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Sarah’s First Marathon

by Meghann on November 9, 2010

I never had a chance to blog about it this weekend, but the Foodbuzz Festival swag bag held a decent amount of goodies.

(photo stolen from Bobbi)

There were several fun cooking utensils I can’t wait to try, as well as some fun snacks – including a sample bag of the 479 Black Truffle & White Cheddar Popcorn.

IMG_6590 IMG_6593

I know they say to never judge a book by it’s cover, but this packaging totally won me over. As soon as I saw the modern, clean look of the packaging I knew this was going to be good. And you know what? It was!

The white cheddar flavor was very light and airy and the popcorn itself wasn’t greasy or processed. It tasted fresh, as if it had just came right out of the popper. You can count me as a fan for this sample. 😉

Lunch today was a concoction I dreamt up in a morning meeting.


Kabocha, Almond Butter, & Spinach Wrap


It. Was. Good.

If you like carrots with almond butter, then you will dig this combination. The overall sweetness of the wrap reminded me of sweet potato pie on Thanksgiving.


For a little green I had fresh crunchy green beans on the side.


Sarah’s First Marathon

hello from the SHU box Hi! I’m Sarah, and I write a running/organization/food/healthy lifestyle blog (with a little fashion thrown in . . .) at the SHU box. I’ll just be blunt: I absolutely love running. I had the pleasure of meeting Meghann a little over a year ago at HLS 2009, and have grown to love this gregarious, vivacious, and smart girl even more ever since. Furthermore, as a run together seems to materialize every time we hang out, I know that she and I make very compatible running partners.

with Leslie on a quick 6 in Chicago

with Kath and my husband Josh at a recent Charlottesville 10K

When Meghann asked for volunteers to share their first marathon stories, I was excited to participate! An abridged (uhh, I tend to get a little wordy . . .) version of the story of how I got to my first marathon starting line — and the result — is below! If you would like to read more, here’s the rest of my running story — included in that link are thoughts on nutrition, some of my favorite gadgets, apparel, and training plans.
Taking it back to spring of 2005 . . . I was still a new runner, and had just finished my second half marathon — also in Charlottesville. It was my second long race ever, and by adding speedwork and hill running to my routine, I had made marked improvement from my first race (I ran a 1:53, which was an 18 minute PR!). This astounded me, and I was hooked.
At the same time, my then-boyfriend (now-husband) Josh was really getting back into the running game as well. Unlike me, he is a natural athlete and runner — in the years prior, he had run multiple marathons and he even ran on the track and cross country teams at Duke (for a year, until he decided to focus on academic pursuits). I was pretty psyched about my little PR in that half, but Josh came in 3rd in that race. Overall.
At the time, he had been training for the Cleveland marathon, his first since starting medical school. I had been planning to do the half, and then cheer him on at the finish line. But after my big surprise at Charlottesville, the incessant goal-setter deep inside of me was persistent. I could hear a little voice coming from within, saying "Hey! You’re already done halves! Why not run a whole marathon? If he can do it, you can too . . ."
I guess I might as well own up to having a bit of a competitive streak — even if it’s mainly with myself! There were 6 weeks between the half I had just finished and the upcoming Cleveland marathon. I remember posting this situation on the Runner’s World forums, asking the experts if they felt that going from a half marathon to a full marathon in 6 weeks was a good idea. The overwhelming consensus answer was "NO!".
I read the replies, and then promptly decided to ignored the advice. I suppose that in addition to competitive, I might also be a little stubborn.
With Josh’s help, I slapped together a quickie buildup plan. I kept my weekly mileage in the high 30s (I had been training in this mileage zone for my half), but for three weeks I incorporated one longer run each week: a 16, an 18, and then a 20, followed by a taper. The feelings of accomplishment that I had after completing these new distances were amazing! Back then, I really had no pain or injury issues (sadly, that didn’t last) and was having a great time. Before I knew it, Josh and I were headed to Ohio for the race.
I was definitely nervous about running a brand new distance (those 6.2 miles were TRULY uncharted territory!), but felt like I would deserve whatever happened to me, even if it was bad. In a way, I think that my marginal training actually took some of the pressure off — ie, if the race went terribly, I could always blame it on my inadequate preparation and try again after completing a "real" 16 week program with more than 3 long runs.
Well . . . as you can see from these splits: I ended up having a great race!! My report (from my vintage retired running blog!) makes it sound . . . not so bad at all, although I still remember my dismay at mile 20 when my iPod conked out. I never hit ‘the wall’ (though I feared it!), and my final time was 4:01:57. I was completely elated with my stats, which included negative splits.
So it was official: I was a marathon runner, and I was HOOKED! Visions of hardcore training plans and Boston qualifications danced in my head as we drove home from Cleveland that night. Surely a real marathon training schedule would mean a MUCH faster time, right?
flash forward to now . . .
well, only to an extent. That Boston goal is still out there for me to conquer someday, and my running journey is still ongoing, 5 years later. I am thankful for a sport that has brought me so much enjoyment, from the thrill of a great race to the fantastic online community. Thank you again, Meghann, for allowing me to share my story!
1 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Congrats Sarah! Great story.

Meghann – I totally judge packages by the cover as well – that popcorn is totally something I’d try. Your lunch looks delish – I really need to start putting squash in my wraps!
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2 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday November 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Wow, congrats Sarah! That was one AMAZING run! You’re so speedy 😀
Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday recently

3 Matt November 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Congrats Sarah!

That lunch looks delicious. I have something similar planned for dinner tonight 😉
Matt recently posted..Winter Workout Motivation

4 skinnyrunner November 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm

love hearing the first time running stories and when people are like i LOVE running. gotta love the passion.
skinnyrunner recently posted..home

5 Katy (The Singing Runner) November 9, 2010 at 2:09 pm

What a great and inspirational story as I train for my first half marathon! 🙂 Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Katy (The Singing Runner) recently posted..Food Network Love

6 Kiran November 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Congrats Sarah, great accomplishments 🙂

I love carrots with almond butter. So yum.
You would laugh, but in my 30 odd years of living, I recently tasted apple pie 😉 Hehehe.. You can laugh 😀
Kiran recently posted..Cucumber raita

7 Marisa November 9, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I was in San Francisco as well this weekend and bought that exact kind of popcorn while I was spirits tasting. So random!!! I loved it and wanted to try all of the other flavors. 🙂

Congratulations Sarah!!!!!

8 Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) November 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I love reading other people’s running stories. Although I will never be a marathon runner myself, I find it facsinating to hear about other people’s experiences. You all make it look so easy!!

Lunch looks fab. Nut butter with anything is always a winner. 🙂
Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) recently posted..Adventures on My Bike

9 Alicia at Poise in Parma November 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Gotta love the Cleveland love! 🙂 Via a Twitter giveaway, I just won a free race entry to the 2011 Cleveland Marathon. I was considering jumping from the 10K to the half, but after reading this, I may be talked into the full!
Alicia at Poise in Parma recently posted..ten things this tuesday- fabulous food show

10 kristina November 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Great Job Sarah.

I love hearing how other people get into running, I am slowly (VERY) getting into running and hope that 2011 leads me to my first half. Keep the stories coming.

Kristina- check out my giveaway

11 Hope November 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm

OMG that popcorn sounds incredible!!! Yay for swag bags!
Hope recently posted..Easy food

12 Laura @ Backstage Pass November 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Congratulations, Sarah! It was fun to read your story, and a 4:01 marathon is definitely an awesome accomplishment for anyone, let alone a first-timer!
Meghann – my favorite swag item so far is the chopper! You should have seen my boyfriend when I unpacked it last night, he couldn’t stop playing with it. Love it!
Laura @ Backstage Pass recently posted..San Francisco-licious

13 Sana November 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I love how running brings people together!
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14 Maria @ runningcupcake November 9, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I love reading how other people have got into running- great post thanks 🙂
Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted..Seed-stacked lovin’

15 Lisa (bakebikeblog) November 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Thanks for sharing Sarah’s story!!! Very inspiring 🙂
Lisa (bakebikeblog) recently posted..Tackling the trails…

16 Rachel November 9, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Your wrap looks delicious! I am going to have to try that combination immediately – I’m getting a little sick of my usual sandwiches.

17 Chelsea @ Strawberry Sweat November 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm

What a great story! I hope my first marathon (whenever I decide to train for one) will be as awesome of an experience as yours was, Sarah!
Chelsea @ Strawberry Sweat recently posted..Catching Up

18 Michelle (The Runner's Plate) November 9, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I totally judge the contents of a food item by the packaging.
Michelle (The Runner’s Plate) recently posted..Not So Stress-Relieving

19 Laura (Starloz) November 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm

i’ve still not tried almond butter, i cant buy it here. maybe i haven’t looked hard enough
Laura (Starloz) recently posted..brb

20 Halie November 9, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Great first marathon story, Sarah!

That popcorn sounds mouthwateringly delicious!

21 Jessica@tastyandtrim November 9, 2010 at 6:38 pm

What a great, inspiring story! Congrats to Sarah! I’m definitely jealous of all the goodies in that swag bag!
Jessica@tastyandtrim recently posted..La Festa di Pizza

22 Elizabeth November 9, 2010 at 7:07 pm

What a great story Sarah! I think you may be more of a natural born runner than you think. Wow for that time!

23 Lily's Health Pad November 9, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I’d love to run a 4:00 marathon someday…but I’m just not so sure that’s in the cards for me!

So about that swag… Were the shoes a part of the goodies? 😉 They are super cute!

24 Meghann November 9, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Haha No, those were mine. Old Navy 😉

25 Bobbi November 9, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I can’t wait to try my bag of popcorn!

26 Lew ( November 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Wow Sarah, Thank you!!!! I am running my first full Marathon on Saturday. Last December I ran my first Half Marathon and hated it and loved it all at the same time. This love hate relationship is something that keeps me wanting more for some reason. This past weekend I had the wonderful chance of meeting Meghann at the Foodbuzz Festival and found a friend who had no problem putting me in my place and a cupcake as well 🙂 My wife and I went running with a group that Meghann was running in and somehow we got lost during the run, that is another story. Anyway I loved every minute of that run, I cannot wait for the next run which will be Saturday at the Chickamagua Marathon. I hope it is a run I love!!!!
Lew ( recently posted..Thank You Foodbuzz!

27 Meghann November 9, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I told you, you are going to rock that marathon! And when you do I want a full report!

28 Clare @ Fitting It All In November 9, 2010 at 9:33 pm

LOVE the marathon stories! I’m going to start training from my first so these are really helpful!

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