Sorry for the play on words, it just rolled out there.
When the opportunity came from Beast Pacing to jump into the water for the first time as a pacer, I was nervous but I decided it would be a good new half marathon challenge for me. The Pacific NW Marathon is a brand new event for the Eugene area. It would be a smaller event that advertised itself as an all abilities friendly event. So I had figured that it would be a good one to see if pacing was something I could actually do. (I freely admit, I have had a track record of having miserable pacing instincts) I was put at the 2:55 pace, which I knew was totally doable so I did a lot of work to try and make sure doing.
Packet pick up for this event was at Valley River Center at the Sport Authority. It was well organized and I was in and out very quickly. The team at packet pickup was very friendly and very excited that I had made the trip from Portland.
Now, let me emphasize something. The Pacific NW Marathon is a no frills event,which is not a bad thing, I think it leads to the fact its more of affordable race. The packet consisted of your number, your really pretty event shirt, and a few coupons from local sponsors. The race was to raise funds for Girls on the Run of Lane County.
Race morning was Saturday morning which was a first for me in Eugene. The race started at 7, and I managed to get to the race early for the first time in a long.
They had a vacant shop opened up for day of race packet pick up. Which allowed everyone to stay warm and cozy inside until the race started. They also allowed you to leave your warm up clothes inside.
The start of the race was well organized. Beast Pacing only had three pacers for the half, myself, someone at 2:25 and someone at 3:25 who took an early start. So we made sure to spread ourselves out with me being parked at the back.
I met three ladies as we had prepped for the start who all had goals of running sub 3’s on their half. One of the ladies had been running with her son who was a first timer out to support his mom and two girls who are best of friends one running her first.
We took off at an agreed upon 4 min running, 2 min walking cadence which banked us enough time for walking the water stations.
The course was a different course then I have done in Eugene, it was closer to running Springfield. Each turn was marked with chalk, even when they did not have the volunteers to man the station (I think with this being such a small event and being the weekend before the Eugene Marathon made it harder to get volunteers) it was easy for us to figure out where we had been going though we literally had been running as a group by ourselves. The course itself was quite beautiful with some scenic views of the rivers, some of the farm land that I had never seen.
The water stations had been small and manned by one or two people. The first one was near mile 3, which is probably my only real complaint about this race. Also, I think the GPS was way off, but I had this measured at 13.3 miles. It happens a lot so its not a big thing for me, but I know for some it is.
Our group was AMAZING. We spent a lot of time talking about our individual running journeys and we also may of may of not been the Proclaimers a few time on the course, which caused the marshals to start dancing with us.
Our group got separated around mile 7 as the mom had been having blister issues and the girls ran ahead a bit. I caught up to the girls, one of which was running her first half. And we ran together, I tried to do everything I could to motivate and encourage the girls because at this point we had all been feeling it.
As we came back around, I encouraged the girls to get ahead of me, because I had a few seconds to burn on my pace.
We got our finishers medals, and fluids and enjoyed a really well organized stretching area from Oakway Fitness. Again the post race was no frills, but I am okay with that if it makes for a more affordable event. The mom and son finished just a few mins behind us.
All four people told me that they might not of been able to do it without me, which was very humbling. And for the fact that I was freaking out about the pace, my official time was 2:54:47, which was almost perfect.
The race director found me, and asked me what I thought about the race. The one thing that kept getting to me with this race was how inclusive it was. I have never seen a race where the elite runners actually took a couple seconds of energy to tell the BOP (back of packers) that we had been doing a nice job. And the volunteers had been so energetic and on top of their game. This race defiantly had its growing pains, but for the first year it defiantly found a way to differentiate itself from the rest.
I want to defaintly thank Vanessa at Beast Pacing for giving this first timer a shot. And the race director for taking the time to come talk to me just to see what I thought. I will be back.