LA Rock n Roll 2014 – Being a Pace Leader

What an amazing day / weekend. It started on Friday night playing with The Red 11s at a private studio, for a bunch of old and new friends. The vibe was fantastic and gets me pumped up for our next show, and the Born to Run Ultras in May of 2015.
steve bassSaturday was the first day of the Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon training programs in San Pedro and Newbury Park. I gave a ChiRunning lesson to the San Pedro group and taught yoga. Hanging out on the San Pedro / Palos Verdes coastline is always beautiful and worth the drive. It was another great start of a day. On the way home I stopped at the LA Rock n Roll Half Marathon expo to pick up my gear from Coach David Levine from USA Marathon Training. I also ran into Julie Weiss, the marathon goddess. I drove home and went to a pumpkin craving party.
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I usually lay all my gear out the night before but I was too tired. I set my alarm clock for 5 AM and fell right to sleep.

I woke up a little nervous. I had to get my gear together and I have never been an “Official Pace Leader” for a race before but I do pace runners practically everyday, so this was right up my alley. The pace leaders were in teams of two. My co-leader was Aletta. She has done this a few times so I knew it was going to be smooth. We got into out corral and held up the 2:00 signs. We started talking to some of the people around us. I told them I wanted to get in a 1:59:30, because there is a big difference between Sub 2 hours and over 2 hours when you talk to other half marathoners.
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The LA Rock n Roll Half Marathon course starts out slightly downhill and the first half is easier than the second half. I didn’t want to start out slower than race pace on a downhill section. An easy 8:57 mile felt right. The second mile was a touch faster then we slowed it down to a 9:10. Miles 3 – 6 are just reversing the course and slightly up hill and we kept it at a 9:00 min/mile pace. A touch above race pace but saving a little time for the bridge.
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At the mile 7 sign, which was past my Garmin’s 7 mile mark, we hit 1:03:14 or a 9:02 min/mile average. We were 42 seconds faster than 2 hour pace. You reach the top of the hill there and head into the tunnel. At that point we lost our Garmins and it was downhill so I told the group to relax but use the downhill for a little extra speed. It felt easy but without seeing our pace we were probably going a bit too fast. The next highlight / challenge was the bridge. This bridge is pretty steep but we had banked a little time. We slowed our pace, took short steps and focused on the ground 10 feet in front of us, instead of worrying about reaching the top. Soon enough we crested the bridge and ran easy across the bridge to the turn around point to run back down it. Now mile 10 was out of the way and we had one uphill section to a downhill finish left. We took it slow from 11- 12. At the top of the hill we set our runners free. They were all going to finish under 2 hours. Aletta, Gabriel and I kept it steady all the way to the finish.

Our official finishing time was 1:58:05. It was a minute 25 seconds faster than I planned but close enough. It got some people great new Personal Records (PRs). Since it was my first time officially pacing I learned a lot and had an awesome time. Next time, and I hope there is a next time, I’ll slow it down on mile 6 up to 7 but the rest of the splits are what we need to run to get that Sub 2 hour time.

It was such a blast and I love all the interaction between the runners. Check out all my Garmin data and let me know if I can help you in your race training. See you next year.
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Train Focused, Coach Steve Mackel

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