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Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days: Take Two is Officially A-go!!

Woohoo!! As of Saturday I am officially registered for the Gobbler Grind half marathon! That means Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days: Take Two is officially a-go!! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Apparently hanging up my fliers at the Indian Creek Trail and at the office where Luke works really worked! So far I’ve had 8 people sign up for the Gobbler Grind using my ambassador discount code which means I got to register for free (I only needed 5 for that. ๐Ÿ˜‰). Sweet!!!

Some ambassador programs are definitely better than others! ๐Ÿ˜ Some just give you a discount, but others (usually ones that you have to work a little bit harder for) have better benefits like this! And I’m not trying to brag or anything like that! Just keeping it real and everything in full disclosure! I am an ambassador for this race (and several brands) so I do get some perks from all of that. But I do strive to keep everything I post in here 100% real. I would never promote or become involved with a brand or race that I didn’t believe in or love.

Hahaha and I know I always say something like that whenever I talk about any of that ambassador programs I’m in, but like I said, just trying to keep it real on my little corner of the interwebs! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

So anyway, Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days: Take Two is officially official! Yay!!

And right before I “officially” kick off my half marathon training cycle too!! Hahaha I say “officially” because my training plan actually starts next week, but I’ve been training with Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days: Take Two in mind since the beginning of this year, really.

I would be a lot more stoked about the start of my half marathon training plan if the last week of June and first week of July didn’t have so little running in them… Those weeks I only totaled 11 mile and the 7 miles respectively. Oops. But I mean, it’s been a busy summer and life just kinda happened. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

Really though I was doing pretty well, at least mileage wise, up until that point though and I really got my shit together last week and got in 18 miles. Not what I’ve been aiming for, but not terrible. And I’m really focusing on making this week even better, so I should be ok in that department. I won’t be going into this training cycle ridiculously out of shape at least! ๐Ÿ˜‚

The real issue here is that I haven’t really done any speed work since this spring. Yikes. Since I’m tackling two half’s in two days I don’t really have a time goal for either. Especially since I’m running both races with my dad. But really, I should still be doing some speedier things…

Oh man the first few speed sessions of half marathon training are really going to hurt. ๐Ÿคฃ

But all in all I am pretty excited to “officially” start training for this thing next week! Hopefully it’ll all go smoothly! Or as smoothly as summer running can ever go for me. Hahaha I am not a fan. ๐Ÿฅต But summer miles bring fall smiles! So I’m going to do my best to stick with it!

And doing my best apparently means waking up at 5 am so I can get out the door before the sun comes up and slogging through 3 very slow, slightly painful miles. At least, that was my “best” this morning. Really I wanted to get in 5 miles today, but my legs are shot from walking around the zoo in Doc Martens all day on Saturday. My sparkle boots (Doc Martens 1460 Pascal Glitter ๐Ÿ˜‰) are very pretty and SUPER comfortable! But they are a lot heavier than the shoes that I have been wearing lately.

I actually experienced this every fall when I got from wearing mostly tennis shoes and flip flops to wearing heavier boots. My legs always feel a little heavy when I start my footwear transition. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Worth it! I got several compliments on my boots that day. ๐Ÿ˜Š

So, 3 miles today! I think my slow slogging (in my super light Nike Free’s! ๐Ÿ˜‰) helped shake out my legs a little bit though. So hopefully tomorrow’s run will go a little bit better! Either way, still got in 3 miles before the sun had a chance to rise and really heat up the road, so I’ll take that as a win!!

After I finished my slow slog run I spent about an hour and a half tending to my chickens and my garden. I had quite a bit of weeding to do. ๐Ÿ˜‚ But my tomato plants are finally starting to go off!! They’ve had a bunch of green tomatoes on them for a while now but they’re starting to get ripe! Plus I’ve got these HUGE green tomatoes out there and I absolutely cannot wait for them to to finally turn red!!

Our garden is much smaller than it’s been in previous years. This year we’ve only got tomato plants, pepper plants (which I’ve already gotten one huge, green pepper from, cantaloupe plants, and cucumber plants (which are just now starting to grow little tiny cucumbers!!!). But it’s doing MUCH better than last year. Last summer was absolutely BRUTAL. It was crazy hot and sunny pretty much every day and I’m not even exaggerating when I say we went two whole months without a drop of rain. It was crazy! But this year has been sooo much better and we’re definitely going to get a much better produce yield, which means we’ll actually have some stuff to can! Yay!!

Anyways, that’s all for today!!

Happy Monday! I hope you have a fantastic week!

Until next time,

~Ashley

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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. ๐Ÿ˜„

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 Runnerโ€™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. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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?! ๐Ÿ˜Š 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. ๐Ÿ˜„

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰)

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. ๐Ÿ˜„

Oiselle Pocket Jogger Capris

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

I know that’s a little dramatic. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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 arenโ€™t as good as this one from Oiselleโ€™s website. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜„

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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

Training For โ€œOperation Two Half Marathons In Two Daysโ€ Begins Today!

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I’ve been trying to figure out just exactly what I wanted to call this training cycle. Haha is that weird? Last year I went with “Half Marathon Training Round Three” but that wasn’t exactly going to work this time around, so after some thinking I figuredย โ€œOperation Two Half Marathons In Two Daysโ€ worked just fine! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But yeah, my training plan officially begins today! I am Kicking off this training cycle with a rest day, as is pretty usual with the Garmin training plans that I use haha. I’m ok with that though. Mostly because I basically forgot this was coming up until some point yesterday evening. That’s my bad. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I guess being in vacation mode for most of the week kinda threw me off but it’s all good! At least I’ve got today to start to mentally prepare for all of the training that’s coming my way. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Especially since I did absolutely no running while we were in Branson. The little town our cabins were in seemed super sketchy and I didn’t feel safe going anywhere alone, let alone running several miles by myself. And it turns out it was a super sketchy place because we ended up getting some fishing gear (along with a leatherman’s tool that my grandpa gave me…) stolen. So it was probably a good decision not to run there.

But while we were there I did get a new pair of running shoes at the Nike outlet store, so at least there’s that! The pair of Free’s that I had been running in were getting super worn out and were pretty much at the end of their running life, so they’ve officially become my new everyday shoes. And the pair of Free’s that were my everyday shoes got thrown away. They served my very well, first as running shoes and then as everyday shoes, but they were basically ripping to shreds and it was long past time to get rid of them.

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From left to right; my new running shoes, my now everyday shoes, and the shoes I finally threw away. Haha it’s hard to tell in this photo, but they were in rough shape.

I think it’s pretty exciting to kick off a new training cycle with a new pair of shoes! And of course I’ve still got my Nike Pegasus to run in as well. I like to have at least two pairs of shoes to rotate between. So now I’m all set on that front!

Anyway, getting into half marathon training mode should be interesting, considering that I haven’t done a whole lot of running this month. Between the heatwave and our family vacation I just haven’t really been feeling it. But the weather has gotten a little less hot, our vacation is done, and I’m feeling ready to get this show on the road! So things are kicking off with an easy 3 miler tomorrow and we’ll just see how that goes! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve learned a lot training for and then completing my first 3 half’s, so now that I’m armed with that knowledge I’m pretty confident for this training cycle. Well, I’m also a bit terrified because I’m running two half’s in two days, and I’d be very confident if I was just doing one, orย  a couple a few months or weeks apart. But all in all I’m pretty exciting to see how this all goes!

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Mile 11 of the Longview Half Marathon, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Okey dokey then! Getting back into the swing of things and back into running. I’m ready to go! Bring it on!

Until next time,

~Ashley

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Treadmill Running

I started out my running journey almost 5 years ago on a treadmill in my old apartment complexes fitness center, but once I started running on the paved trail that was near by, I ditched the treadmill and never looked back. In that time I’ve forgotten a little something about myself; I’m super duper awkward on treadmills!

So just going back a little bit, last weekend Luke and I went to Illinois for one of his brother’s high school graduation party. While we were there we picked up my sister’s old treadmill from her boyfriend’s mom’s house. My sister (actually, both of my sister’s, my brother, and both of my parents) live in Colorado now. It would have been more expensive for her to rent a truck and drive all the way to Illinois just to get it, and since she knew Luke just recently bought a new truck, she told me that we could take it. And that, my friends, is how I ended up getting a $600 treadmill for free. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Originally I wasn’t going to take the treadmill. “I’m a road runner!” I told myself, “I pride myself in running in ALL OF THE WEATHER CONDITIONS!” And that is true, but in the summer months I always end up runningย a lot less and basically not doing any kind of speed work, because I do not do well in the heat. It absolutely drains me and my running kinda suffers because of it. So after thinking about that for a while, I figured why not take the treadmill? I could probably utilize it in a way to supplement my outdoor running and actually do some speed work in the summer! So at this point I’m pretty stoked to have it. Even though it’s kinda huge and taking up a lot of room in my living room haha.

Anyway, back to my original point. I run weird on treadmills. And I’ve kinda forgotten about that little fact until now. Once I had started running on that trail back in the apartment days I realized how natural treadmill running felt to me. I also realized how quickly I tore shoes up while running on a treadmill. Once I started running on asphalt my shoes started lasting me a lot longer. Probably because running on a revolving belt is just naturally going to wear them out faster, but also because my running gait is just super awkward while moving on said revolving belt and I’ve never been able to get into a good rhythm on one. And honestly I probably never will.

So I’ve only run twice since Sunday when we brought this thing home. Both runs were on the treadmill and both runs felt super weird. Now, I know I’m slow, but a little simple math told me that my Garmin wasn’t reading correctly with that first run on Monday and that I was going somewhere around a 13:30 pace and not a 15 minute per mile pace. Haha that was a huge relief! Because that first run felt HARD! So I’m not actually sure about the distance on this run. I’m not all that worried about it though, I figured out how to calibrate my watch to the treadmill and it was pretty close to what the treadmill was reading on Tuesday. Still not sure how accurate the treadmill is, but I’m just gonna roll with it haha.

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First treadmill run in a very long time on Monday!

You might notice in the photo above that I’m not wearing any shoes. Haha remember how I said I tear shoes up while running on the treadmill? Yeah, I don’t want to be doing that right now. You see, I’m down to one pair of running shoes (I just had to retire my current pair of Nike Free’s. It was a sad day), my Nike Pegasus and they’re getting close to being halfway through their running life with me. I can usually get about 300 ish miles out of a pair of shoes before they have to retire to my “everyday” shoes, and then I can usually wear them for about another year before I have to get rid of them. It’s a good system for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ But anyway, since I’m down to one pair of running shoes and currently not able to spend $100 to get a new pair (that whole trip to Illinois, our up coming family vacation that Luke’s mom has been planning, and having to pay bills, buy food, and other adult stuff like that is really slowing the whole getting new running shoes thing down). So in order to preserve my current pair of shoes I’ve done both of my runs this week in my socks!!

(Just a little side note here guys, I have a ko-fi account now! You might have notice the “Buy Me A Coffee” button on the side of my blog. I actually spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not I should join ko-fi, because I didn’t want anyone to think I was like, begging for money or anything. And I’m totally not! But you know, I do work pretty hard on this blog and my other social media accounts. I put myself out there and share my story in some pretty up close and personal ways. So I figured why not give people a way to show me some love and support in the small way of “buying me a coffee” if they want to. And if they don’t, no big deal and no hard feelings. It’s not like I started this blog to make boatloads of money. Although I’d be lying if I said that wouldn’t be nice. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But anyway, just thought I’d throw that out there really quick. I probably wont be bringing it up much though.)

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

So anyway, in order to preserve the life of my remaining pair of running shoes, I’ve done both of my runs this week in just my socks. I figured it wouldn’t be that big of a deal though. As kids my sisters and I would run around the farm barefoot all the time. We’d walk around corn fields, cow pastures, the woods, our gravel driveway, and even ride our bikes all sans shoes, and it was great!! And it’s not like I wear shoes all the time anyway. Nowadays I always walk around my house in just socks. I ride my stationary bike barefoot, tend to my garden barefoot or in flip flops or rubber boots (so, shoes that basically have no support whatsoever). I’ve even played tennis and helped Luke practice for softball either barefoot or in socks. Haha we’ve actually discoverd that I pitch better without shoes on! Although that’s probably just a weird coincidence, but now whenever we got out to the softball fields and there’s no home plate out we just use my shoes because I’m a-ok with not wearing them haha.

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P.S. I’m totally in love with my Zensah watermelon compression socks!!ย ๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿ˜„[/[/[/[/[/[/

I’ve also got an affinity for minimalist shoes. Hence why I love Nike Free’s so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love myย Pegasus. They’re a great training shoe and a good way for me to switch things up a little bit, but I wont do races in them haha. Compared to the Free’s they just feel heavy to me. I don’t even like wearing them on long runs, but I do because I know it’s good for me. But anyway, since I’m quite often barefoot, or wearing socks or minimalist shoes, I figured my feet, ankles, and legs would be strong enough to do my treadmill running in just my socks. But I think I might have overdone it a bit yesterday. I ran 4 miles on the treadmill, very awkwardly because like I said, treadmill running is weird and hard, in just my socks. I’m not hurt or injured or anything, but my calves are just super tight today! My guess is from running super duper awkwardly on the treadmill two days in a row and now wearing shoes probably didn’t help.

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Haha yesterday I actually spent those 4 miles watching part of a full Green Day concert on YouTube. I have no idea how people can go to a concert and record the whole thing! I’m too busy singing and dancing to even consider taking decent pictures, let along record a video! But I am incredibly grateful to the people who do! Haha yesterday’s 4 miles flew by thanks to whoever recorded this concert! I find treadmill running to be incredibly boring, so I never thought I’d say treadmill miles just flew by! So that was really nice!! But like I said, I woke up with super tight calves today, so I figured I needed to rest them and stretch them, so that’s been my goal for today.

I actually wanted to run outside today. The weather has been a little less hot thanks to some rain we have in the forecast, so it would have been nice to take it outside today. But my tight calves are making my heels hurt a little bit. I’ve dealt with plantarย fasciitis before (and ironically I got it from running in a pair of shoes that were waaay to supportive for my feet. I have very high arches and I’ve found the less support a shoe has, the better!) and I definitely didn’t want to go through all of that again, so I figured taking the day off and getting my calves to loosen up a bit was obviously the better option. So I spent about 30 minutes on my yoga mat doing just that. I still felt a little tight, but a lot better after that!

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So I’m hoping tomorrow they feel even better and I’ll be able to run on them. The weather forecast is saying that it’s supposed to be in the 60’s and cloudy with a chance of rain, so I’d like to run in that before it starts getting hot and gross again!! But once it does, at least I’ll have the treadmill as an option. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also got another dentist appointment tomorrow to get my permanent crowns put on. So hopefully that all goes well. But that is all I’ve got for now, so happy hump day everyone!

~Ashley

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