Pace Be With You!


Pacing is not really my thing. However, the challenge of helping runners who are relatively newer to running than me achieve their goals of attaining PRs and exceed themselves, made me bite the bullet. Luckily I was assigned to a more “manageable” pace group of 2:37 for 21K. Though initially I belong to the 2:25 group.

I trained for the 2:25 target pace for, well, two weeks! And this consisted of re-adjusting my cadence. I used to be a 6 min/km. runner with a cadence of 90 steps per minute. I have this podrunner music of various bpms playing in my earphones just to regulate my feet overturns. Then I began running longer distances that this fast cadence was thrown out of my system. Because of this assignment to help other runners “exceed themselves”, I reintroduced myself to podrunner and revived my fast twitch muscles out of hybernation.


Our target pace “emblazoned” on our backs.
Photo Credit: Cleodelia Armendez


After just a week in my music assisted high cadence running, I managed to settle in, albeit slower, but more manageable intensity of 170 bpm at this point in my physical fitness. Then it was time to try extending this tempo running to 1:30 in order to have a feel of race day effort. Fortunately, we had this TRD Meets FRD LSD over at Alfonso for an estimated 30 km. There I tried my hardest to stick to my 170 steps per minute goal but only for 1 hour! For how can I extend it for 30 minutes more when an undulating road with some steep hilly inclines wants to dance with you! In short, I finished this 29 km. lsd in one piece but the pace was all over the place.

Show time or rather pace time came when Run United 2 unfurled at June 7. Thousands and thousands of andrenalin infused runners were waiting by their respective waves. They gathered behind their target pacer either wanting to achieve PRs or simply challenge themselves on how far they can stick with the pace. I stood trembling by the center. I tried my very best to belay my fears by not overthinking. It did not helped either that I have this two balloons flying over my head with the print “Mamaw Runner” on them. This I am totally not!


Running with ballons flying above and all over you is fun!
Photo Credit: Redg Candido


I have my player on to my target beat, 165 bpm for 30 minutes before slowly easing into 170 bpm. The pace plastered in my back says 2:37 but my feet wanted to stick with 2:25. After 30 minutes, I asked Redg if we are on target with the pace. She said we were a bit slower. I took this as my cue to proceed with my trained cadence, the 170 spm. Then I flew.

For almost 12 km I ran like I was in the zone. Not even the runner sticking so close by my side, matching me stribe by stride, can distruct me. The music is fueling my system and it’s taking charge of my legs. I remembered my Gu energy gel and I took it. A friend whom I cannot recall the identity of due to intense concentration on my pace that time, said that we were going a bit faster and that he is finding it hard to catch up. I too was feeling that I was going for the 2:25 pace rather than 2:37. I adjusted my pace with a slower music beat only to feel my legs tightening up. No no no! Don’t fail on me now, I disuaded it. The slower cadence must not be doing my legs any good. So in order to regain my momentum, I readjusted by candence back to 170.


Photo Credit: Team ARUNkada


Photo Credit: Cleodelia Armendez


Photo Credit: Cleodelia Armendez


My legs carried me for two more kilometers when suddenly I felt numb in my legs, starting from my feet and slowly going up. Suddenly, I felt faint. Must be the caffeinated Gu that I took for the very first time (a big no no by the way). Despite the pressure from those behind you, I just need to stop or risk collapsing in their wake – a greater scene I believe. The runner in trisuit asked, “stop again?” I gestured him to go ahead. He is this runner who sped up some kilometers back then suddenly stop, only to dash again after some few meters. When I caught up with him, he confided that it is hard to run after some few months off. Well, same scenario here! And that he wanted me to pace him.

The others though would rather wait for me to run again. I obliged and luckily, the banana in the next station took this weird feeling out. When I brought to the finish line a runner who said this was his first with a pacer and a PR at that, I knew my job was a success. I felt a tinge of pride in myself but it was satisfaction of having done something for the others that overwhelmed me. Through this means of helping my fellow runners, I too “exceeded myself”!


With Aevhon who candidly professed
that this was his first time to run with a pacer and achieve PR!
Photo Credit: Cleodelia Armendez


With fellow fabulous pacers!
Photo Credit: Cleodelia Armendez


Having fun after the race with the Fabulous Running Divas!
Photo Credit: Alyna Bejoc


Photo Credit: Cleodelia Armendez


Photo Credit: Alyna Bejoc