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First time for everything

Last Saturday was the Papa John’s 10-miler!

I was really looking forward to this race, even after a disappointing finish in the Rodes City Run 10k two weeks prior. And I knew this race would help me get ready for the mini-Marathon a month later.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a recap for you. For the first time in my entire running career (nearly 4 years!) I had to miss a race due to illness. 😦

I started feeling bad late Wednesday night. I had chills, felt feverish and my throat was really sore. I thought I was just getting a cold and that running with the sniffles would be no big deal. I also thought that since it was Wednesday, I had plenty of time to drink some tea, take some vitamins and “get over it.”

Thursday came, I got worse. I felt so bad Friday that I didn’t go to work. I debated all day and night about whether or not to run the next day but Friday night, as I laid on the couch feeling like death, I finally texted my friend Farrah and told her “I can’t make it.” It was hard for me to do that but I knew it was the best thing for me. The thought of running 10 miles in the cold, not being able to breath and not having much energy sounded like torture to me.

Luckily, my friend Chloe was able to run in my steed and she kicked butt! 🙂

I was really bummed Friday night but by Saturday afternoon, I was happy with my decision. Sometimes you just have to know when to say no. Sunday I felt my absolute worst and finally on Monday I went to the doctor — sinus infection! I ended up taking a complete week off from running and other exercise.

Now that I am feeling better, I am really excited about the Derby Festival mini-Marathon on April 30th. I’m glad I have 29 more days to get ready!

Gearing up for racing season

Hi friends! Holy heck, where has the time gone?

I still have a few race recaps to share with you that I participated in this past Fall and Winter, but a more pressing topic is that Spring racing season has arrived! This Saturday, I will be running in my 4th consecutive Anthem 5k, which holds a very special place in my heart…it was my first race ever.

I had just starting running in September of 2007 and built myself up to 30 minutes, then gradually started working on distance. In early March of 2008, I crossed my very first finish line as a runner. It was probably one of the proudest moments of my life, the first of many. It helped me fall in love with racing.

But this year, I feel like a seasoned veteran and there is a good feeling that comes with that too. I am not anxious or worried about anything. I’m ready for any weather, any crowd (heard there are over 9,000 registered so far!), I already know where the bathrooms are, etc. Now I am just ready to go have fun running 3.1 miles.

The Anthem 5k is also exciting because it kicks off the Louisville Triple Crown of Running, which is three races: the 5k, the 10k and the 10-miler. This will also be my 4th consecutive 10-miler, but only my third 10k, as I missed that race last year when I was out of town.

All of these races lead up to the big one, which for me this year is once again the Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathon. Someday I hope to do a full marathon but not quite yet 😉

What are your racing plans for the Spring? Please share!

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?

Louisville Half Marathon 2010

I can’t believe it has taken me over a month to write this recap. The Louisville Half Marathon took place on Sunday, October 17th, 2010. Farrah (my running partner) and I originally signed up to run this half marathon earlier this year. We had a plan. We were going to train all summer and be ready for this race, no problem.

Problem!

Running over the summer was very challenging for us this year. As much as I prefer warm weather to cold, when it comes to running I am really sensitive to the heat. We spent many, many days at 90+ temperatures and for me that is just not conducive to running well. Farrah injured her foot over the summer as well. So we spent most of our time together walking or weight lifting.

When September came around, it cooled off slightly and I was able to at least get in a few runs here and there, including a 15k that I “winged” at the last minute (don’t try that at home). That gave me the confidence that I needed to continue on. But then, weather fluctuations kept happening, life got in the way, etc. When October 1st rolled around, we knew we needed to get down to business.

So we started a new running plan that has us running 5 days a week at various distances (mostly between 2-5 miles, with a longer run on weekends) and we decided that unless we are sick or injured, there are NO EXCUSES. If we want to become better runners and finish long races with smiles, we need to get serious. So we did. However, the Louisville Half Marathon fell on October 17th, a mere two weeks into our new program.

Could we do it? We didn’t know. Were we going to try? Heck yes!

The morning of the race we were both feeling good but not sure where the day would take us. I made enough songs on my playlist to cover 3 hours, which is about how long I figured it would take me. The first year we ran I finished in 2:12 and the year we walked was 3:30, so I figured somewhere in the middle was safe.

After the first mile, I lost Farrah as she took off into the crowd (this is not uncommon and doesn’t bother me in the slightest–she’s taller and more experienced, thus naturally faster). I decided I was going to run the first few miles and see how I felt. The first three came and went really fast, so I decided to shoot for 5. Then 6. When I got to the halfway point I walked for a minute, then kept going. One guy I passed said “You’re looking good, don’t give up.” 🙂

I kept waiting for the turn around point, which I knew would come at mile 8. When it did, I switched into walk/run mode because I knew that was the only way I was going to go the distance. I can’t remember the exact ratio but I would run for a while, walk for a little bit, then pick it back up. I did not wear a watch during this race, which at first was an accident but then it ended up being a blessing. I did not obsess about time and I just went with the flow, enjoying the view along the way.

The course was mostly flat, with a few inclines near the river and then close to the turn around. Running along the Ohio River was really peaceful. It went by so fast and I’ve never been able to say that about a half marathon before! When I came near the finish line, I saw Farrah, who ran the last 0.1 with me and my jaw dropped when I saw the clock.

I finished this race, a race I hadn’t really trained for, in 2 hours, 30 minutes and 58 seconds!!!

I was beyond happy and proud of myself. I was hoping to finish under 3 hours. I exceeded my own expectations in a way that I didn’t know I could. To say this race boosted my confidence in running would be an understatement. I must have thanked God a million times that day, for giving me the abilities that I have and the strength to use them.

The most amazing thing was that I wasn’t that tired. I went home, showered, ate, and went about my normal routine. I woke up the next day expecting to be super sore…nope. Farrah wasn’t either. We both felt like we hadn’t even run a race the day before. We must be doing something right!

Since then I have run one other race, which I will write about later. But in the month of October, I ran 78 miles and November has been going really well too. To follow my daily runs and thoughts, you can follow me over at the Daily Mile. That tool has been really useful for me and I don’t feel like I have to write a blog post about every. single. run. So I hope you’ll check that out!

Thank you for the support! I plan to get back to blogging regularly, both here and at See Sarah Eat very soon 🙂

See Sarah Run

Hello friends!

Sorry there hasn’t been a post here in a couple of weeks. I promise I have some really good things in the works and plan on posting something food-related this week!

But in the mean time, I thought I’d let you in on some news, just incase you don’t follow my other blog, River City Fitness.

I AM RUNNING (regularly) AGAIN! 🙂

After being on-again, off-again with running so much over the past two years (ever since I finished my first half marathon in April 2008), I finally feel like I’m back in the proper shape and frame of mind to be a consistent runner again. This summer, I really got into walking again and enjoyed that immensely. I also did Body Pump pretty regularly. Farrah and I also ran a few short races just to say motivated.

But as the summer drew to a close (even though the weather hadn’t yet) I was ready to move on to a new goal. I needed a new challenge. I was encouraged by the 15k that I ran most of when I didn’t think I had it in me.

Farrah, my friend and trainer/training partner, put together a running schedule that will take us from October 2010 through April 2011 (when all the big races happen around here). It was a little slow going at first, but now that I don’t worry about speed or beating any old PR’s (yet), I am really enjoying running again. I don’t beat myself up if I have to switch a day, or shave a mile off one day and add it to another.

I am making this work for ME.

In the month of October, I ran 78 miles! Just a few months ago, I never would’ve thought this was possible. Especially not when you consider 13.1 of those miles was the Louisville Half Marathon which we ran just two weeks into our training (recap coming soon).

We had signed up for this race months ago and didn’t expect it would go as well as it did. I finished in 2:30 and wasn’t even sore! I dare say it was…easy.

So, what’s different now? Why is running coming so easily (again) to me now than it has the past two years?

  • I don’t worry about time. In fact, during races, I don’t even wear a watch.
  • I embrace the beauty that is walking breaks. It actually helps my endurance and makes me run faster.
  • I realize what a mental game it is. Sometimes your mind is your worst enemy. I talk to myself more during runs now (and I pray)!
  • Like I mentioned in my 15k recap, I have no agenda. I just want to run, and often, because it makes me feel good. Races are just a good way to have fun and get some new scenery 😉
  • I’m not trying to get better, I’m good enough already.

I have read so many blog posts and articles lately about people who run even though they hate it. I guess they want the challenge or to lose weight or something. But I’m here to tell you, if I hated running, there is NO WAY that I would do it. I think that is just counter-productive. Why do something you hate?

Not every run is great, that is for sure, but overall I love to run and I love the way that running makes me feel — good. That is why I do it.

I also would not run regularly if my body was not in agreement. I have been very blessed to have never been injured as a runner and for the past month, the only time I have felt really sore was after a strength training session! If your body is trying to tell you something, listen to it. Don’t force yourself to run if it hurts.

Now I am looking forward to keeping up with running during the colder months (if they ever get here) and then venturing into some races next Spring. I haven’t yet decided if I will do the Kentucky Derby Festival mini or full marathon just yet. But a marathon is becoming more of a possibility these days. So we’ll see.

If you want to run or used to run and are struggling to get back into it, here is my advice:

Sometimes you just have to take a step back, wait and be patient (it could be a long time too). Don’t expect to be the same runner you were two years ago. Don’t expect every run to be great. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else or even to yourself in the past. Stay positive. Just embrace the fact that you CAN run (when you can) and enjoy it. 🙂

You can follow my journey over at River City Fitness and keep up with my runs over at Daily Mile if you are so inclined. Thanks for the support!

Nailing down a training program

After the meeting last night, I started going through the training materials we were given, which included a detailed calendar / training schedule.

I had already been loosely following this one for a couple of days but I felt it was time to finally nail down some specific program guidelines that I know will work for me, using the provided program as my base. Everyone is different, so make sure you do this for yourself too if you are planning on training for any races soon.

I should add that every day and week will be different and life is likely to get in the way sometimes. But for now, here are some goals I have for my training over the next 16 weeks!

Sarah’s Goals for Half Marathon Training

  • Run 4 days/week  – This is at most! Any more and I will get injured or burned out like I did in 2008. I also want to try and make these non-consecutive days when possible.
  • Do weight training 1x /week  – This is an actual weight training session (which I will use for my cross-training day). I may do some strength moves on short run days to keep up my strength.
  • Do yoga 1x/weekThis will either be a class (or Yoga Download) done on a rest day. Obviously I could do it more than once so this is a minimum.
  • Have one day of complete restNo excuses. This will likely be Sundays 🙂

Are you running any races this Spring? What do you do to train for them?

Feeling official

Today is Day 2 of my half marathon training program.

In barely 20 degree weather, Farrah and I did an easy 2 miles and then came back to the gym for some ab work.

Even though I wasn’t feeling sore or anything from our 4 mile run yesterday, I definitely got tired earlier during this 2 miler, so now I get why you alternate your mileage 😉

After work, we went to a meeting for the Jewish Sports Medicine Derby Festival Healthy Lifestyle Training Program.

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There were a panel of experts who discussed training, nutrition, shoes, and everything else you can think of when entering a running program.

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Even though I disagreed with some of the things the dietician said, I still felt all official listening to tips about hydration, carb loading and whatnot. I’ll discuss this in detail more later.

We also found out the course has changed a bit, starting and ending in new places. I’m actually happy about this because I think it’s going to make it feel like a new race (I’ve done this one twice before).

Lastly, I scored a free technical fabric shirt and some training info too:

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This is going to sound nuts but as I was paging through that booklet you see above, I glanced at the marathon training program too. And I thought it looked easy? So I guess this is me saying that maybe NEXT YEAR, I’ll run the whole marathon?!

But right now I want to focus on training for this half. I also have several shorter races coming up between now and then. So here we go!

Training Day 1

Wow.

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Today was Day 1 of a 16-week training program I just started for a half marathon I am running the last weekend of April.

On the schedule today: two easy miles.

Luckily today is Monday which is when our Running Club is going to be meeting regularly. There were only three of us today but that happens when the high is only 20 degrees (with a wind chill in single digits).

Still, we layered up and got out there. I really mean it when I say I wasn’t cold at all. Gotta love layers!

When we got started I wasn’t even sure I could do the 2 miles, the cold air was making it hard for me to breathe normally.

But the girls talked me into doing 3, then it turned into 4!

I finished 4 miles around 39:17, which was totally awesome for me since I doubted myself running even 2 miles to begin with.

Since the other two girls run faster than me, I really had a lot of time to think on my run. I like to use an iPod during long runs or races just to keep me going but on shorter runs, it’s nice to just be alone with your thoughts.

Funny thing too, I don’t even feel like I ran 4 miles. I stretched and fueled. Even did some stuff around the house and not even my feet are tired. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow but I’m thinking it will be good.

Day 1 : Success.

New running plan

Thank you all so much for your support on my last post 🙂

I think I am up for the challenge of running another half marathon. I quit doing the longer distances earlier this year, after a brutal 10-miler, but with all that I have learned since then, I want to see if things can be different. Plus, I have done it before and I think that actually makes the task seem a bit less daunting now.

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I already printed out the training program from last year to give me an idea of what I’m in for (I chose the “intermediate” program instead of beginner this time).

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If everything goes well and I’m still healthy, training will officially begin on January 3, 2010. What a way to start off the new year!

Before then, I have quite a few races coming up that I am really looking forward to. Two weeks from today, I will be participating in my first ever Turkey Trot, which is a 5 mile run through a hilly park in south Louisville on Thanksgiving Day. Then I have one race per month in December, January and February to help keep me motivated. March brings the Louisville Triple Crown of Running, including that same 10-miler.

Bottom line: I did not train well at all last year. I tried to just wing it. That worked for my college term papers (sometimes) but not for running. If I do things the way I did in 2008, success is all but guaranteed.

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I am not going to neglect my strength training either! I’m still going to do at least 2 days per week. I will be posting more on that later!