18 November 2012

From the Other Side: Being a Pacer & Crew

I've had so many wonderful people help me in races - strangers, friends, family, loved ones. And this weekend was time to pay back!

Mary was running the NYRR 60k (fka Knickerbocker 60k). It's 9 loops + of the 4 mile loop of Central Park. Mary has paced me before (in 2011 at Bear Mountain 50 Miler) and it was a lot of fun to pace for one of my super energetic and cheerful ultrarunning friends. She was having a crummy day due to some stuff going on; I pointed out that personal probs seem better after running, but the personal probs don't make running better! Like when my Papa died, I dealt with it by running a lot - my running was crap but it helped me feel less like crap.

Erin was crewing her, and Sherry and Chantel and Kristen were also helping with pacing. I ran the last three loops, pushing Mary how I could, and then, at the end of the day, encouraged her to indulge in ice cream. Mmmmmm. It was really nice to help out a good friend.

Sunday Wayne once again ran the Brooklyn Marathon. Steve, the organizer of NYC Runs, puts on a great race. The medals had a cool design - and they blinked, runners got tech tees,, and post-race, bagels, cream cheese, apples, grapes, cheesecake. Nice! The course was 2 small loops and 6 big loops of Prospect Park. I started by volunteering with NBR and handing out water. It was fun to cheer for people and hand out water. I like giving back, esp since I know I depend SO MUCH on volunteers so much of the time - including in the middle of the night. At least runners have adrenalin and hallucinations to keep us going - volunteers staying up all night have love.

Wayne was having a rough race - he hasn't trained very hard lately, and had a long taper (due to NYC Marathon cancellation) and spent the day prior to the marathon moving stuff on stairs from the basement to the third floor of his old roommate's storage unit. Tiresome. So I ran with him and he was hurting. It was great to push someone I love. He asked me to sing him songs and we held hands and I kept telling him how awesome he was and he told me how he was going to eat a pint of ice cream when he was done. (And for the record, while he ate a lot of other things, he only ate a half a pint of ice cream. Though if we had a full pint, he might have eaten it...) I cheered incessantly and like Mary said the day before, he was running a "victory lap" (instead of his last lap). He pulled into the finish, strong and then proceeded to eat enormous amounts of food. That's my boy.

We hung out at the aid station and then I saw Caroline pulling in. She ran the Burning Man 50k, and so I caught up with her a little while I was volunteering earlier in the day when I ran up a few hills chatting with her. I ran next to her as she pulled into the finish, encouraging her, pushing her. She had a wonderful finishing pace.  I got everyone we passed to cheer for her and I was so glad when she told me she got a PR - and she said it was b/c I helped her. YAY!

I went back to the aid station to help volunteer, but soon saw Kaet and Erin. Erin was smiling and Kaet looked near tears. She was having a hard painful first marathon - but she was pushing forward. She grabbed my hand as we climbed a hill. Her grandmother had died just three days ago, and was running in honour of her grandmother. It was really beautiful how she pushed forward through the pain to a successful awesome finish. And then I met Erin's family.

It was weird to NOT be racing - esp since I feel quite recovered from last weekend's race and kinda wished I was racing both races. But you can't race all the time...and it's always really awesome to be there to push the ones you love forward.


1 comment:

Linus Ly said...

I planned to have some Suzy Q, maybe even Twinkies, after finishing the Brooklyn Marathon but unfortunately, none of the delis that I passed by, on the way to the Prospect Ave station of the D train, on Fourth Avenue, carried the snack. Maybe I'll have a pint of ice cream later today.

Thanks for volunteering!