run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Monday, April 9, 2012

On Race Pace...

So, yeah, I’m training for a marathon now. And I’m getting my workouts in and my miles in and everything is all butterflies and dippin’ dots with my running right now. (Simultaneously sickening and shocking, I know). But, I have started to think about what types of things could sabotage my race day (ummm… I don’t recommend thinking about this, because there are so goddamn many things and you will not sleep for like 4 days) and if there is anything I can do about them NOW.

Turns out, most of them are pretty much just a “day of” crap shoot. So, that’s comforting. But there are a couple of things I can think about...
The first one: WTF am I going to do without my crutch?

So… yeah, for whatever reason, the running gods deemed me worthy enough to have a running partner who is not only willing to put up with my crazy ass early in the mornings 3-4 times a week, BUT, he’s also willing to pace me in races… and drag me across the finish line with hella awesome PRs. Three cheers for Steve! He’s paced me in 3 races so far and every time I’ve ended up putting on a clinic and busting PRs.
So, yeah, that’s awesome right? Rainbows and dippin’ dots all the way… Except… he’s not going to pace me in my upcoming marathon. Womp Womp. So, it’s going to be all on me. Fuckity fuck fuck.

Now, I know what you’re thinking and in theory, it’s a GREAT idea. You’re thinking… dumbass, just run with a pace group. But here’s the problem… I, umm... kinda/sorta hate people. Nothing drives me crazier than having people all up in my grill when I’m racing. I’ve tried running in pace groups and it always just turns me into an overstimulated, overstressed, raging bitch. I end up spending 10 miles, at least, daydreaming about breaking baseball bats across these people’s shins and grinding the hell out of my teeth.
For clarification, I'm a fairly nice person and I LOVE meeting new people and consider myself pretty outgoing. And normally, I wouldn’t mind these people if I encountered any of them in a race singularly, but in a pack of 15-20 of us all jammed up together with the same goal, I get stabby…

The people I hate:
1.       The Pacer.
All I can think is: STFU. Stop telling me Lance Armstrong anecdotes. Stop telling me that there’s a great breakfast place two blocks down that street. Stop telling me that we're all fucking winners and that only 1% of the population or whatever runs a marathon. Just run, hold the damn sign up high enough so I can see it, and keep a consistent pace.
2.       The Pacer’s Pet.
You all know this fucker. This is the jackass that wants to tell you about every detail of his training. How awesome his last 20 miler was, how he’s been training on hills and oh yeah, he has this great movie recommendation for you… WITHOUT LIMITS. (No shit Sherlock, what’s next? You’re going to tell me to read Born to Run?). The worst though, is that instead of just telling you all this… he poses it as a question to the pacer to have his ego stroked in return. For instance… “So, I’ve been following my training plan, and I’ve ran three 20 milers and ran the last 10 miles at race pace, all while saving a drowning baby and rescuing a stray dog. Do you think I’m well trained and awesome enough?”
3.       The Ohhhh Shit Girl.
This is the girl that runs beside you and starts chatting you up and you like her at first, cause she’s talking trash about the Pacer’s Pet asshole. And then she tells you that she’s running her first marathon (fun!), that she got injured in week 9 of training (uh-oh), hasn’t ran longer than 14 miles (oh god), and she only runs 2-3 days a week. Ohhhh shit, bitch. This is not going to end well for you. Take your bad mojo somewhere else.
4.       The Heavy Breather.
I don't think I have to explain this one.

5.       The Mister 1992.
This is the guy who ran the same race in 1992. He and the Pacer’s Pet are jockeying for attention from the pacer. This guy wants to regale you with his knowledge of the course, his knowledge of running, and for a minute you think, okay… I’ll just let him drone on. Until he tries to correct your form while you’re running up a goddamn monster hill at mile 18. “Stand up taller and try shortening your stride a little,” he says. Sonofabitch.

6.       The Twosome.
This comes in various ways. But, essentially, it’s two people that trained together, came to the race together, and are running the race together. And instead of having a regular conversation together they are YELLING at each other, so we all get the pleasure of listening to their boring ass conversation. They can be two women who spend 13 miles bitching about how their husband just spent $1500 on a lawnmower that they didn’t need. Or how little Tommy is starting to take college level classes in the 9th grade. Snoooozefest. Unless you're talking about sex or people I know (or, even better, sex with people I know) I don't want to hear your boring shit.

Or, it can be two dudes who are braggy doucheheads. They banter about their fancy jobs and their fancy running clothes and then they try to brag about the races they’ve done. Nobody gives a shit out here, dude. This is a race, not a bar.

So, unless any of you want to volunteer to pace my grouchy ass for part of the marathon (anyone? anyone?), I think I’ve decided to follow this strategy…  instead of running in a pace group, I’m going to run between two pace groups. So, let’s say I want to finish sub 4 (I do). So, I’ll make sure that I’m smack dab in between 3:55 and 4:00. Hearing that 4:00 pace group come up behind me at mile 23 with all those yahoos yammering on should be the push I need to pick it up a bit at the end.

Problem solved? TBD.


Meredith said...

I don't work well with pace groups because I start slow and finish faster so it doesn't really work well for a pace group. BUT, when I have run with a pace group I prefer to be right beside the pacer and completely zone out so I don't have to be caught up in the distractions of everything else going on around me.

LAPT said...

BWAHAHAH. I love you.

Melanie said...

This post cracked me up..

When/where is this marathon?

Jason said...

Hilarious post! I laughed out loud several times, not sure how I came across your blog, but I'll be back. Thanks for the laugh!

Keri said...

This had me dying laughing! I am like you, I like people, but not while running a marathon. The only thing worse is when the twosome is wearing matching outfits. :)

chacha said...

Excellent pace group commentary. I think I'd wanna punch the dude at mile 18 giving me pointers.

The one time I tried to run with a pace group it didn't work very well. That was back when I was still trying to break 2:00 in the half and these pace bitches went out at like 8:55 (14 seconds/mi faster than goal pace). Not cool.

I kind of don't trust pace groups. At Carlsbad, the 3:50 pacer was ahead of the 3:40 pacer at like mile 9 (3:50 group was going way too fast). I don't need anyone but myself screwing up my race for me.