Today Brittany, Kaitlyn and I met for what is basically our last long run of the season - although the track season is technically over, Brittany wanted to get the crap out of her legs after the meet and Kaitlyn and I have the half marathon in 2 weeks so we won't be taking time off until after that. This was pretty much our usual long run crew throughout the semester, minus Claire, who can't run right now because of an injury, and basically, on our long runs, we would always do ridiculous things. Like negative split on the way back (this happened basically EVERY time), run way faster than we were supposed to, etc. Well, today's long run pretty much summed up the ridiculousness in the best way possible, and in a way that made me feel REALLY good going into the half.
We decided to run on the bike path because none of us wanted to deal with hills after racing yesterday and we were hoping we could get at least somewhat out of the wind. On the way out I would say we were running maybe 7:45 pace, still faster than is theoretically necessary for a long run but not insane by any means. We got to the turnaround and started back...which is when the ridiculousness began. Now, keep in mind that this is happening like 7 miles into this run. All of a sudden on the path in front of us there was this girl, who was obviously running a bit slower than us but not much. IMMEDIATELY, the 3 of us picked it up - like a pretty large drop in pace, and eventually passed her (and then started laughing because each of us noticed the others pick it up). Well after that, we were just running fast. And I was feeling GREAT. I happened to look at my watch at the 2.3 mile mark (there are posts every .1 mile on the bike path with the distance on them, its really sweet) and since I figured we were running at a decent pace, I would time this mile to see how fast it ended up being. Halfway through, it dawned on me that we were definitely under 7 minute pace. By 1200 meters, I knew we were WAY under 7 minute pace. And then, I missed the mile mark, but .1 after the mile mark, we were at 6:44. AKA, we had just run a ~6:10 mile. IN THE MIDDLE OF A LONG RUN. We were seriously just like, um, did that really just happen? And then we ran like a 7:30 to finish out the day. Overall pace in the end was 7:27 for 9.5 miles...so, I am feeling much more confident that if I can do something this absurd, the day after a race [sidenote: legs, why didn't you feel like this yesterday? huh?] then I definitely have a shot at going under 1:40 in the half. And strangely enough, you know what I think my strategy is going to be? Negative splits. Its not something that's ever really worked for me in a shorter race, but I think over the longer distances, it takes me awhile to get warmed up, and then I just get faster and faster until I'm cruising the last mile. 1:40 is 7:37 pace, so if I start at 7:45 and just work my way down...who knows? Anyway, that gets me excited about that, and makes me feel less bad about not running the 5K this week...I guess.
So thanks, random girl in the blue shirt running at a decent pace on the bike path, for inspiring us to the heights of ridiculousness on a long run. The feeling of just kicking ass when you least expect it is just plain awesome.