I figured I'd better get a pace report up here because on Saturday I'm racing a 1/2 marathon, and I wouldn't want a race report and a pace report too close together.
Last Saturday I had the privilege of pacing the 1:30 group at the Minnesota 1/2 Marathon. For most of pace groups this year my groups have been small. Also, I've dropped just about all of them before the end of the race. So, at a 6:52 / mile I planned on having a small group. I also figured that most people who could run that pace wouldn't really need a pacer.
I was wrong. I had a pretty decent group at the beginning of the race and most of them stayed with me until the end of the race. A couple of them introduced themselves to me and a few of them even chatted a little bit while we were running. Most of the 1:35 groups I've paced are pretty quiet. Most people who are racing a 1/2 marathon don't have a ton to say, but this group actually talked a little bit.
I paced this course last year so if you're at all interested in the course layout because you're thinking of running the race, you can read last year's report. Suffice to say it's actually a fairly hilly course with a lot of gradual ups and downs and not a lot of flats. This makes keeping an even pace more difficult, though I always tell my group that I pace more by effort--a little faster going downhill and a little slower going up.
The course was marked pretty decently until mile 13--just as I was telling my group we had a little less than a quarter mile left, I looked up and saw the mile 13 marker. "Oh," I said. "I guess quite a bit less than a quarter mile." Unfortunately that last "tenth" was actually 0.23 miles. I noticed it was going to be more than a tenth, but by the time I did I would have had to sprint to break 1:30, so I had to settle for 1:30:12. Not too bad.
Laura came along and was watching two kids whose parents were both running the race. The night before she was packing up some things for them to do--markers and poster board (to make signs), books, cowbells, chalk, snacks and all sorts of stuff. I told her, "man, if I was watching someone's kids, I'd just show up. I might have some rusty nails for them to play with and tell them, 'now kids, don't cut each other.'"
So of course she did a nice job and got to cheer on the race. She even waited for me to run five miles afterwards to finish my workout.
It was a fun race with nice weather and a perfect way to cap off a 100 mile week. This week I'm cutting back the mileage a little and racing the Gopher to Badger 1/2 Marathon--the same race I set my PR at last year.