I was a pacer

View of the Legislature Building as we head to the hotel
View of the Legislature Building as we head to the hotel

Yesterday in Victoria was the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon and I was running the half marathon with Cindy. A few weeks ago she asked if someone would run with her and be her pacer. She wanted help to keep her on track to run a 5 minute/km pace. I had never ran with someone before to do this but I do it for my own runs so I volunteered to be her “pace bunny”.

Cindy and Andrea picked me up around 6:15am and we headed downtown. We were told earlier in the week by Nick, that Frontrunners family would have access to the Hotel Grand Pacific ballroom before and after the race.

We went to drop off our things and get ourselves ready to run. Being able to leave our things in the room was a nice perk and made getting things much easier. It was also nice for after the race as well because they had coffee, tea and water for all of the runners. So a big thank you to Frontrunners and Hotel Grand Pacific.

Our race started at 7:30am and we headed out for a warm up run. We did some technical exercises to get our legs ready to go and at 7:25am we made our way to the start line to mix and mingle with the other runners. Our watches were set and I started my “Pace Bunny” playlist that I had made up for this run. Time to get in the zone and energize myself some more with my tunes.

The horn went off and we slowly made our way to the start line. We both pressed our watches to start timing as we crossed the line and then weaved through the people. We were running on the grass along the side of the road at various points so we could get by people and that was an adventure all on its own. By the time we reached Government Street the pack of people had spread out and we were able to run in our own space and set our pace. I checked with Cindy that our watches were reading the right the same so I was sure we were keeping on track.

Cindy, myself and Andrea...Happy to be up and getting ready for running
Cindy, myself and Andrea…Happy to be up and off to get ready for a race

As we ran along the sun was rising and the sky was a beautiful pink and orange mix. I admired it and couldn’t help but smile. I was in a good place and this was Cindy’s run. I was there to support her so I wasn’t in race mode for myself and was able to take in the sights and sounds around me.

I watched the other runners and how we all have different running styles. Some have very straight postures and their upper body doesn’t move very much. Other runners have their arms moving all around and I think to myself that can’t be the most efficient way to run but yet they are in the lead group. Some runners have are dressed from head to toe in warm clothes without any skin showing, while others like myself have less layers on skin showing…meaning bare arms and legs.

While I was running I was also thinking about the Bluenose Marathon in May next year and how the 5 minute/km pace felt good. It made me wonder if I could run this pace for 42km so I have signed myself up for two challenges so to speak. Training for a marathon and training to run it for a 5 minute/km pace. Running like this was a nice change for me and I enjoyed it.

Every once and awhile I would let Cindy know that she was doing a good job. We stayed right on target for pace and at the half way mark when the group of us passed the sign that said “Half way mark” everyone cheered who was around us. Then on our way back to the finish line I heard other runners headed in the direction we had just run, do the same thing. It made me laugh and smile both times.

As we ran past Ogden Point and further down Dallas Road towards the finish line, I said to Cindy “We only have three more corners.” She laughed and that was the point of me saying it.  I soon realized that it was actually more than three corners and it was more like six or seven. So, I changed the number a couple of times but it was distracting her a bit from thinking about the run.

A few days before the run Cindy had let me know that her foot and achilles were bothering her so she wasn’t sure if she would be able to finish. I was hoping

for the best yesterday and as we approached the sign that said “500 meters left” I got tears in my eyes. I was so happy that she was almost done the run and that we had stayed on target. She did great and I was proud of her. The experience overall was rewarding for me and I had fun running with her.

We crossed the finish line in a time of 1:45:37 and I was happy for us. Cindy was happy with her run and her time too and that was the most important thing.

Beautiful day for a run
Beautiful day for a run

Once we got some food we headed back to the hotel to stretch, change and see some of the other runners we know were running. It was good to see so many smiling faces and be with people who love running as much as Cindy and I do. While we were sitting around I asked Cindy about compression socks because there was a  lady next to us putting them on.

The lady was Denise Helm who writes a blog for the Times Colonist (TC) newspaper called Woman on the Run. She heard me ask Cindy the question and then let us know that she loved them, just like Cindy. I came to realize it was Denise because she had mentioned that she writes a running blog even though she didn’t give the name of it. She also had her race bib on with her name on it so once I connected the dots I asked if she wrote for the TC? She said “Yes” and I told her I follow her on Twitter. It is so neat to put faces to the people who you meet through social media networks.

The day was perfect for running and I am so happy I could be part of the run with Cindy.

Have you ever helped a fellow runner keep pace for a run? What was the best part about it for you?

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