Pacer Virgin

pac•er (noun): a horse used to set the pace in racing

I've run in large groups, in a pair, with a dog, with someone who is on a bike and I've run alone, but never as a pacer. This weekend I'll be helping a friend as a pacer for the last nine miles of his 50 mile run. Sure it's the same as running with a friend, but the stakes are higher.

My friend, Chris, will be running the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run this weekend. Yep, fifty miles. Five. Zero. This will be his first attempt at the distance and he is allowed to have a pacer join him after mile 26.77. When he asked our training group, I threw my name in the hat and volunteered to pace him if he needed one. Chris is way faster than me. When we train, I'm usually chasing him like the dogs chase the rabbit at the track. Recently, I've been able to keep up with him for SHORT distances, then he kicks on and I pant. But, I'll be meeting him at the Rattlesnake Bar (how fun does that sound?) at mile 40.94 and with my fresh legs, I'll be able to run strong with him for the last nine miles.

My task will be to run with him, keep his spirits high and help conquer a massive hill (or possibly mountain) at 47. It's a climb over the last three miles from 500' to 1,400'. It'll be a blast. I'll run at Chris' pace. If he's feeling speedy, I'll kick in the burners. If he wants to take it easy, I can do easy. If he wants me to pull him along, I can do that to. Mission is for him to finish (hopefully under 11 hours) so that's what we are going for.

Here is a description of the last portion from the AR50 website: 
At mile 46, runners will climb the infamous “Dam Wall.” Runners will be greeted at the summit by the Last Gasp aid station. With 3 miles to go, motivational mile mark signs, will boost your spirits as you tackle the last climb. The “Party at Mile 48” with cheering enthusiasts, an inflatable frog and ice cold cokes will send you off on your victory mile to Auburn.

My first time as a pacer. His first 50. We got this!

Side note: I also ran the last 20 of Chris' 37 miler with him last month. Having someone out there to keep conversation with can be key... heck, even just running in silence and not running to run alone can be enough. I'm glad Chris asked and am happy to run the last and final leg with him... and if I ever decide to run the AR50, I'll know what to expect for the last nine miles. See you out there Chris, bring Miriam.


Anonymous said...

Chris is lucky to have you as his friend. A friend who loves the sport and is willing to give their time and support for each other. Runners stick together and maybe when you are ready to run this endurance 50 miles he will be there for you too! Keep up the good work and good luck!

PS Good luck tomorrow too with the ING lottery!!!!!!!!!!

DeeDee said...

BK - I am so excited for you both. Chris is VERY lucky to have you. I am in awe of your dedication to running and your friends. Way to go - best wishes for an awesome 9miles together!