I run fairly regularly with a group called RunTOBeer. The name is fairly self explanatory – we run to beer! This is their description on facebook: “#RunTOBeer is an excuse to get together for a light workout, followed by a recovery drink or two at one of our city’s finest craft beer establishments! All levels of runners are welcome!” The group runs often end at a bar or event and the awesome organizers Dan and Tej arrange for the first pour on the house!
Recently in addition to 5km and 10km distances, the group has added 15km runs into the mix. However, with a range of runners at different speeds, the group can get quite stretched out over 15km, especially with stoplights thrown into the mix! One of the awesome things about RunTOBeer is the giant tunnel of high fives at the end: as people finish their run, they line up and high five all the runners coming in after them. It’s great fun, but it also means that finishing together is a bit more of a priority than starting together.
I’m a big fan of the 15km distance, and this weekend I volunteered to lead the “back of the pack” 15km group at a 6:30-6:45 min/km pace, ending at the Brewer’s Backyard at the Evergreen Brickworks. This meant starting a bit earlier than the other runners, since they would catch up to us eventually (the front of the RunTOBeer pack can be quite speedy with sub-5:00 min/km pacing!).
In the end most of the 15km runners started off together at about the same pacing. When we got to the 5km mark to meet the runners who were joining up for the 10km distance, my pace group picked up a few more runners and we started off early again. We had a good group going together, and over the run I got to chat with a range of people including some who were doing their longest distances ever (10km and 15km) as well as someone who has run incredible 80+ mile ultramarathons. It was great fun.
I felt a bit bad because my watch kept jumping around with the pace. Sometimes it would read 9:00 min/km and sometimes it would read 3:50 min/km! It was difficult for me to tell what our pace actually was, and there were a few times where I definitely let the adrenaline get to me and pushed a bit faster than I should have. We ran into plenty of stoplights, though, so I think it evened out.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the pacing was how it made me feel as a runner. Because I felt responsible for getting everyone where they were going, and approximately in the time I said we would get there, I tried hard to keep myself consistent (even if I didn’t always succeed – definitely something I aim to improve upon in future runs). This meant, too, that I would truck on up hills, even when I might otherwise have stopped to walk. It was a nice way to push myself a little bit! I needed to keep things strong for the whole run – and so I ended up feeling strong the whole run.
And maybe, one day, I might look into pacing a race (very slowly)!