Month: July 2013


I feel like most of my posts have been confessions recently and this one is no different. I’ve been taking a bit of a step back from running lately and it’s making me a little bit crazy. My foot started feeling stressed during vacation (half marathon + vacation walking in unsupportive flip flops = no bueno) and I knew I wanted to back off before I did any real damage. I’ve still fit in a few easy runs but I’m not back to my regular schedule yet and I haven’t done a real “long run” since said half-marathon. I feel back to normal and plan to return to my training plan soon but at the first twinge of pain I will back right off again. As I’ve reiterated here (and repeated to myself in a non-stop loop!) Columbus Marathon is my real goal and it’s still a long way away, I need to stay healthy to be able to run those 26.2 miles and not think about the short term. For Emerald City I truly don’t have a goal (no secret sub-2 plans here) and I will likely view it as a training run, NOT a race, because I don’t think I need to put myself through that stress when I’m already fighting an injury. I’m already preparing myself for my slowest official half-marathon ever, because I know it will still be a hit to the ego.

A huge consequence of not running for me is not feeling entirely together. Daily tasks seem a bit more difficult, I find myself pretty unmotivated all-around and I fall into a little funk. I’m not sure if this is the lack of endorphins (I love me a good runner’s high!) or just the building up of my stress. Running has been a fantastic outlet for me- I feel like it stabilizes me emotionally and helps me work through things in my head- but the downside of that is that without running, I start to feel lost. I always joke that running is the best form of therapy for me but that never felt more true than it does now. I’m trying to find other ways to relieve the stress but mostly I’ve been self-medicating with pints of frozen yogurt (Ben & Jerry’s Blueberry Vanilla Graham Greek yogurt is my recent favorite) and Netflix marathons, which is pretty much the opposite of exercise. 

So that’s where I’m at, it’s been hard to blog regularly because I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing many blog-worthy things and writing about running just hurts my heart a bit (melodramatic, I know). I also didn’t think you all would really care about the countless number of Law & Order: SVU episodes I have watched lately, which could rival my highest weekly mileage. But, the good news is that I will be back to my old self in no time, in fact- by tomorrow! 

I’ve got some really exciting things coming up- including a special offer for a super rad race- so don’t give up on me yet 🙂

Let’s Get Real.

As you might have gleaned from my previous posts this week has been rough on me. I’ve had trouble snapping out of vacation mode, the weather has been too cold (every other person in the midwest is probably disagreeing after last week’s heat wave) and work has been overwhelming. Our house is still a mess, my laundry is unwashed and my suitcase is still packed (don’t judge). I’ve managed to cook dinner only one night this week (but don’t worry- I was able to eat ice cream THREE) and I haven’t woken up for a single pre-work workout. It’s not a pretty picture.

The name is right, SO delicious! And on sale at Kroger. 

So what’s a girl to do? SNAP OUT OF IT! Although I led off with the bad let’s focus on the good parts of the week. Despite eating too many dinners out I’ve started every day off with a healthy breakfast, including my most favorite Greek yogurt pancakes.

Raspberry Chobani, shredded coconut + slivered almonds.

Even after a mentally draining day at work I pulled myself together for a speed workout this week. Tempo B, per Jenny Hadfield’s plan, looked like this:

5 minutes easy pace (zone 2)
10 minutes comfortable pace (zone 3)
10 minutes comfortably hard to hard (zone 4-5)
2 minutes recovery (zone 2-3)
Repeat X2

cool down
5 minutes easy pace (zone 2-3)
5 minutes walking
For my first 10 “comfortably hard” minutes I maintained an average pace of 8:15, for the second 8:22 which I was very pleased with. I’d LOVE to get that below 8 minutes before the marathon and I definitely think I have it in me.

This week I am officially trading in my half-marathon training plan for the full, which is exciting! I keep reminding myself that even though my half is less than a month away I still have plenty of time to get myself in tip top shape before the marathon. But that doesn’t give me the right to slack off- pull it together Ashley! We’ve got a wedding this weekend but I plan to squeeze in a long run before hand (and then dance the night away!). Next week my goal is to achieve another perfect-per-my-training plan week.

How do you motivate yourself when you’re feeling “blah”? 

Vacation highlights

As I cling to the quickly fading memory of spending my days by the pool, I figured I’d share a few shots from my vacation. 

Lazy days are actually kind of hard for me (I know, I know, call me crazy) but I settled in pretty quickly. I didn’t stray too far from my typical schedule, timing wise. I loved being able to wake up without an alarm, even if I was still out of bed by 6a. With the unbearable heat it was best to get outdoor activities in before noon anyways. Most mornings were spent by the pool reading and witnessing ducky swimming lessons. I managed to read 2.5 books throughout the week, surpassing my goal of two, woo-hoo!

okay, so it only happened once but how cute is that?!?

We were lucky enough to have a full kitchen and a Trader Joe’s just minutes away so we stocked up on mostly healthy groceries and ate the majority of our meals + snacks at “home”.  I stuck with my morning egg white scrambles and ate tons of veggies and hummus, but there were lots of treats as well (it was vacation after all!).

It simply wouldn’t be vacation without giant bowls of popcorn

One of the nights we ate out was at an Italian place. I had an amazingly delicious gnocchi with a simple marinara sauce.

Before heading home we made a quick stop in D.C., my first time ever visiting! I wish we could have been there longer and I also wish that while we were there it wasn’t a trillion degrees with an air quality warning, but oh well. We still made the best of it.

The most important place we visited was definitely Georgetown Cupcakes.  Thanks to the advice of a friend we knew to place our order online the day before and just swing by to pick up the cupcakes, without that very important tip we never would have tasted the cupcakes because the line was INSANE. 

I was lucky enough to taste FIVE of these: white cake with chocolate frosting (back right), coconut (back left), key lime (middle right), mint cookies n’ cream (middle left) and strawberry (front right).  They were all delicious- the cake was so moist and the frosting wasn’t overwhelming. The salted caramel (front left) was spoken for but received a thumbs up from the eater! Definitely worth the detour and highly recommended.

So there you have it, ten days of vacation in five pictures- that has to be some kind of record- but for me this vacation was about catching up with some of my favorite people and RELAXING. And that’s exactly what I did.

What kind of vacation do you prefer- adventures or relaxation?

Training Rundown Week 6: Vacation

Greetings loyal readers! I have been sloooooooooooowly easing my way back to reality and that transition has not exactly been a pleasant one. Between a flooding basement, a flat car tire and an overflowing work inbox I’ve already forgotten what vacation felt like! Let’s take a quick look back at what little training I did manage to squeeze in.

Monday: 50 minutes running
I set out optimistic that I’d find some sort of hidden gem of a running trail but instead I ended up running circles around our complex and doing a brief jaunt on a bike trail that abruptly ended (and no sidewalks to be seen!). The difficulty I had finding a route combined with the insane heat/humidity made me instantly readjust my workout expectations for the rest of the week. 

Tuesday: 30 minutes of strength training, lots of sweaty walking
I woke up early to fit in some abs & arms before we headed out to do touristy things. We walked a lot and I think I lost about 3lbs in pure sweat. Crazy hot!

Wednesday: NMTZ
This was supposed to be speed work on the treadmill, but despite getting to the rec center mere minutes after it had opened all the treadmills were taken! There was absolutely no chance that I was going to attempt to do speed work outside so I settled for Jillian.

Thursday + Friday: Rest days! We had some other stuff going on so I just didn’t have a chance to fit my workouts in early enough in the morning and with the crazy highs those days afternoon workouts were NOT an option. No problemo, it’s vacation!

Saturday: 40 minutes running, 30 minutes strength, a lot more sweaty walking
I knew I wanted to get a run in on Saturday since we’d be stuck in the car for a good portion of time throughout Saturday + Sunday. 

Sunday: Rest
We spent over 7 hours in the car so a workout just didn’t happen.

Total Weekly miles: I don’t even know because I haven’t uploaded the info from my Garmin yet! But it’s crazy low, as I only ran twice.

How I feel about this: honestly, a little stressed out. I know it was a nice needed break for my body (and my foot was pretty sore from all the walking) but I’d been feeling really great about my training up until now. I also tend to have a hard time getting myself back on track when I “fall off the wagon” so I’m really focusing on not falling into that trap. I just keep reminding myself that my marathon is still nearly 3 months away and that’s the real goal here. The half next month is just for fun (plus I just ran a half marathon training run 1.5 weeks ago!). This week I’ll be getting back on track and soon I’ll be hitting some personal distance records.

Vacation check-in

Greetings from vacation! It’s been so nice to have a bit of a break from life, I’ve been doing my best to thoroughly enjoy it.

Before heading to our “real” vacation destination, I got to spend a few days in my hometown. Even though it’s only 2.5 hours away I don’t visit nearly enough. Friday night was fun & family-filled, which is always a great way to kick off a week of vacation. On Saturday morning my sister and I set out for the local towpath. I was so glad that she planned on running 8 miles because that meant I only had to suffer through the last 5 on my own. The run ended up flying by, honestly, and was nearly perfect (we probably could have started about 45 minutes earlier as it got a bit toasty near the end). After the run, K. and I went spent the afternoon playing on the beach.

Not too shabby for the midwest, eh?

We were out of town by 6a on Sunday morning and Summer Vacation 2013 was finally underway. My goal has been to do as little as possible, read at least two books and come home with a nice golden brown tan. I’ve been focusing really hard on achieving them. It’s tough work, but someone’s got to do it!

As far as my training plan goes I’ve been pretty laid back. I got my planned run in on Monday morning (even though we aren’t in a great location for running) and cross-trained on Tuesday (arms + abs and a good amount of walking). This morning I woke up early to fight for a dreadmill but someone beat me to it! I took it in stride and spent a lovely 40 minutes with Jillian (yep, she came on vacation with me). I hope to fit at least another two runs in but I don’t feel pressured.

I can already tell I am going to have a serious problem readjusting to real life- vacation life is so much better!

Anyone else enjoying a vacation now? Or counting down to one soon?

Training Rundown Week 5

Greetings from vacation! Sorry again for the hiatus- the past few days have been hectic to say the least. After finally relaxing and coming to terms with what day it is (Monday, right?) I hope to be back on track. 

Let’s take a look back at last week, shall we?

Monday: 50 minute run
This was a good strong run. I covered well over 5 miles and felt back on track after my three days of rest.

Tuesday: Jillian NMTZ
It felt so good to have my weekly Jillian ritual back. I could tell that it had been too long since the last time I “hung out” with Jillian, but it was a much needed strength workout.

Wednesday: Speedwork, Tempo A
This didn’t go quite as smoothly as I had hoped. When I got home from work we had no power and it was super-storming out so I figured I wouldn’t be running that night. I settled in for my favorite snack of popcorn (thank you, gas stove) + hummus and planned on a rest day. The storm cleared up around 7p and it was beautiful (and finally cool) outside and I knew I had to run. Unfortunately the hummus and popcorn didn’t feel too settled in my stomach. I still maintained around an 8 min pace for my tempos and actually hit 7:46 for a 5 minute stretch (go me!) but this run was quite unpleasant.

Thursday: 40 minute run
A cross-training day that didn’t happen. I was busy packing and thought I wouldn’t even be able to squeeze a run in but then I was feeling stressed and knew I needed to calm down. This run was just about my sanity, really. 

Friday: 40 minute run
My first official vacation day! I was at my sisters’ house and in a neighborhood that I’m not completely familiar running in so I just kind of set out on a mission to explore. It was refreshing to run somewhere new.

Saturday: Long run. 13 miles!
Such an exciting milestone! My longest “training run”! My sister joined me on the towpath and we thankfully covered 8 miles together before I finished the last 5 on my own. I felt really strong and comfortable on this run. I kept my heart rate low and enjoyed my personal training distance record. The runner’s high was good for this one. I do wish we would have ventured out 30-60 minutes earlier but I finished and felt fantastic about my time.

Sunday: Rest/Spend 8+ hours in the car

Total Running Miles: 30.85. Longest week ever!

July to date: 49.33 miles (right on track!)

Goals for this week: Enjoy my vacation! I know I need to keep up with my training, but I also need to relax. I packed Jillian (seriously!) and I’m aiming for 4 runs of any distance. I enjoy working out and it is honestly a priority while I’m on vacation (as it is really calming for me) but I’m not going to stress about hitting the mileage my training plan requires. I feel good about where I’m at so I’m not too worried!

My blogging may be a bit irregular this week but I hope to pop by often to check in, hope you are all having a stellar Monday!

Sorry for the hiatus!

I’m on vacation and my laptop charger is currently MIA, as soon as it is located I’ll be back to regular posting- including a post on my vacation training “schedule” as well as other vacation-themed posts. Sorry for the temporary hiatus!

What I Ate Wednesday

I’m jumping on yet another blog-related bandwagon and participating in my first ever What I Ate Wednesday!

Started by Jenn over at Peas & Crayons, WIAW is a great little snapshot of a days worth of eats. I’ve always loved seeing what other bloggers consume on a typical (or sometimes not-so-typical) day and I figured I would join in on the fun!

*DISCLAIMER* I didn’t photograph everything I ate because as a rookie WIAW-er I just didn’t remember. 

I started the day off with a bit of a snag. I was all set to crumble a quinoa bar into my yogurt for an at-my-desk breakfast but I quickly discovered that I had forgot said quinoa bar at home! Luckily our cafe at work is well-stocked with healthy options. 

Vanilla Greek yogurt + fresh fruit + a cinna-clove Simple Square 

Large iced coffee

You know what else happened to be at home with my quinoa bar? My lunch. I was definitely not on top of my game. I was crunched for time and wanted to find a fast, affordable and at least remotely healthy lunch option. Enter Jimmy Johns.

Not my photo, borrowed from the internets. But it looked just like this!

I got the #6 vegetarian sub (provolone, sprouts, lettuce, cucumbers, tomato + avocado) w/ no mayo and added hot peppers. At under 500 calories and a whopping 25 grams of protein I felt okay about my choice. It’s not something I indulge in often and there are far worse options around my work. I also liked that I could look up the nutritional information of all their items.

Post-work, pre-workout snack was half of a quinoa bar w/ PB. Just like Monday. Here’s the same picture for you to look at again 😉

I was reunited with Jillian and it hurt so good! After taking nearly 2 weeks I was feeling it just minutes into the workout. For anyone familiar with NMTZ those surrenders will be the death of me! Besides the fact that she doesn’t let you put your arms down (and I was using my big girl 5lb weights) I always end up with bruises on my knees. But I’m proud to say I survived. Throughout the DVD my workout partner kept talking about Chipotle and I was SO tempted to go with her when we finished. But since 1. I had ate out for lunch and 2. I knew I had pretty much all the ingredients for homemade Chipotle, I resisted.

In the pan: red onion, crumbled tofu, green onions, cumin + chili powder.

In the bowl: TJ’s pre-cooked brown rice mixed with homemade spicy red pepper hummus, tofu/onion mixture, raw tomato and a lime-avocado puree.

Unpictured night time snacks: edamame and popcorn popped in coconut oil (so amazing! You should try it.)

What did you eat on Wednesday?

Rainy runs and cats

In line with my reinstated dedication to my training plan, I decided to take the risk and head out for a run despite the warning of scattered thunderstorms (which has been the daily forecast for what seems like forever). I thought that just MAYBE Ohio would be nice to me for 50 minutes and let me sneak this in. So I fueled up with part of a quinoa bar topped with extra PB (of course) and hit the road.

Oh naive Ashley, of course Ohio wouldn’t play nice. About ten minutes in the rain started coming down, a light drizzle at first and then suddenly BUCKETS. I stopped and took shelter under a tree (really smart during a potential thunderstorm) but realized that I should probably just suck it up. I ditched my iPod + headphones and put them safely in my super secret pocket and ran music-free towards my house. My plan was 50 minutes and if I just went back I’d only hit 20, which wouldn’t be acceptable. I decided to aim for 30, then 40 and then just kept going for the full 50. My feet felt like they weighed a million pounds by the end.  Running in rain makes you tougher, right? In the very least it finally cleans your shoes off from the Dirty Duathlon you ran nearly two months ago. 🙂

The rest of the night was spent lounging. We gave the gray girls some catnip and watched them roll around in glee (a totally normal activity for a Monday night). Dora found a new favorite spot, conveniently located on the stairs, and has pretty much refused to move.

She is completely unconcerned with the fact that someone might step on her. 

And because one cat is never enough here’s a glamour shot of Charlotte enjoying the morning sun/preparing to swat the camera because she apparently didn’t want her picture taken. 

Tonight I’m putting together my very loose training plan for vacation. I’ll be scoping out some running routes with the help of Google maps and checking MapMyRun and the Daily Mile for any recommendations. Seeing as I regularly get lost in my own neighborhood I’m hoping to find a nice easy loop to stick to but that may be overly optimistic. Any advice for training on vacation?

Training Rundown Week 4

You remember how your parents always taught you that if you can’t say something nice you shouldn’t say anything at all? If I was following that advice I wouldn’t be typing up this post. Last week was, to put it nicely, really sucky. Between the holiday and working more than three times as many hours as usual at my second job I was completely overexerted and thrown off. I’m trying to remember my own advice and just let it go and move forward to a better week but to be honest I’m kind of beating myself up.

Here’s the dirty details.

Monday: Rest
I was beat from the previous week (7 days, 7 workouts). I was tempted to squeeze in a short run but the weather didn’t agree anyways. I accepted the unplanned rest day with dreams of the rest of the week working out perfectly. sigh.

Tuesday: 50 minute run, abs + arms
I covered a bit over 5 miles and felt really strong. I pulled my PureCadences out (for the first time since the duathlon) and felt surprisingly good in them. My pace was faster and I was hitting a good midfoot strike. 

Wednesday: Speed work, Tempo A per Jenny Hadfield’s plan
The Tempo A run may be my favorite speed work of this training plan. It’s a 5-minute walking warm-up then 10-minute easy pace running. After that it’s 4 repeats of 5 minutes 80-85% HR, 2 minutes recovery and finally a 5 run-5 walk cool down. I maintained a pace of just below 8 for all my tempos and shaved off a second or two with each repeat. I liked that I was consistent and that I sped up through out. 

Thursday: 45 minute run, abs
See a pattern here? Running felt so good and I was feeling so fast that I really broke my own rule and ran too many back to back days. This run felt awesome though, despite the 95% humidity. 

Friday-Sunday NOTHING
Not to be the excuse machine, but things just weren’t working in my favor. It was storming on and off all weekend and I worked well over 20 hours in retail during those three days. On Saturday I spent 13 hours on my feet without sitting down once! I actually woke up during the night screaming because my calves were cramping. I think I’m more sore from retail-extravaganza than I’ve ever been after a race.

Total miles: 16. Wah wah waaaaaaah.

Plan for this week: Get back on track! An off week will happen but the most important thing is to recover. I actually leave for vacation on Thursday so I’m prepared for next week to maybe not go exactly according to plan (which is ok!) but I don’t want to fall off too much. I’m pretty sure my vacation mates are all looking forward to running 14 miles with me though, right? 🙂