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2010: A year of running

Happy 2011 everyone!

I still have a lot to catch you all up on but for now, I thought I would reflect back on the past year, most of which I have spent running! There was a time when I thought I would never run regularly again, let alone in long distance races but I have proven myself wrong again. Oh, how I love to do that!

I did a lot of other fitness-related things in 2010 but it was definitely the year of running for me. As a matter of fact, in 2010, I ran…

  • Nine 5k races!
  • One 10k race
  • One 10-miler
  • Two half marathons
  • My first 15k race
  • A nighttime 3 mile race
  • A 5-miler through Iroquois Park

There is nothing better to keep you motivated than to register for races. I tend to want to quit over the summer when it gets too hot and during the winter when temperatures fall below freezing and you have to wear 4 layers of clothing to stay warm. But having the races (and a great training partner) kept me going all year long!

There were times that I got discouraged and doubted myself. The mileage intimidated me as did my past finishing times. But after the 15k in September and especially the half marathon in October, I realized that I really can do whatever I set my mind to. I don’t have to be the fastest, I don’t have to beat my PR every time I go out there. I just need to have fun and enjoy the fact that I CAN RUN. And I can do so without soreness or injury. I am very blessed.

I am also happy to say that I have not slowed down at all. In fact, I started of the first day of 2011 with a 10 mile race! There are many more coming up this Spring, including the Triple Crown of Running and the Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathon that I have to look forward to. I do hope to beat my 5k PR sometime in 2011 but no pressure! And maybe, just maybe, I will go for a full marathon in the Fall. We shall see!

What fitness goals did you accomplish in 2010? What do you hope to do in 2011?

Pioneer 5k 2010

Subtitle: Cooler weather is my friend! :)

This past Saturday, we ran another 5k. This time, the run went through Seneca Park here in Louisville and the scenery was beautiful. It was a cool, crisp morning, so I ran in a long sleeved t-shirt for the first time this season. I foresee a very good Fall and Winter for myself, at least as far as running goes.

The first mile went really fast, as it was mostly flat and downhill, and when I crossed the guy with a watch calling out the times (“10 minutes even” he said as I strode by) I knew this would be a better finish than my last few 5ks.

The second and third miles had a lot of hills, but still weren’t as bad as those darned ones in Cherokee Park. Why does that place bother me so much? It’s such a beautiful park but I hate running in it.

Maybe it was because that was my first race in a while. Or maybe I just need to practice more there? I don’t know, ha ha. I do know that my preferences for running in parks goes: Iroquois, Seneca, Cherokee. Tom Sawyer park is okay but I didn’t really care for running in the grass.

Anyway, I digress. I finished the second mile in 11 minutes, so my time slowed considerably for those hills. But I did not have to walk at all! I just slowed down on the uphill and then let the momentum carry me back down the hill.

When we got toward the end and I could see the finish line, I ran as hard as I could while keeping good form. Farrah kept yelling “Put your arms down and use them!” Ha ha, I do tend to tighten up my arms, which is why my shoulders get so sore from running. Weird, huh?

When I crossed the finish line, I was so proud of myself. This is just the beginning of what is sure to be a triumphant return to running for me!

  • Distance: 3.10 miles
  • Time: 33:17
  • Average Pace: 10:42/mile

That’s a 3 minute, 29 second improvement over my last time! Hence the subtitle of this post. Cooler weather is definitely my friend.

Looking forward to my next race on September 19th — a 15k! That’s 9.3 miles people. Better start increasing my training distance :)

Colon Cancer 5k 2010

Oops, I almost forgot that I ran a little 5k this past weekend!

I am happy to say that I felt a lot better during this race than the last one, probably because I got to run at Iroquois Park this time. Even though the hills at Iroquois are steep, I enjoy them so much more because it’s not long before they come back down ;-)

Anyway, I ran most of the race until the middle of mile 2 when I got a cramp in my lower back and had to walk for a couple of minutes. I have definitely been neglecting my core workouts the past couple of months and it came back to bite me!

A strong core is so important for running, so I’m going to have to get back on it!

Here’s how I finished:

  • Distance: Approximately 3.1 miles
  • Time: 36:46
  • Avg. pace: 11:50/mile

I feel pretty good about that considering it was the first time I’d ran since the Fleet Feet Fiesta! I’ve really got to run more than once a week if I want to build up my distance and improve my speed. It’s just hard to get motivated, especially when the weather is so hot.

Bring on the fall!

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I have yet another 5k this coming Saturday. Can you tell that this is how I keep myself accountable?

This run will be through Seneca Park, so I’m excited as I have never ran an actual race there but have ran around the park many times (and on their trails)!

Champions 4 Her 5k 2010

On Saturday morning, I woke up to the sounds of thunder and heavy rain. Then came the flashes of lightning. I have to admit…I was NOT happy at all.

I ate breakfast, got dressed and drove down to the race site. I sat in my car as the rain kept coming down and the lightning kept striking. Surely this race is going to get canceled, I thought. But it didn’t. And I feel sort of guilty for wishing it had.

The Champions 4 Her 5K started a few minutes after 8:00 and we didn’t get very far before a massive downpour came over us. I had already decided to walk before this because my aunt was there and also I wasn’t feeling motivated to run at all because I had ran on Friday and my hip was a little sore. But the downpour just helped solidify this commitment.

As we were walking, we noticed that they changed the course a bit this year. We used to go across the bridge to Clarksville, but thanks to construction on Main Street (probably related to the Yuck Yum Arena) we ended up just going all the way down one street, turning around and coming back.

As far as race courses go, it was pretty boring. But I was glad for the time I spent chatting with my aunt, mostly about the crazy weather we have been having here lately!

My aunt and I walked the 3.1 miles in less than an hour in the pouring rain. Which I thought was pretty awesome considering.

The rain also cleared up enough after we finished so that we walked around a little bit and got some free health screenings. They had quite a bit of useful information at this festival, it really is a great event and I’m glad I went down there after all.

I’ve learned from this that sometimes we just need to slow down and enjoy the walk and take the “race” part out of it.

If that’s not a metaphor for life, I don’t know what is.

Run for the L of it 2010

This morning, my alarm went off at 5:45. It was time to get ready for yet another 5k race!

Run for the L of it

Run for the L

My friend Farrah was at a motorcycle driving class, so I ran by myself again today. In many ways, I prefer that but sometimes it is nice to have a friend there to push you! I missed her today.

This was a smaller race so I was able to walk up to the start line just a few minutes before the gun went off. The weather was warm but not too hot.

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Start

When I started, I remembered my run on the treadmill two days ago and I knew that I could go faster than I thought I could. So I started out at a moderate (for me) pace.

I ran the first mile in 9:30, the second in 9:25. I was right on track to beat my PR of 29:28.

But somewhere toward the end, I must have slowed down because once I saw the finish line for the first time, it was 28-something and I thought I was golden. I picked up the pace and sprinted to the finish but somehow I missed the PR by seconds!

  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Time: 29:39 (11 seconds, ahhh!)
  • Avg. Pace: 9:34/mile

While I was a bit disappointed for getting that close to beating my time and just barely missing it, I still had a great time and felt really proud of myself for finishing another race feeling great!

My next race is June 12 (two weeks) and it’s a 5-miler at Iroquois Park. Time to start working on my mileage!

Waggin' Trail 5k

This past Saturday, I did another 5k! Well, not exactly. While there was a run that morning, I chose to stick with the walkers. A really cute one, in particular.

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Suzie and I participated in the Kentucky Humane Society‘s annual Waggin’ Trail 5k which raises money for the animals they care for at the facilities. It was our second year participating and last year was so much fun, we knew we had to do it again!

It’s a really neat event with lots of different boths where you can get things for your pet, including having them microchipped. One of our local radio stations was also there giving away prizes. Check out the crowd!

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They also had plenty of doggie pools sitting out because it was quite warm and sunny that morning!

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Suzie met up with her friends Bo and Bailey, who all did some sniffing while us humans waited for the walk to start.

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After waiting around in the shade for what seemed like forever, the walk finally started. Let’s go!

Dog walk

The walk/run was held at Iroquois Park here in Louisville, which is known for it’s major hills! You may have seen these a time or two if you’ve ever participated in the Papa John’s 10-miler or the Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathon. They are quite challenging!

We finished in about an hour (1:02:06), which was pretty good for the course, the dogs and the crowd.

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Suzie walked the whole time! I guess because she sniffed all the way from the car to the park, she got it out of the way because she didn’t stop once. But I think she wore herself out too. It usually takes her an hour to walk 2 miles and she did 3.1!

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It was an awesome day and I can’t wait to do it again next year. The Kentucky Humane Society is where we got Suzie almost 2 years ago, so it holds a special place in our hearts. She is seriously the sweetest, most loving dog and though we still don’t know how anyone could’ve ever given her up, we’re glad they did! :)

Guest post: My First 5K

Hi! My name is Mari from Namaste Mari and before I go on to tell you about my first 5K experience, can I just say how honored I am that Sarah chose me to do a guest post on her blog. Especially since she is one of the people that motivated me to run my first 5K. Ever since I started to follow her blog, she has inspired me with all the amazing things that she has done to make herself healthier in every aspect of her life!

Before I tell you all about my big day…let me just give you a little back story on me, if you don’t mind =)

A few years ago I was overweight and extremely unhappy in my own skin. After a really bad year, I decided to make a change! I went from eating fast food almost every single day to watching my portions and filling up on fruits and veggies instead of super sized fries. I also started to workout religiously…I went from weighing 220 lbs to dropping down to 138 lbs. I was even featured in Self magazine.

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However the quote in Self haunted me “I wanted to be the girl I envied, running down the street. Now I am, and I owe it all to Self!”. By the time this article was published my running was sidelined because of an injury; I developed plantar fasciitis.

Every time I would try to pick up running again, something would stop me dead in my tracks but this year was different…this was going to be MY year. I made a vow to myself that I would run my first 5K before the end of the 2010.  My plan was to run my first race in May but Jess from Fit Chick in the City encouraged me to run The Coogan’s Salsa, Blues & Shamrocks 5K Race at the end of March. I used the Couch to 5K Training regiment and I found it extremely helpful. It was easier to tackle this challenge one week at a time instead of looking at the big picture and getting discouraged. I joined a gym and would train whenever I would get a chance. I also found a great running partner on the other end of the Coast! Amanda from Two Boos Who Eat was also training for her first 5K and we became a great support system for one another! (Wish her luck on her upcoming race!).

When the race drew closer, I started to train in the park so that I could get accustomed to running on hills. A few days before the race, I started to develop pain in my shins…probably from the hills in the park Crap what did I do? I asked Jess for some advice and she basically told me to stop running until the race…she said one thing that stuck with me “do you want to run tomorrow or do you want to run for the rest of your life?”… the choice was simple. I took her advice and just relaxed for the next couple of days.

Race Day!

I could not have asked for a better day! The sun was shining and the sky was blue…the temperature was around 40 degrees…great running conditions. The race started at 9am but we got there a little early and it was a ghost town.

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My nerves were getting the best of me but having my family there was very reassuring, they even made me a sign. (titi is auntie in spanish…my niece held the sign)

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I  reluctantly parted ways with my family and found my place in line…before I knew it, the ghost town was filled with around 6 Thousand people!

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My legs were trembling either from the cold or fear…I started to talk to the lady next to me and told her I felt like I was about to go onto a Rollercoaster ride…you know that feeling? when you are excited to go on the ride but there is a little voice in the back of your mind, telling you to get off of the line.

Before I knew it, it was time!  I was off running my first race…

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I felt so great and then BOOM reality hit…THE HILLS! The race was being held in Washington Heights which is known for it’s hills and boy did I feel them. There were times that I just wanted to stop but I dedicated the 5K to my grandmother who passed away two years ago and I promised myself that I would make her proud. I fed off the energy of the people cheering and all the bands playing along the route and knowing that my family would be there at the finish line. I ran! I ran up and down those hills, I ran when I thought I had nothing left in me…I RAN!

And just like that I ran right through the finish line! (I completed the race in 33:06)

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The minute my legs crossed that line, my eyes filled with tears! I was filled with so much emotion, I finally did it! I went and hugged my family and sobbed like I just completed the NYC marathon because to me, I just did!

This is only the beginning for me…I can not wait to conquer many more!

Thank you for reading my recap and once again, thank you Sarah for including me in your guest posts!

Namaste…

Guest post: Pitfall of comparison

I am out of town for the next few days so I have asked a few of my favorite bloggers to fill in for me while I’m away. Kim was the first local blogger I ever met and her friendship has been such a blessing. I hope you will enjoy her post! Please also check out her food blog :)

Greeting River City Fitness readers! 

I’m so glad you read Sarah’s blog and are encouraged by her healthy lifestyle.  I definitely am.  She has been a great source of encouragement to me while living here in the “River City”!

Since I started running in January 2009, I have noticed my feelings of competition and comparison have gotten stronger.  Sometimes, this is a great thing; other times, it can be very damaging.

Let me give you some timeline:

  • 10th grade: a 19 minute mile – I didn’t run at all
  • Jan 2009: 43 minute 5k pace 
  • March 2009 – my first 5k: 39.41 (I wanted it to be under 40)
  • November 2009: 35.49 (5k PR)
  • March 6, 2010: 36.03 (my last 5k with little training due to weather)

I was very, very happy with this time until I thought: Kim, you should have pushed yourself or you should have trained harder

While hanging out with a friend who also ran the same 5k last weekend, I asked her what her time was.  She said “Oh, it was very slow – a 29 minute.”  Ha – slow?  What was she thinking? 

Then I saw on Facebook this morning that a dude I know posted a 34 minute 5k.  How can these people who weigh more than me run faster than me?  I was shocked this morning – and then that makes me just want to get out and run.

But, if we only run because we want to be better than someone else, faster than someone else, skinnier than someone else – we are not running for the right reasons.

Here are some reasons you should run:

  • For your health
  • For your sanity
  • For your skin (Vitamin D, outside exposure)
  • For your skinny jeans

I love that last one.  In the past year + of running, my jeans size has gone from a 10 to a 6, my weight has dropped almost 25 lbs, and my cholesterol numbers were all better today than they were last year at this time. 

How do you beat your mind at the comparison game?  Set your own goals based on your abilities.  Don’t say, “Next 5k I want to beat so-and-so’s time.”  Say instead, “I want to run it without stopping” or “I want to beat my own time.”

That is my goal.  I am running a half marathon in June and I want to beat my first half’s time of 3:00:07.  That is my only goal. 

If you are going to compare – compare only with yourself.  Better yet, don’t compare at all.  Just get out there and run – for the health of it!  (That’s a slight change of a Louisville saying)

What are some good, healthy fitness goals you are setting for yourself?

Anthem 5K 2010

When I woke up this morning to get ready for my 5K race, it was 25 degrees outside! I was a little anxious about that but otherwise, pretty calm and focused.

I had laid out my clothes and bib number the night before, so I was good to go.

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I picked up my friend Kim and then met my aunts to ride down to the race. It was super crowded!

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I met up with Farrah who told me to stick with her, but I knew that wouldn’t happen…that girl runs much faster than me and I didn’t want to burn myself out early.

When we crossed the starting line we were a little confused by the time and guessed the race must have started late. I also didn’t wear a watch (on purpose) so I really had no idea how fast I was running, just sort of “feeling it out” along the way. I also didn’t wear any headphones…I needed to focus on my run completely.

I ran the first mile sort of slow to warm up and just to navigate through the crowd. I lost Farrah about 3/4 of the way through, but felt totally fine on my own. Honestly, that is how I have ran the majority of races ;-)

I was able to kick it up a notch through mile 2 and mile 3 seemed to go by in a breeze. There was never a point when I felt uncomfortable or that I needed to stop or slow down. I didn’t even take a water break (until the end)!

Before I knew it, I could see the finish line, so my arms started swinging to make my legs go even faster.

When I finished, I figured I had done okay but didn’t think that I had beat any times or anything. We went inside to have someone give us our official times since they have computers on site.

Well…

Distance: 3.1 miles

Time: 29:54!

Pace: 9:37/mile

Holy cow! I couldn’t believe it.

While this wasn’t my best 5K time (29:28) it was the 2nd best and the best time I have had at this particular course. I’m very happy.

I also felt GREAT after the race, I didn’t even feel like I had just ran and I wanted to go back and run it again. Wow!

And as always, it is great to share this experience with friends :)

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Pre-race jitters

I was really excited about tomorrow’s 5K race until about 5 minutes ago. Where did these nerves come from?

Well, my friend/running coach/training partner asked me: “What is your goal for this race?” Meaning, what time did I want to finish. I jokingly answered her: “To not freeze to death!” Pretty funny I thought, since it’s going to be in the 20′s when we take off across that starting line. Yowzah.

But then I got to thinking: What is my goal for this race? What am I ready to do? Can I beat my PR (29:28)? Have I trained well enough? What should I wear? Where are we going to meet?

You can see where this is going. Now I feel sort of overwhelmed and nervous about tomorrow. Why am I nervous about a 5K, when I have a half marathon in less than two months?! This will also be my third time running this particular race and each time I do better. So why worry?

Since I am generally a positive person, I know this won’t last long. In fact, I’m already back to smiling because no matter what, I will have ran 3.1 miles. I just hope I don’t lose any sleep tonight! Wish me luck :)

Do you get nervous before races? How do you handle the pressure?

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