Heat + Hills = Success!!!!

Today I ran 8.63 miles in 1 hour and 35 minutes.  This is the longest distance I have ever run! 🙂

I typically run about three times a week anywhere between 2 to 5 miles each time.  The longest distance I had run before today was 7 miles about 2 years ago.  So, in late March, I set a goal to reignite my relationship with running, and to up my long distance mileage. 

I have found it extremely difficult to make any increases.  I could never just make myself go further.  I always found a brick wall around mile 5 that said, “OK.  You’ve run 5 miles.  Time to go home now.”  (Anyone else seen, Run, Fat Boy, Run?!?!)

I knew that any increase would take strategic planning.

My good friend, and colleague, Meg has been a running machine lately.  While training for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K this spring, she diligently followed a training program from Runner’s World.  She increased her long runs to 10 miles and set a new PR for the race!!! 

I asked her if she would take me on one of her long runs during Spring Break, and she agreed. 🙂

I met her around 10 AM this morning, and she showed me the route she had planned for us using USATF.  The route would take us through Downtown Richmond to the Southside and back around to her house.  The perfect loop 🙂


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2 mi
2 km


I would love to say that the run was super easy and that I could have gone further, but that would be a blatant lie.  The first 3-4 miles were a piece of cake.  This was the mileage I was familiar with, and my body responded well.  However, miles 5 through 8.5 were hilly.  There was no shade, and the sun was HOT

A longer than normal distance + hills + heat = a definite challenge for me. 

However, I persevered :)  I only walked once up a ginormous hill at about mile 7.  I wonder if this is how Forest Hill got its name.  Hmm… 

Even though there were moments my legs felt like lead, my knees ached, and my hips felt incredibly stiff, I still had a great time!  The view was simply breathtaking, and the company couldn’t have been better!  :) 


After the run, I felt like I had truly accomplished a major feat!  Three months ago, I was walking around in an unsightly black surgical boot, and could barely walk.  Today I ran almost 9 miles and I survived!!!!  🙂

Once we returned to her house, Meg made us delicious Green Monsters to drink while we stretched our tighter than tight leg muscles.


Don’t you just love this mug???

Although this run was a challenge, I have to stop and remind myself that there was a point when a three mile run was a challenge.  There was a time when I thought that 6 miles were simply impossible, and that I would never be able to run a 10K. 

It’s important to set small attainable goals, so you get to taste the sweetness of success every once in a while.  At the same time, it is important to set goals.  I could have kept running my 2-5 miles, but I knew I wanted to be able to do more.  I also think it’s important to enlist the help of friends and family to help you reach those goals. 

I’m going to keep trying this 8.63 mile loop with Meg (if she’ll have me!) until it becomes a piece of cake.  Who knows, maybe I’ll run a marathon before I’m 30!!!!  :) 

Are you a long distance runner?  How did you increase your mileage?  Any tips for success???


magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!



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9 responses to “Heat + Hills = Success!!!!

  1. Heather

    Jen, I am so impressed with both you and Meg. You ladies rock!!

  2. Rebecca Flanagan

    Nice Job! Nothing like a good run! You could totally do a marathon! It was prob. the biggest commitment to training and hardest thing I have ever done on my own but well worth the runners high and sprinting across the finish line! Sports Backers has a great training team that starts in June for the Nov. marathon!

    • I may try it. I need to try a few runs closer to 9-10 miles before I start thinking about 26!!! Maybe a half first??? Or did you just go straight to marathon?? 🙂

  3. Congratulations!!! That is so awesome!!! 🙂

  4. Alicia

    I remember my first 9 miler when I was training for my half. It was brutal and my body protested the next day. Even during the race, at mile 11 I literally felt weak in the knees. You can do it!!

    I have to say I am a little envious of your runs because I am nursing tendonitis in my foot and some shin issues. They say when you can’t do it…you miss it like crazy!!

    Happy running friend!!

  5. Emma

    I want to join next time!!!

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