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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!

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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 🙂

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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 🙂

image

 
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

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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!

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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?

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There were a lot of factors leading up to this race that made me wonder just how it would go.

First, my running/walking partner had to back out due to illness. So I was alone. Then, I disobeyed a lot of the rules of what not to do the night before, such as staying up way too late and drinking alcohol (not a lot, but still, you risk dehydration with that).

I also did not train properly for 9.3 miles. The most I have run recently is 5, but mostly 2-3 on average.

While this story has a happy ending, I still feel obligated to say: Don’t try this at home.

Sunday morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. after having just gone to bed at 2. I had a late night PB&J sandwich when I got home from a friend’s house, so I wasn’t starving when I woke up, but I knew since it was a long race that I would need the fuel. So I had some frozen waffles with PB and banana. And coffee!

When I got to the course, I had to use the “facilities” which were just 4 port-a-potties with a line of about 50 people. I thought about backing out but I knew I’d feel better if I just did what I needed to do before I started running. So because of that, I started the race a little more than 4 minutes late, but that’s okay.

I had no agenda.

I didn’t know whether I would walk or run or for how long. I wore an iPod but not a watch. I ran when I thought I could run and slowed down when I needed to. I took walking breaks as necessary and hit all but one water stop along the way.

The course wasn’t much to look at but it was flat, which was a welcome break from all the hills I’ve been doing lately. I think that is why I was able to run more than I thought I could. I don’t know how people did the 30k though (you had the option of 15k or 30k), I can’t imagine repeating the same course twice.

I was glad they had mile markers for most of it (all but mile 6, I believe) because it helped me pace myself and realize how much longer I had to go.

For the first 7 miles, I ended up running most of the way, taking a 1 minute walking break after each mile. I used my iPod to gauge the time, basically when the third song started, I walked until the first chorus. Some songs have shorter verses than others but I’m sure it all averaged out.

Toward the end, I was taking more frequent walking breaks, at every song instead of every third song. Have you ever used something other than a watch to pace yourself?

When I saw the 9 mile marker, I knew it was time to finish strong. Even though my legs were starting to get tired and sore, I kept pushing and crossed the finish line, astounded that I had just run most of a 9.3 mile race.

It’s amazing how far your mind will take you (or in some cases hold you back).

Here are my stats for those who are interested:

  • Distance: 9.3 miles
  • Time: 1:54:39 (I started more than 4 minutes late! So really 1:50!)
  • Avg. pace (based on official time): 12:18/mile

This race made me realize something else about myself: I am built for endurance, not speed.

As much as I like to challenge myself and beat PR’s, I think I am going to leave speed training to 5k races only. Once I go beyond 3 miles, I like to just settle in and enjoy the run, covering the distance regardless of time. Anyone else like that?

Because of this race, I am not at all nervous about the half marathon I have in a month now (which uses most of the same course). In fact, I’m hoping to get in a few more long runs before then, now that I know I have it in me! 🙂

I took a nice epsom salt bath when I got home, had a little nap and also did this for a while:

But I was also sure not to rest too much and get up and move around some too, which was easy since we had a friend’s birthday party to attend yesterday afternoon. I have found that helps keep me from getting too sore and I am feeling pretty good today thanks to these measures (and some Advil, ha ha).

I also did some yoga moves that a friend shared with me to stretch out my legs and hip flexors. My hips give me more trouble when I walk but it’s still a good stretch to do for prevention of tight muscles!

Have you ever surprised yourself during a race or in another fitness venture? How did it make you feel?

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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 🙂

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