Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Avon 40 Mile Breast Cancer Walk

When I was in college, I joined Zeta Tau Alpha. Our national philanthropy is Breast Cancer Awareness. Throughout my college years, I volunteered at many Race for the Cure events, as well as Think Pink! Basketball and Football events at school. I supported the cause, loved the pink ribbon gear, but was never touched by breast cancer, until November 2007, when my mom was diagnosed with it.
She had a lumpectomy, completed radiation the week before my wedding, and began chemo right after Christmas last year. She was a trooper, and beat the cancer! Thankfully there were many women before her, as well as organizations like Zeta, who have supported awareness and raised money for research.
My mom has always enjoyed walking as a form of exercise, and decided that her way to pay it forward was to do the Avon 40 Mile Breast Cancer Walk in Charlotte, NC. She was drawn to this event because it's not a race, it's an event to raise awareness, with most of the money going to research in the city where the event is held (there are about 10 nationwide).
She raised around $9,000! About 1,300 people participated, raising over 2.5 million dollars!

The event was held on a Saturday and a Sunday, with 26 miles the first day and 13 the second. It's not like a race where the roads are closed off, it begins in downtown and winds through the suburbs of Charlotte. There are designated cheering sections every 2 miles or so, where there are rest stops or quick stops with drinks, snacks, toilets, and first aid.
It was extremely well organized, and so much fun!
There were not many spectators because it's on open roads, but I followed Mom and her friend Cindy as they walked from stop to stop. It rained Saturday, so my mom had me wait at mile 13 with dry shoes and socks for her... but not many people had that option as they didn't bring cheerleaders!

I also was lucky to have 3 of my wonderful sorority sisters join me at one of the stops to cheer for mom!

Overall, it was a long, tiring, but AMAZING weekend, full of great stories, inspiration, and awareness. All of the women my age are very lucky to have the women a decade or two ahead of them working so hard to find a cure so we don't have to face this awful disease.

I highly recommend checking into any race that supports a cause, not only is it good for your body, but it's good for your spirit, and that's exactly what a truly healthy lifestyle is about!

Thanks, Mom :) I'm proud of you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10K Playlist

Here is my newest playlist for 10k training. There are some new, some old, some embarassing... but whatever keeps me running hard, right? This playlist is an hour, so I'll need to add 2-3 songs eventually to make 70 minutes...

Let's Get It Started - Black Eyed Peas
I Love Rock N Roll - Britney Spears
Bombastic Love - Britney Spears
Stronger - Britney Spears Oops I Did It Again
Candyman - Christina Aguilera
Mercy - Duffy
Wonderful World - James Morrison
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
You And I Both - Jason Mraz
The Remedy - Jason Mraz
Four Minutes - Madonna Ft Justin Timberlake
Sunday Morning - Maroon 5
How Far We've Come - Matchbox Twenty
Laid - Matt Nathanson
Sing Me Sweet -Matt Nathanson
Car Crash - Matt Nathanson
So What - Pink
Our Song - Taylor Swift

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Say hello to my little (running) friend...

Sadly, my iPod died a slow death over the past few months... the screen died, the battery wouldn't charge, the screen came back to life, then a big black spot took over, then the battery just completely died :( I had to say goodbye to my nano, who lived a good 3 years and ran many miles with me...
I started running without an iPod, and sort of got used to it, but still found it to be a challenge. Then I ran one morning with JJ's iPod, and I ran faster and further than ever... I knew I'd have to bite the bullet and get one.
We're on a super tight budget, but once before I took a gamble with money for my health, and it paid off (I took $500 out of my wedding savings to buy my elliptical, which helped me lose the first 50 lbs.) So I decided to take $150 out of our house down payment savings and buy an iPod. She's so pretty, has 8x more memory than my old nano, and can play movies, and is pink!
I am so happy to finally have a nano again as it really does have a huge impact on my runs... and with 2 10k's coming up, I can use all the help I can get!
Note: That photo was taken right after a run and level 3 of the shred last night.... so I look awful!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Map My Run

I've never used the website before because I always run on trails that have mile markers. Since I'll be in Hickory this weekend and I should do a 5 mile run, I decided to map out a course for myself while I'm at Lenoir-Rhyne. It was a really fun site to use, and I think I planned out a course with some decent hills and I get to run all around campus... which I miss TERRIBLY!!!
I'm so excited to see my friends, go to a football game, and cheer my mom on at her Avon Breast Cancer walk... so don't count on any updates for a week!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Organic Eating

I've had readers ask me about eating organic, how to choose what you should buy organic, and what the benefits are.

Of course I'd say buy all organic when possible because who wants extra chemicals in their body, but I know with cost and availability, it's not always an option.

I have spent a lot of time reading up on organics, as well as listening to the advice of my sister. My whole family is very passionate about eating organic, supporting local farmers and eating local produce, and fair trade. My sister has a blog called It's Easy Being Green, where she occasionally blogs about living green! I encourage you to check it out.

She published a top 10 organics you should purchase list, and here it is.

Top 10 Organics you should purchase:

1. Tomatoes
2. Potatoes
3. Grapes
4. Lettuce
5. Strawberries
6. Celery
7. Peppers
8. Apples
9. Peaches
10. Pears

For the most part, it's my understanding that if you eat the skin of something, it's best to go organic. I always buy organic canned tomatoes and beans, and not on the list, carrots.
The top 10 safest non-organics are as follows:

1. Asparagus
2. Avocados (pesticide can't be absorbed through thick skin)
3. Bananas (pesticide remains on the peel)
4. Broccoli (crop faces fewer threats, farmers use less chemicals)
5. Cabbage
6. Kiwi fruit (thick peel, again)
7. Mango
8. Onions (few threats)
9. Papaya
10. Pineapple

Reader Question Answered

Erika asks: When you started C25k did you use the C25k podcast? your watch? how did you calculate it?

When I did the C25K, I set up a playlist on my iPod called C25k that was about 35 minutes, I would start the music when I got to the trail, and then would use the Extras>Stopwatch>Timer on my iPod once I began running. I would remember in my head what the time patterns were (like 3 min run, 1 min walk, or whatever) and then I would watch the timer and when it hit the time where I'd start walking, I would walk, then watch for 1 min to be up and start running. I never had trouble remembering because I just naturally remember numbers... but my husband tried using that method and couldn't add or would forget when to run and walk, so he started using the stopwatch and would stop and start it to time the 3 mins and then 1 min, or whatever the breakdown was.
I have never tried a C25K podcast, but if you try one and like it, let me know!
Hope this helps :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Today I ran 4.6 miles without stopping or dying, in 50:26! Even though from miles 3.5-4.5 I cursed running, runners, marathons, and my upcoming 10k's...
4.6 miles may seem like an odd amount, however that's the distance of our trail to the end and back. When I started my 5k training back in May, I only dreamed that one day I'd be able to run the entire trail. It seemed so far, so long, so hard!!! It's taken me months, but finally, I did it.
I have a hard time with self confidence, but today I can honestly say I'm so proud of myself :)
(And I also bought myself 2 pairs of pants off the sale rack for Christmas last night a size smaller than I wear now for some extra motivation!!!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

4 Miles!

As I said, my next race is the Fall Classic Run at the YMCA. I found out at work that it's a 5k or a 10k, so I decided to shoot for the 10k, and if I feel like I can only do a 5k that morning, that's what I'll do. So yesterday I decided to run 4 miles, giving me 4 weeks to pick up 2 more miles. I was a little worried about finishing 4 miles, but I ended up finishing it just fine, and pushing myself for speed the whole time! I ran it in 42:10! I am so happy with my time, however conditions were perfect, it was 60 degrees and breezy, overcast, and I stole my husbands iPod, which definitely helps me run better and faster.
It just confirmed in my mind that I'm going to have to figure out a way to buy a new iPod (mine died a few weeks ago...sad) if I want to be able to run 2 10k's in November...
So next weekend I'm going to shoot for 4.5 miles on Saturday...but I don't think it will be a problem!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reader Questions Answered:

Today I'll answer questions from "K" and Melissa...

Ashlee- I love your blog and always love to read your opinions! What is your opinion on organic eating and eating clean in general? Also do you keep a food journal and an exercise journal?
I'm glad someone likes my opinions :) On eating organic - I try to eat as much organic foods as possible, but also stay within my budget (my husband is in grad school, after all!) My sister is much more educated than I am on organics, but she often gives me lists of the best foods to eat organic, and those are usually items where you eat the skin. I always buy organic milk and I'm trying out different yogurts to see which I like best (right now the price tag on yogurt is a killer!) I always buy organic canned tomatoes, apples, peaches, grapes, carrots, celery, stock, and beans. I also try to always buy organic meat (beef and chicken) but again, the price sometimes is just too much.
I pretty much eat a clean diet, which means I consume no processed foods or prepackaged things. A few easy ways to do this are stay on the perimiter of the grocery store when you food shop! It's where all of the fresh ingredients are. I make all of my sauces from scratch, and even make things like hummus and salsa at home. I think eating clean is the way to go! You're constantly pumping your body with good for you anti-oxidants and natural forms of vitamins and minerals.

And Melissa asked
I would love to hear more about your day to day life, how your new job is going, how you met JJ, etc. On the weight loss front, what have been your biggest challenges that you have faced along the way, and how have you overcome them?
First off, my new job is fantastic. I absolutely love it, I'm doing a lot of the same kind of work, but it's in the best work environment. The people here are what really make it a great place to be! I also love the benefits of a Y membership!
How I met JJ, well JJ and I met the second night of school our freshman year of college in the lobby of our dorm. The cable wasn't working in both of our rooms, so we went down to the lobby to watch the Bristol NASCAR race on the big screen. We started talking and hit it off... and the rest is history :) We're coming up on our 1 year anniversary December 1, and just celebrated our 5 year dating anniversary on Sept. 3!
At first, my biggest challenges were portion control and exercising daily. Now that I am doing well with those things, I've found my newest challenge to be making healthy eating choices in social situations and at holidays. Last Christmas, like most people, I put on 10 lbs. and then I had to spend all of January working out to get rid of 10 lbs. I had already lost! Since my goal is to reach -100 by February, I know this holiday season is going to be rough. I will allow myself to indulge, but at the same time, I won't allow myself to indulge every night and eat every Christmas cookie I lay eyes on!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Next Race Scheduled!

I finally found a great race for me to run to get in the competitive spirit for my Thanksgiving Day 10k - the Fall Running Classic 5k at the YMCA where I work! It is on November 8, about 3 weeks before my 10k. I'm really excited that I'll have a chance to get a race in before the big one, as training has been on the back burner lately.

I've found myself wanting to be in maintenance mode lately. I'm so proud of how far I've come, and I'm trying to keep losing, but I feel like this could easily be my leveling off weight... However, I'm still techinically 20 pounds overweight, so for health reasons, I'm going to try to keep pushing. I know it will just get harder and harder as I get closer, but I think I've got the right mindset still, and I definitely want to lose another 10 lbs. before holiday season is here - which is my next challenge!
PS - Thank you so much to all of my loyal readers. I really appreciate all of your support and condolences about my Grandpa.
Also, please keep your questions/comments coming so I have material to blog about! It's been slow here because I'm just not feeling as inspired lately!