Look Around You

Today, I was completely unconvinced to run outside. The cold? No, thank you. I haven’t EVER ran in weather below 64 degrees. But my running Twitter friends @Becker3ww and @MichelleHess convinced me that day was a perfect day to run outside. So I thought, what the hay – I’ll do this.

I layered up, grabbed my fur son and off we went – running down the Monon Trail.

At first I had my headphones on and I was listening to music, but the pressure from my headband was making the headphones dig into my brain. I stopped and took them off. I sat down for a minute and just looked around.

I was reminded of a good friend and fellow runner. The wise @TheBradKing once told me that I should try running without music.

Enjoy what is around me.

Say hello to strangers.

Make friends.

Listen to the natural noises of the world. The people. The feet hitting the pavement. The dogs barking. The children laughing.

What amazing advice, I’d encourage you to leave your iPod at home a few times too. Just look around you and soak it all in.

While sitting there, I also thought of my running mentor @meggiehd. I thought of how good fruit snacks sounded – those are her favorite. I stretched a little bit and then leaned down to pet Bandit.

“Are you ready to run again baby boy?” I asked him, as if he was going to respond.

He smiled. Yes, Bandit smiles. People have witnessed it and I have pictures – like this one where he is posing like a senior picture:

Bandit Boozer Sieb – Senior Picture 2010

Anyway, he smiled and off we went.

A few minutes later, I stopped again to stretch. Funny story: I am actually turning into big foot.

Here I am,  just taking stretching on the Monon tonight- all dressed in layers for the run.

Okay – not really, but I got re-fitted for running shoes this weekend. My current size 11 shoes are too short! SIZE 12?!?! Holy cow, no wonder I’ve been getting pain in my feet when I run. I don’t have the arch support I need + both feet pronate like a pronation junkie.

Anyway, I stretched and instantly smiled as I heard an older man blast past me singing loudly, “Ain’t Nobody Going to Stop Meeeeeeee!!!”

Not sure what song that is or if he was just yelling for the world to hear, but it made me smile. I wouldn’t have heard his inspirational yell without listening to Brad King.

With that, I was reminded of my goal. Ain’t nobody going to stop me – but me. Better get moving. I looked up at the sky and winked at my Grandpa Larry. I closed my eyes and pictured his face.

“I’m doing this for you too, Grandpa!” I said under my breathe.

So off we went again – running down the trail. I saw a little boy playing in his yard. He was alone and looked really bored playing with a stick.

“OH MY GOSH!” he yelled. “Your puppy is SOOOO CUTE!”

With headphones, I wouldn’t have heard his kind words.

“Awwww!” He yelled again before I could respond. Bandit must have winked at him or gave him a smile.

“Thank you, buddy!” I yelled back – slightly out of breathe, but still running.

We walked for a few minutes past Bubs. The smell of the burgers made me really hungry. I think Bandit got excited too. No, he just had to pee. He always pees when he sees Bubs. Weirdo.

After our run / walk, I had reached our apartment. I reached 391 miles for the year after that run, but I wanted more.

Bandit giving me a hug after our long run together. Love him. Best personal trainer ever.

Tonight, I shall hit 400 miles. I ate some dinner and headed off to the gym for round two.

I had no words. I wanted to high five someone, but since I was alone. I did a Jersey Shore first pump while watching the show.

With this fast bike ride, I reached 400 miles.

I can’t wipe this smile off my face. I feel like a new person. Sure, I am not the best or the fastest runner. I certainly walk when I need to and stop when I need to stretch. But I am happy. I am becoming healthy and I am turning into a new person. It simply feels incredible. I’m so blessed by all the love and support from my family, friends and even complete strangers. I feel humbled by the ongoing comments and blasts of encouragement I receive each day. My health transformation and 2,011 mile journey would be difficult without such positive and motivating people in my life. Always and forever, I thank you.

Much love,
Ashley

4 thoughts on “Look Around You

  1. audreylash says:

    Running outside is a must. I hate running on the treadmill. In my journey of training (under inspiration from you) for my first mini, I've only stepped on a treadmill. It felt stuffy.

    I'm so glad you got out to enjoy it! You go girl. Keep, keepin' on!!!!

    -Audrey

  2. Ashley Marie says:

    Audrey I was the exact opposite. I thought running inside was the only way to go, which was not a good idea when it came down to run a half marathon (outside) and only had one week of experience running outside. But, I'm building up confidence and loving all the benefits of running outside. Thanks for your support, and I am SOOO proud of you for doing so well on your journey to your first half marathon!

    Emily- thank you so very much!!! =)

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