Sunday, April 11, 2010

Best Long Run. Ever.

1 hour 29 mins.
13 miles

You know those runs where everything just clicks? The pace feels comfortable, your legs are fresh, and perhaps you even have good conversation as a bonus? Against all odds, this turned out to be one of those runs. I say "against all odds" because the volume and intensity of this week logically suggested that today's long run would be a slow slog-fest. Instead, it was simultaneously uptempo and relaxed without involving any additional effort.

The best part, and yet another element that makes runs like this so rare, is that for the first time I can remember (and I have a good memory), we held together a solid group of girls for almost the entire run. Tanya, Jess, Maraya, Jenna, Pezz, Holly and myself cleaved together from the outset and somehow managed to stay together for a solid 11 miles. This NEVER happens. But despite seeing consistent splits of 6:55 to 7:05 after a 7:30 opening mile, no one fell off or dropped back. Perhaps it was because no one really "raced" this weekend, or because the weather was so gorgeous, or maybe it was just a pack mentality after the first few miles--whatever the reason, I was digging it.

In an effort to capitalize on the rare speediness of this run, I decided to pick up the pace the final few minutes and see how my legs would respond. I closed the last 1.5 in 9:15 with a 6:05 final mile, a pace I don't think I've ever touched in a long run before (and did I mention I have a good memory?). Now, the purpose of this whole entry isn't to brag about how fast I am, but rather to illustrate how much more beneficial (and, as an added bonus, more enjoyable) a run like this can be when a solid crew is involved. Though it would be naive to hope for a replica of this experience next week, I think it's realistic to aim for another quality group effort.