The Everyday Ashley

The Everyday Ashley


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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Currently | a week without running

pre-training | Last week was week 10 of 2017 "training," and it's the first week I didn't get any mileage. It was a busy seven days of working. Starting Monday night when I had an overnight gig, to another overnight Friday thru Sunday. I was on the clock all weekend long. It was perfect timing, with the temps in the 20s, no way am I completing a long run. Brr

I managed to squeeze in an hour of cycle, and yoga and also a half hour each of intervals (2 miles) and strength training. I realize I could have run during these workouts, but I prefer to keep up with resistance + cross-training until I begin half-marathon training (April 24th).

reading+waiting | Waiting for six books on hold at the library. This year I am trying to make the most use out of living next to the library. But this is becoming much harder than I expected. There are 79 Chicago library branches and only 20 copies of each book to share with the entire city. When I put a book on hold, I am usually around 150th in line (sometimes 300th). That's a loooooong wait.

missing | Definitely feeling ready for a weekend back home. Craving family and good coffee and home-cooked meals and long quiet drives.
planning | I am hosting in April for some friends!! I love visitors. My place becomes extra clean + good food is always involved. But the greatest of all- I absolutely love sharing (showing off) my city, neighborhood, apartment + everyday life here!!

drinking | I was on a black coffee kick for about two weeks. I noticed I drink less coffee when it's without creamer and am less tempted to buy Starbucks mid-morning. But now I'm kinda over the whole morning cup in general. Yesterday I stocked up on David's Tea matcha powders-- maple + vanilla.

watching | As I type this, it's Saturday morning below freezing outside and the boys are pleasantly playing in the front yard. I don't know how they aren't frozen. I suppose I should treat them with some Hot Cocoa.

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Running Rundown | wk 7, 8 + 9

Hi- Happy Monday! I am finally back with a proper rundown on pre-marathon training/workout accountability. Life has had no routine since. Work was sporadic, and I found myself enjoying evenings cooking or reading rather than going to the gym. Even though life has been all over the place, I am proud of all the sweaty hours I put in these past three weeks.

February 13-March 5
I hadn't been planning out each day's workout at the beginning of the week, and this is how they turned out. Randomness, fewer miles and rest days in a row from over-working myself without taking a day off. There was no routine, and I am surprised by the damage it can do. 
There were also days when I arrived at the gym, and all the treadmills were taken, or I arrived at cycle class at the last minute, and there were no more bikes left. I will also put a little blame on the weather. I ran outdoors for the first half of February, and when the temps dropped back to 20s, I had lost motivation to run on treadmills for anything longer than 3 miles.

Totals in January + February:
Miles: 84.3 miles (41.8 miles + 11 runs - Jan, 40.5 miles + 13 runs - Feb)
Strength: 17 hours (10.5 - Jan, 6.5 - Feb)
Yoga: 10.5 hours (6 - Jan, 4 - Feb)
Cycle: 3 hours (1 - Jan, 2 - Feb)
Rest: 13 days (7 - Jan, 6 - Feb)

What I have learned:
- Having the week ahead well-planned on Sunday brings better results
- Pilates is my least favorite workout. Not enough was accomplish within the hour.
- After 4-5 hours of exercise, a rest day is required.
- Still trying to find what works for a pre-run meal. 
Visions for the weeks ahead:
- I need backup plans for days when the treadmills are all in use. This wasn't a problem until my last two attempts. 
- Daylight savings should help with making evening runs happen. I think it's time I suck up to the colder temps and go for the run. Cold temps > waiting in the treadmill line :/
Articles keeping me motivated:
- Made me laugh by how much I could relate - Running Memes
Life outside of exercise:
- V-day included tons of laughter with beautiful people.
- I just finished reading two different books that have the same title. Neither were four or five stars worthy. I am looking forward to some laid back/less suspenseful books this month. 
- Perks of being a nanny to a little one is each day can be as adventurous as I'd like. Jenice + I took our little girls to the zoo on one of Chicago's warmer days. I can not wait to have more zoo days this summer.
- I am hooked on HBO's new series, Big Little Lies. 

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weekend recap | Starved Rock + 7mi run

While most Chicagoans were soaking up the weekend sunshine along the lakefront, I went the opposite direction. Exactly 100mi from my apartment in Chicago is Starved Rock State Park. It's also the halfway point for Jo and me.
For living 4+ hours from each other, we can't seem to go longer than a month without meeting up. We had wanted an out-of-the-city/nature get together for about a year. On Saturday we finally had a day when neither had plans, + the weather was just right.
I didn't hit my mileage goal for this week, but I did hit my long run goal. I ran my furthest of 7 miles, Sunday morning.

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Running Rundown | wk 4-6

I just wrapped up week 6 of building up my weekly mileage to 15 miles while still having the energy to attend yoga + strength classes. These 6 weeks went fast and were full of challenges, and I learned a lot about how my body reacts to 7-8 hours of physical activity each week.
Today marks 8 weeks until I run my first 10k race. I'll be racing to find my race pace that way I'll have a clearer idea for further training and upcoming half/full marathon races.

January 23-29 - 13 miles
Friday the 27th:
It's the one day of the week I love starting my day with fitness. I wake early enough to enjoy a mug of matcha tea and usually an egg muffin + fruit. I arrive at the gym at 7 am for Yoga for Athletes. After I grab the gym's free Starbucks coffee and head back home. I'll have a proper breakfast and sip on the Starbs. Two hours later, I go back to the gym for two Les Mills strength classes- Grit + Core Fusion. Each of these classes does wonders for me.

Sunday the 29th:
I was surprised how well this 6-mile treadmill run turned out. The best part was mid-run getting a text from Mariah, that herself and my brother are joining me to race the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon this July. I love seeing how signing up for races and running more is getting others to do the same.

January 30-February 5 - 11.8 miles
Wednesday the 1st:
I hope for more runs like this. After 8 days without seeing the sun in Chicagoland, I got off early on the sunniest afternoon. It was lovely. I came home early, took a power nap and was off for the best 3 miles I've had in a long time.

Thursday the 2nd - Sunday the 5th:
The rest of this week was a BLUR. For the next 84 hours, I watched two little ones and rarely had a minute to sit down, let alone get a workout in. Luckily on Sunday, the boys went out for lunch with their old nanny, and I had the chance to run outside. I have been so lucky with the warmer weather on the weekends. The run didn't go as hoped, but I am happy I got some mileage + fresh air.

February 6-12 - 14.5 miles

Friday the 10th:
first photo: outdoor run, yellow zone is 80-89% heart rate.
second photo: treadmill run, mostly red zone at 90-95% heart rate.
third photo: interval training with my trainer, Hayley. Heart rate is between 65-89%.

After another training session with Hayley, we had a long talk about exercising correctly. Thanks to the heart rate belt I wear I'm always aware when I'm working too hard. Until Friday I thought running hard for 3 miles was great for my endurance. WRONG. I have been doing running all wrong and actually hurting my heart by not giving it a rest for 30 straight minutes during treadmill runs.
So to build up my heart rate she suggested I replace an easy run day with interval runs. 1-minute on, 1-minute recovery for 30 minutes. Just to make things a little harder, she has me do this on a different machine where I feel like I'm running through mud. The 60 seconds are terrible, and I need every second of recovery.

Saturday the 11th:
Once again, the weekend had perfect running weather. Temps were in the 40s, and the winds were calm. I woke up very sore from yesterday's training and spent the morning foam rolling and stretching before heading out to run. The entire run felt great, and even when I reached my 6-mile goal I felt like I could keep going for another few miles... but I didn't. My goal was to hit an hour, and I did.

Sunday the 12th:
HOT yoga session with Jenice at a real studio! There was a promotion for a community class. I jumped right on it. It was 2 months since I stepped in a real yoga studio. This was heated and upbeat and so beneficial.

Running: 39.6 miles (64.9 miles in 2017)
Strength/HIIT: 5 hours
Cross-training: 0 hours Can't wait for the indoor pool to open in July.
Yoga: 6 hours I gave yoga my best shot at the gym. I don't think I am going to make it as much a priority anymore. sad
Rest: 4 days

What I have learned:
- Yoga at the gym isn't for me. I miss my old studio :(
- I prefer strength classes over high-intensity workouts (voltage).
- Almond butter toast topped with banana is the best breakfast before I workout. Always the perfect amount of fuel. Smoothies do not sit in my tummy as well.
Visions for the next few week:
- Do weekly interval runs like Hayley suggest. Start with few reps and work towards 10.
- Run my furthest yet - 7 miles + then 8 miles. I am excited for these and hope for 40-50 outdoor temps.
- More outdoor runs even if that means running in the early AM or dark evenings.
- Yoga at the studio with Jenice. I signed up for their promotion $21 for 21 days. So happy to be back to heated yoga.
Life outside of exercise:
- I was able to have a night out after a busy weekend of overnights. Wine + empanadas + laughter.
- The parents I was working for over the weekend were in Paris. They brought me back Kusmi Tea. It's AMAZINGLY delicious.
- I needed to find a treat to bake for ladies night on V-day. I came across this lemon thyme shortbread recipe. They made my place smell like spring + turned out so tasty.

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2017 Reading List

Last year I surpassed my goal to read 15 books. I ended the year with 19. This year I doubled my goal to 30 books. At first, I thought 24 would be a good number then realized I can easily read two books each month. So to add challenge I rounded up to 30.
Books I didn't get to last year
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles- One of my favorite books last year was The Nightingale. I've been told if I enjoyed The Nightingale, I'll enjoy A Gentleman in Moscow even more. I would love another book just as good as The Nightingale, we'll see.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty- Upcoming HBO series.

2017 Thrillers 
The Dry by Jane Harper
Little Deaths by Emma Flint
Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

Books People Magazine suggests
I get all the People Magazines from the Mom I nanny for. She shares them with me after she's finished. This is my go-to place for what to read next.
This Is How It always Is by Laurie Frankel
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti
Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson
Hey Harry, Hey Matilda by Rachel Hulin
The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Authors to read again
Ruth Ware- Her book In a Dark Dark Wood was a hit for me, but then I read The Woman in Cabin 10 and didn't enjoy it at all. I haven't given up on her and want to try another of her books.
Taylor Jenkins Reid- Her books lure me in every. single. time.
Nancy E. Turner- I started last year with book #1 of Sarah Agnes Prine. I should probably get to reading #2 and #3.
Paula Hawkins- Author of The Girl on the Train and I have high hopes for her new book coming out in May.

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Running Rundown | wk 1-3

It is not so much that I began to run, but that I continued. -Hal Higdon

January 2-8 + 9-15
Saturday the 7th:
Jordyn came for the weekend. I was looking forward to giving her the experience of my gym's group exercises. We took a strength class, it was my first time doing this workout too but not my first time with the coach. I have enjoyed her classes and was hopeful this would be just as great. It was beyond that- this was hard, and we were both pretty beat after the hour.

Friday the 13th:
Friday was my first meet-up with my personal trainer. For myself, the machines in the club are pretty intimidating. During this hour I was mostly looking to learn how to use the Power Plate, Forerunner + Omnia properly. I asked for a 6 or 7 out of 10 strength workout that I could use during marathon training. Nothing too complicated but I didn't want it too simple where all I do are crunches + lunges, although the crunches aren't so bad with the view of those chandeliers.

Sunday the 15th:
5 miles on the treadmill and a stretch session on the Power Plate. I listened to a devotional audiobook the entire hour. The Power Plate helped my recovery and prevented next day soreness.

January 16-22
Monday the 16th:
I was taking on a lot Monday. I see now I should have taken a rest day after Sunday's run. But I had work off, and that meant I had the chance to go to the Omnia class my personal trainer teaches. The class was great and after, I had a low-key private Pilates. I learned I'm not meant for Pilates. I rather use yoga to target different muscles and lengthen/stretch.

Tuesday the 17th:
This day was a mess, and the first time I didn't stick to the workout I had planned. I shouldn't have even done 2 miles. Looking back, Tuesday should have been scheduled rest day, and Wednesday could have been a run day. Oops!

Saturday the 21st:
60 degrees + sunny. I planned my whole week around this beautiful day because I didn't want to do another long run on the treadmill. I ran along the lakefront with the wind against me. Didn't think that through very well. Another oops this week. Better to get all my oops out now rather when training begins in June.

Totals in the first three weeks:
Running: 25.6 miles slightly less than what I hoped to have by now. Let's face it- running is still not fun.
Strength: 8 hours so happy to have my coach tell me I need to up my strength, no more taking the lower-resistance classes.
Cross-training: 1 hour of Cycle  I don't favor the cycling classes. I need exact resistance and not just twisting a knob and guessing if it's enough resistance. I can't wait for the pool to open and replace cycling with laps.
Yoga: 3 hours I'm going to find a way to make this more of a priority each week. Yoga is never a bad idea, and it's a practice I can do any day, including the rest days.
Rest: 5 days love rest days

What I have learned:
- I am faster when I run outdoors compared to on the treadmill. I see this as a good thing. Come spring and summer I'll be happy to have a faster pace.
- Listening to music wears me out. I am less bored when I listen to podcasts + audiobooks than music. Also not a bad thing.
Visions for the next few weeks: 
- Hopefully, I will build my weekly mileage up with consistency, and I would like to have a solid 6-mile run under my belt before March.
- To run four days each week
- I'm hopeful my next personal training class is another success (mid-Feb)- I want to learn interval training on the Forerunner. Everything about the Forerunner scares me.
- Keep up working out with a very busy work week ahead (4-day weekend watching kids).
Articles keeping me motivated: 
- This runner's story - How I Came to Run the Boston Marathon in Prison, on a Treadmill
- Four Things That Every New Runner Should Know
Life outside of exercise: 
- So far I have read two great thrillers this year- The Vanishing Year and The Couple Next Door. I recommend both for an exciting weekend read. I am currently typing up my 2017 Reading List, looking forward to sharing those.
- Saturday my hair stylist cut 6 inches off. This cut is my favorite to date.
-This month marked one year in my studio apartment. I went through a phase of moving to a different neighborhood. I even went as far as showing my place and filling out paperwork. I backed out of the process last minute. I like where I'm at so why change that?

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