Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Race Must Go On...

I've never been a runner. Ever. When I was in track (shot put and disc), I would hide behind the stands until the team came around the final leg of the warm-up lap.

At the gym, the last piece of equipment I EVER decided to use was the treadmill.

One day I woke up and decided I wanted to run a half marathon. With no background or love for running, this was an odd dream to suddenly develop.

But I saw one of my favorite professors always tweet/facebook/blog about running. And before I knew it, I saw a lot of people talking about running. So I thought, let's do this! :)

I've been running at the gym- usually 1-2.5 miles a day. I ordered some special running shoes and bought "running pants" - which are high class leggings.

One of my friends called me about two weeks ago and asked if I wanted to run in a 5k. My first gut reaction was "maybe"...I'm still training and have a lot of room to go. But the next morning I woke up and text her, "Absolutely- sign me up!"

I woke up tired, but excited. As I was leaving, I went to lock the house and the key broke. Literally broke in half. Part of it was stuck in the door and the other half was in my hand. If this is a sign of how my day is supposed to be, I'm screwed, I thought. But I do what I do best, and I laughed it off.
I got to my friends house and called her cell phone. No answer. Oh no, she must have over-slept- which is NOT like her at all. Doors were locked.
I waited outside for 40 minutes- calling and texting in 5 minute intervals. Still no answer. Oh well- there is no sense being mad or upset- life is 100% how you look at it- so I made a plan: be positive, forgive, and run! :)
I had no idea where the race was- I only knew it was in Monroeville. And I couldn't tell you how to get there or where to meet...sooo I made up my mind to still run - in Decatur.
The race must go on.

So I named my race.
"The Decatur 2010 Riding Solo 5K"
I started the race with the same song I planned last night- "My Humps" by Black Eyed Peas.
I ran.
I walked.
I smiled at complete strangers.
I said, "Good morning" to the old man planting flowers.
I stopped once to look at pictures in a window of the local photographer.
I was enjoying every minute of my race.
And I was in the lead the whole time.
50 minutes later- I finished the race. I didn't stop at the curb either. I literally ran all the way up to my door. Jumped off the sidewalk like a little kid waiting on for the bus. Gave my car a high-five and sat down on the side walk.
I did it. I feel great. My day might not have gone the way I thought it would, but that doesn't matter. And with the money I didn't end up spending on the race, I went out and bought my family breakfast.
Life throws you curve balls sometimes- so you have to know when to step outside the batters box to hit that grand slam!

Much love,
Ashley - The Decatur 2010 Riding Solo 5k CHAMPION

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Letter

On Sunday, John Mayer spoke to me. Well, he spoke to thousands of other people. But he said something that really stuck with me.

"Haters are going to hate, but that just means that lovers got to you write the blog," and that is when I stopped listening and decided he was speaking to me.

This one is for the lovers.

For my wedding present, I told Justin to write me a letter. I don't need a fancy piece of jewelry- I'll probably lose it. I don't need tickets to an expensive vacation. I'm completely happy with saving for a house. I don't need an expensive dress. For our on our wedding day, I'll be wearing the most expensive and special dress of my entire life.

Instead, I just wanted a letter. Nothing more than words on paper that take my mind to places no diamond, vacation, or expensive outfit could ever take me...

He pulled me aside during our rehersal dinner. He had a huge smile on his face and said, "Do you want to go upstairs so I can give you your wedding gift?"

Of course, he is horrible at surprises and I'm horrible at keeping secrets- so he already got his SCUBA suit for a wedding present. Matched mine :)

He reached in his drawer and pulled out a letter. My heart smiled and my body heated up. My emotions were taking over my soul. My eyes started to fill up and I was so eager to read his beautiful words. And I still cry every single time I read the letter....

"Dear Ashley Marie Bedwell,

Tomorrow, you will become Ashley Marie Sieb. We will be one. Our own family.

Tomorrow, I will be your husband, and you will be my wife; 3 years and 8 months after we met in a college basement playing beer pong.

Tomorrow, we will say our vows, do our dance, eat our cake, and make our love.

Tomorrow, will be your day. My day. Our day.

But tomorrow is not just one day, tomorrow is forever.

We will be together, til death do us part. Our souls knew from the moment we met, that they had met their counterpart in life. The soul that had been searching for the past 19 years.

There is no one else I want to be with for the rest of my life. I love you. I love going to bed with you. I love waking up next to you. I love listening to you talk about writing. I love reading your writing. I love the mother you will be. I love challenging you. I love that you challenge me.

I am excited to be your husband. To tell you everything is going to be okay. To stick up for you in times of trial. To defend you from sharks in a few days. To wrap my arms around you after you've had a long day and tell you that you're beautiful. To be a good father. To love you until the day that I die.

Your gift:
I wish that I had known Grandpa Larry. He fished, he told jokes, and he gave you a hard time...sounds like I would have got along with him just fine. I know how much he meant to you and know how much you would love for him to be in the pews with Grandma Iris, but God has his plans. Your grandpa is watching us right now, smiling. Proud of the woman you have become, and the man that you have found to take care of you. He may not be in the pews, but you will have him in your bouquet tomorrow and in your heart forever."

A tear splashed down on the letter. And then a few more. I looked him and saw him holding a box with a locket in it. My locket with grandpa's picture in it.

I looked up at him. His eyes were full and for once in my life, I was speechless. Absolutely speechless.

Love is a verb. An action. You do more than feel it and say it, you act on it. So I hugged him hard and felt my heart beat through his. And that letter is the most magical present I've ever received. And ever will.

Much love,