Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We've Moved!

Hello to all of our loyal readers!  Amy and I have been discussing ways to make this little blog of ours better, and decided it might be time for a change... a BIG change... as in we've packed up and moved.  

Here is the link to our new blog  Sisters, Strides and Stuff 

Since a lot of our blog was about running we have changed "spaces" into "strides" so our running hobbies have a home now.  We will still be posting about things we do as sisters, the strides we take to becoming better runners and other random stuff that keeps us, and our readers, entertained!

We hope you will follow us to our new blog and enjoy it just the same!  

                           See ya there!

                        Amy and Ashley

Thursday, June 21, 2012


So, I'm still going strong with this running thing, I am still going on my scheduled days, 3 or 4 times a week and sticking strong to my Couch to 5k plan.  I moved up a level for 2 runs this week and it was a bit of a struggle so I think this weekend i'm going to change from "Time" to "distance" and i'll add my 3rd mile to the run but not worry about exactly how long I run at a time as long as I get that distance in (in about 45 minutes) i'll be happy.  Anyway, this week our temperatures were into the mid to upper 90's and the humidity was like trying to breathe under water.  This past Sunday I knew it was hot but I couldn't just sit and look out the window so I went for a run... part way through I found myself taking extremely deep breaths during my walking intervals.  I was by myself so I started to worry that I had made a mistake going out alone when it was so hot and unbelievably humid.  I was feeling OK but just knew I had to slow it down and just get home safely so that's what I did, and when I got home I felt good but was a little worried about so called "hot runs."  Needless to say... that didn't scare me THAT much because I went out again a day later when it was 96 degrees.

                      Fear #1 :  Running in less than ideal weather
                   MY Solution:  Bring cold water, pace myself, dress appropriately, and listen to my body

I am one of those people in the world that really annoy the dare devils and risk takers,  I like a plan, usually a strict to the point plan, and I am a natural planner, therefore the unexpected things don't make me happy (even good things)  I really like to know whats ahead.  I don't run with music (see Amy's last post Dropping the Earbuds to read a little about music and running)  but I HAVE and I admit it does make it go faster. For me though... I find myself taking the earbuds out of my ears numerous times to check my surroundings.  That's a safe thing to do but I think I may be a little paranoid about things following me.  

                Fear #2 :  People, Cars or Animals following me... being followed in general
                                  My Solution:  Go faster   = )
Yes you're pretty Mr. Duck but do NOT follow me!

I am also one of those people who is known to be hard on myself if I fall short of a goal.  I am trying this running thing as a weight loss method as well as a stress reliever and just all around enjoyable activity.  I thought I would be faster at my runs by now and I'm staggering by a minute or two each time.  Some intervals are fast and I think "whoa"  but some really let me down and I almost want to say out loud "Seriously I was NOT going that slow"

            Fear #3 Not progressing as I feel I should
        My Solution:  Stick to it

While there are plenty more things that worry me about running the one thing that tops all others is my breathing... I fear that I will never get the hang of breathing like a runner when i'm out there.  Sometimes I get the hang of it and I feel great and sometimes I can't get it right and it hurts.  I'm afraid that I'll stop liking my runs if I can't get the hang of it.

           Fear #4 The dreaded stomach cramp
      My Solution:  ??????????

So there you have it  runners I need some advice...

                                          What did you fear when you started running?
                                             How did you discover your solutions?
                                           How did you get your breathing timed right? 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dropping the Earbuds

   When I started running, I was a slave to my iPod.  In fact, I distinctly remember being nervous for my first run with a buddy because I "couldn't run without music."  My, how things have changed since then.  
  Today, I typically do not run with music.  My general rule of thumb is no music for five miles and under.  I have run 7 with no music (or buddy...I never have music when I have a buddy), albeit that one was not by choice, haha.

The other day, Ashley mentioned that she had read something about music distracting you from the true joy of running and asked if I agreed with that.  So, I thought I would take a look today at the positive and negatives of running with music.

Why music is good...

It provides a needed distraction
Running is a very mental thing.  Sometimes, your brain will convince you that you can't when your body really can.  Music can be a great distraction from that little voice that says, you can't do this...this is too hard.  I know that for me, music was a huge help when I started out as it helped me keep that voice quiet.  Additionally, the playlist my brother-in-law made for my first half marathon was a lifesaver at times.  Somehow, just when the going got rough, the perfect song would come on to keep me going.

It combats boredom.
Let's face it...running for 90 straight minutes with no one to talk to can get boring, especially if there is no good scenery (heaven forbid you're on a treadmill...eek!).  Music is a great way to keep from getting bored.  Running is so much about motivation, and who would be motivated to do something that causes boredom?

It can help build a workout.
Sometimes, I base my speed work on music.  Every time the chorus of the song comes on, I will speed up.  I enjoy this workout much more than looking at my watch for time intervals...especially when a good song is on.  :)

Why music is (sometimes) bad...

It can provide an unnecessary distraction.
Not long after I started running, I remember running with a buddy who said "I can't believe how many people run with iPods...they are missing so much." At this point, music was a bit of a crutch for me while running, but her words really stuck out to me.  I'll be honest, at first, I didn't know what she meant.  Then I tried it.  There are few things more peaceful then the sounds of the outdoors as you run early in the morning.  Don't take my word for it.

It can become a crutch.
Lack of music for many people becomes a reason why they can't run.  This makes me think of the past season of The Biggest Loser...no excuses! :)

It might block some great things.
Some of my best thinking happens while I run.  In fact, I am that girl who says "I need to run it out" when I'm stressed about something or have a difficult decision to make.  The quiet of an unplugged run really gives you a chance to think, and I have come to some definite realizations while doing it.  I decided to buy a house while on a run.  I decided to suck it up and take my first plane trip while on a run.  I decided to run a half marathon while on a run (well...I guess that one makes sense, haha).  I have even come up with some of my best lesson plans while running.  Great things can happen when you get away from all those distractions and just do something for you.

What do you prefer while running...music or no music?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Where You Least Expect It

So, the other morning, I was flipping through the Menards ad from the newspaper, when I noticed this:

See that on the bottom?  I don't know if they always do this, but each page in the ad had a little inspirational quote at the bottom.

I have always been a sucker for motivational quotes, so I picked out a couple that I thought it would be good to think about this weekend.

Don't look for inspiration, be your inspiration.

Amy: I agree and disagree with this one. There are people in my life who inspire me to do things I never thought of.  However, I like this quote because it reminds me that I can be my own inspiration too.  As I typically say about running, it's amazing because you can compete with others, but the true victory is when you beat yourself.

Ashley:  I would agree with Amy on both Agreeing and Disagreeing but I think that I would be more likely to disagree because I am the kind of person who doubts myself and my abilities much more often than I should.  However if I know that there is something I am passionate about, I am my inspiration and strive to be the inspiration other people look for. 

Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.

Amy: Kind of goes along with the last one.  There is no greater feeling than looking back on something tough, whether it's running, work, or anything else, and saying whoa...I did that.  Of course, there is a time and place for biting off more than you can chew...I say, make it something you're passionate about.

Ashley:  I feel that I'd have to disagree with this statement.  Maybe it's bad of me to think that I don't believe this statement however, I err on the side of caution a lot in my life because I know that I don't have the best ability to take on much more than I can handle at a given time.  I know I CAN do it, but I also like to work up to my comfort zone and then push myself to go just a little bit further.  I am also proud of myself that with being a new runner I have never felt like I've bitten off too much... does this mean I should take bigger bites?  = )

Accept challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.

Amy: Victory here does not have to mean you won.  You just achieved it!  The first thing to come to mind is my first 5k.  I certainly didn't win, but crossing the finish line and knowing I achieved what I had said out to do (in my goal time!), was an amazing feeling.

Ashley:  If you read the post I put up on Thursday with the photo challenge result of wanting to cross my first finish line, I'd be repeating after Amy if I answered this question by verbalizing my answer.  I'm just getting to know the aforementioned feeling of "exhilaration of victory" and I absolutely love the feeling!

In other news, Happy Father's day to all the dad's out there!  We are fortunate to have a great dad, who we love very much!

Do any of these quotes resonate with you?
How did you celebrate Father's Day this year?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More to it...

Now that I've put about 5 miles on my new shoes, I can say I am still enjoying this running thing.

I have started to see that it's really not all about working your body to it's max, discovering muscles you never knew you had, stretching without feeling like you look silly (because you know with out those stretches you will be hurting!), and constantly battling yourself for a good time per mile and overall.  I have never looked at the weather report or thought about the weather as much as I do now.  I have never thought about the arches of my feet as much as I do now, and I have never felt as good as I did asking my "runner" friends/family how to battle sore calves only a mile into a run.  On Tuesday I started off with my head held high and an 11 minute mile pace and realized at interval round 3 (see C25K training plan) about 1 mile in that I had started off way too fast and pushed myself a little harder than I should have for being such a newbie.  Let me tell you, my calf muscles were hurting ON FIRE!  I had to stop my run and stretch on the side of the path I was on.  Once the initial burning  stopped I was able to start going again but I ended up skipping a run interval and walking it with a quicker pace instead.  The longer walk time helped me out and I was able to finish up running.  Matt usually comes with me and we agreed that we were going to add another mile to our course.  I was done with the "running" part a little over a mile into it so I just power walked the rest.  Toward the end my legs were NOT happy and I just could not figure out what was wrong.  

      Since then I haven't been able to fully unbend my right knee without shooting pain.  I've determined that I might have my first minor "runner injury" and I am chalking it up to the fact that, confident in my pace or not, I just can NOT start off at an 11 minute pace and I need to start slow and build up to that pace.  I ended up skipping my run today and my body is mad at me but I'm determined to give my knee a day of rest so I can get back out there this weekend!  While slowing down to keep myself from further injury I have realized just how pretty some sights are while out on a run. Had I not turned to this enjoyable exercise I may have forgot something as beautiful as this!  

Plus... without getting into running I would be missing a lot of quality sister time!

Last weeks photo challenge :  Something you're looking forward to-
Crossing my first finish line!

If you haven't read her introduction yet, check here to meet Amy (and eventually my) new running partner... LIBBY!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Running with a Dog

Well, guys, last week I did something pretty exciting.

Say hi to Libby!  I adopted her on Friday from a shelter in the area.  She's a three-year-old Beagle mix.

If you know me, you know I'm a rather ambitious person.  So, after last month's half marathon, I immediately started thinking of what to do next.  I knew I was tired of running alone all the time, and I didn't really tell anyone, but my first thought was, maybe it's time to get a dog.

So I did!

Eventually, I would love to run with Libby.  So, among the copious amounts of other dog research I've been doing (I've never had a dog before, so this is a major learning experience), I did a little reading on training your dog to run with you.  So, here are some tips that I'm going to keep in mind that might be helpful for you as well!

Start slow.  Just like my own training, I have to start Libby off slow.  She is currently recovering from surgery, so once her recovery is over I plan to start increasing her walking distance.  Next, I plan to add some short speed walking into the walks, and gradually building up to a short run.  I don't plan to take her out on my long runs.  I will, of course, keep a close eye on her throughout to make sure we're not overdoing it.  The goal is to have a good, reliable buddy for my 3- or 4- milers.

Teach her to heel.  This will likely be the biggest challenge, although I think she will learn quickly.  Little lady loves her some rabbits.  I also need to keep her from switching sides so she doesn't trip me.

Teach courtesy.  While Libby has been great with people and other dogs so far, I need to teach her not to go up to them while we run.  One suggestion I saw was to carry a bone and throw it the other direction as a distraction if a tricky situation comes up.

Bring water.  Dogs don't sweat, so I need a way to cool her off.

Give her a day off after the run.  Of course, she will want to walk, but she's not training for anything, so she gets more rest days.  :)

Make running fun!  Won't be difficult.  :)

No half marathons in Libby's future, though.
So, I have a lot of work until we get to that point, but I can't wait to run with my pup!

Do you run with your dog?  Any suggestions for me?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

 Due to a good deal on Groupon Matt bought a 1 night stay at a resort in our area so he and I decided to use the deal and get our night stay last night.  We turned it into a whole "Date day/night"  and made a plan to visit Matt's family that lives further away from us and watched his brothers little league baseball game.  Then we enjoyed a nice family lunch and made our way to the resort.  When we got there we looked out onto the balcony outside our room only to see that a WEDDING was about to start.  So we camped out and watched a cute little couple tie the knot.  It was kind of bittersweet that at this time last year we were up to our elbows in our own wedding planning (thank goodness that's over and done!)  We enjoyed a nice quiet dinner at one of the townie restaurants that we love but don't get to go to often, and then we battled in a fun game of miniature golf where I dominated the Golfer that Matt is beating him by 5 points.  There was not a lot of people there so we were able to snap pictures of our date night.  How fun!

 Here is the small recap of our fun day Instagram style!

Hole #2 I got a Hole in 1... this may have helped me gain my lead!

What did YOU do this weekend?