First 5k Race Accomplished.

I’m currently trying to refrain myself from shoveling handfuls of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis into my mouth. I’d like to do it unabashedly because I’m PMSing and the larger part of me is convinced I don’t need to eat anything else ever again. “Unwrapped, bite-sized convenience meets the perfect combination of chocolate & peanut butter,” it reads on the back. Right. Because I needed a faster way to binge. Thanks, Reese’s.

I’ll try to keep my Reese’s consumption at a civil pace, but there’s no telling. I rarely buy candy. I have almost no self control. I could put it in the cupboard or pantry, but just having the bag in my apartment is a liability, really. I could bring it to work but I’d probably just embarrass myself. Nobody needs to see this.

I’m proud to say that my gluttony is countered with my having completed my first 5k race this weekend. I may be eating like complete crap, but I did a single healthy act, so it’s okay.

Holding up my number proves I did it, right?

Holding up my number proves I did it, right?

The weather was terrible, but I was okay with it. It was cool and rainy for most of the run. At one point the wind picked up and slowed me down quite a bit, but it just made me feel like more of a badass. The very last leg of the route climbed a windy hill and I wanted to die, but I pushed through. It was pretty exhilarating. Not a minute after I crossed the finish line, big fat raindrops started falling, then hail as my team made the way to a bar for bloody marys.

We ran three miles. We deserve vodka before noon.

We ran three miles. We deserve vodka before noon.

My goal was to complete the race in less than 36 minutes. I did it in 34. That’s my best 5k time yet! Ultimately, I’d like to run it in 30 minutes or less, but that extra minute off each mile will be tough going into summer.

I started running in February. It might not sound like a lot to cut ten minutes off my initial 5k time, but I’m proud of myself. Running has got me excited about what I’m capable of. My body is capable of doing great things if I take care of it. If I exercise regularly, I feel great. And though the digits have only gone down by about 5, I’ve gone down almost two dress sizes since February.

We looked nice and dry before the run, didn't we?

We looked nice and dry before the run, didn’t we?

So while I’m super proud about my race yesterday, I’m also looking forward to a few more this summer. A couple mud runs, a color run or two, and a regular ole’ 5k. I’m going to have to start budgeting 5k fees into my monthly expenses. New shoes too, if I’m smart.

If you’ll excuse me, I have to change the name of my Pinterest board to “My Second 5k” and finish off this bag of chocolate.

Stream of Consciousness: Saturday Run

8:24am Holy shit I overslept. Holy shit I am going to be two hours late if I leave in six minutes. Wait. It’s Saturday. I don’t have to be at work. And anyway, I work at 8, so I’d be an hour late. Still, an hour is an hour. Whatever. Okay. What do I want for breakfast?

PANCAKES.

Obviously I want pancakes. But damn. I just want them now. I don’t want to make them. I might as well get up and shower if I’m going to make pancakes. It’s a whole ordeal.

I should get a boyfriend for strictly pancake-making purposes. People do that, right? I can compartmentalize if I want. You’re the one who takes me out to dinners. You’re the one who spoons with me at night but doesn’t get offended when I push you away because holy shit you sweat a lot at night. You’re the one who takes me to exciting cultural things like art galleries and jazz performances. You’re the one who rubs my feet while I watch terrible television like RuPaul’s Drag Race and you don’t even complain or make weird comments because you’re confident in your sexuality. And you? You just make me pancakes in the morning. 

That’d be nice. But that means I have to like, go out and meet people. And people are exhausting. I’m just going to stretch and yawn for a while. Then I’ll get up and make pancakes.

8:36am Good god. I haven’t ran for the last two days. I should really do that. Pancakes are out. But wait. Maybe I could run and then have pancakes. I could burn like 500 calories so then when I eat pancakes, the two just cancel out and I’ll be all, “I didn’t even eat pancakes this weekend! I can still respect myself!”

But look at that. Look at the sun. And I just got these new microfiber sheets. They’re so soft and I should really just enjoy them for a while longer. Plus I got the new David Sedaris book. It’d be like a waste of money to not enjoy that.

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I’ll just grab my Kindle and read for a while.

9:23am I read David Sedaris so fast. It’s like I don’t even absorb what he’s saying. Which is a shame, because he’s really funny while also being poignant. I’ll have to reread this book when I’m done.

Oh my god. I need to go for a run.

I could maybe wait till later. But the afternoon sun will be out and it will be warm and I’ll sweat. And I’m supposed to meet up with my friends for dinner tonight, but I don’t know when that is. I should just get it over with now. Plus if I go in the morning, they say my metabolism will be higher for the rest of the day. I don’t know who they are, but whatever, that’s a really cliche thought. Maybe if I look on Pinterest I’ll get inspired to run.

9:30am Okay, I will only look at my 5k board because that’s where my inspiration will be. Otherwise I’ll spend the whole morning getting sucked into Pinterest’s black hole of negative productivity.

There’s that pin about things to eat before workouts. Maybe I should look at it. I never did when I pinned it.

Oh. Toast with peanut butter and bananas does look good. Better than pancakes, actually. I’ll make that.

9:36am omigosh this is so good. I need to get a boyfriend to just make me toast with peanut butter and banana.

Now I need to let this digest. I don’t want sideaches. But I’ll start getting dressed, because otherwise I’ll just be in bed all morning.

Let’s see what RunKeeper has me doing today.

A 50 minute run? WHAT THE HELL, RUNKEEPER? Fifty damn minutes? I was hoping for one of those awesome interval runs that’s only 26 minutes long. I actually like those. I get to walk half the time without feeling guilty.

Ugh. Fine, RunKeeper. I’ll do your damn run. But only because I get to wear neon socks. Also, I don’t want to be the last finisher at my race next weekend.

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Whoa. Next weekend? I should just accept it. I’ll probably be the last finisher. Maybe I’ll get a prize.

Okay, let’s drink some water. I’m dehydrated just thinking about this damn 50 minute run. UGH.

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9:50am Hey! I used to not wear these workout pants because whenever I’d run they’d slide down and accentuate my love handles. Daay-umm. Running looks good on me.

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My boobs are squished. I hate sports bras. They’re the worst. Seriously. I wouldn’t wear them if gravity didn’t suck so bad.

10:17am Running isn’t so bad. The sun is out. It’s only like 50 degrees so I’m not sweating like a pig. I could live with this. I’ll just keep a nice steady pace so I don’t die.

10:35am Okay. Twenty minutes in? I’m almost halfway done. This isn’t so bad. I’m not even fatigued yet. I can breathe! And I can actually articulate greetings when I pass other people. A few weeks ago I would have just been heaving and wishing I was dead or at least back on my couch.

10:45am This is a nice area to run. Nice city sidewalks with minimal cracks to twist my ankle. The police drive by pretty often so I probably won’t get murdered.

That’s good, because I don’t really think I can run much faster than this. I couldn’t outrun a murderer.

I’m going to take a quick break and walk for a couple minutes. I’m more than halfway done, so it’s cool.

Look at that dam. Holy shit look at those rapids.

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I should start carrying mace on my runs like my mom told me. 

11:07am OH MY GOD I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE. WHY DID I ADD THAT FIVE MINUTE WARMUP IN THE BEGINNING OF MY RUN? DAMMIT RUNKEEPER, I DON’T WANT TO RUN FOR FIVE MORE MINUTES.

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I’m so close to the end. I can do this. Run for 3 more minutes. Then I can walk. Walk? I should just walk now. Seriously, I’ve done enough.

NO. YOU WILL NOT STOP RUNNING. YOU WILL KEEP RUNNING. What was that thing I saw on Pinterest? Run like zombies are chasing you? No, I hate zombies. Fuck zombies. They’re not real. Run like Ryan Gosling is waiting at the end? No, run like Ryan Gosling is waiting with a puppy at the end.

Okay, Ryan. I’m coming! Keep scratching behind the puppy’s ears!

11:12am Holy shit these stretches feel so good. I want to stretch forever. Oh my god. Ohhhhhhhhhh. This water tastes so good. It’s been in this bottle for like a day but I don’t even care because it’s water. Oh my god. Ahhhhh. I need to do this more often.

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11:17am That was awesome. Seriously. 4.31miles in 55 minutes. It should always be like this when I run. Why is the weather not always conducive to running?

I stink. Oof.

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I’m going to do this again tomorrow. Maybe I’ll run more. Or maybe I’ll do those intervals. I want to get faster. Oh my gosh this running thing is awesome. Why did I not want to do it this morning?

Oof. I should really shower.

I run like Honey Boo Boo.

As you may recall from an earlier post, I decided to run a 5k this summer. I’ve been training faithfully since I mentioned it, though I haven’t been writing about it. I thought my first race would be in August, but I just registered for the Sole Burner on May 11. A group of women at work were talking about it in our daily meeting, and I decided to join. I figured if I’ve been running about 15mi a week, I can handle 3.1 on a Saturday morning. My goal time for the 5k in August is 30 minutes. I’ve still got a ways to go till I get there, but I can’t believe I’ve improved so much over the last two months.

I started out by making a board on Pinterest (I know, how very 20-something in 2013 of me, huh?). Here I researched training techniques and plans, stretches, tips, inspiration, and other things related to running. For the last week or so, I’ve been using RunKeeper in place of my original training plan – one I found on About.com. That worked well, but so far I like the ease of RunKeeper. While using the GPS feature, it tells me in 5-minute increments my distance and pace – without stopping my music. It reminds me for workouts, gives me detailed plans for each of my runs, keeps track of my goals and accomplishments (fastest pace, longest distance, etc), and it’s super easy to use.

I’ve tried running before, but it never really stuck. I was nearly positive I deserved a parade any time I ran more than a mile, so I had my doubts about even thinking about this. But it’s turned into a good part of my day. At the end of the day, sometimes I honestly look forward to lacing up my sneakers and listening to Rizzle Kicks or Justin Timberlake. Other days it’s harder to make myself do it, but I find that once I get started, I’m glad to be doing it.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I was pretty psyched to get these shoes and a big collection of neon socks.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I was pretty psyched to get these shoes and a big collection of neon socks.

I got into biking a few years ago and got excited when I realized I could bike 20 miles without collapsing. I’m finding the same thing is true with running. Since I’m not a natural-born runner, I never thought I’d be able to run more than a mile at a time. It feels great to see what my body is capable of when I push myself. That feeling is comparable to being able to wear a dress I didn’t think I’d ever be able to zip. To some people, running 3.1 miles is nothing, but that’s definitely not the case for me. It’s been hard work and sometimes I feel like a big jiggly fool, but I just keep pushing myself.

Pretty much

Today I ran 2 miles in 21 minutes. This is my best 2 mile time so far. This is a big accomplishment. Considering I hadn’t planned on running tonight (RunKeeper didn’t have a workout planned for me today), it’s also pretty cool. I got home and was putting on my sweatpants when I realized it would be pretty pathetic if I couldn’t spend 30 minutes of my day doing something physical. So I put on some awesome socks and got out there.

Right after the 2 miles. And to think I wasn't even thinking about ice cream.

Right after the 2 miles. And to think I wasn’t even thinking about ice cream.

While I wouldn’t turn away any gifts of congratulations, I know I still have a long way to go. I’m eager to see how close I can hit my 30 minute mark for the May 11th race.

On a related note, my calves are probably going to turn to steel soon. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Throwback Thursday: French Toast & Self-Loathing

Every Thursday, I dig out an old diary and share an entry sans editing (in hopes we’ll all see my grammar and apostrophe use improve) with a short commentary. If you like laughing with/at Young Ashley, feel free to use the handy search bar to the right and simply type “Throwback Thursday” and you’ll find the whole archive. Thanks for reading!

Sunday January 24, 1999

Dear Genna,

I’m so fat. I weight 100 pounds. Corey, my older brother weighs 80! I wish I had his body more boys would like me. He’s really skinny. Funny thing is I could never imagine myself skinny. I think I’d look ALOT better. I want to wear a bikini this summer without having to suck in my belly. I’ll keep a record of what I had to eat almost every day and try to be healthy. Wait no. I WILL eat healthy. 

Breakfast: 2 peices of french toast & syrup. milk butter

Lunch: none

Dinner:

Snacks: lots of chocolate :[ Dang-it!

I have to cut down on my sweets, drink LOTS of water, more than 8 glasses. And workout Every Day! Must!

Bye, 

Ashley

I didn’t really want Thursday features to be me making fun of myself, but I don’t know how I can’t with this one. Where do I begin?

Diary

Oh, young Ashley. Why do you hate yourself so much? Who should we blame? Television? Movies? Magazines? Society in general? Carbs? I like carbs, let’s blame carbs.

Maybe under different circumstances, I would have become an anorexic. If my mom had been more critical. If my dad had been less caring. If my brother weighed 70lbs. On that note, I’d just like to state that I no longer want my brother’s body. He might still weigh less than me, but I’ve learned to accept that boobs weigh a few pounds, and I’d like to keep them.

Clearly, I had no idea what nutrition was. French toast? It’s just processed whiteness fried in an egg drizzled with sugar liquid. Seems legit. Chocolate? Fuck yeah, antioxidants! (I don’t think anyone was talking about antioxidants in 1999.) I had one thing right though – lunch and dinner are pretty unimportant and relatively unappetizing meals. Breakfast is where it’s at. And exercising – how the hell do 10 year olds exercise? At that time, I considered running around the block once to be sufficient exercise. As long as my breathing quickened for more than 2 minutes, I was set. Also, I think it’s sufficiently weird that I’m still addressing this to my cousin. What was I going to do? Deliver this to her on Christmas? Sorry, Genna, I guess I owe you a 15-year old Christmas gift. You probably don’t want it.

Needless to say, I didn’t lose weight. I grew breasts and developed a waist smaller than my hips. That came with a few extra pounds. Like most girls, I struggled with my body image while growing up. I was never skinny enough. My skin always had too many pimples. My hair never looked good. My mom would never buy me white eyeliner and black mascara (could you think of a worse makeup trend?). I was always a little chubby and a little awkward, even through high school. While my peers were at their prime at 17 and 18, I was still figuring out how to conceal my pimples and pretend I didn’t have a muffin top. Seven years later, I still haven’t quite figured those things out, but I’ve got better makeup and accepted I don’t look good in jeans whose waistline hovers just below my hipbones. Structure: some of my clothes has it.

I didn’t grow into myself until my freshman year of college when I discovered I could wear cardigans and adorable flats while looking down at the skinny girls in their $30 Abercrombie shirts, because seriously, who wears those clothes after high school anyway?

I’m proud to say that my self-loathing has taken a backseat to my “BITCH, I DO WHAT I WANT” attitude. It’s not quite that violent, but we’ll just say I’ve accepted that I’m probably never going to weigh 100 pounds, I’ll probably always suck in my belly when I wear a bikini, and I will always enjoy french toast with syrup and butter.

My First 5K

Currently, my body is sore. All I would really like to do is sit in a massive tub of scalding water with about three pounds of epsom salt. But no, I’m being responsible and writing a blog post, like an adult.

Saturday afternoon, a friend from college stopped into town. Kaleigh needed to get an outfit for a formal event and she decided to take advantage of my sixth sense for amazing clearance deals. We grabbed some dinner and walked around the mall, scoffing at Macy’s $80 clearance. (“Clearance: You’re doing it wrong.”) Somewhere between stuffing my face with a pound of mongolian stir fry and trying on prom dresses, Kaleigh asked if I was interested in doing a 5k with her.

I recalled seeing an invite anout something like that earlier in the week. “Oh yeah, I forgot to actually look at that, what is it all about?”

“It’s a 5k mud run for breast cancer. There’s a bunch of obstacles – like a big mud pile you have to run up and over and then a big mud puddle you run through at the end.”

As I licked the peanut-curry sauce from the corner of my lip and felt the first hints of bloating and regret, I realized I should probably make some changes. Committing to a 5k seemed like a good first step.

“Yeah, I want to get a team of girls together. We can t-shirts printed and maybe get some sponsors,” Kaleigh said. “My one friend said she’d only do it if she got to wear a tutu, so I guess we’re wearing tutus and t-shirts.”

“I’m in.”

To convince me, all she really had to say was: “Hey, wanna run three miles in a tutu?”

And my response would have been: “Hell yes I do!”

Later that night, I got into bed with my Kindle and began planning my 5k the way most runners probably do: by creating a Pinterest board. I found an 8 week training program, added the schedule to my calendar, and got my gym bag together for Monday.

I did the first day of the program last night – run for five  minutes, walk for one, repeat five times. By the time I was done with that, I was at about 3.6k and I was curious to see how long it would take me to do 5k so I just finished it. I say “just finished it” like I wasn’t dying and extremely aware of the blister growing on my left instep. It took me just over 42 minutes to do 5k. 

I know it’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. I’m having a hard time not comparing it to my older brother’s 5ks from high school. Corey is a natural-born runner. Even while eating fast food several times a week, he’s able to maintain roughly three ounces of fat on his body. Jerk. Supposedly, he went to his first cross country practice in high school, ran eight miles and was one of the first kids to finish. This is a kid whose only previous athletic experience was shooting hoops in the driveway. Anyway, my base time (42:20, we’ll say) is twice his time.

I realize that this is a process though, so I wasn’t expecting to run like a Nigerian off the bat. I am, after all, a blogger/reader/violinist. We’re not known for our agility. I’ll shoot for doing a 5k every Monday and I’ll keep you posted on my times. I’m giving you permission to bug me about it by whatever means necessary if you suspect I’m slacking.