A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Running

As reports of the Boston Marathon bombing keep pouring in, my heart is heavy. My family has stood at numerous finish lines waiting for me to cross and I can’t help but wonder, what if this happened to us?

Running is my release, my happy place, my passion. And today that was torn away. A senseless act has put fear in my heart. Fear of the finish line, fear of running. While watching about Boston, my mind wondered to the tragedy of Newtown just four month ago. Another senseless act that put fear in my heart.

My children aren’t safe in their schools.

I’m not safe while running.

Fear. Overwhelming fear.

That’s the tragic part of tragedy. It puts fear in us. Fear that was never there before. It makes us suspicious and doubtful. It makes us grow weary. Quietly, this verse came to mind.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

I can’t say that I won’t be fearful when I cross my next finish line. I can’t say that there won’t be suspicious and doubt lingering in my heart when I run. But of this I am certain – Fear will not reign over me, because God reigns over me. He has strengthened me. He has helped me. He is upholding me. No shooter, no bomber, no tragedy can ever change that.

Fear will not reign over me, because God reigns over me. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to Boston and the runners. You’re in my heart sweet folks, stay strong.

If you live in the Boston area, here are places you can donate blood.

I’ve always dreamed of being a runner. When I trained and ran my first half marathon 3 years ago, I finally allowed myself to believe I was a runner. And while I day dreamed of pushing myself to run a full marathon, the idea of starting {and completing} a 26.2 mile race seemed like a monumental feat.

Not any more.

This Sunday, February 17th, I will be racing in the Austin Marathon.

Last summer, I convinced two of my closest girlfriends to train and race along side me. {Clearly, crazy gravitates to crazy.} We have spent the last 6 months training for two half marathons and now the Big Mama race this weekend.

Adriane, Erika and Me - post 18 mile run

Adriane, Erika and Me – post 18 mile run

Erika and Adriane have challenged and encouraged me. They have stood beside me through injury and flu {well, they kept their distance while I was sick, but did send sweet texts}.  They have pushed me physically and spiritually. Without them, this race wouldn’t happen.

Come next Sunday, I will proudly bare the title “Marathoner”. It has been an incredible experience, a journey of discovery – learning not just how much punishment my body can endure, but how much I need good community and how unbelievably faithful the Lord is when we commit our body and soul to Him.

My sweet friend, Katie, sent me a text a few weeks back asking for a post on running with kids – “Like an exact schedule would be great!”. I didn’t tell her at the moment, but I think my current running schedule would make most novice runners cringe.

I have found, that living in Texas, having three kids, morning runs are the only way I can run outside from May-September. Morning runs mean I am up by 5:15 on Tuesdays/Thursdays and by 5:45 on Saturdays. I meet my running buddy{ies} at Town Lake, where we start running by 6 or 6:30. I think every person {and new moms especially} just collectively groaned at that schedule. It’s not easy. And the nights where I am up with Joseph, or the girls, several times, just to have to be up by 5:15, are brutal. But, I do it.

Sarah’s Current Running/Workout Schedule

Monday – Strength Training/Extended Stretching

Tuesday – 6 am run {5 miles}

Wednesday – Cross training/Cross Fit

Thursday – 6 am run {5 miles} followed by Cross Fit

Friday – Rest day

Saturday – 6:30 run {5+ mile long run}

Sunday – Cross training, or, Rest day

Keep in mind, I am actively training for a half marathon and prepping for a marathon {Even I get a little shiver thinking that my running will increase come October}. The mileage, and number of workouts, should not be that high if you’re just beginning.

While this is my current schedule, I’ll admit, there is no way in the world I would have started off with a schedule like that. I love running now, so I don’t mind the commitment. But when I first started running? Yeah, it was like a courtship – I needed running to woo me before I’d love it back.

My suggestion for new mom runners :: Be consistent. Find out what three days a week you can run {morning, afternoon, or evening} and get on a schedule. I find it easiest to run short distances during the week and long distances on the weekend. But maybe that’s not the case for you. Perhaps you have more time on a Tuesday than a Saturday. Plan your schedule accordingly. If you plan to run after your husband gets home from work, I suggest being in your workout clothes before he gets home as added motivation. If you plan to run before the family gets up for the day, I suggest having a running buddy. It’s a lot easier to wake up at 5:30 am when someone is depending on you. Finally, if you plan to run in the afternoon, be mindful of the heat/sun. If you are taking your kids with you, be sure you bring extra water for them as well as yourself.

Mamas need to exercise. It helps us clear our heads, gives us energy, and sets a wonderful example to our children. It’s not always easy to start running, but you will always be thankful that you did it.

Remember — It doesn’t matter when you run or how far you run. It only matters that you run. Choose your three days and stick to them.


*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

My personal mantra is :: The hardest part of running is starting. It’s a phrase I think every time I run {especially at 0’dark thirty}. That’s why I stress the need for you to have a goal to push you. Honestly, your goal can be whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t need to be what your friends say, what I say, what a trainer says. Your goal needs to be personal, something that pushes you, makes you proud.

For ease sake, I’m going to talk about setting a goal to run a 5K {that’s 3.1 miles}. Why? Because that is the first real race distance and one I believe every able body can accomplish. Also, since I’m addressing beginning runners, I’m going to focus on finishing the race as a goal, rather than focus on time oriented goals. If you’re interested in setting PRs {personal records}, let me know and I can direct you to some really good information.


Racing for the finish ::


Let me preface – There is nothing wrong in just wanting to finish a race. You don’t need to set personal records, you don’t need to beat a clock. If your goal is to finish {without dying along the way} that is a perfectly acceptable goal {and one I have set several times myself}. With a “just finish” goal, you will also need to set a perimeter on that goal, i.e. to finish without walking, to finish with only X amount of breaks, etc. Once you have your perimeters set, start running.

There are lots of great training programs for 5Ks. The most popular is Cool Running’s Couch to 5K. The great thing about C25K is that they have you alternating walking and jogging. Why is that so important? First, it helps build stamina. Second, it sets a good pace. The last thing you want is to start your running career running hard and fast. You won’t last long because you’ll either injure yourself or get totally burned out. Even now, I can tell if I’ve started a run off too fast – and I almost always regret it {either through being overly tired, or having to stop short of my daily goal}.

Another great program is Hal Higdon’s 5K. He has several to chose from, ranging from walking to performance running. I personally am using Hal’s training program for an upcoming half and for my marathon in February. But, my best advice is to find a program that helps ease you into the world of running, fits your schedule and helps challenge you.

Now, just because I said earlier that you shouldn’t start off fast, does not mean you shouldn’t push yourself. If you know you can run faster, run faster. If you know you can run farther, run farther. But be smart about it. Slowly increase your speed and mileage. A rule of thumb in running is that you should only increase your mileage {or run time} by 10% a week. This allows your body to adjust to its new workout and helps prevent injury {which is every runners nightmare}. A good personal example is that when I train for a longer race, I typically only add 1 additional mile a week. I’ve been known to add two, but only if I feel like my body can handle the adjustment.

Just remember – Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t come out, guns blazing, expecting to shoot down the track. Instead, pace yourself, listen to your body {if it tells you you can speed up or need to slow down} and focus on your goal – the finish line.

Next week, I’m going to be address the moms – how do I fit in running with kids, what my run schedule looks like, and why I think all moms should run.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

The first step in becoming a runner is to run. That might be simplifying things, but it’s true. You’ll never be a runner if you don’t run.

Running is a daunting task at times. It’s hard, it’s tiring, and can be very lonely. But I’m going to share some quick tips to get you started.

1. Set a goal – Every race I’ve run has a goal. It could be to finish. It could be to set a record. It could be to just have fun. Having a goal in running let’s you know how you’re doing while training. Without a goal, you don’t have clear direction. And without direction chances are good you’ll stop running.

2. Set realistic goals – I’d love to get on a course and run a 10K in under 45 minutes today. That averages an 7min/mil. Doable, perhaps. But since my current average is 9min/mil, it’s not that realistic. If you’ve never run, or it’s been a long time, having realistic goals allows you to meet your bar and feel accomplished. Set a goal to run a 5K in 3 or 4 months, not next month.

3. Buddy system – Running is great for solitude. I can hit the streets and not talk to anyone, just be alone. But that can get really boring. If you are just starting off running, having a running buddy can make the difference between success and failure. A friend helps push you, motivate you and hold you accountable. You can be certain, I would not be running at 6am if I didn’t have someone depending on me running with them.

Don’t have friends who run? Do a search for running groups in your area, or check out Meetup. Finding established clubs are safer options for meeting a new running buddy.

4. Get the gear – If you have never run before, you need to make sure you have shoes, shorts, top and sports bra {for the ladies}. It’s going to make things much harder if you don’t have what you need to get started.

5. Don’t get the gear – Chances are good, that you probably already have the essential gear you need to start running. Now, I speak for myself when I say – don’t buy new shoes/shorts/top/bra thinking this will motivate you to run. Personally, for me it never did. If you already have what you need to run, start running. Perhaps getting new shoes/clothes can be a reward for hitting your goal. Run a 5K, get new shoes.

Don’t let yourself be discouraged before you ever start. Set a goal, find a friend and start running.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” -John Bingham

Next week, I’m going to be addressing how to set goals using running programs – and how to find a program that’s right for you.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

I grew up around a lot of runners. My step dad ran track and field throughout college. My older brother did the same throughout jr high and high school. I had lots of friends who ran. I always wanted to run, but never thought I really could – especially distance. Sure, just about every able body is capable of running, but I had a dream of running distance, not just down the street.

I remember running for a few months in high school during basketball season. I had tried out for the basketball team {you can laugh at that statement} and part of training was to build up to a 3 mile run. I think I made it to 1.5 miles before I stopped. And I promptly quit the basketball team. In college, my longest distance was a mile. Maybe 1.5 if I’m being extra generous. And I’m pretty certain that 1 mile took me a good 20 minutes. I tell you all this to say – If I can run, anyone can run.

After Hannah, my second child, was born, I started working out. I joined a gym, got plugged into an aerobics class. Shortly afterward, some girlfriends suggested we run a 5K together. So, 4 months after Hannah was born, I ran my first race. I hadn’t done any training for it, but hoped that I had built up enough endurance from my aerobics class to get me through. I made it. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fast, but I did it. And a fire was lit.

The day after my first race, I ran again. 1.5 miles around our neighborhood. I told a friend, and avid runner, about the 5K. She encouraged me to run a 10K with her later that month. I thought she was straight up crazy, but I signed up. Shortly after the 10K, that same friend said “If you can run a 10K, you can run a half marathon.” Again, my first thought was she was straight up crazy. But that prod stuck with me. Two months later, I started training for my first half marathon. Three months after that, I ran my first half. I haven’t looked back since.

This year marks the most races I have ever done in a running season. By year’s end, I will have completed 3 half marathons, 2 10Ks and 1 5K. My race season next year will kickoff with my first full marathon.

Over the next month, I’m going to share my personal tips and advice for beginning runners. Whether you want to run a marathon, or you just want to run a mile without stopping, I’m going to share my insights to how to go from dreaming about running, to being a runner.

A few months after Hannah was born, I started my journey as a runner. By the time she was 6.5 months, I started actively training for my first half marathon. During all that time, I breastfed.

Two weeks after Joseph was born, I started easing back into a workout routine. Then once he was 6 weeks old, I began actively training for my most recent half marathon. Again, all while breastfeeding.

Last week, I had a pregnant mom mention that she had been told you shouldn’t workout while nursing. She asked me my opinions.

Clearly, I think that not working out while nursing is completely nuts….

For my top ten running tips for moms, visit Run Lady, Run!

{photo credit}

I don’t do a very good job of slowing down. Typically, I hit a breaking point and self implode. There’s no warning, no leveling off. Just a face plant into a wall.

I hit my breaking point at the beginning of April. With race training leading into SXSW, leading into Hannah’s surgery, throwing in countless birthday parties, and wrapping everything up with Julia’s ER trip, I self imploded. I went into safety mode of calling off all outside responsibilities and spending more time with our family.

Last weekend we spent a day exploring. Found ourselves at Lyndon B Johnson’s home. Ate crazy good food from a rundown hotel.

This weekend we putted around the house. Did yard work. Ate pizza and frozen yogurt. Went swimming.

Yet, even as wonderful as our family time has been, I still felt exhausted and overworked.

Yesterday, I ran a 10K race. It was a really fun race, running along the river downtown. Around mile five, I noticed that my ankle was starting to hurt. I assumed it was from running on uneven pavement, so tried finding more level ground. I finished the race off strong, only to have a limp. As the day wore on, it became harder to walk, forcing me to ice down my foot, wrap it up and move as little as possible. Two things I learned yesterday afternoon; 1) it’s nearly impossible for me to “move as little as possible”, 2) injured Sarah is a grouchy Sarah.

Today’s laundry list of chores is growing by the minute. Both girls are in school, which usually is my golden opportunity to get all my errands done with only one babe in tow. But given that it hurts to walk from the bed to the bathroom, I’m certain grocery shopping will prove nearly impossible.

Jonathan’s given me mandatory “bed rest” for the day. Which essentially means, slowing down and resting my foot. There is a part of me that is grumbling – complaining about everything that’s not going to get accomplished if I can’t move around. But another part of me wonders if this isn’t the best thing for me. A forced slow down. A chance, while Joseph is sleeping and the girls are at school, to just rest.

Who knew a strained ankle would finally be what makes me stop. Here’s to a day of rest.

Yesterday I completed the Austin Half Marathon.  

Enjoying a chocolate shake about an hour post-race

I have to say this was my best race yet. I wasn’t as nervous as last year, as I knew what to expect. Though, I will say, like child birth, you forget how killer the hills are. About 2 miles in I remembered why this part of Texas is called the hill country… Thankfully this year, Jonathan and I coordinated where he and the kids would be cheering during the race, so I was able to see them at mile 8 which gave me a huge boost.

I got oddly nauseous at mile 7, which I think was related to drinking too much Gatorade {I don’t drink Gatorade while running just during recovery}. I suppose the sweetness of Gatorade just didn’t sit well with my stomach. Thankfully it passed quickly, and I didn’t actually get sick.

By mile 6 my hips were beginning to hurt, nothing major, just slightly irritating. However, once I reached mile 11, there was a killer hill. At that point I walked up the hill to give my hips a break and catch my breath. My hips thanked me for it later, by pushing through to the end without any real pain.

Once the hill was done, I was able to finish off the race strong. It was such a good feeling to cross the finish line and be greeted by my family and friends.

I celebrated with a great burger and shake from P. Terry’s. My recovery has been really good, and with the exception of a little glut pain yesterday and calf soreness today, I’ve felt really good.

Jonathan said after this race he has been convinced he wants to run with me next year {woot!}. And after seeing a few families running together, I’m hoping once the kids get old enough we can make it a family event!

{photo credit}

I’m in the final days of training for the half marathon on Sunday. Is it just me, or have the last 8 weeks gone by really fast? Whew.

It’s been a good training time with some lessons learned. One of those lessons being – after your third baby, your badder just ain’t what it use to be. TMI? Perhaps. But consider it a warning ladies…

Another good lesson learned – I am insane. Granted I knew that already, it’s just now I get to prove it to all my family and friends. Again.

But perhaps the most important lesson {re}learned – My husband rocks. He’s been so good about dealing with the crazy-Sarah that comes out during training {let’s just say I can go a little overboard sometimes} and has rallied around me yet again to see me through to the end.

While so many people are racing this year to either support a great cause or to prove to themselves that they can run such a race, I’ll be honest and say, at this point I’m just really looking forward to a post race P.Terry burger and shake.