“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Monday, March 25, 2013

Scioto Mile(s) Recap

Pre-race view of the finish line.
Photo Courtesy Fleet Feet SportsColumbus
Race: Scioto Mile(s) Training Series, Race 1
Distance:  15K (options to do 10K or 5K)
Date:  March 24, 2013, 8am start
Finish time:  1:54:47, Paced the 1:55 Finish
What sets this race apart:  Part of two part training series to get runners reading for Spring Half Marathons.  If your registered for both events early enough, free pair of shoes included.

My medal and t-shirt.  Loved the red of the women's shirts!
This race has a lot going for it for local folks.  It's part of a two part series.  If you paid one price for both races early in the registration process, you could select amongst a couple of pairs of free shoes.  Both races include a gender specific tech shirt, and this time they added medals.  (The first two seasons of these races had no medals).  Something unique is that there is a different bonus for signing up for both races each season.  This time it was shoes, last time was a fancy Nike bag, the time before that was a running jacket.

The course is a 5K loop.  For the same price, all participants can run any of three options: 5K, 10K or 15K based on the number of times you looped the course.  I did see one person who did the 15K even go back out for a bonus lap as part of her training.
The course included some of downtown, and the "Scioto mile" along the Scioto river.
Some of the views were just cool!
I did not sign up for the two-part series because the second race date conflicts with my half marathon in Xenia.  I also have become pretty partial to my particular running shoes.  (The Brooks Launch and the Newton Gravity).

Nonetheless, I am part of the pace team that paces most of the local races put on my Premier Sports or M3S sports.  As a result, I ran this race as a pacer.  The pace team did the 15K, which meant that everyone had the option of utilizing pacers regardless of how many of the 3 loops they chose.   I paced the 1:55 finish with my friend Celeste.  (That's about a 12:20 min/mile).
MIT pace team pre-race

Me and Celeste just prior to the start
We had a huge group sticking with us for the 5K loop, it dwindled down a bit during the 10K loop.  
Just after the first 5K loop
After that, a few people picked up speed.  We cheered them on and didn't see most of them again.  A few people fell back a little bit, and a few more stayed just in front of us.  In the last mile, Celeste and I realized that there wasn't anyone within sight of us behind us, so we picked up pace a bit to catch those just in front of us to encourage them to a strong finish.   The first group we caught up to were finishing their first race.  They were using this race as training for their first half marathon.   I couldn't help but get up in that first race finish excitement.  It was fun to relive that feeling through others!  After we finished with them, I was too happy cheering people in to really stop my watch right away.
Bringing them in!
The finished involved running by along the Scioto river, up a small hill and then about 0.1 mile flat section to the finish arch.  From the finish line area you could see people coming up from about 0.3 miles to the finish.  As I was cheering with those who'd just finished, I noticed another runner who I'd run with in the first 5K.  He was also finishing his first race as part of his first half marathon training.  I dashed down the stone steps to catch up to him from behind.  As I caught him, I said, "No one finishes alone."  He was so happy to see a friendly face and confessed that he only had a few minutes left before he'd go over his goal finish time.  I told him, "No problem.  You've got this.  We'll stay nice and steady up this short hill, catch our breath as we go around the turn cone, and then dash to the finish."   He agreed to the plan and off we went.

As we got ready for the dash to the finish line, he told me that I was awesome.  I laughed and told him that was why I did this, to hear such wonderful compliments.  HA.  Then I said, "Go, go, go, you can finish this FAST."  Holy moly did he pull some speed out of the air.  He dashed to the finish line.  I pulled off to the side just short of the finish arch to let him have his moment.  Then met him on the other side to congratulate him on a great job.  He just gave me a huge hug.  Has to be one of my favorite finish line moments ever!   He was so happy to finish his first race!  (And, he beat his goal by an entire minute.)

Before pacing this race, I'd been talking to my husband about whether or not I wanted to keep pacing.  Usually, I pace at a speed well below my training pace (for obvious reasons), and I was worried about potential injuries for something that was fun, but not necessary.  These moments on Sunday, celebrating with these first timers made me realize the FULL value of pacing a race.  You get to help people reach new goals, and YOU get to remember what it was like the first time YOU ever ran a race.  That pure joy of accomplishment can sometimes get lost when you start thinking about PRs, etc.  I cannot fully explain how much I enjoyed re-living those first race highs with these awesome people.

I am definitely not done pacing.  Not even close.


  1. What a great experience! I love that you encouraged so many people to their very first race finish. Nice work!

  2. Carrying that sign for 9.3 miles seems like it would suck! You look great, though!

    1. The new signs we use are actually pretty lightweight! My fingers cramped a couple of times though. Maybe I need finger strengthening exercises?

  3. Great job pacing!! You were spot on with your time. Runners really appreciate you!!!

  4. I think it's so wonderful that you pace, and you're clearly good at it, too--look at that time! Right on! I'm terrible at pacing, but I'm really grateful for the good pacers I've had in past races.

  5. You sound like a fantastic pacer Mandy! Motivating and friendly - a perfect combination :)

  6. Great job, Mandy! Love the story, too. Glad to hear you aren't finished pacing, you are exactly what new racers need out there!

  7. What a cool experience! I think I'd love to pace at some point... sounds so rewarding.

  8. I always find myself holding on the the sign for dear life. I always make my co-pacer swap with me every mile so it makes it easier. I had fun with that race but I am too lazy lately to recap. Nice job!


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