Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I've struggled with the idea of a new blog for awhile now. Every time I head to Yarn Coma to make a post it just hasn't felt right. That's not who I am anymore. Well, I still hoard yarn like it's going to of style, but I don't feel like that anymore.

I've lived in Philly for over a year and a half now and, looking back, I feel like this will be "the lost year" of my life because things have been exactly how I wanted them to be. For the most part. I don't lead a completely charmed life but I've found happiness here. I'm still a dreamer but I'm less afraid to get those things done. I still struggle to feel interesting enough and be happy with who I am. I'm not the best Ashley that I can be, but I feel like I'm getting there.

Anyways. That's the reason for the move. And now for a post with absolutely nothing to do with knitting.

I never wrote much about my running habits on YC, but I do it. A lot. Not as much as I used to, when I would clock from 20-30 miles a week, but I am a runner. My ardor ebbs and flows, but I always go back to it and those times in between are becoming shorter and short. Running is a therapy for me in ways that knitting can never be; I get emotional about running in a way that nothing else affects me and I think it's something only other runners can understand. When I run something beautiful and freeing takes over me. I can take off, without stress or expectation, and just leave.

Running with Matt & Amol
Two days after the Boston Marathon bombings Philadelphia Runner organized a "Run for Boston" event from City Hall to Independence Hall. Using social media and word of mouth, the event inspired nearly 3,000 runners from across the city to lace up their sneakers and run in solidarity for Boston. I walked out my front door and saw waves of people running along the parkway. Off in the shadows of the sunset I would see even more.  Matt and two friends took off with me, but eventually I broke away from them and just let myself go. It wasn't a long run by any means, but people lined the streets just like they had at the Marathon. Even when they couldn't run or didn't want to they did what they could.

Since that night, Matt and I have been running together along the Schuylkill River 2-3 times a week. I've always been super self conscious of running outside and coupled with the departure of my endurance (not at all what it used to be), this small step is actually quite a leap for me. I like to joke that between the pair of us we have one good leg (Matt's left leg is gimpy at the ankle/heel and my right leg flares up from time to time) but we go as far as we can. And we aren't ashamed to walk when we need to. The river trail is beautiful and marked by many landscapes that are still new to me. Each time we run together I try to make it just a bit further. Last night I tacked on another .35 miles (each way!) and made it to the streetlight just past Girard Bridge. We may have walked most of the way back, but someday we're going to run to Manayunk and back.

And then, after stretching, showering and hydrating (with wine, let's be real), I did something pretty crazy...

and signed up for my second Half Marathon! This time with more Matt. After my first Half last year I wasn't sure if I wanted to run another so soon. My training towards the end of it was pretty nonexistent thanks to an injury during week 7 (of 12), but as the date got closer I got back into it and pushed myself way too hard. I ended up running 11.1/13.1 miles, but I also sacrificed my right foot. Lesson learned.

Things to do differently this time:
1. Train outside. ALL of my training for my first Philly Half Marathon was done inside on a treadmill. Running outside has pushed me out of my comfort zone, but it will also make me stronger and prepare me actual race day. I'd also be interested in checking out a few of the many Philadelphia running groups.
2. Explore more trails. Running along the river is scenic and beautiful, but there are so many different places to run in the city. I would like to explore more of the Schuylkill River Trail and Wissahickon Trails. Even running through Fairmount Park would be new to me.
3. Focus less on calories and more on distance/discipline. When I tracked my training the first time around I used Myfitnesspal to keep track of my food and calories. I'm not a good dieter. I'm good at staying away from bad things and indulging on occasion, but once I try to reign it all in (with food OR yarn), everything starts to look good. This time around I will be using Fitocracy to track my exercises. I know a few people on there and I'm still pretty to new it (anyone want to explain what nuking is?), but it seems like a pretty good environment. And it's ONLY for workouts. I think.
4. Weights may be boring, but... Weight lifting = muscles. And even though I'm not going to obsess over calories, more muscle = more calories burnt at rest & less fat. Plus they're not all that bad anymore.
5. Eat more veggies/try more recipes. Starting tonight! I'll be pickling ramps & making a ramp kimchi. Ooolala.

More on that and (hopefully) a finished sweater next time. For more information on running in Philly, you might want to check out this site. Or, if you're crazy like me and want to run in the 2013 Philly Marathon/Half-Marathon, sign up for that here.

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