Category Archives: running

Three years ago

Sometime in September 2007, I decided that I wanted to run.

I had never really ran before, in fact I did my best to avoid it for most of my life. Even while playing sports in high school, I would pretend to have a cramp during practice so I could walk or fake an asthma-like attack, which I am so ashamed to admit.

But that’s the mentality I had back then, when I was unhealthy.

In early 2007, when I started my life over and became healthier, everything changed. I no longer wanted to get out of stuff. I wanted to conquer the world. Running had always been that thing I knew I “couldn’t” do and I wanted to prove myself wrong.

So, I went and signed up for a half marathon! Luckily, I gave myself 7 months to get there 🙂

In September, I started a 10 week running program to “learn” how to run with my friend Candy. We would meet at my house or a local park and go through the intervals, starting with 2 minutes of running/4 minutes walking, repeat. We all have to start somewhere.

I worked my way up each week, increasing my running time and decreasing my walking time until I could run 30 minutes straight. This program really worked for me. After that, I started focusing on mileage and followed a 16-week training program for the half marathon, including my first 5k, 10k and 10-mile races!

When I cross the finish line of each race, I am reminded of where I have come from and it overwhelms me. When I get down on myself, thinking I’m not training hard enough or running fast enough, I try to remember those times I faked an asthma attack or injury to get out of it.

Now I pay to run! Who am I? 😉

You can read more of my running story here, but I just wanted to take the time to remind you all that if there is something you want to do, go for it. Don’t think you can’t do it just because you never have before or because you had a bad attitude about it in the past.

Three years later, I’m still running 🙂

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)!

Fleet Feet Fiesta 2010

I can’t believe how long it had been since I had ran in a race! I also haven’t been running a whole lot in general, just 2-3 miles here and there. But now, it’s time to get serious!

The Fleet Feet Fiesta was a hilly 3 mile run through Cherokee Park at 9 p.m. at night. So it was my first night race! I’ve done a charity walk at night before, but never anything this challenging.

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Confession: I loathe Cherokee park. I mean, it’s beautiful, but those hills kick my butt! I’d much rather take Iroquois Park‘s dramatic ups and downs, instead of these slow gradual climbs. But I obviously needed a challenge; and I got it!

  • Distance: About 3 miles
  • Time: 34:30
  • Avg. pace: 11:30/mile

I ended up having to walk for a little bit between miles 2 and 3. I told Farrah it was likely because I’ve just been running 2-2.5 miles at a time lately so my brain decided at that point, I couldn’t do anymore. But I eventually picked it back up and ran across the finish line!

Yes, I have ran faster but I don’t care. For not having run much lately, I’ll take it. Plus, these days I want to just run for fun and do races because they help motivate me to keep up with running, which helps keep me in good shape, physically and mentally. I also want to stay injury free! So I’m not going to dwell on my time so much.

I did have to ice my right knee after the race and it was quite bothersome yesterday but I’m much better now. I’m just dealing with some quads soreness. My legs are like “Where the heck have YOU been?” Ha ha, I’ve been wondering that myself.

I had hoped to meet Rachel and Erica that night as they were both participating, but it ended up being a lot more crowded than I expected and we missed each other. Any other Louisville bloggers out there? We’ll all have to get together soon 🙂

My next race is next Saturday! I’m doing a 5k run for Colon Cancer at (thank the Heavens) Iroquois Park. I know those hills will still be challenging but if I made it through 3 miles at Cherokee, I pretty much feel like I can do anything now. To keep up with me, check out my Races page!

If you’ve been going through a rut, don’t give up! I’ve been struggling to get back into some sort of routine for a while now, but I finally feel like I’m breaking through whatever barriers were holding me back. You just have to be patient, which I know isn’t easy, believe me.

It feels so good to be back! Catch y’all later 🙂

Can't take the heat?

I haven’t complained (much) all summer so far, but man…the heat got me today!

Right Now

Forecast: Partly CloudyPartly Cloudy
Temperature:                   95°F Feels Like: 104°

Details: Hot and humid.
Past 24-hr:
Precip: 0 in
Snow: 0 in
Wind: From ESE at 3mph

Farrah and I set out to run 4 miles as we finally begin our training for the Louisville Half Marathon on October 16th. Yeah, we knew it was 95 degrees outside but we thought we could handle it!

Well, maybe she could but a mile in, my face was on fire! Farrah said I looked like a tomato. What do you think?

So we called it a day at 2 miles and did some walking too. It was just too dang hot!

Now, how are we (okay, how am I) going to survive this weather and train for a half without spending a lot of time on the treadmill or waking up at an insanely early hour everyday?

I was trying to remember what I’ve done in years past. Last year was easy because our Summer was rather mild. But this year, we hit the 90 degree mark and never looked back! The year before I just gave up running completely after May and I definitely don’t want to do that again. Guess I’m going to have to come up with a new game plan.

How do you “beat the heat” and exercise in the summertime?

I'm back…sort of

I haven’t been on here in so long that I had to go back and read the last few posts I wrote to see where I left off. It’s really only been a week but when you are used to writing about your workouts everyday, a week off can feel like an eternity.

Basically, all of last week, I did not feel like moving — at all. Not even walking.

Over the weekend I went out of town and where I was, I had to walk, but if it hadn’t been for that, I don’t know that I would have on my own. My motivation level has been in the negative.

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But, after some time off, I went back to work on Wednesday. I tried to talk myself out of it many times throughout the day, but somehow I dragged myself to the gym and did a 50-minute workout. I took it easy, doing 30 minutes on the bike (while reading a book) and then walking for 20 minutes on the treadmill. It felt really good.

So yesterday I decided to give running a try. I’m signed up for a 4 mile race this Saturday and I knew I wanted to at least re-familiarize myself with running before then. It had been so long, I wasn’t even sure I remembered how, ha ha. Talk about waiting until the last minute.

It was later in the day and way too hot to run outside, so I stuck to the treadmill. And I went slooooow (for me). Before I got started, I thought about the article that had inspired me to just slow down and enjoy running for the heck of it.

While I was on the treadmill I even repeated to myself “nice and easy, breathe, no injuries” and other phrases that kept me going and also kept me from saying to myself “you are too slow.” Because that is just ridiculous.

I ran 3 miles in 35 minutes and some change. I ended up utilizing the 4:1 ratio of running to walking and the longer I went on, I increased my running speed. At the end of it, I felt like I could keep going which to me is a good sign that taking it easy is the way to go on Saturday. 🙂

I finished up my second day at the gym with a full 15 minutes of stretching. It was very nice!

So I feel like I’m back, sort of. I’m still not 100% but at least the past two days I’ve been able to do more than just put one foot in front of the other. Progress!

“See” you all later! Hopefully not too much later…

Life changing

I’m in the process of re-evaluating my life and trying to figure out who it is that I am and what my life goals really are. Obviously diet and exercise are a big part of that, but life is definitely more than that too, which I am starting to figure out!

I still have a long ways to go, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you an article I read recently that really changed my perspective on why and how I exercise the way that I do.

Runner’s World magazine has an article series called “I Am a Runner” which features different people in the public eye who run to maintain good health, even in the midst of their busy lives.

The last one I read was an interview with Mika Brzezinski, whom I only know of because my best friend Courtney turned me on to the tv show Morning Joe (weekday mornings on MSNBC) a few years ago. So I’m used to seeing her like this:

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Her story was amazing to me because according to her, she just runs because she wants to. She even ran on the days she delivered each of her children!

I don’t care where I am or what it’s like out. I’m running.

She’s not fast, she doesn’t have any fancy gear, and she hates the treadmill. Wow, how refreshing! She also gets the mental aspect of running:

My thoughts then wind down to bigger things, like what kind of a person do I want to be? I make decisions and figure stuff out.

But probably my favorite quote from the article, the one that made me think the most, was what she tells one of her daughters about running:

When we run, she says, “Mom, you’re so slow.” I tell her, “Stick with me and you’ll be running pain-free for the rest of your life.”

For so long, I have been running because I wanted to push myself in new ways and also because running burns more calories and I wouldn’t have to worry about gaining weight as much. That, to me, is a horrible attitude to have. It took me this long to realize it.

Yes, running does burn calories and can help maintain a weight loss but if that is your primary motivation, you may find yourself failing at that. I have actually gained more weight and worked HARDER to keep weight off since I have been running.

I’m also always striving to improve my running — to be faster or to do more weekly mileage. Why? Unless I am training for a race, I don’t need to worry about how many miles a week I run. I don’t need to be faster because I’m not trying to win anything.

And as Mika pointed out, when you run hard and fast, you risk injury more. Is being faster or running more miles really worth that?

I have come to the conclusion that I love to run. I love being able to run since I spent so much of my life as a sedentary, overweight person. I am thankful for the gift that is running. Now I am trying to get over wanting to be faster or “better” at running.

I am doing fine where I am now. Any efforts I’ve made at being faster or running more because I thought I had to never made me feel better about myself. But just running for fun when I’m not under that kind of pressure does.

I’m not saying that I won’t sign up for some races and challenge myself here or there, but I need to let go and just enjoy the run. Because I can! 🙂

For more “I Am a Runner” stories, click here.

Losing focus & 30 days of yoga

I have not made it to Body Pump this entire week!

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Yesterday, I was just way too tired because I had stayed up late on Wednesday night and had some house cleaning to do for this weekend.

And on Tuesday, I was way too sore from a yoga class that I took on Monday night. It was seriously the most intense class I have ever been to. I was sweating like I was in hot yoga only it was just a regular, air conditioned room.

Now, to me, the point of yoga is not to sweat as much as you can, burn a lot of calories, or to be extremely sore the next day. What I like about yoga is that it makes me feel leaner and longer, plus it gives me so much mental peace and happiness. It also stretches out the tight spots I get from all the walking, running and other activities I inflict on my body.

And it’s fun to challenge yourself in new ways you didn’t know were possible. That’s what happened in this class and that’s why I was a bit sore Tuesday. We did some long holds in chair pose and with support, I got to do wheel again! I hope someday I can do this one on my own. 😉

I recently read about Healthy Ashley’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge, where she is committing to doing at least 10 minutes of yoga per day for 30 days. This caught my attention and I totally intend to at least give it a shot. I mean, certainly I can do 10 minutes, right? Sometimes I stand in tree pose while I’m waiting for dinner to finish cooking. 😉

But then again, as a person who enjoys multiple forms of exercise, I have a hard time staying focused on any one (or two) activity in order to see real progress. I jump around between running, weight lifting, yoga, walking, etc. so much that I don’t stick with one thing for very long or I neglect one activity for another.

So what should I do?

I think this is happening because I do not have a specific goal. No races to train for (yet) and nothing else really motivating me right now.

I don’t like choosing between so many things I enjoy but is it really realistic for me to think that I can run, walk, do yoga and Body Pump each multiple times in one week? There are just not enough hours or days.

If I were able to fit them all in, I feel like I would be doing each thing one day and then not devoting enough time to anything to keep it up.

Hmm…deep thoughts for a Friday afternoon!

I feel so distracted right now. Did I mention my high school reunion is tomorrow?! Perhaps I should wait until Sunday to make any major decisions. 😉

What are your favorite forms of exercise? Are you able to fit them all in?

Rediscovering the beauty of walking

After I walked my most recent 5k on Saturday, I really got to thinking…when was the last time I walked?

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Like really walked? Not just to and from the car or around the grocery store? Yeah, I couldn’t remember.

Which is really sad because when I first started on my health journey more than three years ago, walking was my thing. I walked just about every day and it definitely contributed to my weight loss, better moods, and better sleeping at night.

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So, why have I abandoned it so?

I guess I get caught up in running sometimes. When you become a runner, it can be easy to see walking (for exercise) as a sub-par workout in comparison. Which is so not true and anytime we think that we should slap ourselves! 😉

Anyway, as luck would have it, I have really just felt like walking this week.

On Monday, I had my clothes packed for the gym and when the time came to go, I had this incredible urge to just put on my shoes and head outside for a walk instead, even in the 90+ degree weather and humidity.

So I DID! I sweated like crazy and drank an entire 24 ounces of water in an hour but man did it feel good. I did the same thing today.

I have decided that I need to take a break from running and enjoy some nice walks this week, especially since the weather is so hot and my running partner is out of town. And I don’t have any races planned until the end of July.

Here’s what’s been great about walking so far (the past two days):

  • Walking doesn’t require me to leave work early to go change my clothes at the gym or have to change back into them afterwards (just my shoes).
  • Walking allows me to be comfortable carrying a water bottle and not see it as a hassle.
  • I never feel out of breath.
  • I can walk in high summer temperatures/humidity and feel totally fine (running in summer heat makes me want to pass out).

That reminds me of the time I walked to Walmart in 6 inches of snow (for French bread and Nutella, ha ha), while it was still coming down. Walking is a year-round sport for sure.

I have no plans to quit running beyond this week’s hiatus but perhaps I shouldn’t neglect walking as much anymore. I didn’t realize how much I had really missed walking. But I will be back to running next week!

I can certainly love them both and do them both often, right? 🙂

Do you enjoy walking? If you are a runner, do you walk regularly too?

Tour de Olmstead 2010

It took me a couple of days to write this recap because I chose to spend the rest of the weekend reflecting on what an awesome race this was (you’ll see). Prior to Saturday, I hadn’t run more than 3 miles since the miniMarathon and lately had just been sticking to 2 miles.

So of course I thought going into this race, there was NO way I could run 5 miles. Especially 5 extremely hilly miles through Iroquois Park.

(Image Source – It obviously doesn’t look like this right now, ha ha)

But, putting self-doubt aside, I got out of bed, ate breakfast, got dressed and headed down there to meet Farrah. We are both so glad we have each other and took comfort in knowing that we are both crazy enough to PAY to get up early on a Saturday and run 5 miles in the rain through one of the toughest parks in Louisville.

The Tour de Olmstead is an all day event, starting with a 25-mile bike ride, then the 5 mile run, a family bike ride, a festival and then 6 hours of professional cycling races! The event is held by the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Inc., which was formed in 1989 with a mission “to enrich the life of everyone in our community by restoring, enhancing and preserving the historic Olmsted-designed parks and parkways, Louisville’s great natural and recreational assets.”

Hopefully they had an awesome turn out!

The run crowd was pretty small. I think my bib number was 20, my lowest number ever! Such a breath of fresh air considering the races I am used to where you are so crowded, especially for that first mile or so.

When the race started, everyone took off pretty fast and I tried to keep up but knew right away that it wouldn’t be a good idea if I wanted to make it through the whole 5 miles. So I slowed down and found my steady pace for a while. We had been told just prior to race start that the path was all the way up to the top of the park (aka the overlook, for those of you familiar), around a 1.2 mile loop and then back down.

Holy crap!

Photo from Wikipedia — That is downtown Louisville in the far off distance! We climbed to the top of this hill!!

Once we turned the corner to start going uphill (about 0.8 miles into the race), the rain began to pour down on us. At first I was frustrated, but then it became refreshing. It was in the 80’s and very humid by the time this race started.

It didn’t rain the whole time. In fact, when it had been stopped for a while, I started to get really hot and wished it would rain again! As we made our way up the windy hills, I hit the first water stop and walked for about 30 seconds to take a few sips.

Then, when I made my way to the very top (which ended with a bigger incline), I walked for a minute to catch my breath and start the loop around the top. The way back down wasn’t as downhill as I’d hoped it would be. But it was definitely better than continuing to climb up!

At this point, I knew I had surpassed 3 miles and to me that was already an accomplishment, since I hadn’t ran this much lately. There were a couple of songs that helped me get through the last two miles, thanks to borrowing my husband’s iPod. This was no coincidence.

After reaching the top of the hill, I was by myself for most of the rest of the race (Farrah had taken off and then took a wrong turn somewhere!) and it was kind of awesome. Iroquois is very wooded and there are trees completely lining the path we were on going up and coming back down the hill. Even though I was pushing myself and sweating profusely, there was something so serene about being in that moment.

Just when I was starting to think I needed to slow down or maybe even walk again, this song came on. Now, I’m not the hugest Kanye fan in the world. But the beat kept me going and these particular lyrics hit me right where I was:

Jesus Walks
God show me the way because the Devil’s trying to break me down
Jesus Walks with me
The only thing that I pray is that my feet don’t fail me now

I know that probably sounds cheesy, but this song came at the perfect time. The devil in this case was doubt. Even after all I have accomplished, I still sometimes doubt my abilities. But I also have this knack for proving myself wrong. 😉

During the song, I raised my hands in the air a few times to thank God for getting me through this run and for giving me the strong body that I have. It was an awesome experience.

Soon after this, I hit mile four (which had an encouraging note spray painted on the road–“You’re almost there!”) and totally rocked out to this song (including some head banging, ha ha) and then hit the final stretch with “Tunnel” by Third Day: There’s a light at the end of this tunnel…ha.

I finished the race strong and even had my name called out as I came across the finish line (gotta love smaller races). Here’s how I did!

  • Time: 53:03
  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Avg. Pace: 10:37/mile

WOO HOO!!!

I have ran faster races and I have ran longer distances. But I’m pretty sure that this was the hardest and most rewarding race of my running “career.” I have never been more proud of myself than I was on Saturday.

I am DEFINITELY signing up for this one next year! 🙂

This week's workouts

I feel really good about how my workouts went this week. It’s been a long time since I can remember saying that!

I am really grateful for this new gym membership, it’s really motivating me to “fit it in” on the busier days! 🙂

Here’s how the week went down:

  • Monday -Long walk with Suzie
  • Tuesday -Ran 1.87 miles outside, abs, Body Pump class
  • Wednesday – 30 minutes on the elliptical
  • Thursday -Ran 1.87 miles outside, abs, Body Pump class
  • Friday – Ran 3 miles on the treadmill
  • Saturday – 15 minutes on stair master, Weight training, abs + Walk with a friend and lots of shopping!

I’m not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow, but my goal for the next week is to increase my running distance, since I have a 5 mile race coming up soon! I’m also hoping to get myself to a yoga class. 🙂

How did your workouts go this week?