I had the opportunity to pace a 100 mile race last weekend and other than knowing how to run, knowing Brian had 2 rough and unsuccessful attempts at 100 mile races and needing to have a positive attitude all weekend, I didn’t have any clue what I had gotten myself in to. This is my “pace recap” from Brian’s Big Horn Trail 100 Race.
Crewing and Pacing Rules
Rule #1- you are there for the runner, 100% and it does not matter how you feel, if you’re tired or hurt. Your responsibility is to keep the runner moving forward with a good attitude at ALL times.
Rule #2- Unless your runner is truly physically hurt, you make sure they leave that aid station. All progress is made outside our comfort zone and the aid station chair gets really comfortable after a 5 minute rest. We cannot give into “feelings” as pushing past our discomfort is a major reason most of us run ultras.
Rule #3- Respect the plan, but be open to altering it as needed. Brian had an exact plan. It was thought through, detailed and looked great! About mile 35-40 though, we had to modify somethings. Luckily everyone paid attention and the team listened to Brian’s needs. By the time we were half way through the race, the plan was gone and we were winging it. I don’t think there are any regrets either.
Rule #4- Know your team’s strengths and use them! My girls and I are all different. Some like to run uphill and some downhill. We took a look at the course and adjusted our pacing accordingly. As different as we are, we work great as a team! I’d like to think we were helpful in getting Brian through the race successfully. A crew can’t make a race but they can definitely ruin one…
Rule #5- Just embrace the journey. We blindly followed directions (from the internet) to some of the craziest places this weekend. Drive through Montana for a race in Wyoming? Yes please. Drive my wife’s car through 4 river crossings? Ah yeah. Then get a question when you return the car- “Hey babe? Why is there a big hunk of wood under my front bumper and why is the licence plate crooked and bent outward?” Oops… Drive 100+ miles between aid stations while you’re runner only has to go 18? How else would you do it?! And of course don’t forget to update your journey on social media!
Rule #6- Say YES! This whole weekend was a product of “YES”. I don’t say no to something/someone unless I have to. I was asked to be part of a team so a friend of mine could go to a run group for her 100. By sheer accident, I had one of the most EPIC weekends ever! How Epic? Not only did I pace Brian out for 18 miles, when I go to the aid station to switch, there was a nice lady who had no crew and needed a companion. Someone was yelling out pacer, pacer, anyone have an extra pacer?! I felt like I had another 18 miles in me, so I said sure, let’s do it! We had some time to chat and it turns out I paced one of the most decorated female ultra runners ever. We talked about life and health, family and running, and I never wanted to be done running with her… (I would have kept going but I had an unspoken issue that would have kept me from following rule #1)
Rule #7 – Stop and take a selfie 🙂 If you don’t know me by now, I LOVE to run and I LOVE to share how much I love to run. Most importantly, I love selfies 🙂 There is absolutely no way to deny that running is hard. But hard doesn’t have to mean miserable. As a crew, if we can keep everyone excited, smiling and focused on everything but the pain, we will succeed as a team. It’s also fun to update the race along the way. Let’s face it, if it’s not on Social Media- it never happened… 😉
What an enjoyable and adventurous weekend! Showing up and meeting strangers with no idea what to expect and leaving as a big family. Brian and Pam both finished the race and EARNED their belt buckle. I am so inspired by the grit and determination I saw in the actions and emotions I saw over the weekend. I look forward to being around more ultra races and someday completing my own journey to 100 miles. After touching one of those buckles, I HAVE to earn one!
Run Epic my friends!