After some walking, I suggested some light jogging and we started trucking along. Very small steps, but every step is a step closer to finish. We stopped and walked all the hills, but as soon as we hit some flat and downhill, we'd jog again. I think he surprised himself by how much he could still do. Never been a pacer before, I began to see the significance and benefit of having a pacer in a grueling endurance race as such.
The race doesn't allow pacer until runners finish their first 50 miles and/or after 6 p.m. About an hour into our first loop, we had to put our headlight on. Running long hours in the dark can be really lonely. I've learned that from 24-hour races. There's seldom any noise other than your own footstep. I tried to make some small conversations to distract him from his pain and the miles still await him. The first loop was rather uneventful. We jogged, walked, and cheered at every mile marker. It took us about two and a half hours.
|Race headquarters at 11 p.m.|
Driving up to Umstead yesterday afternoon, I wasn't sure what to expect. Frankly, I didn't even know if I'd get to pace someone. Obviously, not all aspects of pacing are fun, like the miserable downpour and waiting around. But it's a valuable chance to contribute to another runner's success and put someone else before myself in this individualistic sport.
I left Umstead at 4 a.m., shortly after Joey started his second last loop. At 10:07 a.m. as I'm writing this, 28 hours and 7 minutes after he has started his race yesterday, I hope he has conquered his first 100 miler.