Pacing the Austin marathon is such an honor. It’s really hard to explain to people why it’s such an honor and so much fun at the same time. I get to celebrate two of my favorite things: running and Austin. I also get to watch people transform over the course as they finish something they often times didn’t think they could do. You get to see people at their very best, as they dig as deep as they can. In Austin where there are countless Ironman finishers, ultra runners, and all around amazing athletes, it’s easy to lose sight that a marathon is a huge accomplishment. Most the runners out on the course had to balance family, work, and other obligations to make it to the starting line. Some had even more, as the pacee that stayed with us the longest told us she was running in honor of her dad who just passed three weeks ago. Most runners out there put a heck of a lot of work into that marathon. And please remember, the “slower” paces worked just has hard as the 3:00 folks. Tales of doing eight pre-marathon 20 milers floated around the 4:40 group….so yes, these folks work darn hard. One of the hardest workers of all is my partner, Korrie. While most of us are enjoying 60 degree winter days to run in, she’s putting in her miles in single digit temperatures, and when it dips below that, doing her long runs on a treadmill. When I first met Korrie 5 Austin marathons ago, we hit it off right away, and had the same pacing philosophy: this is a huge privilege and we owe to the runners to get it right. We owe to them to train hard, to be ready on race day, and run those even splits! I love hitting the splits on such a great course. I love the hills, the love running through so many of Austin’s prettiest neighborhoods, I love seeing my fellow nurses volunteering along the course, and I love seeing my family every year around the 23 mile mark and getting a huge lift from them. I love it most of all when the first time marathoners who stuck with us for the whole “bus ride ” (the bus analogy for pacing is too cool!) go ahead at the end and push that final hill. Getting to share a moment like that with someone who lets you into their world over 26.2 miles is an honor like no other. So when the pacees thank us, I always say “No, thank YOU.” I think the pacers get more out of this than the runners do. Thanks for another great marathon, 2013 pace team.