Seattle Marathon Pacing

A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered to Pace for the Seattle Marathon.  I got signed up through Team In Training (TNT).  I did a season with them for my first marathon and still run with a lot of my friends from TNT.  One of the Coaches forwarded me an email which said they were looking for Pacers.  He suggested I should do it.  Now I was only 3 weeks out from MCM and thought – what another full marathon?  I’m not so sure… Come to find out, as a pacer, you don’t run the whole thing! You can if you want, but you have the option of running half if they find someone else.  They found someone else! So I agreed!

The Seattle Marathon was November 27th.  Its always the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the weather always SUCKS.  I have not signed up for this race because of the weather. I have heard about people running this race in snow, sleet, hail, rain and sun.  Way to unpredictable for me! Also, I heard the coarse was hard.  (Someone should have reminded me of this…) So per usual, day of the race it was raining pretty good, but luckily about 47-48 degrees.  Now if you ever run in the rain there is a difference between running in the rain at 42 degrees and 48 degrees. I was very glad it was 48!

I headed downtown with plenty of time to spare and even found FREE parking! Street parking is free on Sundays! I parked almost a mile away.  I wasn’t sure exactly how things were going to be near the start line and wasn’t worried about the extra mile! I jogged to the start and finally found the TNT group to get my bib (so I could legally be on the coarse) and sort out a ride to the halfway point.  I almost didn’t find a ride and thought I was going to have to run the full thing, but I ended up riding with another coach to mile 10.5.  Based on our calculations we had ~1.5 hours before my group would come and at least 30 minutes before anyone would get to mile 10. We hung out in the car because who wants to stand in the rain for an hour and half?  After people started coming by we cheered and would run with any TNT person we saw. I ran probably the same 0.25 stretch a few times with different people.  Just encouraging them.  I ended up at mile 11 with a porta potty near by and hit that right before my group got there.  I was about done with waiting – it was COLD.

I finally saw the group and started up running with them.  Since I had fresh energy I was able to keep people going.  I chatted with Emily to see how she was feeling and she was doing pretty well. Possibly starting to get a bit tired.  We were pacing the 5:30 marathon group.  That is a 12:36 mile.  I don’t normally run that slow and Emily and I both finished MCM right at 5 hours so this was hard.  We had some time to work together and get the pace sorted out.  We had a small group of 5-6 people with us.  Emily decided to drop back and walk some and not keep the pace at mile 16.  We hit the water stop there and I kept chugging along.  I had picked up another girl with some nice loud music and a guy who was running this for his Birthday.  We kept going and closer to mile 18 some of the group wanted to stop and walk, and the birthday boy wanted to pick up the pace.  I had to keep my pace so I had to let people do what they wanted! Here are a couple pictures of Emily and I running together:

Rule #1 of being a pacer was NO walking and run the pace!

I think it was somewhere around mile 19 where I picked up barefoot Todd.  Yep running barefoot.  This is also where the hills started.  I thought it was one or two medium hills.  But we kept going up and up and up.  I had no music and just had Todd and others to talk to, but survived.  We were running through the Arboretum and it was pretty.  And if you notice I was also carrying that dang sign.  yep the whole time.  When I got windy, it was HARD.  Towards the end, I was just running with Todd.  Most people were walking, the rain had picked back up.  I had energy so I was able to encourage a lot of people and be that ‘annoying’ runner! It was fun! The last mile though I ended up running alone! I got to the finish and waited for the next runner and ran a super nice lady in! I ran under the clock in 5:29:xx.  HOORAY! Right on target!

Some thoughts:

Clothes: I wore my compression tights, Craft pro zero extreme shirt, TNT tee and craft vest with smart wool socks.  This was perfect.  If it had been colder I might have needed something else.  The vest is awesome because when it was warmer, I could unzip and when it got windy/chilly I zipped it up and it made a difference immediately! My feet never bothered me being wet or cold in Smartwool socks.

Pacing: It is one HARD job, but really fun!  if you are out there to just run and encourage people, its great! A warning though- choose a pace you are comfortable talking at and won’t push yourself.  I might have been able to pace a 5 hour group, and easily done a 5:15 group. The 5:30 was fine, but it was definitely slow.  Many times my legs wanted to go faster. However I ended up being very consistent:

(The last little bit was me running back to my car.  I did have to slow down a bit towards the end to make sure I came in at 5:30)


This does NOT include the first 11 miles of the coarse. Just the last 16. Yeah.. some of those hills were STEEP. Was not totally prepared, but was very proud that I was able to RUN them all!!

I ended up with ~17 miles for the day and felt great! Only some mild soreness later that evening and the next day felt almost normal!

Would I do it again? Yep!

And I would encourage you, to volunteer. Get involved. Help out. It is a GREAT feeling!!


About Karla

Runner, Christian, Reader, All about living a healthy lifestyle and living for God!
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