On Saturday, April 10th, I ran the Tulip Run 5-Mile race. I was planning on taking it easy during this race, since I was asked to pace a friend over the last 21 miles of a 50-mile ultra today. Well, I apparently don't have much discipline in short races. Went out at 7:00, backed off a bit during the middle, saw a young boy (as in, maybe 9 yrs old?) ahead of me at mile three and couldn't let him stay ahead of me (stupid ego). Then there was some guy I kept passing and getting passed by, so I finally had to pull ahead of him out of frustration. Then, with a quarter mile to go, I went by a guy who said "no, THAT'S not gonna happen!" Of course, I emptied my tank after hearing that and gave whatever I had left (6:45 last mile). After the finish, he thanked me for inspiring him to finish strong. Don't know the standings yet, but I finished in 34:55, for an average pace of 6:59.
Surprisingly, in checking my records, this is the first time I've paced sub-7 since 2002...and that was a 5k. It's actually the first race of 5 miles or longer that I've gone sub-7 since...1987! Given that I'm training for a marathon and doing very little speed work, I'm happy with the result.
Now, on to today. I paced my friend Arthur for the last 21 miles of his 50-mile ultra PR. He ran a 7:02 and change to destroy his old PR of 8:01. Even after a relatively fast race yesterday, my legs were a bit over-eager. I've never paced anyone before and I was "called back" a few times after leading out too much. I got caught up in trying to pull him along a bit too much, mostly because I was afraid of going too slow for him. I felt great until around 18, when a little fatigue settled into the legs. We still finished strong. Next year I'm going to run either the 50k or the 50 mile...especially if the weather is like it was today (mostly sunny, low 60's). Plus, the course was beautiful - gravel and dirt trails through the woods, passing a waterfall, streams and rivers.
In addition to being a "pacing job" for me, this was one of my scheduled long training runs leading up to my May 15th marathon. I'll run one more 22 miler before starting my taper in a couple of weeks. So, with 28 combined miles for Saturday and Sunday, thus ends a fun weekend of running!