Blogging, Everyday, Fitness

I felt consumed

I was up at 5am for some early morning speed work at the track.  It was crazy cold, with feels like temp of about 35 degrees (well crazy cold for Central Texas).  So I layered up, ate my sweet potato breakfast and was out the door.  It was really dark at the track and only 3 other people showed up.  The work was hard; 8×400 repeats at about 5k pace with 2 mins rest between.  The view was great as the sun began to start it’s day.  If camera contact lenses existed, I would have taken a picture.  We were also taunted by an owl; with each lap came his distinct ho hoo.  He probably watched us and thought we were all crazy running around and around in circles.  His day was coming to an end while I was just starting.

It felt good to have gotten that accomplished before most people had even had their first cup of coffee.  The runner’s high did wear off pretty quickly into the progressing day.  Work was taxing.  My work has never really been “hard” in the almost two years I’ve been there, but there is a first for everything.  I had the Midas Touch but in the worst possible way.  Everything I touched turned to absolute shit.  It was horrible and I let it get to me.  I could feel anxiety creeping in to take over my day.  It wound up being 7 long hours of nothing good.  7 hours that I just wanted to end more than anything.  I wanted nothing more than to come home, draw a hot bath for my achy muscles, and wash away my tears fears.

I finally came home.  It was finally time to unwind.  I went to my soaker tub, poured the epsom salt, started the hot water, and put on some of my favorite music.   I mentally eased my way into relaxation.  After a couple drags, I began to think.  I thought about the music I was listening to.  It made me think about my dad.  I wondered if he had been scared during the last hours of his life?  I think about things like that a lot.  Death is so foreign to me and so out of anyone’s control.  I felt consumed.  I became consumed by my own morbid thoughts.  But then the music crept back into my mind.  “……echoed in the wells of silence.  And the people bowed their heads and prayed……”  I really want to make a video using that song*.  I would dedicate it to my father.  I wanted to share it with the world.  Should I go back to school?  Would I be able to make it?  To learn?  To teach and be heard?  I have no idea, but I feel a need to share my thoughts.  Maybe I need to talk to someone?  Sometimes I wonder how I get around these feelings.  What was I doing?  What will tomorrow look like?  What about the space between?

I got out of the tub and finally felt relaxed and ready to end the day.  Tomorrow had to be better.  There would be another sun rise waiting for me in the morning.  There would be another workout to tackle and another day to go onto.  Another day to love my family and miss my dad.  Another day closer to figuring it all out.  I wonder if the owl has nights like this?





**Song reference was to:  The Sound of Silence, composed by Paul Simon.  But by far my favorite rendition was performed by Disturbed.  I highly recommend listening to it here if you have never heard it before.  It is very powerful.




Everyday, Fitness, minimalism, Running, Vegan

Living with intention

I want to live a more intentional life.  I want to eat better.  I want to love harder.  I want to exercise and get faster.  I want to cut out the crap and be more inline with my personal values.

I know today is actually June 5th, but for me it marks the start of many things.  For awhile now I have gotten a little off track with my eating (don’t worry still vegan, but being vegan doesn’t automatically mean being healthy) and with my exercise.  I want to incorporate better food choices into my diet and get back into my running after a brief, but very much-needed break.  I also haven’t been to the gym since maybe November?  My work picked up and my hours changed to a point that I couldn’t get motived to workout.  To be honest with myself, yes work did pick up, but I am still working under 30 hours a week, so not having enough time is not an excuse.  And my hours did change, but truth be told, it’s more about me not wanting to wake my ass up earlier to hit the gym!

Having a good balance between food and exercise is very important.  Even though I haven’t been eating as well, I am by no means overweight, but I have noticed that my muscle to fat ratio has changed.  Last summer I actually weighed more but the extra pounds were from the extra muscle I had built.  I would like to build back some of the lean muscle I have lost in the past 6 months.  I am not sure what I am going to do about the gym; whether I am going to rejoin or join a different one, but I am going to get back into my running, actually starting today.  I have joined an 8 week speed work program that meets every Monday and Wednesday at 6:30pm.  I don’t particularly like speed work.  It is hard and the Central Texas summer weather doesn’t make it any easier, but I am more motived to get back into it because it is a group effort.  I have a couple close friends that are joining the group and our coach, is my trainer from the gym that I have been friends with for over 3 years now.  Plus if you can run in the summer you will be in tip-top form for when the fall/winter races start back up again!

As far as food goes, I am going to try to focus more on whole foods; getting in more fruits and especially more vegetables.  Last week I went to see my new doctor (Dr. Linda Carney in Buda, TX) because I was having issues with dizziness, foggy mind, and my cycle had been going  a little wack-a-do these past few months.  Dr. Carney is a 100% plant-based, vegan doctor.  So many people have raved about her in the Central Texas vegan community.  She is located about 40 miles from where I live, but after meeting her I have absolutely no issues with the distance.  She promotes healing through nutrition and tries to steer clear of medications whenever possible.  She ordered up about 15 different blood tests for me, to help her narrow down what/if anything is wrong.  I go back to hear my results on Wednesday!  This doctors visit was the first one I was ever excited to go to.  I had no anxiety and I can’t wait to find out what blood tests say.  Dr. Carney had a great “bedside manner”.  She sat and went over a bunch of different things with me for probably over 40 minutes.  Asked a lot of questions and took notes on our whole meeting.  Her office has plant based resources everywhere.  From Forks Over Knives posters on the walls, to a book shelf full of plant based authors (many of whom’s books I currently own) and a website for clients filled with even more plant based nutrition information.

I mentioned that my female cycle has been off for a little while now.  Nothing too extreme but sometimes, somethings are just too much to let go unnoticed.  I ordered a book called:  “WomanCode:  Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source” by Alisa Vitti.  The author takes a very close look at how what you eat during your 4 stages of your cycle (yes I said 4 stages) can affect your overall health.  While she doesn’t promote being 100% vegan, I am curious to read about what foods she suggests to eat when and then why.  I do not plan on adding animal products back to my diet but I am open to reading as much information as I can about how what we eat can affect who we are.   The book has great reviews, so hopefully I won’t be too disappointed at the mention of animal products.

One more thing that I am finding to be more and more important to my overall health and welfare is just living my own life.  Cutting out things that don’t add to it and focusing more on things that do.  I realized this past weekend that I had spent a lot of time on social media.  That time could have been used for far more important things.  I literally could have written this blog yesterday and then had time to write another one today.  I could have spent more time with all of our fur-babies more evenly (we recently got two new kittens and our rabbit I think has been feeling a little left out).  I could have went out and bought the rose-bush that we wanted to commemorate the passing of our 13-year-old kitty, Raspberry.  I could have read more.  Talked with my husband more.  Or just enjoyed the silence, that comes with the lack of social media clutter.  (OMG I just realized that I just checked my Facebook page, oh my phone, while typing this on my laptop!)  It is time to disconnect a little.  The Minimalist talk about how they both took all social media off of their phones and only allow themselves 30 mins or so a day to scroll through their feeds while on their computers/iPads.  I mean do we really need that much information at the tip of our fingers at any given moment?  No.  I know for a fact we don’t because I am old enough to say that I grew up without the internet (until I was in High School) and without a cell phone (until I was out of High School).  (OMG I literally just did it again!  Something live came across my feed so I had to click on it!)  We have become like Pavlov’s Dog when we hear our phone “tweet”;  we are zombie slaves to our little glowing screens.  It is time to make a change.  So besides changing up diet and exercise, I am going to delete all social media platforms from my phone for the rest of the month.  Hopefully I will live to share the accounts of my actions with you all.

Oh and one more thing I forgot to add is that I will also be cutting back on all alcohol and caffeine intake as well!  Man, when I set out to do something, I really know how to go to the extremes, don’t I?  Honestly, I don’t drink much of either substance.  Alcohol I am eliminating just from the weekdays, and will only have a drink with dinner on the weekends.  And the only source of caffeine I have is from my morning tea, but I also have plenty of decaf teas and herbal teas that I can use as substitutes if needed.  I love having the will power to make these changes in my life.  I am the master of going “cold turkey” and I can’t wait to see how I feel about everything in a month.  If you have changed up anything that you consider pretty drastic in your life, please feel free to share your story in the comments!

Fitness, Running, Vegan

Starting all over again is going to be rough…..

Short and sweet and right to the point!  I started running again about a month ago.  This morning I did my first group strength workout in about 3 months.  Little by little I want to get back to where I was this time last year.  I want to see my pace be closer to the 9 minute mark then the 10 it currently is.  I know in order to do that I have to commit to the long runs, the speed work and the strength training I used to do.  My body feels great; no aches and pains and no injuries (knock on wood).  I literally have no excuses to not give it my all and become a better me then the summer me.  I have a half marathon in January and I want to PR and run it in 2 hours.  I know that is going to require work and determination on my end and I am ready.  Let’s do this!

One hour group workout @ 6am

Warm up 1000m row in 5 mins

First set x4

  • 12 kg kettle bell front squat holds for 30 sec (x4, x4, x3, x2)
  • Partner plank holds tapping opposite hands for a minute
  • Alternating dead bug for a minute

Second set x5

  • Front squat with barbell (35 lbs x1, 55 lbs x4)
  • Squat jumps x10

Third set x3

  • Single leg dead lift to a row, using cable machine set at 25 lbs both legs x12
  • Single leg tap down both legs x12

Forth set x3

  • Deadlifts with dumbbells ( 17.5 lbs x2, 20 lbs x1) x12
  • Push ups x12

Cool down foam rolling

3.8 mile run 88 degrees @ 6pm (from yesterday)

  • Overall time 38:35
  • Average pace 10:09
  • Splits 9:46, 10:00, 10:25, 10:28
  • Average cadence 176


Fitness, Running, Vegan

Not today my friend….

I’ve been up since 4:45am because on Thursday mornings I go to hot vinyasa yoga at the ass crack of dawn.  I don’t have to be at work until after 1pm so this is quite a stretch for me (no pun intended)!  But this class is the best that my gym offers.  They have yoga pretty much around the clock, all day, everyday, but the 5:30am class with yogi Jana, is the best and I deserve the best when it comes to my health and my body.  With that said, I normally go for a run within an hour or so after this class (FYI running after yoga is amazing).  I had every intention to do that today; even talked with my running buddy about it yesterday but sometimes the universe has other plans for us.

Instead of running this morning, I was (before I came to sit down and write this) sitting on my sofa, with a hoodie on and a blanket over my legs enjoying a hot cup of tea and pretending that it wasn’t the balmy 80 degrees it actually was outside.  Our AC goes down to 75 over night and it takes the house awhile to warm up again so I was taking advantage of being able to mentally take myself to a place of chilly bliss.  Now back to the reason that I decided not to run.

I ran on Tuesday night with my group; got in 4.75 miles.  Then on Wednesday I went and did barbell class (so many squats! my poor butt cheeks!).  Throughout the day I had started to notice that my right ankle had a little bit of a tweaky feeling to it but thought I would be ok in the morning.  When I got going this morning I still noticed a small amount of discomfort.  Normally that wouldn’t be to concerning, but I have my first race of the fall/winter season this Sunday and it is a relay with 5 other runners and 5 other groups!  So I made the choice to do something that I normal struggle with, I decided to put on my hoodie, call my friend and cancel our run.  I chose to listen to the universe and it told me to listen to my body.  It would be pointless to push myself through 3 miles today, only to be officially hurt by Sunday.  So instead I am going to take it easy, see how I feel tomorrow, and maybe then get in an easy 3 miles but if not, then I will hold off till Sunday and use what I have for the race.  After all the slogan at The Tri Doc is:  “Race Hard, we’ll fix you on Monday”!  I do plan on starting off the season giving it my all, but I will probably need some fixing shortly after!

I can’t really express how proud of myself I am for listening to my body this morning.  I can be very hard on myself at times (something I’m working on) and feel like a failure or that I am slipping behind if I am “weak” or need to rest.  I am learning that, that kind of negative self talk and fear based thinking will never help me to achieve anything in my life.  As long as I keep moving forward and always remember to put myself and my feelings  first, I will be able to reach any goal I set.

4.75 mile run 91 degrees @ 6pm

  • Overall time 50:51
  • Average pace 10:43
  • Splits 9:37, 10:02, 11:26, 11:31, 11:06
  • Average cadence 174


Fitness, Running, Vegan

Vinyasa, Run, Yin

Thursday I went and did hot vinyasa yoga at 5:30am and then went for a 3 mile run afterwards.  Even at 7am it was still warm and muggy but running after doing yoga feels great and I really need to get my miles up (and my pace down) over the next couple of months.  Friday I went and did a Yin yoga class at 11:15am. Yin yoga is very restorative and meditative practice.  In Yin you start with a 5 minute mediation and then hold a range of poses for about 5 mins each and finish with final relaxation in savasana (or corpse pose).  Many of the poses are deep stretches that you “melt” into during the 5 mins you spend in them.  Being connected with your breath and how your body feels is very important.  You don’t want to get to the most extreme version of any pose too quickly because you will have to hold it for some time.  Slowly and mindfully is the best way to go.

It is a great class to get in after doing a lot of more strenuous activities throughout the week.  Like almost every yoga class I have been too, you end in savasana.  Savasana is said to be one of the hardest poses to connect with.  You literally are supposed to lay on your back with your hands at your side with palms up and your legs out with feet flopping open.  And then you just lay there.  You slow your breathing back to normal and you focus on not being focused on anything at all.  The key is to not think about anything or acknowledge anything.  If you have an itch?  Leave it.  You remember that you have an appointment later on?  Forget it.  Just be still and just be.

Normally I look forward to final relaxation.  I can almost fall asleep in savasana; but not this time.  This time I am twitchy and my leg is bothering me.  I have a very hard time not focusing on it.  Trying not to move but it feels like little jolts of electricity are streaming down my right leg.  It’s driving me nuts!  One, it is very physically uncomfortable when you want to move but shouldn’t and two, it’s very mentally uncomfortable when you want to move but shouldn’t!  It makes my whole practice feel like a waste and at the same time it makes me realize that something must be off in myself.  Your body speaks to you, if you listen.

I don’t feel like I have been stressed necessarily but I also haven’t felt like myself in a while.  Sometimes I think I know what the issue is, and sometimes I have no idea.  I can get very little sleep and of course be tired the next day.  Or I can get too much sleep and yet again feel tired the next day.  I don’t like to sound like a sad sap or Debbie Downer on my blog, but I wish I could figure out what the hell my issue is?!  I’m sure there are other’s of you that feel the same way.  Those who are looking for some type of answer so that you can then take the next step and try to fix whatever is wrong.  Sometimes I feel like I just need to step back, do what is good for me at the time (even if it doesn’t seem to make sense), and wait for the universe to tell me what I really need.  Not to over think every little thing to death and just breath.  Not to have fear; but wonder instead what is next for me?

I can’t wait until the day that I am writing to all of you about how my last half marathon went or how in a year I have discovered so many new things about myself.  But for right now, I just have to be human with you and share my very human experiences, even if they aren’t the most exciting and at times a little sad or anxious.  There has to be balance to everything in the world.  I know I haven’t lost my balance, I’m just on the other side of the scale right now.  Namaste´.

Almost forgot that I ran! 

3.1 miles 79 degrees @ 7am

  • Overall time 32:08
  • Average pace 10:22
  • Splits 10:24, 10:43, 10:06
  • Average cadence 172


Everyday, Fitness, Running

Yoga, sweat, and tears

I went to the 5:30am yoga class this morning because I love the woman who teaches it.  But fate had another plan for me and instead of our usual instructor, the woman who instructs on Tuesday morning’s was filling in.  I have done her class quite a few times, but her style wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so it had been awhile since I had seen her.  Don’t get me wrong, she is a great instructor, I just have a different idea of what yoga is supposed to look like for me.

She began the class (actually before the class even officially started) with a mediation.  Normally during meditation you are supposed to try to completely clear your mind.  If a thought comes into your head, you can acknowledge it and then let it pass.  This morning was a little different and instead of clearing your mind she wanted you to picture yourself where you would like to be 6 months down the road and put yourself into that space.  If you pictured yourself on a beach vacation, then you should be thinking about what the sand between your toes feels like.  It wasn’t about picturing yourself getting there, it was about already being there and what it felt like.  Like a child that is using it’s imagination.  Children don’t think about what it will be like in 6 months when they go to the beach, they try to act out what it is like at the beach right now.

I was having a hard time putting myself in a place that I wanted to be.  That made me a little sad because it made me realize that maybe I don’t really know where I want to be?  Moving on from that meditation, our instructor began to talk about acknowledging our feelings and owning up to them.  Like if you are happy, then you would say “I am _____, and I accept that I am happy”.  Too many times we do not realize how we are feeling and we definitely don’t embrace all of our feelings equally.  It’s great to feel happy, excited, in love, proud and so on; but what happens when we are sad, scared, depressed, or lonely?  We tend to turn our heads, and most importantly, our hearts the other way and don’t allow ourselves to own those feelings.  And when we don’t own those feelings, they tend to manifest themselves into other, negative, non-productive thoughts in our lives.  We take things out on the wrong people or at the wrong times.  We get so angry or desperate and we point the finger in the wrong direction.  Owning these feelings makes us point the finger back right at ourselves and that can be uncomfortable.

Later on in our class our yogi began to talk to us about our parents and how as adults sometimes we want to try to change them.  And when we can’t change them, we get upset and we may distance ourselves from them because we are mad.  But as she stated earlier, we tend to not want to own up to our angry feelings.  Why are we really mad?  Then she started to talk about how our mother’s provided us with everything we needed for the first 9 months of our lives.  Not only did she keep us safe and nourished but she provided us with all the feelings she was feeling.  And she loved us and accepted us for who we were and would be from the very beginning.  She never wanted to change us, only ever wanted what was best for us.  Only offered love for us and did it completely selflessly.

Ok so by now I was in tears.  I was so glad that for some reason today the room was a little less crowded and a little darker than usual because I hadn’t, until that very moment, accepted that “I am Ashley, and I accept that I am sad and/or a little depressed”.  I truly already knew this in my heart.  I knew it when I talked about it in therapy with my husband just two days prior.  I’ve known it for maybe a couple of weeks now.  I just haven’t been feeling like myself and I have been in a funk that has been draining at times and sometimes just sad.  But once I accepted this, just this morning, I already started to feel just a little better.  I realized that it was ok to feel this way.  That these feelings do not define me as a person, but are just a season in my life.  And seasons always change.

I miss my mother (sorry mom and please don’t cry).  I hate the years that go by that I don’t get to be with my parents as often as I would like.  I think about it how it will be when they are gone, and all this time will seemed to be wasted.  Time that I could have spent with them.  Sometimes I hate, that I really love, where I currently live.  I wish that I hated it here so that I would want to move back home.  But I know that I wouldn’t be as happy if I did.

Right now I hate the summer.  I feel like I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) but in reverse.  I long for the fall and winter months.  I hate being outside when it’s hot and sticky.  I miss running.  I want to go and run in the cool, crisp air.  Sometimes I even think I miss the routine that came with working 40 hours a week.  I miss my husband at times, even when he is right next to me.  And I get sad when he worries about me being sad and he feels helpless and doesn’t know what to do.  I worry about losing everyone that is important to me and in-turn being alone.  I am scared that I feel this way.  But I am willing to accept these feelings and work through them.  I want to be able to picture myself as happy, but I don’t really know exactly what that looks like right now.  But I know that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me.

So I left my yoga class feeling a little lighter.  Realizing that it is ok to feel the way I do and that I shouldn’t let it worry me or bring me down.  Even though the morning didn’t start as planned it ended with meaning.  After that I went and ran with my best running buddy.  It was warm and sticky and hard, but I was glad I did it.  We both were.  I am looking forward to tomorrow because we are going out shopping and to lunch for her birthday.  I like spending time with her and that makes me happy.  After I left her house a really great song came on the radio; John Lennon’s My Sweet Lord.  I was just about to turn right and head back home but instead I got on the toll road, and with the windows down and the radio up, I just drove.  That felt good.  That made me happy.  I continued to scroll through more great songs that I loved.  I broke the speed limit a couple of times I’m sure, but I felt at peace in my car, behind the wheel.  I wanted to drive for a lot longer.  I wanted to go until I just didn’t want to any longer.  But life has away of bringing us back to reality so I eventually turned around and headed back home.

And now I’m here, sharing all my thoughts with the world.  And that too makes me happy.  I’m sorry if this post kind of jumped from thought to thought, but sometimes you just have to get it all out, even if it isn’t as pretty as you would like.  I’m sure there are those of you out there that know exactly how I feel.  And some of you may think I am just a crazy rambling fool this morning.  Or maybe one of you is feeling scared to accept your feelings and I can only hope I helped you to realize it’s not that scary once you get going.  In the end we are all alright.

3.1 miles 77 degrees at 8am

  • Overall time 30:42
  • Average pace 9:53
  • Splits 10:14, 10:05, 9:27
  • Average candence 174

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 1.09.37 PM

Fitness, Vegan

Back in the saddle

After a very busy week, that involved a lot of down time from the gym, I am official back at it.  It was easy and really hard all at once to take a break from my workouts.  It was easy because I had a lot going on last week and was just too tired or stressed to worry about going to workout.  On the other hand it was hard not to go because I was worried I was going to lose what I had worked on for a month already.  Well I’m happy to say that I didn’t lose anything and it felt good to be back.  I will admit it was a little hard to get out the door this morning, but once I started my workout I felt better.

If I hadn’t gone today I think my trainer would have come to my house and pulled me over to the gym.  He had been texting me all last week to see what my progress was and was very surprised to hear I hadn’t been working out.  I talked with him yesterday and reassured him that I would be back (and he knew I would).  My husband was also growing concerned.  It’s funny how whenever you decide to change something for yourself, everyone else becomes concerned and worried.  I guess that’s a good thing, but rest is a good thing too and it was way over due for me!

I am looking to change-up my workout schedule starting this month.  I will continue to have a “pull” day on Mondays and a “push” on Fridays.  For Tuesday, I plan on getting back into my running.  (My running buddy was so happy to hear this!)  For Wednesdays it’s back to barbell class and Thursday will be Yoga.  Saturdays will be open for either running, yoga or rest days and Sundays are 100% rest days.

It’s still super hot here in central Texas, but the cooler months are not that far off.  I have a relay run in mid-September (my leg is a little over 4 miles), so I thought now would be a good time to start hitting the pavement.  I even treated myself to a new pair of running shoes (more on those later)!  I’m sure it will be slow going at first, but once the temps cool off, I will be ready to start logging the miles.  And no matter what, I will always have a love for fitness!

1.5 hour solo workout @ 8:30am

Warm up 1000m row

First set x4

  • 18″ box jumps x10
  • Romanian dead lifts, with 85 lbs x5
  • Body weight squats x10

Second set x4

  • Glute bridge with barbell, with 65 lbs x15
  • Alternating lunges x10

Third set x4

  • Pull up holds for 30 secs
  • Lateral lunges with glide, each side x10

Forth set x4

  • Seated, low rows, with 55 lbs x10
  • Bicep curls with rope pull, with 10 lbs

Fifth set x4

  • Bent over row, with 40 lbs barbell x15
  • Single arm dumbbell row, with 22.5 lbs, each side x10