Ready, Set, Camp!

Last weekend, Clay and I celebrated our one year anniversary (!!) which is really crazy to think that a year has already gone by – time is weird and I don’t understand it. 
Crazy. All of that silliness doesn’t feel like a year ago. Clay and I just really want to throw our wedding again every year in celebration. Maybe we’ll actually do that some day, because it was really just the most fun day ever.

Anyways. To celebrate reaching this milestone, we decided that instead of taking a vacation or staying at some fancy hotel we’d rather go play outside and sleep in the woods. We reserved a camping spot at Westmoreland State Park, about and hour and half south of DC and on the banks of the Potomac River. When we arrived, we set up camp in record time (the upside to a small tent!), and decided that since it was already so hot out (90 degress, natch), we’d check out the trail that went down to the beach, because sitting by the water seemed like a good way to cool down a little. When we got to the beach, we discovered the best little coves, and we had one all to ourselves so we scrambled over the rocks for a while, enjoying the view of the river and the Chesapeake Bay. It was really beautiful and the perfect place to spend some time relaxing.  When we headed back to our campsite, we had to climb back up the bluff – which was a great workout (lololol), but it did make for a great picture.Once we got to the top, we decided to find another trail and keep up the hiking for a little while longer. We wound our way back to a lake where we ended up sitting and listening to bird and frog songs for a good half an hour, while watching for turtles. It was the best way to wind down and really take in the natural world.

Typically when we camp, we like to cook over the fire, but since we’re still in the midst of our adventure with RP, we prepped our food before we left home and just kept it in the cooler. However, we did stray from the RP templates a little with dessert, because we feasted on our wedding cake! It was delicious the first time around and a year later? Just as delicious. It kept really well in the freezer! It was really fun to bring ourselves back to our wedding day with that cake – so many good memories, and more added with the celebration of our anniversary.

I’m really excited for so many more years of camping and hiking and building fires and going on adventures with this dude. He’s really just the best.

Don’t Look Backwards – You’re Not Going That Way

Somehow, some way, it’s the middle of May.

I’m not sure how this happened. We were just sitting here, watching the snow fall last month (literally, it was just last month). New Jersey managed to skip over spring completely. Oh wait, not completely, because ALLERGIES are here in full force.

But yeah, other than that, it’s basically summer with temps most days in the 80s. Or raining. That’s what we’ve got going on over here. Summer or rain.

Here, for example, we were able to give out awards to our awesome HKRS runners… right before the skies opened up to a lovely downpour. Thanks to Kathleen B Photography for this picture!

At the end of 2017, I shared my race plans for 2018. Due to changes in plans and a few injuries, three of those didn’t happen. Did that stop me for registering for more races? NO! IT DID NOT. And now that the spring Healthy Kids Running Series is complete, I can begin training once more, the way I should prepare for races.

june

The inaugural Bungalow Beach Run is a 5 mile race that takes place in Atlantic City. As soon as I heard about this race, I knew I had to register!

First of all, it’s held by one of my favorites, the Atlantic City Marathon Races Series.

Secondly, the first 100 people to register get a beach towel (and you know I was one of those first 100 people!).

Registration cost was only $35 when the race opened (hello, affordable) and is currently $45. There’s day of packet pickup, medals, beer, entertainment, and THE BEACH. Plus, many of my local friends signed up for this one so I know it’s going to be a good time. I can’t wait!

august

Here’s a destination race for me – Vacation Races Elk Double. I’ll be taking a little trip across the country to join Jenn at her favorite race weekend!

I’m so excited for this for several reasons:

  1. JENN. I get my Jennifer! I haven’t seen her for far too long and I can’t wait! Not only that, but I get to spend 16.2 miles with her.
  2. Colorado. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. If you haven’t been there, you should go!
  3. I’m bringing my family along with me! My boys are SO EXCITED for all things travel related but they’re really fixated on going to Colorado. Probably because of number 2.

So yes, I am really pumped for this and while I don’t want to rush time along or anything, I am very much looking forward to August! (And yes, I totally just copied and pasted my blurb from the previous blog. Not even going to pretend otherwise.)

I love a good 10k and I have it on good authority (aka all of my friends RAVE about this race) that The Philly 10k is amazing! This races sells out quickly each year and its piqued my interest mainly because it’s a race that takes place in Philly but not by the Art Museum. For those who live around this area, we know that most races happen on the same course, or at least a good portion of it does.

NOT THE PHILLY 10k! The course goes through South Street and Center City, which is a refreshing change! Sure it’s in August, and sure it may be hotter than the surface of the sun, and sure I might be regretting this in a few months… but for now? I’m stoked.

september

Back in 2013, Vic and Kyle ran the Bird-In-Hand Half Marathon. I believe it was then that I added this race to my bucket list. Five long years later, I have finally registered. Rachel and I needed a destination road trip and when she mentioned Bird-In-Hand, I said SOLD!

Last September we ran the Shenandoah Half together but since it’s not returning this year, we decided to set our sights on a tried and true race. Many runners, including many Team Shenanigans members talk about their love for this one so I’m really excited to experience all the hills it has to offer. Having run Ragnar PA last year also gives me a good idea of what to expect.

HEALTHY KIDS RUNNING SERIES HAPPENS MID-SEPTEMBER TO MID-OCTOBER. I’M BEING SMART (THIS TIME) AND NOT REGISTERING FOR ANY RACES DURING IT. I LEARNED MY LESSON!

october

I’m going back to A.C. and I’ll give you a hint: I won’t be doing the marathon, half marathon, or 5k during this race weekend. That’s right, it’s my favorite race distance, the 10k! I’ve run this race a couple of times in the past, both times were in the rain actually so I’m not really sure how the bodes for this October but I’m hoping for a nice fall day.

And I’m just going to put this out there: Finish Line Beer Garden.

Do with that what you will.

november

My very first road race was the Rothman 8k in 2011 during the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. While I was laid up with my broken wrist and in the middle of what I like to refer to as FOREVERWINTER, I decided that I was going to return to the race where it all began for me. After posting about it on Facebook, a good amount of people decided they’d sign up too! (I swear, I didn’t even work at talking anyone into it.)(Okay, maybe a little but they were highly motivated!)

I’m looking forward to this one because I really like this race weekend but I don’t want to do commit to training for a half (or full, for that matter – but that sorta goes without saying) around that time of year. A late November 8k is just right and since the weekend before Thanksgiving it always leaves me with warm fuzzies about running as we go into the holidays.

As always, there could be another race that comes on my radar for 2018 but these are the ones that are set in stone for now! I’m looking forward to all of them. I’ve adjusted my goals for this year, I’m not looking to PR any of these races and with my training thus far, I don’t think it’s very likely. My main goal is to get them done, remain injury free, and have a good time!

Race Recap: Turtle Trot 5K

This weekend I got to run the Friends of Lovers Key Turtle Trot 5K in beautiful Southwest Florida for the third (or fourth?) year in a row. It’s a beautiful course through the Lovers Key State Park, which is 712 acres spread about Lovers Key and a few other islands. I love this race for a few reasons.

The course is b-e-a-utiful for one. I love living in Florida and, even though the heat can be murder, running it nature can be so relaxing. Sometimes I get caught up in and stop to take pictures. That wasn’t the case for this race, however. I actually had to have my friend send me pics for the purpose of this post. Oops?

The proceeds to this race also go to the Friends of Lovers Key, Inc., which helps to protect and preserve the State Park. Important things.

The first few times I’ve run this race I’ve done so alone. My friends always have other obligations, but I have no problems running the beautiful course by myself. Last year I ran with my sister and two friends, one of which was running her first 5K!

So, when I signed up this year I wasn’t expecting too many people to sign up with me. It’s a busy time of year and it was Mother’s Day weekend, so I knew people had plans. I was happy when my Best Running Friend Michelle and her family signed up, though!

I thought about setting goals for the race because I’d been really struggling on my weekly training runs. Michelle and I talked about it during our run on Thursday and both of us were just kind of confused by our bodies, to be honest. Training has been a struggle and we weren’t sure how Saturday was going to pan out.

One goal I was thinking was to at least run the entire time, with little to no walk breaks. That’s a big one for me, because I’ve been doing intervals when I run alone. I also wanted to keep pace at at least a 13 minute mile. Some of you may scoff at that number, but it’s pretty good for me, considering what my training runs have been like.

I picked up everyone’s packet on Friday before I went to a teachers’ night out even. Already I felt my goals slipping away as I drank wine and painted, but I wasn’t worried. I was scheduled to do a three mile training run, so I figured that’s what the race would be.

Saturday dawned too early (too much wine) and I made the hike out to Lovers Key. I met up with Michelle and her family about thirty minutes before race time and we hung out, checked out the porta potties, and took some pictures. The weather was projected to be rainy all weekend and, while it did sprinkle a little, it stayed nice and overcast the whole time. Lucky for us because, as a I said, running in Florida can be brutal.

Michelle’s husband and son moved to the head of the pack while we stayed kind of in the middle. We aren’t fast, but I know we were both wanting to push ourselves for the race. None of them had run the course before, but it’s a pretty simple one. And, also, it’s pretty.

When we came up on our first mile our pace was 11:47. WHAAAAAA?

All I could say was “We’re going too fast!” and laugh. Michelle and I make a lot of jokes about our pace, but that’s just how we work. We’re both on the short side and our stride just isn’t big. Besides, the only person I need to beat is myself!

At about mile two I was starting to get a little tired, so we slowed down a little. We stopped for water and walked, but not much. Both of us were feeling strong despite our talk on Thursday, so we kept on pushing. Mile two’s pace was a little slower, but not by much. It really felt like things were going by fairly quickly, considering how most of my three mile training runs had been.

A glimpse of the trail.

 

Technically an “after” photo, but check out those turtle socks!  

We were almost to the three miles mark when I got a cramp. It sucked becuase we were so close and doing so well! We walked a bit while it worked itself out and then pushed on. The finish line is just over a little bridge and right on the beach. Another reason I love this race is because it has a great place for after race pics! After we got some water and a snack we definitely took advantage of it. We also checked out race stats and I was pretty stoked about being 10th in my age group…until I realized there were actually only ten women in my age group. It’s fine. I laughed.

Coming in for the finish!

Our official race results were pretty good, since Michelle and I managed to keep a good pace. I tracked with my Nike Running app and was happy with my pace and splits. This race was two minutes faster than last year, according to my app so I’m considering that a PR for me. (Don’t argue with me, okay?)

Living that Skirt Sports Ambassador life.

The Turtle Trot 5K is a great race to start off the summer with and I hope they continue to hold it. The proceeds go to a great cause and it’s a great course. 10/10 will run again.

After the race I ate this delicious pizza. As one does.

 

Adventuring in Asheville

What do you get when you gather 9 ladies in a new city and a weekend full of bachelorette-ing plans?

A whole lot of fun, is what.

Last weekend, I joined some of my favorite friends (and some new ones) in Asheville, NC to throw a hen do for one of our best girls. Ladies came from Georgia, Colorado, Texas, New York, London and DC and we brought our party pants (and maybe some penis confetti to boot).

Any weekend adventure that starts and ends with a road trip is good in my book and this was no exception. Four of us traveled together from the DC area (about an 8 hour haul), and during the drive made sure to set the tone for the weekend by creating a playlist with some of our favorite 2000s kids throwback jams. Lots of NSync, Britney, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Ginuwine – because what bachelorette party is complete without Pony?

Our first evening in North Carolina was pretty laid back – dinner and drinks and a drum circle (not in our plans, but witnessed in the center of town). The tame evening and relatively early bedtime was necessitated by the jam-packed day ahead.

Saturday morning dawned with promise of Pilates…. accompanied by puppies. The class – which took place at the humane society – was pretty low key, all levels welcome type stuff, but I still managed to get a decent workout in. That is, when I wasn’t trying to cuddle all the puppies in the room. Those little stinkers were so fun and they seemed to love all of the attention. They tolerated being picked up and used as Pilates props, which seemed like a great way to socialize them before they are adopted. It’s lucky that the pups weren’t eligible for adoption while we were there, because I would have 100% gone home with one. No joke.

10/10 would Pilates or yoga with tiny animals again. Few things are better than puppy breath.

After begrudgingly leaving the puppers behind, we went straight down to the French Broad River for some stand up paddleboarding. Somehow, I’d never done SUP before and to be honest I was a little nervous. Mostly about looking stupid. Which is dumb, so I got over it pretty quickly and once we were on the water we had so much fun. Three of us were on individual SUPs and the other six had a party sized SUP. Paddling that thing made you feel like a real life Moana. Yes, I did sing that song, too.

We managed only one casualty toward the end of our float, and most of us stayed pretty dry – except me, when I got a little too cocky when doing a snatch with my paddle, slipping, and nearly falling in. #crossfitproblems

After we expertly guided our party barge to the boat slip, we returned donned our best flannel and headed over to the New Belgium Brewery – now is when I remind you all that in January, Clay and I decided to take a year off of drinking – visiting the brewery was awesome. The tour was great, and the view was spectacular (they are situated along the same river we had floated earlier!) and from what I understand, the beer was pretty good too. We hung around there for a good chunk of the afternoon and into the early evening before heading back to our hotel for dinner, bachelorette games and an evening of frivolity. What happens in Asheville after midnight, stays in Asheville. 

The next morning came too soon, and after a lovely walk around town to find coffee, we were off to brunch and then back on the road home. I would love to visit Asheville again – I’m sure there is so much more to the city that we didn’t see. Until next time!

 

Setbacks Suck

Lately it’s like a lot of this is going around. Life isn’t always perfect. Training doesn’t always go as planned. Work and family can suck sometimes. Health issues come up, injuries…the list goes on and and on, right?

While I’ve been lucky so far within my training for the Chicago marathon, I know there are always others who might be struggling. So, on the bright side, you’re not alone!

I know it’s hard and you don’t feel like you’ll bounce back, but I feel like there’s always a bright side to whatever is happening. Maybe that’s silly and too optimistic of me, but I like to think that way. For example: the end of the school year is very stressful and my students have completely checked out on me SO I focus on the fact that the school year is (THANKFULLY) almost over. Sorry, parents.

A while ago I posted about my weight loss/healthy eating plan and how I prepacked all my snacks for Disney and took all my workout clothes. Everything was great, in theory. I live in South Florida so I packed shorts, not counting on it being in the 40s every day. I did not workout. At all. Also, I got some sort of stomach bug and didn’t eat anything. Setbacks, man.

As far as my training goes, things are right on track. Any setback I’m experiencing is purely on me. My running buddy has been out of a commission for a few weeks and keeping myself accountable is the hardest part right now. There are days when I come home from work and I just want to nap so hard. Last week I even took a self-prescribed break from training. I only ran two out of the four days I was supposed to. One of those days was to be five miles and I totally skipped that one because I was babysitting over the weekend. Kids are exhausting and five miles was definitely not going to happen. (The other time was because I went to see Infinity War, for the second time, on a school night. No regrets.)

Things happen. Life happens. Sometimes we can control it, most of the time we can’t. What we can control is how we react to our setbacks and how we overcome them. I am constantly learning that as an athlete, teacher, and human. Not every run is the best, not every lesson is going to be my greatest. There are going to be times when we just want to give up when we hit a bump in the road. Chances are, though…if you want it, then it’s worth it.

Hey. You got this.

I Said Hey What’s Going On?

You’re welcome for that earworm!

You guys, I’ve had a week. Actually, it’s Wednesday now so I’ve had a week and a half. Last week my husband headed off on a plane to China for a business trip. No sooner had he sent me a text saying he was through security at the airport did my son get hurt. (That’s always the way, am I right?)

I’m not a doctor but this doesn’t look right, does it?

One trip to urgent care later, he was put in a boot and given crutches. Crutches. I can’t even use crutches easily (can anyone?). Last week was spent driving him to and from school; thankfully the school had a wheelchair that he could use. He was fairly despondent and I totally get why – it’s hard being hurt. I’m certainly not a stranger to it – especially this year.

As we discussed what would happen in the upcoming weeks, it was hard to give him a definitive answer. Gabe has high functioning Autism and one of the things that helps him is knowing what to expect. He wants everything laid out: first this, then that. It’s how we taught him.

With an injury, it’s a day by day basis. I couldn’t give him an answer as to what was going to happen or how he was going to feel this week; heck, I couldn’t even tell him how things were going to go the next day. And that’s really, really challenging for him.

Flexible thinking and taking things one day at a time is discussed often in our house, but that’s a hard concept on a good day, let alone when you’re hurting. My husband traveling for work added to the stress of it all and by the weekend, we were all needing a break. And let’s face it, sometimes you need a break and you don’t get one.

Now we are 9 days out from injury but things are looking up, at least from my perspective. He’s able to walk with the boot and he no longer needs crutches.

And today is Gabe’s 9th birthday.

The day before he got hurt at the garden build for his school.

I’ve share this before but the reason I started running is that I needed something to control when Gabe was diagnosed with Autism at 2 years old. At the time he was barely talking I didn’t know what the future would hold for him. Now I know it’s limitless. I know we have to be flexible and take things one day at a time. I know that we are going to stumble and fall occasionally but I also know that we are going to get back up, brush ourselves off, and persevere.

Because that’s what we do.

Road Tested: Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest

Disclaimer: I received the Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Hello, hello! I am happy to report that I am feeling much better since my last post where I had to forgo running my favorite race, the April Fools Half Marathon in Atlantic City. Thank you to everyone who checked in on me and made sure that I was doing okay. Thankfully, patience and time healed my neck and I’m back to running once more!

I don’t know if I should blame the everlasting winter or the fact that I was in a cast for a large chunk of it, but the siren song of summer races had me whipping out my credit card and throwing myself against the registration rocks. Which means that I’ll be sweating it out during the upcoming summer months because I plan to train (outside even) in the heat. Remind me I said that.

As such, hydration will be key! I was happy to opt-in for the new Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest through the BibRave Pro program.

Sharp and lightweight

What do runner’s like? (Besides running, of course.) POCKETS. This vest has them, in spades! Roomy with plenty of space of my phone, interval timer, car key, and fuel (aka – snacks). The vest comes with two 12oz bottles, one of which I fill with a sport drink and the other with water.

There is also a space in the back of the vest for a bladder and a clip to hold the hydration tube. I have not used a bladder with mine yet, but I do appreciate that the option is there.

I really appreciate that Amphipod provides two sizes! Going by this chart vest size 1 would have fit, however, I opted for size 2. In the past I had another vest that was great, except that it pulled too snugly across my chest, which was uncomfortable. Not a problem with the Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest! In fact, both my son and I were both able to switch it back and forth between us and it easily adjusted to us.

In addition to the front clasps being adjustable, the side are as well. This means that you can fit it exactly to your body and there won’t be any movement. This means no chafing!

My friend, Charlie, is training for Broad Street so we’ve been trying to get together at least once a week so that she feels confident next week. We met up at a favorite local park to put in some miles. Usually we stick to the paved area but this time we ventured through the trails, which was a first for us at this location.

One thing that I noticed was that my watch band occasionally hooked onto the flask cord because I tend to keep my arms at a ninety degree angle and swing them while running. The next time that I use it, I’m going to try to adjust that cord so that doesn’t happen again or maybe loop it around the top of the flask.

Other than that small issue, the vest worked perfectly. It was really nice to not have a hand-held bottle (my standard go-to) and it was so light, living up to its minimalist name. Additionally, the things that I had in the pockets stayed put and I didn’t shift at all. If you’re looking to invest in a hydration vest, I definitely recommend this one. And if you live close by and want to try it before you buy it, feel free to swing by!

I can’t wait to use it for races over the summer. Big plans for the Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest!

Follow them on social:
Instagram @AmphipodRunning
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Want to check out more reviews from my fellow BRPs?

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Barb
Alastair
Bradford
Renee
Angie
Mai
Kevin
Logan
Amy
Whitney

Renaissance Periodization and ALL the Food Math

Who loved math in high school?

Okay. I know that there are some of you that genuinely did, but I was not one of those people. I hated math. It didn’t come naturally to me. I had to work twice as hard to get a good grade and since high school I feel like I haven’t flexed any of those math muscles at all.

At least until I started doing Renaissance Periodization and doing literally ALL of the food math ever.

Let me rewind for a second and explain what I’m talking about. Renaissance Periodization, or RP, is a diet template (not a “diet” in the traditional sense, but diet like “the food you eat”) that is scientifically formulated to optimize nutrition and training.

Renaissance Periodization was founded with the understanding that science is the surest path to the truth, and in this field, to results. Our approach is the rigorous application of scientific principles to nutrition and training. Everything we do is built on a foundation of peer-reviewed literature and experimentally confirmed theory.

I’ve worked for a long time at making my body healthy and strong, but I know there is more I can do to be stronger and healthier. I’ve written before about my relationship with my body image and I’ve talked a lot about my philosophy on healthy eating. I generally do a pretty solid job of eating whole, nutritious foods, getting the right nutrients, and maintaining a healthy relationship with food in general. However, stepping on the scale showed me that I was still “overweight” (by BMI standards) and for as frequently as I work out and as healthy as I eat, I couldn’t seem to make that needle move even a little bit. I suspected my problem was, in fact, undereating.

I exercise 5-6 days a week, typically for 1-2 hours a day. Based on MyFitnessPal (where I was tracking my meals), I was only eating around 1800 calories a day. That is NOT enough, given my calorie output. However, I was in a food routine and it was hard for me to make myself eat more than that. Chronic undereating can really eff up your metabolism and ultimately tell your body to store fat because it thinks you need the energy.

That’s where RP comes in. A number of folks at our gym have used it to great success, and I’ve followed a bunch of athletes who also use it (olympic weightlifters and crossfitters). I thought that maybe following a template with a little more structure and expertise than I could offer myself may work a little better in my effort to lose some body fat and build strength. Clay, who has the opposite problem as me, wanted to use RP to do a muscle gain. We bit the bullet and each purchased our personalized templates.

According to RP:

Each diet offers the option to structure your meal timing for training days on which the training is done first thing in the morning and in every 3-4 hour interval later, all the way up to a late night session before bedtime. Non-training day diets come standard with every template.

Each fat-loss and muscle gain is designed to be run for approximately 3-6 months, with the programming to help you gain or lose anywhere between 5 and 25lbs in that 3-month span, depending on your body size, caloric expenditure, and goals.

The included maintenance diet (the base tab) that comes with both the cutting and massing plan can be run for as long as you want if your goals are to maintain your weight and improve your recovery and performance.

This is an example of the template I’ve been using

The best part about RP is the mentality. Yes, you are given a set of templates that dictate what your meals should be. However, the minds behind this business know that humans make choices and life happens and sometimes we fall off the wagon, sometimes we have life events we want to celebrate, and sometimes we mess up. There’s no penalty, there’s no guilt, they just say to get back on track tomorrow. That’s it. I love that way of thinking because I know that over the course of 12 weeks, I will be 99% compliant, but my birthday is next month, so is my anniversary. I want to celebrate both of those things and I will and I won’t worry or feel bad about it at all.

We started our respective templates at the beginning of the month and are currently in our fourth week. I’ve been doing SO much food math (lots of cross-multiplication) to determine the quantity of food I need to meet the required macronutrients per meal. So much math, that we’ve started to keep notebooks with our meals written out in grams and formulas that tell us what we need to make sure our meals are complete. Not to mention, our meal prep skills are ON POINT. Every Saturday, the fridge is packed to the brim with groceries, and every Sunday, those groceries are turned into 25 meals, neatly packed in tupperware.

So, yes. High school algebra has found a way back into my life. Much to my chagrin. But, this time, I’m happy to do it. I’ve seen small progress – which is appropriate given the time period I’ve been on the template – both on the scale and in the mirror, the latter being the more important of the two for me, honestly. I just want to feel confident in my body and know that I’m fueling it the best I can to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself.

Here’s to 8 more weeks of food math!

The Real (?) Thing

As I write this post, I’m sidelined: sofa city, sweethearts. Why? Last weekend’s 5K ended with
this happening at the literal FINISH LINE:

Yeah, ouch. (Jsyk: the doc said it was a mild sprain, and that two-ish weeks off should be
good. I have a very sexy ankle brace to wear, too. Meeeeeeow.) Honestly, though, my pride
was probably more bruised than my ankle; nothing like crashing and burning suuuuuuperpublicly!

But the funny thing is, in the aftermath, I’ve felt SO legit. Like this was my ticket into the Real Runners’ Club or something. Because when I explained why I was limping, or wearing a brace,
people nodded knowingly, as if to say, “She’s one of those people. She runs on purpose.” Is
running really that extreme of a sport these days, when on tv we regularly watch people with
2% body fat tackle giant monkey bars over a pit with ACTUAL FLAMES spurting out each
side? (If someone could explain to me what is actually happening on American Ninja Warrior, I
would really appreciate it, kthnxbai.)

Well, regardless of whether one sprained ankle really is enough for membership in the Real
Runners’ Club, I’ve had a hard time thinking of myself as an athlete since I started running.
Probably it’s my inner Fat Kid shaking her head in disbelief at the idea that I’m doing anything
that’s more strenuous than diving into the latest Maggie Stiefvater novel. All I know is that when
someone does refer to me as an athlete, I have to stop myself from looking behind me to see
who that person is talking about.

Do I have nagging self-esteem issues? Of course; who doesn’t? Although I’d love to say
running has somehow managed to instill supreme self-confidence in me, I’d be a liar if I did.
But something that has changed since I started running is my ability to appreciate what my
body can do for me. Sure, my thighs might jiggle more than I want them to, and my tummy
might not be practically concave anymore like it was in my twenties (sigh), but those thighs and
that tummy? They carried me through all the races I’ve run. Suck it, self-esteem issues.

What do I hope you’ll take away from this? Other than, “Wow, she sure does have good taste in
reaction GIFs”, I hope you’ll remember to be a little kinder to yourself the next time you’re
questioning your athletic ability (or your appearance, or whatever). More than likely, the hot
mess that you picture in your head is not what everyone else is seeing when they look at you.
Unless you’re featured on peopleofWalmart.com, that is.

Snaaaaaacks

Hey, I’m Ashley and I love food. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me in real life, follows me on any type of social media, or if you have read any of my other posts.

Crunchy things are my weakness. Ice cream is my soulmate. Pizza is my best friend.

You get the picture, right?

How did the internet get this footage of me?

It’s so easy to sit on the couch and grab a bag of chips or popcorn and just munch away, not worried about portion size or calories. I’m guilty of it, even as I’ve been trying to be on this “healthy lifestyle”. I can often be found sneaky chips and crackers and other delicious things late at night knowing the only person I’m actually hiding from is myself. It’s ridiculous!

Lately I’ve been trying SO HARD to do better with my eating habits. It’s definitely working, but not without a little change in my thinking. This definitely includes snacks.

Instead of grabbing chips or something salty, I’ve been binging on fruits and veggies. Of course, sometimes you need a little bit more to go with those fruits and veggies…because that stuff gets boring real fast.

I’m obsessed with this little cuties. The amount of them I eat might be embarrassing if they weren’t so delicious.

I’ve been toying around with Greek yogurt (yuck) and have found that it’s tolerable when I put a lot of different stuff in it. It might sound crazy, and you’re probably thinking why don’t I just eat stuff I like? Well, I’m trying very hard to stick to my plan, so that means I need to get creative.

These three things and a dash of cinnamon…

…make for a delicious fruit dip!

 

Greek yogurt is a great breakfast food time. Of course, I like to mix in bananas, cocoa powder, and sometimes even a little natural sweetener because it isn’t something I can eat by itself. For veggies, I use the yogurt and a packet of ranch season to make a super light dip. So many things to do with it!

You might be able to guess by now that I also love dips of all kinds. Hummus and carrot sticks, crackers, or cucumbers is always filling… BUT, WAIT.

Did y’all know that chocolate hummus is a thing? Because it is and it ain’t half bad.

Get on this.

These are just a few things that I’m obsessed with right now. Also: mushy bananas because those are the best.

And coffee.

Is coffee a snack?

Anyway, if you have any tips or delicious treats you love, let me know! I’m always on the lookout for new things!