A couple years ago, I had my sights on the Cape Cod Marathon. I trained and felt ready, but by mile 19, the wind had beaten me up.. That’s when Meaghan jumped in! She ran alongside or in front of me (whatever was needed) to help me get passed that “ick” feeling of the final stretch of the marathon. It was the best feeling ever to have someone there to help me through those moments that we all have that come in the form of “OMG, why do I do this?!” and “I just want to stop”. Having her there turned those thoughts into, “I just have to hang on until I see Meaghan”.
On Sunday, I got a chance to pay it forward. The race: Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon. The runner: Carrie.
Scott and I set up shop at somewhere between miles 9 & 10. It was spitting out and a bit windy. We were dressed for the weather, armed with our cowbells, and ready to cheer. As runners started approaching, we started watching for our friends. We saw Karen first, who was running Rockfest Half in preparation for Baystate Marathon in a few weeks. She looked strong and happy. Next, a runner approached us and yelled, “Hey, are you Lisa waiting for Carrie?” I didn’t know this girl, so probably had a big question mark on my forehead. She continued running passed us and yelled back, “I’m Jen from DailyMile!”. Scott is aware of all the social media of course, but doesn’t partake. He was stunned and cracking up at the same time.
Next arrived Carrie – a bit faster than we had anticipated. She looked good too; very focused. Knowing I was meeting her at mile 20, I made a mental note of the time I saw her blow by us. A short time later came Sue and Kellie. This was Kellie’s first marathon and they looked great! They were keeping a nice, conservative pace and seemingly had not succumbed to the “going out too fast” bug most newbies (and not-so-newbies) are bitten by.
From there, I started peeling off layers to prepare for my run. Scott and I ran to mile 20 (double loop, so it wasn’t that far) and waiting for Carrie. Picking her up just before mile 20, we fell into step with her. Scott cut through a side street to get back to the car and a group of runners “called him out” that he “cut the course”. He assured them he wasn’t actually running in the race and continued on.
For me, the 6.2 miles was so much fun! We talked - and then didn’t. I ran slightly ahead of Carrie and tried to keep an eye on both the pace as well as her body language. She seemed OK, so I continued to push the pace. I didn’t push the pace in a dangerous/bonk kind of way, but just tried to keep her from slowing down. I know full well how miles 20 – 26.2 feel, so I rode the clutch a bit – pushing, then easing up a touch, pushing some more.
As we approached the finish, I peeled off to the side and she finished her race. She obliterated her old 3:56 PR with a brand spanking new 3:42 PR! Did I contribute? Probably. Does she owe me anything? Hell no. I got such a charge out of pacing her. The fact that she got herself trained and prepared, both physically and mentally, to run a marathon was ALL HER. I was thrilled to be a small part of something big. And now that I’ve been the pacee and the pacer, I see that both roles are equally rewarding.
Looks like Carrie sees it too, since she will plan on pacing Karen in her final miles of her marathon in a few weeks. Paying it forward….