Tag Archives: racing

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰) 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! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚), 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, that’s it from me!

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

Things Iโ€™m Looking Forward To In 2021

  • A better year than 2020? Fingers crossed! ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป
  • โฃSeeing how my running changes. Iโ€™m thinking a postpartum reset is coming and honestly Iโ€™m looking forward to that! โฃ
  • Giving birth. Because holy fuck I hate being pregnant. ๐Ÿ™ƒโฃ
  • Being able to eat normally againโ€ฆโฃโฃ
  • An IRL race or two?? Hopefully!! ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธโฃ
  • 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! โฃ
  • More time with family. If anything thatโ€™s definitely going to happen this year! โฃ

Happy New Year! Hereโ€™s hoping weโ€™re not in for another complete shit show! ๐ŸŽ†๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿปโฃ
โฃ

Snow In October

We donโ€™t usually get snow this early here in Kansas, but today itโ€™s been snowing pretty much all day! Honestly Iโ€™m surprised we even ended up getting as much snow as we did and on top of that it even stuck instead of just melting right away!

I wish I could have gone out and run in it, but Iโ€™ve taken a bit of a break from running. At some point last week I tweaked my knee pretty bad. But I kept running on it because Iโ€™m stubborn and REALLY good at ignoring pain. Yeah, thatโ€™s not a good way to go about dealing with an injury and I definitely donโ€™t recommend it because my knee has just gotten progressively worse. So at this point Iโ€™ve stopped running and am trying to stay off of my feet as much as possible (but thatโ€™s really hard to do when your job requires you to be on your feet for extended periods of time).

So Iโ€™m starting to think that my virtual half on November 7th isnโ€™t going to happen and honestly Iโ€™m not really all that upset about it. The more I think about it the more I realize that o really didnโ€™t want to do another virtual half. Especially not alone. I did one earlier this year with my dad and that was a lot of fun, but tackling one alone without any of the usual race day fanfare just sounds like no fun right now.

So thatโ€™s pretty much where I am right now. Rehabbing am injury, continuing with my dad to day life, and today Iโ€™m soaking up and enjoying the October snow!

Happy Monday, everyone! ๐Ÿ’œ


โฃ

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 donโ€™t just pick an easier, less physically taxing hobby.

Actually if Iโ€™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 donโ€™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 didnโ€™t think I was going to accomplish the 10 mile long run I had planned for Saturday, but I was hoping Iโ€™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 itโ€™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…Thatโ€™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 Iโ€™m not entirely sure what Iโ€™m going to do. I think Iโ€™m going to continue to attempt to stick to my training plan, Iโ€™m a little over half way through with it anyway, and then Iโ€™ll still attempt this virtual half. But after all of that is said and done I think Iโ€™m going to have to be done with longer races for a while. Which is incredibly frustrating because really half marathons arenโ€™t even that long (obviously thatโ€™s all relative but to this seasoned half marathoner it really isnโ€™t that long), but I think Iโ€™m just at a point in my life where my body canโ€™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 itโ€™s just best to stick with 5kโ€™s and 10kโ€™s after this half marathon. Iโ€™m already signed up for a couple of virtual 5kโ€™s anyway! ๐Ÿ˜Š I do miss IRL racing though, but I do talk a little bit about why Iโ€™m not doing any in person races anytime soon in this post.

Anyway, I donโ€™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 weโ€™ll keep moving forward. Itโ€™s really all we can do.

Happy Sunday everyone! Hereโ€™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 Iโ€™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 Iโ€™m trying to embrace it. Iโ€™m currently registered for two virtual 5kโ€™s, the virtual half marathon that Iโ€™m currently training for, and Iโ€™m thinking I need to find a fun Christmas themed 5k to register for as well, since the other two 5kโ€™s are pumpkin and thanksgiving themed! ๐Ÿ˜‚ And on top of that the half marathon my dad and I were registered for in May was turned into a virtual race. But thatโ€™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 Iโ€™m kinda thinking that itโ€™s going to end up being canceled.

That all being said a local running company has been putting on IRL races but Iโ€™m not sure Iโ€™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 donโ€™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 Iโ€™m signed up for a virtual half marathon on November 7th! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜

So this will be my second half marathon this year! Although Iโ€™ve attempted it a few times Iโ€™ve never actually run multiple half marathons in a year so Iโ€™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 Iโ€™m feeling really good! It took me about three weeks to actually feel good though. Iโ€™m pretty sure I spent the first three weeks of this plan constantly sore, tired, and out of shape feeling. Iโ€™ve definitely made progress though and I totally overcame all of the hardships that came with the first three weeks!

At this point Iโ€™m looking forward to see what the next four weeks bring and Iโ€™m excited to get this half done!! I definitely donโ€™t think any PRโ€™s are going to happen, not this time around considering the shape Iโ€™m in, but the goal is to finish it and to enjoy it! Two very doable goals!! ๐Ÿ˜„

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

Guess whoโ€™s back, back again?!

Hello hello hello, my beautiful friends!
If you were following my blog before I took one long ass hiatus, Iโ€™m back! If youโ€™re just joining me then welcome to my weird little corner of the internet!

I mostly use this blog as a personal journal; documenting my running journey. But I also share tips and tricks, the things Iโ€™ve learned in my 7 years of running, recipes, pet photos, music stuff, and just a whole bunch of randomness that Iโ€™m into.

If youโ€™re new here you might want to check out my โ€œaboutโ€ page to learn just a little bit about me and how I got into running. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜„

If youโ€™ve been following me here before I stopped blogging for a while or follow me on Instagram then you probably already know what youโ€™re in for from me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Iโ€™m not sure if Iโ€™ll be blogging as frequently as I used to, Iโ€™m much more busy nowadays, but I have really wanted to start writing again. I also want a better place to share stuff because a lot of times an Instagram caption just isnโ€™t enough! Iโ€™ve still got quite a bit of work I want to do on this blog. Iโ€™ve deleted almost all of my old posts. I kept my race recaps with the intention of updating them (and they badly need updated) but weโ€™ll see. I might just delete those too and start fresh. I do have a lot of other ideas for this blog that Iโ€™m looking forward to exploring though!

Anyway, thatโ€™s all for now! I just wanted to say a quick โ€œhelloโ€ and quickly explain what this blog is all about! Iโ€™m super excited about embarking on this blogging journey again and I canโ€™t wait to share my running adventures with you (Iโ€™m currently training for half marathon number 7 so there will be plenty of stories to share)!

Until next time,

~Ashley

Longview Half Marathon Recap 11/09/19

Sloth Running Team strikes again!!!

Yeah, just ignore how messy my bathroom is. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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? ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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! ๐Ÿ˜‚).

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. ๐Ÿ˜† 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰) my dad is bad at pacing. And occasionally it drives me, who is a little more experienced at this kind thing, a little crazy. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜„

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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? ๐Ÿ˜‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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!! ๐Ÿ˜‹

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

Running With The Cows 5k, 2019 Race Recap

Woohoo! The Sloth Running Team was back at it again!!

Hahaha except my dad forgot his shirt, so we didnโ€™t wear them for this race. ๐Ÿ˜‰

On Friday my dad drove here to Kansas from Colorado so that we could tackle the Running With The Cows 5k on Saturday! Yay!

Also Luke took me golfing for the first time ever (for me anyway๐Ÿ˜‰). Obviously the thing you wanna do the day before your race is pick up a brand new sport and then spend something like 3 hours doing it. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Surprisingly I wasn’t as terrible at golf as I thought I would be! Plus I didn’t end up hurting myself (world’s biggest klutz right here) so that was good! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Honestly though I wasn’t too worried about it. I’m still suffering from/getting over a cold, so all of the plans I had for this race kinda went out the window. That was kind of a bummer, but there are always other races. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Plus Running With The Cows is a super duper fun race no matter what! ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ˜Š

We didnโ€™t keep score, but my first round of golf wasnโ€™t too terrible! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Other than my dad getting here and a rousing round of golf, Friday was relatively uneventful. Saturday was obviously when all of the real fun happened! ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ„

My dad and I were up at 6:00 Saturday morning! We didn’t have to get up super duper early because Running With The Cows is only 20 minutes from my house, which is super nice! We are our breakfasts, got dressed, then we headed out to the starting line!

The half marathon was originally supposed to start at 7:30 am and the 5k was supposed to start at 8, but it was raining a little bit and people were still pulling into the parking area (that was kinda slow going because of the rain as well. The parking area was really just a field and it was pretty muddy). That wasn’t a big deal though. That just gave us a little extra time to find packet pick up and to use the port-o-potties. Both of which we accomplished with relative ease! We got our packets and walked back to my dads van to put on our bibs and timing chips, then it was off to the port-o-potties! At that point the half marathoners were lined up and getting ready to take off, so there was no line! Sweet!!

The most crooked race bib youโ€™ll ever see! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I did in fact race with it like this. ๐Ÿ˜‚

After we had taken care of we got in line to have our picture taken with a baby cow! This race always has farm animals at the starting line. This year they had two sheep, a miniature pony, and the baby cow of course. This was the first time that they actually had a little photo op with it though (at least out of the 3 times that I’ve done it now ๐Ÿ˜‰) so I thought that was super neat!

He was such a cute little guy!!

After that my dad has to make another pit stop at the port-o-potties and then it was time to line up in the starting corral! It was pretty crowded! This race is pretty darn popular so that’s unsurprising, nor is it a bad thing. Although we were lined up a little too far back. We ended up getting stuck behind some slower people, which would have been more annoying if we were actually trying for a specific time. We weren’t though. The only goal for this race was to have a bunch of fun since I was still getting over being sick.

Anyway, after a quick countdown we were off! To a pretty slow start. ๐Ÿ˜‚

You can kinda see both me and my dad directly under the Running With The Cows banner. Both with huge smiles on our faces, of course! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Like I said, we did get stuck behind some slower people. Plus there are just so many people that it’s kinda hard to get into a good groove until everyone spreads out a bit. Which eventually they did of course, but it took until about half was through the race for that to really happen. Not a big deal though. ๐Ÿ˜Š

This race is put on by a Catholic Church/school so close to a mile in I think (they don’t put up mile markers for the 5k course. Probably because it’s an out and back so it is pretty straightforward. You go out about 1.5 miles then you come back about 1.5 miles. ๐Ÿ˜‰) the school band is out on the course playing for everyone. I think that’s super cool! Hahaha I cheered extra loud for them because I didn’t think enough people were. ๐Ÿ˜‚ This is also the only intersection you come across on this course (it’s super rural ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ˜) so I also made sure to thank the police officers who were out there blocking traffic and keeping everyone safe.

So at this point we’re trucking along and still weaving around slower runners. Honestly doing things like that really motivates me to go faster! I’m not typically a competitive person, but there is just something super fun about reeling groups of people in and then weaving past them. Hahaha we also went off roading a few times to get around people. We’d jump off of the road into the dirt and then hop back on after we passed someone. That was a lot of fun! I was actually pretty impressed with how well I was running and how good I felt considering I was sick all week leading up to this race and I still wasn’t feeling 100% on Saturday.

At around 1.5 miles we came upon the only aid station and the turnaround point! My dad and I both grabbed a cup of Gatorade, cheered when the race volunteers said we were half way there, and pretty much just got out of there as quickly as we could. Since so many people do this race the aid station was a bit hectic, but the volunteers were totally on top of it! Huge kudos to them! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜Š They were also handing out orange slices, which I thought was kinda funny since this was only a 5k, but hey, whatever floats your boat! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Š

Anyway, after the turnaround point things get lots and lots of fun because you get to run down the hill you had to run up to get there! The hill doesn’t make it all the way to the finish, but it is all a net downhill back the way you came. I wouldn’t say we were flying at that point, I was feeling good, but still not good enough to be at that point, but we were definitely going strong! Honestly the whole way felt like it took no time at all! Probably thanks to the downhill. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So right before you turn back into the church parking lot that the race starts in there is a grain silo with another Running With The Cows banner hung up on it. And since I’ve done this race twice before I knew they have a photographer at that point. So we were able to kinda pose for our photo. Hahaha I had to crop some people out, but I think it’s a good one!

Iโ€™m pretty sure we both were smiling like that throughout the whole race. ๐Ÿ˜

After that we made our final turn an crossed the finish line in 39:21! Except at that point I didn’t really have a good guess as to what our official time was because they had the clock running for the half, not the 5k. Once I did find out our official tune though I was pretty stoked! We did much better than I had though we would! Especially considering the fact that I was still getting over a horrible cold. ๐Ÿคง๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Š

I swear we were the happiest people there that day! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚

After crossing the finish line we went through all of the usual post race stuff. We got our medals which was actually a first for this particular 5k. Before they only gave the half marathon finishers medals, but they were celebrating they’re 10th anniversary of this race so I guess they wanted it all to be special. ๐Ÿ˜Š This was also the first time I actually had a medal hung around my neck. Every other time I’ve received a medal the race volunteer has just handed it to me, but this lady hung it around my neck and I just thought that was so cool! I know it’s such a small gesture, but honestly it really made me feel like I had accomplished something. I don’t know if that’s weird or not, but hey, it’s true. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

After having our timing chips cut off of our shoes we got in line for a second picture with the baby cow. But I mean, how could you pass it up! He was just too cute!! Plus this photo turned out better which is cool. ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’œ

After getting more baby cow hugs we headed inside the school for the post race buffet! They always have an awesome spread for the race finishers which is super awesome! And for that reason alone this could easily have been one of my favorite races ever! Hahaha but really I just adore the cow theme and the whole atmosphere. ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ˜

After enjoying our post race meal we headed on out and just kinda messed around for a while. We stopped back at my house, went to Scheels just for fun, and then we got burgers at 5 Guys. Going to 5 Guys is officially our new post race tradition, as we also went there after we did the Gobbler Grind Half last year! Hahaha I gotta say though, there burgers taste better after running a half. ๐Ÿ˜‰ They’re still pretty good though. ๐Ÿ˜‹

After our post race burger my dad took a nap and then had to leave to start driving back to Colorado around 6:30 pm that night. He had to work on Monday, so he couldn’t stay any longer. It’s all good though! If everything works out well Luke and I just might head out to Colorado for a few days this summer! And then of course my dad is going to be coming back here in November for Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days: Take Two, which he’ll be doing with me. ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜

Oh man, for real though. We both had an absolutely amazing time at this race! If you ever find yourself in the Kansas City area on the second Saturday in May you NEED to do this race! 5k or half, doesn’t matter. It’s a FANTASTIC event! ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ‚

Alrighty my friends! That is all! I hope you have a fantastic week!!

~Ashley

Longview Half Marathon Recap 11/11/17

It’s done! Finally! This terrible, horrible, crazy training cycle is finally over! My 3rd half marathon is done, I did it, and I never have to worry about half marathon number 3 ever again!!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I know I’ve talked about how and why this training cycle just did not go well about 8 billion times, but I figure for the purpose of this race recap I should mention why, yet again. So just real quick, I hurt my knee in August, was unable to run for most of August and September because of that. I had a bunch of crazy life stuff going on; family stuff, a friend who died, and some other randomness. Then a week before race day I got sick with a terrible chest cold and I found out during the race that I definitely was not as over it as I thought it was.

Okey Dokey, now that that’s out of the way, I just want to take a second to say that I’m a little bit disappointed with how the Longview Half was organized this year. I know this race is still really new (this was literally the 4th year they’ve held it) and I’m sure there are plenty of kinks to work out, but I just feel like the previous two years that I ran this race it went a little bit better. Especially in regards to the aid stations.

So first off, I don’t think there are enough porta potties at the starting line. Especially now that there are more runners because of the 5k that’s attached to this event now. I’m pretty sure the half started a few minutes late because of the amount of runners still in line to use the porta potties. I do, however, really appreciate the person (I’m not sure if he was a race official or a volunteer, but I can only assume he was somehow involved with putting on the race) who was encouraging the 5k runners to let the half marathon runners go first. I do not appreciate the man who was wearing jeans and obviously not a runner, who was in front of me in line….Come on people, let the runners go first!!! We paid to be here, do this thing, and use all of the race amenities.

Second off, I feel like the aid station situation was a complete disaster! I’m not sure who the aid station volunteers were this year, but for the most part they seemed to mostly be a bunch of high school age kids and they were super duper unorganized. Like, last year and the year before the first couple of people handing out cups would have water and then the next couple of people would have water and it was nice and organized and easy to make it through the aid station with what you needed. This was not the case this year. This year it was all completely random. Some people had Gatorade, some had water, some had both, and a lot of them weren’t telling you what they had, so you’d have to ask. I guess that’s not reallyย that big of a deal, but it was a little confusing. But what really sucked was that a lot of these kids were running around the tables, in the road, and just all over the place. That was super stressful and confusing. At one point I wasn’t even sure where I was supposed to go because people were running around everywhere and standing in front of the arrows pointing out the race course, and it sucked. Also, I don’t think the Gatorade was mixed properly. The previous two years I ran this race the Gatorade tasted fine, but this year it was super watered down and gross…That was crazy disappointing.

And yet again the person who was supposed to be calling out names at the finish line missed a bunch of people this year. I didn’t get to witness this and I actually got announced as I crossed the finish line this year (last year I didn’t), but my husband Luke did, and he told me it was really starting to piss him off. He told me that just doesn’t seem fair because this is a bunch of people’s big day and that everyone deserves to feel like a bad ass athlete at the finish line of their race, and I totally agree! I don’t think it’s fair that some people miss out on that. And I can personally say that it is a little bit disappointing when you don’t get to hear your name being announced as you cross the finish line, because like I said, I didn’t get that last year.

Alrighty then! Now that that’s out of the way, lets talk about my race day!!

It started at 5:45 am, which I now know was waaay too late haha. The race started at 8 am and is 40 minutes away from my house, so I thought that would give me enough time to eat, get dressed, and then get to the starting line with plenty of time to spare, but that was not the case. I ate what I could (I was getting pretty nervous at this point so that wasn’t much haha), drank some coffee, let my dogs out, got dressed, let two of the dogs back in because they are the two that can’t/don’t want to be left in the yard for extended periods of time, woke up Luke (who was myย chauffeur/coach/motivational speaker/photographer/cheerleader/anything else I needed him to be. Basically what I’m saying is he had to do all of the hard work and all I had to do was run ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and got all loaded up into the car by about 6:20 am, which was about 20 minutes later than we should have left. Oops.

That really only ended up being a problem because of race day traffic, which was obviously expected, and I just want to say that I think the police officers who were out there directing traffic in the cold did an awesome job. They were all super nice and took very good care of us runners, so I thanked as many of them as I could while I was out on the course. Seriously, I’m so great full for what they were out there doing. ๐Ÿ™‚

So anyway, the parking situation seemed to go pretty smoothly, and we got parked and to the start area with about 10 minutes before the starting time. That kinda sucked because like I said before, the lines for the porta potties were pretty long and I had to pee, but on the bright side, at least I didn’t have to stand in the cold for a long amount of time. Haha not gonna lie though, while standing in line for the porta potties Luke was starting to stress me out by constantly asking me what time it was and saying that some of the runners weren’t going to start on time. A bunch of us missed the national anthem (I was literally peeing while it happened) but the race started a few minutes late, so I think most of us got lined up just in time. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Me being slightly stressed out by the 5k runners who were mingling in with the half marathoners at the starting line, but at least I made it there! ๐Ÿ™‚

Luckily all of the confusion with the 5k runners just generally being in the way at the starting line didn’t last too long. I had just enough time to shove my phone into the pocket in my tights before we were counted down and sent onto our 13.1 mile journey back to where we started.

I started out near the 3 hour pacer, but within the first half mile-ish I ended up near the 2:50 pacer. I knew that probably wasn’t a good idea, but the second I started running I feltย amazing!ย The weather was nice; cloudy and chilly. My legs were fresh and felt great. I was ready to go! At this point I still had no plans other than finishing, but I thought it was going to be a great run!! Unfortunately I was very wrong…

The first mile flew by, as I think most first miles do during a race. By mile two I was nice and warmed up, so I ditched my hoodie at the first aid station and only got away with a single cup of water instead of a cup of Gatorade like I had wanted, because of some of the aid station confusion that I had mentioned before. But that early into the race I wasn’t all that worried about it.

So mile two is where the biggest hill on the course is, and the Longview Half has a timing mat at the bottom and top of this hill, and gives out a “King Of The Mountain” award to the fastest man and woman to make it up the hill, which I think is super duper neat! Even thought that’s something I’ll never win hahaha. Especially since I walked up mostย  of the hill, but that was part of my plan and I was gonna stick to it because I wanted the good feelings I was experiencing to last. Near the top of the hill I started running again and I felt strong as hell! Apparently I looked strong too, because the announcer at the top of the hill said I was making it look easy. I liked him. ๐Ÿ™‚ There was also another race photographer at the top of the hill and I think those would have been some of my best race photos. They actually posted the race photos last night, but the King of the Mountain photos stopped at the 2:40 pace group and at that point I think I was still running near the 2:50, which sucks…I asked about that on their Facebook page and haven’t heard anything back yet, but it is still pretty early and I’m still super impressed that they got most of the photos up so quickly!

Anyway, around the 5k mark I backed off a little because I knew I was probably running too fast considering the lack of training I went into this thing with. So once I got to around mile 4 I was running near the 2:55 pacer and still feeling good! At the mile 4 aid station I discovered the gross, poorly mixed Gatorade, but I was glad that I had gotten some, along with a cup of water. This was also the aid station that I got a bit confused at because of all of the craziness that was going on with the volunteers, but it didn’t take me long to continue on my way in the correct direction. This was also the point in the race that I wanted to eat the first half of one of my Honey Stinger waffles, but the gross Gatorade upset my stomach and was only able to take a few bites of one. But it was still pretty early into the race and I was still feeling great, so I wasn’t all that worried about it. Especially since I was hoping that the Gatorade at that aid station was just a fluke and that it would be better at the other aid stations, but it did not…

Miles 5 and 6 were pretty uneventful. I was still feeling good, running in between the two 2:55 pacers (I think one was planning on finishing a little bit before 2:55 and the other planned on finishing a little after). At mile 6 I was yet again disappointed by the nasty Gatorade situation, but there was no point of worrying about it then, so I didn’t. But I did get two cups of it at that aid station, because it was so diluted and I wanted to make sure I was getting an adequate amount of electrolytes.

Anyway, around mile 7 I was feeling strong as hell. I was tackling the hills and felt great doing it, still running with the 2:55 pacer and talking to her a little bit. I’m pretty sure she started calling me “Nike” at this point because of my shirt haha. She was pretty awesome!

Around this time I had started getting anxious to see Luke, because near the end of mile 7 was where he had planned on being. I finally found him and he walked with me for a few seconds. He had a water bottle with him so I took a drink and I handed off my gloves because my hands felt warm enough and my sunglasses because they were fogging up and pissing me off. He told me I looked good, wished me luck, and then we parted ways.

Then mile 8 happened. Fuck you mile 8!ย I made it through the aid station alright. Got more water and gross Gatorade. Tried to eat a few more bites of one of my Honey Stinger waffles, but I was nowhere near following my fueling plan at this point. Anyway, about half way through mile 8 the wheels completely came off the bus. I was starting to get really dizzy, which was super frustrating because aside from the dizziness I still felt great!

Around mile 9 I started coughing and hacking pretty badly. That’s when I realized I wasn’t as over my cold as I had thought and that I obviously still had phlegm in my lungs, which I think what might have been causing me to be dizzy. That along with my not so great fueling. I was getting even more dizzy at this point, so I ended up walking all of mile 9 and losing the 2:55 pace group.

Around mile 10 I was still dizzy, still walking, and had been passed by the 3 hour pace group, but I was just right behind them. But I felt fucking awful. This was for real the worst I’veย everย felt and I had no idea how I was going to make it another 3 miles…Especially since mile 11 takes you over the lake which tends to be the hardest part of the race for me, since you have to deal with some strong bursts of wind coming off of the lake. But once I saw the mile 11 sign I started running again. I was still feeling pretty awful, but I wasn’t as dizzy. Plus I having 2 miles to go seemed a little less daunting than 3. There is another race photographer on the bridge during mile 11 and that’s where I’ve been doing my smiley, thumbs up photo, but this year I didn’t have it in me. This photographer was doing a really good job of getting a photo of every person by themselves and she perfectly captured how I felt in that moment. Fucking terrible.

Haha in the moment I knew I was going to look terrible in these and I regretted that a little bit, but now I’m actually really glad I have them. They definitely show just how much I was struggling, but I persevered and made it to the finish line!

Anyway, once I made it to the 12 mile mark I knew I was going to finish, but I had lost sight of the 3 hour pacer and I honestly thought I was going to be coming in at 3:10, 3:15 ish. Part of me was really upset about that, but I was also just really glad to be that close to the finish and I started chanting “One more mile. One more mile. Just one more mile.” to myself. And honestly that last mile wasn’t too bad. I was feeling less awful by then and knowing that I was so close to the finish line was definitely helping.

And then the finish line was in sight! I swear I’ve never been so happy to see a finish line in my life! Haha and I feel like that’s kinda saying something, considering I’ve only done 5 races (including this one) at this point. Once I got close enough to read the clock I glanced up and was genuinely surprised to see something close to 3:03. I was still under the impression that I was going to be crossing the finish line of my 3rd half marathon slower than I had finished my first. So that was a pleasant surprise. It was also nice to get to hear my name called as I crossed the finish line, because like I said before, I didn’t get that last year.

So my official time was 3:02:34, which was better than my first half (which I did in 3:09:32), and slower than my second half last year (which I did in 2:52:42). So I’m actually pretty happy with that time. Considering my not so great training, how badly the second half of this race went for me, and the fact that my only goal was to finish. ๐Ÿ™‚

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After I crossed the finish line I got my medal, had my timing chip clipped off, was handed a bottle of water, and found my husband. I also looked for someone handing out mylar blankets because it was still pretty chilly, but it didn’t appear that they had any. I asked Luke if they had run out, but he said he never saw anyone with one and he didn’t think they handed them out at all, which was just yet anther disappointing thing at this years race, but oh well.

So at that point I was ready to go, but Luke told me I needed a photo by the finish line so he told me to stand in front of the Longview sign, told me to look a little less miserable, and took the photo.

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This was my best attempt at not looking miserable haha. But I was pretty darn stoked to be done and wearing my medal. ๐Ÿ™‚

After Luke took my photo I went to see if there was any food left. Most of the booths that had been set up at the start were either gone or in the process of being taken down which kinda sucked, but I can’t really complain considering they technically want you to finish in 3 hours. Anyway, all that was left was a few yogurt, some chocolate milk, and granola bars. But the first year I did this half there was still a bunch of chicken noodle soup left, and I believe there was still some chili left last year (haha but I definitely didn’t want any chili after running 13.1 miles), so that was just kinda the cherry on top of all of the disappointment of how this thing was organized this year.

That all really sucks because I really do love this course and this race, and I think it could get more popular over the years, but only if it’s organized better. There needs to be more porta potties and maybe the porta potties need to be sectioned off so that only the runners can use them. And they need better aid station volunteers. And I mean, I really do appreciate them all being out there for us, but the aid stations were super chaotic this year,ย  whereas the previous two years I’ve run this race they were much more organized.

But on the bright side, the finisher’s medal is pretty spiffy and the participation hoodie is pretty sweet, so at least there’s that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Haha I got a little off track there. But anyways, I grabbed a chocolate milk and while we were walking to the car Luke told me all of the things he was disappointed with about how this years race was organised and promised me any kind of food that I wanted haha. So at first I wanted a bagel from Panera, but then I though Starbucks coffee sounded really good. So while we were on our way to Starbucks I changed my mind and told Luke we should get Chinese food, so we ended up going to a Bo Lings instead. Hahaha so I guess I just want to take this time to thank Luke for being so patient with my slightly out of it, post half marathon self, and for taking me to Bo Lings. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

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Post race feast!!

So yeah, this post is pretty long so thanks to anyone who read it all the way to the end! But I think that pretty much covers it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m very happy for this training cycle to be over and to have a 3rd half marathon under my belt. Now it’s time to rest, recover, and then move on to other things!

~Ashley

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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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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!

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ .


~Ashley