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For nearly the past year and a half, I have been running separate blogs for my fitness and food interests and conquests. However, after much thought, I have decided to go back to just one blog that talks about the whole picture, where it all started: See Sarah Eat.

I appreciate the support you all have given River City Fitness and while I will miss the uniqueness of this blog, I hope that I can recreate See Sarah Eat into something unique now. A blog about my life: food, fitness, faith, cute dog pictures, life issues, etc.

All of the posts from this blog have been imported over there but I will leave this one up, just no new things will be added from now on. I will also be deleting the Facebook page and other links to this blog on social media.

So come on over!

Thanks again,
Sarah 🙂

It is so hard to believe that as of this past Saturday, I have completed the Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathon four times!!!

Medal

Each one has been a unique experience and every year following 2008, I have just a tiny bit of regret that I did not train the way I’m “supposed to” for this race. In 2008, I had only been running a few months when I decided to train for the mini. I was so dedicated! I followed the program religiously and ran the entire thing without stopping and had a great finishing time. While I’m very proud of this accomplishment, I have found it hard to go back to that mentality since or even set a time goal near the one I had in 2008.

Why?

Because training for and completing that race burned me out, physically and mentally. I never wanted to run again. And when I did, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I can’t pinpoint one thing in particular that made it seem that way but I took me well over a year to love running again (I walked the mini in 2009). Ever since then I have had a more laid back approach to half marathon “training.” I want to have fun, not get sick or injured and not feel the pressure to keep beating myself. So I basically just run 2-3 times a week, usually around 3-5 miles and then I try to do a long run here and there.

The Triple Crown of Running really does help prepare you for the mini too. But this year, I missed the Papa John’s 10 miler and never ran more than 8.5 miles from January on. Oops. But, even as Saturday grew closer, I never dreaded signing up for the race again. When I went to get my packet on Thursday afternoon, it felt real and I remembered why I found running and races so exciting to begin with. There is nothing quite like crossing that finish line. Especially when just 4.25 short years ago, I was a very unhappy, unhealthy 216 lb version of myself. It’s easy to forget those days sometimes.

When Saturday morning came, I had every reason to think this race was not going to go well. My stomach was not cooperating (runners know what I mean), I was running late due to traffic (we’ve had flooding so some routes to downtown that we’d usually take were closed off), and I was not able to meet up with any of my friends who were doing the race too. But, thanks to this new laid back approach I didn’t worry and I lined up for the race with confidence and no expectations whatsoever. As for the friends thing, that was okay because I trained for my first mini alone and ran that entire race by  myself. So it was not new territory for me. I like to switch it up, even if sometimes it’s not intentional 😉

I wasn’t far back from the front so almost as soon as I lined up it was time to cross the starting line.

Crowd

I had in my mind that I would at least run the first 3 miles and stop at every other water stop. When I reached mile 4, I stopped to use the port-a-potty, which took at least 5 minutes off of my time but it was well worth it. It was starting to get warmer outside so I took my long sleeved shirt off and tied it around my waist. I got a drink of water and then started running again. I was able to run the first 7 miles with no walking breaks, impressive for not much training! I felt my strongest from miles 5-7, like I was floating on air.

During miles 8-11, I walked for 30 seconds to a minute whenever I felt my running pace slowing significantly. You know like when you are jogging so slow that people walking are passing you? Then we would pass a cheering crowd and I would suddenly have the energy to start running again. It was getting even warmer outside, so I switched from every other water stop to all of them.

When it got down to the last two miles, my legs were not happy with me. They ached, burned and I wanted to stop.  So I walked for about half a mile, I’m guessing (I didn’t wear a watch). Then eventually, I was able to alternate walking and running again, even running a good chunk of mile 13, which was great because I ended up seeing my mom on the sidelines and got to run over and high five her! Thanks Mom 🙂

Not long after that, I walked again, because I knew that the finish of this race was elusive. When you come around that last turn you think “Yes! I am almost there!” but I have learned in years past that if you start sprinting too soon, you won’t make it. So I waited until the finish line was in clear view, then I picked it up a little and then started running my fastest to the finish line, passing a lot of people in the process. I didn’t hurt anymore, I felt strong and of course teared up as I came across that finish line for the 4th time, thinking of the “old” me and how far I had come in this journey called life.

Official time: 2:54:38

This is my third fastest half marathon time but my second best for this particular race (I ran the Louisville Half Marathon back in October). While I ran my first mini in 2:12:08, I decided not to look at this race as 42 minutes slower but rather this time is a major improvement on the last two years (3:07 in 2010 and 3:30 in 2009). Negativity is never the way to go!

Now for some highlights of this year’s race:

  • Seeing a couple walking a beagle down 3rd street which made me think of my Suzie 🙂
  • The “Duh! Winning!” sign on 4th street
  • The crowds cheering everywhere, thank God for you people. I want to be on the “other side” one of these days to cheer someone on!
  • High-fiving Mom at mile 13, the same place she and my dad were for my first mini in 2008 (nostalgic)
  • I chose to have iTunes “randomly” fill my iPod and it picked some great upbeat songs, I think it knows me
  • Even though I’m not a fan of horse-racing, this was the first year the horses were actually exercising around the track when we went through Churchill Downs. What beautiful creatures they are 🙂

I’m sure there are more and if I remember anything else, I will add it to the list!

I’m happy to say that thanks to a hot shower, Advil and proper refueling, I am not very sore from this race. A little achy in the quads but that’s it. I also iced my knees, shins, ankles and feet but accidentally forgot that other important part of my leg. Oops!

So what’s next?

I’m not sure. Part of me wants to give “real” training another shot and either try to PR the half marathon or perhaps complete my first full marathon! Part of me wants to just stick to shorter races like 5 and 10k’s and work on speed. And finally, part of me wants to take some time off, re-evaluate my goals and be a spectator for awhile.

But I’m not ready to make that decision yet. So in the meantime, I will just run when I feel like it and not worry about what the future may or may not hold for me. We’ll just have to wait and see! It’s never really what you expect or plan for, right? 😉

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!

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

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!

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?

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 🙂

On Saturday, October 16th, I joined several other people from our community (including some fellow members of the Louisville Vegetarian Club) in the very first Louisville Walk for Farm Animals, benefitting Farm Sanctuary, an animal shelter/charity based out of Watkins Glen, New York (with two farm locations, in New York & California).

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The 2.5 mile route took us through downtown Louisville, past several busy areas, including the new KFC Yum! Center. As we walked along, we each carried a sign, some with just words and some with super cute animal pictures.

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We also had pamphlets and information to share with people (I even left a few about the benefits of a vegetarian diet at the Diabetes Walk which took place that same morning).

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We also got to wear these cute T-shirts! 🙂

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About a month before the walk, we held a bake sale at Eternal Health Yoga, where we raised over $230 for Farm Sanctuary in one weekend! By the time the walk was over, we had raised over $1,000 for this organization!

We were very pleased with the turnout (around 40 people signed up!) and the amount of money raised, especially considering this was our first year doing this walk. I can’t wait to do this walk again next year!

For more information about Farm Sanctuary and the Walk for Farm Animals, visit this link. To see more photos from this walk and other Louisville Vegetarian Club events, check out the Louisville Veg Flickr page.

On September 25th, I participated in the Kentuckiana Start! Heart Walk benefitting the American Heart Association. This wasn’t a race for me but it was a pretty cool event that I felt was worth sharing with you here.

It was a chilly morning and I parked a little ways away, which allowed me to walk past the baseball stadium. I can’t believe my phone takes pictures this good, better than my camera even.

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Since we were walking and not running, we brought our 4-legged friends to join us. They need their exercise too! Meet Suzie (my dog, the Beagle) and her friend Alf.

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Alf also found his “brother from another mother.” Ha!

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University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong was there to deliver the kick-off speech. Both of his parents passed away as the result of heart and cardiovascular diseases, so obviously he is passionate about this cause. He also pointed out the survivors, who were wearing red hats. I was once again counting my blessings.

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As we walked downtown and across the 2nd Street bridge (I believe the walk was around 3 miles), I took a lot of pictures of things we passed by, including the new KFC Yum! Center, which if you live in Louisville, you either find really exciting or really disappointing. I can’t decide.

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Going across the bridge to Indiana!

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And one last one because it turned out cool and totally not how I intended.

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Hope you enjoyed this little recap! Obviously, I am passionate about running but I also enjoy a nice walk or anything that gets people to be active, especially if it means supporting a great cause.

Heart Disease is still the #1 killer of both men and women here in the United States. Let’s do what we can to make sure us and our loved ones don’t go down that path.

For more information, check out the American Heart Association webpage.