Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pacing Thunder Road

Pacing Thunder Road Marathon

(appreciate Scott for sharing)
Rolling up on the Thunder Road Marathon finish line a little before 6 AM on Saturday morning, Tim was doing a TV interview. The reporter was asking about what security precautions were be added to the Thunder Road events in light of the tragic events in Paris. After listening to Tim share his thoughts, the interview ended. Hearing him talk about it, my own thoughts drifted to those terrible events, and my prayers went out to everyone affected by those events.

 I wanted to hang out and enjoy the finish line view but my pacing duties called. I needed to head up stairs inside of the BBT stadium.

Our pacers slowly made their way in as we all gathered before heading to the starting line just after 7 AM.

Rob didn’t roll up until I was standing at the starting line. The thought had crossed my mind that I might be going solo today. I really needed Rob’s assistance. Rob and I work well together. I bring the enthusiasm. Rob keeps our pace in check the entire way.

Like I said, we work well together.

The final countdown goes by quickly, and we are off and running.

Launching from nothing to 7:15 isn’t easy. This is especially true as I get older. We were off by 15 second over the first couple of miles. No one really feels the hills until they hit the first real uphill on 4th street. Then, there are a few rollers as we go through Coleville. The first true test is heading up the long hill on Providence Road.

What is good about these sections is the crowd support. Lots of people were out bringing the noise as we pass by. Those not cheering were encouraged loudly by me as we passed.

We lost a few seconds on Providence but tried to make it up going back down Wendover. We ran even splits through the Myers Park area. So far, we had a pretty good group with us.

The long drag down Kings Dr. was awesome.

(appreciate this picture, Peter)
Then, the hated climb up Moorehead and by Latta Park tested everyone. We lost a large portion of our posse during this section. Let's be honest here. TRM is a tough course. For that matter, any uptown race is tough.

The bands playing along the course were a nice touch. I do wish they had been playing more enthusiastic/up beat music. I am working to motivate my posse so every little bit helps.

The last couple of miles in South End are some of the better running sections on the entire course. The view of the skyline coming up Mint Street is fantastic. As we came by the Panthers Stadium and move passed the Duke Energy Parking deck, the finish line can be seen in the distance.

Last year, I didn’t take the time to enjoy this moment, but this year I did. I slowed, whipped out my camera, and started taking pictures. I took pictures of the people coming to the finish line. I took pictures of the people headed to the finish line.

I even took pictures after I crossed the finish line.

With 2 Thunder Road pacing assignments now on my resume, I feel more like a veteran. Before last year, pacing was not something I thought much about doing. Now, my thoughts are already thinking about next year.  

If I have anything to do with it, our Charlotte Running club will be back in '16 to help with the pacing duties.
Think about joining us.


Best in Running,

The Cool Down Runner





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