind pace, so I told everyone I was going to pick it up a little to catch up.

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Miles 5-1o were a bit of a blur.

I do know though that I enjoyed running without my headphones (something I was nervous about) and meeting so many different people- learning where they were from and what their running story was.

I will say that we are an amazing group of people, who never cease to amaze and inspire me.

Then we hit mile 10 and everyone started getting pretty serious.

A lot of the runners who were still with me were first time half marathoners, and a few wanted to PR.

So I knew that I had some big shoes to fill in the last few miles.

I had to carry these people to the finish, motivate them to dig deep, and let them know they were not going to fail.

They couldn’t! Not on my watch.

As I am writing this post, tears are welling up in my eyes.

And they have… many times, actually, since I crossed that finish line 2 days ago.

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And I will continue to get emotional when I look back on that day in the future.

Because race pacing changed my life.

Pacing gave me the opportunity to take the focus off of me and my goals.

I was able to help people believe in themselves when they needed it most.

It was the most amazing feeling in the world.

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I finished the race with 14 seconds to spare and celebrated at how close I had gotten to 2:30.

 I hugged all of my runners and waited for some stragglers to finish.

They wanted to take pictures with me, some were crying and I could not have been more proud of them.

They did it!

They all finished.

Everyone was so thankful for my help.

It was absolutely amazing.

I am already looking forward to my next pacing gig with Beast Pacing on May 7th at my favorite race on the planet, Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon

(Register to run with me! Save $10 using code DRAMBJones).

I’m officially hooked!

-RatherBeRunnin’

Let’s connect!

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(Stay tuned for my Modesto Half Marathon Race Review & Recap on Thursday!)

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53 thoughts on “Race Pacing Changed My Life

  1. Marsha says:

    That’s so awesome! I’d be afraid I’d have a bad day or something on not keep the right pace. What does it take for you to get prepared to do this and feel confident to get to the finish line at just the right time without splits being all over the place?

    Like

    • RatherBeRunnin' says:

      The most important thing is to pick a pace that is a minute to a minute and a half slower than what you typically run and practice holding that pace. I think i got really lucky for my first time doing it, but I will admit I checked my pace and split every few minutes just to make sure I was on target.

      Like

  2. 1happypace says:

    I am so happy that I just came across this and I enjoyed it from the very first word to the last, with each sentence that I read it became so clear to me that I want to be a pacer for a half marathon also in the very near future. Thank you very much for sharing this experience.

    Like

  3. James L says:

    Congratulations on your pacing work – I watched a half marathon last year and saw the pacers – I admire the ability to be able to run towards a particular time (I think some where 5/10 minutes out though 🙂 )

    Like

  4. Jenn Collins (@JennyKnox13) says:

    I’m pacing a 5:30 group for a marathon this fall. It will be my first pacing gig and my first concern was about holding the sign. That’s a long time to hold a sign! But I have a feeling it will be totally worth it. Love this post – thanks for sharing!

    Like

  5. mawil1 says:

    When I read the title I thought ‘ wow, how cool to be a pacer, to be so confident in your running that you know you can do a set distance in a set time’. Then I read the rest and hats off to you with respect! It’s more than just running at a steady pace with a stick! It sounds like you did such a great job motivating others and it was fun for you too. Great post!

    Like

    • RatherBeRunnin' says:

      Yes! It was my 17th half, so I knew I could run the distance and the pace. But you are right it is so much more than that. It’s about helping people forget they are in pain, coaxing them to keep going and helping them believe that they can do it. It was a life changing event! ❤️

      Like

  6. thebeelife says:

    What a great story – thanks for sharing, and definitely inspiring. Not matter how many races you run, finishing is always a new amazing feeling/accomplishment and to finish knowing you helped many others (when I’m sure they wanted to stop) is awesome! I never really thought much about the pace runners, until now!

    Like

  7. Judith says:

    that is so cool! congratulations!! i remember during my first half, i tried my hardest to stay just a bit ahead of the pacer to make sure i made my personal goal time hahah

    Like

  8. Rebecca Royy says:

    Oh my goodness…you brought tears to my eyes! Nice work on the time too!! I’ve always been afraid to be a pacer in case I didn’t do a good job. I’m a bit inspired now!

    Like

  9. runner1313 says:

    See? Isn’t pacing wonderful? I love it. I am fresh off pacing a few weeks ago, and am set to pace a marathon again in less than two weeks. It really is something special. Glad it was a great experience for you.

    Like

  10. Hugh says:

    I’ve done pacing at local 5K parkruns – both officially and unofficially. It is amazing how grateful and much of a positive difference it makes to the runners who follow you. Well done you!

    Like

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