Ashley's Blog

Ashley's Blog


Marathon Training | 16 weeks to go

While all of Chicagoland + the world of runners started Chicago marathon training 2 weeks ago. I had waited an extra week before I got a start on mine. I am beginning at 17 weeks, instead of the usual 18-week training. I'm not really sure why I'm calling this 'training.' I guess in these next 17 weeks, I hope to dedicate more time to running + work on upping my distance. 

morning yoga (60 minutes)

HIIT class (60 minutes) Thursday are almost always a rest day but my apartment lost power Wednesday evening. So I made up for yesterday's missed classes.
Plan: 3-4 miles.
What I did: 3 miles (10:28 pace) Finally felt a push to run this evening when the breeze was cooling. This morning I bought a belt for my phone and keys which made my running 1000x easier. 
I'm surprised by how relaxed this run felt. So glad I got this run in. Hopefully, this is the start of training routinely. 

HIIT class (60 minutes) It was a quiet morning, so last minute I decided why not hit the gym. This class was packed because it was a Father's day celebration class. Definitely felt high-intensity. 
Plan: 6 miles
What I did: 3.5 miles (10:08 pace) At Chicago's peak temps I was out along the Lakefront for an hour + only completed a 3.5mi run. Lots of walking. The first half was much tougher than the second, but at mile 3 I was bored + ready to be home. Not sure what caused such a sluggish run.

I am taking it day by day. I didn't plan on doing any of this week's exercises until the morning/afternoon of. I guess I work better that way. I like to go with what my body feels like that day instead of sticking to a running routine. Each week I hope to get 2 short runs, 1 long run, 1-2 yoga classes, + a cycle or HIIT class.

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Weekend Recap | Wanderlust

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Half Marathon Training-ish

Happy Sunday! 
It's a little strange not having a long run to prepare for today, but it's a good strange. I ran the 8 miles yesterday instead before the rain hit. I am so glad I looked out for that because the pouring hasn't slowed down. I also like being able to complete this post before I start my Sunday instead of usually typing it out late Sunday + rushing.

On today's agenda after church, lunch with Kat, I plan to get a massage with Jenice (maybe a movie, too?), grocery shop, yoga with Elyse, + finish reading Swimming Lesson by Claire Fuller. Sounds relaxing, I can't wait!!

Ok so now lets rewind to last Sunday when I returned home from a weekend in Iowa with hometown friends. 
Sunday after 5 hours of sleep + 5 hours on the road I arrived at my home in Chicago. Just in time to attempt a planned long run while the sun set. I had 13 weeks until race day, and the scheduled mileage was 7 miles. I wasn't sure how this run would go down with such a defeating week after my 10k race. Upping mileage was harder than I expected.
Still, I couldn't skip this run. I wouldn't let myself get off track any longer. 
I completed the full 7 miles with no music, only checking my pace twice, + never taking a walk break!
Because I decided to not listen to music, I was super mindful of every feeling my body had. For my legs, this was an enjoyable run, and for my gut it was rough. I think I drank too much Gatorade on the road.
For the first time I had post-run aches- my thighs had chafed (was my first long run in shorts) + my quads were sore. 
Monday was my usual rest day.
Tuesday was my favorite day. I came home from work with SUN BURNT shoulders!! I loved the higher temps. Too bad Chicago won't be seeing that for another two weeks.
I ran 3 miles after work on Tuesday wearing new shorts. My legs were super tired, and the chafing was REAL. These shorts are supposed to prevent chafing, so I am going to give them one more trial run before I decide to return.
Wednesday I had wanted to take either a yoga or cycle class but ended up doing neither. Instead, I curled up in bed with a new book + iced tea.
Thursday evening was windy + chilly, but I still got out to run 3 miles. I had a pretty decent run compared to how my body's been hating me during weekday runs. Besides that my pace was crazy fast (fast for me!) + my heart rate was spiked, my gut not once turned on me + my legs felt like a cheetah's! I preferred these weather conditions much more than the sun in my eyes + heat on my back. 

Friday became a rest day instead of my planned 2 miles. With rain expected for the entire weekend, my one chance to complete my long run outdoors was early Saturday morning. I didn't want to have tired legs for the eight miler.
I had a horrible night's rest. Woke around 6:40 am and checked the weather. The rain wasn't expected to start until 10 am so I didn't feel terribly rushed. 
I ate half a banana + half an RX bar. Then sipped on some Nuun water + regular water. 
The temp was around 45 degrees with 20mph winds. With the wind, the weather app said, feels like 35 degrees. Brr!! But I do love running in my tights + sweatshirt, so I was ok about the chill. 
I lacked the energy/adrenaline the entire run, but in some ways it was great. I was never worried about going too fast. If anything I felt I could have sped up. 
I did a lot of walking, and I was mighty ok with that. I totally believe I could have gone without walking, but it was the boredom the broke me mentally.
I drank water at every water fountain I came across + at 40 minutes I started chewing on some energy gummies. These are packed with Carbs + Vitamin C. Simply to keep my muscles working to finish strong.
The rain had started, but I wanted a get out of my apartment. Even tho the rain had begun, I walked the three blocks to Dinkel's for a breakfast sandwich (egg, spinach, avocado + pesto) + coffee- which tasted like home, I loved it.
Later in the day, I met up with my friend, Jenice. We stopped at the new Kendra Scott on Southport. They served Champagne + local goods. It was fun trying out all the jewelry. We walked out empty handed- proud of us!
For dinner + drinks, we met up with her husband at Glascott Saloon in Lincoln Park. We ordered some seriously yummy food from the Greek restaurant next door, Athenian Room. I got a lemon grass rice soup + we shared chicken kebobs. I also tried my first Bloody Mary and wasn't a fan. No thanks!! 
When we finished dinner, it was only 8 o clock, and we felt a little silly to end the night so soon. So we stopped at 6 Degrees in Bucktown for drinks a bit more my style + played Shut the Box. 

The first of 12 weeks is in the books!
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race recap | ChiTown 10k

Hi, world- I'm alive + well + successfully completed my first race of the year. Yesterday was my first long run since the race, and it wasn't long at all. 4 miles was all my ankles + shins could give. I feel a bit like I have gone backward. I'm feeling pretty defeated so tomorrow I am going to do what I love instead of going for a run. I plan to hit the gym after work for a cycle + strength kettlebell class.

April 10-16 - 8.5 miles

April 8 - 10k
Two Saturdays ago I ran my first 10k. The race was incredibly fun (thanks to two race buddies). I slightly wish I could trade running more 10ks with running a half + full marathon this year. If you haven't raced a 10k before, go find one! Training is minimal + the distance is perfect. 
I am so happy to have run a shorter distanced race before I got too deep in half-marathon training. Coming out of this race I have learned way more than I expected to.

Saturday we woke at 5:50 am. I ate a banana and half a protein bar. Oh and I think I had eaten a few fig newtons before I left the house. No coffee - I was worried I would have to go to bathroom 700x.
We left the house, had a smooth ride to the Lakefront + parking wasn't horrible. When I got to the race's start, I didn't take quality time to stretch. I feel silly saying that. I have been a dedicated stretcher before all my runs, and I decided not to stretch on race day? Also forgot headphones for music. That didn't terribly suck because Cass and I ran side by side all 6.2 miles.
Overall thoughts:
Thank goodness I wasn't racing for speed. For more than half of the course, it was narrow and tricky to get around runners. I didn't expect to be always passing + getting passed- I don't think I ran 10 seconds without a runner passing me. 
I think that's part of why I had such high negative splits. At mile 4 the course spread out a bit and getting around runners was easier. 
I don't think I'll be running the ChiTown 10k again, It's too popular of a race for the space given. The entire morning was too good. I couldn't stop saying "I had so much fun." 
Post-race breakfast at 8 am. My first hotdog in more than a year.. possibly two!

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Weekend Recap | spring, donuts + bikes

Happy April! I just hugged goodbye this weekend's company and have a short hour to recap the past two weeks. This month is full of hosting + celebration with friends. Sadly, that means typing out posts gets put on the back burner. Here's a short + sweet recap of last weekend with my Twin City girlies.

Saturday the skies were the bluest + friends were the sweetest.  
Instead of road tripping to St. Paul for our usual springtime meet-up. Victoria + Meghan spent the weekend in my part of the Midwest. Whoop whoop! 
We started Saturday morning as the locals do by walking to the nearest coffee shop for caffeine, cake donuts + catching-up.
Since the weather was in our favor, we ditched a pricey Uber to downtown and did a half bike, half walk from Lakeview to the Navy Pier. Such a fantastic idea! We got to see the neighborhood at our pace and had no trouble with traffic.
This April 1st weather was flawless. Even the wind went unnoticed along the Lakefront. Our morning totaled in walking 6.5 miles!
The pier has seriously stepped it up. The Ferris wheel is new + improved with the very best views of the city. We also enjoyed some Garretts popcorn + relived our childhood on a seesaw exhibit before leaving the pier.
We had lunch up in Lakeview at Left Coast. Left Coast has the most delicious healthy food. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu. 
Emily joined us late Saturday for a sushi night (her first!), and before going to church on Sunday we did what I love most- donuts + coffee from Stan's Donuts! 

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Life Lately | a peak into my week

Monday was a magical morning. Finally, Chicago got some real snow on the ground. Scarves + boots were finally put to good use.
It didn't feel like my day to go for a run, and I was still recovering from working on the weekend (and daylight savings- but that's no excuse). I just needed sleep as early in the evening as possible. I did just that and set my alarm early to hit the gym before work.

When I stepped outside early Tuesday, Chicago was a giant snow globe and my car was covered. I am surprised that didn't stop me from going back to bed.
I went to the gym with the intention of doing a strength/cardio class, but the trainer was running late, so I hopped into a cycle class instead. Back-up plans are crucial lately! The best part was after class loading up my mug with the gym's complimentary Starbucks coffee!!!
The snow didn't stop for the whole day. M and I had a playdate at her place and then she took a longer than usual nap. The day went by pretty fast. Once I was off, I went to brush off my car so the snow wouldn't turn to ice overnight. But last minute I hopped in and went to Trader Joes to get a few items for the week. It's burger week.
Okay, and I couldn't resist TJ's "blizzard essentials" of chocolates!

Wednesday I was on a role! I had a bunch of extra fruits and some coffee from Tuesday morning. To use all those up, I made myself a smoothie for breakfast. Surprisingly the combination was delightful- coffee, almond milk, half banana, spinach, other fruits and almond butter.
M and I stayed in for the day because the sidewalks were too icy to get anywhere with a toddler/stroller. So we played and played and played, and I had podcasts playing in the background all day. I listened to The Chasing Joy Podcast and Nourish + Flourish.
For lunch, I had a tasty sweet kale salad with chicken from Costco.
I got really far into my book during M's nap. I also had the chances to watch the final episode of This Is Us. Can't wait for season two- there is going to be one, right?
When I got off work, I didn't intend to hit the gym until 7 pm for a kettlebell strength class, but I surprised myself by going straight to the gym for an hour of a cycle before kettlebell. After the two hours I was burnt out and at the same time feeling really great of all that I accomplished.
For dinner, I went all out and really wanted to be sure I refueled before bed. But this plate wasn't enough. I woke up at midnight and had a banana.
Thursday is always the busiest day with M. I felt drained and sore from last night and needed to caffeinate to survive. The morning was not on my side. Once at work, M and I headed out early for our activities, so I could stop at Starbucks for a free drink that's been waiting to be used for a day like this. We walked to Starbucks, the shop was pitch black, and doors were locked. Bummer. But there's a bakery across the street, so I suppose I'll go there and just spend some bucks. They only sell coffee and honestly I'm feeling a latte. Bummer AGAIN. We had to get to class, a latte will have to wait.
I finally got my latte in between our next activity. It was from a different Starbucks and free. Oh, bless living in the city with a Starbs every three blocks!!

Friday started at 4:15 am, and I thought I was up for the day. So I made breakfast and read my book in bed. At some point, I fell back to sleep and when I woke it was nearing 8 am, which was perfect timing to have a granola bar and head to the gym for yoga. I have mentioned this too many times, but I miss my old yoga studio and the instructors that were really great at teaching. Midtown's yoga is so lame + slow + beginner. BUT GREAT NEWS. When I got home from another defeating yoga class, I found out my FAVORITE instructor from my old studio is going to start teaching at Midtown!!! Not just any former instructor, she was my favorite! I am super excited for her teaching, my first class is Sunday evening :)
It started raining, I didn't really want to get out until it dried up. So I took the opportunity to finish my book and start Little Deaths.
I ran some errands and did some wandering along the Corridor once the rain stopped. The Corridor is one of my favorite ways to spend a dreary afternoon, talking to the store clerks/strangers boosts my mood. I promised myself only to shop sales. I scored myself two items, a candle for my kitchen from Anthro (20% off) + a dress for the spring from Lou & Grey (30% off). Someday my entire wardrobe will be Lou & Grey pieces. Fun fact- Lou & Grey was my first store purchase when I moved to the neighborhood.

I did some major relaxing when I got home and wrote up this post.

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