Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tri Training and the Triangle Triathlon

Well I did it.  I completed my first triathlon.  It was AMAZING too.  I loved every single minute of the whole experience.  I had originally planned to make my first one the Wilmington YMCA tri taking place at the end of September, but my dear friend and training coach, Erin encouraged me to sign up for another one sooner.   So I did. I signed up for the Triangle Triathlon that took place at Harris Lake on July 21st. It was tough, but I was more than prepared. 

Erin and I train a LOT.  I'm talking 9 workouts a week.  That's 3 bike rides, 3 swims, and 3 runs.  We also recently began incorporating circuit training into our weekly routines too.  It's a lot of work but it's well worth every grueling minute.  The hardest part of the training has got to be the early morning swims we do at the Pullen Aquatic Center.  We meet some mornings at 5:15 and other days at 5:45 to carpool to the pool.  Even though I miss out on some extra sleep, it's awesome to know I am swimming hard while others are still asleep.  It really is a great way to begin the day. 

I bought a new road bike about a month ago.  I am in LOVE with it too.  Her name is Blue Bell and she's made with a carbon frame.  It's super light and so much fun to ride.  I had been using Erin's old bike, but it wasn't fit for my body and it was giving me knee pain.  So we went bike shopping and I walked away with a real beauty!  I also picked up some clipless pedals and biking shoes to make biking easier when I am accelerating and climbing hills.  I was a bit scared about getting them at first because you have to remember to snap your foot out of the pedal before you stop or else you'll fall.  But they're actually super easy to clip in and out of.  Biking has become my new favorite past time. Erin and I biked 33 miles on Sunday.  I loved every minute of that ride. 

Blue Bell :)

Anyway, back to the Triangle Tri.  My goal for this race was to finish it.  Nothing too crazy since it was my first.  I'm glad to report I finished!  Ha!  It took me 2:08:04.  Here were my official times, including transitions:

750M Swim: 24:47:00
Transition 1: 3:19
17.5 Mi Bike: 1:08:19
Transition 2: 2:12
5K Run: 29:29:00

Erin, Mark, and Thomas came to cheer me on.  Check out the pics:
Gearing up for my swim.  :)

Thomas came from Highpoint to cheer me on.

One of the signs Erin made to cheer me on.

It's almost time for my wave to go.  I was so excited! 

Making my way back to the transition area after the bike. 

Erin snapped this of me after I crossed the finish. 

What an awesome experience!

Monday, April 30, 2012

To tri or not to tri? tri baby!!!

Yup, this girl is gonna do 1st triathlon.  Holllly cowza!! 

Now the running....well that's gonna be easy peaz...I run 10ks for breakfast!!! ;)  But the biking and that's going to take some work.  But I've just been reminding myself how much I struggled with running in the beginning and how much I love it now. I'm hoping for the same outcome with biking and swimming. 

For the background:

I never had a bike growing up.  Weird, I know.  So I wasn't one of those kids that spent hours riding around the neighborhood.  Where I lived we really didn't have a good bike riding area.  And honestly,  I never really had a desire to have a bike.  When I did finally learn to ride a bike I was in the 4th grade.  I taught myself on a gravel road.  Not really the best place to learn.  I had lots of cuts and scrapes when I finished,  but I figured it out.  It's probably been a good ten years since I've been on a bike.  You can imagine my confidence level at this point. 

Now about swimming.  I grew up with an inground pool in my backyard.  I spent hours in that pool with my sisters jumping off the diving board, playing water games, and getting super tan.  Maybe this is the reason I didn't worry about a bike as a kiddo.  But looking back on all those years of swimming, I'm really not that great of a swimmer.  Sure I can tread water (that makes me think about a Nada Surf song called Treading Waterand doggie paddle, but to actually know swimming strokes...negative.  So this too is a problem.

My dear friend, Erin is the reason I am going for the tri to begin with.  I've always had a desire to do one, but with no bike and poor swimming skills it's not like I was jumping at the idea.  Erin's going to be doing two triathlons within the next 5 months.  Kuddos to homegirl!!!! She started talking to me about doing one and well, I got excited!  And so, on September 22nd I'm going to be doing the Wilmington YMCA Triathlon.  It's a sprint so I'll be doing a 1,500 meter swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run (5k).  This is perfect for me since it's my first one.  Ahhhh, I just got really nervous thinking about it!  EEK!!!! 

Anyway, back to Erin.  SHE ROCKS!!!  She has two road bikes and is letting me use one of them.  She even hooked me up with a helmet and water bottle.  She's very patient too, this one!  She gave me a bike 101 course yesterday and spent a good 45 minutes helping me get acquainted with the bike in the parking lot by her house.  She even sacrificed the place she originally wanted to ride because after falling off the bike 30 seconds after I got on, she realized I wasn't ready to ride on the road.  (Thanks, doll!)

After our bike ride at Harris Lake, Erin went with me pick out a bathing suit, goggles, and swim cap.  Thanks, girlie! She knows how inexperienced I am with correct swimming strokes and so she plans to coach me with this too.   I love that she is so willing to teach me.  It makes me feel really great having her as a friend.  She's always teaching me new things and I really appreciate her for all she does for me!!

I'll be keeping y'all updated on my progress, and of course I'll post any cool scrapes and bruises I get when I fall off my bike again. Because folks, I can guarantee there's more falls to come!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tarheel 10 Miler--April 21, 2012

On Saturday I ran the Tarheel 10 Miler in Chapel Hill for the 2nd year in a row.  First of all I have to say it was MUCH WARMER this year and secondly, the race blew my mind with its overall awesomeness. :) Last year I pretty much ran the race cold.  I did some training here and there, but really wasn't prepared to run.  You can read about last year's 10 miler here. 

So anyway, this year the course was a little different.  The race started and finished inside Kenan Stadium.  I liked that people could hang out in the stands while the runners were out killing the race.  One thing that was the same as last year was Laurel Hill between miles 8.5 and 9.  Rough.  But I've trained hills enough now to work through them and remind myself that recovery is coming sooner than later.  I just loved zooming past everyone who was walking at that point.  No way was I going to walk that hill! 

Here I am before the race started.

The race was great minus my right shin aching pretty much the whole run and REALLY having to use the bathroom.  I guess I shouldn't have had so much to drink beforehand!  ;)  I couldn't believe it when I got to the halfway point.  It didn't seem possible to have already covered 5 miles.  The rest of the race breezed by and before I knew it I was done and had my medal.

My official time last year was 1:48:41.  This year I ran the race in 1:39:53. I shed close to 9 minutes off my time.  WOW!  I was just hoping to take off 5 minutes.  I ran a 9:59 pace and am super proud of that.  Back in October I ran the American Tobacco Trail 10 Miler in 1:40:24 and that course was completely flat.  I'm pretty excited that I was able to beat both my times for my two previous 10 milers. :)

I'll definitely be running this 10 miler again next spring. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My New Obsession

I love music. Always have, always will. As a kiddo, my parents always had the oldies station playing in the car. I've definitely heard my fair share of Elton John, The Carpenters, and Marvin Gaye. My older sisters often had MTV on in the kitchen or the stereos going in their bedrooms. Some of their favorites were The Cranberries, Till Tuesday, and Tori Amos. I still love all of those artists to this day.

As I've gotten older I've found some other great bands that I am addicted to. My two favorites bands being Nada Surf and Guster. Both are Indie bands and quite amazing. I pretty much own all their albums and listen to them on the regular. My car is almost always blasting one of their songs.

I've been lucky enough to see both these bands while living in NC. Last year I saw Guster at the Carolina Theater in Durham and was totally that annoying girl that sings along to every song. You can read all about that show here.

Anyway, Nada Surf released a new album back in January called, The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy. Usually I am foaming at the mouth and dying to get my hands on their new music. But for some reason I've yet to hear the album. So as I was spying out their website the other day I saw they have a video for a song of theirs called, When I Was Young. So I listened to it and then listened to it again like 50 more times. I hopped on Amazon and my copy will be in my mailbox today. (I'm old school so I like CDs.) I CAN'T WAIT!

Give their song, When I Was Young a listen. Matthew Caws has a voice to die for. ;)

Good stuff, huh?

Flower Power

 I have the best students in the world!! Yesterday I was brought these beauties...

...and today I was greeted with a rose and a toothy smile from a sweet kiddo of mine. :)

Happy Wednesday! :) 

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Sunday Afternoon Stroll

My weekend was really busy.  Between helping my sis with her yard sale, serving both Saturday and Sunday at church, a late night on the town with a friend, and an overnight babysitting job, I've got nothing left.  I am physically exhausted.  It probably wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't fighting off a cold or maybe allergies.  Yesterday I spent the evening with two very special girls.  I've been their overnight babysitter now for three years.  How great is it that mom and dad go away on a tropical vacation and they call me to keep their girls!?!  It's pretty awesome if you ask me. 

I love going over to their house too.  They have a great screened in porch that I would nap on all the time if I lived there.  They also have a wooded area near their home that loops around a pond.  The girls and I took a walk yesterday and I snapped lots of pictures of the scenery.

Whenever I see the sky look so beautiful it always reminds me of my sister Tiffany who passed away.  

I think this was my favorite picture that I took all day. I caught the sunset through their living room windows.

Looking at these pictures makes me happy.  :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012'S COMING!!!

My little sis is coming to the lower 48!!!  Yay x 100!  Dominique is and will always be my best friend.  That girl has so much dirt on me that she could potentially blackmail me for lots of money.  But she knows I'm just a poor old school teacher with only a couple bucks in my pocket so she keeps my secrets safe.  ;)

Dominique, (also known as Dom, Domi, Seester, Sidder, Sis, Sissle, Sidder Cakes) will be in WV in May.  I'll be traveling there myself to spend time with my crazy family and then kidnap her to come back to good old North Cackalacky with me.  Yay for crazy car rides and lots of inappropiate conversations!!!!  Ahhhhhhh, I don't like to wish away life, but I can't wait to see her!!!!!  Dominique usually only comes home once a year at Christmas because it's super expensive to fly to and from Alaska.  But we've all gotten lucky and she's coming again.  She came to Raleigh for New Year's Eve and we had a blast.  She and I are definitely looking forward to our next set our sisterly adventures. 

Look at her and I.  Would you have ever guessed we used to get into fist fights in high school?


Dominique always won by-the-way.  Once she beat me up with the remote control and pushed me down the steps. Okay, it was like three steps, but still!!  One time I threw a cup of water on her in the middle of the night and she totally kicked my butt for it too.  Then there was the time she chipped my tooth...and so on and so on and so on.  But seriously, her and I are actually the same person in two different bodies. hahaha (Our little joke.)  I can't wait to see her!  :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Instagram at a Glance

I've not been as crazy with my Instagramming these days.  I still love it, but life gets in the way and so I can't capture it all.  Here are a few little gems I've taken over the past several weeks.  The sweetest pictures would be of James and Royce.  I love my niece and nephew--even when James slaps my face for cursing and Royce screams in my ear.  Having them around is so worth all the abuse. ;)

 I babysat James and Royce so my sister and brother-in-law could have a date night on Saturday.  James snapped this picture of Royce and me.  Not too bad for a 6 old, huh?  He could have cut my entire head off. :)

 Before church Sunday morning.  

En route to church.  Gotta love being squooshed between these crazy kids.  

I ran at Lake Johnson over the weekend too.  It was such a beautiful day.  

 Lake J has got to be one of my favorite spots to run.

 I took this blinding shot while I was stretching after my run.  

my favorite 

I attended a baby shower a few weeks ago at my friend, Celeste's casa.  She had some really pretty flower arrangements throughout her home.  

Feel free to follow me on Instagram @ ashleypride. (no space)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Monday Confessional...posted Sunday night

I wish Monday was a weekend day instead of a work day.  Monday, Monday...can't trust that day.  That's what The Mamas and the Papas have always told me.  If you don't know who they are, your loss!

So I'm starting to feel kind of like these Monday Confessionals are getting a little too redundant.  A bit too predicable.  I like them, but you know how it goes, the same old, same old.  So I'm thinking I'm going to spread them out.  A confession here a confession there.  I do have a few things to share so no reason not to for now.

1. I confess that...I've spent the past two weekends in Burlington with my sister and her family and it's been great!  Friends are important but they come and go.  Family is all that really matters in this life  My family loves me no matter how I look, how much I eat, or if I'm lazy.  Friends will gossip about that kind of stuff! 

2. I confess that...I've been really missing an old friend lately.  Her and I were best friends for so long and then a wedge got in between us and drove us apart.  It makes me sad because she was always there for me. We did pretty much everything together for so many years.  Can you even get a friendship like that back?  

3. I confess that...I ran Saturday by myself for the first time in a long time.  My running partner and I run together so much that I'd completely stopped running alone.  It felt pretty awesome cranking up my playlist and going.  

4. I confess that...I still haven't gotten my taxes done!  I have an appointment Tuesday after work.  I really hope I don't owe.  I have for the past three years.  A freakin' school teacher and I have to pay money.

5. I confess that...I have this silly thing about wanting to learn all the words to the song, The Day the Music Died by Don Mclean.  I only hear it when it comes on the radio, and that's no too often, so you can imagine why it's taking me a really long time to learn the words to a song that's like 8 minutes long. I know a good amount of the words though.  Oh come on, it's the little things in life people!!!!  ;)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Life Lately

Things have been super busy my way.  Not a bad thing though.  I'm moving a million miles a minute at work these days trying to get things squared away.  I've been conferencing with parents too and that's a lot when you have to meet with 23 sets of parents.  8 conferences down, 15 to go.  My parents are also in town which makes me happy.  They're in Burlington with my sister's family.  Tomorrow after work I'll be heading their way for snuggle sessions with my niece and nephew and QT with my parents. :)  Now that makes me smile!

You know what else makes me smile?  Well I'll tell you.  The little things in life, that's what.  I was walking my roommate's dog the other evening and hidden away where these two little flowers just hanging out.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Confessional-Week 6

1. I confess that...I'm in a life funk. Everything is just so blahhh at the moment. I knew it was coming though. After a big race I always get the blues. All the hard work and anticipation for the race has passed and then I feel kind of lost. Fortunately, I have the Tarheel 10 Miler race in Chapel Hill on April 21st to start thinking about to get me pumped up. I ran it last year for the first time. It's a tough course because of the hills. I ran the race in 1:48:44. My goal is to beat that.
2. I confess that...I love having my sister, brother-in-law, and niece and nephew so close. They are just a short hour drive away in Burlington. They are also the only family I have in NC. My sister Jaclyn and I didn't get along too well when we still lived at home together in WV. We even had a few rough patches when I first moved down to NC 7 years ago. But over the years we have grown much closer and I just love our relationship. I have an awesome brother-in-law too who has always had my best interest at heart and is someone I can really talk to about things. And then there's Royce and James. They are the sweetest 4 and 6 year old imaginable. I stayed in Burlington over the weekend and when I got to their house Saturday my brother-in-law told me that they stood at the door for 45 minutes waiting for me and asking when I was going to get there. If that doesn't make a person feel good then I don't know what does?!

3. I confess that...I am running my 1st marathon next spring!! Eek!! That is if all works out as planned! Where, you ask? You'll just have to wait and see!! ;-) I'll tell you though that it won't be on the east coast.

4. I confess that...I only ran one time last week! It was a short three mile run. It felt really good giving my body a chance to recover from the 1/2. It was also nice to be able to walk down the stairs without my shins and knees aching.

5. I confess that...I love apples! I like to create my own variety when I go to the store. I went to the Farmer's Market on Saturday and chose all sorts of apples. I also confess that...I learned a bunch of apples is referred to as a peck. How is it that I didn't know this? Learning new things everyday! :)

6. I confess that...I've been having a change of heart about many things lately. It's interesting how things that seemed so great in the beginning reveal themselves overtime to show they're not what I originally believed. Life is certainly a learning experience.

That's it for this week.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

13.1 New York Half Marathon--March 24, 2012

I ran 13.1 miles.  13.1 MILES!!!!!  I've accomplished what I'd always called my "ultimate fitness goal" over the weekend.  The race was held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens and I had a freaking BLAST!

I'm not going to lie though, I was really worried the day of the race.  I'd had all sorts of interesting problems while training for the 1/2.  I had this weird back pain for a week, a sore right ankle from the 2nd week on of training, and in the last two weeks of my training, this AWFUL pain in my right calf along my shin.  On Monday night (race week) I was only able to run 1.5 miles at the Pub Run because my calf/shin was hurting so bad.  I mean BAD!  So I took off the rest of the week and prayed it wouldn't hurt Saturday morning.

When we got into the city on Friday we did all of our site seeing. (more on that later.) I wore sneakers for the day because I didn't want my feet or shins to be too sore on Saturday.  It didn't matter though, because after walking around from 10am-after 7pm, my feet hurt and my legs were restless.  That caused more nervousness for me.  I have a bean bag heating pad I use on my legs before I run, so I called the front desk at the hotel that evening and they sent a microwave to my room so I could warm up my "bean" as I call it. :) I heated my legs before bed and took a few Ibuprofen too.   Bedtime for me was around 9:00.

The next morning I was excited and nervous.  After I got ready, heated my legs, and had my breakfast and coffee, I did a little jog around the room.  Guess what, my leg was hurting!!! Ahhh!!! I had already taken three Ibuprofen so I took 4 more.  Yes, 7 Ibuprofen.  I like to load up on caffeine too before I run.  Starbucks energy drinks are the best for me, but guess what?  I wasn't able to get my hands on one (which actually put me in a panic because I was already nervous and I didn't want to drink something I'd never had before a run) but I needed caffeine so I settled for a Starbucks Frappuccino and about 10 minutes before the race I downed a Red Bull.  (I'm so healthy, huh?)  My running buddy Erin was pretty nervous too.  She told me she tossed and turned all night and the poor girl threw up her tea and oatmeal like 5 minutes after she ate it.  We were all kind of freaking out!

That was short lived though!  :)  Once we got to Corona Park and met up with some friends, everything changed.  Nervous, what?!  Our adrenaline was going and we were too excited to worry about anything.  Check out our pre race pics:

 Erin, me, and Jennifer.  

 Erin made us all headbands for the race to match our shirts. :)  Such a doll!

 Here's where we lined up.  Super happy that I finished the race under that time! 

 Here's where we started the race.

There's the start!

Minutes before the race began. :)  Ahhhhhh, we were so pumped!!!

When we started running it felt like we were going soooooooo slow in comparison to everyone else.  But we'd trained enough to know what pace we needed to run at to not burn out too quickly.  (We've made that mistake before.)  So we just kept it at 10:30 and cranked up our music.  Oh, and about that pain in my leg...gone!!!  I'm sure the meds, drinks, and adrenaline all had something to do with this.  I felt amazing.  No really, I don't think you understand.  I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!  

We were having so much fun too!  There were people holding up signs offering "free high 5s" and words of encouragement, lots of peeps cheering us on, and then there were the photographers snapping pics.  In almost all the race day photos taken of me I am smiling and giving the peace sign. :)  There's also a picture of Erin, Jennifer, and me together all smiles.  I'm planning on buying that one! :)  We ran the first 6 miles together. After we hit the halfway point Erin and I picked up our pace (as planned) and pulled away from our friend Jennifer.  By mile 8 Erin started pulling away from me.  Home girl can run!!!  When I got to mile 9 I couldn't even see her anymore!  I had my iTunes playlist blasting and some caffeine chews and gu ready for when I needed a push.  

Throughout almost all of my training, except when I ran 13.5 miles (best run of my life) I was dying around mile 10 and cursing the world.  Not this time.  I was too happy and feeling really good.  So good that I started tearing up twice because I was accomplishing a goal I never thought I had in me.  By mile 10 I wasn't feeling too tired and just knew I was going to KILL the last 3.1 miles of the race.  I picked up my pace and started pushing myself.  I was so far in the zone that I missed mile marker 11 and then there it was, mile 12.  I started running so hard.  I knew it was going to be over in about 10 minutes and I could do anything for that long.  When I passed mile 13 and saw the straight away I began sprinting.  I was passing so many people and I loved it!!  When I was about to cross the finish I was screaming, "I'm almost there!" and then it was over.  I did it.  I ran a half marathon.  Damn!!  That felt good.  12 weeks of hard work had paid off. :)  After the race, when Erin was taking my picture, tears were streaming! 

 My official time time: 2:15:40
pace: 10:20

 Erin's official time: 2:11:44 
pace: 10:02
(She's got some puma in her!)

Jennifer's official time: 2:31:46
pace: 11:35
(I am sooooo proud of Jennifer finishing hard because her longest run before the race was 8 miles.) 

Before headed out, and after changing out of our sweaty shirts and getting out of our sneakers, we took some pictures.  We took our pics in front of the Unisphere.  


Before we even did our half we talked about doing an ice bath afterwards.  It's helps repair the tiny tears in your muscles.  Erin's dad ran track in college and agreed we should do it.  Ummm, yeah..can we say FREEEEEEEZING and PAINFUL!!!  Right before Erin hopped in I checked how long you should stay in.  It recommended 15 minutes and also noted that the first three minutes are the worst.  No kidding!!!  

Here are a couple pics I snapped of Erin. 

 1 minute in

 After going numb!!

When it was my turn Erin filmed me getting in.  Please excuse the profanity!!  You'd use it too if you knew just how cold that water was!!  The camera's shaking so much from Erin laughing!!

Well there you have it, my 1/2 marathon adventure!!  Erin and I got back into Raleigh Sunday afternoon and picked out our next race over lunch.  We're going to be doing the 13.1 Dallas on October 27, 2012.  The best part about this race is I'll get to see Megan!!!!!!!

Megan with her sister (Megan's on the right.)