My fiancee recently took up running and signed up for her first half marathon. She was extremely nervous and asked if I would run it with her and stay with her at least through the first half (out and back, course).
She was painfully slow and made me question if she had lied about all the training she had done (she wanted to walk the first small hill at less than two miles). Also, she's slender so it wasn't a fatty problem.
I ran competitively in college and I thought I would be fine with taking it easy during the first half but the mere walking pace and especially the actual walking was painful. I had never walked during a race before and hated having to do it every .4 miles with her.
People I would never dream of losing to (huge fatties, people in stupid Hawaiin shirts, people with dumb running form) kept passing us and some making stupid remarks. When we finally hit the halfway mark, I kissed her goodbye and took off like a bat out of hell. I went from 10-11 minute mile pace down to low 6's and started mowing runners down. I blew past the one guy that made a really snide remark to us earlier about walking and kept catching huge packs.
Racing this way was fun as I usually go out hard and have to deal with fading late, instead of mowing a ton of runners down. However, my time was terrible and if any of my former rivals see my result, I can see them thinking, "What the hell happened to that guy?"
I'm proud my fiancee finished, but this will be the last time we run together during a race.