On my long run this weekend (11 miles!), I was thinking about some of my goals for this upcoming year, and also what I might write to submit to the Runner’s Lounge book. I”ve always wanted to write a book, and so many people have told me I should, so this sounds like a good idea.  Write something and get it published, without having the huge time commitment to write the world’s next greatest (yeah, right) novel.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a review of Rachel Toor’s book, Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running.   personalrecord There was a chapter in there that got me thinking.  Rachel writes that over time she has found that something she really enjoys is pacing people.   She acted as a pacer for her friend, Ralph, when he ran the Western States 100, during his last 30+ miles. One thing I found myself grateful for is that she said that when you pace people at those kinds of races, you’re not actually trying to keep them going at a certain pace, but to keep them going forward, make sure they’ve had enough to eat, drink, and that they are alright mentally and physically.   She mentioned her lack of navigation skills, which I can totally relate to.  Her friend Ralph decided to walk the last three miles of the race, since he knew he’d get the belt buckle.  As they walked toward the finish with his family walking with them, she kept telling herself not to cry, because this wasn’t her race.  At the end of the race, she said he gave her a look, and she knew exactly what that look meant. She’d helped him get through the final 38 miles.  

I started thinking to myself then that I really should have paced my brother last year at the Finger Lakes 50, rather than running the 25k on my own. But hindsight is 20-20, I know.  That race was a bit different from the Western States 100. The Finger Lakes 50 miler had them run one 15.69 mile loop three times, with a smaller “baby” loop at the end, that was between 3-4 miles in length.  He said that especially during the last 10 miles, he had some major mood swings, some definite highs and lows.  He also said that during the third lap of the big loop, when my sister ran with him for just a short 5 minutes, he definitely felt a lot better.

On Tammy from Run Naked Squirrel Run‘s recommendation, I watched Running on the Sun this past week. It’s about the Badwater 135 race. I think one of my favorite characters in the movie was Gabriel Flores’ brother. Gabriel had won the race the past year and he was a great competitor. His brother was part of his support crew, and throughout the entire movie, you could see his concern and love for Gabriel. He kept telling him over and over how much he loved him, how well he was doing, that he wouldn’t leave him. It was really heartwarming.

This year, my brother is thinking about running the Vermont 100 Endurance Run. They also have a 50 mile race called the Vermont 50.  I think my major goal this year may be to be in good enough shape to help pace him toward the end of either race.  Both of these races contain a fair amount of hills.  My brother certainly runs much faster than me, but I think toward the end of either of those, especially the 100, the difference in our speed may not be as much of an issue. Especially if I keep working on getting faster and keeping up the endurance.  So, if he’s going to allow me to help him, that’s what I’m going to do and train for. I know I will push myself further if he’s depending on me than if I just try to do something for myself.  I owe him that. Thanks to Rachel for allowing me to think it’s possible.

Below is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us, taken at the end of the Maine Marathon. To think that he held that sign the entire 4:51:38, to help make my experience better, well, it’s hard to describe in words how that makes me feel. I also remember how it felt when we ran the Feaster Five race together on  Thanksgiving, when we looked at each other and said “free speed” when we started running down the hill, close to the end, before the final UPHILL.  Those are two images and memories I hope I never forget.  I hope each of you out there is lucky enough to have someone like him in your life.


Jamie and me at the finish line of the Maine Marathon

Jamie and me at the finish line of the Maine Marathon

Other than training to help him, I think I want to do some shorter races this year, to see how much the track work is helping. I’ve decided on a few races I might do this year – the first will definitely depend on the weather, below:

  • Bradford Valentine Road Race, 6K, or 5 Miles?, Feb. 14, 2009
  • Lehigh Valley Half Marathon (formerly the Runner’s World Half Marathon), May 3, 2009
  • Melrose Run for Women 3.5 miler – May 10, 2009
  • Utica Boilermaker 15K – July12, 2009
  • Maine Coast Women’s Half Marathon, September 2009

Oh, and since I finally figured out how to use my Garmin 405 Auto-Lap, here are my splits from this weekend. My lower back has started hurting me sometimes after about 5 or 6 miles, which bothers me. Anyone else out there have that problem? I stopped a bit to walk and stretch it, I’m sure you can see when that mile occurred. I am sure you can also see which miles had some hills!

I was supposed to run a “very comfortable” pace. I’m very glad to see those miles in bold anyway. I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’m getting there…

  • Mile 1 = 9:52
  • Mile 2 = 10:10
  • Mile 3 = 10:12
  • Mile 4 = 10:39
  • Mile 5 = 10:33
  • Mile 6 = 10:48
  • Mile 7 = 10:49
  •  Mile 8 = 11:05
  • Mile 9 = 10:08
  • Mile 10 = 9:52
  • Mile 11 = 9:38

Anyway, off to bed, as I need to get up around 4:30 in the morning if I’m going to get some good exericse in.  Thanks for reading this extra long post.