Tag Archives: 13.1

How Running Changed My Life

Happy Global Running Day!!!

Earlier this week I had pledged to run 6 miles on globalrunningday.org. Mostly just for fun, but also as a way to celebrate the day and the sport of running in general. Plus I was planning on running 6 miles today anyway, so why not participate in the global running day festivities? 😉

 

 

But unfortunaly, last night I ate something that my stomach did not like (pumpkin seeds?? I’ve never had a problem with them before…). That kinda thing happens to me sometimes. It has ever since I had an appendectomy when I was 13. Every once in a while I’ll eat something that my stomach doesn’t like (usually it’s spinach or fish. I absolutely will not eat either of those anymore) and then I get terrible stomach cramps. Like, curled up in the fetal position trying not to move or vomit. It’s no fun. Luckily I’ve found that heat kinda helps. So last night I spent a lot of time in the shower just letting the hot water hit my stomach and back (because for some reason that tenses up really bad too) and once I ran out of hot water I spent the rest of the night with a hot water pack on my back and a mug of hot water resting on my stomach. That actually helped a lot!  And while I did feel a lot better when I woke up this morning, I knew that running wasn’t going to help my current situation, so I didn’t. That was kind of a bummer, but it was for the best. Besides, I can do my 6 miles tomorrow, anyway. 🙂

So, since I didn’t run today, I figured I could still take a look back and just kinda remember why I started running, how that reason has changed over the almost 5 years that I’ve been doing it now, and how running has changed my life. Because it really has.

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I started this whole crazy running adventure back in 2013. But really you have to go back to around 2012 to get the whole story. 2012 was a pretty busy year for me! I got married, moved 5 hours away from my childhood home to Kansas for my new husband’s job, so we were living all on our own 5 hours away from our family and any help that they might have given us. That was pretty crazy, but obviously we got through that all in one piece! But before we got married and moved to Kansas my now husband was finishing up college and I was working at a Walgreen’s.

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I did not, in fact, ❤ Walgreen’s haha. But I needed the money.

So back when I worked there, Walgreen’s slogan or whatever was “where there’s a way to stay well.” Not sure if that’s still the case, but sometimes when I answer the phone I have some weird flashback thing and want to answer with “Hi, thank you for calling you’re Troy Walgreen’s, where there’s a way to stay well. My name is Ashley, how may I help you.” In my best customer service voice of course haha. But since they’re whole thing was “staying well” they always had little challenges and incentives for their emplyoees to do that. We got free flu shots during flue season, could get check ups at the wellness clincic for a crazy reduced price, were encouraged and rewarded for participating in the 1 5k that small ass town held every year (haha if only I was a runner back then! Walgreen’s paid for your entry fee!). And at one point we were given the option to take a pedometer that they provided for free (it was a shitty one, and this was back in 2011 before fitbits and other wearable devices were really becoming a thing) and whoever got the most steps in a certain amount of time won something. Although I don’t recall what that prize was. I didn’t participate in the challenge though. But in 2012, the year I got married, I participated in the weight loss challenge that they held. We all bought in with $5 or $10 and whoever lost the biggest percentage of weigh won the pot. I didn’t win, but that did kinda kick off my weight loss journey.

I don’t want to get too much into that though, because that’s not what this is about. But I was pretty overweight as a teenager and in my early 20’s. And technically I think I might still be pushing toward the “over weight” category on the BMI chart, but I am much healthier now than I was back then. But anyway, so for that challenge I had started walking a lot more. Every single day I’d go out and walk around the woods on my family’s farm and I started counting calories on MyFitnessPal. Once we were married and moved I was still going at it and by then I was doing at home workouts. Mostly things like Jillian Michaels’ DVDs and blogilates, along with some other stuff on YouTube. I ended up getting down to 142 pounds, the lowest weight I’ve ever been in my adult life (and man do I wish I was at that weight now!! I’m currently fluctuating somewhere around 158-160 pounds these days, but I’m not as obsessed with the number on the scale as I was back then).

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I kept up with all of that really well for a while, but by the summer of 2013 I was getting kinda bored with it all. I was also getting super frustrated because although I was at a really healthy weight, and looked great, I didn’t think so. I was kind of in a super unhealthy place with food, calorie counting, and my body. I wanted to get down to 135 pounds (yikes! I don’t think that would have been healthy for me). I refused to eat anything that wasn’t “clean” and was very strict about my calorie limit, but eventually that lead to me being really unhappy and I would have binging episodes. And since the number on the scale refused to budge any lower than 142 pounds (I though I’d be happy if I could at least get to 140. Oh man I’m glad I don’t think like that anymore.), I decided I needed to switch it up and do something that burned a lot more calories than the at home workouts I was doing, so I downloaded a couch to 5k app and started doing it on the treadmill at my apartment complex’s fitness center. And in the worst pair of shoes for my feet, ever! Haha they were too small for me to be running in and waaay to supportive for my feet. Running in them wasn’t pleasant, but I was pretty proud of myself for trying though. But I don’t consider that point and time when I became a runner. And my life definitely didn’t change runnning on that treadmill. That didn’t happen until around October of that year.

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Oh man is the treadmill boring!! I hated it back then and I still hate it now. At this point in my life I absolutely refuse to use one, unless absolutely necessary. Which is probably a good thing considering I don’t currently have access to one haha. I’m not to upset about that though. 😉 But my hatred of the treadmill but my growing love for running made me start venturing outside that fall. Fall is my favorite season and the weather that year was amazing! So I wasn’t about to spend anymore time inside than I had to. Plus by that point I was a little more comfortable using the paved trail that was near my apartment. When we first moved there I was kind of experiencing a bit of….culture shock for lack of a better term. I had moved from a farm in a rural area to a pretty big city and was not used to being around people all of the time.  So I avoided the trail for the most part until what was well over a year after we had moved there that fall.

But that fall, when I started running outside, in what was kind of nature (there were some parks and woods, but remember, it was still in a big city), out in the elements, and surrounded by other runners. That’s when I really became a runner. That’s when my life changed. That’s when I started to feel free.

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I really started to change things then. I was reading just about any thing about running that I could get my hands on. Books, magazines, and of course I always had the good ‘ol internet. I got my first pair of real running shoes in the November of 2013. Nike Pegasus 30? Or maybe they were the 32’s. I don’t remember exactly. I just remember being really freaking excited because they fit me right, were comfortable, and super pretty. 🙂

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From that point on everything became about running. Losing weight and counting calories became fueling my body for my runs and making sure I was getting the proper nutrients. Running was something I did for fun, not just to burn calories, and those at home workouts just became supplemental to my running. I stopped worrying so much about the number on the scale and was more focused on the number of my 5k time. Running had pretty much become my life and to be honest that probably saved me from going really deep into the disordered eating that I had doing and gave me something much more positive to focus on.

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These photos were taken in November 2014. I legit just got rid of those running tights. Haha that was long over due. They were VERY worn out.

So from the fall of 2013 to about 2015, right before we moved out of the apartment and into the house we live in now, I was running for fun. I wasn’t doing any kind of training and I really didn’t have any real goals in mind. And at that point I hadn’t run any races. Not even a little 5k fun run. But I decided I wanted to challenge myself, try something new, and make a potentially bad decision (haha can you tell I kinda like doing things like that? ;), so I signed up for my very first race ever, a half marathon. Obviously that’s not exactly recommended, but what can I say? I’m a rebel. 😉 😉 😉

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Training for my first half was one of the craziest, most challenging, and exhausting experiences I’ve ever had. I learned a lot though. About myself and what I’m capable and about running too, although I did make a lot of mistakes during my very first training cycle. But who doesn’t? I was running more and farther distances than I ever had before and I absolutely loved it! Although there were bumps in the road, I spent a lot of time being tired, and even ended up getting injured, I had never had so much fun and felt so in tune with my body and mind. Honestly, training for my first half marathon was probably one of the happiest moments in my life at that point.

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Actually completing it, however, was on of the hardest things I’d ever done in my life at that point. I struggled. I didn’t fuel correctly. I definitely didn’t pace myself well (still have trouble with that though haha). And it was slow as fuck (which is something I still am, but also something I don’t care about anymore). When I crossed the finish line of my very first half marathon, my life changed again. Not as drastically as when I had first started running, but still, I felt almost reborn.

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Mile 11 of the Longview Half Marathon, 2015

I started this blog not long after finishing my first race ever, which just so happened to be my first half marathon. 😉 I guess the rest is history. I’ve been sharing my story here and connecting with all sorts of amazing people ever since. 🙂

I like to call myself a reformed couch potato, because it’s kinda true. I wasn’t very active in my teenage years and I was unhappy. Unhappy with my body and who I was as a person. Once I started losing weight in my late teens and early 20’s I thought I’d be happy once the scale read a certain number, but really I was just making myself even more unhappy with my body and going down the really slippery slope of disordered eating. Running didn’t exactly reform my couch potato ways, but it sure saved me from going down a really dark path and brought me back into the light. I still struggle with it sometimes, but I’m much happier with my body and who I am as a person now. I go out and chase my dreams instead of wasting my time on the couch. I’m much more healthy. I’m not so focused on how much I weigh, I can eat treats and all sort of yummy foods without feeling guilty and like I’m ruining my weight loss “progress”. I don’t run to burn calories. I run for fun and to achieve the things I once thought were completely impossible. Running saved me from myself. I am eternally grateful for the day that I decided to download that couch to 5k app. And for the day I decided to set a ridiculous goal and run a half marathon. And that’s why I’m going to continue to set crazy goals for myself (like running two half marathons in two days this November). Chasing goals is a lot more fun and rewarding than just trying to lose weight or look a certain way.

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Whew! That ended up being a lot longer and a little more deep than I had originally planned. I think it was finally time to go a little deeper into all of that though. I mean, if I’m going to be sharing my story here then I might as well share all of it. And I think this part of it is pretty important. So if you took the time to read all of that I thank you! And thank you to everyone who’s supported me on my running journey! Honestly I don’t think I’d still be here today, running, training for half marathons, and blogging about it if it wasn’t for all of the support and love I get from each and everyone of you. ❤ 🙂

That got kinda sappy and that’s not my usual style, but whateves, this whole post is a tad bit sappy anyway. 😉

Happy Global Running Day! And shout out to all of the runners out there. Yes, all of them. Runners are awesome. You are awesome. Period. Alright. I’m done now. 🙂

~Ashley

 

 

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Whiskey Run 5K 3/11/18

I haven’t done an “official” 5k since I did Running With The Cows back in May of 2016. Actually, last year the only race I did was the Longview half. Haha I don’t get to race very often, so it’s pretty exciting when I do! 🙂 Plus this one was even more exciting because my dad did it with me! It was his first official 5k and that’s so super awesome!!

But before we get to how the Whiskey 5k went for the two of us yesterday, I need to talk about what I did on Saturday, and how apparently it wasn’t as bad as an idea as I thought it would have been.

So. Saturday. The day before the Whiskey Run. My dad had to drive from Colorado to Kansas, which is an 11 ish hour drive. I’m sure that wasn’t an ideal way to spend the day before your first 5k race, but he’s a truck driver so I suppose he’s used to it. Plus this whole thing was kind of his idea! Haha you see, while I was in Colorado I told him about it and he said it was the perfect race for him! First off, he enjoys whiskey. Second, the race is in Martin City, and Martin is his last name (and it was mine as well until I got married 😉 ). So he told me to sign us up and obviously I did. So he ended up getting to my house at midnight on Sunday morning. Not ideal, but hey, we made it work. 🙂

I on the other hand, ended up going out on Saturday night with Luke, his brother, and his brother’s girl friend. To a bar. To play pool. So not my thing… I enjoy a little bit (or sometimes a lot hahaha) of drinking every once in a while, but I definitely don’t do it often. Especially not the night before a race! Or long run, or hard workout, or the night before I know I need to be up super early. I could keep going. 😉 And I’m terrible and pool and don’t particularly enjoy playing it. But Luke really wanted me to go and I’m glad that I did. We all had a pretty good time and spent more time talking than playing pool, which was good, because like I said, I’m terrible at it. Luke and I also devoured a plate of cheese fries and an order of mozzarella sticks. So with all of that on top of the 4 or 5 beers I had, Luke and I joked all night that I was “carb loading”. Because you know, totally necessary to do that before a 5k. And obviously beer and cheese fries are the way to go! 😉 😉 😉

 

 

Oh man, it was a fun night though. And Luke and I ended up getting to our house about 5 minutes before my dad did, so that worked out nicely. 🙂

I made my dad some food, we all hung out for about half an hour or so, and then the three of us decided we needed to go to bed. Luke had to work in the morning, my dad and I had to be up at 6 am, and oh, did I mention daylight’s savings happened Sunday morning? So we lost an hour of sleep. Terrific…

Setting my alarm for 6 am was slightly demoralizing knowing that in 4 short hours I would need to be awake. And actually waking up to that alarm was pretty sucky. But after initially waking up, the race day excitement kicked in and everything was fine after that. 🙂 And I mean, coffee and a Honey Stinger waffle definitely helped.

 

 

Plus I do kind of have a pre race routine, which starts the day before. I set my coffee maker, decide what I’m having for breakfast, lay out all of my gear, and just make sure everything will be as easy as possible in the morning. I had taken care of all of that stuff the day before and I’m very glad that I did! But this time was a little different because now I had another person I needed to worry about. So at 6 am I got up, turned on the coffee maker, woke up my dad, got dressed, made both of us coffee, made sure we both ate a little something, and were ready to leave at 7. It all ended up going very smoothly, which was nice. 🙂

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The outfit I had planned on wearing. And I did wear it haha. But it was a lot colder than I thought it was going to be thanks to a lot of wind, so I had to wear a hoodie over my super pretty St. Patrick’s Day shirt.

We got to the starting line about an hour and a half early, so we ended up finding a parking space very easily. While we were driving on part of the course we found port-o-potties, and the tent where the post run breakfast was being held (it was a few blocks away from the start/finish line, so that walk made a nice cool down haha). After we parked we picked up our packets and went straight back to the car to put on our bibs and timing chips because it was pretty cold and windy out. Not ideal for standing around in, but I’ll gladly take cold and cloudy weather for a race any day. 🙂 Luckily for my dad, I’ve done this a few times before and made sure to grab him some safety pins at the packet pick up booth because he completely forgot haha. Also explained that the bib goes on the front of your shirt and that some people (i.e. me before my very first half) obsess over making it perfectly straight. I’m very much over that though. 😉

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My kinda crooked bib number.

Once that was all taken care of, we hung out in the nice, warm car for a while, watching all of the other runners arrive. We actually watched the people who ended up being the overall male and female winners warming up. Turns out they are married and both won a bottle of whiskey so that’s pretty cool! Party at their house, right? 😉

Anyway, around 8:00, half an hour before start time, I had to pee (of course 😉 ). So we set out to brave the cold and wind to get in line for a port-o-potty. There was only one at the start line though, so we walked a few blocks down to the port-o-potties by the buffet tent. I’m glad we did! That was a nice little warm up for us and there was no line for those haha! After that we were both pretty cold, so we warmed up in the car again for a few minutes and then we lined up at the start/finish line!

 

We are both slow runners, so we lined up at the back and we actually didn’t even hear the national anthem playing, but about midway through we noticed that people at the front had their hats off and their hands over their hearts, so we followed suit along with a few others in the back. We did hear the announcer counting down though! Everyone started surging forward, we crossed the timing mat, and my dad took off like a bat out of hell!

Holy cow I was not ready for that! As someone who’s race a few times, has been running for a few years, and has read several books on the subject, I now know that it’s best to start off all races conservatively. I told my dad that, he didn’t care, the first half mile was hell haha. Especially since my stomach wasn’t feeling all that happy after the beer and cheese fries the night before…

So throughout the first mile we kept getting separated. We were doing run/walk intervals and I was trying to take the run intervals somewhat conservatively at first, but my dad would take off and start weaving between people. Eventually I told him that that was fine and I’d just catch up to him once he started feeling terrible and was regretting going out so fast, so I just started doing my own thing haha. Well, until he started talking shit! As we were closing in on mile two he told some lady that I was half his age and couldn’t keep up. Oh hell no! At that point I was feeling better and my stomach had settled so I planned on taking off! Haha we ended up getting kinda separated by a police officer on a motorcycle who was in front of the lead runner and I never saw my dad when I decided to take off.

So we ended up running most of mile two without each other, but that’s what he gets for starting out too fast! 😉 I ended up seeing him at a turn around as I was leaving the water station and he was going through it. When I saw him I yelled “hey slow-poke” to get his attention,and I slowed down and he spend up and eventually caught me. By that point he was huffing, puffing, and wanting to take longer walking breaks, so we did. Haha I made fun of him the whole time though, telling him that now I felt great and that he should have listened to me at the beginning. It was all in good fun though.

During the last mile I realized that I did feel really good though! Like, freaking fantastic! At that point I got super duper excited about everything that is to come for me, running wise. I’ve got another 5k in May and I’m already signed up to do the Longview Half for the 4th year in a row, and I cannot wait to see what training for that will bring!

Anyway, we ended up walking the uphills during the last mile, and absolutely killing it on the downhills. I might have been pushing the pace a little bit. Plus running down hill with reckless abandoned is one of my favorite pass times. Plus did I mention how amazing I felt?  Haha my dad was still huffing and puffing, but he was a total trooper and kept up with me during my downhill escapades!

At the very end we were just behind this other guy and my dad goes “Ashley, we’re beating him”. Now in the back of my mind I started thinking that shooting past someone else at the finish line is kinda bad race etiquette, when you’re not really fighting for any particular place (I could be wrong about that, but I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere). But I was caught up in the moment, felt amazing, and now it was my turn to take off like a bat out of hell! I crossed the finish line feeling super strong and my dad came in about 2 seconds behind me! Not bad!! All in all I’d say my dad’s first 5k was a total success!

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Anyone remember me saying that my goal for Running With The Cows is 38 minutes? This result makes that feel a whole hell of a lot more doable than I had originally thought! 🙂

Well, kind of. You see, my dad has this old injury in his calf, and that stunt at the finish line ended up irritating in. So apparently he was in a lot of pain crossing the finish line and spent the rest of the day limping around on it. Haha and I spent the rest of the day joking about how this means he obviously needs to start running more and should definitely do more races with me. 😉

Anyway, at the finish line we took some photos on my phone, a race photographer took some photos of us with the KC Running Company trailer, we got and enjoyed our shot of whiskey, and we talked to a few people. Haha mostly because they were concerned about my dad who was obviously in pain and limping around. Ah man, I love runners. In general we tend to be some really awesome people. 🙂

 

After hanging out at the finish line for a little bit we started making our way to the buffet tent. Although very slowly, because my dad couldn’t walk very fast on his hurt leg. I talked to a really nice kid (he was probably 17 or 18) about how much fun this race was and how finishing times didn’t matter and that having fun was the most important thing. That’s pretty much my philosophy for all things running, so I totally agreed! He was a very cool guy. 🙂 By that time I was really feeling that shot of whisky haha. I don’t drink a lot of hard liquor so it tends to affect me pretty fast. Apparently even more so after running! So I was one happy camper heading to that breakfast buffet!

Once we finally go there we filled up our plates with bacon, eggs, sausages, and potatoes. Yum!! My dad also got biscuits and gravy. Gross… 😉 Sat down and enjoyed our breakfast! And it was really good!! 🙂 Jack Stacks did not disappoint!

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On our way out we both grabbed some coffee for our not-so-long, but definitely slow walk back to the car. On our way home we stopped at Target so my dad could get some Epsom salt and I grabbed a Kombucha which I definitely enjoyed in the shower. 😉 When I was done my dad took his Epsom salt bath, we both napped (haha the 4 hours of sleep we both got was definitely catching up to us), and then around 5 pm my dad had to leave. He had to work today so he couldn’t stay any longer.

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We both had a great time and I think I might have convinced my dad to become a runner! I sure hope so, anyway! 😉

I hope you had a good weekend!

~Ashley

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Ice Ice Baby

Yesterday the high was 51 degrees and my backyard was a huge, gross, muddy mess. Which means my dogs turned into nasty mud monsters, and were literally covered head to toe in mud. Fun times. 😉

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You can’t really tell in the photo, but trust me Finn (pictured here) and Dean are so bad that they’ve been sleeping in the computer room to keep mud out of our bedroom. Lily doesn’t spend as much time outside as them, so she’s not really that bad. 🙂

This morning when I woke up, it was pouring down rain, which gradually turned into snow/ice. Ah the joy’s of living in the Midwest haha. But on the bright side, all of the mud in my backyard is frozen, so at least that’s something.

Now, I know it sounds like I’m complaining but I’m kinda not hahaha. Well, I am complaining about the mud, but that’s beside the point. 😉 But if you’ve been following me for a while now you probably know that I’m actually a big fan of winter weather. But the problem is ice tends to be a little more dangerous than snow. So with that in mind I tried to get out and get a run done before the rain really turned into ice and before the roads started to freeze over. I was not successful haha.

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I also realized that most of my winter running gear is super dark. That’s not really a big deal if it’s sunny and clear out, but it was super grey and rainy/icy today. So I had to wear my blaze orange hat over my winter hat. Haha I’m probably  the coolest runner you”ll see today. 😉

Anyway, after I got geared up I spent 10 minutes on my stationary bike just to warm up a little bit, got out the door and immediately slipped on the ice on my front porch. That was when I knew I was in for an interesting run! If you can really call it a run that is! I spent most of my time slipping and sliding all over the place, walking over really icy spots, and stopping for cars. Haha it was kinda fun though, battling the ice and eventually the crazy gusts of wind. Although  thanks to the wind a basketball hoop that’s at the end of a street and therefore right next to the road almost fell right on top of me. That could have been bad. Luckily I got out of the way in time. 🙂 And the whole time I was out there the temperture kept dropping and the road just got worse and worse, so by the time I made it to my driveway I called it good and quit, instead of making a point to hit exactly 4 miles like I usually would. Haha but I mean, that’s close enough. 😉

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After my run I warmed up with some coffee, quickly cleaned my bathroom, and then warmed up even more with a nice, hot shower. I swear nothing beats a really hot shower after a cold, wet run. It felt amazing. 🙂 After that I enjoyed a delicious bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, and now here we are! Feeling like a total bad ass for braving the ice, cold, and wind. Super cozy in a pair of fuzzy socks and my Longview Half hoodie. And just feeling all together awesome. Today is a good day. 🙂

If you’re experiencing ice/snow/crazy winter weather, have fun but stay safe out there! Ice is no joke!!

Happy Thursday!

~Ashley

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I may or may not have had a mouthful of delicious sandwich when I took this photo. 

Longview Half Marathon Recap 11/11/17

It’s done! Finally! This terrible, horrible, crazy training cycle is finally over! My 3rd half marathon is done, I did it, and I never have to worry about half marathon number 3 ever again!!!! 😉

I know I’ve talked about how and why this training cycle just did not go well about 8 billion times, but I figure for the purpose of this race recap I should mention why, yet again. So just real quick, I hurt my knee in August, was unable to run for most of August and September because of that. I had a bunch of crazy life stuff going on; family stuff, a friend who died, and some other randomness. Then a week before race day I got sick with a terrible chest cold and I found out during the race that I definitely was not as over it as I thought it was.

Okey Dokey, now that that’s out of the way, I just want to take a second to say that I’m a little bit disappointed with how the Longview Half was organized this year. I know this race is still really new (this was literally the 4th year they’ve held it) and I’m sure there are plenty of kinks to work out, but I just feel like the previous two years that I ran this race it went a little bit better. Especially in regards to the aid stations.

So first off, I don’t think there are enough porta potties at the starting line. Especially now that there are more runners because of the 5k that’s attached to this event now. I’m pretty sure the half started a few minutes late because of the amount of runners still in line to use the porta potties. I do, however, really appreciate the person (I’m not sure if he was a race official or a volunteer, but I can only assume he was somehow involved with putting on the race) who was encouraging the 5k runners to let the half marathon runners go first. I do not appreciate the man who was wearing jeans and obviously not a runner, who was in front of me in line….Come on people, let the runners go first!!! We paid to be here, do this thing, and use all of the race amenities.

Second off, I feel like the aid station situation was a complete disaster! I’m not sure who the aid station volunteers were this year, but for the most part they seemed to mostly be a bunch of high school age kids and they were super duper unorganized. Like, last year and the year before the first couple of people handing out cups would have water and then the next couple of people would have water and it was nice and organized and easy to make it through the aid station with what you needed. This was not the case this year. This year it was all completely random. Some people had Gatorade, some had water, some had both, and a lot of them weren’t telling you what they had, so you’d have to ask. I guess that’s not really that big of a deal, but it was a little confusing. But what really sucked was that a lot of these kids were running around the tables, in the road, and just all over the place. That was super stressful and confusing. At one point I wasn’t even sure where I was supposed to go because people were running around everywhere and standing in front of the arrows pointing out the race course, and it sucked. Also, I don’t think the Gatorade was mixed properly. The previous two years I ran this race the Gatorade tasted fine, but this year it was super watered down and gross…That was crazy disappointing.

And yet again the person who was supposed to be calling out names at the finish line missed a bunch of people this year. I didn’t get to witness this and I actually got announced as I crossed the finish line this year (last year I didn’t), but my husband Luke did, and he told me it was really starting to piss him off. He told me that just doesn’t seem fair because this is a bunch of people’s big day and that everyone deserves to feel like a bad ass athlete at the finish line of their race, and I totally agree! I don’t think it’s fair that some people miss out on that. And I can personally say that it is a little bit disappointing when you don’t get to hear your name being announced as you cross the finish line, because like I said, I didn’t get that last year.

Alrighty then! Now that that’s out of the way, lets talk about my race day!!

It started at 5:45 am, which I now know was waaay too late haha. The race started at 8 am and is 40 minutes away from my house, so I thought that would give me enough time to eat, get dressed, and then get to the starting line with plenty of time to spare, but that was not the case. I ate what I could (I was getting pretty nervous at this point so that wasn’t much haha), drank some coffee, let my dogs out, got dressed, let two of the dogs back in because they are the two that can’t/don’t want to be left in the yard for extended periods of time, woke up Luke (who was my chauffeur/coach/motivational speaker/photographer/cheerleader/anything else I needed him to be. Basically what I’m saying is he had to do all of the hard work and all I had to do was run 😉 ), and got all loaded up into the car by about 6:20 am, which was about 20 minutes later than we should have left. Oops.

That really only ended up being a problem because of race day traffic, which was obviously expected, and I just want to say that I think the police officers who were out there directing traffic in the cold did an awesome job. They were all super nice and took very good care of us runners, so I thanked as many of them as I could while I was out on the course. Seriously, I’m so great full for what they were out there doing. 🙂

So anyway, the parking situation seemed to go pretty smoothly, and we got parked and to the start area with about 10 minutes before the starting time. That kinda sucked because like I said before, the lines for the porta potties were pretty long and I had to pee, but on the bright side, at least I didn’t have to stand in the cold for a long amount of time. Haha not gonna lie though, while standing in line for the porta potties Luke was starting to stress me out by constantly asking me what time it was and saying that some of the runners weren’t going to start on time. A bunch of us missed the national anthem (I was literally peeing while it happened) but the race started a few minutes late, so I think most of us got lined up just in time. 🙂

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Me being slightly stressed out by the 5k runners who were mingling in with the half marathoners at the starting line, but at least I made it there! 🙂

Luckily all of the confusion with the 5k runners just generally being in the way at the starting line didn’t last too long. I had just enough time to shove my phone into the pocket in my tights before we were counted down and sent onto our 13.1 mile journey back to where we started.

I started out near the 3 hour pacer, but within the first half mile-ish I ended up near the 2:50 pacer. I knew that probably wasn’t a good idea, but the second I started running I felt amazing! The weather was nice; cloudy and chilly. My legs were fresh and felt great. I was ready to go! At this point I still had no plans other than finishing, but I thought it was going to be a great run!! Unfortunately I was very wrong…

The first mile flew by, as I think most first miles do during a race. By mile two I was nice and warmed up, so I ditched my hoodie at the first aid station and only got away with a single cup of water instead of a cup of Gatorade like I had wanted, because of some of the aid station confusion that I had mentioned before. But that early into the race I wasn’t all that worried about it.

So mile two is where the biggest hill on the course is, and the Longview Half has a timing mat at the bottom and top of this hill, and gives out a “King Of The Mountain” award to the fastest man and woman to make it up the hill, which I think is super duper neat! Even thought that’s something I’ll never win hahaha. Especially since I walked up most  of the hill, but that was part of my plan and I was gonna stick to it because I wanted the good feelings I was experiencing to last. Near the top of the hill I started running again and I felt strong as hell! Apparently I looked strong too, because the announcer at the top of the hill said I was making it look easy. I liked him. 🙂 There was also another race photographer at the top of the hill and I think those would have been some of my best race photos. They actually posted the race photos last night, but the King of the Mountain photos stopped at the 2:40 pace group and at that point I think I was still running near the 2:50, which sucks…I asked about that on their Facebook page and haven’t heard anything back yet, but it is still pretty early and I’m still super impressed that they got most of the photos up so quickly!

Anyway, around the 5k mark I backed off a little because I knew I was probably running too fast considering the lack of training I went into this thing with. So once I got to around mile 4 I was running near the 2:55 pacer and still feeling good! At the mile 4 aid station I discovered the gross, poorly mixed Gatorade, but I was glad that I had gotten some, along with a cup of water. This was also the aid station that I got a bit confused at because of all of the craziness that was going on with the volunteers, but it didn’t take me long to continue on my way in the correct direction. This was also the point in the race that I wanted to eat the first half of one of my Honey Stinger waffles, but the gross Gatorade upset my stomach and was only able to take a few bites of one. But it was still pretty early into the race and I was still feeling great, so I wasn’t all that worried about it. Especially since I was hoping that the Gatorade at that aid station was just a fluke and that it would be better at the other aid stations, but it did not…

Miles 5 and 6 were pretty uneventful. I was still feeling good, running in between the two 2:55 pacers (I think one was planning on finishing a little bit before 2:55 and the other planned on finishing a little after). At mile 6 I was yet again disappointed by the nasty Gatorade situation, but there was no point of worrying about it then, so I didn’t. But I did get two cups of it at that aid station, because it was so diluted and I wanted to make sure I was getting an adequate amount of electrolytes.

Anyway, around mile 7 I was feeling strong as hell. I was tackling the hills and felt great doing it, still running with the 2:55 pacer and talking to her a little bit. I’m pretty sure she started calling me “Nike” at this point because of my shirt haha. She was pretty awesome!

Around this time I had started getting anxious to see Luke, because near the end of mile 7 was where he had planned on being. I finally found him and he walked with me for a few seconds. He had a water bottle with him so I took a drink and I handed off my gloves because my hands felt warm enough and my sunglasses because they were fogging up and pissing me off. He told me I looked good, wished me luck, and then we parted ways.

Then mile 8 happened. Fuck you mile 8! I made it through the aid station alright. Got more water and gross Gatorade. Tried to eat a few more bites of one of my Honey Stinger waffles, but I was nowhere near following my fueling plan at this point. Anyway, about half way through mile 8 the wheels completely came off the bus. I was starting to get really dizzy, which was super frustrating because aside from the dizziness I still felt great!

Around mile 9 I started coughing and hacking pretty badly. That’s when I realized I wasn’t as over my cold as I had thought and that I obviously still had phlegm in my lungs, which I think what might have been causing me to be dizzy. That along with my not so great fueling. I was getting even more dizzy at this point, so I ended up walking all of mile 9 and losing the 2:55 pace group.

Around mile 10 I was still dizzy, still walking, and had been passed by the 3 hour pace group, but I was just right behind them. But I felt fucking awful. This was for real the worst I’ve ever felt and I had no idea how I was going to make it another 3 miles…Especially since mile 11 takes you over the lake which tends to be the hardest part of the race for me, since you have to deal with some strong bursts of wind coming off of the lake. But once I saw the mile 11 sign I started running again. I was still feeling pretty awful, but I wasn’t as dizzy. Plus I having 2 miles to go seemed a little less daunting than 3. There is another race photographer on the bridge during mile 11 and that’s where I’ve been doing my smiley, thumbs up photo, but this year I didn’t have it in me. This photographer was doing a really good job of getting a photo of every person by themselves and she perfectly captured how I felt in that moment. Fucking terrible.

Haha in the moment I knew I was going to look terrible in these and I regretted that a little bit, but now I’m actually really glad I have them. They definitely show just how much I was struggling, but I persevered and made it to the finish line!

Anyway, once I made it to the 12 mile mark I knew I was going to finish, but I had lost sight of the 3 hour pacer and I honestly thought I was going to be coming in at 3:10, 3:15 ish. Part of me was really upset about that, but I was also just really glad to be that close to the finish and I started chanting “One more mile. One more mile. Just one more mile.” to myself. And honestly that last mile wasn’t too bad. I was feeling less awful by then and knowing that I was so close to the finish line was definitely helping.

And then the finish line was in sight! I swear I’ve never been so happy to see a finish line in my life! Haha and I feel like that’s kinda saying something, considering I’ve only done 5 races (including this one) at this point. Once I got close enough to read the clock I glanced up and was genuinely surprised to see something close to 3:03. I was still under the impression that I was going to be crossing the finish line of my 3rd half marathon slower than I had finished my first. So that was a pleasant surprise. It was also nice to get to hear my name called as I crossed the finish line, because like I said before, I didn’t get that last year.

So my official time was 3:02:34, which was better than my first half (which I did in 3:09:32), and slower than my second half last year (which I did in 2:52:42). So I’m actually pretty happy with that time. Considering my not so great training, how badly the second half of this race went for me, and the fact that my only goal was to finish. 🙂

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After I crossed the finish line I got my medal, had my timing chip clipped off, was handed a bottle of water, and found my husband. I also looked for someone handing out mylar blankets because it was still pretty chilly, but it didn’t appear that they had any. I asked Luke if they had run out, but he said he never saw anyone with one and he didn’t think they handed them out at all, which was just yet anther disappointing thing at this years race, but oh well.

So at that point I was ready to go, but Luke told me I needed a photo by the finish line so he told me to stand in front of the Longview sign, told me to look a little less miserable, and took the photo.

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This was my best attempt at not looking miserable haha. But I was pretty darn stoked to be done and wearing my medal. 🙂

After Luke took my photo I went to see if there was any food left. Most of the booths that had been set up at the start were either gone or in the process of being taken down which kinda sucked, but I can’t really complain considering they technically want you to finish in 3 hours. Anyway, all that was left was a few yogurt, some chocolate milk, and granola bars. But the first year I did this half there was still a bunch of chicken noodle soup left, and I believe there was still some chili left last year (haha but I definitely didn’t want any chili after running 13.1 miles), so that was just kinda the cherry on top of all of the disappointment of how this thing was organized this year.

That all really sucks because I really do love this course and this race, and I think it could get more popular over the years, but only if it’s organized better. There needs to be more porta potties and maybe the porta potties need to be sectioned off so that only the runners can use them. And they need better aid station volunteers. And I mean, I really do appreciate them all being out there for us, but the aid stations were super chaotic this year,  whereas the previous two years I’ve run this race they were much more organized.

But on the bright side, the finisher’s medal is pretty spiffy and the participation hoodie is pretty sweet, so at least there’s that. 🙂

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Haha I got a little off track there. But anyways, I grabbed a chocolate milk and while we were walking to the car Luke told me all of the things he was disappointed with about how this years race was organised and promised me any kind of food that I wanted haha. So at first I wanted a bagel from Panera, but then I though Starbucks coffee sounded really good. So while we were on our way to Starbucks I changed my mind and told Luke we should get Chinese food, so we ended up going to a Bo Lings instead. Hahaha so I guess I just want to take this time to thank Luke for being so patient with my slightly out of it, post half marathon self, and for taking me to Bo Lings. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Post race feast!!

So yeah, this post is pretty long so thanks to anyone who read it all the way to the end! But I think that pretty much covers it! 🙂 I’m very happy for this training cycle to be over and to have a 3rd half marathon under my belt. Now it’s time to rest, recover, and then move on to other things!

~Ashley

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Half Marathon Number 3 Is Done! Thank Goodness!!!

This training cycle kicked my ass. It chewed me up, spit me out, and stomped me into the dirt for good measure. I battled a hot, miserable summer, just long enough to get hurt. I spent most of August and September not running thanks to a nagging knee injury. I started running again in October and was able to slowly and carefully start re-building a little bit of mileage, just to get hit with a chest cold from Hell the week before race week. Thanks to said cold, I missed three more days of running and spent a week and a half trying to get healthy again. Or at least healthy enough to cover 13.1 miles without feeling like absolute death. 
In the midst of all of that I dealt with the same old everyday stuff we all have to deal with. There’s been some drama going down in my family, I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal stuff, and I lost a good friend to depression. I’ve dealt with a lot of bullshit to say the least. 

So yeah, it came as no surprise to me that the race also kicked my ass haha. It actually started off really well and I felt super strong going up the hills and basically unstoppable on the down hills. Unfortunately the wheels came off the bus maybe half way into mile 8. I got really dizzy, ended up having to walk quite a bit, and not gonna lie, at mile 10 I wasn’t sure I was gonna make it, but somehow I crossed the finish line in 3:02:34. That’s better than my first half marathon 2 years ago, but not as good as my second last year. It’s all good though, I made to the finish and that was my only goal, so I’m proud of myself for accomplishing it! 


Alrighty then, that’s all for now! But I will have a full race recap up in the next few days! 

~Ashley

Half Marathon Number 3 Is Done! Thank Goodness!!!

This training cycle kicked my ass. It chewed me up, spit me out, and stomped me into the dirt for good measure. I battled a hot, miserable summer, just long enough to get hurt. I spent most of August and September not running thanks to a nagging knee injury. I started running again in October and was able to slowly and carefully start re-building a little bit of mileage, just to get hit with a chest cold from Hell the week before race week. Thanks to said cold, I missed three more days of running and spent a week and a half trying to get healthy again. Or at least healthy enough to cover 13.1 miles without feeling like absolute death. 
In the midst of all of that I dealt with the same old everyday stuff we all have to deal with. There’s been some drama going down in my family, I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal stuff, and I lost a good friend to depression. I’ve dealt with a lot of bullshit to say the least. 

So yeah, it came as no surprise to me that the race also kicked my ass haha. It actually started off really well and I felt super strong going up the hills and basically unstoppable on the down hills. Unfortunately the wheels came off the bus maybe half way into mile 8. I got really dizzy, ended up having to walk quite a bit, and not gonna lie, at mile 10 I wasn’t sure I was gonna make it, but somehow I crossed the finish line in 3:02:34. That’s better than my first half marathon 2 years ago, but not as good as my second last year. It’s all good though, I made to the finish and that was my only goal, so I’m proud of myself for accomplishing it! 


Alrighty then, that’s all for now! But I will have a full race recap up in the next few days! 

~Ashley

Oh Shit, It’s Race Week!

I guess that means I should start being a little more positive and stop worrying about the things I can’t control, or the training I didn’t get to do because of an injury, or the fact that I got sick last week and am still getting over that virus. But I do like to complain, so I promise nothing! 😉

So, things that I can control, do, and that I plan on taking very seriously this week are as follow; 

  • Get enough sleep. I’ve been doing pretty well with sleep, so I’ve just gotta keep that up!
  • Drink enough water. I haven’t been doing so great with this one. Like, I know you need to drink more when you’re sick, by it’s so hard to do when you don’t feel like drinking or even eating much. 
  • Eat a little better. Since I’ve been sick I’ve been living off of canned soup and Halloween candy, because same as the above with water. Not ideal, but hey, what are you gonna do? 😉
  • Make a kick ass playlist. Because if I’m gonna suffer I’m gonna have fun doing it, damn it!
  • Visualize my fueling strategy for the race. So, 1 Honey Stinger waffles at the starting line, maybe half an hour before the gun goes off. 1 cup of water at every aid station and water AND Gatorade at every other aid station (the aid stations are about every 2 miles which is exactly what I trained for! Go me!). Along with 1/2 of a Honey Stinger waffles around miles 4, 6, 8, and 10. And maybe a cup of beer around mile 11 if they’re handing it out again. 😉 Hahaha my fuel plan is literally the only plan I’ve worked out for this half, so I’m hardcore clinging to it! 

Whew, alrighty then! I’m not anywhere near the realm of prepared for this half marathon, but I’ve covered the distance twice before and I know I can make it to that finish line again. And that’s my only goal; crossing the finish line. 

I’m coming for you half marathon number 3!!

~Ashley