Pacing Monster Dash Half

I had a blast pacing the Monster Dash Half Marathon this past weekend. My gorgeous daughter co-paced. Tam, the other pacer who thought she was hired to be a co-pacer kept both of us in check making her the ultimate pacer. I would rank us as: Tam- Pacer Queen, Daughter-Pacer Princess, and Me Happy Pacer.

On to the report.

Friday night I fueled up with a pork belly Bánh mì complete with jalapeno peppers and a delish chili sauce in anticipation of my upcoming pacing gig the next morning. I then laid out my costume did a bit of homework and hit the sheets.

Saturday morning I ate my usual flat bagel with peanut butter while sadly noting there were no banana’s to be found. Bummer.  I put on some running tights and wore two long sleeve running shirts in an attempt to combat the cold wind I knew was outside. My costume went over the top of that. I grabbed Ms. Garmin, some gloves, and my running shoes and was good to go. Daughter was doing similar minus the costume.

We drove to the race location without issue as hubby is familiar with the area and parked on a side street. It was COLD. I didn’t want to leave the van. We braved the cold, walked over the bridge and made our way to the pacer tent where the stern lead pacer was handing out singlets.

The Stern Lead Pacer Don

The Stern Lead Pacer Don

This is where I got to meet my co-pacer, Tam. We did some quick introductions and then figured we should make our way to the starting area to line up.
“Hey, Tam, do you have the pace sign?”
“I thought you had it”
We looked all over the small tent area as if it would magically show up under the plastic table…or on top of it if we looked three times in the same spot. It didn’t appear. There just wasn’t a sign.
The headpacemaster said there should have been a sign. It was too late to make one by this point as we had wasted time thinking the other person had the sign so we decided to just go without.

Me just before heading to the start

Me just before heading to the start

We lined up by the 11:00 Flag (we were pacing 2:25) and waited for the start.

Did I mention it was cold? The start was delayed for about 10 minutes. Luckily people were in good spirits and jokes were being cracked. This made the cold wait quite bearable.

The line burst forward. Then stopped. Then moved. Then stopped. Then we walked towards the starting line. Finally…we were off. I hit my garmin as we crossed the mat and from then on would check it obsessively as I didn’t know what an 11:00 pace was and didn’t want to let people down.

Hubby snagged on photo, Tam on outside, me in middle, daughter with red headband.

Hubby snagged one photo, Tam on outside, me in middle, daughter with red headband.

Everyone was wearing cool costumes, so it was easy to cheer on the runners who were running with us. “Wonderwoman, you are simply wonderful” “Salt, where is pepper?” “I love your Mohawk, is that why you’re moving so fast?”

There was a gentleman named Dan who hadn’t run over 6 miles and needed to make it to the 10 mile finish. He figured if he used us, he would get there as we were slightly under his usual 6 mile pace. Good plan! He was extremely cheerful  and full of jokes. When his hips started to hurt just past mile 6, he took it in stride and it was fun to encourage him with the countdown to mile 10. At just over 8.5 we encouraged him to take off a bit faster and push the pace into the finish. He took off with a smile.
A 5 month pregnant woman ran next to me off and on using the pace group to run at a more easy pace for her baby. She ran as though it was effortless and said only her feet hurt “maybe from the added weight”  She was dressed as a skeleton and in wonderful shape. I’m sure the baby will be born with running shoes.
The best comment was in the beginning from a group of guys who ran up and questioned if we were pacers or pacer decoys. They bantered back and forth about whether we were seriously going to go the desired  11min pace or whether we were going to go fast then slow then fast then slow and mess with them.  They then started discussing whether they could get a hold of pacing jerseys and do this at a race! Look out for the pacer decoys people!
According to Ms. Garmin our miles tended to be about 10:48 on average so we did run slightly fast for the pace we were attempting to hold. The Monster Dash Course is mainly downhill and I admit that Tam and Daughter were frequently giving me a knock on the arm to check my pace as I would talk to someone and speed up a bit.  When we hit mile 13 we put the brakes on, waved everyone on for their finishing sprint and shuffled slowly into the finish behind. We finished at 2:23:41, a bit ahead of the 2:25:00 pace.

The cool medal/belt buckle received at the finish.

The cool medal/belt buckle received at the finish.

I loved the pacing and will definitely do it again. I’ll pace at 9:30-10:30 so that I don’t mess up the people I’m pacing though as that’s a pace I’m comfortable with. I admit that the people that were running in the 2:25 area were awesome though and if I can figure out the pace, I’d be glad to run with that group again too.

I’m seriously lucky that I got the chance to have my daughter pace with me and that someone like Tam was willing to keep the pace nice and steady.

To anyone who was out at the Monster Dash, I hope you had a great race!

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