Ashley's Blog

Ashley's Blog


July in photos | kayaks, la croix + friends

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race recap | Rock n Roll Half Marathon

Sunday I ran my first ever half marathon. But hopefully not my last. I enjoyed the race SO MUCH.
Alec + Mariah drove into Chicago Saturday morning, so we could pick up our bibs together + pull off a super sneaky engagement(!!!!!) before I had to work for a few hours. Once I was off, we had a relaxing evening. Watched Planet of the Ape, played Catan, + ate dinner at Left Coast. 
Around 9 pm we set our alarms for 4:30 am and called it a night.
When we woke, I brewed some coffee + toasted the bagels. We were out the door at 5 am, ready to Uber downtown.
There were cloudy skies, a slight breeze + 70-degree temp from start to finish. I truly think had it been sunny + hot, this race could have been brutal.
I didn't have any anxiety or anxiousness waiting in the corral. I felt well stretched, awake + excited.
I ran until mile 4.5. It was a little sooner than I thought I would go. This didn't get my spirits down. After I had gone to the bathroom at mile 5, I was ready to be running again. Between miles 6-8 I took 20-30 second walk breaks. This stretch was the hardest for me mentally.
I was drinking Gatorade at every spot it was offered. It sat in my tummy really well. Around mile 9 there was a liquid GU station. I took that in one big gulp.
For all of mile 9 I ran. In the final 5k, I was back to walking for about 30 seconds every half mile.

I crossed the finish line at 2:31:02. SO HAPPY.
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the long way home | photo diary

Memorial weekend was spent in my hometown for my mom's birthday. I had lovely two days back home. Instead of driving my usual 6hr route to Chicago. I took the reaaaaaalllly long way home.

It's a month later and I'm still feeling fulfilled from this week long solo trip. I enjoyed myself more than I had anticipated. When I arrived back in Chicago on Friday, I had so much appreciation for getting to live in a city. I loved each city in its own way but my heart loves Chicago the mostest.

First stop: St Louis - 3hrs to Davenport, next morning 4hrs to St. Louis
St. Louis was my first stop. I stayed in an Airbnb outside of downtown, next to the Botanical Garden + Tower Grove Park. Before the rain hit, I was able to walk through the Missouri Botanical Garden. After the rain, I went for a slow run. It felt a little eerie, so I stayed close to home.
After a sleepless night due to the door alarm going off at 1 am, coffee was necessary before heading out. Luckily my BnB host provided a Keurig + strong k-cups.
I spent Tuesday morning in downtown St. Louis. I loved the downtown area + wished I had planned for longer than a morning to explore. It was a Tuesday morning, the streets were super quiet. I was shocked by how smoothly I got around compared to Chicago's downtown chaos. 
Next stop: Nashville - 4.5hrs on road
I drove into Nashville later Tuesday. I was shocked by how different the city was compared to the midwest cities I've visited. Every road was hilly + curvy. 
Wednesday morning I was up early and needing fuel. I went to Crema, bought a muffin + cappuccino, and caught up on Sunday's sermon I missed. After, I browsed many of Nashville's small shops. Only walking away with a cactus for my apartment. 
Then I explored Nashville's downtown which I think would have been more enjoyable with a friend along. I felt like I was the only one walking alone on the sidewalks. In the evening I had tickets to the Grand Ole Opry to watch Julianne and Derek Hough performance. 
Thursday morning I took my time at the donut shop, sipping on super sweet coffee + enjoying the fresh air before, once again, hitting the road. AMAZING donuts!
Next stop: Louisville - 2.5hrs + time zone change -1hr
I hadn't planned much for Louisville besides going the Churchill Downs. 
It was massive. If you want to be blown away I highly recommend. I hope someday to be there when the stands are filled and horses are racing. 
I booked my Louisville Airbnb last minute, and it was a STEAL. The loft was dreamy with a record player, a window seat, + stocked with local goods + chocolate. I loved the simplicity and that there was no tv. I sat on the window seat for hours, watching the sun go down, reading + journaling. 
The next morning check-out was 10 am. I had the best night's rest + didn't leave the loft until I absolutely had to. I can't wait to come back for a second stay.
Next stop: Ark Encounter - 1.5hrs
I was also blown away by the Ark Encounter. The storytelling inside is beautiful. I want to take all my friends and family and go back as much as possible. 
Next stop: Chicago - 5hr + time zone change +1hr
I was so happy to be home Friday night. I spent Saturday catching up with friends + on sleep. It was lovely.

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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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