The route that we tackled included the Compton Gardens portion of our local running trail. This section of the trail also happens to be part of the last mile of the race course too. The fun part of this route is that you get to run downhill only to hit the turn around point and go back up! Before each group run, our coach Mike Rush goes over pointers and call outs for the participants. Today he talked about a key form mistake a lot of us make...running with tension. His tips were to make sure you dropped those shoulders and relaxed the tension in your back.
Once we were out on the run the Rush team split up through out the group to encourage and support the participants. I ended up with my buddy Jody and we had fun encouraging others as we ran. We tried to say good job or something similar to everyone we passed. When we hit the hill we were the chattiest ones trying to take people's minds off the hill. Sometimes running can be mental and you just need a distraction! I tried my hardest to get someone to cross the top of the hill with their arms up a la Rocky but got no takers.
After running the training group in, I had 2.78 miles on my watch which was way less than my target mileage for the day. I took a quick break to use the potty and get a sip of water then headed back out. Originally I wanted to add on enough to hit 5 miles and I headed in a direction to accommodate that. Then I decided to continue on to hit 6 miles and ended up making it to 6.5 miles with my route choices. I quickly headed home and got Sidney geared up to run with me.
Sidney got a new gentle leader harness for Christmas and these are the best harnesses for her. She loves going on runs and just ran with joy the minute we got out the door. I needed another 2.5 miles to hit my 9 mile goal for the day. The thing about running from my house is that there are hills in every direction. I decided on a route that would take me down and then back up one of the biggest hills. Going down was a breeze...but coming back up was slow going. I swear my dog stopped a couple of times and looked back at me with a look that said, "seriously are you even moving!" I was slow but I conquered that hill.
That's the thing about hills...the more you train on them the easier they become. Hills truly make you a stronger runner and that is why Mike Rush has the training group run on the hills in the course. Back to Mike's tip about relaxing the shoulders and tension...I noticed on my run with Sidney that no matter the terrain she ran with joy and happiness. That pup had no tension in her little body! I should take lessons from her, especially since she beat me up that hill!