Monday, December 19, 2011

Long Run Surprise

Is it already Monday night?! These past few days have flown by. Between last minute Christmas shopping, cleaning of the house, and quality hubby time, I haven't stopped. Luckily, I've been getting out of work early each day so I've had plenty of extra time to get things done. 

Last Friday night was spent catching up with friends over dinner, then hitting the sack early for my long run Saturday morning. I had plans to meet some people from the local running club, Northwest Arkansas Speed Association (aka: NASA), at 8:30 to tackle 12 miles. I was super nervous because 1) these girls planned to average a much faster pace than I was use to, 2) meeting new people makes me nervous, and 3) did I mention these girls were fast? 

Eek! I basically introduced myself as "Hi, my name is Alex. Thanks so much for inviting me to run with you guys. I'm really slow, so you don't have to wait on me."

Yea, steller first impression. I really know how to talk myself up.

The girls were super nice and welcoming. They said they were in no hurry and planned to just take it easy. Ha! This sentence replayed over in my head a few times during the run as a cruel joke. Such a mean thing to say to this slow runner.

But you know what happens when you set the bar low for yourself? You are very impressed when you do better than expected! 

Exhibit A: 
Mileage: 12.00; Time: 2:01:48; Pace: 10:09 

Booyah!! During this run, I beat my 5K and 10K personal record, and would have stomped my half marathon personal record if I would have ran 1 more mile! It definitely wasn't easy, but it felt SO good! 

Here is the mileage broken down:

Mile 1: 9:41
Mile 2: 9:01
Mile 3: 9:23
Mile 4: 9:25
Mile 5: 9:49
Mile 6: 9.57 <--Turn around point. Start the slow incline.
Mile 7: 9:29
Mile 8: 10:17
Mile 9: 10:23
Mile 10: 10:52 <-- Walked a few times. Getting way too tired.
Mile 11: 11:15 <-- Nasty hill. So over this run.
Mile 12: 12:14 <--Longer nasty hill. Get me outta here!

Ouch. Okay, so the splits aren't amazing. But look at those first 7 miles! Yep, those are 9's at the front. Rocking. 

I was able to keep up with the group during the first 7.5 miles, but after the turn-around spot at mile 6, the trail was slightly uphill the rest of the way. I slowly started to lose them and then the last 2 miles had some nasty, unrelenting inclines. Yay for hills at the end of a 12 mile run! 

So, while I started to bomb toward the end, my average pace still rocked. And this makes me super happy. Apparently what "they" say is correct: Running with fast people make you a better runner. 

I may start making this a habit. Hopefully no one will mind the slow girl tagging along.

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