As per usual, I waited until the very last minute to make my weekend running plans. George told me to sign up as a pacer for the Tobacco Road Marathon, but I hesitated because I thought that by this weekend I was going to be in taper mode.
Ann scheduled 25 miles on my training calendar. That’s when I told George I wanted to be a pacer, but it was too late I had missed the deadline. I knew that Tricia would be running at the Tobacco Road Marathon and remember telling her last fall that I was down to run on her first marathon with her. I checked the website to see if registration was still open and luckily it still was so I registered that Thursday before the race.
Friday was the start of a 4-day weekend. I still went on base to get a speed workout at the track that made me want to puke. I met with Tricia and we went to the race expo to pick up our packets. There, we met Jeff Galloway who was a member of the 1975 U.S. Olympics Team. Since I was being shy, Tricia asked him how long did it take for him to become an Olympic athlete. He said 14 years, there is hope ya’ll!
Saturday night I stayed over at Tricia’s house. On the way there, George messaged me and asked if we wanted to carpool with. He had a parking pass – something we both missed out on during registration. Heck yeah!! When I arrived, I was greeted by her doggies Hodor and Dobby. Before I went to bed, she fed me and put my hair into beautiful warrior braids that I’ll probably enlist her to do again before my 100.
We woke up early at 0300 on Sunday. You could tell how excited and nervous Tricia was. She brewed delicious tiramisu flavored coffee in a Moka pot and every sip made me feel loved. We had to be at the race site by 0530 so we left around 0400 and picked up George along the way. We were really lucky that he came with us because we were able to park close to the starting line and not have to deal with shuttles. Morning temperatures started in the 40’s. I wore my little black shorts, but I had to borrow a pair of Tricia’s pajama bottoms to keep my legs warm until the race started. We wore nothing green for St. Patrick’s Day, not even a single shamrock, although historians say that St. Patrick’s color is actually blue.
The race began at 0700. We started in the back by George who was pacing the 6-hour group. Tricia’s goals were between 4:30-5:00. Honestly, I felt so nervous about pacing her. What if I ended up not feeling good that day? What if I let her down and disappoint her? I never drink alcohol during a race, but one aid station was handing out mimosa so I decided, “Sure why not?” We sped up and got into a rhythm, I stayed fixated on the 5:20 pacer’s sign until we caught up to him. Leading the 4:50 group in front of us were my friends Amy, Laurie, and Lisa. Again, I stayed fixated on the white sign until we caught up to them.
We started slowing down after mile 17. By this point, I forgot to apply Skin Slick so I struggled with the discomfort of my thunder thighs rubbing together. There was Vaseline at the aid station available, but I decided to tough it out over making a mess in my hands. We started alternating between running and walking. At the race expo, we learned that the Run-Walk-Run Method was invented by Jeff Galloway. Also, I started a little game of Pick n Run that George taught me where you’d pick a runner in front of you and try to run past him/her. I said to Tricia “See that old lady? She’s about to beat us.” She exclaimed how that didn’t motivate her, but we ended up running past her and crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 58 min!
I’m so proud of Tricia for completing her first marathon and I’m really glad that I was able to honor my own words. Feels really good to help someone else accomplish their goals! Hope I can get her out on a 50k next 😉