I have a sweet friend who explained to her son once, that sometimes we don’t do things because we want to, but sometimes we do things to make others happy.
That single piece of advice has stuck with me since the moment Bonnie said it, and it may stay with me for the rest of my life. I use those words often in my classroom and have found myself using them also with my daughter. Who am I kidding, I often use it with myself.
Pacing in some ways, in almost every way, is very much like that…….pacers do undoubtably take so much away from the experience, but at the end of the day, its a private story, taking a back seat to the glory of the event with no photos, and a story that has parts one never gets to tell.
Pacing, in many ways is the unsung hero of an event, or the secret ingredient to a competitor’s winning formula. Not all situations work out well, but each one offers the dish an amazing, more heightened flavor.
I’ll go on record to say that I’ve never been as nervous for any event, as I was for pacing any of the races I’ve done. It’s a daunting feeling to know that someone else is counting on you to be mentally tougher than they are……..when they’re the one’s who’ve been training. In many ways that just sounds silly…..but it’s the number one job description…..
…..along with never being able to complain, be tired, hot, cold, cranky, thirsty, out-of-sorts, or any other emotion that often accompanies any run where you might even consider having a pacer…..which is the funny part if you really think about it. The pacer finds another gear, silently, in the depths of their own running soles, and pushes through privately, while putting on a see-through tough exterior.
In many ways, the day of the pacer is not only an exercise in physical strength, but in strength of mind as well. I’ve always said that a runner’s mind has to be twice as tough as a runner’s quads and its for exactly these reasons………because as human’s, life is shallow if we live only for ourselves. I find it hard to understand the person who doesn’t give back to their fellow man. Now, we can each chose to give back in our own way, but I believe VeRy StRoNgLy that we should give back. I think in finding our “self-less self” we do indeed find ourself. It’s easy to do only what we want, when we want….but to find it in ourselves to “do something to make another person happy” is the most ‘sole-riching’ experience I’ve ever had.
I just watched a friend barrel through the finish line of a race this last weekend…….I watched from the dirt road when only moments before I had been ‘reeling’ her into said finish line. I grabbed a water, showered, and changed while she received all her glory…….and that’s the way it should be.
A day later, after a different 18 mile pacing job, I checked in at the finish, after leading all my pace group in, within seconds of their goal time. I was back out walking to meet another friend before any of the group even knew I was gone.
I realize I’m a part of their story…..just as a shadow is a part of our selves. We know it’s their…….steady, unwavering, dependable………….silent.
Groovy Girls Go……..Unnoticed