Tag Archives: global running day

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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Happy Global Running Day!!

Global running day is a day for people around the word to celebrate the joys of running! And then post a photo of themselves running on social media with a caption about how much they love running, because pics/strava/garmin connect/instagram/facebook/you get my point or it didn’t happen. 😉

I’m not saying that any of that is a bad thing by the way, obviously I’m a very active social media user, I’m just saying that that’s the world we live in. 🙂

Being a runner myself, I’ve participated in the global running day or national running day festivities several years in a row now. Today, however, I’m celebrating a little bit differently. Instead of waking up super early and hitting the pavement for the 5 miler that I was supposed to do this morning, I woke up super early and then went back to bed.

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Can we talk about how teeny tiny Dean used to be?!? Because holy cow he was a tiny little fluff ball! 

I’m just not feeling good enough to run today. I guess the running challenge that I’m participating in, all the work I’ve been doing in my garden, and all of the super early mornings that summer running requires (at least my summer running requires super early mornings. Gotta get out on the road before the sun heats up the pavement!) have caught up with me. That’s not all that surprising though, I’ve changed things up a bit and have been trying to do quite a bit as of late, so a day off of running is exactly what I need!

I’m not going to lie though, since today is global running day and the fact that I am doing a running challenge, I almost went out to suffer through a few miles. Now, there are some times when you should push through the discomfort and get your run in, but for me, today was not one of those days. I’m getting a little bit better about listening to my body and today it’s telling me that I need to rest, so that’s what I’m going to do! I’m not about to risk getting injured or burning out by running on a day that I shouldn’t have, just because everyone else is doing it.

So by all means, go out and celebrate global running day because running is great and it should be celebrated! But if you’re feeling like me today and you just need a break or a day off, then take one! Don’t think that since today is basically a running holiday that you need to go out and pound the pavement just because everyone else is doing it. Rest is part of the program and there’s absolutely no shame in doing it. Even if it is global running day. 🙂

Happy Global Running Day!!

Did you get your run on today? I sure did!! While my workout was nothing to write home about I still did it and even though there were parts I hated I still had fun, and that’s all that matters. Now lets talk about why running is so awesome!

You’ve probably read a million blog posts, articles, websites, and books about the benefits of running. I know I have. And after awhile it all gets super repetitive. How many times have you seen something along the lines of “New studies show running is actually good for your knees!”, “Running for weight loss; what you need to know”, “Regular running can add a trillion years to your life”, I could go on, but I think you get my point.

There are a plethora of reasons why running is great for your health and that’s great! But how often do people actually talk about the things that make running fun? Not often enough, in my opinion! So without further ado, here are “Ashley’s 10 top things that make running super awesome but don’t involve your health (in no particular order)”! Catchy title, right? 😉

1. Other Runners

Seriously, have you ever met another group of people that are super friendly, accepting, willing to help and support each other, fun, determined, bad-ass, and all around awesome, as runners are?! I suppose I may be a little biased, but I’ve never met another runner who wasn’t all of those things and more!

So smile and wave (and maybe even strike up a conversation) when you see another runner out on the road/trail/track. We’re all in this together!



2. 5 AM (or earlier) Alarms

Ok, I’ll be the first to admit that waking up early to get your workout done before it gets too hot, or before work, or school, or whatever, is no fun. But you gotta admit, there’s something really satisfying about knowing that you’ve eaten breakfast, ran, showered, and got a jump start on your day before most people have even woken up.

Watching the sunrise is always a nice bonus.

3. Snow Running

I feel like I’m in the minority on this one, but winter running is my absolute favorite!! Even better if it’s snowing or if there’s snow on the ground.

There’s something so peaceful about running in the snow. Watching the snow flakes drift through the air, listening to it crunching under your feet, taking some pride in the fact that you are one of the few people out and about. It’s kind of magical. Just be wary of icy patches!

4. Crossing Finish Lines

There can be a lot of ups and downs when it comes to racing, but when you cross the finish line I hope you always have a feeling of accomplishment. Because completing a race, no matter how far, or fast, is still an amazing feat and is something to be proud of.

5. Gear

No one can deny it, running gear is pretty awesome!

6. Tan Lines

You know you’re proud of them. Even if they do look kinda awkward, at least they’re a conversation piece.

7. Post Run Showers

Especially a particularly hot/cold, or hard workout. Sometimes knowing that I get to take a nice hot shower after a cold run, or washing the sweat out of my hair/off the rest of me after a super hot run is the only thing that keeps me going. I’m not kidding.

8. Connecting With Nature 

Obviously you don’t have to run to connect with nature, but it’s a great way to do it!

In my opinion, we spend way too much time inside or in big cities away from the outdoor world. Every once in awhile leave your headphones at home. Hit the trail, or rural road, or your local park, and just enjoy being outside. You may see/experience somethings that you may have otherwise missed out on. Like seeing the baby bunnies that live near the trail, or the flowers in the park, or the fall foliage, or hearing thunder rumble in the distance or the snow crunch under your feet. I think things like that are super important.

9. FOOOOOOD

Food tastes 8 million times better after speed work, or a long run, or a race (at least if your stomach is up for it, that is). And since running just so happens to be one of the top calorie burning exercises, that means us runner have a pretty good excuse to eat that big helping of pasta, or a stack of pancakes, or an extra slice of pie, or 8 meals in one day because you burned over 1,000 calories on your long run and you’re ravenous!

Unfortunately you can’t do that kinda thing all the time, but it’s pretty exciting knowing that there are times when you can. Plus, who hasn’t day dreamed about lunch while out on a long run?

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10. PR’s 

PR’s are always lots of fun! And in running there are several ways to obtain them!!

Run your fastest mile? PR! Shave .3 seconds off your 5k time? PR! Run a whole hour without walking? PR! Run a half marathon for the first time? PR! Run a weird race distance? Instant PR!

Those are pretty common things that people work to improve and set personal records at, but I also like to set funny little goals. I think that keeps things interesting and kinda helps keep my spirits up if I’m in a bit of a slump. Here are a few examples;

  • PR for number of dogs pet on a single run: 3
  • PR for number of people who I smiled and waved at: 7
  •  PR for the number of times I’ve been run off the trail by a cyclist: 4 (this was last summer though, I’m going to reset it this year)
  • PR for the number of deer I’ve seen on a single run: 13
  • PR for the number of times I’ve forgotten to wear moisture wicking socks :2

Seriously guys, having goals to strive for is super important but you don’t have to take them so seriously all of the time. Smile, laugh, have fun, let go a little, it’s great! I promise!

Well there you have it folks, 10 reasons why I think running is great! I’m not entirely sure how many times I said “awesome” while typing this, but I feel like it was a lot. That’s ok though, because running stuff is pretty awesome.

Now if you haven’t already, go out and celebrate Global Running Day by going for a run!

What’s your favorite post run snack?

Do you make up random/funny PR’s for yourself?

Do you agree with my list?

What would you add?