Pacer Rob

Where are you from?

Denver, Colorado

Current P.R.

3:27:06 Marathon

Typical pace

Easy/long runs: 8:30-8:50 file

Number of marathons

15

Occupation

Engineer

Favorite marathon

Probably Portland

Hobbies

Running (well, duh) and I work a lot.  I suppose I eat and drink enough that you may as well call them hobbies!

Favorite Running Food

While running, just about anything that someone hands me (fruit, candy, and god help me, those little half-full cups of beer – need more of those please!)

What are you reading now?

“Soul of an Octopus” by Sy Montgomery

Who do you train with?

Mostly my co-worker, Melinda.  Look next to me (or more likely 200 meters in front of me, and you’ll find her!)

Personal goals

I’m nearly 50 so PRs are not easy to come by, but if God or Buddha or someone smiles upon me, I’d like to get a new PR in every major distance before I get too old.  So I’d like a 21-something 5K, a sub-45-minute 10K, a sub 1:38 half marathon and a 3:25-ish marathon

 

 

A quotation you like…

A tough one.  Ask me again at Mile 22 of the marathon.  If you can still speak then (and if you remember of course) then I’ll have something brilliant to say!

 

Why do you run?

 

Did I mention my hobbies of eating and drinking.  Running lets me do those things in abundance and not get fat!

Describe your best marathon memory.

 

Not surprisingly, that would have to by PR in Columbus 2009 (BTW, I did basically equal that PR just last fall – missed it by 20 seconds) so my PR is not entirely 6 years in my past).  Anyway, due to a combination of factors that have proven difficult to recreate (and a bit too lengthy to talk about here), I ended up finishing the marathon with a 16-minute PR and about 8 minutes faster than my “wildest dream” time (and a Boston Qualifier to boot), All of which I thought was well out of my reach.  That was my 7th marathon so I wasn’t all that new to the event.  I never expected such a good result.  The odd thing is that I was not tired at the end.  After I finished, I stood around for a few minutes not sure of what to do, and then decided to run backwards on the course to find and cheer on teammates.  What do you do when you finish a marathon and don’t feel like resting.  Oh, to repeat that experience!

Why do you pace?

 

I like the feeling that I’m giving back to the community that has given so much to me, and it’s a personal boost to think that I can help other people reach their goals.  That and everyone I run with now has already heard all of my jokes.  I need a fresh audience!

Tell us your best pacing experience.

 

My afore-mentioned training partner, Melinda, has given me the most-important pacing experience I’ve had to date.  In 2012, I was coming off an injury that had kept me sidelined for almost a year.  I was coming back slow.  Melinda, who works for me, asked to accompany me on one of my short runs (5 miles).  She made it about 6 blocks before collapsing in a heap, and we were running just slower than a 10-minute mile!  Back then, she smoked and hadn’t run a step (or done much of any other exercise) in many years.  Fast forward 18 months, and I’m pacing her in her first marathon (Columbus 2013).  My injury had largely healed, and needless to say, Melinda had improved significantly since her first 6-block run!  She ran so well in the last 6 weeks of training before the marathon that we kept moving her goal-time faster.  First 4 hours, then 3:50 and then in the few days before the race, we settled on 3:40.  This was fast enough that I worried a little that I might myself fall off the pace!.  We ended up crossing the finish line in 3:39:06!  Can I pace, or can I pace!  In my running life, no other accomplishment of mine lives up to the joy I received from training Melinda up from a complete non-runner to a sub 3:40 marathoner.  Melinda, btw, has a perfectly reasonable shot at running under 3:20 in our fall marathon, a time I’m certain I can never hit.  There’s gratitude for ya!

Why should someone run in your pace group?

 

Well, who doesn’t like that kind of excitement!  Seriously, don’t worry about a thing.  I’m an excellent pacer, just ask Melinda.  Actually, if I play my cards right, she’ll be pacing right next to me.  So you’ll get two pacers for the price of one!  Well, it’s free, but you know what I mean!

Any tips for runners about to join your group?

 

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before – DO NOT GO OUT TOO FAST!!  More than racing any other distance, marathon is all about even splits.  For every one minute you put in the bank in the first half of the marathon, you’re likely to give up 5 minutes in the last 6 miles.  Pick your time, pick your pacer (me!) and run that pace.  And don’t forget to look around, talk to people (don’t talk too much), look at the interesting scenery, smell the interesting smells (not when you’re right next to another runner … I was talking about different smells) and don’t forget to have a good time!  It’s not a 5K or even a 10K where you have to get serious right away because of the shortness of the race.  No matter what, a marathon takes a long time.  Enjoy yourself along the way, hit that goal and/or achieve that PR.  All of those are possible, and all in the same race!

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m getting my jokes ready.  I thinking one every 5K!  It will be great … really it will!

 

What philanthropic activities do you have?

Is that stamp collecting? I really like stamp collecting.  Seriously, I was thinking of pacing a marathon, does that count?  I think it does!

 

 

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