Tag Archives: personal

The Stanley Hotel and Rocky Mountain National Park

My dad and I had us some adventures yesterday!!

But first and foremost, after making it through a blizzard the day before, we were blessed with an absolute gorgeous morning here in Longmont Colorado!

My Thursday actually started with me getting woken up by one whiny and pathetic Russian bear dog. He wanted to go outside to go potty. But he also wanted to play in the snow because it’s like, his most favorite thing ever! But the problem with that is after a while he’ll just lay down in the snow and refuse to move. And trust me it hard to get a stubborn, 146 pound dog to move. πŸ™„ Hahaha that being said, we still had a nice little walk on Thursday morning.

Mr. whiny pants, Niko begging to be taken outside right after we had gotten back in. πŸ˜‚

So after Niko had gotten walked 3 times, first by me, then by my dad, and finally by my brother, we began to make plans for the day. My dad basically runs several FedEx terminals and drives semi trucks (even though he’s not really supposed to because he’s supposed to be running the whole operation, but they currently don’t have enough drivers) and he had several things for my brother to do on Thursday. After giving him all of his assignments and sending him on his way, we decided we were going to drive to Estes Park and go check out the Stanley Hotel!

So no one I know personally has ever actually stayed at the Stanley Hotel before (although I’d totally like to one day!) I’ve actually been there a few times!

You see, the Stanley Hotel was Stephen King’s inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. And Stephen King has been my all time favorite author since I was in 7th grade. So I just think it’s super duper cool to go there and look around outside a little bit. πŸ˜‚

This time around my dad has me bring my copy of The Shining and we got some pretty neat pictures!

I got my butt very wet sitting on those steps. πŸ˜‚

So yeah, that was fun! After that we decided we might as well go mess around in the Rocky Mountain State Park while we were there. By first my dad took me to a discount outdoors wear store because I was not prepared for winter. πŸ˜‚ I came to Colorado ready for spring, but boy was I wrong! Up until then I had been borrowing one of my brother’s coats (hence the camo. Hahaha that’s not really my thing) and wearing on thoroughly soaked pair of retired running shoes. So I got me a pair of discounted, waterproof hiking boot and a super nice North Face coat for over 50% off. Both of these are men’s items because in weird and prefer men’s coats/hoodies and the selection of women’s hiking boots was kinda sad. But either way, after that I was actually prepared to spend some time in Rocky Mountain National Park.

I have been into Rocky Mountain National Park before, but not very far. So this was a super fun experience! We didn’t really hike that much because it was cold, we were ill prepared, and my dad had to work that night, but we drove around for a while and would get out and walk around some cool places.

First we stopped at Sheep Lakes, which ironically enough, my dad (who’s been there often) has never seen any sheep there. And today was no exception. πŸ˜‚

Then we drove around for a while, admiring how pretty everything looked covered in snow. We saw lots of mule deer and elk, and of course we had to stop to observe them and take pictures! πŸ˜‰

This guy got super close to the van when we stopped on the side of the road. That was neat!

Then my dad decided he wanted to go to Bear Lake because he had only been there once and obviously I had never been there before, so we continued on with our journey through the park.

We stopped a few more times on our way there because everything looked super pretty covered in snow, so it was kinda hard not to. πŸ˜‚ But by the time we finally made it it was actually kinda snowing and the wind was blowing super hard! We hiked a short ways from the parking lot to the lake itself which was kinda interesting because the snow drifts were pretty high! It was a lot of fun though!

Bear Lake was frozen, covered in snow, and absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Unfortunately pictures will never be able to do it justice. The wind was cold and blowing snow directly into our faces which was painful. But the way it was swirling in the air was beautiful.

We didn’t stay there long. Like I said, the snow pelting our faces was painful. πŸ˜‚ But we both think we need to come back in the summer and actually hike around Bear Lake when we’re actually prepared for it.

After our short adventure at Bear Lake we started making our way out of the park. But of course we ended up stopping a few more times. Hahaha I sure put my new hiking boots to good use today! πŸ˜‰

After we finally made our way out of Estes Park and back home my dad heated up the Keto version of broccoli and cheddar soup that he had made the day before. At that point it was the best thing I had ever eaten. Probably because I didn’t really eat much before that. πŸ˜‚

And that was the end of our adventuring on Thursday. We were both really tired after we ate so I showered and then we both ended up taking naps. πŸ˜‚ But obviously my dad needed to since he had to work that night.

So since my dad is doing the whole Keto thing there are NO carbs aside from some veggies in his apartment, and that’s super boring. πŸ˜‚ I knew he had been doing the Keto thing though, so I had brought a whole big thing of Cheerios with me. Still not super fun, but I NEED my carbs man, and I’ll take them were I can get them. πŸ˜‚

But once my brother got back from everything he had to do today he order us a bunch of carb-y deliciousness. He’s not into Keto either, but neither of us felt like going to the store. So we had the carbs brought to us. πŸ˜‚ I swear after like, a day of eating very few carbs, this personal pizza was the best thing I’ve ever eaten! πŸ˜‹πŸ• Hahaha I paced myself though and only ate half of it and saved the other half for today. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, that just about covers Thursday! I don’t think we’re going to be doing anything as exciting today, but tomorrow my dad and I are driving to Fruita, CO for our race on Sunday! We’re going to be staying at one of his driver’s houses that night (which was super cool of him to let us stay with them!), and we might do some hiking while we’re there. The day before our race. πŸ˜‚ Probably not the best idea, but we aren’t going for any world records at this trail race anyway. πŸ˜‰

But alrighty! That’s all for now!

Happy Friday!

~Ashley πŸ—»πŸŒ²β„οΈπŸ˜Š

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March 13th, 2019

Well today was an eventful day!!

It would appear that spring has finally arrived here in Kansas and its brought it’s usual crazy winds with it.

I’d say it also brought the usual wet weather as well, but we actually had a super wet winter so really that’s nothing new at this point. πŸ˜‚ Although we’ve gotten our first couple of spring thunderstorms already. That usually doesn’t happen in the winter. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, kicked off my day in my usual way with a run. I got poured on during the first half which was a lot of fun! I do love me a nice rainy run!! Hahaha at one point though an older gentleman drove up to me in his car, rolled his window down and asked me if I wanted to get out of the rain, and said that he’d be willing to take me anywhere I needed to go. I told him I was fine and politely declined. I’m sure this guy had no ill intentions, but still, I’d never risk getting into a car with a stranger like that. It’s just too risky…

Anyway, rain let up a little bit during the second half of my run and the wind started to really pick up. We got gusts around 50-60 mph today and oh boy were those tough to run in!! I wanted to go 6 miles today but I was just absolutely done with the wind and cut it a little short. I ended up getting in 5.43 miles. Close enough. πŸ˜‰

Wind is not the only bane of my existence this time of year. Oh no! Spring brings wind and dog hair. Lots and lots of dog hair…. Shedding season is in full force. I feel like a good chunk of my time is spent vacuuming up dog hair. Sweeping up dog hair. Picking up dog hair. And brushing dog hair. Fun times. πŸ˜‚

So in the photo below you can see a nice pile of dog hair. That’s all from a 35 pound dog who had a bath yesterday and who had been brushed once before today. So. Much. Dog hair!

Honestly though the dog hair situation isn’t too terrible. It could be a lot worse, especially considering that we have 4 dogs! πŸ˜‰

The wind situation today did, however, end up becoming a huge problem today. Even more so that me just having to run in it!

We had this tree in our backyard, right? And it was pretty much completely dead. We knew we needed to cut it down, but tree removal is expensive and we’ve never really had the tools or manpower to do it ourselves. But on the bright side, the wind took care of that for us today! On the not-so-bright side, the tree landed on the power line that runs to our house as well as an old cable line that it kinda knocked down. That wasn’t a problem though. That one wasn’t doing anything anymore. But it was also on our neighbor’s internet line. Luckily it wasn’t touching his power line too.

Luckily our neighbors are all really awesome, and my brother-in-Law decided to randomly drop by our house. So the brother-in-law of the neighbor who’s kid I babysit works for an electrical company and happened to have a pole saw. Luke just wanted to ask him a few questions, but he offered to help. And then of course the neighbor who’s yard the tree was hanging into helped as well.

Luckily we got it down without any issues! No one got electrocuted and the tree didn’t fall onto the new fence which is great! Now we have a huge tree trunk in our yard that we need to clean up, but at least it’s off the power line and didn’t do any real damage!

Yeah, it’s been a weird day. πŸ˜‚ But at least that’s all taken care of now! Hopefully this wind dies down soon and nothing else ends up happening!

Alrighty, that’s all for now though!

Happy hump day! 🐫

~Ashley

My Most Important Pieces Of Running Gear

Alrighty my friends! Do me a favor; quickly scroll through this list and then come back here…

Done?

Ok. πŸ˜„

Notice anything missing from this list? Running shoes, right? I mean, aren’t those literally the most important piece of running gear after all? And then after that a good sports bra, right?

Both of those things are super important, but here’s the thing, we all know that at this point! I mean, look at Runner’s World. At this point the magazine is 90% shoe ads. I stopped subscribing after they got a new editor and chief, but I’ve heard it’s just been going downhill ever since. But they aren’t the only company constantly telling us that we need shoes. Shoes shoes shoes shoes. Runners need their running shoes! Alright. We get it!

But I personally believe that finding the right running shoe for yourself is a very personal thing. Everyone’s feet, body, running stride, etc, are different. Therefore the perfect running shoe for someone else might be an injury waiting to happen for you!

So yes, maybe do a little bit of research before buying a pair of running shoes, but the best possible thing you can do is try on a variety of brands and styles. Run around in them a little bit at the store, and then just kinda hope that they’ll end up working for you. And if not, try again. I know that sounds like a lot of trial and error, but I really believe that’s the best way to figure out what’s going to work the best for you. You can also go to a reputable and trustworthy running specialty store, but take whatever they tell you with a grain of salt. Yes, they want to help you, but at the end of the day no one knows your feet and your body like you do.

Also if you have a particular shoe that works for you, don’t let anyone convince you that you’re wrong! I’m looking at you, people who say you can’t run long distances in Nike Frees!!

And don’t even get me started on sports bras. There is a lot wrong with that particular part of the athletic wear industry right now. I can’t find anything that isn’t super heavy duty that feels like you’re clipping yourself into a straight jacket, that has no pads or underwire (I get why some people like padded sports bras, but I hate them), or that had a bottom band that digs into and chafes the rib cage. I’ve seen women who end up bleeding pretty badly from these terrible sports bra bands. Nike used to make THE PERFECT sports bra for me, but they don’t anymore and I’m so freaking pissed! It’s been YEARS since I’ve had a sports bra that was actually comfortable…

But anyway. That’s why sports bras are also not on this list.

Hahaha oh wow. I really didn’t mean for that to turn into a rant like that. It just kinda happened. πŸ˜‚ But really I think someone needed to say it.

So, let’s get into a more positive track, shall we?

Obviously I’ve got a bone to pick with certain areas of the running gear/athletic wear industry, but there are actually quite a few brands and products out there that I love, trust, and believe in! Which is great because obviously running gear is fun! But it can also make or break your workout (I’m looking at you, terrible sports bras!), help you keep track of your training, progress, time, mileage, mile splits, or whatever, keep you comfortable in certain weather conditions, help keep you safe, provide you with a little extra piece of mind, or just make you feel like a total badass. Which is also super important!

So, today I wanted to share what I would consider to be my most important pieces of running gear. Obviously if asked, most runners would give you different answers as to what their most important gear is because we’re all different and need and want different things! How awesome is that?! 😊 But for me, these are a few of the things I just can’t live without when it comes to running.

ROAD iD

Safety first, my friends!!

My ROAD iD contains my name, birth year, blood type, and emergency contact. All things that could definitely come in handy in case of an emergency. Plus having all of that right on my wrist means I don’t have to carry my ID or anything else with me while I run, which is nice. πŸ˜„

At this point I WILL NOT run without my ROAD iD. Heck, I rarely ever take it off! It just gives me so much peace of mind knowing that if something were to ever happen to me my husband would be contacted right away. I seriously think everyone should have one!

(PS if you don’t have one yet, you can follow my special link to get you one and save 20% on your order. πŸ˜‰)

Garmin Fenix 5

I am a run by feel kinda gal, so I actually don’t pay a lot of attention to or get distracted by the paces that my Garmin is constantly providing me. Which is a problem that some people run into on occasion and something that can become a bit of an issue.

But, since it’s not a problem for me I always run wearing my Garmin Fenix 5. It’s a super fancy GPS watch and I do enjoy all of the data it can provide me, the biggest thing I’m looking for is my mileage. Yup, I’m the kind of person who can’t end a run at 4.8 miles even if I’m standing right in front of my house (and even though I know that GPS watches aren’t 100% accurate). But keeping track of my mileage is super important to me. It’s how I know if I’m being consistent and actually working hard instead of just phoning it in. Some people can measure that with time, but I prefer miles. Everything else that my Fenix 5 can do is just an added bonus. πŸ˜„

Oiselle Pocket Jogger Capris

You guys, the pants CHANGED MY LIFE!!!!!

I know that’s a little dramatic. πŸ˜‚ But seriously, the amount of pockets on running gear is too damn low!! I don’t need to carry much with me on my runs, but at the very least I like a pocket that my phone will fit in along with a few other pockets that I can keep fuel and chapstick in. But I literally never had that until these pants came into my life. I LOVE them. Now I just need to get the Pocket Jogger Shorts! Not one pair of my running shorts contains enough pockets.

I do have photos of my pair of pocket jogger capris, but they aren’t as good as this one from Oiselle’s website. πŸ˜‰

Trucker Hats

Oh trucker hats! Where would I be without you?!?

Gagging and choking on my hair, and constantly trying to keep my bangs out of my eyes, probably. πŸ˜‚

Trucker hats are an absolute MUST for me during the warmer months. I have what I affectionately refer to as a “choppy hair cut”. There are multiple layers, bangs, it’s kinda long, messy, and nothing is the same length. It can be hard to contain. πŸ˜‚ Even braids and headbands can’t keep it all out of my way. But trucker hats help without holding in too much heat thanks to their mesh backs. Plus I like to have some kind of brimmed hat anyway to keep the sun/wind/rain/who knows what out of my eyes if need be. πŸ˜„

Moisture Wicking Socks

Honestly the brand and style don’t matter much to me. Sometimes I wear compression socks. Sometimes I don’t. As long as my socks keep me feet from getting too sweaty and gross then I’m good to go!

The thing is, one time in my early days as a runner I forgot to switch into moisture wicking socks. It was a miserable experience for my poor, sweaty feet and I have never and probably will never make that same mistake again. I always double check my feet before I hit the pavement, just to be sure that I did indeed put on a pair of my running socks. πŸ˜‚

I’m a simple girl with simple needs. Aside from my Garmin I really don’t have any super duper fancy gear. Obviously there is nothing wrong with having the latest/expensive/technologically advanced/super spiffy gear. But I like to remind people that while all of that stuff can be fun, you really don’t need much to start running. That’s one of the cool things about this sport! It really doesn’t take fancy equipment. You just need a pair of shoes that work for you and whatever allows you to move comfortably over however many miles you want to cover.

Alrighty! That’s all from me for now!

What running gear can’t you live without? I’d love to hear your answers!

But for now I’ll wish you happy Monday and a wonderful new week!!

~Ashley

How I Dress For Cold, Dry Winter Runs

How do you dress for cold runs? Well, I’m not sure. But I can tell you how I do it. πŸ˜‰

Honestly I think that gearing up for any kind of weather condition is a very personal thing. Everyone runs at different temperatures and everyone experiences the elements in different ways. So while one runner might be wearing shorts and a t-shirt when it’s 40 degrees outside another might be wearing tights and a light jacket. Neither runner is wrong. If you feel comfortable then you are dressed properly!

That being said, dressing for the cold and I mean the real cold, I’m talking single digit temps here (or even real feel temperatures in the single digits) can be kinda tricky. But before we get started on how I gear up for the bitter cold I just wanted to note a couple of different things;

First and foremost the importance of moisture wicking material! It is absolutely CRUCIAL to wear materials that are going to move moister away from your skin in the winter. Being wet and cold is a dangerous state to be in. You can develop hypothermia rather quickly in very cold conditions so you’re going to want to stay as dry as possible. Moisture wicking material will help. Especially the layers closest to your skin. I try to wear only moisture wicking material, but when it’s super cold and windy out I’ll usually throw a cotton pullover hoodie on over the rest of my moisture wicking gear.

Secondly, I’ve specified dry conditions for a reason. Running when it’s cold and wet (snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, etc.) is a whole different animal. We’ve already talked about how important it is to stay dry when it’s cold out, but that’s not to say you can’t run when it’s cold and wet out. That just takes a little bit more prep, slightly different gear, and the ability and willingness to exercise caution (especially in icy conditions) and modifying or cutting your run short as need be.

Okey Dokey! Now that that’s out of the way, here is how I dress for cold, dry winter runs!!

So yesterday was a pretty cold day here in Kansas. Cold enough that even I wasn’t super stoked about running outside. πŸ˜‚ It was 22 degrees with a real feel temperature of 8, cloudy, and with winds coming in from the south east at about 16 mph. Honestly it’s the wind that always gets me. I HATE it.

But, I would most definitely rather run in the cold wind than run on a treadmill (which I am lucky enough to have as an option. I’m well aware of that fact. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜) so I decided to gear up and do my run outside! One of the most important aspects of gearing up for the cold is layers! Layers that you can take off or adjust as need be are also very helpful. But layering your clothing probably will make a huge difference in how you feel in the cold.

(Sorry in advance for the not-so-great photos. I’m working with the bad lighting in my house and an iPhone camera here. πŸ˜‰)

My layers laid out on my bed.

Alrighty, let’s start from the bottom and work our way up! I like to go with one pair of socks. Crew cut to help keep my ankles warm. I’m kinda tall so my pants sometimes don’t cover them. πŸ˜‰ In life in general my feet are always freezing, but when I run they are always hot and sweaty, so one pair of thin socks is all I need when it’s dry out.

I always go commando while running. I’m just more comfortable that way. So when the winter winds start to blow I double up on pants. At least when the temperatures are super low. That wind can really cut through a single layer and that can make your crotch really cold and nobody wants a cold crotch. πŸ˜‰ So I like to wear a pair of fleece lined leggings with with either a pair of windbreakers or nice thick sweatpants overtop.

For the top I wear a sports bra of course, followed by a thin shirt. I’m rather fond of quarter length sleeves, but a long sleeved shirt is also a good option. Followed by a running jacket. I LOVE my Nike one. It’s got thumb holes which are always fantastic. Vents in the armpits and a little bit thinner fabric on the back and under arms where most people tend to get hot and sweaty. Plus it’s a quarter zip which can really come in handy if you start feeling a little too warm. You’d be surprised how big of a difference that can make!

Anyway, like I mentioned before, on particularly windy days I’ll wear a pullover hoodie on top of all of that. It really helps keep me from feeling that cold wind. A nice windbreaker jacket would also probably help but I do not have one of those. πŸ˜‚

Then come the hat, gloves, and a bandanna that I borrowed from my dog. πŸ˜‚ So the hat and gloves are pretty obvious. Gotta keep those ears and fingers warm! I just wear cheap little cotton gloves. Nothing fancy, but they work for me. And I’m sure they’re are better beanies for winter running, but my Carhartt has never done me wrong! I know some people prefer to run with just earmuffs or whatever because a whole hat on your head does get pretty warm. I’m not a fan of just having my ears covered though so I like a full on hat. If I start feeling too hot I just take it off for a few minutes.

Now, on to the bandana! Honestly I really need a good buff or something, but I do t have one and this is what I’ve got to work with. A buff or a bandanna or a balaclava will give you some extra face and neck coverage, which can be necessary when it gets crazy cold out. You can also pull them up over your nose and mouth to give your lungs a little break from the cold air. I know some people like to run with their nose and mouth covered the whole time and I’m sure that’s pretty practical in places where it gets even colder, but I prefer to just wear the bandanna and pull it over my mouth and nose as I need it.

And last but not least sunglasses!! I actually wear my sunglasses during a good majority of my runs for several reasons. First off, my eyes are pretty sensitive to bright lights. So even if it’s cloudy out I still like to wear them. Especially if there is snow on the ground. They also offer a little more protection from the cold. Sure it’s not a lot, but it is something! Especially on those really windy days or when it’s so cold it feels like your eyes are gonna freeze.

And that’s it! Once all of my layers are on, I lace up my shoes and head out into the world ready to face the elements! Sure I feel a little bit like Randy from A Christmas Story, but hey, at least I feel relatively comfortable whenever it’s extremely cold out! πŸ˜‰

So this is what works for me on dry, windy days, when temperatures get into the single digits. As you can see, while I do have a few really nice pieces of winter running gear, I don’t have too many crazy fancy things for when the weather get crazy cold, but I am able to make it work! I do have the option of running on the treadmill but I like to avoid that whenever possible. πŸ˜‚ But obviously that’s not an option for everyone, so I just wanted to say that it is possible to get out there and be relatively comfortable even in low temperatures!

Alrighty! I think that about covers it for today! Happy Tuesday!!

~Ashley

Christmas Adventures

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

I sure did! It was super, crazy busy as well!

Luke and I woke up at 3 am Christmas Eve morning so that we could pack up the truck, load the dogs, and then drive to Illinois. We wanted to leave super early so that we’d be there in time to see Luke’s dad after he got off work (he’s been working midnight’s), before he had to go to bed, and to be able to partake in other Christmas festivities. Waking up at 3 am isn’t fun hahaha, but it was worth it to get to Illinois around 8:30 that morning and to do stuff with everyone.

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This is my “I love being awake at 3 am” face.

When we got to Illinois our first stop was Luke’s dad’s house. We got there just a little after he had gotten home from work. So we hung out there all morning with Luke’s dad, step mom, and two of his brothers. Mostly I watched the youngest brother play Pokemon on our Nintendo Switch that Luke brought for him to borrow. Everyone else played Call Of Duty in the other room, but I’m not into that, so we sat together and talked about all things Pokemon while he played. We had all 4 dogs with us and they have a dog too, so we had quite a full house going! Luckily Dean, Finn, Whiskey, and their dog Lexi wanted to spend most of their time outside playing together, so at least we didn’t have all of them underfoot at all times. But Lily isn’t into all of that, so she spent most of this time chillin’ within the mountain of presents that had accumulated under the tree. Luke’s dad’s side of the family takes Christmas very seriously hahaha.

Processed with Rookie Cam

That afternoon we headed over to one of Luke’s Grandma’s. We hung out there for a while, opened some presents, and got all caught up. That was nice. πŸ™‚ Once we were done there we went to my Grandma’s house. She and my uncle went all out and made a bunch of yummy food. My mom came over with her friend and we had a little party. After that Luke and I went back to his dad’s where we stayed the night.

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Me, my mom, and my grandma.

Everyone was up bright and early on Christmas morning! We had presents from Santa to open!! πŸ˜‰ Apperently everyone was on Santa’s Nice List this year, because we all ended up with small piles of new stuff. Hahaha like I said, that side of the family takes Christmas very seriously. Obviously we all got a bunch of cool stuff, but I’m particularly fond of the wearable, blanket/snuggie type thing my father-in-law got me. It’s pretty freaking awesome! I was also given lots of socks and a pair of slippers, because they know I love socks and that my feet are always cold hahaha.

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After we cleaned up mountains of wrapping paper we all played with our gifts for a little bit while Luke’s dad made everyone breakfast. We didn’t get to hang out there for very long though, we had Luke’s other Grandma’s Christmas party to go to. The pile of gifts they had “under” their tree put my father-in-law’s to shame! Hahaha seriously, this side of the family goes ALL OUT for Christmas! Plus they have all of their kids, grand kids, siblings, uncles, aunts, and an assortment of other people over for Christmas. So there’s always a lot going on, but it’s always nice to get to hang out together. A lot of us don’t get to see each other very often so Christmas is usually when we get to catch up with everyone. We were there for quite a while doing just that, eating a HUGE lunch, and then opening gifts. That always takes up quite a bit of time, but it’s fun! πŸ™‚

Once we were done there we stopped by my Grandma’s again just to say hi. She wasn’t feeling well that day and ended up cancelling the plans she’d had. That was a bit of a bummer, but on the bright side, she was feeling much better the next day. So after we stopped by her house we went back to Luke’s dad’s where we cleaned up a little bit and got ready for Luke’s step mom’s family to come over. When they got there we had a small dinner (thank goodness! I’m not sure anyone could have handled another big meal hahaha), opened more presents, watched a Christmas movie, and for some reason one of the little girls who was there decided I was her new best friend, so we played together. She showed me all of her gifts, showed me how to use them, and made me put some of them together. Haha it was cute. We all had a good time.

After they all left me, Luke, Luke’s dad, step mom, and two of his brothers all played the new Meme board game we had gotten. That was hilarious! Especially since one of Luke’s brother’s is only 11 an didn’t really understand a lot of what was going on. Haha oh man we had a lot of fun though. We didn’t get to play that long though. Luke’s dad had to go to work and his step mom and 11 year old brother had to go to bed. But me, Luke, and Luke’s 18 year old brother ended up staying up for a while playing some game called That’s You on the Playstation, but the game was also connected to an app on our phones. Basically the game asked questions along the lines of “who would do this” or whatever and you had to vote on your phone.. If you and someone else voted for the same person you got points. There were also rounds where you had to draw on selfies of each other. That got out of hand very quickly. There were a lot of dicks and boobs. It was amazing!

We didn’t stay up too late though. The next day we had to get up early and start packing up the truck and helped clean up the house a little bit more. Then we said our goodbyes, and headed over to Luke’s Grandma’s again. We ate lunch with her and then we finally headed back home.

After all of the Christmas festivities and a 5 hour drive all Luke and I wanted to do when we got home was sit back and relax! Unfortunately we couldn’t really do that. First we had to run to the grocery store and pick up some food, because we had NONE in the house. Then I had to tend to the animals and clean up our house a little bit. bring in and put away all of our Christmas gifts, start some laundry, among other things. It was slightly hectic, but Luke ordered pizza and we were finally able to sit down and chill for a few hours before we went to bed.

Whew! Fun times! And we’re going to do it all over again because Luke’s dad has convinced him to come back to Illinois on Monday for New Year’s Eve. Hahaha I’m sure that will be a lot of fun too. But for now, I’m enjoying being back in my own house, having the time and space to actually have some alone time, and sleeping in my own bed. Oh and being able to eat my usual food at my usual times and having veggies that aren’t covered in cheese. I never thought I’d say this, but I was ridiculously happy to start making roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. πŸ˜‚After all of that holiday fun I’m in desperate need of some nutritious, non-cheese covered food. Unfortunately that probably wont last long, since we’ll be going right back. Hahaha oh well. At least it’ll be fun. πŸ™‚

Throughout all of that I took a short break from running. I got right back at it today though! I just did a slow and easy 2 miles since I still feel really full and sluggish after all of that food, and slightly dehydrated, but other than that it did feel pretty good to get out and moving a little bit! And I’m thinking tomorrow will feel even better now that I’ve re-hydrated a bit and have eaten actual fruits and veggies. πŸ˜‰

Now then, I’ve got some roasted Brussel sprouts, potatoes, and a veggie burger patty that I’m about to go devour! πŸ˜‹

Happy Holidays!!

~ Ashley

First Long Run Of Half Marathon Training Is Done!!

It wasn’t all that long of a run, only 8 miles. But that’s what I kept telling myself last night and this morning and I’m pretty sure that’s how I ended up getting through it ahahaha. “It’s only 8 miles. It’s only 8 miles. It’s only 8 miles.” After saying it enough times it really did feel like “only” 8 miles. πŸ˜‰

Which is great! Because yesterday Luke and I helped some of our friends move. We actually only took one truckload of stuff from their old house to their new house and after we unloaded that into their new garage, got a tour of the house, and then sat out on their deck and drank some beer for a little bit, we went out for dinner. I don’t remember what the place was called (I think it was named after a famous chef or something? I’m not sure…) but it was pretty good! I got their mac and cheese (because carb loading. Duh! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ ) and it was pretty awesome! It had ham, bacon, and green onions in it. Yum! Everyone else got another drink but not me. I didn’t want to risk feeling too bad the next day haha. And of course Luke had to make fun of me because apparently you can’t have fun at a dinner with friends unless you’re drinking alcohol? πŸ™„ Whatever. He obviously doesn’t get why this is so important to me. But I mean, running is kind of a crazy sport and makes us do some weird things, so I can kind of understand that.

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Anyway, after dinner we ordered a few desserts to go and then were going to walk around and explore the area we were in for a little bit, so Luke and I got coffee at the most fancy Starbucks I’ve ever been in ever. Haha it was pretty crazy! But after walking around for a few minutes we decided to call it a night and just hang out another time. I had a few sips of my coffee, but I knew if I drank the whole thing right before we went home and went to bed that I’d never sleep, so I just saved it instead. πŸ™‚

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I was very happy with my decision not to drink my coffee when I got up this morning. First off, I was able to get to sleep, which is pretty much necessary for me to function. Haha I don’t do well on minimal amounts of sleep. And second, I had a delicious and already made coffee waiting for me in the fridge. All I had to do was warm it up! Obviously it wasn’t as good as fresh coffee, but I’m not seeing whyΒ  re-heated up coffee gets such a bad rap. It was still pretty good!

Getting out of bed was still a little bit hard this morning. We were out a little later than we had thought we’d be last night and like I said, I don’t function well when I don’t get enough sleep. Haha I woke up a little later than I would have liked, so I ended up getting around 7 hours which isn’t bad, but I still would have and always prefer to get 8 hours of sleep. That seems to be just the right amount for me. But anyway, I got up drank my re-heated coffee and ate the rest of my mac and cheese from last night. Breakfast of champions, obviously. πŸ™‚ Then I went out and got my run done!

Since I got up later than I’d have liked I got outside on the road a little after 8 am. That’s actually the time I really like to run pretty much any time of the year that is not summer. In the summer I like to get up and out the door before the sun has been out for too long. But I got really lucky today and it was in the low 70’s and cloudy when I started my run, so not bad!!

All in all it was a relatively uneventful run. For a little bit it looked like I might get rained on and I was really hoping that I would, but it never happened. In fact, the sun actually came out when I had about 1.5 miles left to go and that really started to warm things up, which made the going a little bit rough, but I still got it done!

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And with that my first week of training for Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days is pretty much done! I’ve got a rest day tomorrow and then it’s on to week 2!

I’m actually pretty surprised by how well this week has gone for me, considering that last week we were in Branson on vacation and I did zero running while we were there haha. Obviously that’s a pleasant surprise though! I’ve still got 15 more weeks to go and I know they wont all be smooth sailing, but I’m hoping that a lot of them end up as good as this week was! πŸ™‚

But anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today! I hope you’ve had a super Saturday and have a great rest of the weekend!

~Ashley

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Buy Me A Coffee

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? πŸ˜‰

 

 

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 getΒ 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!Β  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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰ 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.Β  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. πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

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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. πŸ˜‰ I guess the rest is history. I’ve been sharing my story here and connecting with all sorts of amazing people ever since. πŸ™‚

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 shareΒ allΒ 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. ❀ πŸ™‚

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

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

~Ashley