Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Valley Harvest Half - Pace Bunny Time 2014

So wow, this is a late update. But hey, its free to read right? Sorry, things got busy so I'm trying to fit blogging into life (get it?).

Anyway, 2 weeks ago now was my last race. Well it wasn't a race as much as a challenge. This was the Valley Harvest Race and I chose to enter the half marathon as a pace bunny this year. First I didn't feel like I wanted to gut out another fats half marathon and second I liked the price of entry (free).

So entering as a Pace Bunny means that I am responsible for setting a pretty decent pace and sticking with it in order to cross the finish line at a set time. In my case it was a 1:40 half marathon.  I wear big pink ears and if anyone wants to finish at that time or beat that time, they always have me to set their sights on.

Sure in this day and age of Garmins and GPS watches, it is fairly easy to set a pace and stick with it. But mentally there is nothing quite like having a person lead you around and take care of you. I have found pace bunnies handy in the past.

So I volunteered for a 1:40 because it is slower than my PBs at that distance (1:23) but also fast enough for me to enjoy the run.

So we lined up at the start, I chatted with a few people and go them ready and then off we went. It took about half a kilometer to find some quality open space and settle into my average pace of 4:44 min/km, at which point I started to have some chats with people around me and guide them through the first bit of the race. Some would leave me, others would stay with and some would fall back.
Here I am surrounded by those who love me, or hate me

By a little past the halfway mark, I lost most of my followers. Now I didn't want to have this happen, but the steady pace I was holding was just a tad too much I guess, especially as we traveled through the back hills. And at certain points I was quite alone.

Sometimes a person would run and pass me and proclaim they were going to beat me, and I was happy for them. A few didn't make it, but many did!

15km in and still smiling

Soon we were running back through the town of Wolfville and towards the track. I started catching one guy who wanted to beat me and as we ran the last half kilometer, I knew he had to pick up the pace to get a good finish. So I ran behind him and yelled until he did. Good on him.

All in all a fun day out with great weather. My wife also got the half marathon demon off her back and got the finish she had been hoping for the past 2 years. Will I pace bunny again. Sure thing and the Half Marathon is a great distance to do it at. Should you do it? Certainly, if A) you have had some personal success at the distance and B) Can run a pretty steady pace.
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