It has been 10 days since I drafted the title for this and several other posts that I have been intending to write. Figured it was about time I posted something and I just received Pacer Jim's email including emails he received back from runners about our pace groups. I was really excited to receive so much feedback and super stoked to help so many runners at the flying pig. So now seemed like as good a time as any to finally get up a pig report.
This was by far my best pace group so far. I think runners at the flying pig really had a handle on a realistic goal for the race (maybe those hills convince them to back off the goal a wee bit). The group was huge, I don't have any idea how many runners I started with but I know the group was large enough that many following our group were not right with me. (Thank goodness my voice carries and our signs are so visible!)
I really had fun at the flying pig. I was decked out in my bright yellow asics outfit, under armour shoes (more about that later), and a visor with a pig snout on top. What had been predicted to be a rainy day was actually quite lovely with just a few sprinkles before the start. I kept a large group up through miles 20+ and this time decided that after mile 20 I would start telling stories about Boston to help encourage any females going for the BQ to stay with me and get pumped up to get that BQ! I think I really helped quite a few first timers and veterans to achieve their goals at the pig and the feedback was quite nice.
Below is my pace report I sent to Jim and it is followed by the feedback I received.
1. Your performance, including the start line
1. I give myself a B+
Pace was pretty good throughout the day. I struggled to get right on though. from about 10 on we were always 20-30 seconds ahead of overall pace. For every mile I would get us close to overall the next would have a downhill or a large crowd causing pace to go back. probably should have walked every other water stop instead of jogging them. I did a good job of letting everyone know every mile where we were and informing new comers of my chip delay. Start line I think I did a good job, never had that big of a group before so I did my best to make sure everyone knew the drill. There were two miles that were faster than 8:30 or were short (mile 11 was either short or I was way too fast) and I feel badly about that although I don't think I lost anyone those miles. I did a great job of motivating and really had fun with this group. By mile 25 I sent those with me ahead and I encouraged those behind me to reel me in and finish ahead of me.
Just want to comment here that I think the pacers must have done an excellent job getting people to sign up, this was by far the biggest pace group I have ever had, and by far had the most people prepared to actually run the pace they chose.
This time around I saved my stories about the Boston marathon for the final 6 miles and kept telling the group they had to stay with me through 20 in order to hear the stories. Not sure if it helped but I had at least 5 women get to Boston that ran with me up through mile 25.
2. Your group
2. My group was just plain awesome. I had so many people I think a lot of them were just trailing the sign. The 20 or so close enough to directly talk to did a great job. This was the longest I have ever held onto runners with almost all of them still with me at 22. I encouraged them to stay accountable to their neighbors in the later miles and that helped. I had three guys who finished just a few minutes behind me and one of them commented that the two young guys grabbed him and helped pull him along after a bathroom stop.
Had 5 women that I know of make it to Boston. At least one PR who I talked with (A TNT gal who came up to show me her watch finish time). And quite a few first timers that came within 3 minutes of their goal time.
Pleasant surprise in the first mile realized I had a college teammate in my group running the half. At least 4 half marathoners that I am confident went on to make their pace.
inspirational/funny story, one gentleman in my group dressed in a t-shirt, driving shades, and a necklace with a peace sign (and long hippie hair with a beard) started the race with me. I thought for sure this guy would finish slower than 4 hours but encouraged him throughout. His ankle locked up early and he informed me that he had only trained 5 weeks and had taken the last 9 days off. Well with encouragement to stretch his ankle out every few miles and slowly catch up he managed to finish in about 3:53. Just goes to show that you really can do anything you put your mind to.
3. Suggestions for the race director
3. Better instructions for the water stops. The Gatorade and water were not always in the same order and half the stops used plastic water cups. Not ideal. I found it awkward that the stops were not every mile. not sure how much they can do about placement, but more consistent distances between aid makes it easier to instruct the group when aid is coming up.
they should get more pacers here, definitely a 3:10 and a 6 hour group. People really seemed to use the groups at this race.
The start is awkward and the berm in the middle of the road is dangerous, this happens several times, they need a better method of marking these center berms.
pace team uniforms that distinguish us as a part of the marathon. The yellow certainly was visible, but some sort of connection to the race would be nice.
4. Suggestions for the pace team
4. people liked having the pace bands so definitely bring those back.
we discussed this but perhaps provide our own signs and bibs and charge extra to the races. It was awkward using other race bibs etc.
Thanks again for the opportunity to pace! I had a great time and was glad I could help some people with race strategy before hand at the expo as well as get so many of my group to their goal time.
Check out the awesome feedback (and thanks to Jim for the opportunity to pace and sending out the feedback, since I will be pacing 3:40 in the fall at Akron it is nice to know what the runners enjoyed and what I can improve upon)!
"I ran the half-marathon in Cinci on Sunday and was in Elizabeth's pace group. She did an awesome job, so much so in fact that when I finished I told my husband that I hardly even noticed the hills! She was very encouraging and her enthusiasm was quite motivating. You are fortunate to have her as part of your pace team! So are those of us who she paces! My goal time was 1:55 but I was able to pick it up in the last 4 miles (thanks to Elizabeth’s encouragement as they veered off to continue the marathon) and finish in 1:48.58.
Please pass along my thanks to Elizabeth. Will I see some of your pacers at the Marine Corps Marathon in Wash., DC in October?
"Please let Elizabeth know she was awesome! I hung with her quite a bit, and she encouraged me and a friend tremendously. She had great running advice along the way -- I learned a lot. She saved her "Boston" stories for the last 5, which was great. She was a big part in getting me to my goal of qualifying for Boston, helping me save my energy for the last leg. I was even able to go a little ahead of her in the last few miles, finishing in 3:48:15! I didn't say much to her during the run, so am not even sure she realizes how much she helped. Thank you Elizabeth!!! Keep running!"
"I started out with elizabeths group but lost her around 4.5 - 5 mile mark. I guess I was running faster than her and was ahead for some time. That being said as the marathon went on (my first) around 22 mile mark Elizabeth pulls up still cheering me on and encouraging me as well as the others in the group. I finished behind her slightly – finish time 3:50:20. not bad for joining a pace group of 3:50:00. Kudo's to Elizabeth. Totally enjoyed the race. Please let Elizabeth know I was sorry for moving ahead. I continued running and lost her in the other runners. I did not slow down until I hit the invisible wall HARD!"
"Hi Pacer Jim,
I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know how WONDERFUL Elizabeth my
3:50 pace leader was for this past weekend's Flying Pig Marathon! She was so motivating and helpful throughout the entire race! Thanks to her my hard work over the past 17 weeks paid off and I'M GOING TO BOSTON!!!! Please pass on my thank you and let her know what a fantastic leader she is!
I ran with Elizabeth yesterday in the 3:50 group. I needed someone to get me in to qualify for Boston and I made it! 3:48:58, I am SO EXCITED. She was really awesome. I paced for the first time this year, Little Rock, AR, 4:45, and I'm a fitness instructor at our local gym, so I can appreciate the effort that goes into blowing sunshine up peoples' behinds for four hours. She was really upbeat, very informative about what was happening, about to happen......always encouraging and "coaching", short strides, save your energy, etc. Her confidence in running and the race spilled out on to us. Those last few miles were kicking my bohunkus, and she would turn back and power me on. I drove eight hours to get the job done and she was a major part of it happening. Great race, I loved it. THANKS!!!"
I recently ran the Flying Pig half marathon. I was between the 3:45 and 3:50 goal, so to play it safe, I started with Elizabeth in the 3:50 group. I really enjoyed her during the race. She talked the entire time which made it easy to know where she was on the course even when I couldn’t see her. I was very sad to leave the group at about mile 4 because I really enjoyed running with her pace group! I am scheduled for several more halves this summer and will be running the Chicago marathon…do you know if she will be pacing any races in Chicago?
"Just wanted to drop a line and say that I had a great time yesterday following along with Pacer
Elizabeth and the 3:50 pace group. I was running the half-marathon and used that group to pace me up through the big climb @ the flying pig. She was great to run with and I had a great experience running with a pacer for the first time. She was a wealth of experience and info, and was fun too :) She kept the pace well, and was good about letting us know where we were and what to expect. I did lose her a bit climbing after mile 6 and before the half and the full marathon's split up, but I was at the top in a time, and was able to cross my finish in my goal time! anyways, just wanted to say "Thanks" for the great job with the pacers!!"
"Just wanted to say thanks, and that you did a great job pacing @ the pig this weekend. I was one of your half-marathoners, and I came across well ahead of my goal! Thanks it was a blast!" JP