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Monday, June 15, 2020

Running a Half Marathon in the time of Corona.

When this year started I had really high hopes. I think everyone did.

WOOOOO! The start of the new roaring 20's. It was also supposed to be Year of the Nurse. Irony sure hits differently when looking in the rearview mirror, doesn't it?

Then Australia burned, Corona pandemic hit home, murder hornets, and last but never least standing up for racial injustice to Black lives.

To say the least, it's been an uncomfortable year.

Then I think to myself one of my favorite quotes:

Nothing like shaking up your life to make you realize what matters and to change your perspective to everything around you. 

When all of this started I knew I needed to focus on myself. Really focus. I've never been a stranger to anxiety. I've lived with this my whole life. I was almost always consumed with whatever was happening around me. 

I could not change world events, but I could create a mindfulness to help me cope and help keep my sanity for my family. My kids need a Mom that is present and it is my job to create a safe, loving environment, no matter what. 

This is where running 13.1 miles came to play. 
Before things hit the fan, I had already signed up for a Run The Zoo Half Marathon in Albuquerque, NM benefiting our local zoo. I had already had it planned in my head: I was going to run this come hell or high water. 

Then it got cancelled. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't feel sorry for myself for weeks when my running was slacking and my Run The Year goal was going to shit. 

One of my running buddies, Chenile, had a goal of running 31 miles in the mountains with the bears and mountain lions, not literally, but she was going to do this whether or not her race was cancelled. 

I thought to myself, my goodness, if she has the motivation to run that after her race was cancelled, what is my excuse?
I didn't have one. 

Pandemic or not, I had a choice to run and be true to myself, or relent to what I normally did, quit. 

So I went on my journey of running. It wasn't easy, it made me choose courage over comfort. Many weeks, I spent my time running on the treadmill. My highest mileage to date on the treadmill is 10 miles. The miles didn't get easier, I got stronger, not only physically, but mentally. I mean you'd have to be insane to run 10 long miles on a treadmill with a 4 year old consistently asking for snacks and literally everything under the sun. 

Did I short out the treadmill? Yep. 
Did I start it over to keep going? Also, yes. 
Did I also run 11 miles hungover because I wanted to accomplish my goal? Yes, not my finest decision.

In my life, I've quit a million times because it was hard or because I wasn't mentally ready to accomplish my goals or I didn't think I was good enough. This time was different. 

I didn't want to give up on myself, I knew I was good enough. 

Sidenote: my wonderful friends made sidewalk notes for me throughout the way. I literally could not have asked for a better day. 

June 6, the day of the race it was raining. It never rains here in New Mexico, but somehow I was so lucky it did. We started the race at 6am. I slept like crap the night before and didn't have time for cup of coffee #2. 

When I hit the ground running, I was there with my two running girls, Catherine and Chenile. I didn't ask them to be there, but my goodness i'm glad they were. 

Chenile, Me, and Catherine

For the Mile 1-4, my legs were mud. It was not enjoyable. There were black ominous clouds all around us, and that reflected my mood. 

***These pictures were taking the day before because we definitely ran 13 miles in the rain.***

Mile 5, my legs were ready to go. I saw my other running buddy, Hannah, and that really gave me motivation to keep going. All along the way my friends wrote wonderful words on the sidewalk. Poster boards were posted on street signs, just to motivate me to keep going. My other wonderful running buddy, Ashley, joined us at mile 9 to run the rest of the way with us. I couldn't believe I had such wonderful people to help support and carry me through.  

I didn't get tired until Mile 11.5. I was on the side of a busy road and my motivation was nearly gone. My legs were tired and all I could focus on was the pain in the arches of my feet. Then I saw my neighborhood, the finish line was truly in sight. I remembered my son's favorite book, The Little Engine that Could, I could do this. I was already doing it. 

I got to Mile 13.1.  In front of my garage was my family, Matt, Allie and Eli. 

They were sitting there cheering me on and all of sudden everything was worth it, the pain I was feeling instantly subsided. I cried when I saw Allie because in that moment I remembered,  she had sat many of hours with me in the garage while I running on the treadmill, waiting to play or do something else. She's 4 years old, so she will ever know the impact of seeing her waiting on me, but it's a sight i'll never forget.

That rush of emotion is something that will fuel my fire for choosing courage over comfort every time. 

To my Turquoise Trail Runners: thank you for being my people. Catherine and Chenile ran 13.1 miles with me in the rain, not a small feat. I don't really know anyone that would have done that with me.  You both are such a great example that you can truly be whoever you want, if you want it bad 

Hannah helped my motivation throughout the run and at the end, she always told me a 12 minute mile is just as far as a 6 minute mile, when training and I wanted to quit, this carried me. 

Ashley ran with us for 4 miles at the end and brought bit of fresh motivation that helped carry me through a really tough part of the run. Erin had a special treat waiting for me at the end, you're always so kind and I'm so glad to have you to look up to. These ladies help motivate me in all aspects of my life and I couldn't have done this without you. My after party was everything. I loved it all. I wasn't expecting anything and you gave me everything. 

My bestie Olivia, who lives miles away has always been my sounding board and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. You've always loved me at my craziest. 

Last but never least, my husband, Matt. He has seen me through lots of seasons, the good and bad. He never doubted my abilities once. He consistently took charge by managing the kids so I could focus on myself, something I had neglected for a long time. He knew how much this meant to me, and for that, it's just one of the many reasons I married him. 

I ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 46 minutes. I'm officially a half-marathon runner.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Sometimes you have to remind yourself: you're still a bad bitch.

I sit here and angrily eat my big mac salad because....

Yesterday while I was trying to be virtuous by working out at the gym with my two mama friends

My car window was smashed into and my PURSE/WALLET WAS STOLEN.

You don't realize how much of your world can be in one place, until you don't have it.

Drivers license, Gone.
Military ID, Gone.
Nurse badge, Gone.
Social Security card (just got a new position and should have taken it out of my wallet), Gone.

What I'm missing most of all is that my sense of security was stripped from me.

Hindsight told me, "Ashley just stop being a lazy ass and take in your bag". Of course I didn't listen to that wise thought in my head and here we are. Hindsight can be a real bitch sometime.

At this point, I think to myself, what do I do now? My kids are at child care on base, I don't have an ID to access them. My husband is TDY (on a work trip on the other side of the US). I don't even have a debit card, good thing I went grocery shopping at the end of the week last week.

The first thing I did was cancel my debit card and credit card to my major financial institution.

Then I went and filed a report with the gym. THANK GOODNESS my friends were still there and they were there to support me in the initial shock. The gym staff was nice enough to send someone to help me vacuum all the broken glass out of my car.

If you ever need to file a burglary with Albuquerque Police department, you will have to do it online. Or you can wait 3 hours for someone to get there to assist you. So I quickly went home in my SUV with a busted window to stew on the phone with my dad and file out the damn thing.

He was able to rationally tell me what to put on the police report and report anything of value in the bag and wallet. I reported all my ID's gone, so its on the record, so if someone tries to steal your identity it on a criminal report.

Next after my case was approved, I called my insurance to report what happened. I was able to give them the case number and they were able to help me get an appointment to fix my car and refund anything they could that was missing from my bag.

THEN I was on the phone all the live long day with credit card companies reporting them stolen. Never again will I put everything all in one place.

ALSO if someone steals your social security card, you have the right to FREEZE your credit, so no one can open a loan or line of credit in your name. You have to manually go to TransUnion, Experian and Equifax to unfreeze the credit if you need something.

NEXT issue at hand: my window is broken and I have to get on the highway. SO I took plastic bags out there and tried to finagle them on the window opening.... that wasn't going to work. So i fetched some clear masking tape and taped the outside to make it a little less obvious and keep moisture out of the car as well as my child's fingers out of the open window, until I get it it repaired.

AFTER I was done with that debacle I realized I had to retrieve my children. SO I called the director of the child care and she was able to escort me in on-base. WHAT A RELIEF.  I was so thankful to have so many wonderful people in my life that day.

Meanwhile, all this has taken place my husband still has no idea what is going on, because he is working in a place where I cannot reach him.

Our lovely financial institution let us know at the end of the day that these thieves already spent $1090 at Target. Well thieves I hope it was on a groceries and things your family needed. I hope that you sleep well at night knowing you're a piece of crap and last but not least, I hope fire ants bite your toes while your shoes are on and you can't get your shoes off fast enough.

That last bit was a little harsh, but i'm pretty mad.

Things I've learned from this situation: 

NEVER leave anything in your vehicle ever. NOTHING is EVER SAFE out in the open.

Leave most of your credit cards at home and only take what you need.

Stay vigilant. The gym is a prime place for theft due to the amount of time thieves know you will be gone.

Bad things happen to good people all the time, don't let the world darken your spirit.

I have the best friends. My friend, Catherine, came over at 7pm to give me whole 30 compliant treats to help ease my mind. I can't tell you how much it helps to have a mama tribe.

If things are going to happen to you, it will be when your spouse is thousands of miles away.

Never forget you're still a bad bitch that can rock being a military spouse, mama, and do it all on your own when you have to. I can do hard things. That's probably one of the biggest takeaways.

I had to put this cat on here twice because this is my vibe today. 

Until next time.

Monday, January 6, 2020

How do you eat an elephant?

This is a question that a respiratory therapist asked me, when I was working at a hospital in Cali. He asked me this right in the midst of the worst shift ever. 

I looked at him, extremely annoyed and said, "uh I don't know". 

He said very simply, "one bite at a time". I walked away from him like I didn't have time for the clever BS. 

But this really stuck with me. 

This year is 2020. I can't believe we're already here, but somehow that how time works it catches you by surprise and you don't even know it. 

Years past I made the same resolutions most people do... Lose weight, go to the gym, blah blah blah. 

This year i'm focusing on different aspects of my life, because my worth is so much more than the numbers on a scale. 

Quality of life is something that can't be measured. This is something that you see a lot in healthcare. People want to count the days they have left, but don't focus on the day itself. 

I've made a crazy commitment this year that scares me a little. I've joined Run the Year with a six friends, on two teams of three. We will run 2020 miles in the year 2020. 

My portion is 675 miles. What have I signed myself up for? Well Ive got a few things checked... 

I've put myself outside my comfort zone. Check. 

Made a commitment that I'm not even sure I'll be able to reach. Check. 

Could I possibly be letting my teammates down? Maybe. So I'll just check this. 

But when I think about eating an elephant. How do you do it? One bite at a time. 

One mile at a time. One foot in front of the other. 

Then I think to myself why i'm doing this??

The answer is... because I have the time. Because I can. Because i'm capable. Because one day I won't be able to accomplish this. I can't put this off. My health is not an expense. This is my journey and I have to make it count. 

This year I will put myself first, so I can pour good things from my personal cup for my family. I will put my mental health above everything. 

I will raise really, great little humans. I will continue to pour good thoughts into their heads and help them understand how wonderful they are. 

I will be my best self for my husband. I will be understanding and continue to navigate all the winds and rough waves the military creates for us, but the best part is I don't have to do it alone. 

I will love myself a little more because I deserve that. I will continue to work on things that matter, ignoring the things that don't and being more gentle with myself. I will rest when I need to, push myself when I can and ask for help when I need help. <<< Thats a big one. I will need a constant reminder that a 6 minute mile is just as far as a 12 minute mile. 

First 3.3 miler of the year. Wizarding Run complete!

I will continue to be a great friend and run with people that share this love. 

I will be a great nurse/mentor for my patients and new nurses. There's something about putting on some red lipstick and knowing that you can handle whatever comes at you! 

Here's to you. Here's to me. Here's to all the miles and memories that 2020 will bring. Like any of my journeys I'll be blogging and griping about all the little things along the way. 

Here's to the next 675 miles!!