Well, my first pacing gig is over...and I wasn't able to pull any of the women through to the trials. Here is the story...
Weather last night was horrible with tornado warnings all over and massive wind and rain. When I woke up at 5am, it was still raining a bit but the wind was pushing 20-25mph steady out of the NNW. Showered, ate something, drank coffee then Gatorade, watched the runners for the HM make their way to the 7am start then headed down to the course. Met up with Aimee and Claire to warmup and check the weather...windy which made the 46 degrees really cold.
Lined up at the start and saw Katie (Danner) Aldridge from the Blog going for the OT! We had all dressed in singlets as it seemed to be warming up, no rain and some glimpses of the sun.
Gun fires and we are off. Now my charge was to try and run fairly steady for a 2:45 -2:47 finish, which meant between 6:18-6:22 pace. With the wind factored in, I knew we would need to use the wind at our backs to run some quicker but even effort miles to make up for the effects of the headwind. Miles 1-5 wind was mostly at our backs, 6-16...HEAD ON plus mile 6-7 had the only uphill (over an overpass). Miles 16-19 still into the wind but somewhat protected, miles 20-22 crosswind, 23-26.2 wind at our backs. So I wanted to go a little faster, say 6:15ish at first, allow for the wind to slow us up for the next stretch. Miles 1-6 went pretty much according to plan with couple of quicker miles but right on target. However, by 5M my GPS was already measuring the course 0.15M long. I was trying to keep steady, but the gals were kinda all over except for Jessica, Claire and the twins, Katie Danner and a couple I never met, so we did not have a consistent pack. Mile 8-11 was a really #$% as we hit the boardwalk with the wind head on. I jumped to the front to take the wind and push a little back onto the OTQ pace and quickly started losing some of the gals By 13M it was pretty much Jessica, me, Alan from NY who was helping out and another guy. I asked Alan to take Jessica while I tried to get the remains of the pack back up with us. By 16M, Jessica and Alan were up by about 25 seconds and I was trying to pull Claire along in second (no one else in sight at the time). Claire was struggling, running low on fuel through 20M. At around 21M, notice third place women (Karissa) coming up fast and notice that Jessica had dropped Alan. So I put on the burners to catch her by 23M and try to pace her back down to see if we could get the 2:47. She was running well, but everytime I tried to push back to OTQ required pace, she could only hold a 6:27 (which is what she was holding from about 16M on until I caught her). We turned onto the boardwalk, saw the finish and saw 2:47 click over. I burned ahead a little so Jessica could have the glory shot of 1st place by herself and she clicked in at 2:49 and change. The rest of the women started rolling in, with the top 15 or so breaking 3:00.
So, I was kind of a failure in my pacing gig. If I would have held the 2:45, I would have dropped everyone so I held back to try and help the ones that I could. By 16M, it was down to place, not OTQ so I tried to help 2nd along for a while but feel I let Jessica down if I would have been there to push her a bit more.
I forgot how much sea level makes a difference! Never even breathed hard once, even when I ran my sub 6:00 pace at 22-23M. If I had been running for me, I think I could have beat the 2:35 guy, which could have put me about 6th. Oh well, maybe next year.
On that note, this could be a good men's OTQ for the FRB, but the weather can be vary unpredictable and could be a dream killer (as it was for these women).
3-6:04 (a downhill helped here)
8-6:27 (first mile into the wind on the boardwalk)
12-6:28 (starting to slow for the pack)
14-6:41 (stop to wait for the pack to catch up)
15-6:39 (pack struggling, only Claire hangs on)
16-6:35 (trying to coax Claire thru the next few miles)
20-6:50 (a bit of uphill and a nasty crosswind)
21-6:20 (see 3rd coming on, start to chase down Jessica)
22-5:51 (in pursuit of Jessica)
24-6:27 (pushing Jessica, but could not get her any faster)
0.2-~3:00 (put I have the last stretch at more like 0.5M)
So, overall I enjoyed it but wish I could have helped the women to OTQ...any of them. Kind of bittersweet. The gals and assistant elite program Director all said I did all that I could do to help, but...All the women racers were very nice and I want to thank them all for the opportunity and trust they put in me to help them out. I don't remember all their names, but it was great meeting Allison, Brandy, Aimee, Jessica, Claire, Katie and Katie, Jennifer, Karissa and Bev (who has run all 6 OT to date but did not make it today for this next one) and the others that names escape me at this late hour.
Now, off to DC for a week of training in a really swank hotel in Foggy Bottom.
(Tangents - 185 miles)