April 28, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Plans

Today I got an interesting offer: to be a pacer for the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon.

As long-time readers will remember, the VCM was my first marathon ever. (It was also supposed to be my only marathon ever, but that didn’t really work out). I picked it because it was close enough that my mom and high school best friend could easily come, it was a big field but not a mega-marathon, and most importantly, it was sponsored by Ben & Jerry’s and had all-you-can-eat ice cream at the finish line. It ended up being an amazing experience: I charged up the major hill in the course, The Battery, passing people right and left while my mom and Kristen cheered and waved their “run to the ice cream!” sign. I spent the last mile wondering why I had ever decided to run a marathon, and then I finished, and gasped, “never again!” Ten minutes later, I had figured out that I was going to do the Seafair Marathon a few weeks later in Seattle. The week after Seafair, I ran Calgary and became a Marathon Maniac, and… you know the rest.

So anyway, my point is that the VCM would be a very sentimental race for me, and one that I would love to run again. It would be especially cool to run it as a pacer, so I could tell my pace group about what I’ve done and maybe inspire them (hopefully that doesn’t sound too narcissistic). Being a pacer for the VCM would also give me pacing experience so I could maybe be a pacer at other races (that I haven’t yet run) and thereby save on entry fees. So maybe it’s an investment.

However, I could also run the Mad City Marathon in Madison, Wisconsin that weekend. It would be a chance to get another state in, and sure, there are other marathons in Wisconsin, but maybe I shouldn’t waste a weekend on a state I’ve already completed. I would still need to pay for a hotel in Vermont, so it wouldn’t be 100% free.

But on the other hand, it would be kind of cool to start a tradition of running the VCM every year. This is the first year they’re using pacers, so if I do a good job, maybe I could be a pacer every year. And my mom could come again, and it could be our new Memorial Day weekend tradition, and the Albany Running Exchange sends a huge group every year, so it’d be fun to get to see them…

I can’t decide. Any readers running either one, or otherwise have thoughts?


38 thoughts on “Memorial Day Weekend Plans”

  1. I am running Vermont, and am very excited to hear that pacers will be there. I of course would vote for Vermont. I loved your report from Vermont last year and have referenced it multiple times during my training.

  2. I’m not really a runner, but I’m all about sentimentality and tradition. (My first official 5k was on Thanksgiving and I plan on doing that one again this year!)

    Needless to say, I vote Vermont! (Plus….Ben & Jerry’s?!! Hello!!!!)

  3. I say pace at Vermont. Like you said, it may open other doors at other races you want to run.

    I did this race in 2000 – it was a lot of fun!

    Regarding Wisconsin, I had also noticed that there is still space available at the Green Bay Marathon in a couple of weeks, which looks very well organized.

  4. What a great story to tell! I vote you do Vermont. :o)

    PS- Let me know if you want to bloggy hook up in Lincoln this weekend. Although I suspect I can spot the bright yellow Maniac top. :o)

  5. I think you should go for it. It would be a sentimental race for you, give you some experience as a pacer and could make for a great tradition!

  6. I’m totally a sentimental person so if I were you I think I would probably go with Vermont…plus pacing sounds like a really cool experience!

    But I would also definitely recommend running the Madison Marathon at some point! (Ok, maybe I’m biased because I’m from Madison…) It’s a really nice, scenic course that goes through the campus and by 3 different lakes…and the UW Arboretum which is my favorite place to run ever. There may not be ice cream at the end, but it DOES end at the World’s Largest Brat Fest.. 🙂

  7. I vote with everyone else and say do Vermont. Being a pacer will give you an experience that’s unique from just running another marathon in another state. Transportation will be easy, plus ICE CREAM!

  8. Definitely go pace in Vermont. That race will always be special since it’s your first, and this is a fun opportunity. You have plenty of time to keep working on the other states.

  9. I’m going against the tide and voting for Madison… because I’ll be there running the half! To heck with Vermont. Come to the midwest for some beer and brats.

  10. I say do Vermont! That’s quite an honor to be asked to be a pacer. What pace would you be doing (i.e. Would this be hard/easy/standard time for you?). I think you’ll do all 50 states, but Vermont City was just so beautiful and getting to say you were a pacer the first year they started using pacers is pretty cool. Just my two cents. And that reminds me that I just started following you last year after I read your blog and realized we had both run Vermont just a few weeks before.

  11. How can you pass up free Ben & Jerry’s? LOL.

    Seriously though, I think you’d be an excellent pacer and and an inspiration to those in your pace group. I ran with a pacer for the first time at a half earlier this month and it was a great experience. I was so thankful to her for volunteering.

    Oh, one thing to keep in mind… not necessarily for Vermont but maybe if you pace another marathon. You might want to make sure that as a pacer you’re also considered a participant and get an official race bib. The pacer I ran with didn’t have to pay the registration fee but she also didn’t have a number or official finish time. I’m not sure how important that is to you for your 50 state goal.

    Good luck with your decision!

  12. I think it’d be really fun to be a pacer! I don’t think it’d be a setback at all to run Vermont, and the ice cream at the end is enough to convince me to run it. It can be really hot in Madison during that time of year (I’m just a little south in Chicago), so you might want to consider that. I’d do Vermont if I were you, there are TONS of marathons in Wisconsin, so you could always squeeze it in another weekend.

    For example, you could come run the Wisconsin Marathon on Saturday! 😉

  13. maybe i’m biased because i grew up in madison, but if i was going to run a marathon in wisconsin, i would absolutely do the mad city marathon over anything else. that said, i think in this case you should choose vermont–it sounds fun and i think it will be way more meaningful to you.

  14. Well I’m not doing either – but hmmm, thats a tough decision! It might be hard to get Wisconsin on the list (do they have a lot of races there??)- but I think having a “race tradition” with Vermont would be pretty cool. Also, what a great way to sort of ‘give back’ to the race that started it all! 🙂 Could be really fun to be out there and so Experienced this time around! aaaand – its pretty tough to turn down B&J! yumm

  15. ice cream at the end?? Where’s the sign-up page?? 🙂 Both sound like so much fun, I totally see why you’d find it hard to decide!

  16. If you pace in Vermont and defer Wisconsin, are you still on track for the 50 marathons goal?

    I think that’s the decision maker… If you can still meet the 50 states goal and do Vermont, start a tradition.

  17. I think being a pacer could be really rewarding, AND I think it’s great to have anniversary marathons. I ran Columbus 4 years in a row: once I ran the last 1.5 miles with a 4 year old, another time I paced a girl to sub-4. It’s not a “race” for me, it’s just a course I know well and feel special about. I was actually sad to miss it this year 🙁

  18. Madison is a GREAT town–and the marathon is through some of the pretty areas. You would have a fantastic time hitting up the capitol area and State street. Much better than Milwaukee or Green Bay!

  19. I ran the Madison Marathon last year. It is a fun yet difficult marathon. Lots of hills. Very Scenic. You run in the Arboretum which is absolutly beuatiful. The lake views are nice and you go past the Govenor’s Mansion. It wasn’t my favorite marathon, but I still liked it.

    I have run the following marathons in WI: Lakefront (Milwaukee), Fox Cities, Icebreaker, Trailbreaker, and Rails to Trails and I have also been a part of Green Bay and Lake Geneva Marathons in some way.

    Feel free to contact me if you want more info or my opinion on other Wisconsin marathons.

  20. I was almost going to be in Madison this month and run that race. But as you know..my schedule changes all the time and it turns out that I’m not there. I say run Vermont…great opportunity to try out pacing…and all you can eat ice cream. Case closed!

  21. Hey.. I will be in Vermont for my sixth marathon. I hope you will be there to be a pacer. I would love to meet you. Please do let me know which pace you will be so I can meet you.

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