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! 

Race Recap: 2018 Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k race 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!

In 2017 I ran the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k on my 40th birthday. This year I had the opportunity to run the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 5k representing BibRave and I jumped at the opportunity. The swag is incredible and HELLO, there is chocolate. What more could a girl want?

Well, how about a super cool friend to run with? That’s always a bonus and one of the reasons I love running so much – being with friends. Last year I ran the 15k with my dear friend Christina as a celebration for both of us turning 40. This year, novice runner Ana joined me for the 5k run around Philadelphia.

Originally when I signed up for this race, I had visions of 5k PRs danced in my head. However after a rough winter and a broken arm, my training was less than stellar. I settled into the “get it done” mentality and that worked out well because I was able to run with Ana at her first ever road race.

I chose to have my packet sent to me rather than going to the expo for an additional fee. My purple pullover and bib arrived a week and a half prior to the race. It was worth the additional cost for me to save time traveling into the city prior to race day. There was no race day pickup.

The weather this year as brisk but not uncomfortable. As I headed out the door I made a last minute decision to ditch my gloves. I later came to regret that decision but otherwise I was comfortable.

Ana and I took the train into the city from S. Jersey, which is usually my standard when it comes to Philly races. It’s easy, it’s quick, and I don’t have to worry about parking. It was packed with other Hot Chocolate runners. I don’t know the amount of people who run both races but in the 5k there were 3,406 runners. I think that the 15k is the bigger of the two races. Both races get the same pullover and finisher’s mug at the end of the race, but the 15k also gets a finishers medal, which I think is a big draw for many people.

Our quick walk from the train station to the start line served as a warm up and we made it to the Art Museum right around 7am for the 7:15am start. It was perfect timing and we even got to see a few friends before the race!

Representing BibRave with Joe!

We placed ourselves in the G corral = mullet crew, party in the back. Looking to have a good time with this, we set our timer to 1:1 intervals.

The course is similar to others in Philadelphia. Starts at the Art Museum and then winds down along the river and back again. Boathouse Row is always fun to look at, the traffic on the other side: not as much.

We spent the first mile or so bobbing and weaving, as is usually the case with races this size, but we were having fun and enjoying the race and also the people around us.

On the course they handed out chocolate and marshmallows, along with water and Nuun.

This race went by fast! Soon enough we were turning around and headed back to the Art Museum.

Free race photos? YES PLEASE!

There is a small hill right near the finish line that is always there and yet, it always catches me off guard for some reason. We decided to walk up the hill (honestly, it’s not bad at all – just me whining) and then hit the gas for the end. So much fun!

Sure running is fun but let’s talk about chocolate-y goodness, shall we? There are huge tents where you can get your mug filled with all sorts of goodies: hot chocolate, chocolate dipping sauce, pretzels, cookies, banana, and Rice Krispy treat. Last year the ground around that area was muddy and gross due to recent rain. This year there was hay on the ground, which significantly improved that situation and was much appreciated.

The line to get our treats moved quickly and soon enough we were sitting in front of the Art Museum and enjoyed our treats.

And, of course, we ran up the Art Museum steps! How could we not?

Ana is already talking about signing up again next year so I think the running bug has bitten her. (Mwahaha, excellent, everything is going according to plan.)

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!

Vacation Motivation

Spring Break, 2018! Woohoo!

Just kidding, I’m old and tired.

Okay, but really. Spring Break is something teachers start counting down to the moment we come back from Winter Break. It’s a time to relax and prep for whatever the rest of the year throws our way.

I’m not good at relaxing, however. I volunteered for a three day tutoring camp for the first part of break and then my family and I are taking a trip to Disney! (As I’m writing this it’s Wednesday night and it’s scheduled to post on Friday. I’m being proactive here.)

So, why am I telling you about my non-existent break? I posted a couple of weeks ago about being on the struggle bus for motivation. I was at a point where I was just feeling…blah. I wasn’t happy with the way I looked in clothes or pictures. I wasn’t feeling good about some things.

Since then I’ve been doing well getting my eating on track and working out. Every. Dang. Day. I’m currently on a ten day streak. (Yay, me.) Even being on Spring Break I’ve managed to workout and eat right-ish. I went out to eat twice and to a movie, so it definitely hasn’t been easy. I just really, really love food!

Not being at home is the hardest when you’re trying to stick with a plan. What I learned about staying on track while being at work is to be consistent and intentional. I intentionally made my lunches everyday, planning what my meals and snacks were and it worked. The same with keeping up with workouts. My sister went to school to be a personal trainer so on days I didn’t run she came up with some great things for me.

Thursday we’re leaving for a few days in Disney, so I’m planning an AM workout before we leave. In the meantime, I’ve also planned all of my snacks for park days so I don’t end up eating all the Mickey Bars, Mickey Pretzels, churros, popcorn…wait, where was I?

Right. Snacks.

Crunchy snacks on my true love. I also threw in some fruit. Whatever.

We visit parks enough that I know hydration is ALWAYS a key. No matter if the weather is supposed to be cool. I always carry my own water bottle. LOOK, MER – RAVENCLAW.

Aside from being prepared with snacks and water, I’ve also actually packed WORKOUT CLOTHES. I’m being “intentional” with bringing clothes and I really hope that I don’t fail on this part. I know I’m going to walking all the days I’m there so I won’t not be moving, but running and working out have become important to me. I don’t want to let myself down.

 

All the Skirt Sports! (And Stella the kitten, but she can’t go.)

I know I’m not going to have a perfect week, but I can’t resist delicious things. Vacations are for indulging a little, but I know (hopefully) I’m on the right track right now.

One thing I know I’m going to indulge in is a Butterbeer when I get to see Mer at Universal on Sunday.

Okay, and maybe a Mickey Bar.

Weekly Workouts (Or, “Why I Have to Go to Bed at 8pm Every Night”)

Okay. I think I’ve sat staring at this computer screen for about 30 minutes trying to come up with something to write about. I always struggle with this – I don’t feel like my life is particularly interesting at the moment, I’m not running and I haven’t run regularly in more than a year, I work out nearly every day doing CrossFit and I love it, but I never know how to talk about it. All of this is to say, I feel like I’m in a writing rut.

So today, we’re going to talk about this week’s workouts, because I can actually write about that.

Thursday

Currently, crossfitters are in the middle of the CrossFit Open – a worldwide competition that tests your fitness and your skills, and gives you a benchmark to compare your progress against. This is my first year doing the Open, though I’ve followed it for a number of years. Being a competitive person, I knew going into the Open that I wanted to push myself to do well. That being said, I also knew that if I let myself get too competitive, I would only end up getting stuck in the cycle of anxiety about the workouts, and then disappointment in my overall result. I’m relatively new to CrossFit, I’m still learning a lot of the higher skill movements, and I have quite a way to go to become proficient at many of the movements I can do. Things like handstand push-ups, handstand walks, muscle-ups… all things that I’m working on improvement and all things that have shown up so far in the Open. It’s been an empowering and humbling experience all at the same time. We have one more week to go and the last workout will be announced tomorrow. It will probably be some wicked form of torture, but it’s the last one, so I’m going to give it all I’ve got.

I did last week’s Open workout on Thursday as part of our gym’s Thursday Night Throwdowns – where, after the workout is announced, a handful of our athletes complete the workout in front of our friends and workout buddies. I was pretty amped and nervous about doing this because, like I say, I’m pretty competitive and I hate failing at anything. I was really hoping for movements that I could do and would have really preferred a heavy barbell. When the workout was announced, I was really happy – in nine minutes, we were to complete 21-15-9 reps of deadlifts (155 pounds for women) and handstand push-ups, followed by another 21-15-9 of deadlifts (205 pounds for women) and 50 ft handstand walks.

I got through 70 reps that night, making it through 21 deadlifts, 21 handstand push-ups, 15 deadlifts, and 13 handstand push-ups. I love deadlifts, but while I like the push-ups, I’m still learning how to be more efficient at them as well as strengthening my shoulders to be able to lift my body weight off the floor.

Friday

Rest

Saturday

After resting on Friday, I decided to re-do this workout on Saturday, attempting a different strategy (breaking up the push-ups earlier and managing my rest better). The second time, I got 12 more reps – finishing the round of 15, getting 9 deadlifts and 1 more handstand push-up. I was ecstatic with that, especially given how sore my shoulders were from doing it two days before.

Sunday

Headed to the gym for SpinFit Sunday morning – this class is similar to spin, but uses a bike erg instead of a traditional spin bike. I followed this up with a 5×5 back squat set, working at approximately 70% of my max. My legs were pretty smoked by the time I finished.

Monday

4 rounds for time

9 power cleans

12 alternating pistols (one-legged squats)

48 double unders

I finished in 7:33

As Many Rounds as Possible (AMRAP): 5 minutes

1/1,2/2,3/3,4/4, etc.

Snatch (95#)

Box jumps (24 inches)

Rest three minutes

AMRAP 4 minutes

5 pull ups

10 push ups

15 air squats

Rest 2 minutes

AMRAP 3 minutes

D-Ball to Shoulder (70#)

Tuesday

4 rounds on the 4:00

12 thrusters (65#)

12 calorie bike

18 x 10 meter shuttle sprints

then…

Build to a heavy thruster. I worked up to 165#. I stuck around for the class, as well, and did that workout, too, as it was all skill work, specifically rope climbs. I can do these, but under fatigue, they get really hard. It was good to practice these with how tired I already was.

Rest day is on the horizon and I am SO looking forward to that. Clay also gets home from more than a month and a half away in a few days, so things are looking brighter for sure. Now, if winter would GTFO of here already, I’d be really happy.

Why I Run

I get a lot of different responses when I talk about running. Some people think it’s really cool that running is something I do. Often times people get this look on their face like they want to say something rude, but are holding it in really, really well. Most of the time the response is “Oh, I hate running!” to which I always want to reply – “Me too!”

Truth is, I don’t feel that way about running. I actually love running a whole darn lot.

When I was sixteen I joined my high school’s cross country team because a friend wanted me to. The only thing I learned was that I was very bad at running. So bad that it would scar me for years and I wouldn’t even try it again until ten years later.

That time I was training for a 5K with some girls from work. I was at nearly my heaviest weight, but still trying. I never did manage to run a 5K without walking that time, but I still had some fun…I guess.

I feel like, with this story, the third time is the charm. I mentioned a little bit about it in my About Ash page, but I started running after I turned thirty. A couple of my friends and I started the Couch to 5K program and were keeping each other accountable through texts and Facebook. It was slow-going at first, but I remember the first time I was able to run five minutes without stopping. It was amazing. I was so impressed with myself and my body for doing something that I couldn’t even do when I was sixteen!

When the successes starting to pile up I got more excited about running. Being able to run 3.2 miles was a huge success for me and one that I would have proudly stopped at had I not had my friend Michelle pushing me to do more.

It’s not the distance that I love, though. I mostly run alone so I get to pick my distances. During the week I don’t run more than 2-3 miles simply because I’m pretty tired when I get off work. I know that’s a lousy excuse but I really love sleep.

When I’m out there, even if it’s a bad run, I’m still amazed at what my body can do and has already done. To me, running is not only physical, but also a mental sport. There are so many times I’m beating myself up, but also trying to beat myself, if that makes sense.

I love the feeling I get when I know I’ve pushed myself through the miles. I’ve been struggling with my runs lately, but I know that it will get better if I keep going.

I also know that I have to keep going. Honestly, running is good for my sanity! When I’m having a tough day at work and I just need to go– I run. Just me, music, and nature. Sometimes I’ll stop and just stand in nature. (Sometimes I take some really weird picture for Skirt Sports, too.)

The quietness and the peace I feel when running isn’t something I can really put into words. No matter if there are cars buzzing by or if I’m stopping to pet cats in my neighborhood. Not even if I’m struggling with the run and I just want to be home eating snacks…if I just take a deep breath and close my eyes everything goes away for just a moment.

Running keeps me balanced. It keeps me sane. It helps me know that I am capable of amazing things, but also that I’m not always perfect.

I run for me.

Why do you run?

Being a Skirt Sports Ambassador means I’m always on the lookout for secluded spots so strangers don’t see me taking pictures of myself. 😉

Video: Greecie Girl Headbands Review and GIVEAWAY!

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a fabulous Friday! I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on the videos we’ve posted lately so I figured that I’d make another one. Included are a few life updates and review a new-to-me product, Greecie Girl Headbands (pronounced Greece – I asked!). Enjoy!

Want to see a few pictures of Greecie Girl products in action? SURE YOU DO!

Dream Big

Treadmill run on a cold, snowy day (is it spring yet?)

If you’re interested, be sure to check out Mary’s sites. You can enter our giveaway down below but if you just can’t wait to order, the code 15off will save you 15% off orders over $24. WOOHOO!

Greecie Girl Headbands website

Greecie Girl Headbands on Etsy

 

Click the pic to enter!

One winner will win TWO headbands from Mary at Greecie Girl Headbands! Want to enter? Be sure to click on the picture above. Giveaway is running now until 3/20/2018 at 12am, est. Winner will be contacted via email for information. In the event that we do not hear back within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Are you a social media fan? You can find Greecie Girl here:

Twitter – ishlass
Instagram – greeciegirl

Race Recap: The Lucky Run 2018

Lucky me – I won the growler playing the spinning wheel at packet pickup!

Back in the day, when I first started working out in earnest, I did Stroller Strides three times a week at Washington Lake Park. With my older son strapped into his stroller I would briskly walk with a gaggle of other moms and babies. We’d stop for exercises like squats, walking lunges, resistance band exercises, and ab work. And when we’d stop, we sang children’s songs to entertain the kids… and probably the rest of the patrons in the park as well.

As time went on I became a certified instructor; I continued to teach through my pregnancy and then with my younger son in the stroller. It feels like a lifetime ago!

May 12, 2013 – a 5k held on Mother’s Day.

Quite simply, the park feels like home. When I found out that The Lucky Run was held there, it went on my bucket list. Through a series of fortunate events, I won a free entry to this year’s race!

In line with the theme, packet pickup was held at two breweries on the days leading up to the race, along with race day packet pickup for added convenience. Communication from Good Day for a Run and Mean Guy Running was stellar, as is their way. I opted to go to the closest brewery to me: Kelly Green Brewing Co. I (sadly) skipped the beer since I knew I’d be partaking in a post race beer or two the following day.

Race day weather was cool but dry. We’ve seen our share of snow and general yuckiness the last couple of weeks so we were all happy that the sun shining on the day of the race.

Thankfully I was wearing my Greecie Girl hat! Review coming soon.

Prior to running we learned a bit about the charity that the race supports, Collette Paying it Forward. We also got the chance to chat with a few of the charity’s volunteers while they were selling 50/50 raffle tickets. I like races that give back to the community.

Before the race began, I was able to meet up with a few local members of Team Shenanigans, Lynn and Erin! Although I’ve been a fan of the Team Shenanigans podcast for awhile, this was my first shenanigans encounter in person… and hopefully not the last – I don’t think I scared them away! We only had a few minutes prior to the race to talk, but we caught up at the after-party at The Village Pub.

After pictures and shenanigans (you see what I did there) we lined up for the start. We fed through the start line and then self-seeded where we thought we should be. I put myself toward the very back of the pack – in hindsight I might have wanted to find a place a bit further up. The park paths are narrow and it’s hard to maneuver in a large crowd. Lesson learned – I’ll keep it in mind for next time.

After the Star Spangled Banner, we were off to the sounds of a bagpiper!

Thanks to race photographer Chad for this picture!

There are a few areas of the park that tend to flood when there’s been a lot of rain. Knowing where to step for that portion definitely helped me out, but I could tell there were a few runners around me that ended up with wet socks.

The course had a double loop so the lead runners met up with the back of the pack around mile 2. No skin off my back but I could see that being a bit of a challenge for them.

The first mile was crowded but once we got past that, it spread out a bit. There was a water station around mile 1.25, which you passed again in the second mile. Neither my running buddy nor I needed to stop but it’s nice that they have the option! We joked that we were holding out for the beer at the after-party.

After the second loop we veered off to go through the flooded area again. This time is was less critical to know where to step because it wasn’t as dense with runners.

We looped by the amphitheater once again and went through what started at the start line and became the finish line. Results were immediately emailed to my phone.

I don’t know if you remember this if you’re not my mom (hi mom) but my goal for running in 2018 was to get faster at the 5k distance. I didn’t achieve that goal for this race but I’m going to cut myself some slack since my broken arm didn’t do me any favors in the training department. At this point, I’m really just happy to be out there and running. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Knowing that we didn’t win any awards, we quickly headed over to the after-party at The Village Pub. Erin and Lynn arrived there a bit ahead of us and grabbed a table, which was absolutely awesome. We were able to chat there while snacking on our complimentary munchies and drinking our beer (also free with ticket on the bib). Then since we were there, we decided to grab more snacks… and more beer! Hey, why not?!

One of the things I love the most about running local is catching up with so many friends! It’s such a good time and this environment only lends to the experience. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Good Day for a Run and Mean Guy Running know what runners enjoy!

I hope I’m finding my 5k groove because I’ll be at the Haddonfield Adrenaline Run on Saturday and then I’ll be representing BibRave at the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k in Philadelphia in early April so if you’re looking for me, look for the orange! If you haven’t signed up for that one yet, use code ““BRHCPHILLY18” to score a bonus Hot Chocolate cap.

What races do you have coming up? Will I see any of you at the Adrenaline Run or Philly Hot Chocolate? We can share snacks. Just kidding, I won’t share!