this weekend i've got a run planned that i've not ever undertaken before.
i'm helping to pace someone in a race.
any of you who have ever done something like this can appreciate that there's a difference between being confident about completing a particular distance in a certain time and being about to help guide another runner to complete that same distance in that given time.
pacing (as i understand it) is about more than providing a guarantee of crossing the finishing line in a certain number of hours/minutes/seconds. it's about doing so in a fashion that calls forth an effort that can reasonably be expected of someone who may have the same athletic capacity as you.
does that make sense?
it's not as if i can just sandbag it for 80% of the race and then turn on the afterburners for the remaining 20% - the person for whom i'm serving as pacer may be running on fumes at the 80% mark.
and it's not as if i'm just 'along for the ride' with my fellow runner - if i neglect on my responsibility to push him/her appropriately, then we both wind up missing the mark.
on top of all of that, a pacer is an encourager. i've got to be comfortable enough running at a speed that i can be doling out words that will inspire, uplift and challenge the other person in a way that will bring out his/her best.
put that all together, and there's more at stake in this race than in any other race that i've run to this point.
and i love it.
here's to a great day. here's to my friend crossing the finish line in the time that he hopes for. and here's to the opportunity to have my legs make a difference in someone else's life.