My name is Dave Sedlak, and I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. I lived in the Washington, D.C. suburbs for about 33 years and retired from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in 2013. My wife and I retired to the Louisville area in the summer of 2013. After visiting friends in Louisville over several years, we grew to love the area and decided to have a home built in Prospect, Kentucky.
I began running in the fall of 1972, my sophomore year of high school. I ran cross country and track at Towson High School in Towson, Maryland (a suburb of Baltimore). I was fortunate enough to be a part of a very deep and talented group of Varsity-A (top 7 runners) and Varsity-B (the remaining Varsity runners) cross country runners. I had to train a lot to just keep in contention with my fellow team members. In track, I enjoyed running the quarter-mile and half-mile distances, even though I was not blessed with blazing speed. Being very shy and introverted, running cross country and track provided me an avenue to develop a core group of friends.
I continued running off and on through college and into my late 20’s. I stopped continuous running in my late 20’s due to work, family, and just plain laziness. Over the next 30 years I did very little running. About every 3 to 5 years I would get the urge to run, but these efforts would only last a week or two and then a return to the couch. At the time of my retirement from federal service in the summer of 2013, I weighed nearly 200 pounds on a 5’ 8” frame. After retiring, I started to eat a healthier breakfast and started a regular walking routine. I lost about 20 pounds the first year of retirement.
I started my second running career in the summer of 2015. I started out slow and gradually added mileage and pace. I ran my first 5K at an informal run on an August Friday evening with the Derby City Run Club in St. Matthews. My niece and her boyfriend (now husband) ran with Derby City, so I thought this would be a good, low-key re-introduction back into distance racing. This run went well and gave me confidence to run the next morning at the 2015 Kicking Butt 5K in Iroquois Park. When I tire of running in my own neighborhood, I run in one of Louisville’s many parks, on the Louisville waterfront and over the Big Four Bridge to Jeffersonville, Indiana, or on the new I-265 Bridge in Prospect. I have run several segments of the Parklands Parks system and plan to run in all of its parks. While the majority of the races I have participated have been in the Louisville area, I have ventured to nearby towns within about a 75 minute drive of my home. I have run in the Kentucky Horse Park, Midway, Versailles, and Lexington, Kentucky, as well as Jeffersonville, Lanesville, and Marengo, Indiana. Being from the east coast, I like to see other areas of Kentucky and Indiana, especially the small towns. Over the last year and a half I have started to include runs on trips my wife and I take. For example, I enjoyed running the beach in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, downtown Mobile, Alabama, the French Quarter in New Orleans (early morning run), and in Dublin and Galway, Ireland. Also, I hope to run a couple of times when we visit Iceland.
While I have run race distances from 5K to the half-marathon, I prefer the 5K. The 5K distance provides me the aerobic benefit, and it allows me to use the speed (what I have left) that I have. Also, I trend towards injury with the longer distances. I enjoy participating in the River City races, since I see familiar faces at each event, and the races are well run. Since starting the River City race series, I have made several new acquaintances and have started running with a couple of race buddies on non-race Saturdays. Knowing people at a race makes it a more enjoyable experience for me. As an additional benefit, with the River City Races Polar Bear Grand Prix series being run in Cherokee Park, I have learned not to dread the park’s hills. I am amazed at the speed and quality of the runners over the age of 50 I have encountered. Running against such quality senior runners gives me hope that I can improve and motivation to continue running. I applaud everyone who participates in the River City race series, as well as other races. The only advice I can provide is to keep running, take advantage of the great Louisville park system, and be proud of your race accomplishments. Also, if you see an old man pacing with you during a River City race, he means no harm. He’s just looking for some additional motivation and energy. You can sprint ahead of him at the end.