Category Archives: Training

Why Running?

“Why running?”

It’s a question I get a lot whenever I tell people I’m a runner. Which honestly isn’t exactly often, partially because of this question.

It can be kind of hard to explain to someone who’s already made up their mind about running. “Running sucks.” “Running is painful.” “Running is boring.” “I could never run that far.” Statements like these often follow that particular question.

It’s hard to convince people that you quickly grow to embrace the discomfort. That sometimes you get excited when you start feeling that burning in your legs. Some days you gladly welcome the shortness of breath and the pounding of your heart. Sometimes you even chase the pain and discomfort that some people are so afraid of. Because pushing your body and testing your limits feels good!

How do you adequately describe to someone the absolute joy and freedom that running brings? That just like in life, it’s often the smallest things that make it so great; how quite and peaceful it is while running through the falling snow, splashing through puddles after a rainstorm, watching the sunrise at 5 o’clock in the morning, the rhythmic sound of your feet hitting the pavement.

It’s not easy to articulate that the big wins, PR’s, and successful runs, training cycles, and races are great, but that the big losses are good too. Not that they always feel that way in the moment, but when you look back on them days, weeks, months, or years later it seems like you always realize that you learned an important lesson from that big loss.

Over the years I’ve learned that running is good for your body, your mind, and your soul. I’m not sure any other form of movement or exercise program can be as fulfilling and painful and beautiful and heartbreaking and amazing and pure and I could literally go on and on, as running is. But I’ve found that it can be hard to explain that to the people who’ve already made up their minds on running. And that’s fine.

I think running is almost like a religion in that way; people don’t want it shoved down their throats, especially by the people who are highly devoted to it. So I’ve taken a similar stance on running as I do with religion and politics and other sometimes hard to talk about subjects, I just won’t talk about it unless you ask me. Because I’m not about to try to change someone’s mind on anything. I just don’t have that kind of energy in my life.

So when I do get asked “why running?” I usually just respond with a smile and a quick “because I think it’s fun.”. Because a lot of people just don’t get it or already have their minds made up about it and that’s alright! Because I’m just going to keep on running.

A Long Run

A really fucking hard long run…

We have been under a wind advisory all day here in Kansas so obviously the wind was no joke! It seriously felt like I was running straight into a headwind during a majority of my 8 miles today. Extra resistance training anyone? 😂

Seriously though the wind was a major factor today, but I just didn’t feel great in general. My body is just so tired. I know I’m not recovering very well but it’s really hard to rest and recover when your job is relatively physical. And just stressful in general. Helping you care for people, even in the very small ways that I do, can be so so so draining. But it is also kinda rewarding and I’ve definitely developed relationships with people that I really do cherish. So there’s that side of it as well.

Anyway though, I walked A LOT during this run. And at only 3 miles in I stopped back at my house, sat on my porch, and threw myself a pity party because I felt like shit and I didn’t think I was got to make it any further. Obviously I did, but just barely. There were a few minutes there that I really was going to quit.

I made it 8 miles! More than I thought I would but less than my training plan called for. Although I do kinda feel like the extra resistance from the wind basically counts as 2 extra miles anyway. 😂 And boy do I have the windburn on my face to prove it!!

I am happy that I was actually able to do a longer run this week though, especially after last week, but honestly I’m still not sure about how I’m going to do this virtual half in November. But no matter how that ends up going I’m swearing off longer distances for a currently undetermined amount of time.

I honestly just can’t keep doing this. I really wish I was one of those people that running just naturally comes easy to but I’m not. Although I’m not ready to swearing off of it completely. Just the longer stuff. And maybe one day I’ll be in a place that I can come back to it. Hopefully anyway. I wanted to be that 80 year old lady still doing half marathons but at this point I’m not even 30 and I’m hardcore struggling to get through any run that’s longer that 3 or 4 miles.

Sorry this post turned into a pity part but this is where I am right now. Anyway, I hope you have a good Saturday! I’m getting wine drunk tonight so I know I’m in for a good night!

Until next time,

~Ashley

I had a really tough moment yesterday. I was literally at the point where I was questioning why I even keep trying. Why I bothered signing up for and attempting to train for another half marathon. Why I don’t just pick an easier, less physically taxing hobby.

Actually if I’m being honest all week felt that way to a degree. But I thought I just needed to back off a little bit. But it all cumulated together with the physical and emotional demands of work, trying to keep up with my responsibilities in regards to our house, pets, and everything else.

I got my flu shot on Friday which did make me feel a little bit more tired, achy, and my arm was pretty sore for a few days. Then yesterday my husband sprayed bug spray in our house (in asthmatic and don’t do well with ANY kind of aerosols) so that was just the icing on the cake. On top of everything else my lungs were very unhappy.

So I didn’t think I was going to accomplish the 10 mile long run I had planned for Saturday, but I was hoping I’d at least make it 7 or 8. But nope. I barely made it 1 mile. Which lead me to my whole existential crisis.

I decided to not even attempt to run today and just took the rest day that my training plan called for. Not like it’s actually a rest day though because I did have to work. So that brings my mileage for the week to a whopping 4.5 miles…That’s kinda disheartening because last week I hit 17.5 miles for the week and up until this week I actually felt like my half training was going really well.

At this point I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do. I think I’m going to continue to attempt to stick to my training plan, I’m a little over half way through with it anyway, and then I’ll still attempt this virtual half. But after all of that is said and done I think I’m going to have to be done with longer races for a while. Which is incredibly frustrating because really half marathons aren’t even that long (obviously that’s all relative but to this seasoned half marathoner it really isn’t that long), but I think I’m just at a point in my life where my body can’t physically handle the demands of work, keeping up with every day life, and half marathon training. I really just feel broken down and exhausted all of the time…

So, maybe it’s just best to stick with 5k’s and 10k’s after this half marathon. I’m already signed up for a couple of virtual 5k’s anyway! 😊 I do miss IRL racing though, but I do talk a little bit about why I’m not doing any in person races anytime soon in this post.

Anyway, I don’t know what else to say except that life is hard and this year has sucked horribly. And it seems like everyone has had a really rough go at things this year. But we’ll keep moving forward. It’s really all we can do.

Happy Sunday everyone! Here’s to a new week and a new start!

~Ashley

Half Marathon Training Round 7

Wow! Racing sure looks different this year, am I right?!?

People are definitely taking advantage of virtual racing which is kinda cool, although I’ve never been a huge virtual race person. I would absolutely prefer to be standing in a starting corral surrounded by other runners, get cheered on by spectators, and get handed chocolate milk by wonderful race volunteers. But those are all things that are a little tricky in our new social distancing situation. So the obvious solution is virtual racing!

And I’m trying to embrace it. I’m currently registered for two virtual 5k’s, the virtual half marathon that I’m currently training for, and I’m thinking I need to find a fun Christmas themed 5k to register for as well, since the other two 5k’s are pumpkin and thanksgiving themed! 😂 And on top of that the half marathon my dad and I were registered for in May was turned into a virtual race. But that’s another story for another day. We are also registered for another local 5k that was supposed to be done in March but has been postponed twice and I’m kinda thinking that it’s going to end up being canceled.

That all being said a local running company has been putting on IRL races but I’m not sure I’ll be participating in one anytime soon. I work in a nursing home now and we had COVID-19 in our facility for 6 weeks. It was hell. And I don’t want to be the person who brings it back into the facility (and we are expecting a round two this cold and flu season).

So all of that is a very round about way of saying that I’m signed up for a virtual half marathon on November 7th! 😂

Nuun is doing an online group half marathon training thing for their ambassadors so I figured I might as well too! They capped the actual half marathon registration to 2,500 people but I was able to get in and do it officially. 😁

So this will be my second half marathon this year! Although I’ve attempted it a few times I’ve never actually run multiple half marathons in a year so I’m pretty stoked!

The training plan that Nuun has provided is a big change from what it used to though! The plan is only 8 weeks, which is really short for me! Not to mention that I was very out of shape when I started…..

But today is the first day of week four and right now I’m feeling really good! It took me about three weeks to actually feel good though. I’m pretty sure I spent the first three weeks of this plan constantly sore, tired, and out of shape feeling. I’ve definitely made progress though and I totally overcame all of the hardships that came with the first three weeks!

At this point I’m looking forward to see what the next four weeks bring and I’m excited to get this half done!! I definitely don’t think any PR’s are going to happen, not this time around considering the shape I’m in, but the goal is to finish it and to enjoy it! Two very doable goals!! 😄

Who else is training for a fall race? Are you doing virtual races or in person races?

Gobbler Grind 10k 11/10/19

Yes you read that correctly. 10k. Not half marathon. Hahaha I’ll get there, but first let’s start where we left off yesterday. 😉

So after we finished the Longview half (which you can read all about here), Luke drove us to Garry Gribble’s so we could get our race packets since that running store is relatively close to the start/finish area of the Longview half. Well, it’s closer to there than it is to our house anyway. 😂 So we went there, got our stuff, and then went to 5 Guys to eat because that’s our post-race tradition now!

After that we went back home, hung out at my house for a little bit, went to bed, and then got up at 5:30 am to do it all over again.

Except when we got up and started getting ready I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to do it all again. My hamstrings were tight and hurting but I do think of I would have paced myself properly I could have done it! But my dad is a less experienced runner and isn’t a good pacer. 😂. But he said he was hurting 3 steps into the Longview half and the last 3 ish miles were a struggle for him. So I started thinking we needed to drop down to the 10k. Which I told him. But as we were getting ready he was adamant that we signed up for two half marathons so we were going to do two half marathons.

On the drive to the starting line (which Luke so graciously did again so we wouldn’t have to worry about it) I was still trying to convince him that this was a bad idea, but he wasn’t having it. So, we arrived at the starting area, parked, and walked (well my dad limped) to the port-o-potties.

Now, I absolutely love everything about this race, but my only real issue with it is that there are no where near enough port-o-potties for the amount of people who participate. We got there over and hour early so there was no line yet, but we knew from our experience last year that the line would get RIDICULOUSLY long and span most of the parking lot. So we used the facilities early and while we still could.

The starting line before everyone showed up.

Anyway, once we were done I put my foot down and told my dad we were dropping to the 10k. I thought that one or even both of us would end up getting hurt if we attempted another 13.1 miles. So I walked to the packet pick up area and switched distances, so he kinda had to as well. 😂 I think it was for the best though.

After getting our new bibs we walked back to the truck and hung out in there for a while since it was a chilly morning and we had arrived so early. By then the line for the port-o-potties was already super long and getting worse by the minute. There was no way we’d be able to use them again and actually start the race on time. And yet we continued to drink water and coffee. 😂

With about 10 minutes until the race started we walked out to the starting corral but I had to pee REALLY bad. I decided I couldn’t wait so I walked into the woods, found a big tree off of the trail a ways, and peed there. I used to run on this particular trail EVERYDAY when I lived in an apartment near by, and I still go there to run every once in an while, so this definitely wasn’t the first time I’ve peed in that woods. 😂 A few minutes later my dad did the same thing and THEN we went to line up in the starting corral.

A few minutes later we were off!! Not gonna lie, I was super stoked that we were only going 6 miles that day instead of 13. Plus I was very excited to be at another race! Especially since I don’t race very often. I mean, look at that smile! I was loving it!!

After the initial excitement of starting wore off we slowed down quite a bit. We were both feeling that half marathon from the day before. 😂 Several spectators and race volunteers recognized us from the day before though so that was pretty cool!!

So the first few miles of this 10k were on the roads around Corporate Woods Park. So obviously there are big corporate buildings, some side walks and parking lots, and we were on the road and not the trail (yet) but it was still very pretty. Especially because of all of the fall colors!

After about 2.5 miles we turned onto the trail though. And this is the section of trail that I really did run or walk on every single day for 3 years and still often one back to. It’s not like being out in the woods somewhere secluded or anything like that, but it’s about as close as you can get in Overland Park, which is a huge city, so I’ve always been very fond of this trail and I very much enjoyed getting to do a race on it!

Anyway, for the second half of this 10k we finally settled into a good rhythm and what felt like a very consistent pace. We cheered on the other runners going the opposite direction and at this point and until the very end we never passed anyone but we were also never overtaken by anyone else. So that was just interesting.

At about mile 4.5 we turned around and started heading back the way we came, making our way closer and closer to the finish line! I think at that point my dad was very ready to be done, but I was in super high spirits and enjoying myself very much!

Finally the finish line was in sight! We sped up a little bit and finished with smiles on our faces! We got our medals and some post race cinnamon rolls and then wandered around a little bit to see what goodies they had to offer at all of the booths set up out there.

We got free bananas, chocolate milk, a mini ice pack, among a few other things. We also met the social media manager of the race which was super cool! She saw us out on the 10k course and cheered for us which of course we returned, but we didn’t know who she was. I thought it sounded like she recognized us and of course it turns out that she did! We interact quite often on instagram! I just didn’t know what she looked like because she runs the race’s Instagram page. But anyway we talked for a little bit and that was pretty cool!

Hahaha and one of the race photographers at the finish area also got several photos of of which I thought was neat! They even got Luke in one of them! 😄

And that was pretty much it! A little less exciting than the half marathon I guess, but I thought it was a lot more fun.

After we were done hanging out at the race we went to 5 Guys of course! It’s our post-race tradition after all!!

Then we headed back home. Luke headed out to go golfing but I stayed behind this time because my dad wanted to leave after he showered. So he did that, we packed up his truck, and he headed off to Illinois where he was going to meet my brother who had left in their camper that morning before we went of to our race. Our busy and fun filled weekend was officially over. Not gonna lie, after my dad left I spend a lot of time laying on my couch like this before I finally got up to shower and collect myself. 😂

And thus ends the adventure of two races in two days. They weren’t both half marathons, but I think we made the right decision switching to the 10k. Plus back to back races are impressive no matter what the distances are!

Well, that’s that on that!

I’ve got a 5k coming up on Thanksgiving that in doing by myself and I think that’s gonna wrap up my racing for this year. It was a good one as far as race experiences go, I think!

But anyway. That’s all for now!

Until next time!

~Ashley

Longview Half Marathon Recap 11/09/19

Sloth Running Team strikes again!!!

Yeah, just ignore how messy my bathroom is. 😂

As you probably already know, last weekend my dad and brother drove from Colorado to Kansas so my dad and I could tackle the Longview Half on November 9th and then the Gobbler Grind Half on November 10th.

Two half marathons. Two days. No big deal, right? 😂 Well, it might have been less of a big deal if either of us we’re actually trained and prepared to run the equivalent of a full marathon over the course of two days, but due to a plethora of reasons neither of us were.

That sure wasn’t going to stop us from trying though!!

So my dad and brother got here on Friday and honestly things just moved very quickly after that! After they got here Luke drove my dad and I to the KC Running Company store so we could pick up our packets and so my dad could get himself some Honey Stinger to fuel both of these races!

Packet pickup was smooth and uneventful, like it usually is for these smaller, local races. I’m cool with that though! I don’t need some big event surrounding packet pick up. I’m happy to just get my stuff and get out of there so I can start thinking about the upcoming race!

Anyway, after we got our stuff we went to Bo Ling’s for dinner. Because obviously Chinese food is the ideal pre-race meal. 😉 I mean, I got noodles though so that counts as carb loading, right??

At the end of our meal we all opened our fortune cookies and shared aloud fortunes as a group does when eating at a Chinese restaurant. Luke and I both got typical “fortunes” but my dad’s was absolutely PERFECT for our situation!!

After we ate we had to run to tractor supply and then Walmart to pick up a few things, then after that we headed back home where we got our gear ready, set our alarms for 5:30 am, and then went to bed.

Race day morning was dark sand chilly (my favorite!) but the sun was supposed to be up and shining by the time we started. My dad and I ate, made coffee, and got dressed pretty quickly. Luke (he offered to drive us) got up around 6 am and by 6:30-ish we were headed to the start line!!

Unfortunately we ended up almost completely stopped on the highway. Later, while we were running, Luke overheard some people talking about the traffic we almost got stuck in. Apparently someone had hit a deer and that caused such a mess that it completely backed up the highway. Luckily Luke got off the highway before we got completely stuck in the traffic so weren’t stuck in that mess.

Getting off of the highway and going around did add some time to our drive though. Not much, but you’ve got to get to the start of this race early if you want a decent parking spot and if you want to use the port-o-potties. They seem to have the same issues directing traffic into the designated parking areas every year, and they never have enough port-o-potties. Especially considering now this race is a half, 10k, and 5k, so a lot more people are participating than they did in previous years (hahaha remember this is the 5th year I’ve been to this race! 😂).

Very pretty view from our walk from the truck to the starting are.

And of course we ran into those same issues. Parking was a bit of a hassle, but it wasn’t too bad. We still had to walk a ways to the actual starting line, but no where near as far as we had to last year. But we were getting down to the wire as far as time goes, and we still wanted to use the port-o-potties. Which of course had a huge line… But we got in it and waited our turn. We waited for a little over 10 minutes, missed the national anthem, but we both did finally get to go!! By the tine we were both done the announcer was calling for 30 seconds until the start time and there were still a bunch of people in line!

We made it just in time though! And luckily we line up in the back so we didn’t have to fight through any people to get to where we belonged in the starting corral. We had time to snap a quick photo and then we were off on our my 5th and my dad’s 2nd 13.1 mile journey!

We went out fast. Too fast for two slow people who had little to no training. 😆 For about the first 3 miles we hung with/in front of the 3 hour pace group. They were a lot of fun and we joked with them for a little bit. We are the party in the back and it sure felt that way!!! We also drank the beer that an aid station was handing out a little after mile 3. I’ve never done that before, but I decided a while ago that the next race I was offered alcohol while running I was gonna take some! Hahaha and I’m glad it did! It was only a little bit of beer, but it made the next mile a lot more fun. 😂

At about mile 4 we started fading. I figured we would though. I knew we went out too fast and pushed too hard during the first few miles. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and I’ve told him this at every race we’ve done together 😉) my dad is bad at pacing. And occasionally it drives me, who is a little more experienced at this kind thing, a little crazy. 😂 Ah well, we were having fun! As you can definitely see in this photo taken a little after mile 4.

After this point we began our slow slog through some hills. They actually weren’t even that crazy of hills but they felt that way at the time. They actually changed this course last year so this was the first time I’ve run the new route and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I probably should have looked up the course map and description, but I didn’t. 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

But like I said, there was nothing really too crazy. And the last several miles were a net downhill.

Anyway, I’d say things really took a turn for us around mile 7, you know, about halfway through the race. 😂 that’s when we REALLY slowed down and then eventually we just ended up walking all of miles 8 and 9.

At around mile 8 we turned onto a really nice gravel trail. It was super nice to go from asphalt to gravel in the last miles of this race. Plus it was SUPER pretty on the trail! The views there are much nicer than they were in previous years. 😄

I think mile 9 ended up being close to an 18 minute mile. That was tough for me. Physically because weirdly enough running was less painful than walking. But mostly mentally. Knowing we had three more miles to go. And we were walking. Ugh. I was mentally DONE at that point. Hahaha but again, the views were GREAT!

So a little after mile 10 I did something I swore I wasn’t going to do. I left my dad behind. Oh man, I felt shitty doing it, but I just couldn’t keep walking like that. It was KILLING my hips. A little earlier in the race he told me to go ahead and at this point I just had to.

So I went back to running and I actually ended up passing most of the people that had passed us over the last 2 or 3 miles. That was kind of a fantastic mental boost for me! Also the few people who I ended up talking to who weren’t part of the race but weren’t really spectators either (they were just out walking the trail I guess) helped too. One guy with a HUGE, happy looking pit bull told me I was doing great and that I was almost there. I could have hugged that man if I weren’t on a nice roll at that point. Hearing those words were literally the best thing to ever happen to me. At least it felt that way at that moment. 😂😂

I think that happened around 12.7 miles. And I only know that because I had checked it on my watch a few minutes earlier. I don’t typically like watching my watch during hard races or workouts. It just makes it seem like the misery is dragging on and on. But I NEEDED to know how close I was, ya know? 😂

Anyway, once I knew how close I was I could hear the announcer calling out names. So I sped up a little and ended up passing this couple who were also in the race. I guess after I did that I slowed down and they sped up because I heard then getting closer. I decided I was too close to the finish to let them pass me so I sped back up and turned off of the trail and onto the road to the finish before they did.

I crossed the finish line at 3:19:32. That was the biggest relief of my life! 😂 I was so happy to be done. I don’t even care that this was my second slowest half marathon time (with all of the factors going into this race I knew it would be slow), finishing was a FANTASTIC feeling.

After I got my medal and had my timing chip clipped off of my shoe, and found Luke, I got my snacks and then had one of the active releases therapy people who were there stretch out my hamstrings. That was fantastic! It felt great after all of that walking! Hahaha apparently they weren’t ready to deal with all of that walking which was weird, but I guess does make sense. Walking is a different motion than running and I wasn’t ready for that.

Anyway, after that was done it was only a few more minutes before my dad came in sight of the finish line. The 3 hour pacer has walked back along the course and found him and ends up walking with him. He said she was great and played all sorts of music for him on her phone. She let him cross the finish line on his own though. He finished his second half marathon in 3:34:56, while I screamed and cheered my head off. 😁

After he finished we watched the very last guy finish. He carried a full sized American flag with him the entire way which is pretty badass. Then he was quickly followed by the very last pacer. She’s the sweeper who makes sure everyone makes it and that no one technically finishes last. We talked to her a little bit out of the course this year and found out that she was going to be at the Gobbler Grind the next day as well. My dad and I are also fairly certain that we talked to her during the Gobbler Grind last year as well. Either way, she’s one awesome chick!

Once we were done cheering for the last runner, my dad also went to the active release therapy booth where he had him work on his hips. It looked painful, but he said that it felt progressively better every time the guy moved his leg. 😂

And then we were done! We walked back to the truck and Luke drove us to Garry Gribbles so we could pick up our packets for the Gobbler Grind. Then we went to 5 Guys for burgers, which is now our post race tradition. 5 Guys is already pretty good but their burgers taste even better after completely a half marathon!! 😋

After we ate we went back home, where I promptly made hot chocolate and then took an ice bath. Getting into the ice bath initially sucked as it usually does, but after that it actually felt sooooo good on my feet, hips, and hamstrings. Those were all really hurting at that point. But completing a half marathon on basically no training will do that to a person. 😂

Then my dad showered while Luke and I went to Walmart because he had promised my dad and I pies after we finished, so he bought us a pumpkin pie and an apple pie. 😂 So that evening me, my dad, my brother, and Luke hung out in my living room, eating pie, and getting ready for our race the next day. At least I was attempting to do that anyway. 😉

Aaand I guess that’s where I’m going to end! This post is long enough as it is anyway.

So I’m gonna try to have your Gobbler Grind recap tomorrow! So wishing you the best until then!

~Ashley

Longview Half Marathon Recap (11/12/16)

The day before the race, I learned this particular course already has a reputation.

I had a doctor’s appointment that day, and it turns out the nurse was a runner too, so of course we got to talking about running! 😉 I had mentioned that I was doing a half marathon the next day, and she told me she’s run 16 halves and wanted to know which one I was doing. After I told her that I’d be doing Longview for the second year in a row she asked my why I’d want to do this particular race twice because “I’ve heard that course is absolutely brutal!”

I think it’s kinda neat that after only 3 years this race is already known for being brutal. That reputation is rightly earned though, this particular course is quite challenging. I mean, I don’t exactly have anything to compare it to, since this is the only half marathon I’ve done at this point, but I think it’s a pretty safe assumption to make. Especially since there is a king and queen of the mountain award for the man and woman who make it up the big ass hill at mile two the fastest.

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The race website doesn’t even have a course description, but after doing this event two year in a row, I think I can describe it pretty well; Mile 2 is one big ass hill, followed by some more hills because there are literally no flat sections on this course. Around mile 7 is where the rolling hills start but don’t worry, they only get worse with some crazy downhills. Miles 9 and 11 take you across Longview dam, where you will encounter amazing views from the lake and killer cross winds. Followed by another pretty gnarly up/down hill at miles 10/11. After that everything feels like a slight uphill, because it kinda is until you get near the finish line. Your final sprint is going downhill, because it’s not like you’re quads are completely trashed at this point or anything. 😉

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I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself here, so let’s back track to the night before race day, shall we? 🙂

The night night before the race I did a lot of Netflix watching, water drinking, and eating. Pretty much all of last week involved a lot of food, I don’t think I’ve ever been more hungry in my entire life haha! I also checked my gear and made sure I had everything one more time. By the time I went to bed I knew I was ready to go!

Processed with Rookie Cam

I didn’t exactly sleep well, but does anyone ever sleep well the night before a race? I’m pretty sure that’s almost impossible. I woke up a few times frantically checking my watch because I thought I had slept through my alarm haha. Luckily whenever my alarm finally did go off, I woke up right away and got up and moving so that my not so great  night of sleep didn’t start to make me start feeling tired and sluggish. It never did, so that was good. Probably because I made a point to get some extra sleep through out the entire week before hand.

At this point last year I was so nervous that I couldn’t eat. I choked down half a banana and that was all that I could manage. Luckily this year I wasn’t feeling nervous at all! I was more excited and ready to get going! So this time around I was actually able to eat a little something for breakfast, and I think that really ended up helping me during the race. It wasn’t an exciting breakfast or anything though, just a bowl of frosted flakes and coffee with soy milk and honey. My stomach never seems to want to cooperate before longer runs, so I can never eat as much as I would like to.

After I ate I woke Luke up and listed to him complain about being awake at 5:45 in the morning while I got dressed and checked the weather. I made a last minute decision to wear my tank top and a throwaway jacket instead of the long sleeved shirt, and that ended up being a really good decision! It was really chilly to start, but the sun really started to heat things things up out on the race course! Anyway, we left the house around 6:20 and made it to the starting line around 7:10.

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One of the nice things about this race is that the starting line is also the finish line. So you don’t have to walk or take a shuttle back to your car afterwards. We both wanted to make sure we got there early enough to get a decent parking spot though, and we did! The walk back to the car wasn’t bad at all! Unfortunately the ground was frosty that morning and we were parked in a field, so my shoes and feet got kinda wet during the walk to the porta potties. They dried out before the race started, but my feet were freezing cold and kinda numb and that really sucked.

Since we got there almost an hour early the lines to the porta potties were super short, so that was nice. They were also the nicest porta potties I’ve ever used! Haha I guess that’s a weird thing to make note of, but whatever.

After I peed Luke and I walked around to stay warm, pointed out every dog we saw to each other, and I drank a bottle of water. I was kinda worried that I’d have to pee again, but I didn’t which was a good thing. About 30 minutes before start time the lines to the porta potties got super long and I never saw them get any shorter.

I was freezing balls cold and only wearing a light jacket, so Luke was kind enough to lend me his carhartt before the race started. 🙂

About 20 minutes before starting time my stomach started growling, but I was prepared for that! I had a honey stinger waffle saved for that very reason. Luckily that was enough to satisfy me though, because I didn’t have anything else for before hand.

When it was finally time to line up I squeezed in kinda between the 2:45 and 2:50 pacers. At that point I assumed that was just wishful thinking on my part and that I wouldn’t be able to hang with either of those pace groups, but I ended up surprising myself.

Anyway, Luke hung out by the barrier with me while we waited to get going. The national anthem was played, we counted down, and then we were off!

Mile 1 was crowded, but otherwise uneventful. Mile 2 is where the real fun begins! First there is an aid station where I got rid of my jacket (I’m so glad I didn’t wear the long sleeved shirt), then like I mentioned before it’s pretty much all up hill. Good times. I ended up walking up most of that hill. I knew what was in store during the later miles of this race, so I wanted to make sure I saved energy going up this hill. I started running again near the top, because there is a race photographer and an announcer at the top of the hill calling everyone’s name, so I wanted to be running for that. Unfortunately I was making the world’s most unattractive face, but oh well.

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Once I got over the big hill it was actually pretty smooth sailing for me over the next 5 ish miles. I ended up going back and forth with one of the 2:50 pace groups. They were doing different run/walk intervals than I was, so that’s why we kept passing each other, otherwise I probably would have ended up running with them for the most part.

I started getting kinda hot around mile  6. That’s when the sun really started beating down on us, and there really wasn’t any shade along the whole course. There were aid stations every two miles though, and they somehow managed to keep the water and Gatorade pretty cool, even for us back of the packers, so that really helped!

Luke met me about half way through mile 7 with a water bottle. I told him to walk with me while I drank a little bit then poured most of the bottle on my head. He told me I was looking good, he was surprised to see me with the 2:50 pace group, and if I kept this up I was going to PR by a lot!

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He also took some interesting photos of me.

After drinking some more Gatorade at the mile 8 aid station I finally finished off my first pack of Honey Stinger energy chews (I had brought two with me). I had started it at about mile 6, but they were kinda making my stomach hurt. Not sure why, they never have before, but there wasn’t much I could do about it at that point. I didn’t end up eating the second pack and I feel like that may have been why I ended up getting really really tired during the last few miles, but I’ll get to that in a second.

Mile 9 is when the run across the dam started. The sun was really intense here since there is water on both sides of you, and you get to deal with some really fun cross winds. Looking back, I think this is really when my energy started to fade, I just hadn’t realized it then. I was still running with the 2:5o pace group though! Well, I was actually a little behind them. The pacer was doing a phenomenal job of being super upbeat and supportive, but at that point in time I was feeling kinda surly and wanted to revel in my misery a little bit. Haha I suppose that sounds a bit over dramatic, but that’s what I was thinking at the time. 😉

At the mile 10 aid station they had gummy bears, cake balls, and beer. If my stomach had felt a little better I may have taken some gummy bears, but I decided to forgo them this time. I just thought that was kinda neat.

Mile 11 was over the dam again. Last year this was where they had a race photographer, so I was looking for one, but for whatever reason they moved them closer to mile 12. Not sure why they did that, the view at the beginning of mile 11 is better, but whatever.

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Same pose as last year! 🙂

Seriously though, mile 11 was the longest mile of my life. I kept telling myself that the mile 12 marker had to be just around this curve, or at the top of this hill, but it never was. I have finally given up hope that I’d ever make it to mile 12 and I was going to be doomed to be stuck at 11 miles forever, when I finally heard the music coming from the last aid station. Seeing the 12 mile mark definitely wasn’t as exciting as crossing the finish line, but when I finally saw it I might have told you that it was the best feeling in the world.

Mile 11 was also when I started falling behind the 2:50 pace group. At that point I didn’t care though, at that point I could have probably walked the rest of the way and I would have still PR’d and that’s all I cared about.

I didn’t walk the rest of the way though. I kept up with my run walk intervals and some how the last mile flew the fuck by. Like one minute I was at the aid station and the next I was making the final turn to the finish line!

Unfortunately crossing the finish line ended up being a bit disappointing. I had turned off my music so I would hear them call my name as I crossed the finish line, but the announcer wasn’t even there! Luke said he kept getting up, walking around, and talking to people instead of calling out the names of the finishers. So that sucked. And then I only have one decent picture of my crossing the finish line because the girl in the white shirt jumped out of the crowd and had the other girl wheelbarrow her across the finish line. I don’t even think white shirt girl ran the race, but the photographer ended up focusing on them and taking 8 billion photos of them instead, which is kinda bullshit, because like I said, I’m 90% sure white shirt girl didn’t run, and even if she did, I don’t think it was fair of her to cross the finish line twice. Oh well…

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I couldn’t be too disappointed though, I just finished my second half marathon at 2:52:42!! My goal was to run it in under 3 hours because last year it took me 3:09:42, so I ended up CRUSHING my goal! I also PR’d my 10k time by running it in 1:20:00, which was one of my goals for this year!

Luke was waiting for me at the finish line looking pissy because he couldn’t get a decent photo of me thanks to the wheelbarrow girls, but he was still super excited for me and my PR! I got my medal, a bagel, chocolate milk, a granola bar, (they had chili too, but I definitely wasn’t feeling chili after that) and my finisher’s receipt, and then we headed back home.

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Once we got home the first thing I did was take an ice bath. That was the very last thing I wanted to do, but I’m glad I did. My legs were crazy sore the next day, so I can only imagine how shitty I would have felt if I didn’t.

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While I was sitting in a tub full of ice, Luke ran to the store to get stuff to make ribs. Later that night we had a few neighbors come over, so I spent my evening recovering around a bonfire, eating ribs, and listening to Luke brag to everyone about how well I did during my race. I’m pretty sure he talked about it more than I did, actually! 🙂

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I know this post is super long, and I’m almost done I swear!

On Sunday Luke and I literally sat around all day watching Netflix and playing video games. Haha I didn’t want to do much else, my legs were completely trashed from all of those hills! They are still a bit sore today, but nowhere near as bad!

I’m super duper proud of myself, I can’t believe I PR’d by as much time as I did, and I’m already thinking about training for my next half! But I’m going to take some time off from running first. I think I’ve earned a little break (read that as, I don’t really want to take time off from running, but I know I should so I’m going to pretend like that’s exactly what I want to do 😉 .


~Ashley

The Adventures of Half Marathon Training: Day 16

We got out gust little hint of Fall yesterday! It was cool enough for us to turn off the air conditioning and open the windows, and as an added bonus it was kinda rainy all day and that carried over to this morning. 😄

We’ve still got about 2 months before it actually starts getting cold, but I’ll take some high 60’s for now. Although I absolutely cannot wait for the colder weather! October-January is the absolute best part of the year, in my opinion.

Anyway, my training schedule called for a couple of easy miles today, so that’s what I did. Kinda. I may have gotten a little over zealous going up a few hills, but the weather has got me in such a great mood that I just couldn’t help myself. I’m probably going to regret that during tomorrow’s interval session, but right now I don’t really care.

After my run I went into full on farmer mode. I moved my livestock, fed them, then cleaned out their living quarters (I moved the bunnies outside since it’s stopped raining and cleaned out the dog crate they’ve been staying in 😉). Then I spent some time working in the garden.

Unfortunately the damn squash bugs killed ALL of my zucchini plants. Sad face. But the cucumbers and tomatoes are producing like crazy, we have a few watermelons growing on the vine, the carrots are looking good, and my banana peppers look like they’re covered in Christmas ornaments because of all of the peppers. So I suppose some lost zucchini isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things.

After pretending my backyard is a farm field, I put on my housewife hat and started getting the house back in shipshape. I had the Olympic Games going on the TV in the background and I found Bubbles very intently watching water polo. I guess she’s rooting for team USA.

While still watching the olympics, I got my strength training done. Tried another Nike Training Club workout, this one was tough but still lots of fun! Aaaaand then I needed another shower. Haha I got a little bit sweaty.

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So I feel like I’ve had a super productive day!

How was your Monday?

Have you been keeping up with the Olympics?

What even are you looking forward to the most?