Race morning. Hope everyone shows up. Mix of fun seeing friends from near and far, small level of stress hoping that everyone gets here on time, and increased nerves as I have my own pacing duties to think about. We all make it with fully charged watches, tie on our balloons and line up early.
Weather had called for showers but I am so thankful it is dry. Cool and cloudy all morning, with just a little mist in the air at times. Perfect running weather and nice enough that spectators will be out.
Start - Chat with some people around me. Some say they plan to stick with me. Maniac Claudia is one of them and that is great because we have not run together before.
Smooth start and fun with all the half marathoners cheering us on. About 15 seconds to get to the mat and I will pace off of gun time so that gives a little cushion.
Mile 1 - 9:54 if I remember right. So a little fast but not bad and we can just keep on about that effort with the east bay hills soon to come. Big group around me and I try to get some names. Maniac CJ, Holly, Esther, Sang, Todd and some others.
Mile 10 - The first big hill. Still have my group with me. Nice steady pace. Love the course as usual. The spectators but also the quiet country roads. Last year my right foot/ankle was having issues. This year it is my left foot/ankle. It has been nagging me since I finished Tacoma two weeks ago. I only ran once in the past four days and that was short and easy. I think that was wise. Today it is flaring up off and on, nothing too bad. I do take one ibuprofen, saving three more in case it gets worse. I only need to hold this pace until 13.1 at which point Bill takes over. I plan to stay on pace but if I have to walk for the foot I can do so after the halfway mark.
Mile 13.1 - There is Bill ready to jump in. Down to Woodard Bay and up the steep hill from there. Great to have his energy as my fellow runners are getting quiet. We lose Claudia and a few others, but Holly is here and I really want her to succeed. Now the long mostly flat on Libby Road. Gradually passing a few people. I think we are going to pass one young woman, but she rallies and stays on pace for many more miles.
Mile 22 - About two minutes ahead of pace, but the final tough hill is here. Heidi Perry sighting. Holly and Sang with us as Bill and I begin the ascent. Bill reminds us to pump our arms. Sang and I try to come up with a mantra, all we can do is say "keep running". Holly is quiet and determined. We reach the top and the fun can begin. Through a mass of bubbles in the air from kids with a bubble machine. Lots of people with signs, including Holly's crew who take this picture......
Mile 24 - Holly goes ahead to finish in 4:26! Sang has fallen behind but will get in just at 4:30. Not much left for Bill and I to do but stop for a beer at the rogue aid station and then ease on down Capital Way. The beer is great just too little. Bill and I watch the pace and walk the last aid station as we have walked them all. Things look good but that finish line looks so far away. We have paced it well and trot on in just a little ahead of schedule.
Finish - Giant medal. Check in on Holly who starts to lose feeling in her arms and ends up in the medical tent. With care and electrolytes she recovers soon enough. I get my pizza and take it back to the street to sit on the curb and cheer everyone in. All of my pacers did great and it was a big success. I plan to organize the team again next year. The reward is worth the time I put into it.
About to leave, but I cheer Deb down the hill. Then Monte, then Jeff Galloway. Now I see a small group very slowly coming along. Young woman with a leg brace and cane going to slowly. When she gets closer I am shocked to see that she has a five mile race bib on. Cheer for her and then read in the paper that she had a spinal cord injury and is rehabbing. She has run the half here three times, but today the five miler takes her four and a half hours. Epic effort and inspiring!
185th of 314 finishers
Race#390, Marathon or Ultra # 141, Capital City Marathon #13