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.
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.
Did you get anything cool for pacing?
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.
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.
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.
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!
(Stay tuned for my Modesto Half Marathon Race Review & Recap on Thursday!)