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Rodes City Run 10k 2011

It took me a while to write about this race because I really had to process my feelings about it.

Before the race, I was feeling pretty confident but then I think I fell into that trap of “oh, I can so beat my time on this” or at least match what I have done in the past. However, I did not run this race last year and it is more difficult than I remembered or gave it credit for. Not to mention for the two weeks prior to the race, I had not consistently ran enough to be ready for it.

So with that in mind, I’m happy that I finished. Yes, it was my worst 10k time to date, but hey…I ran a 10k! I need to take pride in that alone. It’s way too easy to fall into those traps of negative thinking. I’m glad I pulled myself out!

When the race started, the weather was mild but windy and the sun was shining. There were a ton of people at this race, but probably not as much as the Anthem 5k.

Rodes

I lost my friends almost as soon as we started because they run faster than me and I refuse to push myself that hard at the beginning of a 6 mile race. My stomach wasn’t too happy with me at the beginning but it got better as the race went on.

My favorite part of this race is always running past the church where I got married, almost 6 years ago!

Hbc

Then we made that turn and started what I find to be the hardest part of the race. That slow, steady incline coming up Grinstead Drive around Cave Hill Cemetery. Oh my Lord. No matter how long I’ve been running or how much I’ve trained, I am never prepared for inclines or hills. They just take so much out of me. But I kept it slow and steady and managed not to stop.

Once we got to miles 4 and 5, I was feeling pretty good and knew that even though I would not match my previous 10k times for this course, that I would still finish about where I wanted to. But then, that last 1.2 miles felt like an eternity. I started getting frustrated and my legs were starting to hurt.

But somehow I managed to finish and boy was I glad when it was over! (Official time: 1:09:37)

You see, that’s not usually how I feel. That’s what made me sad. If running always felt like that I wouldn’t do it. But this was just a not-so-good one and I have to take it for what it was and move on. Luckily, a week later (this past Saturday), I went out and ran 8 miles on my own and felt glorious. Hopefully that is how the 10-miler will go this upcoming weekend 🙂

Anthem 5k 2011

This past Saturday, I participated in my fourth consecutive Anthem 5k, the very first race I ran back in 2008. It’s amazing to think of how many 5k races I have completed since then (not to mention the longer ones!) and hard to believe I was back at this one for the fourth time already. Time really does fly! This year, there were also more than 10,000 participants for the first time ever 🙂

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We took our usual starting place, right in the middle of the crowd!

Start

Saturday morning it was cold. This race is always cold. I think in 2008 it might’ve been in the 40’s, but I’m pretty sure every year since then we’ve been near freezing at the start. And even though I am the self proclaimed “Queen of Layering” I could’ve used a bit more on the legs and feet. They were pretty numb for the first half mile!

The rest of the race was kind of a blur. I felt like I kept a pretty good pace throughout. Not my fastest but still good considering I have not been running frequently and for how numb I was at the start. I was also dealing with some lower back pain which has now thankfully subsided 🙂

Before I knew it…I could see the finish line!

5k
I actually took this on my way back to the car! And cheered on some runners and walkers on their way to the finish 🙂

Anthem finish

I finished the Anthem 5k in 30 minutes, 40 seconds. I did not have a blog when I completed this race in 2008, but this is the EXACT same time I finished in that year as well. So now of course, I have had “Feels like the first time…” in my head ever since.

I will admit it. I teared up a bit when I finished. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been running, how many races you’ve ran (or walked!), the distances you’ve covered…there is just something special about completing a race. Any race. In any time.

It made me think of a post I read on The Anti-Jared, where he commented on a post written by a runner who thought that someone having a “3.1” sticker was silly.

Every race is a BIG deal. In two weeks, I will run a 10k, then two weeks after that a 10-miler. Then a month later, a half marathon. But this 5k is still very special to me and I am freaking proud of it.

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” -Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

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?

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!

Image Source

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)!

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! 🙂

What's next?

As soon as a big race is over, I’m always left wondering what my next challenge will be.

For the past 16 weeks, I have been mostly focused on training for the mini marathon and now I have a little down time to do some different things and run a bunch of really fun 5K races!

But what else will I do next?

Today, I did a challenging 15 minute incline walk on the treadmill, one set of a full body workout with weights, and some ab exercises. I usually do 25 reps of each ab move but today I noticed they were much stronger, so I went up to 35. That’s the key to keep exercises working for you — either increase the weight, the reps, or change the moves completely!

I’ve been thinking of doing a 30 day ab challenge this summer. It is the most neglected area of my body and yet it is so vital to all the things I do, whether it’s sitting at my desk at work or running mini marathons…I need a strong core!

I also miss yoga terribly, I cannot even tell you the last class I took or did on my own at home. This is a travesty! Yoga can be expensive but there are so many options available for all budgets. I just need to make an effort. I also want to try Hot Yoga again soon 🙂

In addition, Josh admitted that he is not really using his gym membership. While I am sad that he’s not been going, you can only lead a horse to water. And we both agreed that someone should get use out of it, so we are having it transferred into my name!

The gym he goes to is not quite as nice as Urban Active but it will come in handy on the weekends and in bad weather. Plus, they have Body Pump classes 🙂

I’m also toying with the idea of running the Louisville Half Marathon in October. But I have a little time to decide. I figure if I do register for it, I will have to start training in July. So we’ll see!

As you can can probably tell, I’m sort of all over the place, but I like to think it all balances out 🙂

What are your fitness goals for the summer?

Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathon 2010

Wow, I can’t believe another mini-marathon has come and gone. It’s also amazing to me how incredibly different each one of these races has been — this was my third in a row!

I have an overwhelming sense of pride at finishing this race and I had so much fun with my friend Farrah and the new friend I made in Chloe. But let’s start from the beginning…

Saturday morning, I woke up at 5 a.m. I ate some oatmeal with banana and peanut butter right out of the jar!

I decided to skip coffee and in hindsight I wish I’d had some but it was so early and I really didn’t have time to make any before I had to meet Farrah at the parking lot!

We stood in line for a shuttle to the starting line and got rained on the whole time! But thankfully, we got to the race in plenty of time and it stopped raining before it started. It was a good 10-12 minutes before we actually got across the start line but once we did, all my pre-race nerves went away – I feel like an old pro now.

The first few miles were a breeze. We did one easy flat mile and then the next couple were through hilly Iroquois Park. The hills did not bother me as much as they had during the 10 miler. Once we got out of the park, we had to stop at the bathroom, which unfortunately took several minutes due to there only being a few and a long line ahead of us!

Once we got going again, it had started to rain a bit but it felt good because I was quite warm. Farrah and Chloe ran ahead of me and then took walking breaks, which allowed me to catch up with them.One thing that really bugged me about this race were the lack of mile markers. The only ones I remember were 1, 7, and 10. The rest of the time, I had no idea what was going on.

During the race, I alternated between water and Powerade. I usually skip the sugary stuff but something told me to do it this time. Do you use sports drinks?

After the first 6 miles (I think), I started taking walking breaks for a minute or so. I didn’t wear a watch so I wasn’t sure of the ratio. But the longer the race went on, the more I walked. When we ran into Churchill Downs, we had finished 7 miles and at this point it was so hard for me to believe that we had 6 more miles to go!

When we split from the marathon runners, around mile 9 or 10, we made another pit stop at the bathrooms. In my mind, I felt like I could jog some more but my legs were hurting and my left hip felt like it was on fire. So despite my best efforts, I ended up walking the last 3-4 miles of the race.

But during this time I got to know a really sweet girl named Chloe. She’s a young, single mom working two jobs AND going to college and following her dreams. In her short years, she has lived a lifetime already and yet she’s so confident in herself and so grateful for her blessings. And it was her first mini marathon! She had just started running earlier this year.

This conversation made my day! It really puts things in perspective for me. I am not at all disappointed that I had to walk part of this race. And I am darn proud of myself for finishing 🙂

The last mile or so of the race was totally ridiculous. They changed the course this year and all the turns made me feel like we had just gone in a big circle. But once we rounded the corner and saw the finish line, we all took off running. It felt so good to finish strong!

Official race time: 3:04:45

Pace doesn’t matter (thanks Andrea!), just that I started, finished and had a great time in between 🙂

Now I can relax a bit, decide what I want to focus on now, and keep on running for fun! I’ve got quite a few 5k’s coming up in the next couple of months, so I’m thinking  a PR might happen at some point. We’ll see!

Post 10 mile race

Hey guys! I had a great race today, check out my recap here 🙂

Immediately following the race, I had a banana and a small grape Powerade. Usually I don’t drink these (ew, HFCS) but I did a lot of sweating and knew I needed more than water. I didn’t plan ahead and bring a sports-type drink of my own, so I just went with it.

When I got back to the car, I had a Primal Strip and an apple, plus lots of water!

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After I got home and took a nice long, hot shower, I met my friend Aleta for lunch at Panera to discuss our upcoming high school reunion! Dear Lord, I can’t believe I got out of high school 10 years ago.

I had a classic salad and some vegetarian black bean soup with a whole grain baguette (note: contains honey).

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I also enjoyed a small coffee while we chatted because I still had some money left on a gift card.

When I got home, it had been a couple hours and I was hungry again (hello, burned 1,000 calories this morning) so I ate some leftover popcorn.

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I’m thinking I will probably have dinner before too long. Wonder where Josh and I will go? Better figure it out soon, ha ha 🙂