A year ago, I paced my group at the LA Marathon. Five of us started together and after the one speedy member took off at Mile 2, the other four of us stayed together until about Mile 20. Two of us wound up finishing together.
There might be more joining me this year. For one, I have a reliable co-pace leader this time around. She's already registered for the LA Marathon, as am I. If our group run on Sunday is any indication, our group could number quite a bit come March 17. I've had several members ask me about pacing for LA and if they all join us, then it will be a fairly large turnout.
And if Sunday's run is also an indicator, the marathon will be a grand day indeed. We ran 15 miles on Sunday and for the most part we all stayed together. We chatted it up throughout as we went on our adventure together. We ran into Redlands as we always do, and then headed out on a desolate trail which we all seemed to enjoy. The conversations were great and made the time fly by. Afterward, we all remarked how strong we felt, how good our legs felt and how comfortable the run felt.
Marathon training is paying off for all of us, and as we've spent so much time and have run so many miles together as a unit, we are really starting to come together as a group as well.
There are a lot of things I like about being a pace leader. I like sharing my knowledge with others. I like watching novice runners transform into true long-distance runners and eventually marathoners. I like how it keeps my honest and makes me stay committed to my own training schedule so I don't fall behind in my pace-leading duties.
But this bonding experience, this bringing together of runners and making it into a group, is grand. I am excited for our upcoming runs, our 22-mile run on Feb. 24, the marathon itself, but I will also be sad when this is all over.
That's part of the job too, though. Forming a unit and then sending all the newly-minted marathoners out into the world of marathon running. Hopefully some of them will come back for the 2013-14 season, and can help out with the creation of next year's group.