Proud Mama, II: Pacing a Friend

On Sunday morning, I had a wonderful opportunity; I got to pace my friend Marcia in the final 25-miles of her first 100-mile race, Cactus Rose, out at Bandera.

Marcia and I met when she signed up for a trail running class I was coaching 2 years ago, and we became friends over those months. There were several of us girls who became close; we all traveled to Palo Duro Canyon that year for the first time, Marcia and I doing the 50K (her first),  running her first 50-miler, Noelle pacing and supporting, and Ramsay actually winning the women’s race in the 50K. Being the oldest of the bunch, I have a lot of motherly feelings towards these friends, especially when it comes to their running adventures.

So, we were out at a brunch a few months ago when Marcia asked me what I was doing on Halloween. My first response was that I was going to the SFA/Texas State game in San Marcos–why? She was asking me to pace her at Cactus Rose in the last lap.

I cannot explain the feelings the washed over me when she said that other than it was a “mom” moment, that moment when you are almost in tears over the sweetness of the emotion because there are so many different ones rolled into a ball. Pride, happiness, love, satisfaction, to name a few. Of course, I was also feeling horrible regret because immediately, another friend jumped in to say she could pace. I was happy for Marcia that she would be well-cared for at the race with a good pacer but sad that I was going to miss the opportunity.

The more I thought about it over the next days and weeks, the more I realized that it was important to me to be there at her race, pacing or not. I talked to my daughter about missing the game and she said, “Pshaw…I will hardly see you…there are other times…go to the race!” So I sent Marcia a note, telling her that I would be available after all: crew, pace, cheer, do whatever she needed. It turned out that she still needed that pacer.

It was simply an awe-inspiring experience.

We started in the dark among the beautiful Bandera stars, under a gorgeous moon, and got to see the sunrise, all pink and orange and bright. There were remarkably few low spots, some times that were outright fun with laughter (like when we turned on our mountain troll shuffle), and some times that were really serious work. It was humbling to see what my friend could do and how much determination she had.

Oh, there were tears when she crossed that finished line, hers and mine both. I was so proud!  It was definitely a “mom” moment.

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

0 thoughts on “Proud Mama, II: Pacing a Friend

  1. Oh this made me cry all over again! It was such an incredible experience and I will never be able to adequately convey how much it meant to me to have you there!

    – Marcia

  2. Very very cool

    I\’m looking forward to running long on trails. Can\’t still really imagine 100-mi but who knows.

    Congrats on being such an impact on someone\’s life 🙂

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