Today's the second half of two landmark trainings for me. I will be running 9 miles, the longest distance I've ever run in my life. The last time I ran 9 miles was 5 years ago, in early August 2006, and it was on that 9-mile hill run that I injured my IT band and soon after had to drop out of the training and the race because of how slowly my IT band was healing.
The first of the two landmark trainings occurred two weeks ago, when we ran at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. I ran 8 miles that day, and the course was essentially one big hill. Four miles up, four miles down. I knew I would need to take it easy on the hills, especially the downhills which are particularly hard on knees. With the help of my friend and running buddy Christina, we took the course on with patience and completed the 8 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes. We ran as much as we could, walking the steepest uphills and downhills and gently jogging the less steep hills, and when we rolled back to the start line I felt tired but good. And most importantly, I felt no hint of injury.
So I managed to keep myself healthy on the long hill run - good! Whew! What a relief! I've learned a lot about how to run hills since 2006, and you can't discount the dramatic change in my weight and base level of fitness as major contributors to my success this time.
Now it's time to conquer the distance half.
My goal is to get out there today and just relax into the run. I'm not going to push my speed - no pace targets for me today. I want to stay focused and in tune with my body, keeping conscious of my footfalls, posture, and form. And most importantly, I want to make sure attend to any area of my body that hurts in any way, and to have the guts to cut my run short if I need to in order to keep myself healthy.