Taking a break from training

We all know that training and racing has peaks and valleys (unrelated, who else read that book?). Over the years I have had some amazing training runs and races where I actually felt the real runner’s high. I felt accomplished. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have had terrible, disgusting training runs and races where I felt extremely disappointed and confused about why I “do this to myself”. Lately, it was the latter.

I mentioned a couple of months ago that I was going to really train for a 5k. I wanted to find that speed I had just *touched* upon back in the spring of 2013. I purchased a plan from Runner’s World (specifically, the “Break 20-minutes” plan) in order to attempt to shave some time off my 5k PR (21:57). I was going to modify the plan (obviously I am nowhere near the 20 min mark).

I started training a bit toward the beginning of July and that is when things got hectic at home (i.e. crazy toddler) and my commute has just been a total disaster lately, where my 90 min commute turned into 3-3.5 hours (each way) and it shook things up a bit. I was just TOO TIRED and it showed during my runs. Unfortunately (but necessary), I am a slave to the train schedule. Because the trains run about 45 minutes apart, I need to leave the house by a certain (early) time or I am late for work and I need to leave my office by a certain time or Jennie is ready for bed by the time I get home. I knew I couldn’t add another schedule to my life. Despite feeling like I was giving up (you know, #noexcuses #motherrunner), I made the decision to nix the training and just run.

I am happier now. I don’t have a plan. If I want to run 3, 5, 6 miles or do some speedwork, I do it. They are slow and with friends and they are enjoyable. If I don’t want to run at all, I don’t. I am still keeping up with the yoga and cross training and I am genuinely happy.

MRTT 5k 2015

8/9/15 informal 5k with my running group – 24 min finish

So that is what is going on in my running life.

Let’s discuss the blog now.

OBVIOUSLY there have been fewer posts. I was never one to force any writing just to hit the publish button. Every July, I get the notification for renewal of the URL and I seriously contemplated NOT renewing this year. But then I realized how much I love having this space to share my thoughts (even if they are erratic).

I want to blog more. Is there anything you want to read about? Now we all know that I am quite literally not an expert in anything but if there is anything you want me to write about, please share! Thanks for still reading this blog. I appreciate it (so does Jennie, it makes me look cool).

My favorite track workouts

After my first marathon (which was a disaster), I knew I needed to switch things up a bit (read: get faster) so I started hitting the local track (coincidentally at my husband’s high school) once a week. I searched the Internet and asked friends for workouts and completed them in the scorching heat after work (the track had lights, and high school football players I needed to show off in front of). Sprints tend to make me feel that I am accomplishing something great. I never ran in high school but I finally learned about the allure of the oval.


my favorite track workouts

I continued to visit the track for speedwork (during training cycles and down time). Something about completing a kick ass 400 or 800 or 1200 or mile makes me feel so accomplished (and badass). Luckily I have some friends that also like the track so getting there in the early morning is easier! My friend Stephanie and I have been going to the track almost every Wednesday all summer. She ran track in high school and taught me that it helps to switch off the lead for each interval (pace one, follow the next). Always learning!

My favorite track workouts are the following:
Repeats: ex. 8x400m, 100m walk in between
Ladder: ex. 400m, 800m, 1200m, 1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m
Mix: ex. 4x400m, 2x800m, 4x400m
Mile repeats: ex. 4×1 mile, 2-3 min rest in between

Have the workouts helped me gain some speed? I think so, but the jury is still out :)

Do you like the track? What is your favorite track workout?

A weird couple of days and encouragement in a group fitness class

Happy Friday Eve! Let’s start off with a #tbt picture collage of awkward college dancing to honor my best friend, Ritsa, on her 30th birthday! I love you so much and wish you the happiest birthday!

ritsa ashley awkward dancing collage

So this week has been a DOOZY. Mike was away in Miami last weekend (into Monday) for a bachelor party so I was alone with Jennie and we had an amazing girls’ weekend. Things changed on Monday (they always do). Jennie woke up and had a very clear case of pink eye in both eyes. Too much partying? Who knows? I stayed home from work so she could go to the doctor and heal up asap! My mom came up to help watch her so I could do some work from home.

Right before we went out to get some lunch, we noticed a WEIRD smell coming from my basement and into the kitchen. Neither my mom nor I had any idea what it was. We weren’t sure if it was gas but it was bad so I called the gas company and they sent a tech over immediately (but felt like it took 5 years). He concluded it was NOT gas but was also worried about the smell. He said it smelled like a burned wire and suggested we call the fire department (non-emergency of course). So I took his advice (which was also my gut feeling) and called. I explained the situation and they said they would send someONE. I want to emphasize ONE because all though it was a terrible smell, I did not think it was an emergency, so I asked for ONE person to come by. Exactly two minutes later, 2 police officers (1 police car), 3 plain-clothed fire fighters (2 cars with lights), and 2 suited-up firefighters (1 giant fire truck) showed up at my house.

ashley npfd collage

Exactly 10 minutes later they concluded that there was no heat anywhere and no smell (a relief, of course, but ugh, I swear it still smelled). I felt like an asshole to be honest but I can’t mess around and it’s better to be safe than sorry (especially with a baby in the house)!

About one hour later, I picked Fizz up from the airport and within ONE FUCKING MINUTE, he figure out the problem and cause of the smell. We have a half bath right off the kitchen and the fan hose lets out in the basement stairwell. The fan burnt out = terrible burning smell in the basement. MORAL OF THE STORY, I cannot be left alone again :)

Home bathroom basement pic

Fabulous artwork to show the layout of the smelly area.

That was long and annoying. The week progressed and Jennie only became sicker. She had a fever and was throwing up on Tuesday so she had to stay home from school almost the entire week and missed her water play days! Today is her first day back, let’s hope she stays healthy!

Moving on to this morning (and the point of this post), are you still here?

During Refine Method class, something happened to me that has never happened before. Another student looked at me (she was directly across from me) and said out loud, “You can do it, put your foot in the strap!” She was referring to an advanced version of the exercise we were doing (I was doing the beginner version).

It was really nice, and I acknowledged it immediately and smiled and said thanks to her! I am used to the instructor’s encouragement but I have never received it from another student! Normally everyone else is focused on themselves and their form and execution (at least I am). It was really nice! Has this ever happened to anyone? Have you ever done it before? I think I might take a moment to encourage or compliment going forward!

As a thank you for getting through this post, here is a cute picture of Jennie trying a lemon for the first time!

baby jennie fizz eating a lemon