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!

Decided Not to be Stupid

Filing this in: when things don’t go as planned.

I have a problem with letting things go.

I acknowledge this. I like when my life goes according to plan. Type A, 100%. When I say that I’m going to do something, I do. No questions asked.

Even if I’m struggling; even if it’s miserable. Even when I am miserable.

I’m supposed to be lining up to run the AC April Fools 1/2 marathon right at this very moment.

But I’m not.

The past week I’ve been dealing with a very sore neck and to be honest, my training hasn’t been what it should be for a half marathon.

In the past I would have pushed through and run anyway but recently, I’ve realized that sometimes – it’s just not worth it. I don’t have anything to prove and there’s no shame in making the smart decision.

The Type A part of me sheds a tear because I’ve run this race since its inception in 2012, on my 35th birthday.

2012 – Cam’s first half marathon

And the next year with wonderful college friends.

2013

And then this AMAZING crew came from all over the country in 2014.

Miss Demeanor, Miss Chief, Miss Print, Miss Behavin’, Miss Fit, Miss Creant, Miss Placed

It’s where these epic costumes happened, with these equally epic people.

 

It’s where Chrissy and I train for many of our races together, including this one in 2016, when the weather was so awful we weren’t sure we were going to make it to the finish.

Last year was the year that I gained an 8 minute PR at this race. It was also the first time I ever run the course completely alone, which is not usually how I operate when it comes it running.

When I tweeted about the possibility of a DNS earlier this week, Lisa (@runslikemud) said she’s heard it should stand for Decided Not to be Stupid.

This applies here.

I made the decision to pull myself from this event and it is absolutely for the best. For those who are out there today, getting it done – I hope that the miles are good to you, as is the weather.

I’ll be back in AC for the new 5 mile Bungalow Beach Run in June and I’m sure many more races. But for now, I’m going to rest, recuperate, and look ahead to the next.

(And stay off Facebook because many local friends are running and it still hurts my heart a little.)(Baby steps, okay?)

Gains and Gratitude

YOU GUYS. How pumped are you that it’s Friday? I am very, very pumped. Friday means rest day (best day!) and it seems like Spring has finally clawed its way here in Virginia. At least for the foreseeable future the weather looks warm and mostly sunny. Let me tell you, I am OVER this whole “winter” thing. 

I really shouldn’t complain, though, because my parents are getting hammered with another snowstorm in Wisconsin this weekend. I guess Winter will leave when it’s good and ready. 🤷🏼‍♀️ 

It’s spring here though, and things are looking brighter. This week has been a great one in the fitness department and I’m excited to be rolling in to summer making strides in the gym. 

On Tuesday, I PR’d my snatch, making a huge jump from 115 to 155. It’s amazing how repetition and accessory strength can help one feel comfortable catching a heavy barbell overhead. Snatching is such a technical lift and truly be an expert at it, it takes years of dedicated practice and drilling. I’m still learning and perfecting my form, but this week the barbell and I got along really well. I’m proud of how far I’ve come with something that until a few months ago I’d never done before. 

Last week, Clay and I retested our 1 rep max back squat and deadlift – and I made big gains there too. Up to 280 for my back squat and 315 for my deadlift. I may not be the fastest in our gym, but I am one of the strongest… I’ll take it where I can get it! (Under a heavy barbell, apparently.)

None of these gains would be possible without support though – and I’m very lucky to have a husband who is just as dedicated to my fitness as he is to his own. I know I always have a lifting partner and someone to suffer through a metcon with – and even when he’s not able to be in the gym with me, he’s still offering feedback and pumping me up (Facebook livestreams are great for that). Clay pushes himself in the gym too, and watching him make progress and improve skills alongside me is so motivating. I’m proud of how far he’s come and the habits he’s building in and out of the gym. Being surrounded by his energy keeps me on track, too. Simply put, he’s the best. 

When Clay isn’t around, I have some of the best peeps in the gym to keep me motivated – and honestly, my progress in the last two months would have been minimal without our little crew. Pushing me to try new skills, lift heavier weights, take new classes, get in extra workouts before class… we learn from each other and challenge each other every day. I’m grateful for all of it.

So, yeah. I’m looking forward to what the next few months bring – if the past few weeks are any indication, spring and summer 2018 will be great. Bring on the sun! 

Life Moves Pretty Fast…But I Don’t

I’ve been running for about five years now and when I first started I never dreamed that I’d be sitting here, putting pen to paper (in a sense) about training for a marathon.

I signed up for my first marathon in February 2016 after my stepfather passed away unexpectedly. My best friend and running best friend had been thinking about it for a while, so I went for it. I felt, at that time, that it was something I just had to do. Looking back, I’m glad I took the chance. I did a recap of the Space Coast Marathon after Mer saw some pics on Instagram that I’d posted because I actually hadn’t really made it known that I was running a marathon! I wasn’t prepared for this race at all. Michelle and I had signed up for it and then training fell to the wayside.

I honestly don’t even remember developing a plan or anything for Space Coast.

So. Now we’re doing things differently.

In October I’ll be running the Chicago Marathon. Michelle signed up with the lottery and, even though I’ve only been yelling about how I didn’t want to run another marathon, the FOMO (fear of missing out) was real! It took a few weeks before I finally decided to sign up with a charity team. I chose The American Heart Association to honor my stepfather, seeing as he was the reason I decided to run a marathon the first time.

The title of this post is a nod to Ferris Bueller, of course. My family is coming with me to Chicago so we’re definitely planning on doing some touristy things while we’re there.

This time I am definitely, definitely going to be prepared. There. I’ve put it on the internet, so it’s going to happen! I just finished Week 4 of my training plan and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m doing intervals to help build up my strength because, honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve ran for longer than a few minutes at a time. At this point I’m not ready to set any goals for the race, because I just want to focus on my preparedness. I’ve even put up a calendar!

I’m trying to focus on getting a workout in everyday, but I know I’m going to need to scale it back a little. I’ve been kind of obsessed with closing the rings on my Apple Watch which really does nothing but make me happy. I might do a walk or light stretching instead of a cross training or more intense workout. It’s early on in the training schedule so I definitely don’t want to tire myself out or injure myself just yet. Or, you know, at all.

Training would be going better if I didn’t always stop to take pics for Skirt Sports. 🙂

The best thing about working with your running buddy is that you always have motivation and accountability. Michelle and I plan any short, weekly runs we can do together and keep each other up-to-date with our weekend runs. We both use the Nike+ RunClub app which notifies your friends when you go for a run.

For me, accountability is key. If there isn’t someone who knows all about what I’m doing and where I’m doing it, chances are it’s not going to happen. I’m looking forward to Chicago and seeing what I can do. My time for Space Coast was nearly seven hours, so I know I can do better than that. I’m feeling strong and we’re only a few weeks in. I know that summer will really test my commitment as the weather will be dreadful. Michelle and I have a place we like to do long runs at, so we’ll definitely be meeting up to get some training runs done.

I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me about this a few more times before October. If you have any training tips, I’d love to hear them, too!

Back to the Grind

Okay. If you read my post about my Princess training fail and now you’re reading this one you might be thinking that I’m really bad at fitness. And commitment. And also staying on track with things.

Well, you’d be totally right about all of that! Life gets busy and I struggle to stay on track. Every. Single. Day. (As I write this I’m eating my last two Tagalongs.)

Health and fitness have been a huge focus in my life for a few years now. It started with healthy eating: changing habits, making better choices, more fruits and veggies. There are those things we should be doing but often forget to do.

I started running when I turned 30. I’d never been very athletic. I played sports when I was a kid but wasn’t very good at it. In high school I joined the cross country team for a season because a friend wanted me to. I hated running, so I’m not really sure why I thought I’d pick it up fifteen years later.

Running led to other fitness endeavors and I found myself in the best shape I’d been in for a long time.

Until lately, that is.

I’ve been on the struggle bus health and fitness wise since about September. Hurricane Irma caused a lot of problems down here in Southwest Florida, and not all of them were from the weather. I’m a nervous/anxious eater. I eat when I’m bored. Y’all. I just love food, okay? Being off of work and worried about friends and family was not good for me. After the storm things just went downhill from there. The holidays came, stress at work comes and goes, and I am just…tired.

Lately I’ve been looking for some motivation. I started a Facebook group with a few friends to keep us accountable for working out and being healthy because I thought it would help me if I were helping others. It worked for a while, but I’ve been slacking on it.

It’s hard to find the motivation to “get up and go” sometimes. Sometimes the couch is just much more fun than going to the gym, or out for a run or walk. Often times it’s easier to make and unhealthy meal choice than to take the time to cook something good and good for you. I’ve even started a Pinterest board to keep track of some at home workouts I can do. I’m really good at Pinning. Not so good at the working out just yet.

Talking to friends, it feels like we’re all in the same boat. We don’t like how we look in photos, how are clothes fit, and why are we so tired? Because we aren’t taking care of our bodies the way we’re supposed to be! Since becoming a Skirt Sports Ambassador I’ve met (online) so many amazing women. I see their posts every single day and I’m always amazing at what people can do. They motivate me each and every day with their pictures, videos, and words. That’s what I need and want. That’s what I hope to do for others one day.

Excuses are easy to come by, too. I’ve just written a ton of them! I’m definitely ready to get back to it, though. A lot of the times I am awed at the things my body can do, but I’m also always looking at ways to better myself- inside and out. As I write this it’s only Tuesday, but I’m feeling pretty good about this week. It’s already a busy one but I’m on track with eating healthy and working out. I mean, a little bit. Rome wasn’t built in a day, okay?

I just really like naps. 

If you have any tips on how to get motivated drop them below or hit me up on Twitter @thisgirlash_!

When to Tell Your Doctor They’re Stupid

Because sometimes doctors DON’T know it all. I learned how to advocate and be more proactive recently when I wasn’t getting the care I needed. Maybe TMI, but hey, #normalizeperiods right? Take a lesson from me, and also look at the pretty river! The ice is melting and spring is coming!!! #rednosedontcare #nomakeupsowhat

2018 Race Plans

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my goals for 2018. I started laying them out in November, of course, because I love planning.

Give me a planner and I’ll conquer the world.

     My primary goal is one I’ve had for a long time. It’s a total cliché too. You know, it’s that one about finishing your novel. Yeah. That. I’ve wanted to be a writer all my life and I recently had a small success in that a short story of mine placed in a contest and was published. But my main goal is to finish the novel that I’ve been working on for many, many, many, years. So many years I can’t even tell you how many because it’s an embarrassment. So that is my primary goal in 2018, get my novel finished!

I did run the Yellowstone Half last year but it’s the Caldera medal that’s calling my name.  Plus, I fell in love with the Tetons when we drove through the park last summer. These races are back-to-back weekends in June, and my sister and I are taking a road trip there together. We’ll be camping and hiking the two national parks all week together and I’m super excited about it! I could really use a vacation.  Next week marks the start of half training for these races and I’ll keep mixing strength training into my routine as well.

Some of my favorite photos from the Vacations Races I’ve run over the years.

     I’m also doing the Rocky Mountain Elk Double again in August and it will be my fourth year participating. I’m super excited because Meridith is flying out to join me for my favorite race! I am so stoked because she’s bringing her whole family and I get to show them Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park. I openly admit my bias for Colorado, and I love showing off the state that I’m so lucky to live in and proud to be from. Those are my three races for the year and while it doesn’t seem like a lot, the Triple is two half marathons and a 5k in seven days. It will be a great challenge.

     Last week, I took a class at REI about cross-country skiing, and tomorrow, I’m taking another class there about snowshoeing basics. These classes are free, so check out your local REI for their offerings. I could even ice skate if I wanted to because there’s a pond less than a mile from my house that’s frozen solid right now. The variety and choices are endless! I just have to push myself out of my comfort zone and out of the gym and go give it a try. 2018 is the time to be fearless!

If you want to follow my writing pursuits, I have a Twitter and a website and they come with my undying devotion. You can’t pass THAT up. 

January Wellness Challenge Wrap-Up

Okay. I know everyone on the internet has been convinced that January was the longest month in the history of ever…. and while I can kind of agree, it’s also hard to believe that February is already here. Like, what?

Anyways. During the 74-day eternity that was apparently January, Clay and I participated in a wellness challenge put on by our gym. This week, we wrapped up the challenge (Clay had a few more pull-ups to complete to get his full 500 for the month), and I think it’s safe to say that we are definitely better for having participated.

Our week four goals were centered around mental health and mindfulness. I generally try to be pretty good at taking time for myself and making sure my head is right, but this time of year always, always, stresses me out. At work, we’re preparing for our annual conference and there are so many balls in the air that it inevitably feels like one (or more) will drop and things will explode or catch on fire or collapse.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but you get my drift.

I’m also heading into the time of year when Clay is gone for a month-and-a-half for work, which isn’t so much stressful as it is a bummer.

All of this is a long way of saying spending a week focused on destressing and self-care was a good thing.

Week Four – Mental Health and Mindfulness

  • Complete a de-stress activity at least twice this week. I make time to read every day and it’s my chance to slow down, turn my work-brain off, and just relax for a bit. Some days, I relax so much that I fall asleep in the middle of a chapter. Other days, I stay up too late and finish a book. Either way, I enjoy taking the time to quiet my thoughts.
  • Write down one thing or person you are grateful for each day of the week. This was easy – I have a lot to be grateful for.
  • Eliminate the words “I can’t” or “never” from your vocabulary for one week at the gym (1 burpee penalty for each time you say either). Fortunately, I have a pretty positive attitude in the gym. I try my best to approach each workout with the mindset that I can do what’s put in front of us. It might hurt, it will definitely be hard, but I can do it. Being aware of not using the words “I can’t” or “never” just made me more determined to push and challenge myself instead of worrying about what other people were doing.
  • Be in the moment. Turn off the phone during dinner for the entire week and engage the people you are with. Clay and I are notorious for spending dinner and the remainder of our evenings with our noses in our phones. Reading Reddit, catching up on social media, reading articles, general mindless blather, etc. Putting our phones down while we ate dinner last week was a nice change. It didn’t help me eat any slower, but it did allow us to have more conversation time, which is never a bad thing.

This month has been a good one, in spite of the stress of work and other nonsense – doing this challenge has helped bring that into focus. I think many of the activities we participated in are actually going to be positive habit-forming experiences. 33 days without alcohol (so far) and 8:00 pm bedtimes have been really, really great. I’m hoping that we continue to see improvement over the next two months, too, as we enter into a less regulated schedule and a busier period of work for both of us.

Happy February!

Race Recap: 2018 Chili Run

Last year’s Chili Run was a great one: great weather, great running with my buddy, Rachel. All around GREAT.

This year? 50 degrees and RAIN was in the forecast for the January Chili Run. Additionally, this race had an extra challenge because… I can’t get my arm wet.

It sounds so silly but yep, it’s true. You can learn more about my injury here and here. It’s been 3 weeks since I initially fell. I finally had the MRI last week because the X-Rays didn’t show enough; it’s a fracture of my radius. I’m going back to the doctor later today and we’ll see what they have to say.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, I’m dealing with an injury, it was raining, and my reluctant runner husband, Jay, was signed up to run this race after he agreed to it after drinking a few beers. (If you want to get Jay to agree to something, that’s usually the best time to ask.)

All signs pointed toward a DNS – Did Not Start.

But c’mon. Is that me? No. No, it is not.

That’ll do! I even was able to put my thumb through my jacket’s thumb hole. BONUS!

Before I was injured, my goal was to try to hit the 22:00 minute mark for this two mile race. That would have been fast for me and a course PR. Honestly, even before I was injured, it would have been a bit of a stretch.

But given that I haven’t run for the past 3 weeks and I’ve been babying my arm because it hurts, my main goal was just to RUN. I was nervous going into this so I decided that I would stick with Jay, in case I needed to stop for any reason.

This year’s swag: The Chili Run beanie hat! Additionally you get a bowl of chili and a beer after the run!

The convenience of this race couldn’t be better for us. The start and finish is located at Carolina Blue, a local restaurant that is 2 miles from our home. With a start time of 10am, we rolled out of the house at 9:30am and were there minutes later.

We had friends running and I messaged with a few but we decided rather than going inside, we’d stay warm and dry in our car until the last possible minute.

If he looks less than impressed it’s because he is.

I knew my husband planned to listen to his music rather than chatting with me, so I brought along my AfterShokz and paired them with my phone.

About five minutes before the start of the race, all of the runners came out from the warmth of their cars and the patio to line up for the start. It was steadily raining but thankfully it wasn’t freezing cold.

My outfit consisted of capris, Bib Rave tank, running jacket, Momentum hat, and plastic bag.

There are no pictures from the race but if you’re really curious, feel free to visit last year’s post from the same race. My phone was safely tucked away in a plastic bag!

Something to note is this race doesn’t have a timing mat to cross when you begin. Therefore your time begins as soon as the race starts. Jay and I crossed the finishing timing mat at 24:49. To give you an idea of the speed of some of the runners, the top male finished in 11:13 and the top female was smoking fast at 13:19. Wowza!

After crossing the finish we cheered as a few friends crossed the finish and then we quickly jumped in the chili line. The line snaked outside into the rain so I kept my plastic bag firmly in place! We saw even more friends while waiting in the line and that’s another reason why I love this run so much, it’s got a great community vibe.

I just realized i didn’t have a picture of this year’s chili so last year’s will have to do!

Overall, despite the rain and in spite of my arm, this is always a fun race and well worth the $40 entry fee. A few spots just opened for the February race but I know they’ll go fast!

Have you ever done a 2 mile race? What’s something you look forward to eating/drinking after a run?