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Weekly Recap: July 23rd-29th, 2018

The first week of training for Operation Two Half Marathons in Two Days is done!! I think it went really well and all-in-all it was a great way to kick off this training cycle! Now hopefully the next 15 weeks will go just as well. πŸ˜‰ We’ll just have to wait and see about that, but at this point I’m super stoked and motivated to be training and working towards a new goal! πŸ™‚

Monday:

  • 3 easy miles
  • 30 minutes of strength work

Started off the week with 3 easy miles, followed by 30 minutes of strength work! Right now I really want to focus on getting stronger! I think that’s going to be really important to help get me across both finish lines on November 10th and 11th and will hopefully help reduce my likely hood of getting injured. I feel like I’m going to need all of the help I can get in that department haha. But anyway, for the most part Monday’s run was good, but uneventful. πŸ™‚

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Tuesday:

  • 2 “steady” miles

In the past when my training plans have called for steady runs, I usually just ignore the steady part haha. I’m not very good at holding a steady pace. In fact, that’s probably one of my biggest weaknesses as a runner. But instead of ignoring that this time, I took my run onto the treadmill instead! Because as long as you don’t mess with the speed on the treadmill too much, it pretty much forces you to run at a steady pace haha. But the thing is, I usually do interval stuff on the treadmill because constantly changing up the pace helps fight off the boredom of running on a treadmill. But I did manage to make this run a steady one and hopefully got a little bit stronger mentally by sticking it out at one pace on the treadmill haha. πŸ™‚

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Wednesday:

  • 5 easy miles
  • 30 minutes of yoga

So on Tuesday night I went to Luke’s softball games and ended up staying up a little too late, so I wasn’t too thrilled about having to wake up early on Wednesday morning. Getting out of bed and eating breakfast was hard. Getting dressed and getting out of the door was hard. But once I managed that things got considerably more easy. πŸ˜‰ Then later in the afternoon I did a really nice yoga session. I didn’t realize how tight my body actually was until I got onto my yoga mat haha. But at least I did something about it and I ended up feeling pretty good afterward!

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Thursday:

  • rest day

Thursday was actually supposed to be another strength day, but I was sore and tired and kinda had a feeling that if I did do a workout that my run the next day wouldn’t go as well. So I ended up sleeping in a little bit, I got to slow down and really enjoy my breakfast that morning. Then I worked on some blog posts, cleaned up around the house a little bit, did a little more yoga in the afternoon, and spent the rest of my day reading and relaxing. πŸ™‚ There was a time when I would feel kind of guilty for not doing much of anything for a day, but rest is most definitely part of the program!! Not too long ago Alexi Pappas did a live stream on her Instagram account and said something to the affect of “days off are like allowing your body to marinate in you’re hard work”, and compared it to letting a steak marinate in the fridge for a day. For some reason that really got through to me and now I’m trying to take my off days more seriously and giving my training seep into my body a little bit more and not feel guilty that I “didn’t do anything that day” or didn’t hit my step goal or whatever.

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Friday:

  • 2 easy miles
  • about 10 minutes of strength work

My training plan called for a fartlek on Friday, but I didn’t really feel like doing a fartlek. That just didn’t sound like fun. So instead I just did a couple of easy miles. Noting fancy but it felt good! Followed that with a very very small amount of strength work, but I figure a little bit is better than nothing at all!

Then on Friday night we helped some friends move (more strength work? πŸ˜‰ ) and then went out to dinner with them. We ended up staying out later than we’d planned, but it was a good time. πŸ™‚

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Saturday:

  • 8 miles

Getting out of bed on Saturday morning was hard. It seems like no one in my life understands my need for sleep haha. I just don’t feel great if I don’t sleep for 8 hours a night. Luke thinks I’m just being a baby, but damn it I need to sleep! Haha anyway, I ended up getting up a little bit later that I would have liked, butΒ it was cloudy and in the 70’s today, so I wasn’t too worried about it. It did start warming up more towards the end of my run, but at least I didn’t end up having to run in 80 or 90 degrees. That would have sucked! But all in all it was a pretty decent run and I had a pretty decent time doing it. πŸ™‚

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Sunday:

  • rest day

Since Sunday was a day off of running I took all three dogs out for walks. One at a time though haha. If I take more than one at a time they gang up on me and will drag me around town, chasing every squirrel we see! So while walking the dogs I was also playing Pokemon Go. Mostly catching pokemon, but I also battled and took over a gym. Now this has been kind of an ongoing thing, but there’s this guy in my town who always goes around taking over the gyms. He’s super annoying and a higher level than pretty much everyone else in my town, so today I made it my mission in life to keep him out of the gym closest to my house. Every time he’d take it over, I’d go over there and take it back. 3 times I took that gym from him. It was great hahaha! Luke even helped me take over a few gyms from him when he got home from work, but my main objective was to keep that one from him and I feel I was very successful that that. So yeah, that’s how I spent most of my day. πŸ˜‰

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Total Weekly Mileage: 20.12

Not exactly where I wanted to be at this point in the year, but I’ll take it! I feel like I’m off to a pretty good start for my training! This week was a good one, but there’s still a lot more work to be done! I’m excited to see what I can get done next week and throughout this entire training cycle!

Your currently very motivated runner friend,

~Ashley

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Ashley’s Tips For Surviving Summer Running

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Ah, summer. For some the thought of summertime brings up wonderful thoughts of days at the beach, road trips, ice cream, fireworks, fun in the sun, and relaxation. Not me though. While those things are fun in their own right, I’m a self-proclaimed cold weather person and I don’t particularly enjoy the summer months. The thought of summertime makes me think of super early mornings, that gross feeling of your thighs sticking to a chair on a warm summer day, getting third degree burns while trying to buckle your seat belt in a boiling hot car, and of course hot, slow, miserable runs, feeling like I’m drowning in my own sweat, and bugs. So. Many. BUGS!!

Haha alright, alright, I’m a bit melodramatic, I can admit that. I can also admit that summer running does have its perks and sometimes it can be down right enjoyable! Still though, I can’t wait for fall to get here. πŸ˜‰ But since summer is in full swing and we’ve got a while before fall blesses us with its wonderful presence, I thought it would be a good time to talk a little about surviving summer runs. It can be a little tricky sometimes! But these are my tips for making running in hot, humid weather, more bearable! πŸ™‚

1. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you could ever do for your body! Dehydration can cause a slew of unpleasant side effects such as feeling tired and sluggish, headaches, dizziness, and rapid heart rate. Yeah, that’s not a good way to feel in general, but side effects like that can make running an absolutely miserable experience, so staying hydrated is a must!! And not just before your run either. When the weather is hot you sweat a lot more and that dehydrates you pretty quickly, so it’s usually a good idea to take in some fluids while you run too. Water is always a fantastic option, but if you’re like me and sweat super salty, or are planning on doing a hard workout or are just going to be running for more than an hour sipping on a sports drink to replace electrolytes might be a good idea as well.

As for when and how much you should be drinking on a run, well, that’s going to vary from person to person. I generally like to take a few sips of water and maybe a sports drink if it’s particularly hot or if I’m going longer around every 2-3 miles. But that’s just what works for me. You’ll have to do a bit of experimenting to find what works for you.

A good way to gauge your hydration is actually your urine color! If it’s a darker yellow (think apple juice) then you need to drink more. If it’s a nice pale yellow you’re probably adequately hydrated. If it’s completely clear then you might be overdoing it on water and might need some electrolytes as well. Now more likely than not, when you finish a run your urine is probably going to be a dark yellow. That’s perfectly fine! Just make sure you drink enough to get it back to a pale yellow as soon as you can. I’m always weirdly proud when my urine is just the right color hahaha.

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My long run necessities.

2. Dress Appropriately

What you wear can make a really big difference on how you feel! In the summer its best to opt for light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, made with a breathable, moisture wicking material. When it’s really hot shedding as much clothing as you’re comfortable with and the law allows (as far as I know, most states in the US frown upon displaying your more intimate bits in public πŸ˜‰ ) can also help keep you cool.

The goal in the summer is to keep sweat and excess body heat moving away from the body and everything mentioned above will help with that. Tight fitting clothes can can actually trap in some heat and cotton material gets weighed down with sweat and doesn’t breathe the way moister wicking material does. That can leave you feeling more hot and even a little weighed down. Plus that can cause all kinds of uncomfortable chafing and blisters. Take it from someone who accidentally wore a pair of cotton socks on a hot summer day, moister wicking material is important! I’ve literally never made that mistake again haha.

3. Wear sunscreen

I’ve heard several conflicting things about sunscreen; That it prevents your body from absorbing as much UV rays and therefore keeping you marginally cooler. Or that it can block your sweat glands and prevents you from sweating as much and therefore making you retain more heat. Now I’m not sure if either of those things are true, but what I do know is that sunburn sucks. Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen.

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In 2013 Luke and I went on vacation in Florida. On our second day there we spent the whole day at the beach. I told him he needed to put on sunscreen but he didn’t listen. He spent the rest of the week we were there in a lot of pain. Seriously, WEAR SUNSCREEN!!

4. Wear A Hat

Hats have become one of my all-time favorite pieces of running gear. I started out my running career as a headband girl, but that quickly changed once I learned just how versatile and useful hats are! Now I rarely run without one. In the summer hats with a mesh back are probably your best option. That will allow some heat to escape while keeping your face nice and shaded (and in my case it also helps keep my hair out of my face and mouth. πŸ˜‰ ). Visors are also a good choice for the summer, but if you wear one you one really be able to do #5 on this list.

5. Put Ice In Your Hat

Obviously the logistics of this one can be a little tricky, but if you’re running near home, have the ability to stop at a gas station/restaurant/store, or have an awesome person supporting you on a run or who is willing to meet you somewhere, putting a few ice cubes in your hat can be a real life saver!!! It cools you off pretty quick but since it takes the ice a little bit to melt it can help keep you a little bit cooler for longer than just dumping water in on your head. Although in a pinch, dumping water on your head is also refreshing! It doesn’t keep you as cool for as long though, that’s why I prefer ice! Another good place to stick a few ice cubes is in your sports bra! Cool boobs are happy boobs, that’s what I always say! πŸ˜‰ Hahaha ok, I’ve never actually said that, but a few ice cubes in the sports bra when it’s crazy hot out is also nice way to cool off a bit. πŸ™‚

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6. Run In Shade If You Can

Never underestimate the cooling effects of running in the shade!! It can feel around 10-15 degrees cooler in the shade. Not because it’s actually cooler or anything, the temperature is still the same, but while in the shade you get hit with less solar radiation and therefore don’t feel as hot. It also might help you avoid getting a sun burn, but you shouldn’t have to worry about that, because you’re wearing sun screen, right? πŸ˜‰

But anyway, planning a route with some nice, tall trees can be a life saver on a hot day, when the sun isΒ out!

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7. Get Out Before The Sun

Did you know on a hot summer day asphalt can get up around 140 degrees?? That’s why it’s usually not safe to walk your dog on in when it’s hot out, but that’s another post for another day. πŸ˜‰ But you know what happens to the heat the asphalt absorbs on hot days? It reflects it right back up. So imagine this; your out running on a hot summer day, it’s about 85 degrees out, the sun is shining directly on you, and the asphalt is just reflecting even more heat back up at you. Doesn’t sound too pleasant, right? So the solution to this little problem is to get out before the sun comes up and heats up the asphalt. Which unfortunately requires waking up pretty early haha. Don’t get me wrong, running has turned me into a morning person, but like, a 6:30-7:00 kinda morning person. Waking up around 4:30-5:00 am is justΒ too muchΒ morning, ya feel me? πŸ˜‰ It’s usually worth it on a hot summer day though. Running at 5 in the morning is a lot more comfortable than running at 5 in the afternoon, after the suns been out all day and the asphalt is burning hot. Plus you’re usually greeted with some pretty amazing sunrises!!

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8. Slow Down

I know this is something that a lot of people don’t want to hear, but when it’s really hot and humid out one of the best things you can do is slow down. Maybe even take walking breaks if you have to. I know runners are constantly striving to better themselves and get discouraged when they feel like they’re working really hard but their paces don’t reflect that. Well Ashley is here to tell you that that’s ok!! The heat can really slow you down and if you’re not careful you can easily end up overheating. Heat exhaustion is no joke! So stay safe out there. Slow down. Don’t over exert yourself and end up sick or injured. Summer is the perfect time of year to focus on running by feel instead of running by whatever pace your GPS watch is reading. I promise you’ll end up feeling better when your run is done, and once the weather starts getting better you’ll be able to run faster again.

9. Be Aware Of Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke

Just as you must be wary of frost bite and hypothermia in the winter, you must be wary and know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Especially if you plan on being outside in the sun for long periods of time (and remember that it can happen in a short amount of time as well). This kind of stuff can and does happen, even to the most fit and prepared people, so I think it’s very important to know the symptoms and what to do if you, your running buddy, or some guy out mowing his yard, starts exhibiting said symptoms. THESE ARE SERIOUS CONDITIONS AND CAN TURN ANY RUN OR OUTDOOR ACTIVITY INTO A LIFE OR DEATH SITUATION!

Stay safe out there guys! The point is to enjoy running for as long in life as possible, not to push yourself so hard that you end up sick or in the hospital.

10.Β When Worst Comes To Worst, Stay IndoorsΒ 

You wake up early in the morning, before the sun is even out and get ready to run; you drink some water and enjoy a nice breakfast, apply a liberal amount of sunscreen, don your lightest colored, loose-fitting, dry fit tank top and shorts, your most favorite trucker hat, and bad-ass reflective sunglasses, you plan to stop back at your house every 2-3 miles for a sip of water and to cool down with some ice. You’re ready to roll! “But better check my weather app first” you think to yourself as your about to walk out the door, and are greeted with several alerts about the heat and air quality.

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You know you’re a heat sensitive person with asthma. Your also smart enough to know that sometimes running outside just isn’t worth it. Right??

Haha obviously that’s a situation I’ve found myself in several times in the almost 5 years that I’ve been running. And usually I am smart enough to know that running outside just isn’t worth it. There have been a few times I was not smart though and tried to run anyway. Luckily in those situations I’ve always ended up cutting my runs short after realizing I’d made a bad decision, and so far I’ve always managed to realize that well before I’d run into any serious trouble. Luckily for me, I’ve become a little more cautions about this kind of thing as I’ve gotten a little older and learned more about running and life in general.

The lesson here, my friends, is sometimes it’s just not worth it. If the weather is ever detrimental to your health or safety, it’s usually best to stay indoors. Maybe run on a treadmill instead, or do some laps in a pool, take a spin class, try out some yoga, or something. I know getting in your miles or doing certain workouts are important, but that’s never more important than staying healthy. There really are times when you’re better off doing nothing than risking injury, illness, or even death. Don’t risk your well-being on something as stupid as some arbitrary number of miles or a specific work out. It’s not worth it.

Alright, I know those last 2 points were kinda serious and I’m not trying to scare anyone off of summer running or anything. Summer running can be fun and has all sorts of benefits! I just think it’s important to keep those things in mind.

Enjoy your summer (or at least try to if you’re like me and dislike the heat haha), have fun, stay safe, and remember; summer miles bring fall smiles!

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Happy summer running, everyone!

~Ashley

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Weekly Recap: June 25th-July 1st, 2018

This week I’ve been insanely grateful for my new treadmill! It’s been another hot one here in Kansas; with a few thunderstorms, high humidity, and air quality warnings. So definitely not ideal running weather haha. I did manage to get out and do some outdoor running, but most of it was done on the treadmill this week. But with heat indexes around 105 degrees, there was no way I was going to be able to do much outside. So thank goodness for my treadmill! Because of it I was still able to get my running done this week! πŸ™‚

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This was just from Tuesday! Both alerts ended up getting extended!

Monday:Β 

  • 3 miles

It was actually relatively cool on Monday! I wasn’t about to waste that, so I hit the road that morning. We had some thunderstorms come through and even more that were nearby and that left the temperatures in the high 60’s in the morning. Not bad for late June!! The only downside was that those storms made it pretty darn humid! But I mean, it is summertime in the Midwest. It’s ALWAYS humid this time of year haha.

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Tuesday:Β 

  • 2 miles
  • 30 minutes strength training
  • 10 minutes stretching

71 degrees + 90% humidity = the poor man’s altitude training. Haha seriously! Summer running is no freaking joke and it actually does help your body create more red blood cells, similar to the way altitude training does! And knowing this, I decided to take this run outside as well. I kinda didn’t want to haha, but I figured it was so short there was really no reason for me not to. I was completely drenched in sweat by the time I was done though!!

Followed up my run with some strength training. My current goal is to get stronger and hopefully a little more injury resistant since I’m going to be running two half marathons in two days this November, so I’ve been fitting in a couple of strength sessions every week. Haha I can already see the difference in my tiny little biceps! Now that being said, my heals have been kinda hurting me. I know exactly why too, like, two weeks ago I think, I ran too far in a pair of shoes that were too worn out…oops. I had a similar problem when I had first started running by wearing a pair of shoes that were too supportive for my feet. So I’ve been working on getting my feet back to feeling well. Lots of calf and foot stretching, along with ice, and rolling my feet with one of those little massage ball things. Last time I had this issue it lasted a while. Hopefully that wont be the case this time, but we shall see.

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Wednesday:

  • 7 treadmill miles
  • 10 minutes stretching

Holy cow! I feel like this run was more exhausting on the treadmill that it would have been on the road! My goal was actually 8 miles but once I got to 7 I just couldn’t spend another minute on my treadmill. I like it, it’s a really nice treadmill, and I’m extremely grateful to have it because getting in 7 miles on Wednesday probably wouldn’t have happened. All day I was getting air quality alerts and excessive heat warning on my phone haha. But jeez louise running on the treadmill is hard! Like, I’m actually going slower, but it feels harder. I’m just awkward and not good at running on treadmills, I guess. I also felt kinda dizzy getting off the treadmill. Probably because I was moving, but not really moving, ya feel me? Oh and treadmill running is hopelessly boring. Watching Hulu helped, but still. Haha anyway, this was the longest run I’ve ever done on a treadmill and I was very glad to be done with it!

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Also, my latest Honey Stinger order came on Wednesday!! Since training for my half marathons on November 10th and 11th (yup, two half’s in two days. That’s slightly terrifying and a potentially bad decision on my part! I still haven’t gotten over that yet. 🀣) officially starts on July 22nd, so I figured now would be a good time to top off my Honey Stinger supply!! The sick new hat and Hive stickers were an added bonus that were just too good to pass up! πŸπŸ―πŸ˜„Β I’ve already put on of the stickers on my laptop. Now I just need to figure out what I want to do with the other 4 haha.

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Thursday:

  • 2 miles

The excessive heat warning continues with no end in sight… So on Thursday my run was done on the treadmill again. It was slow and unpleasant, but at least it got done. πŸ™‚

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Friday:

  • Rest Day
  • 40 minutes stretching

And a much needed one too! This heat just wears me out!! I did some stretching though and felt pretty good after that! πŸ˜„

Saturday:

  • 3.5 morning miles
  • 2 afternoon miles

Saturday was yet another hot and humid day. IΒ really didn’t want to run on the treadmill that morning though, so I decided to just take my run outside and see how far I could go until I felt like I was going to die. Apparently 3.5 miles was my limit haha. It felt good to get outside and run on the road though! πŸ™‚ Then a little later that afternoon I figured why not got for a total of 5 miles for the day and ended up running 2 miles on the treadmill, which obviously got me to 5.5 miles for the day. πŸ™‚

Sunday:Β 

  • Rest Day

Yesterday I was kinda thinking that I could run a mile or two to get my weekly mileage up over 20, but I got a little bit wine drunk last night and didn’t really feel like running today. πŸ˜‰Β Not like that’s a big deal or anything. Sunday’s are usually a rest day for me anyway, and since half marathon training starts later this month I might as well start getting into the habit of doing certain things on certain days. πŸ˜‰

So I didn’t run today, but I did do some walking. Last night in my slightly drunken state (haha I drank almost 2 bottles of wine, slightly may be a bit of an understatement. πŸ˜‰ ) I decided that I was going to start playing Pokemon Go again. So at midnight, slightly drunk, and all alone (because Luke was too busy playing Call Of Duty with his dad and brother), I walked like, 2 blocks to the civics center to hit a few Pokestops. And since I did that I decided I really wanted to start playing Pokemon Go again, so that’s what I’ve done today. Walked dogs and played Pokemon Go haha. It’s been kinda fun though. πŸ˜‰

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Total Weekly Mileage: 19.55Β 

Not bad considering the terrible weather!! This kinda stuff usually puts a damper on my running, but thanks to my treadmill I’ve still been able to get some miles in! πŸ™‚ Hopefully the weather will be a little better next week, but as of right now it doesn’t look like this heat is going to be letting up…

But anyway, happy first day of July!! I hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th of July!! We’ve currently got a few things planned so that should be exciting!

But that’s all for now!

Until next time,

~Ashley

 

StrideBox, Earlier Mornings, and My Neighbor’s Dog, Ozzy.

Another month means another StrideBox! Yay!!

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Getting a box full of running goodies once a month never gets old! I was particularly excited about the Honey Stinger Cracker N’ Nut bar that came in May’s box! Those things have quickly become one of my all time favorite snacks. πŸ™‚

Anyway, it would appear that spring didn’t stick around very long. It’s been feeling more and more like summer here in Kansas. So far the highs are all in the 80’s this week, and on Wednesday (I think), it’s supposed to be around 89 degrees. And it’s just gonna keep getting hotter from here. Yuck… But on the bright side, summer is thunderstorm season and I do love thunderstorms! Watching storm fronts move in is basically one of my favorite hobbies. πŸ˜‰

Haha but anyway, I’ve got a 5k on Saturday and it’s looking like the weather isn’t gonna be too great for that. According to my weather app the high is gonna be 90 degrees. Cloudy, which will help a bit, but still, 90 degrees…Well, this race is at 8 am though, so it should actually be cooler than that, but still. Plus there are a few thunderstorms in the forecast before Saturday, which means it’s gonna be crazy humid…Β  I’m beginning to think the time goal I had in mind might not happen on Saturday. I know it’s only a 5k and if it were any other weather condition (cold, rainy, icy, snowy, even windy) I could and gladly would suffer through it. But for whatever reason I’ve never been able to do that when it comes to heat and humidity. It slows me waaay down, completely drains me, and leaves me feeling pretty shitty and tired for the rest of the day. Haha I mean, I always kinda feel tired and bleh when it’s hot out, but it just gets worse if I ran that day.

Anyway, I haven’t completely given up on my goal. I just might get super lucky! But I’m also prepared to accept the fact that the weather is what it is and I just not might be able to fight through it. And at the very least there will be cows, goats, and a huge buffet at the end. Even if I am only running the 5k, I’m gonna hit that buffet HARD hahahaha. πŸ˜‰

Ok, back to the point that I actually wanted to make. Since the weather has been getting warmer I’ve been having to wake up earlier. Right now I’m only having to get up at 6 am, which is only about an hour earlier than I usually do. So that’s not too horrible. But I’m able to get up, eat, drink my coffee and some water, brush my teeth, get dressed, and then get out the door just a little bit before 7 am. And that’s been working quite well, since the sun isn’t all the way up by then so it feels a little cooler. Plus the asphalt is still relatively cool since the sun hasn’t been shining on it for long at that time of day.

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View from my back porch at 6 am this morning.

So my run today was pretty pleasant, for the most part. It felt kinda cool even though it was in the high 60’s, there was a very nice breeze, and the sun was still mostly below the trees by the time I finished so I never got miserably hot. I felt pretty good during all 5 miles. The only real problem was my neighbor’s dog, Ozzy.

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You see, Ozzy is a relatively young dog, probably around Finn’s age, and my neighbor has had him for maybe 5 or 6 months (his old dog, Zadie, had to be euthanized. She was a really good dog and everyone was pretty upset about that.) Ozzy is also a red heeler (or maybe only part heeler, I don’t remember exactly), so he’s a herding dog. And obviously we have all sorts of small creatures in our backyard that look fun to chase. And for the past few weeks our chickens have really gotten his attention.

Anther thing that’s important to note is that the fence that we share with this neighbor is old and very broken haha. So he and Luke have been working on replacing it, but that’s been kind of a slow process because they both work a lot and our neighbor also goes camping a lot with his brother. That’s not been an issue until later last week though, when Ozzy figured out how to squeeze under the fence and started terrorizing my chickens.

So last Friday while I was feeding my little flock I saw a flash of white in what is usually a mostly black blur that happens in my backyard when all 3 of my dogs are running around, and of course it was Ozzy. Initially I wasn’t too worried about it. You can tell that he really wants to play with my dogs when he’s in his yard and they all like to run the fence line together. But after a few minutes of running around my yard he started to bother the chickens. Running around their coop, jumping on it, barking at them, and just kinda freaking them out in general. That pissed Finn off. Those are Finn’s chickens. He spends a lot of time trying to herd them through the coop (and sometimes he can even successfully make them move into a little group haha), but for the most part he just likes to sit near the coop and guard them. He does the same thing to the rabbit hutch. Those are his small animals and he has taken it upon himself to protect them. He’s also super protective of me (he will literally throw himself across my body and shield me from anything he thinks is a threat), the backyard, and pretty much anything he knows belongs to Luke and I. He’s a good dog, but he’s also still pretty young and dumb. He’s basically a teenager. πŸ˜‰

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So anyway, he ended up getting into a fight with Ozzy because he didn’t like Ozzy upsetting his chickens. Luckily they both stopped when I yelled at them and neither of them were hurt. So I put my dogs in my house, locked the chickens in their nesting area, and caught Ozzy and put him back in his yard. Then I covered all of the spots in the fence that he could squeeze under with rocks and bricks, hoping that would keep him out. And it did for the rest of Friday, but now he’s learned how to dig at them and move them just enough so that he can squeeze back under and he’s been in our yard at least once (but usually more than that) ever since. And like I said, I wouldn’t really mind him being in our yard, if he didn’t cause problems

So back to what happened today. I got up at 6, let Finn and Dean out (Luke was still asleep at this point and Lily will refuse to leave the bedroom if he’s still in bed. Haha she’s also super protective like Finn is. She’s just smarter and more mature about it. πŸ˜‰ ), then let the chickens out into the outside area of their coop and fed them. About half an hour later I found Ozzy in the yard, so I got him out, readjusted the rocks and bricks on the fence, and went out for my run. When I was about 3 miles in I ran past my house and saw he was back in my yard so I had to stop, repeat the whole process again, and then left to do the last two miles of my run.

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Ozzy and Dean watching me take off for the last portion of my run this morning.

Finished my remaining 2 miles, and of course I found Ozzy back in the yard again. And this time he was trying to dig under the coop to get to my chickens! Yeah, obviously I’m not about to let that happen. I’m already kind of irritated that he’s been upsetting them. So went through the whole process of catching him again, put more stuff along the fence in an attempt to keep him out, and then I lined the outside of the chicken coop with rocks and bricks. So if he does get in my yard and tries to dig underneath the coop again it should at least slow him down. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping. Haha the chickens did enjoy this though. The rocks and bricks were covered in all sorts of bugs and worms, so they got to have themselves a nice little bug buffet this morning. They seemed to enjoy chasing and chasing bugs to their little hearts’ content. πŸ™‚

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And of course there’s Finn and his long ass tongue on the other side of the coop keeping an eye on them haha. If you look at the top of the photo you can also see Ozzy claw marks on the wood of the coop. He’s scratched up the other side of the coop really bad… 😦

So far he hasn’t gotten back into our yard since I caught him for the third time today, so that’s good. But here in a little bit Luke and I are going to go bury some rocks and bricks along the fence line in hopes that will keep Ozzy out of our yard until they can finish replacing that fence. Hopefully then he wont be able to get into our yard anymore and our chickens will be safe. At least from him haha. Last summer a raccoon took up residence under our shed. I haven’t seen him since last fall though so I’m hoping he’s gone for good. I’m pretty sure all of the feral cats are too afraid of my dogs to even attempt to get into my back yard (raise you’re hand if you know what tends to happen to feral cats on a farm! Yeah, I kinda miss having that option. Feral cats are nothing but a problem…). There are also a couple of foxes that live in my neighborhood. One lives under someone else’s shed a few blocks down, as a matter of fact! There’s not much we can do about them though, except hope that all of the dogs keep them away. And there are a lot of dogs in all of the yards surrounding our house haha.

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But of course my dogs are the best, and I’m definitely not biased at all about that. πŸ˜‰Β 

Well this post ended up being longer than I thought it was gonna be! Haha it happens though. Sometimes I just get going and I can’t stop! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I’ll definitely be posting about what goes down with my 5k on Saturday! Hopefully it doesn’t end up being as bad as I think it might be.

I hope your Tuesday was terrific! (That was super lame, I know.)

~Ashley

Thursday Things

Ah Thursday. My my favorite day to do a bunch of random ramblings. πŸ˜‰

So I guess we should get some running talk out of they way. Or well, kinda lack there of. I have been suffering from a bit of a stomach thing. I’m not sure what or why, and I’ll spare you all of the gory details, but it’s kinda sucked haha. On Monday I tried to run but only made it a mile before I had to call it quits. So on Tuesday I took the day off, rested, and ate a lot of potatoes and white rice. Fun times. I was feeling a little bit better on Wednesday and got out and ran, but only 2 miles. That’s definitely better than nothing though! Today I just wasn’t feeling it. I could have run. Probably should have run. But I ended up doing 30 minutes of yoga instead.

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Not sure what caused my stomach troubles. I haven’t really been eating anything different, new, or weird. I guess I just got some kinda bug or something. Whatever. I seem to be getting better and that’s all that matters. πŸ™‚

I have made one slight adjustment to my diet though. I’ve been making myself oatmeal for breakfast for about the last week now! That’s kind of a big deal for me. I’m not all that big into making myself a decent meal for breakfast. That just takes extra effort that I don’t feel like putting into my food first thing in the morning. But breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as they say. So I figure I should be eating a little something more than just a piece of fruit, a cheese stick, a Honey Stinger waffle, or even worse, just coffee. Eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning seems to be doing me quite a bit of good though! I’m not absolutely starving about halfway through the morning and usually just need a small snack a few hours before lunch. So actually taking the time to make a decent breakfast seems to be a good habit for me to be in.

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Yay oatmeal!

My oatmeal for breakfast habit might be a little difficult to keep up with this weekend though. On Saturday night Luke and I are going to be driving to St. Louis, so he can spend Easter with his dad, step mom, and two of his brothers. And I’ll get to spend at my grandma’s house with my mom, brother, and uncle. So my grandma is going to have a pretty full house for Easter. I’m sure that’ll make her really happy! πŸ™‚ It’ll be fun for all of us though. I believe on Monday Luke plans on taking his brothers, my brother, and obviously myself to the St. Louis zoo! I sure hope we get to do that! the St. Louis zoo is so much fun!! I’m pretty sure it’s one of the best zoos in the country (at the very least it’s about 100 times better than the Kansas City zoo). And if you’re willing to walk a little bit there are plenty of places to park for free in Forest Park, so you don’t have to pay for parking and entry to the zoo is free. Pretty awesome. πŸ™‚

Anyway, not sure what my family will be doing for Easter. We used to go to Church every Easter (and every Sunday really), but I’m not sure that’s what we will be doing. But I’m sure my grandma and Uncle will make a bunch of yummy food! You can always count on them to cook on holidays! I wonder if my grandma will have her Easter tree out (or even if she still has it). Did you guys have an Easter tree? Haha I’ve just recently learned that’s something that not everyone does! Apparently it’s a German tradition, which does make a lot of sense. My mom’s side of my family is super German. My late grandpa’s parents immigrated here before he was born. Pretty neat! So I’ve grown up doing a lot of German things without even really knowing it. That also explains why my family is of the Lutheran denomination haha. πŸ˜‰

So here’s a photo of me (I’m the one standing up) and my sisters (yes they’re twins) on Easter in 1997. So that would be the year before my brother was born. It’s not a great photo, but you can kinda see our Easter tree on the table. πŸ˜‰

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Here’s a better photo of one from Google. πŸ™‚

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A few people in my neighborhood have decorated trees and bushes in there front yards for Easter, so that’s pretty neat!

Anyway,Β  it’s been a super muddy mess outside because it’s been pretty rainy and wet out. My backyard is basically a giant mud pit and Dean and Finn are both super gross. They’re gonna have to be bathed before we got to St. Louis on Saturday. They’re not gonna be happy about that, because after they’re clean, the won’t be able to go back outside and that’s where they both prefer to be pretty much all day, every day.

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So. Much. Mud…

So, remember almost 2 weeks ago when I ordered a pair of running tights from Oiselle? The ones with all of the pockets that I was so super excited about?? Yeah, they still haven’t gotten here yet…

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So. Many. Pockets!!

It’s the UPS’s fault. Every time I order something online and it ships via the UPS it always ends up getting delayed. Never for this long before though… So on Tuesday I emailed Oiselle to if they knew anything about the situation with my order. All they could tell me was that it’s delayed with the carrier (but I’m hoping they’ve contacted the UPS and they’re working on getting my package to me), but they were kind enough to refund me the $8 I paid for 3 day shipping. I really appreciate how quickly Oiselle got back to me and that they were kind enough to refund my shipping charge. That was great! This morning I reported it to the UPS as a lost package, so hopefully they’ll be able to find it and finally get it to me. I was so excited about all of those pockets and I really want to put them to use!!!

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So semi related, but when my feet were feeling a little bit sore last week I realized that the only compression gear I have for my feet are holiday themed (Thanksgiving and Christmas to be exact). Really that’s not a big deal and obviously that’s not gonna stop me from wearing them when I need them, but I still thought that was boring, so I spent some time waiting for Zensah’s watermelon socks to be restocked and yesterday they finally were, so I bought myself a pair! πŸ™‚ Luckily those are coming through the USPS so at least I know they’ll get here when they’re supposed to and I wont have to wait who know’s how long for them to get here.

Anyway, I’m thinking that’s all I’ve got for today!

Happy Thursday!

~Ashley

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Happy First Day Of Spring!!

Hahaha flowers like that don’t bloom this time of year here in the Midwest. I just really like this photo (I took it during our family vacation in Florida last July). There are a bunch of daffodils popping up around my neighborhood though, and some of them have started to bloom!

Anyway, we are starting to get some spring-like weather in my part of Kansas. The air is starting to warm up and it rained pretty much all day yesterday. That’s typical spring time weather. We really needed it though. Things were really dry here. Haha and I was pretty excited about that because I love rainy days and think that running in the rain is a lot of fun! πŸ™‚ And yesterday’s 3 miler did not disappoint! I got soaked pretty fast. I also got frostnip on my legs because it was in the low 40’s when I ran. I probably should have put on my wind pants over my running tights. They’re usually pretty good at keeping me relatively dry. But oh well, it really wasn’t that bad and the redness, itchiness, and irritation that came with that was all gone by this morning. That was still totally worth all the fun I had in the rain yesterday.

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This morning’s run was nowhere near as fun though. I actually procrastinated doing it by making myself an actual decent breakfast. Who does that?!? Me apparently…

Usually in the morning I can’t be bothered to make anything exciting for breakfast. Sometimes I throw a few frozen, whole wheat waffles in the toaster and then slather them with peanut butter and honey. Other days I’ll just grab a piece of fruit and a cheese stick. Or on really lazy day’s I’ll just eat a Honey Stinger waffle along with my coffee. But I knew running wasn’t going to be very exciting today, so I took a little bit of extra time with my breakfast. I toasted some bread, spread some avocado on it, topped that with sliced, cherry tomatoes, and then fried an egg to go on that as well. Hahaha I know that doesn’t sound too difficult, but in the morning I never feel like putting that much effort into what I’m eating. πŸ˜‰

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I did eventually go out and get my run done, though. My 5k training plan called for 2 easy miles followed by a couple of strides, but those 2 miles sure didn’t feel easy… It actually seems to me that most of the “easy” runs I do don’t actually feel easy. They tend to feel more like I’m running through cold molasses. Oh well, I still did it though! Well, the 2 miles. I kinda sorta skipped the strides. I just wasn’t feeling it enough to do those.

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But on the bright side, running seems to be going a lot better this week than it did last week! I know it’s only Tuesday, but I’m thinking the rest of the week is going to go pretty well. But maybe I’m only saying that because tomorrow is a rest day and then for Thursday my training plan calls for 30 minutes of cross training, so I wont actually have to run again until Friday. πŸ˜‰ But still, I’m a lot happier about running this week than I was last week, so at least that’s something. πŸ™‚

But anyway, now that spring is here I really need to start thinking about what I want to plant in my garden and I’m going to have to start tilling and preparing my soil here before too long. So far I know I’m definitely going to be growing my staples; tomatoes, banana peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, and watermelon. I actually want to grow my vine plants on some kind of structure this year to help make weeding and harvesting a little bit easier. I’ve got a few ideas for that and Luke and I will be starting work on those soon. I also really wish I could get root vegetables to grow a little easier here, but they never do well because the soil here is so full of clay. A lot needs to be done to remedy that…Or you can do raised beds filled with good quality soil but those are kind of expensive to make. Maybe one day though. But for now we’re planning on sticking with plants that we know do well here.

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A small harvest from last summer. That watermelon was sooooo good!! Haha I’m on a mission to grow several really good watermelons this year! It seems like each year I’ve grown them I’ve gotten bigger, better melons. And usually a few more than the year before. So I guess I must be learning something! And hopefully if that trend keeps up, I should end up with 5 or 6 really good watermelons this year! πŸ™‚

Now with the addition of our 5 chickens, we should end up getting a pretty decent amount of food from our backyard this year! I’m so freaking excited about having fresh eggs! I can’t wait for my chickens to start laying!! They’ve still got a while to go before they get to that point though. They are doing very well and growing bigger and getting more feathers every day! And as it starts getting even warmer they’re going to be able to spend a little bit more time outside. So far they’ve only been out twice for about 10-15 minutes at a time, just to make sure they didn’t get too cold. But in maybe two or three weeks, as long as it’s warm enough, we’ll be able to move them outside permanently. Haha I have a feeling we wont get that lucky though, it’s probably still going to be pretty chilly in April. If they were fully grown the cold wouldn’t be much of an issue, but when they’re young it’s very important that they’re kept warm.

Oh man, between my garden, the chickens, training for my 5k in May, training for my half marathon in November, the dogs, rabbits, and all of my other critters, plus another vacation we’re going to be going on with Luke’s family, I’m going to be crazy busy this spring and summer! It should be fun though! And besides, I’d much rather be busy than bored. πŸ˜‰

That’s all I’ve got for today! But what about you?

What are you looking forward to this spring? Any exciting plans?

Do you grow a garden? What’s you’re favorite thing to grow?

Does your city allow you to keep chickens? Would you if you could?Β (Technically my city doesn’t allow you to do it without a permit, but when have I ever let rules stop me?!? Luckily my neighbors are cool with it though, so it should be fine. πŸ˜‰ )

Β I hope you’ve had a terrific Tuesday!

~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! πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰ ). 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

 

 

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜‰

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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? πŸ˜‰

Anyway, around 8:00, half an hour before start time, I had to pee (of course πŸ˜‰ ). 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 somewhatΒ 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! πŸ˜‰ 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?Β  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! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚

 

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. πŸ™‚ 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… πŸ˜‰ Sat down and enjoyed our breakfast! And it was really good!! πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ˜‰

I hope you had a good weekend!

~Ashley

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