Tuesday, April 29, 2008

cliff notes version

YEAH! Lots to celebrate. Fantastic weekend results by everyone.

I will be writing a Langley Pond race report, but Sally got into town last night. Here are the highlights (well, they aren't all highlights - but important details nonetheless).
  • last Thursday, an event I organized for MDA raised $83,000 (exceeding our goal by 4K). Sweet!
  • Matt and I had a great road trip to Aiken, SC on Friday. Neither of us have any shame when it comes to singing at the top of our lungs in the car.
  • We made it to Friday's packet pick-up with 5 min to spare!
  • Got to meet David, Mendy, and Grace at the park.
  • On Saturday morning, I got to the race site early. Had over an hour to get things organized and warm-up.
  • Actually got in the water for a swim warm-up (something I have not been fond of in the past... why spend more time swimming than needed, I always ask ;)
  • THEN, a bolt of lightning delayed the start... and again.... and again.... and the sky opened up and presented monsoon conditions.
  • Great job to SetUp Events for keeping their cool - going ahead with the full triathlon - and re-routing the bike course at the very last second. The race started an hour later than planned.
  • Boo! to cutting possibly 8 miles off the bike. (evidently one of the roads was underwater)
  • I was very happy w/ the race. Some amazing girls in attendance! Most proud of my bike split... glad to have a 2008 tri under my belt.
  • Thanks to everyone who read my uniform and yelled "Go Long"... or to my friends, who yelled "Go Ashley." Or to Matt who lit a fire under my butt during some long transitions (I needed that)
  • Another thumbs down to rolling my ankle w/in the last mile of the run. Didn't affect the race at all - but I'm sore enough after a tri... why does my ankle have to be swollen too?!
  • Thumbs way up to sleeping in on Sunday.
  • HUGE congrats to everyone at St. Anthony's! Especially...........................
  • MOM (Sally) who WON HER AGE GROUP by about 3 MIN!!!!!!!
  • Great finishes by Jen, Bree, Andrew, Kellye, Jerome. Awesome way to kick off the season.
  • More to come

Friday, April 25, 2008

to Pond or Ocean

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Mom, Jen, Andrew, Bree, Kellye, and everyone else this Sunday at: St. Anthony's! I will be thinking about you all - as I relax, following Saturday's...

Set Up Events, Langley Pond OD Triathlon in Lovely - Aiken, SC. Looking forward to seeing everyone at LP!
Travel Safe
Race Hard
Have Fun!

Hugs & High Fives

Monday, April 21, 2008

success in IL

What a weekend for my parents! Not only did they swim FAST at the IL State Masters Meet... They SOLD their house!!! Looks like my dad (Doug) will be joining mom in retirement as of June 1st. WooHOO! Their plans are to move South asap. In the words of Mr. Bob Barker himself, "Come on Down; you're the next contestants".... to join me in paradise!

Great Job at the meet everyone. Looks like I'll be chasing my dad in the water soon:

Doug -
50 Free: 26.53
50 Back: 30.86
100 Back: 1:05.87
100 IM: 1:07.74

Sally -
1000: 18:27.14 (AWESOME Mom! Both 500 splits faster than your 500 earlier this year!)

Jen -
1000: 12:14.77 (uh, you just ROCK)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

GO Mom & Dad!

This weekend both of my parents will be racing in the IL Masters State Swim Meet.

Good Luck Mom & Dad!
(and Jen too ;)

Dad, please watch over Mom during her 1,000. We've seen her miscount a 200 (gotta love winning your AG in the 200 when you only swim 150 ;)... so we know she'll need some serious help keeping track of that many laps. (Ok, JH has just said she'll watch over you Mom)

Mom, push push push - there will be no bike/run to think about. You'll do GREAT!

Dad, enjoy what could be your final IL State Meet! Sounds like training's been going well and you're feeling strong. Time to leave IL with a bang (and get down here so we can swim together). Have fun with your friends. Can't wait to hear about it! I love you both.

Finishing up some open water training in Mexico

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

runner's plea

Ok, I had to post this. An email I just got from my friend Kenneth. Claiming to be in a "poetic/speech kinda mood." This is his valiant attempt to find early morning running buddies:

To: A bunch of people
From: Kenneth C.
Email Subject Line: 'dawn breaks on a perfect warm thursday morning'

You know, we can go about our day, spend our lives at our jobs and never really live. Sure, go to work, go downtown for a few beers but is that really living? NO I say! I say to live is to test yourself - can you do it? Do you measure up?

Some people measure their lives in mundane things like wealth, happiness or fame. Others, the ones that really understand life, live life for the intangibles - the moments, the experiences, love, happiness. Which one are you? I would maintain that runners are the latter - the lovers, the fighters the ones who haven't resigned themselves to meaningless lives of drudgery, apathy and "just good enough!, just OK attempts, and worst of all - settling. NEVER SETTLE!

In the words of the great Prefontaine, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift!!!"

So join me, test yourself, live life to the fullest. For one blessed hour of the day - you have the chance to live on the edge, to not rollover. Don't let the highlight of your day be surveying a TPS report at 10:35 am in the conference room. Let the highlight of your day be crossing falls bridge as the sun rises over the blue ridge mountains and the sky bursts into color. Let your highlight be your smile as the first line of sweat appears on your shirt. Let your highlight be that burn in your quads as your muscles and your body thanks you for being used!............ As another wise sage once said "you can sleep when you die!"

haha see you tomorrow and please forgive me, I'm in a poetic/make a speech kinda mood

this has got to be the BEST group run invite I've ever received. Kenneth, I applaud your spirit, motivational powers, and endorsement of a Fantastic Morning Activity! Run On my friend.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Defy Gravity!

This past weekend was a doosie... a Friday night date w/ some weights at the gym. Saturday: riding in the rain, again (made a bit more tolerable - thanks Matt!); followed by a long brick run. Running w/ tired legs on a Sunny Sunday - wondering why we never seem to get sunshine on Saturday?!

Anyway, I needed to spin my legs out on Sunday afternoon. Most of the time, I LOVE the hills here. Greenville is a fantastic place for cycling... but, sometimes you need flatland! Really, I just wanted to pedal - and not think about changing gears.

So, I set my bike up on the trainer on my porch. Plugged the iPod into it's speaker cradle, set it on shuffle, and turned the volume UP! The random song selection, cars coming and going, and puffy white clouds were enough to keep my mind occupied.

And then, just as I was finishing up... one of my favorite songs came on. The song I listen to before every race. A song that can instantly get me motivated on multiple levels. Now, I know most of you wouldn't normally consider a Broadway Show tune as your #1 pre-race-pump-up-jam... but, I can get jazzed by a variety of musical styles. This song has become one I turn to when I need that extra kick:

Read the lyrics, there's a great message. And, hey ELF - it references your "wizard"

*Wicked is an amazing show. If you get the chance, go see it! The soundtrack is fantastic.

"Defying Gravity"

(spoken) Elphaba - why couldn't you have stayed calm for
once, instead of flying off the handle!
(sung) I hope you're happy!
I hope you're happy now
I hope you're happy how you
Hurt your cause forever
I hope you think you're clever!

I hope you're happy
I hope you're happy, too
I hope you're proud how you
Would grovel in submission
To feed your own ambition

So though I can't imagine how
I hope you're happy right now

(spoken) Elphie, listen to me. Just say you're sorry:
(sung) You can still be with the Wizard
What you've worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted:

(spoken) I know:
(sung) But I don't want it...
No - I can't want it

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!

Can't I make you understand?
You're having delusions of grandeur:
I'm through accepting limits
'Cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down:
(spoken) Glinda - come with me.

Think of what we could do: together.

(sung) Unlimited
Together we're unlimited
Together we'll be the greatest team
There's ever been

Dreams, the way we planned 'em

If we work in tandem:

There's no fight we cannot win
Just you and I
Defying gravity
With you and I
Defying gravity

They'll never bring us down!
(spoken) Well? Are you coming?

I hope you're happy
Now that you're choosing this

(spoken) You too
(sung) I hope it brings you bliss

I really hope you get it
And you don't live to regret it
I hope you're happy in the end
I hope you're happy, my friend:


So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Everyone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I'm flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!

I hope you're happy!

Look at her, she's wicked!
Get her!

Bring me down!

No one mourns the wicked
So we've got to bring her



Friday, April 11, 2008

MDA Stride & Ride - 2

I spent the past few days in Charlotte for an MDA Regional Meeting... phew, amazing how exhausting just sitting in a conference room can be. Amid all the work talk, we did find time for some fun. Our Regional Director is being promoted – and we sent him off in Roast fashion. I opted to say farewell in a self written rap song. Many others took a turn frying him up.

But, I must say the best part of the night was having Luke Christie (14 yrs old and a National MDA spokesperson – from Due West, SC) there to share his own stories. Luke, as always, it was an honor to have you in attendance! You are a true inspiration… and a daily source of motivation while I’m at work. I’m crossing off days on my calendar, just waiting for MDA Summer Camp! Start getting your office supplies list together; I’ve got the stapler ready and waiting ;) [Luke has decided to hire me for the week of camp. Each day, he publishes a Camp Newsletter. This year, I am the Assistant Editor. My salary = M&M’s] Which reminds me: Hey Luke – Start a Blog!

Here is my friend Luke with his friend Jerry Lewis

And remember, you can help send kids like Luke to our camp! Sign up to run or walk the MDA Stride & Ride 5K.

Saturday, May 17th
Race Start: 8:30
Furman University, PAC Center
Entry fee: $25
Email: greenville@mdausa.org

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Announcement: There is a new (limited edition) member of the M&M family. If you are a fan of chocolate covered cherries, and M&M's... beware.

A co-worker left a bag on my desk at work. She knows I've been stressed, she knows of my M&M addiction, and she made my day! I'm rationing them out to make it through the week.

Wildly Cherry M&M's ROCK my WORLD
Kenneth, I think you need these at Corner Mart! Wait, do you get free samples?! Hook a sister up.

Monday, April 7, 2008

making wkds count

What a weekend – it really is amazing what you can do with two days out of the office!

My BFF (that’s right: Best Friend Forever… a relationship established in 1995) Lindsay, along with her husband, Michael, and their 9 month old daughter Ava, came for a quick visit. Michael is a teacher in IL and they’re on spring break. Their trip took them to Asheville, visiting some other friends there. Well, lucky for me, Asheville is just over an hour away!

So, Lindsay, Michael, and CUTIE PIE Ava drove to Greenville for the last day of their vacation. I’ve seen so many pictures of Ava, but this was the first time I got to see the gorgeous girl in real life. What she lacks in hair… she makes up for in personality! Really, it was just so wonderful to be around a baby (is that what 9 month olds are called? She’s taken a few steps, so does that make her a toddler? Well, whatever). Every little thing she did struck me as remarkable.
And as incredible as it was to meet Ava… it was just as wonderful to see Lindsay as a Mother! Most of my “Lindsay memories” are from high school: us as cheerleaders, sleepovers, tumbling around the backyard, making up routines on my trampoline, talking about prom dates…
Fast forward quite a few years: she told me that she’d met the “love of her life,” and introduced me to Michael, and then I stood with them as they exchanged vows…
And now they have Ava (and another one on the way!!).
Lindsay, you are one of my best friends… and I am so excited to see where life has taken you, and how happy you are. What a beautiful family! Thanks for coming to Greenville. How about you move here asap – I know you and Michael like it ;)

We had a great time touring G’ville, walking around Falls Park, and eating at the Brick Street CafĂ© (now open for dinner Fri & Saturday…. Sweet!)

However, as they left town… the rains moved in.

The rain continued throughout Friday night – and into Saturday morning. I woke up to downpour. As most of my friends are out of town for various races (Congrats to those of you who did the Cooper River Bridge Run: Matt, Kenneth, Mendy, David; and Mike who finished the Umstead 50 mile ultra in 8:15!)… I really had the weekend to myself. I love having training partners, but sometimes it’s great to be on your own schedule.

I knew I had all day to get my ride in, the rain was pouring down, I didn’t need to rush around and meet someone somewhere.... so, I got to partake in one of my favorite Saturday morning activities: staying in bed, under the covers, to read! And it was great, amazing, peaceful, exactly what I needed.

I finally rolled myself from the sea of blankets after 2 hours of reading. Still raining and it was now 9:30. I made some oatmeal, coffee, and came up with a plan. If it was still raining at 12:00 – I would be riding in the rain. 11:30, I began packing my things up. It wasn’t going to be cold… but, I was ready for a wet ride.

5 minutes into the ride, I wondered if I was crazy. 10 minutes into the ride, my feet were soaked. 20 minutes into the ride, I began plans for producing windshield wiper style glasses. After the first interval, moisture was streaming down my face… but, I didn’t know if it was rain, sweat, or tears. That’s when I just accepted being wet. You know what, we desperately need the rain – and it started to feel good. My heart was pounding, my legs were pumping, and I could feel the rain hitting me as I rode along.

The worst part of my workout was transitioning to the brick run. Stripping off soaking clothes, peeling off gloves/socks/arm warmers/shorts… I’ve never been so excited about finding an extra pair of socks (dirty, but dry) in the backseat of my car. Next I set out to drench some more clothes and a different pair of shoes…

Running in the rain felt good. Hey Noel, it brought back memories of our Great Spring Run of ’07! I miss you! Any good rain runs out there in CA?

Then, just as I finished up – wouldn’t you know it, the rain subsided.

I came home to scrub layers upon layers of sweat, grime, gross off myself and my bike. Putting on dry sweatpants hasn’t felt that good since… well, last weekend up in Franklin ;)

This morning (Sunday) I awoke to birds chirping and a long mental list of things to do. The two major activities were doing taxes and going for a long run. Now, most people would choose to run in the morning. But, really, the run was what I was looking forward to most. Taxes, on the other hand, were a burden weighing me down. I knew my run would be better w/out that extra weight. So, I packed up my paperwork and headed over to the office.

I actually buckled down and got it done in a few hours… the sunny day was my motivation. Envelopes: signed, sealed, stamped, and in the mailbox. I felt like a free woman! That monkey was off my back and I could go outside and play. In the 76 DEGREE temps! Yippee skippy.

Play I did – running through downtown and to the park, dodging the families, dogs, walkers, strolling couples, parents pushing strollers, the old couple with matching canes… I found a smile spreading across my face as I took-in the scene. GREAT to see so many people enjoying the day.
As I finished up, I realized this was my 1st salty run of the year. [Salty Run: finishing a run to find white, salt build up on your arms and face.] Excellent!

Next on my list of things that needed to happen: grocery shopping (Sarah, you would be so proud of me). I went to my favorite neighborhood Publix – and loaded up. I got some Jazz apples and thought of you, Marit!

Once home, I unloaded, cooked dinner, did some loads of laundry, talked to my family on the phone… and here I sit writing about an outstanding weekend. Nothing extraordinary (aside from the Casten family visit on Friday)… but it included so many small, wonderful, moments.

Cheers to the little things!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Franklin Photos

Pictures from Last Weekend
Gorgeous views... from up in the clouds
AStar & ALong... CAT Models

Brian, climbing more in one ride than he's done all year in IL

Hi Sally! No more waving... it's best you keep your hands on the bars and eyes on the road ;)
Andrew on some crazy trail run w/ Brian...
Christian Training Center across from Pagan Witchery Compound... things that make ya go Hum?!

Hills + Smooth Roads = Great Riding
Hello Switchbacks
I don't even want to know how AS took this picture while riding his bike

Even on an overcast day - it's Beautiful
IronMan?... no,no... Iron Chef Me, pretending to help
The photos don't do it justice
Our resident foodies served it up
I'm trying to learn... Andrew, Ashley, Sally, Matt, Brian
Falls in Franklin
Andrew's self portrait (there were many, many more pics of AS... but I couldn't fit the entire self-shot "album of Stary" on this blog)

And now... the SLEEP SHOTS (Andrew... there are none of me, because I don't sleep, I just train and eat ;) riiiiiight.Matt, post ride - didn't even make it to the cabin
Andrew in the Iron Cross, before he maneuvered into the fetal position Sally and Brian trying to dry out
Me, post run - cold, wet, tired - in need of a HOT shower