Category: Running

The Power of the 5K

The 5K is an introductory distance.  It is the most empowering distance that gives a person a sense of accomplishment and curiosity as to what could be next in their athletic ambitions.  It is a distance that takes more perseverance to achieve equal to that of a marathon.  Yes.  I said it.  A 5K is as difficult to achieve as a marathon.  Why?  Because running is hard!  So if you have ever tried to get into running and after about getting to two miles you think eff this!  You are not alone.  If you want some encouragement to get past that 5K, push through a 10K and find your self loving half marathons, I’m here for you.

I forgot how difficult it is to get to a 5K.  Once you run for a while, 3 miles seems like a warm up.  Then you take too much time off and well, starting over is the only place to begin.  My current inspiration is drawn from my mom, my friend Gwen, and others who have reached out to share with me their achievement of their first 5K.  Heck, my mom had a PR in CROCKS, yes Crocks shoes.  I am overwhelmed with acknowledging that my love of running has inspired others and now, as I remember how to get back out there, you inspire me.  Thank you.  So here is where I remembered to begin and how I got back into the love of my own 5K glory.

1. Love your gear.  Be comfortable in your clothing. shoes, and equipment.  People tend to just “make do” and feel guilty for wanting gear.  I say hogwash!  If you feel comfortable, you are confident, you are ready to keep going.  Warning, you may find yourself changing your favorite gear as you change up your running levels.  I started out loving yoga pants, t-shirts, a ponytail, and an arm band for my phone.  Little by little my clothing preferences changed to tights, tank tops, a bun, and a belt.

2. Run to your own beat…or find a program to help you explore your style.  I tend to just get out there and run.  But getting back into my happy pace included a lot of excuses to keep me on the couch.  Adam and I decided to start with a Couch2-5K program.  This helped us with accountability, a schedule, and getting into a habit.  One morning, after a few weeks using the app, we hit 3.1 miles using a walk-run method and my body yearned to pick up the pace for another half an hour.  It was then I knew I had found my happy pace again.  Ultimately, I eased back into my three days a week schedule.

3. Listen to your body but know that your mind is usually the one who entices sedentary behavior.  The battle is REAL between your fit and your lazy self.  So encourage the fit self to be stronger than the little voice that says to walk or stop.  Reward your lazy self on your rest days.  Look forward to them and plan them accordingly.

4. Eat well to feel awesome.  When you pick great food, you will choose to stay active longer.  Your body will just love feeling good and will want to stay feeling that way.

5. Enjoy your surroundings.  If you prefer a treadmill, awesome.  But if you are like me, outdoors is where I need to be.  But if running around your neighborhood is boring like my old block was 2 miles MAYBE so running that loop 5 times felt like torture, find a new spot!  Make a destination of it.  People like to go to the gym because they like the surroundings.  Runners like to find their spot be it downtown or at a park.  At time it IS about where you are.

6. Just keep at it.  If you end up loving to walk, just keep walking.  Add in some running here and there until you are adding in more running than walking.  Might sound odd, but do stuff while you walk to keep your mind off of the activity.  Adam likes to listen to books.  My friend Jess likes music.  I like to people/traffic watch or run TO a destination to for an errand (no pun intended) or get a treat.

I know this all sounds so simple.  But take time to be in wonder and awe that your body can move when you want it to and it will respond with strength and resiliency.  The runners high isn’t for everyone, but you will feel the amazing effects of exercise and finding time to turn off the daily grind.  Soon a 5K will feel like a walk in the park and an accomplishment to smile over!

New Year New Word

Not a lot of people know this about me, but I don’t do resolutions.  I tried.  I really did.  But I never could understand the concept of waiting until the first of the year to address stuff you KNOW needed your attention in May or August.  I just couldn’t jump on the resolution bandwagon.  So being who I am…I did my own thing.  I began to prefer a word that would be constantly integrated throughout my year to bring focus and attention on a multifaceted approach to the traditional resolutions.  My past words have invoked comfort or a brash reminder.  Sometimes it was a word that needed to make a fundamental acknowledgement.

2007 Moments
2008 Intensity
2009 Appreciation
2010 Patience
2011 Present (Presence)
2012 Acceptance
2013 Love
2014 Tenacity

And now, the unveiling of the new word…
2015 Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

Adam and I have chosen this word as it has such an incredible meaning that also embodies other annual word choices such as moments, appreciation, and presence.  In each moment there more perspectives than you allow yourself to see.  It is an incredible position to be in to open your heart and mind to the possibility of multiple points of view.  What we hope to gain from this is a greater appreciation of life, taking time to understand a moment, and embrace the challenges that all perspectives encounter.

We are challenging ourselves to take a moment and change our perspective, evaluate where we were and where we are.  It is amazing how just a shift in your view can bring to your life.  I’m not promoting that you can make every situation positively perfect.  But what I am saying is that you can find innovative solutions, evaluate your goals, and realize what to keep and let go from your life when you take the time to step back and look.

We have decided to embrace all things in our little corner of the world and be thankful that we get to experience them together.  Now that is an absolutely amazing perspective to share.  Here is to a fantastic 2015 with my Adam!

Okay, so, back to running.  How would this help GoSarahRun in 2015?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Perspective has allowed me to take a look at running, what it means to me and what I want to do with it this year.  Adam has encouraged me to “go with the flow” and see if I can just reconnect with my pace.  Get back to my core and let it evolve.  I do not have any running goals this year, which feels odd, but refreshing.  However, my main goal of the year is to graduate.  Therefore, I see running returning as a very healthy study break.  Because, lets face it, graduating in 2005 isn’t much different than graduating in 2015 :)

The blessings of deferrals

Deferrals.  The little back out button when you realize you aren’t ready for a race.  I have officially pushed it.  Yup.  Today is the day that I need to acknowledge a fact.  I have not trained.  I cannot fake it.  I cannot just “do it” and make miles happen.  I am not sure if I am simultaneously acknowledging that being thirty-something has it’s downfalls, but I will say, man…I don’t remember my race ambitions requiring a level of training that if derailed results in a deferral.

So lets talk deferral.  I have always LOVED the fact that most races have had this option available.  For whatever reasons, life happens, we need to embrace those moments that put the brakes on the accelerator and force us to realize we are merely human.  And for me, I hereby announce, I am human.

This last weekend at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon weekend and completing a 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon in a three-day period brought to my attention that I would not be nearly the athlete I am without my Advocare supplements.  My large muscle groups took maybe 15 training miles to find their zen…but those smaller muscles need a bit more to find their happy pace.  When you put super-excited large muscles with barely-keeping-up small muscles you have a recipe that spells I.N.J.U.R.Y.  So I took it slow.  I thanked my body for blessing me with the opportunity to even get out there and listened to it say, don’t push it.  And this past weekend was UH-MAIZE-ING!  We had an fantastic group of travelers and runners that always make this weekend special to me.  We all have our own running pace and we respect everyone’s happy pace and goals.  This weekend for me let me just run for fun with my buddies.

Running with Jessica is something that only a running buddy can even begin to comprehend.  It is like finding your soul mate, but while endurance running, talking about nothing and everything at the same time, craving donuts, taking pictures, and watching each mile just pass seamlessly by over three hours.  She is an amazing friend that always evokes the most positive outlook on life regardless of what struggles you may currently be battling.  Everyone needs a Jessica in their life!

Sprinting with Leah can only be described with a chest tightening lesson that barely breaths words of advice sounding something similar to, need-more-speed-work!  But man, that little champ has been racing RunDisney since the 100 meter dash.  This year was 400 meters with encouragement, sideline cheers, and a hands up, tutu finish.  I seriously cannot wait until she wants to race her first half marathon.  I will be there, every inch of that race with her…unless she is training to be really good then I will meet her at the finish line.

As I come down from the RunDisney high, I was faced with a full marathon in three weeks.  UH-YEAH-NO.  My heart and body just aren’t where I had hoped when I signed up in November.  Hence I embrace that little option that puts a 2016 race on my calendar for free (positive perspective, right?!?!)

Today, I am thankful for the deferral button and a race with open registrations.  Shamrock Marathon weekend, I’m excited for you to meet my iRun4 Buddy Noah and race with his NEW CHAIR (HAPPY 15th BIRTHDAY BUDDY!) plus a super mega awesome opportunity to enjoy visiting some friends.  These are friends that have become family over the last 10+ years.  Have I ever mentioned that Virginia Beach/Fort Story was the first beach I remember, ever?  Well it is!

Now, back to my new found obsession: Craigslist.  I never EVER thought of myself as a deadmiller, but I’m about going crazy without some miles in my life, so here’s to owning a treadmill!  Because I give up with below freezing temperature and this wind.  Winter, you have never made me miss Florida so much until this year.

Why I…

Lately I have been asked a lot of “Why I…” questions. Quite possibly it is time for me to start questioning my own sanity (I think it has been over a week, so I’m definitely overdue) and lets find the most uncomfortable and incomplete way to answer some of them, at least the ones that were asked today.


I run for so many reasons and I have a beautifully captivating reason that really hits people in a way that makes them WANT to run too when I talk with them! But get real…we all know that motivating stories are born out of some less than motivating moments. So here it goes.

I began to run as a way to burn off anxiety. Anxiety from studying, making decisions, thinking about life, wondering if I was going to have a date to the Barn Dance…yes, I was in a sorority and I loved it.

I ran as a distraction from myself

Later I began to run to feel something. In my years at Purdue the never ending questions of, “what’s next…” spiraled out of control. Maybe it is a type-A thing or maybe just plain crazy, but when I would start to become numb from going through the motions and when I started to become comfortable in the darkness of depression, I would run. I would run until my muscles burned and I could barely breathe.

I ran to remember I am alive and to look forward not look back

In Florida, things slowed down and I had no idea what to do with myself. I would be that annoying person asking everyone if they wanted to do something, hangout, play a board game…and when that resulted in a whole lotta no’s…I would clean. And then I cleaned so much that I began cleaning out the wine cabinets a bottle a night. That’s when I decided I needed to run. That and Adam suggested (lightly) that maybe I shouldn’t drink a bottle a night…yup-yup, I’m not one of those intervention types; you don’t have to tell me twice!

I ran to waste time

Fast forward to Kansas. I’ve grown up a few years moving back to my home state. This place is different. It doesn’t quite feel like home anymore, but what I have found and something I cannot speak more highly of about this area is the freedom running has given me and the opportunity it has for EVERYONE. All you need is a pair of shoes and some clothes and you can run…anywhere. It doesn’t matter the distance or the time, it is only about the action of doing and finding solace in your happy pace. It has the calming power that only comes from disconnecting yourself from technology and reconnecting with nature around you.  See a pretty trail?  Stop and go for a run! No, seriously, you won’t be disappointed.  I look at my GPS map and smile because I have seen so much land one race at a time. I scroll my Facebook and am thankful for so many people I’ve connected with through running. I log into my Nike+ account and love seeing my miles over the years. Sure, I can joke that I run for beer and cupcakes (amiright?!) and I laugh when I say I run to keep the crazy away (truth!) but I am genuine when I say,

I run to return home with myself and to create a healthy distraction from this modern life


This has been one of the toughest questions for me to answer. I had this “idea” about blogging and what is was going to be for me. I wanted it to be motivating, inspiring, and meaningful. What I didn’t take into consideration about what I wanted was HOW DIFFICULT IT WOULD BE to take on that responsibility. There are days when I have little motivation, I need inspiration, and my negativity gets the best of me. What I have found is that I’m not alone. I feel that I have hidden in times of stress because I didn’t want to complain or seem like my life was less than my glowing aura I projected…but in hiding, I disengaged others who may also be struggling similarly. And as I realized the potential gravity of the situation I’m creating, I have decided that I will just write. My blog is to be an outlet. It will be fun, it will be rough, it will be glowing, and it will still captivate my desire to motivate, inspire, and be meaningful. I will not worry about how I will be perceived because I am who I am. I struggle. I celebrate. I laugh. I love. I am real. If I can be that real person at home, in real-life public, and on my personal social media sites, why am I struggling with being me on my blog? Crazy right?

So here’s to me…being me and blogging about it.
(Cheering from the pretend crowd in my head, victory!)

Caught me! You are right, I still didn’t answer WHY I blog.  But I’m sure I’ll figure it out and hopefully help others in the process.

…Am remodeling a house

Man, this is a big question and a hot topic now that Adam and I are on year 2 of living out of boxes.  Yes, two years and still not unpacked. We moved from Florida and given our situation, moving into a house that was in the family made sense. My grandpa was the most amazing man I have ever had the opportunity to be around in my life, and HE thought that house was neat.  And he was right; it is spacious, and affordable. He liked the fact it was only houses away from my parents and my sister was just a few miles down the highway. So we were all in! But the house needed work and we thought, hey this will be fun! HGTV says three days for a bathroom remodel, shoooooot, we can do that! The magazines show easy DIY cabinets, dang, I’m up for it! What people don’t realize is remodeling a house on a monthly budget while working full time and enrolled as a full time student changes your life.

You either make it or you break it

Adam and I have learned so much about each other in this process. We have bled (literally) and cried (real tears) and laughed (hysterically) and yes, argued (like 5-year olds and adults). Remodeling isn’t for the emotionally weak or for people wanting to build strength in a relationship.  You gotta have your shit together before picking up that first hammer or you will have a dirty ceiling before you can even comprehend that the fan switch was not turned off like you requested. Would we do this remodel endeavor again? Absolutely not. Would we recommend others to remodel a home? Only if you have money to hire contractors so you can stand back, hold hands, drink a beer, and watch your dreams become reality over a short period of time. Will Adam and I make it?  Yes. Because we communicate even the tough stuff.

We lay down our pride to be our most vulnerable with one another

That’s how you make it and the best part about that is that you become stronger than you could have ever imagined your relationship could be.

…am getting my Doctorate


I know I have a good answer somewhere around here. More than,

I get to wear a funky hat and a bad ass robe at graduation! #boombitches

Yeah, just doesn’t really sound all that grown up and intelligent, especially with such an unoriginal hashtag…so I’ll get back to you on that one.

January Registrations and September OMGs

January is amazingly full of resolutions and goal settings.  One of my favorite months of the year.  Partly because I get to sign up for most of my local events with discounts.  I’m only thrifty so I can spend more, so deals totally pull me in.  One such deal grabbed me.  I signed up for three triathlons.  Why three?  Because if you registered as a package, each event was 15 dollar LESS than their individual registration prices…who DOESN’T want to save $45?!?  The best part after clicking that glorious confirm payment button is putting my soon-to-be-accomplishments on the GOOGLE calendar!  We will definitely not focus on the fact that I disliked triathlons…IT WAS A DEAL! $45 DOLLARS, PEOPLE!

June and July triathlons went well.  Highlights, my Adam trained at Shawnee Mission Lake with me, our dog, Gizmo, joined Adam within the ranks of professional spectators and cheered me on at the 5i50 in Lawrence, and I learned I thoroughly enjoy in-water-starts.  I’m officially hooked and looking forward to event #3 in the fall.  September rolls around, I am busy, but in the back of my mind I know an event is coming up, the 20th seems to be a date that sticks.  I know I need to be transitioning from 4 weeks of “Wanting it All – Phase 1”, but first I’ll procrastinate with a bit of Facebook perusing and email browsing.


“Packet Pickup and Race Day Instructions”

Wait, what!?!

So ladies and gentleman, welcome to my Sunday afternoon.  Yup, you know it, I have 6 days to get into an injury-free-finish shape. Where did time go?  How could I let my days slip by? Can I do this? After those 30 seconds of panic.  I recognized that my body is primed and ready.  I planned, feverishly…

5:30AM 12.5Mile Spin
6:30AM 3Mile Run
7:30AM Strength Training

5:30PM 1Mile Run
6:30PM Circuit Training
7:00PM Yoga

6:00PM 1200m Swim
6:30PM 1Mile Run

Now, although this was a very painful week…pain that not even Post-Recovery Workout shakes, Nighttime Recovery magic pills, and an entire tube of Arnica gel could fix…it was also promising to realize my fall training schedule is like, now.  In 6 days I’ve rebuilt muscles and a structured a schedule.

Although the “lazy” days of August are over, it is time.  Sarah’s Train is pulling away from Procrastination Station and barreling towards fall with an aggressive schedule.  Here goes nothing!


Balanced for Comfort

One thing that many years of dance taught me is that to maintain injury resistance you must condition the smallest muscles of our structure. Five years after retiring from the stage of the modern jazz world I realize, those dance practices really saved my tush (pun intended) from all these crazy running injuries.

Our bodies have large and small muscle structures and when our small structure is weaker than our larger structure, damage occurs. In the running and lifting world, these weaknesses are called IMBALANCES and, as they should be, a pretty hot topic, just use the GOOGLE…you will see. I think that there were about 5 articles release just yesterday as the running world prepares for fall season.

Given my studio conditioning, I never had to experience shin splints or plantar fasciitis or runner’s knee or IT band issues. NEVER. Then, after retirement, the dance conditioning deteriorated and I became just like any other runner, susceptible.   The advantage I didn’t realize I had over most was that when I felt an imbalance begin, I corrected it, my way. Why, MY way? Because I didn’t know any better and it worked. I was comfortably consistent with my running performance. My pre-race training consisted of 5-10 miles a week for the three weeks before a race, minimum of one run at least 8 miles long.   This preparation always had me finishing in about two and a half hours, minimum effort, comfortable, happy.

Two years ago I was frustrated with my fitness and overall lack of focus. I had moved from Florida to Kansas and without my trails, sidewalks, and routine, I needed a place to get away, start fresh. There was an amazing gym halfway between work and home. So I joined, first gym membership ever. It was like an exclusive club. Beautiful. Weights, three pools, spin studio, classes, yoga, every machine possible, treadmills, ellipticals, indoor track and outdoor fitness trail…I had no idea where to start. I’m great at coaching others, not so much myself. Next logical step, I found a personal trainer/running coach, Justin Pearl. He was an unconventional running coach…he didn’t want me to run. He wanted me to find my happy place and turned my focus to short impactful training. I PR’d under his 6 week program. I cannot thank him enough for changing the way I looked at training. I cried when he moved to Colorado. Really. Tears.


A balanced athlete can ask a lot from their body and the body will respond beautifully. Speed gains and endurance strides can be realized, easily. GoSarahRun is ready to test this three phase training program.

Phase 1
4-week schedule focusing on conditioning the small muscle groups and creating balance. I will be using a few workouts from The Pearl training methods and a mix of others from my dance history.

Phase 2
4-week schedule focusing on speed conditioning while gaining distance in the long run and larger muscle strengthening for power.

Phase 3
4-week schedule focusing on endurance conditioning, longer runs, more recovery, shorter bursts of phase 1 and phase 2 for balance and strength maintenance.


Race’s planned to keep the spirit of competition high and baseline testing available are

Silverback Triathlon Sept 14 – Topeka, KS
500-meter swim
12-mile bike
3-mile run

Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon Relay Oct 18 – Kansas City, MO
Team GoSarahRun
Mileage to be announced

Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon Nov 8 – Walt Disney World
13.1-mile run

Kansas City Longview Half Marathon Nov 15 – Grandview, MO
13.1-mile run

Guilt-Free Schedule…pencil me in

I want it all…with as little training as possible…yes, I said it.  And to top it off, I want it my way.  I’ve tried the “experts” schedules, the prescribed run-walk-run (which was my favorite) and there are even a few magazines that have some pricey plans.  But now, the phrase, “keep doing what you’re doing to keep getting what you’re getting” is annoyingly true.

While I give many accolades to those who are naturally awesome, I am not.  Each running season of my past began like a fuel ignited bonfire until the flames smoldered under the schedule demands…then the guilt, oh the guilt.  SO…let’s do this, the GoSarahRun process for a guilt-free schedule.

Firstconstraints…here are mine:

I like to work hard, for short periods of time
I like to make time, don’t have much to spare
I like distraction, can’t be overwhelmed

In short, if I had the patience to be slack, I probably would be, but since I have this driving internal force to keep insanely busy, I try to find productive options that don’t drive my husband toward divorce.  With daily demands, my training schedule needs to be intense but relaxed and only 4 days a week.

Second…evaluate intensity and commitment each week…realistic yet challenging…mine look like this:

Maximum mileage: 15
Maximum hours: 4
Training time: Aug 4 – Nov 4

If you aren’t realistic, you won’t stick with your plan.  If you aren’t challenging, you will wonder what your results could have been.  So do yourself a favor and be candid.

Thirdexpectation…maybe the most important part to any and all coaching/training experiences…

Honestly, I have no idea what to expect.  I know that I need to do work and that work will be done; but aside from a qualitative statement of preference to succeed at everything, I have no quantitative expectations.  Alas, if my doctorate endeavor has taught me anything, it is that in lieu of quantitative metrics, tracking some evidentiary values that would measure “success” is just as scientific.  Let’s start with my baseline measurements to include some body mass references.

Weight/Body Fat: 133.7lbs/25.4% on the Aria Scale
Bust: 32”
Waist: 29”
Hips: 39”
Bicep: 11”
Thigh: 21”

2-Mile Run: 9’18” Pace
Max Push-Up: 61
Max Sit-Up: 108

Know your constraints, intensity and commitment, and your expectation.  Over 9 years I have tried to use off-the-shelf training schedules but skipped days, lost interest, and felt an aching body.  I’m enthusiastic for a new approach.  If you can’t relate, you are apart of that awesome referenced above.


A:\Users\happypace>start   trainingschedule.exe_                                             …Processing…

Lighter, Faster, Stronger…wanting it all

I have never been a runner chasing speed but rather one who desires comfort.  Comfort in the release of technology, watching a sunrise, hearing nature scurry and feeling the movement of my own muscles powering me mile after mile.  At times I would close my eyes, hear my breath and just pace in awe of my body.

A few years ago my mind and body had a battle…I’m not quite sure if there was a victor but what I do know is the war that raged resulted in an emotion of internal struggle.  I hated running…how could I hate running?!?  Running is who I am.  What I love and my ultimate distraction to this modern world.  So, I continued to run with the memories of my past races, my past trails, and my former self by my side.

Two months ago I realized I’m tired of running with my ghost.  And as I prepared my training schedule for one of my favorite races, Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon, I took a deep breath and held it while my mind raced.  I thought, you better think fast, your strength is not at holding your breath, make a decision, what’s it going to be this year?  My lungs burned as I challenged my indecision.  As I listened to my heart pound, my thoughts jumped from anger to complacency to fantasy…

Why are you making me do this? Running hasn’t been all that bad. Oh to feel connected again…

Ah-ha!  I  will just change everything.

My breathe of comfort was immediately followed by shear wide-eyed panic…

Why did you decide to do that?!?

So here I am, in my new body built by lifting heavy things; with my new mind determined to overcome obstacles; with a renewed spirit prepared to say farewell to the my running ghost.  I, Sarah Rose Henke Shafer, hereby proclaim that…


Okay, for those who know me…this isn’t a new proclamation in my personal world mainly because I’m full of indecision due to the responsibility that a resolution requires.  Nevertheless, I’m determined and really, really stubborn, often times misunderstood for motivation, and ready to state my training schedule goals.

I will lean out to be lighter

I will run less to be faster

I will lift harder to be stronger

Yes, these goals go against all previous training I’ve created, paid for, or exams passed.  *Please refer back to that determined and stubborn statement*

May The Journey Begin…