Congrats on yet another collective trip around the sun! The ride might feel long, it might also seem like it’s flying by at times, but at least we get to share the experience with some awesome (and maybe some not so awesome) people. At the very least it’s an interesting ride!
Seriously though, does anyone else feel like this year gone by really fast while simultaneously dragging on an on and on?!? Hahaha I don’t know, I guess it’s just been a weird year. Weird, but also good. 😁
So I just wanted to look back month-by-month at all (or at least most 😉) of my personal highlights from 2018. Last year I actual broke this idea up into two different posts, one for running and one for life in general. But for this year I’m just gonna stick with one post. I did have a lot of fun running-wise in 2018, but at the same time nothing really spectacular happened for me. I only accomplished one PR and that was for the longest run I’ve ever done. No shiny new time PR’s for me… So that’s kind of a bummer, but hey, now I’ve got a whole new year ahead of me to start working towards some other shiny new PR’s!!
Anyway, let’s get to it! Here are my month-by-month, personal highlights from 2018! 🥳
Alrighty! 2018 kicked off with me putting one of my Christmas gifts from 2017 to good use!! My sisters bought me Run Fast Eat Slow by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. What an amazing gift and an awesome cookbook! I must admit, while I do believe in eating clean, whole, nutritious foods, I can find some of it a little boring… But cooking with this cookbook taught me that healthy, nutritious food doesn’t have to be boring.
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Around the end of December or early January, Kay Von D and Billie Joe Armstrong collaborated on a new eyeliner. Not gonna lie, I know nothing about makeup and have been doing my eyeliner in basically the same way since I was 16. But when an amazing artist and the guy who pretty much made guyliner (who also happens to be one of your own personal heroes) makes an eyeliner you buy it! And buy it I did! Hahaha and I’ve still got quite a bit of it left since I don’t often wear makeup.
I think this photo came from Kat Von D’s instagram? Honestly I don’t remember, it’s been saved on my phone for a while haha.
Oh and I started dyeing my blonde streak purple in January. I’m not sure why I had never done that before, but I had always wanted to. So that was pretty cool.
PS, guess what eyeliner I’m wearing in this photo. 😉😉😉
I’m not sure if this really counts as a highlight, but looking back on it it makes me laugh really hard (I also kinda forgot that this happened this year 😂). But I’m February I slipped in my living room (on nothing I might add), fell, and slammed my toe into the leg of our couch. I never did get it looked at by a doctor but I’m pretty sure I broke it. It’s fully healed now though, so that’s good.
In a weird twist of fate, my toe breaking escapade happened right before I got two root canals done. So I had some pretty sweet pain meds for both of those situations. 😂 Seriously though, my teeth are REALLY bad and I began my journey to a healthier mouth in February. But I also ran out of insurance money, so it began and ended with those two root canals. But now that the new year is upon us I have insurance money again and can FINALLY get some more much needed work done on my teeth.
And last but certainly not least for February, I ended up going to Colorado with my dad and spending about a week there with him and my brother. I’m not gonna get into all of the details of our adventures while I was there, because I already have. 😉 But we had a lot of fun together. Hahaha even on the 16 hour drive from Kansas to Colorado! Hahaha that drive is only supposed to take 11 hours, but my dad and I like to stop and do stuff!! Oh and I think my brother and I accidentally ended up in Nebraska in our way to Kansas. Oh man, those were some good times. 😂
While I was in Colorado at the end of February Luke ended up buying a chicken coop and when I got back home we bought our first set of chicks of the year! Oh man I forgot how cute they were!! Unfortunately this was the set of chickens that my neighbor’s dog ended up killing because he kept getting into our yard. Luckily that finally got resolved, but I still wasn’t happy about losing all of our chickens…
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Processed with Rookie Cam
Another adventure that was planned while I was in Colorado was running the Martin City Whiskey 5k with my dad! This was the first race we did together and it was so much fun!! Hahaha even though my dad ended up getting a little hurt at the end. But he eventually healed and I remember mentioning to him that now he needs to do a half marathon! I’m not sure how serious either of us were at that point though. But I was pretty stoked about my shot of Whiskey and super awesome post race breakfast and that was making me really look forward to some half marathoning!
Easter fell on April fools day this year, so on the first day of April Luke and were in Illinois celebrating Easter with our families. My grandma made a whole big lunch and lots of homemade desserts which is always fantastic! While we were there Luke, my brother who was also in Illinois for Easter, and I did some target shooting at our old house. We had to trespass a little bit on what used to be my grandma’s farm, but whatever. 😉 I though I might be a little bit rusty because I don’t really get to shoot anymore, but I did alright. 🙂 While we were there we ended up taking my brother and two of Luke’s brothers to the Saint Louis City Museum. We all had lots of fun there!
Later in the month Luke traded in our old Chevy Equinox and got a 2016 Dodge Ram. I feel like that was probably one of the best decisions that was made all year! Hahaha we’ve sure put the truck to good use since we’ve had it!!
On the second Saturday of May I did the Running With The Cows 5k for the second time! Eventually I need to do the half at this event, but I’m so glad I didn’t this year! It was super hot and muggy that day. Still a lot of fun though! I got to pet a baby cow, run a very pretty 5k on a super rural road that runs through a bunch of cow pastures, and then pick out food at the HUGE buffet they have for all of the runners. Seriously, they have some pretty awesome stuff there! I’ve been very happy both times I’ve left this race. If you’re ever looking to do a half or 5k in early May and happen to be in Kansas I definitely recommend checking this one out!
May was when we got our garden planted, built the chickens a bigger run, and just did a bunch of work outdoors. It’s not exactly glamours, but I sure do enjoy it. 😁
For Memorial Day Luke and I threw a bit of a party for some family and neighbors. The guys had a bit of a rib cook off, and I baked a couple of pies and made a bunch of sides. The neighbor kid that I babysit came over to play with my brother-in-law’s girlfriend’s kids, and we had 5 dogs running around because my brother-in-law brought his with him. Oh and us and the neighbors were just constantly climbing over the fence into each other’s yards for various reasons. Haha it was a little bit chaotic, but lots of fun!
On June first we got our second batch of chicks. Not exactly a highlight because we only had to get them because our neighbor’s dog killed the first set. But still kind of a highlight because LOOK HOW CUTE!!!!
Later in June we ended up in Illinois again. We did a bit more target practice at my parents old house while we were there, but the real high point of this particular trip was taking Luke’s youngest brother to Troy Park and playing on the playground and Pokémon Go-ing. Oh and we also picked up my sister’s old treadmill from her boyfriend’s mom’s house that night. Hahaha she literally gave me her treadmill because we have a truck and could actually haul it back home. Told you we’ve been putting that thing to good use!
Ok, just a little side note. Through the spring I’d been talking to my dad about doing a half marathon with me. I had been looking into the Gobbler Grind and told my dad that I was only going to do it if he’d do it with me because this race was the day after the Longview half which I was already registered for. So at some point he signed us both up and thus Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days was born!
July is Luke’s birthday month! Yay!! So on his birthday his brother, his girlfriend, her kids, and our next door neighbor kid all came over for Luke’s birthday and we threw him a little party. There was a cake and confetti and glow sticks and lots of dogs! What more do you need for a birthday party?!? 😂
For the past several years Luke’s mom has planned/organized a big family vacation for a bunch of people on that whole side of the family. This year that included 25 people!! Hahaha it was easy for so many people to come this year because we went to Branson. MO and since most of us live in the Midwest that’s not too crazy out of the way. I think EVERYONE drove there. 🙂 Anyway, we stayed in these cabins right next to a river so we spent a lot of our time there having a little too much fun out in the water. We did a lot of fishing, swimming, and those of us who were of age did a little a lot of drinking haha. 😉 It was an absolute blast though. I think hanging out on the river was the most fun part, but we did do a few other things. We went to a slightly depressing animal “safari” thing. We also had a big birthday party for several people at the equivalent of a Chucky Cheese, and we went to the outlet stores several times.
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Processed with Rookie Cam
On one of the days we were there (I think it was the second to last) we had a big cookout thing. Everyone cooked a bunch of food, but in the middle of it all a HUGE thunderstorm rolled in. So everyone rushed around to get their food done and into the different cabins, get all of the small children inside, and everything picked up and what not. Then, like the good Midwesterners that we are, we sat out on the cabin porches and watched it come! At one point somebody dared someone to stand out in the rain for the entire storm and eventually all of the “kids” (Me, Luke, his brother’s and sister. His step sisters, our nephew, and a couple of their friends) ended up standing in the pouring rain. It was hilarious! Although the next day we found out that was when the Ride The Duck thing got caught in the storm and a bunch of people die. It wasn’t so funny after we found that out.
Aaaaaaaand training for Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days started near the end of July! If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you probably know that I do not do well in the heat and that I’m not a fan of summer running. But starting a new training plan for a big goal is always exciting!
This sunrise on August 4th reminded me that even though summer running is rough and that I absolutely hate waking up at 5 am, views like this make it totally worth it.
I guess August was a relatively uneventful month, as I have very few photos from then. 😂 But we did go to a casino for like the second time. Not exactly my thing, but it was still a good time.
So, every year since we’ve been married, Luke takes me to a pumpkin farm to pick pumpkins, apples, and to get other fun fall things. We ended up going super early this year (on September 14th to be exact 😉) because this summer was hot, dry, and brutal and I was very much over it. So the day the pumpkin farm opened its pumpkin patch we went and started all of our fun fall festivities early! 🎃😊
Later into September Luke’s mom added to my fall fun by sending me a big care package full of sweet Halloween stuff! She’s very much into Halloween as well, so she gets it. 😉 I started putting some of it up that day! Luke wouldn’t let me start decorating outside until October though. 😂
Yay October!! The brutal summer finally ended and it actually cooled down this year! It’s been FOREVER since we’ve actually had a chilly fall. That made me super duper happy!! So did all of the amazing fall foliage we had in the area this year! It’s been a long while since the trees have looked this pretty!
On October 5th we added a new member to our family!! On his way home from work that day Luke told me to be ready to leave when he got home because we were going on an adventure! That adventure turned out to be picking out a new puppy to be Finn’s future girlfriend! I made the right choice picking her out of the litter. Finn immediately fell in love with her.
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The very next day I PR’d my longest distance run by doing a 14 mile long run! Haha I had to stop at home several times so I could let the new puppy out of her crate to pee and that did get a little bit annoying. But all in all this was a great run! I watched my watch while I hit and then went over the half marathon mark, because that was the first time I’ve ever done that in training and it was just so super cool!
On October 11th we went to Illinois yet again. This time for my mom’s birthday, one of Luke’s brother’s birthday, and his grandma’s and great aunt’s birthdays (they’re twins!!). Hahaha so we were kinda busy that time around! We only brought Whiskey with us for this trip just so she could get used to riding in the car, being by herself, and whatnot. But we ended up taking Luke’s youngest brother to Troy park again, this time with Whiskey, and apparently we went on the perfect day because there was some kinda of pet event going on! So there were all sorts of venders, rescues, and just people out there with a bunch of dogs! So Whiskey (and Luke’s brother, actually 😂) got lots of positive socialization. We even met another red border collie while we were there! That was so cool!! Hahaha the other girl and I saw each others dogs, make eye contact and then booked it to each other so we could talked. 😂 Oh man that was a great day!!
Oh and watching my grandma meet Whiskey for the first time was really cute too!! She used to breed German Shepherds, ran a dog boarding kennel, and was always super involved in the dog works (that’s where I get it all from!) so she LOVES meeting puppies. But I mean, who doesn’t?!
November got off to a really great start, with Whiskey and I watching the NYC marathon! Haha Luke signed up for another free trial of Hulu TV just so I could watch it (he did that for me in April so I could watch Boston as well ;). If you watched you know how amazing it was! If you didn’t, well, you really missed out!
November also brought the conclusion of Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days, and oh boy it didn’t end in any kind of way that I thought it would. I DNF’d the first half! ☹️ So that was really more of a low point of 2018. But the very next day I ran the Gobbler Grid half with my dad! It was the slowest half I’ve ever done, but it was also the most fun! Hahaha I’m so glad we ran that 5k together in the spring! If we hadn’t then this half might not have happened! Honestly I think this half marathon and the couple of days that I got to spend with my dad because of it was my favorite thing to happen this year.
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The November fun didn’t end with that half marathon though! I ended up running a 5k on Thanksgiving morning! That was technically my first ever turkey trot and it was a blast!!! Plus they handed out pumpkin pies to all of the finishers instead of medals. That was awesome!! 🦃🏃🏻♀️🥧
And even after that there was still some more November running fun to be had! Haha we had a legit blizzard on November and guess who decided to run in it? That’s right, this girl!! Oh my gosh that was so ridiculous dangerous because we were experiencing high winds and white out conditions, but it was oh so much fun!!
Oh boy! November sure was busy, but believe it or not, December was even more hectic! We did lots and lots of fun Christmas stuff though!
On the 15th Luke took me (and Dean 😉) to two different Christmas light displays! First we went to one that was more of a light show that synced up to music. Those are always cool.
We didn’t stay there long though. Our next destination was a park that covers almost every tree around this lake in lights! It’s so beautiful! So we walked around there for a while and took a bunch of pictures! Haha Luke’s not big on the cold, Christmas, or picture taking, so I really appriciated doing all of that all at once. That being said, we had a really good night. 🙂
The next day Luke and I ended up exchanging Christmas gifts because we’re both terrible at waiting to give gifts. 😂 Apparently we both had similar ideas this year, because he got me a “fuck” coffee mug and I got him a monogrammed glass for adult beverages. 😉 Hahaha we know each other well.
On the 22nd we got our first eggs!!!!! You guys have no idea how excited I was! I’ve been waiting for this for such a long time!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Ever since then we’ve been getting at least 2, sometimes 3 eggs a day from our hens. By this spring/summer we should be getting around 5-7 eggs a day! How freaking sweet is that?!?
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We spent pretty much the rest of our December running around and getting stuff ready for Christmas. At 3 am on Christmas Eve we left Kansas and drove to Illinois so we could spend Christmas with some family. On Christmas Eve we started out at Luke’s dad’s, then we went to his grandma’s for a little bit. Then my grandma had a little party at her house of Christmas Eve, so we hung out there with her, my mom, and my uncle for a while.
Christmas Day was just as busy! Luke and I stayed at his dad’s house Christmas Eve night so we could open presents from them and Santa. After we did that Luke’s dad made us a late breakfast and we hung out there until noon when we went to Luke’s other grandma’s Christmas party. That’s always a big even! That side of the family takes Christmas VERY seriously and this year was no different. We had lots of food, presents, and fun. 🙂 That night me, Luke, and one of his brother’s stayed up playing this game on the Playstation. It got out of hand very quickly but it was a lot of fun haha.
It was a busy Christmas, but a good one.
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Processed with Rookie Cam
At some point during our stay in Illinois Luke’s dad convinced him to come back for New Year’s Eve, because he was actually going to be off from work for that. So we drove back to Illinois last night at we’re at Luke’s dad’s right now. So we’ll be ringing in the New Year with Luke’s dad, step mom, and 2 of his brothers!
Oh man this post ended up being really long! Maybe I should have broken it up into two different posts. 😉 Oh well.
Thanks to everyone who hung in there with me and actually read everything hahaha. Honestly though I think I want to start writing a recap like this at the end of every year! Looking back at all of the adventures I’ve had this year was fun and it reminded me that I have done a lot of cool stuff in my life. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that on days that feel never ending or mind numbingly boring. But life is full of ups and downs and the not-so-great times make the good times that much better! I hope you’ve had a wonderful year full of fun, laughter, adventures, and many happy, healthy miles!
Wishing you a wonderful New Years Eve and a very happy New Year! Stay safe and have fun out there! Here’s to making 2019 a FANTASTIC year!
Your happy, nostalgic, slightly sappy, blogger friend,
Two months to go!! Well, more specifically 59 more days until the Longview Half and 60 more days until the Gobble Grind Half!
Honestly when put that way, holy cow we’re getting close!! Haha I’ve been kinda thinking along the lines of “it’s still pretty early in September and November is still a ways a way”, but it’s really not. Two months. Two short months to go. Yikes. But it’s only “yikes” when I think about it that way. Once I go back to the whole “it’s only September” thing I feel a little bit better about it. Weird how the mind works like that. 😉
Really though I’m not so worried about finishing either half. I’ve done the Longview half 3 years in a row, and this year will make it 4. I know I can finish that race in particular, but the 13.1 miles in general. So I’m not really worried about that. I’m not really worried about finishing the Gobbler Grind the next day either. At this point I’m actually pretty confident in my ability to finish both races. Especially since I’ll be doing the second one with my dad and brother.
What I’m really worried about is finishing times. I would really like to set a new PR and the way I see it, it’s probably best for me to go for that during the first half at Longview. My legs will be fresh, I wont be tired, and I kind of feel like I have to redeem myself after last year’s not-so-great experience at Longview. The course is going to be a little bit different this year. They got rid of the giant hill at mile two, so that will probably work out in my favor as well.
Elevation data from the Longview Half, according to my Garmin. That hill at mile two is pretty killer haha.
I haven’t been feeling particularly speedy though. I mean, I’m definitely not a speedy person to begin with. I like to affectionately refer to myself a slow runner. But I’ve just been feeling extra slow lately. Although looking back at my running data from 2016 (the year I ran my best half marathon so far), the paces from my long runs are pretty similar. Although my shorter runs were definitely faster than I’ve been doing this year. But I have been running more this year. A lot more actually. I’ve also been injury free throughout this training cycle *knock on wood*, which is something I’ve never been able to say while training for a half marathon haha. So really it would appear that things are really going well! But jeez I’m still really worried about times. I really want a PR. It’s been a while since I’ve PR’d in anything. That being said, if things go a planned, I should be PR-ing my longest run in 4 weeks, I think? That should be pretty exciting. But I’d still really like a shiny new time PR.
I’m mostly just worried about times for the Longview Half though. The Gobbler Grind is just gonna be more for fun, although obviously it’s still going to be a bit of a challenge since I’m doing another half the day before. Since I’m doing it with family, who currently haven’t been able to do much training because of their work schedules. So it’s going to be an interesting day for all of us! Hopefully it’ll be a lot of fun though. But misery loves company and all of that, so I’m sure we’ll all have fun. 😉
Luke plans on being at both races for me and my mom is coming with with my dad and brother, but I don’t know if they plan on being at my house the morning I do Longview. Probably not, but it is a possibility that I’ll have a big cheering squad for Longview. I did the first year I ran it. My mom and dad came for it then and that was pretty sweet! But either way, it’ll be fun to have them all here, plus my mom wants to celebrate my birthday while they are, since the Gobbler Grind is only 4 days before my actual birthday. 🙂
Anyways, I suppose that just about covers all of my thoughts and feelings of Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days, so far. I know it’s nothing really all that insightful. At this point in my life running doesn’t really feel deep and meaningful. It’s just something I do, ya know? I get up in the morning, run, and then get on with my day. I’m not sure how I’d feel if I had to go an extended period of time without running. I don’t think that would go for me. It’s just something that’s really ingrained into my life right now.
Okey dokey then! That’s all for now! I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!
~Ashley and her very in the way blogging assistant, Bubbles
I actually posted a much smaller version of what this post is on my Instagram account a couple of weeks ago, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to get a little bit more in-depth with it and share my thoughts here. Especially since I’m getting pretty deep into my half marathon training at this point. I just thought it would be nice to reflect on the things I’ve learned from my previous halfs, and since it half/full marathon training season is in full swing, I thought maybe other people could take something away from the things I’ve learned so far as well! 🙂
My first half marathon actually taught me quite a lot! But I mean, that does make sense considering that it was my very first. My first half and my very first race ever! Haha it’s not exactly recommenced to start off your racing career with a half, but what can I say? I’m an overachiever. 😉
Anyway, my first half marathon taught me to set big goals, dream big, and that I’m capable of more than I thought. Before I even signed up for my first half the farthest I’d ever run was 5 or 6 miles. I had no idea if I could actually cover 13.1 miles in one go. At that point I was still impressed and amazed at the fact that I could do 5! That was still relatively new to me! I also knew nothing about proper running attire, fueling, or actual running workouts. Back in 2015 I was still a relative newbie to the sport. But one day I just kinda decided that I was going to run a half marathon, so I signed up, started a training plan, and never looked back. It was a rocky road to the starting line, like I said, I had no idea what I was doing. But the second I crossed that finish line I learned that setting big, crazy goals could be a good thing! Dreaming big will help you accomplish those goals! But most importantly, I learned that I was capable of doing hard things and that I really was a runner. Not just some person who was faking it. Not that there’s any fake runners or anything. That’s just something I had struggled with for a while. But once I became a half marathoner I never hesitated to call myself a runner ever again.
Crossing the finish line of my first half was an incredible experience and it’s something I’ll never forget!
I went into my second half marathon much more knowledgeable and prepared! I knew I could cover the distance having done it once before, and I had a few 5k’s under my belt as well, so I had a little bit of a better idea of what I was getting myself into. Training went well and the race itself went even better!
My second half taught me how to really have fun during training and to enjoy every mile during a race. Even when it started to hurt and get really hard. This was definitely my best half so far! Maybe even my best race so far! I’m hoping that will change this November though. 😉
My third half marathon is a little bit notorious in my mind. Training went pretty well, but I crashed and burned hard at about mile 8 during this half. By mile 10 I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish. I did, buy jeez it was pretty terrible…
My third half was my first bad racing experience. I’m still a relative newbie at the whole racing thing. At this point I’ve only got 7 actual races under my belt, but this half, this half was by far the absolute worst I’ve ever done. That being said, I still learned a few things from this race. First and foremost, I learned just how important proper fueling and hydrating is. I mean, I already knew, but I experienced firsthand why during this race. The Gatorade at the aid-stations wasn’t mixed properly and that made my stomach unhappy. Since my stomach was unhappy I wasn’t able to eat my Honey Stinger waffles. One of the wonderful pacers gave me a Twizzlers at one point and I was able to eat that in slow, little bites, but that was about it. I crashed. I burned. I suffered.
Suffering was the most important thing I learned during this half. I thought I had suffered through hard workouts before, but it was nothing compared to the last 3 miles of this race. It was a hard lesson to learn. Finishing hurt and then dealing with my finishing time hurt even more. But eventually I got over it and learned that I can suffer and suffer badly, but still finish. And at the end of the day finishing is still a huge accomplishment!
Longview half marathon, 2017. Mile 11.
There you have it! What half marathoning has taught me so far! I’m pretty excited to take these lessons into the two half marathons I’m doing in November. The Longview Half again on November 10th and the Gobbler Grind Half on November 11th. I’m sure Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days will end up teaching me a few things as well. 😉 Hahaha right now I’m thinking that suffering lesson is going to come in quite handy for this little challenge.
I’m also pretty excited to finally be doing a half marathon that is not Longview. I love that race and want to continue to do it as many years in a row as I can, but it’s going to be fun to be doing a race that’s new to me! Actually, they changed the Longview course this year, so both races are going to be kind of new to me. At this point I’m really looking forward to both of them! I’m not really nervous yet, but I know that will come soon.
Anyway, have you learned any important lessons from a race? How have you applied them in life, running, or other races? I’d love to hear your answers!