Tag Archives: health

Benefits Of Exercise While Pregnant.

We’re 23 weeks today! That means we’ve officially entered the beginning our 6th month! “Only” 4ish more to go! 😂

And I’m still running!! I’ve cut back quite a bit but I’m still staying relatively active and I’m very grateful that I can! So today I wanted to talk a little bit about the benefits of exercising while pregnant!

I’m not a doctor of any sort so take everything I say with a grain of salt. 😉 That being said, these are all benefits of exercise during pregnancy that I’ve either experienced thus far, or have found in my research and endless reading on the topic.

Always consult with your care provider before starting a workout program.

That being said, my midwife and almost every article and book on the topic that you read usually advises that you can safely continue to do any kind of workout/exercise you were doing pre-pregnancy. With the obvious modifications that might need to happen to accommodate a growing belly and a shifting center of balance.

Now with that all out of the way, let’s crack into our topic for this post!

Benefits Of Exercise While Pregnant:

Pain relief

Running is literally the only thing that’s been able to put a dent in the back pain that I’ve been experiencing throughout this entire pregnancy. And let’s be real, the only kind of pain medication you can take while pregnant is Tylenol and Tylenol has literally NEVER done anything for me pain relief-wise. So I haven’t bothered with that and just stick to running and yoga for pain relief instead!

Helps boost your mood

Endorphins can be one hell of a drug and while you’re pregnant that and elusive runner’s high is the only kind of high you can experience without any potential adverse side effects to you or your fetus, so you might as well chase after it. 🏃🏻‍♀️😂

And even if you don’t manage to catch up to a real runner’s high (I’ve literally only actually experienced it two or three times in my seven years of running) you’ll still likely feel the mood boosting benefits of any exercise that you do!

Helps improve sleep

I’m going to be real with you (but honestly when aren’t I? 🤷🏻‍♀️), one of the biggest reasons that I hate being pregnant is how fucking hard it is to sleep.

But exercising while pregnant is supposed to improve the quality of your sleep for all of the same reasons exercise helps improve your sleep when you aren’t pregnant. Basically it all comes down to the fact that our bodies like to move and be active, exercise makes you tired, and helps with anxiety and depression that might be causing issues with sleep.

That being said, exercise hasn’t improved my sleep much. But it has been helpful in a very small way but only if I do some easy yoga or go for a nice walk too long before bed; it puts my baby to sleep.

I’m not sure if RJ actually likes the fact that I run/try to stay active or it it just bores him to sleep (more likely than not it’s just the gentle rocking motion that he’s probably experiencing), but either way so far it’s been a very reliable method of putting his ass to sleep. Because otherwise he likes to be very active the second I lay down in bed and even though I’m only 23 weeks pregnant those little movements that are getting stronger every day can make it really hard to fall asleep.

I swear this kid is training to be an Olympic swimmer. One night it felt like he was doing flip turns off of the sides of my uterus all night. That coupled with the fact that it’s literally impossible to actually get comfortable right now I didn’t sleep much that night. I should have gone for a walk before bed. 😂

It’s good for your baby

There’s like, a whole bunch of studies that go over all of the potential benefits (and I’ve read about A LOT of them) that your baby gets when you exercise while pregnant. So that helps motivate me to leave the comfort of my heating pad, set down my snacks, and get a quick workout in. 😉

Seriously though if you just do a quick google search of “how does exercise during pregnancy benefit the baby” and you’ll see what I mean.

Helps Prepare your body for labor and delivery

Honestly I’m not even remotely scared or worried about the whole birthing process. I’m an endurance athlete. My body is strong (maybe not as strong as it has been, but it’s still probably more fit than the average American if we’re still being honest), healthy, and I’ve trained my mind to embrace pain and long, hard efforts. In a weird way running and exercise in general has prepared me for this in a way that maybe a non-distance runner/athlete wouldn’t necessarily experience.

Currently I’m really interested in seeing how my body handles the birthing process. I’m interested in seeing just what my body is capable of doing, which is one of the many reasons why I plan on doing this with no pain relief or any kind of medical intervention as long as that’s safe for us. If it was exclusively up to me I wouldn’t even be giving birth in a hospital but my husband isn’t comfortable with that. Which is fair and valid for reasons that are personal and I won’t be talking about right now.

That being said, I don’t think there is any “right” or “wrong” way to bring a baby into this world. You gotta do what right (and sometimes medically necessary) for you and your baby and I’ll never judge anyone for those very personal decisions that you have to make.

But this is my truth; right now I think a non-medicated birth, with no unnecessary medical intervention, and definitely not while lying on my back is what’s going to be best for me and RJ. And I honestly believe I’ll be able to get through all of that because of all of the running and training I’ve done. I also have a really high threshold for pain which will probably come in handy as well.😂

Potentially leads to a shorter labor, fewer birth complications, and a faster postpartum recovery

Obviously the jury is still out on all of this because is it’s definitely not always the case and issues can arise no matter how fit or healthy you are, but if there’s even a small chance that it could help in any of these departments I’ll definitely take it!! And the potential of any of the above actually happening is definitely motivating for me to keep exercising throughout the entirety of my pregnancy!🤷🏻‍♀️😂 As always assuming that it is safe to do so and I’m still cleared by my midwife to keep going.

These points are really just a few of the potential benefits exercising while pregnant! But they are all reasons that I have either experienced or that resonate with me.

In my personal opinion I think that as long as it’s cleared by a care provider, exercising in whatever way feels best to you in whatever capacity that you can (gentle yoga and nice, leisurely walks definitely count, folks!) is incredibly impactful to you and your baby in some really amazing and beneficial ways!

But don’t just take my word for it. ALWAYS consult with your care provider with any questions or concerns that you might have.

~Ashley

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Running

I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two in the seven years that I’ve been running. Setting out before the sun comes up on a hot summer day, putting on layers upon layers on a wet winter afternoon, bonking, DNF-ing, and PR-ing races, trying different shoes, trying different fuel, doing long runs, speed work outs, and running of course reading countless books, magazines, and internet articles on running. Sometimes it feels like the only thing I haven’t done in running is actually doing a marathon. Maybe one day though. 😂

It’s safe to say I’ve been around the block a few times. Literally. So here are 10 things I wish I knew when I started running.

1. Speed Is Relative 

The comparison trap is a very easy one to fall into. Especially if you’re on any form of social media and follow all sorts of badass, super speedy runners. And that’s great for them!

But the thing is, speed is relative. What’s super speedy for you might be slow for someone else. A hard workout for one person might be a easy run for you. It’s all relative.

It’s best to not compare your paces to anyone else’s because it’s all different for everyone! You do you and be proud of your accomplishments! No matter what they might be!

2. It’s Ok To Walk

When I first started running I was under the impression that didn’t “count” unless you ran the whole time. If you had to walk then you weren’t a “real” runner. But that’s just not true!

Once I learned about the run/walk/run method and how many people actually implemented it, my life pretty much changed. I was able to run farther and faster (yes, I’m still a slow runner, but remember, speed is relative 😉) when I took walking breaks. Sometimes those breaks happen for about a minute after each mile, sometimes on bad days I walk up hills, sometimes I do more structured intervals of 90 seconds of running 30 seconds of walking, and sometimes I don’t walk at all.

But just knowing that I can take a walk break if I need to catch my breath, change up my rhythm a little bit, take a sip of water, eat a little something, walk up a hill, or just need to mentally collect myself, I can! It doesn’t make me any less of a runner! How cool is that?

Seriously though the run/walk/run method made a huge difference in my running life and I suggest you look it up! Jeff Galloway has some really helpful books on the subject!

3. “Bad” Weather Makes Tough Runner’s

Referring back to my first point, bad weather is also relative. For me, “bad” weather would be anything over 75 degrees (I’m a baby in the heat, what can I say! 🤷🏻‍♀️😂), on a humid, sunny day. But for other people that’s PERFECT running weather.

But back to my point, when I first started running I spend a good majority of a summer running on a treadmill, and there’s nothing wrong with treadmill running, but running in any kind of challenging condition is going to make you so much tougher! Physically because you have to work harder and mentally because you have to push through your mental barriers to keep going! Which are both important things to learn to do if you’re going to do any kind of racing or just have big goals that you want to accomplish, but those lessons also can be easily applied to other situations in life!

Obviously if it’s too hazardous outside it’s best to swap your running days or stick to a treadmill, but if it’s possible I think we should all brave harder weather whenever we can! It really does toughen you up for a hard race! Or other potential difficult situations!

4. You Need To Size Up Your Running Shoes

Maybe just by half a size or maybe even by a whole size, because here’s the deal, your feet swell when you run. And if I would have know that I wouldn’t have lost a toenail during my first half marathon. 😂

What happened in my situation was I had bought my running shoes in my normal size. Which is fine for non-running activities but I quickly learned that 10 miles into a half marathon your feet aren’t the same size as they were when you started. Which means your toes are going to be jamming into the front of the toe box of your shoes and that can cause you to lose toenails. It’s not fun. 😂

So don’t be like me during my first half marathon. Size up your shoes and give your toesies plenty of room too move in the tie box of your shoe. But not so much room that you’re tripping over excess shoe or feel clumsy in them! No clown shoes needed! Unless that’s your thing I guess! 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

5. Safety First!

A lot can happen on the open road, trail, or even your gym treadmill.

It’s a good idea to always tell someone where you’ll be running and how long you anticipate being gone. That way someone has an idea of where you should be and when they should start looking for you/seeking help if you don’t show up on time (but I also recommend a call or text of you’re taking longer than anticipated.

If you’re running on the road ALWAYS run against traffic, so in the US that means you should be on the left side of the road. That should give you a few more seconds to spot any potential issues and bail into a ditch if you have to. It also makes you more visible to drivers.

Always wear clothing that is easy to spot from far away. Anything reflective is your friend! A blinking light is a MUST if you run in the dark and I HIGHLY recommend that everyone wears a Road ID!

Mine has my name, birth year, spouse’s name, phone number, and relationship to me, my blood type, my penicillin allergy, and a quote on it, but you can basically add anything you want to it! I think these are super important to have, just in case.

If you have to run with headphones (guilty!) always keep the volume low enough so you can hear what’s going on around you and just try to be aware of your surroundings in general.

Obviously that’s just and incredibly brief overview of some key points, but I think they’re important things to keep in mind!

6. Racing Is Fun But It’s Not A Necessary Part Of Being A Runner

Don’t get me wrong, I love participating in races! But 2020 had different plans for all of us and IRL racing wasn’t possible for a lot of people. Myself included.

As much as I missed having races on my calendar to set goals for, I learned to find a different kind of purpose for my running. And while I’m looking forward to doing a few actual races (looking at you fall 2021!) I am glad I was able to find a different kind of joy in running!

So if racing isn’t your thing I say don’t do them! Running can be so much more than starting lines, finisher medals, and participant t-shirts.

7. Vaseline Is Your Friend

Slather that shit anywhere you have chafed, might chafe, or under any part of your running gear that might rub you the wrong way. Literally.

For me that means on my thighs and the sides of my feet in the summer. But I’ve heard of people putting it under their sports bra straps, the waistline of their shorts, nipples, armpits, honestly the possibilities are endless!! Plus Vaseline isn’t all that expensive so go crazy if you’re haunted by the memories of getting into the shower after a long run and experience the stinging only freshly chafed skin can bring.

Another thing you can use Vaseline for is any exposed skin on a cold run! An nice layer of it is supposed to help keep those areas warm! I’ve never tried it but some people swear by it!

8. Hats Are Much More Functional Headbands

Ok but seriously, they really are! When I first started running I never considered wearing a hat. I just pulled my hair back with a hair tie and headband. But I have really thick hair and that never really kept it out of my face. Something that really annoyed me. Then one hot summer I started wearing a hat to keep the sun off of my face and I realized that I should have been doing just that from the very beginning. First off, a hat keeps my hair out of my face better than any headband ever has. Plus you can use it to keep the sun, rain, snow, dust, or whatever out of your eyes. And in the summer you can put some water or ice in it to help cool you off a bit. You can’t do that with a headband haha.

9. You Need To Fuel Your Body Properly

I’m not a nutritionist so I can’t tell you what the proper way to fuel your body for running is (and it’s different for everyone anyway!).

But I can tell you that eating right and eating enough is incredibly important! You can’t run your best if you aren’t eating enough!

And treats and not necessarily “healthy things are a part of a healthy diet! So there’s no need to restrict yourself to a ridiculously “clean” diet!! Veggies, fruits, complex carbs, proteins, and fats are all very important as well!

Give your body the very best of you want to run your very best. Sometimes that means a nice fruit smoothie. Other times that means pizza.

10. Find Your “Why”

When I first started running my “why”, the reason and motivation for taking up this weird and wonderful sport in the first place, wasn’t a great one. I was trapped in a bad cycle of body dysmorphia and food restriction. My “why” was literally to burn extra calories and let me tell you that is NOT a good reason to take up running.

Sure, running does burn more calories than a lot of other forms of exercise (roughly 100 calories per mile, depending on your build and metabolism). But that’s really not enough to keep you going when the going gets tough.

If you actually want to stick with running long term you need something more substantial than that! And it can’t be something super rigid or just one big goal. For example, there is a pretty decent sized population of people who have run a marathon and then never run another step in their lives.

Your “why” will definitely change over the years. Mine went from just being a calorie burn, to proving people wrong (my WHOLE life I was always told I was un-athletic and I BELIEVED that for the longest time), then it turned into me proving to myself that I can do hard things. At certain times it was just to keep me sane. That turned into me running just because I thought it was fun. Right now my “why” is running to keep myself and my unborn baby happy and healthy. And to help relive some of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy. 😂

Your “why” could be that your using running to fill the void after you lost a loved one. Or something to help you recover from an addiction. It can be a celebration of life! Maybe you overcame cancer or you run for someone who can’t anymore or who never could in the first place.

Everyone’s “why” is different and deeply personal. If you haven’t found yours I STRONGLY recommend taking some time to sit down and really think about why you run and what you actually want from your running. Writing it out in a journal, blog, Instagram post, or even just a scrap of paper can be very helpful in this situation. But I really think everyone who runs should really take some time to consider this! Even if it does sound a little “out there” to you. 😉

Well, that’s it from me!

Is there anything you wish you had known when you started running?

Weekly Recap January 18th-24th: 20 Weeks Pregnant Edition

I’m not sure if I’m actually going to start doing weekly recaps again. I don’t know if I want to dedicate time to doing that again and I’m not sure if anyone is actually interested in reading my weekly training updates anyway. 😂

That being said, I figured I’d give you a little peak into what my running and fitness schedule looks like half way through my first pregnancy!

Honestly I actually don’t have much of a “schedule” at the moment. I’m just trying to be flexible and do what I can when I can, but I do try to run at least 3-4 times a week and supplement that with my stationary bike, Pilates, body weight exercises and yoga.

And now a days my runs are SUPER short, because right now that’s just what feels best. But running is also the only thing that puts a dent in the back pain that I’m experiencing so I want to be able to do these short runs for as long as possible!!

So here’s what my training looked like this week!

Monday:

  • 30 easy minutes of run/walking with one round of strides thrown in at the end
  • A few minutes of stretching before bed

I can’t exactly say my one round of strides felt good, but it was fun to ease into a little bit of speed! Even if it was only for a few minutes! 😂

Tuesday:

  • Rest Day

I didn’t particularly need a rest day on Tuesday, but I was busy and we had our anatomy scan that day, so it was just easier to take a rest day instead of stressing over trying to fit in a workout.

Also, I hit 20 weeks pregnant on Tuesday! Which means we’re half way there!! 👏🏻😁

Wednesday:

  • 30 easy minutes of run/walking
  • Cleaned my kitchen from top to bottom (it counts! 😉)
  • 25 minutes of yoga

Actually had some semblance of energy on Wednesday! Which meant my kitchen got cleaned!! 😂

Thursday:

  • 20 minutes on the stationary bike
  • 20 minutes of strength work

Took me a while to get up the motivation to do anything on Thursday. It seems like I’m always paying for whatever I ended up doing the day before. 😴

But I do know that I always feel better after a little bit of movement so I hopped on my stationary bike for a little bit and after that got in a really good strength session! I’ve really been enjoying booty bands lately! They’ve helped me up the intensity of my workouts without upping how much time I have to spend doing them and that’s been incredibly helpful!

Friday:

  • 30 minutes easy run/walking

Nothing too eventful went down on Friday. Just a nice, easy run. 👍🏻

Saturday:

  • Rest day

If you can actually call it that. I ended up going to bed at 8 pm after that days excitement.😂

If this would have been a normal Saturday I probably would have gotten in another run, but my nephew’s 6th birthday party was that day and I wanted to conserve what energy I actually had for that. Which ended up working out well! We had a good time hanging out with my nieces, nephew, and brother in law and sister in law!

But seriously, I was exhausted afterwards. 😂

Sunday:

  • 15 minutes of yoga

Sunday was a chill day. Or it was supposed to be. What really happened was I attempted to set some boundaries down with my mother because there have always been some issues there and I just feel like they’ve gotten worse since I’ve gotten pregnant. It didn’t work though. She doesn’t want to play by my rules as it pertains to my son and that’s fine. She’s made her choices, and her choices have led to her not being a part of my life anymore. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Obviously there’s MUCH more to the story than that, but that’s where I’m leaving it for now.😉

Anyway, after dealing with that whole ordeal for a while I did a whole bunch of laundry and a little bit of yoga. Lol it was very therapeutic. 😉

So yeah, that’s a not-so-typical, typical week in my life right now. Meaning that literally nothing is actually “normal” and we’re just taking things day by day and doing what we can!

Anyway, like I said, I’m not sure if I’m going to be writing out a weekly recap every week, but if it’s something you’d like to see more of let me know!

Happy Sunday!

~Ashley

Whoa We’re Half Way There…

I’m officially 20 weeks pregnant as of yesterday! Half way there!! 👏🏻

Good thing too! Because I hate being pregnant and I’m ready for it to be over. 😂

That being said, everything is going VERY well! We had our anatomy scan yesterday and everything is just perfect between the two of us. Well, aside from RJ being difficult and not showing us his toes and refusing to move into a better position to see his side profile more clearly. 😂

Other than that all of his major organs are accounted for and everything is working how it should be! As for me, my labs have been perfect every time and aside from slightly low blood pressure (which is very common in pregnancy due to increased blood volume) everything is progressing perfectly. Luke has been joking that apparently I’m really good at growing humans. Who would have thought?! Even if that is true at this point in time I am 100% certain that I never want to do this again.

Anyway, like I said, everything is great so far! I’m being taken care of exclusively by midwives but I did see an OB/GYN today, but for the weirdest reason. Today I asked the midwife if there was anything I needed to keep in mind, be aware of, or any potential issues because of my appendectomy scar.

I had an “old fashioned” appendectomy when I was 13, so I have a pretty decent scar that’s super puckered. So that would be the “dent” that you can see on my abdomen in the photo above”. And it puckered like that because instead of being stitched shut after the surgery, they left the incision open to drain so I had to pack it.

The midwife didn’t think it would be an issue but called the OB/GYN in just to look at it and confirm her thoughts on the matter. So I had 3 people touching/poking/prodding at my scar today if you count the fact that the ultrasound tech had to go over it with her wand to see everything. I HATE people touching it. I don’t even like touching it. 😂

But the OB/GYN said it shouldn’t be an issue, even if I have a c-section and if for whatever reason I do, she could fix it while she was in there. Hopefully that doesn’t end up being the case though! And if not they said I could have a plastic surgeon fix it, but that would require a surgery and Im just not about that life. 😂 So even knowing I have the option I don’t think I’ll be getting it “fixed” unless someone is already in there doing something else, like a c-section, but hopefully that won’t be the case and I’ll be able to deliver vaginally. And at this point there are literally no indicators that are saying that I shouldn’t be able to. 😊

But yeah, I literally saw a doctor yesterday just because I have a weird scar. 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

I’ve also started reading the book Nurture: A Modern Guide To Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood — and Trusting Yourself and Your Body. I’m liking it so far, although I’ve skipped over a lot of the first part of the book. It talks a lot about journaling, meditation, learning to listen to your body, and things like that. Ironically I’ve already learned to do all of that have have read a lot about all of that in running related books. I’m especially in tune with listening to and trusting my body, a very useful skill that I’ve learned through running. I just think it’s interesting how much running has taught me and made me capable of that is going to come in handy during labor and delivery!

I also skipped a lot of the yoga/Pilates stuff the book covers because I already do those things regularly anyway. 😂

But I am just starting to get to the part of the book that I’m really interested in, the actual act and process of labor and delivery! Now THAT is what I’m really interested in learning about at this point!

So that’s where I am right now; reading, still running (kind), doing yoga and Pilates, and just being pregnant. 😂

I’m going to post a weekly recap on Sunday just to share what a week in training looks like for me. So be on the lookout for that! But that’s all for now!

Happy hump day! 🐫

~Ashley

Things I’m Looking Forward To In 2021

  • A better year than 2020? Fingers crossed! 🤞🏻
  • ⁣Seeing how my running changes. I’m thinking a postpartum reset is coming and honestly I’m looking forward to that! ⁣
  • Giving birth. Because holy fuck I hate being pregnant. 🙃⁣
  • Being able to eat normally again…⁣⁣
  • An IRL race or two?? Hopefully!! 🏃🏻‍♀️⁣
  • Having a whole ass human being to care for and teach stuff. Very much looking forward to the day when I can start teach him about plants, animals, and the great outdoors! ⁣
  • More time with family. If anything that’s definitely going to happen this year! ⁣

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping we’re not in for another complete shit show! 🎆🥳🤞🏻⁣

So Here We Are

16 weeks pregnant and definitely not glowing. 😂

Honestly I’m a little bit jealous of the people out there who love being pregnant. Because I definitely do not.

The first trimester knocked me on my ass and then some. Between being extremely nausea for about 4 weeks, shortness of breath, food aversions that were so bad I could basically only eat once a day because I had a very small window of time where an extremely specific type of food (that changed every day) sounded palatable. Between that and the nausea I lost about 8 pounds initially. Exhaustion that I can’t even begin to describe, which ironically made sleeping ridiculously hard, and just all sorts of random aches and pains, it just wasn’t a fun experience…

Things have gotten a little better in the second trimester but not by a lot. I’m not nauseous anymore which is great! But the food aversions are still going strong! Luckily get aren’t as bad, but at this point I can really only stomach a few different things and it still changes every day. Which makes grocery shopping extremely difficult. 😂

The exhaustion had gone away but I do get very tired very quickly. That coupled with shortness of breath had made running, and other everyday tasks a lot harder than they used to be. I’m not one to sit around doing nothing in my normal life, but pregnant life had made me feel very lazy. Some days the most moving I do is walking from the couch to the kitchen/bathroom and then back again. And that’s what’s really been the most frustrating for me. I don’t like feeling incapable of competing even simple tasks. Even though once could definitely argue that growing a whole ass human isn’t a simple task. 😂

Anyway, aside from me feeling absolutely miserable everything thing is going very well!!

Our first, and so far only sonogram at 10 weeks and 6 days looked really good! I had actually calculated PERFECTLY how far along I was based on my last period and he measured to the day what I said I though he was. The midwife was impressed with that and said that doesn’t happen often. 😅 We also got the chromosomal testing done at 11 weeks and everything looks good on that front! That’s how we found out we are having a boy at 11 weeks. Well, it was 12 weeks when we got the results but I was already certain he was a boy anyway. But it is pretty cool how they can figure all of that out with a simple blood test now a days.

As far as running goes well, I never completely quit, but I’ve kinda…started over, for lack of a better term. Since this whole pregnancy thing hasn’t been easy for me I figured at this point I’m just going to treat myself like a complete beginner on the running front. So right now I’m trying to run 3-4 days a week and I’m running based on time instead of miles. I’ve also been counting a brisk walk towards my running mileage (something I would have never done before) because at this point a brisk walk feels a lot like my warm up job used to. 😂 Hence why it’s counting towards overall running mileage at this point. 😉

At this point my goal is just to keep running for as long as possible and if I get to the point where I have to stop then I want to stay as active as possible. I’m lucky enough to have a stationary bike at home which will definitely help and walking, yoga, and body weight exercises are always a good option! I kinda just want to stay as active as possible through this pregnancy. Hopefully that will make the birthing process easier and obviously staying active is super good for the baby!

Aaaand finally, at the urging of my husband and supervisor at work, I quit my job at the nursing home in November. Mostly because we were starting to get more COVID cases in the facility again and at this point there are just too many unknowns with this virus. We don’t want to risk my health or the baby’s heath. My midwife also supported this decision! Apparently they are finding that in some cases patients with COVID have negative effects on their placentas and in some cases that requires inducing labor early. Which is just something I would like to avoid if at all possible, obviously. So I’m not exactly leaving the house much these days.

So yeah, that’s about where I am right now! I guess that might not be all that interesting to anyone who is not currently or has never been pregnant but what are you gonna do. 🤷🏻‍♀️ This is what’s up with me so it’s gonna be what I talk about. 😉

Anyway, the countdown to June is on! I’ve literally never wished that summer would get here quickly but at this point I’m sooooo ready for it to be here so I can be done with pregnancy and have RJ here in the outside world with me. 😂

Until next time,

~Ashley

Suprise!!

It’s a boy!!

Now that our family know I can put it out into the world! Baby RJ is coming June 2021!

Well, that’s my “official” due date is June 8th but I have a feeling that he’ll come earlier than that. Just like I had a feeling that he was a boy, before we even actually knew he was a boy. 😉

Everyone is very excited about the coming addition to our family! This is my mom and dad’s first grandchild, and it’s the first grandson my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law will have which is something that my father-in-law is particularly excited about! My mother-in-law has grandchildren of both sexes but it still excited for us anyway! 😄

So far pregnancy has been a miserable experience for me. I don’t like it, have declared that I’m never doing it again, and I’m very ready to not be pregnant anymore. And I’m only 15 weeks in. 🙃 Like, obviously I love this kid but damn, I ready to have him here in the world and not inside of my body anymore. But we’ll get there. Eventually…😂😂

Mg running has definitely taken the backseat to everything else that’s been going on, but I am slowly starting to get back into something that almost resembles a consistent running plan. But I’m hoping to be able to actually run more than a mile or two now that I’m in the second trimester and an starting to get some energy back. But we’ll see! At this point I’m literally taking things one day at a time and rolling with whatever my body feels capable of doing. Some days that means I’m able to run and be a productive human being and other days that means I barely leave the couch. 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

Anyway, I’ll get more into all of that later! Right now I just wanted to post a quick and exciting update!

~Ashley

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.

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