Ashley's Blog

Ashley's Blog


I'm a Marathoner

Last November I entered a lottery for the 2017 Chicago Marathon. I had barely been a runner. I felt it was my time for challenging myself and if there was any better time to commit to more than 30 weeks of training, it was now. Why not see how far I can push myself?

Two months leading up to the marathon

After the half marathon in July, my thoughts on finishing the marathon were a cluster of doubt and unknown. My knees flared up when I ran 1 mile but never during any other activity during the day or workout at the gym. Running was the one exercise my knees couldn't handle. Finally, I stopped trying. I dedicated the last month before the race to Cycling, HIIT, pilates/yoga, and boxing. No running aloud - I wanted my knees to fully heal, and I was too scared to try running.
One week before the marathon

Mon-Fri: Monday I took a HIIT class. Then Tue + Wed I was SO fatigued and bloated and tired. I slept each night horribly. Thurs I took a cycle class and Fri after the expo + picking up my bib I went to a heated yoga class. The stretch was needed.
1 day to go: Enjoyed the city with family. We walked about 5 miles. Ate lots + had two drinks while watching the Hawkeyes + Cubs play. Before bed I drank electrolyte water.
Race Day
Mile 0-9

The happiest miles by far in my entire running journey!! I couldn't shake the smile off my face! The encouraging text were rolling in from friends. My pace was consistent at 10:30ish. I felt GREAT mentally and physically. I wasn't out of breath. The temps were a little chilly in the shade. I loved the energy from the fans and reading all their signs.
Mile 10-14

Mentally I was a 10/10, and my body was slowly feeling like an 8/10. My shoulders, back + my arches were the first to ache.
What kept me going was the halfway mark! I PRd my half marathon by a few minutes. New best: 02:26:14. Previously 02:31:02 from July 2017 Rock n Roll Chicago Half.
I refueled with Gatorade energy chews. And bites of banana from strangers handing them out. I noticed my tummy feeling uncomfortable. That became a nice distraction from all the tired joints and muscles.
Mile 15

The back of my knee started flaring up. My hips and hamstrings were hurting on both sides. I couldn't make it far without having to take a walking break. The sun was brilliant, and shade was limited. I had to stop for a porta potty. I started to wonder if I was going to get that medal.

Mile 16-18

I discovered Biofreeze gel at the aid stations! I rubbed it along both knees and hamstrings. Bye bye joint pain. Then Alec texts me their location, and I felt a spark of motivation. I had gotten this far, I needed to complete these last 10 miles.

Mile 19-24

I was done. The sun was making me dizzy. Walking hurt just as much as running but I had to walk because of the heat. Occasionally I felt a kick and would run about 4 minutes. Thank goodness for Biofreeze disguising all the ache on the backs of my legs.

Mile 25+26

I just needed to sit, but I knew if I did I'd still have a mile to go. There was no point in sitting, the pain and fatigue weren't going away.

Mile 26.2

The biggest hill of all the course and then finally the finish!!!

So what's next?
Hmmm, I have a running list of 5ks I want to run next year, and I am sorta already craving another half marathon.

What I would do differently

Well, I don't see a marathon happening ever again. BUT I have a few changes I would make for maybe next time.

** More yoga before race day. Perfect for getting a stretch and working the lungs.
** Plan a half marathon more than 2 months before the full + train more than 13 miles for total distance.
** Find the perfect shoes for training + running 26.2 miles in. I have really bad arches, so it's a toughy finding the ideal fit.

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labor day weekend | Texas

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August in photos + highlights

I went to Wrigley every week. I watched the Cubs beat the Diamondbacks with V before she left Chitown. Lady Gaga headline as the first female at Wrigley. Also, was my first ever concert. And with Jeniece we watched the Cubs play win!

I broke out the microwave for the first time! After 1 year and 7 months without using a microwave, I finally caved and found a spot for the gigantic eyesore. It has been nice warming up my cup of coffee each morning. I have no idea how I managed drinking cold coffee that long!!

I ran a donut 5k and went to physical therapy. It couldn't be more obvious that running has been on the back burner. I can't run more than a mile without my knee giving out on me. Jeniece and I jogged/walk a super fun 5k hosted by our favorite donut shop in Chicago. Even though I took the race at a light pace my knee ached afterward. I went to a physical therapist and she didn't give me any hoping in my knee healing on its own. The options she gave me were either, go to therapy for 8 weeks and run the marathon or not count on running the marathon. I went with neither. I won't spend a fortune on therapy and I will run (attempt) the marathon. 
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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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