Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No Time Is Long Enough

My meeting ran over, so I was running late. It's no surprise that I also left my directions to the funeral home on my desk at work.Thankfully, Chad played my GPS navigator from the office.

I rushed to Mejier trying to find a perfect card.

Not that any card can be "perfect" for a time like this....

My friend Ashley lost her father last week. We actually had dinner plans that evening, but she text me later in the day saying her mother was having a family dinner.

We were both a little bummed we would miss out on our dinner together, but we promised to raincheck.

The next morning she text me and said, "Sorry again about last night. Little did I know I was going to dinner to find out my dad passed away."

I dropped my phone on my desk.

My eyes filled with tears.

And my heart sank.

I was heartbroken for her...she was so close to her father. His parents and brother had already passed away...so Ashley was the only family he had left.

Ashley was so incredibly strong when I talked to over the following days.


Back in Mejier,  I picked up the first card I saw and it was..."perfect"

The card made me think about how I have been spending my time lately....

I have been so incredibly busy with wedding planning / DJ gigs, freelance work, volunteering, event planning, working, marathon training, and other projects... I have lost my balance in life.

It's time to spend my time better.



At the funeral, Ashley was incredible. She was so strong. And the funeral, which she had planned on her own, was beautiful.

When I was waiting in line to hug Ashley, I overheard her say, "I'm doing OK. I guess the hardest part is thinking about future events. Like my wedding. He won't be there to walk me down the isle. Or the father-daughter dance..."

Tears filled my eyes.

And before the couple could reply, Ashley said, "But I know he is so happy that you both came. Thank you so much for stopping by. It means so much to me."

She is strong.



When I drove home from work today, I took the time to notice the small things.

I saw a mother picking up her two children from the babysitter. The oldest daughter- maybe 3- reached the van door, but then quickly turned around to give her babysitter one last hug goodbye.

I noticed a flower delievery truck parked outside a house in my neighborhood.

I smiled at the woman next to me who was singing with her windows down on this beautiful day.

When I got home, I danced with my husband in our living room to Phillip Phillips "Home."

I went to the gym and did all 3 miles of my training program (I'm kicking ass by the way!)

And when I was walking Bandit around the neighborhood, I called my dad.

Because no time on earth is long enough to share with those we love or to prepare our hearts goodbye.

Make the most of your time today.

And everyday.

In loving memory of Robert Griffith. 

Much love,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Modern Family and Marathon Training

It's time to make a confession. Well, it might not be a confession to everyone.

But before I digress too much...

I must admit.

I've never ran a complete 5K (3.1 miles) without stopping for a walking or stretch or water break.

So, the thought of running a FULL marathon without walking breaks seems nearly impossible.

But, who says running a full marathon is impossible? It's certainly possible. I know many people who run full marathons. Who run half marathons. Who run 5ks. The thought of me running a full marathon shouldn't be embedded in my mind as impossible.

I was explaining my running and walking struggle to my lovely friend Sarah Frey tonight.

"I'm sure it's a confidence thing...but I just don't know how to run more than 2 miles without wanting to stop," I confessed. 

"Have you ever watched the episode of Modern Family when Phil tries the walk across the high rope?" Sarah asked me.

Also, I am Phil and Luke is my future son, Cooper.

Now, I know that I remind most people of Phil, but I really had no clue where she was going with this example. Then again, I've never seen the episode.

"No," I said. "What it's about?"

"Well, he tries to walk across the rope, but it's really low to the ground," Sarah said. "So, he keeps falling because he knows he won't get hurt if he falls down."

"Right.." I said listening to her example.

"So, he moves the rope higher off the ground," Sarah continued."And guess what? He doesn't fall as as much."

And just then, her phone dies.

So, I was left to soak in what she said and literally run with it.

I went into the gym and had a revelation.

Phil didn't fall because he invested more into his goal. 

He was pushing himself to new limits

He was trying harder.

He was balancing better. 

He took a chance.

And he had more on the line, literally.

Last night, my friend Martha Ellen introduced me to the concept of a pretentious jog, which is the act of jogging so slow that you are ALMOST walking. This act is also referenced as a PJ. 

I just need to take a leap of faith and just "go on for it" as the Perfect Strangers often say. 
Who knows? I might surprise myself and run my first 5K this weekend.

I don't care how slow I go...or how many times I pull a PJ...as long as I keep going.

It's time to get outside my comfort zone.

Phil Dunphy style.

Get your PJ on, Ashley.

Much love,

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Guest Post: Online Dating- Just Do It

I always tell my single friends I live for their stories. And my beautiful friend Erin is no exception. A few weeks ago, I was laying around the pool with the girls and Erin was sharing some her online dating stories. I told her she must write a guest post about her experience. So, without further adieu, here is her story:

Back in October, I thought my life was over.  I had gone through a break-up with a mediocre guy who I thought was “the one” despite his many flaws.  I couldn’t eat, I sleep, and I stopped talking to my friends.  When I started realizing that I could not, in fact, die from a break-up, I decided to be proactive in my own confidence-boosting.  I joined Match.com.

I’ve always been a little skeptical of online dating, but let’s get real: I haven’t had much luck in the dating department the way I have been doing things, so I decided to go for it.  I filled out my profile and uploaded some photos.  Here are a few of the highlights of my profile:

About Me and Who I’m Looking For
I'm not entirely convinced dudes actually read these, but here it goes:
I would much rather go to a Pacers game or run than go shopping or watch TV.  I can dish it as well as I can take it because I teach at an urban high school.  I basically want to meet someone who I have a lot of fun spending time with who doesn't mind doing his own thing while I'm busy.

Favorite Things
Talking trash to UNC and UK fans, finding kickass Mexican food restaurants, ridiculous pick-up lines, and laughing at my own ridiculousness.

Much to my surprise, the e-mails started rolling in.  Let me tell you, Match.com made me feel like the hottest female on earth.   After e-mailing and texting a few of the gentlemen, I set myself up on some dates.  I’m going to run you through a few of them.  I won’t use the poor guys’ names (because honestly, most of them sucked).

Dude 1:
I probably texted with Sylvester a good 2 months before actually meeting him for drinks on some random Tuesday.  Within the first half hour of meeting the dude, he told me he always thought he’d marry a teacher (which I am) and he invited me to Chicago with him and his family over New Years.  Umm, what the fuck, dude.  Slowww down.  We said good-bye and he attempted to eat my face off in the middle of Mass Ave.

This really should have been a red flag, but I decided to invite him out with myself and a friend a few weeks later.  We all got pretty shit-faced, and I was a lady and made him sleep on the couch.  The next morning, he bolted.  When I turned on the light, I realized that my couch was soaked.  Yeah.  I texted him and asked if he had any idea why my couch was soaked.  His response? “Nada.”  I felt like I needed a t-shirt that said “I joined online dating and all I got was a pissed-on couch.”

Dude 2:
Gerald was a nice guy.  We had a great first date at a Pacers game, but when I went out with him again, I wasn’t so sure.  We dated for a few weeks, but when he wanted me to meet his parents, I had to let him go.  He got all mopey, so I gave him another chance because I thought I had made a mistake.  Then, the tables were turned and he was in the driver’s seat and could make all of the calls because I was the one who had messed up.  I’m not a fan of that.  We called it quits (again), and he asked if we could be friends.  Dude 2, I’ve got enough friends.  I didn’t join Match.com to meet buddies, get real.

Dude 3:
By the time I started chatting with Godfrey, I was pretty much being a Match.com slut.  I was going out on so many dates for a couple of weeks that I rarely paid for meals.  One Friday, I was already pretty drunk with a couple of my friends, and Godfrey asked if I wanted to grab a drink.  I said sure, why not?  To be fair, I warned him that I had been drinking already.  But, he probably had no idea that he was going to be walking into a trainwreck of a “date.”  The next morning, my friend said, “I think we got a little too drunk on your date…”  I said, “Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be hearing from him again.”  True statement.

Dude 4:
Griffeth is probably my least favorite Match.com date, which is sort of unfair because he’ll be great for a suction-cup of a girl.  Unfortunately for him, that’s not me.  He brought me an apple on the first date (an apple for the teacher).  If I had been into him, it would have been cute, but I wasn’t.  The date was okay, and I decided to go out with him one more time.  By the day we were supposed to go out a second time, I really wasn’t feeling this guy, so I was going to cancel.  However, some flowers showed up on my desk from him.  I work at an urban high school and you better believe that my kids were saying this like, “Ooohhh GET IT Miss C!”  I definitely couldn’t cancel on him then!  I did go on that date and one more date with him, but called it quits after he called me “slutty” for dating other guys at the same time I was dating him.  Griffeth, I’m on Match.com.  Did you really think you were the only one I was dating after 2 dates?  I’m 25 years old and got called “slutty” for the first time by some dude I met online.  What the hell.

Dude 5:
Prescott is the guy that I’m talking to right now.  Before I even met him, we discussed the crazies that we’ve met on Match.com.  I told him that most of the guys I’ve talked to either want to get married tomorrow or use Match.com as a hook-up site.  He said, “Wait, you don’t want to go to Vegas after our first date and get married?”  Love the sarcasm.  I’m not going to comment any more on Prescott because I might actually like this one…

Ladies, as a former online-dating hater, I would now strongly recommend it.  You’ll go on some shitty dates, but they’ll make awesome stories.  I probably won’t be like those couples you see on the Match.com commercials, but I’m having a hell of a time in the process.  Plus, I’ve spent so much less on groceries.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Marathon Training Begins!

Today marks the first day...of my first training program....for my first full marathon.

Before making the 26.2 commitment, I knew that training would be absolutely critical to the success and survival of my first full marathon. 

I'll have busy days.

I'll have bad days.

I'll have long days.

I'll have painful days.

I'll have emotional days.

I'll have dreadful days.

But I still have to run.

Surprisingly, today was one of "those days" - and the last thing on Earth I wanted to do was run.

Munching on snack food and going to bed early sounded PERFECT tonight.

But instead, I threw on my workout clothes and headed to the gym. My training program called for 3 miles. Pulling into the gym, I thought..."I'll just do a mile. I'm too tired to do all 3, so I'll just make up for it later in the week."

I jumped on the treadmill, turned on Law and Order (as if I need another fear to add to my list) and quickly changed my mind.

"You're doing all 3 of these miles even if you crawl on this damn treadmill," I said to myself.

I closed my eyes, prayed for strength and just started running.

I was slow and steady.

And I took walking breaks.

But it's what I needed to get through after "one of those days."

A few times, I lost my mental strength and said, "Okay, you've done good enough. Just stop after the next quarter mile."

But my body refused to listen to my mind.

I did 3.01 miles, just to prove I'm an overachiever.

If I can keep this attitude...

If I can continue to lift myself off the couch during the most challenging moments...

And if I can keep fighting when my body wants to stop...then I have no doubts my first full marathon will be an enjoyable experience.

And for those of you who are interested, click here to read my full marathon training program by Hal Higdon. What do I love most about this program? Everything.

Within the first few sentences, I am reminded:

"You can't get to the finish line if you never make it to the start line."

And he offers the below advice, which I LOVE:

Long Runs: The key to the program is the long run on weekends, which builds from 6 miles in Week 1 to 20 miles in the climactic Week 15.

Walking Breaks: Some grizzled veterans offended by the Jeff Galloway walkers grumble that the marathon was meant to be run, not walked. Don't listen to them! Walking is a perfectly acceptable strategy in trying to finish a marathon. It works during training runs too. While some coaches recommend walking 1 minute out of every 10, or walking 30 seconds then running 30 seconds before walking again, I suggest that runners walk when they come to an aid station....Walking gives your body a chance to rest, and you'll be able to continue running more comfortably.

It's best to walk when you want to, not when your (fatigued) body forces you too.

Cross Training: The best cross-training exercises are swimming, cycling or even walking. What about sports such as tennis or basketball? Activities requiring sideways movements are not always a good choice. Particularly as the mileage builds up toward the end of the program, you raise your risk of injury if you choose to play a sport that requires sudden stopping and starting. One tip: You don't have to cross-train the same each weekend. And you could even combine two or more exercises: walking and easy jogging or swimming and riding an exercise bike in a health club. Cross-training for an hour on Sunday will help you recover after your Saturday long runs.

Strength Training: A frequently asked question is: "Should I add strength training to my marathon program?" If you have to ask, you probably should not. I strongly endorse strength training for maximum fitness and long life, but if you never have pumped iron before, now is probably not the time to start.

Rest: Despite my listing it at the end, rest is an important component of this or any training program. Scientists will tell you that it is during the rest period (the 24 to 72 hours between hard bouts of exercise) that the muscles actually regenerate and get stronger. Coaches also will tell you that you can't run hard unless you are well rested. And it is hard running (such as the long runs) that allows you to improve. If you're constantly fatigued, you will fail to reach your potential. This is why I include two days of rest each week for novice runners.

So, as I tweeted earlier...I am accepting support, motivation, inspiration, and adorable text messages now until November 3 when I complete the Indianapolis Monumental Full Marathon. 

Even better, mark your calendars and come cheer me on! :)

Much love,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Best Speech of My Life

"True love is finding the soul's counterpart in another."
To describe how happy I am for my sister and Will, I thought it would be perfect to share the speech I gave yesterday at the wedding reception.

So, here goes (and yes, I cried!!!):

Sarah, I hope you feel like the most beautiful girl the world…

because tonight, you truly are. 

I get goosebumps every time I see the way Will looks at you.

I am so happy for you both. 

I’ve known Sarah her entire life. I’m technically her older sister, but our relationship might prove otherwise. I will stick with 3 main examples that indicate how Sarah truly might be the older sister. So, our parents might have some explaining to do later…

Number One:
When we were about 4 and 5 years old, the neighbor girl pushed me down the stairs headfirst. I decided to cry my eyes out – per usual, and Sarah chased the girl the entire way home – screaming at her the whole way. From that moment on, Sarah never wasted a second defending me when someone hurt me or put me down.

Number Two: Growing up, I always turned to Sarah for advice about boys, fashion, and friends. I wanted Sarah’s input on everything.

Number Three:
When I was scared at night…usually fearing an alien invasion, evil ghosts, or a random tornado, I would crawl into bed with Sarah. I would wake her up and say, “Sarah – are you afraid? Do you want me to sleep with you?” She would never judge me or tell anyone about my fears, instead she would just scoot over and make room for me in her bed.

Now, I didn’t always appreciate Sarah as my “older sister.” I remember Grandma Kaye once telling us, “You’ll be best friends one day. I promise.”

But we both refused to believe her…we were simply different people.
  • We hated sharing a room together.
  • We hated sharing our birthday parties together.
  • And we hated sharing friends.

But looking back, those were the best days of my life. I’ll never forget:
  • Swimming at the city pool all day, even if we had softball games that night
  • Skipping school to play barbies together
  • Eating pizza and watching SNICK on Saturday nights
  • Riding our bikes all around Decatur, even though we told mom we would only go around the block - sorry mom...
  • And making ridiculous home movies
So, Grandma, you were right. Sarah is my best friend.

We had a blast growing up …because we had each other.

Sarah, I am so happy that you found someone to defend you when someone puts you down or makes you feel defeated. I can rest easy at night knowing you have someone to climb into bed with when you’re scared. And most importantly, I’m happy that you’ve found a new best friend to make you feel complete. 

Now to Will…

The first time I met Will I had a few drinks in me. That night, Sarah kept talking about this guy she met online. So by nature, I was a little nervous for her. Nothing against Will, but I just watch too much Investigation Discovery and Criminal Minds to be a normal person.

But once we pulled up, I looked over at Will and he looked pretty normal. I patted my sister on the back and said, “You’re good. Have fun.” I ended up meeting back up with Sarah and Will that evening because they picked me up from the bar. Once they walked in, I stood up and yelled, “Everyone here comes my sister and her soulmate, Will!” I just knew…

We spent the entire night:
  • Laughing
  • Eating chicken, bacon and ranch pizza
  • And prank calling my husband, who was not impressed with me that night.

I knew Will would either love me or think I was the craziest person in the world. Maybe both. But I honestly couldn’t pick out a better man for Sarah. As Justin said earlier during the wedding ceremony, I haven’t seen my sister this happy in years.

Will, you are a true gentleman- your mother did a great raising you! You put family first. You make my sister so incredibly happy – and when you don’t, I am sure she lets you know…it takes a lot to marry a Bedwell girl. Call Justin for advice if you ever need it. But I know you will be:
  • a wonderful husband to Sarah
  • a great father to Braxen and Landen
  • and amazing brother to me
We are so happy to welcome you and your family into ours.

So, let’s all raise our glasses and cheers to the beautiful and happy newlyweds.

Much love,

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My One Night Stand with Carla Jo

I was high and Carla was drunk when we had our one night stand.

Okay, let me clarify our situation.

I was on runners high...I had just completed a hilly, tough, hot half marathon the day before. Despite an injury and the tough course, I finished the race with all my heart. I felt very inspired and accomplished.

And Carla, well no excuses for her- she really was drunk off bloody marys and craft beer.

Meggie Dials had tweeted me earlier that morning..challenging me to do complete a full marathon within the next year.

Soon enough, Christi, Bri and a few other Perfect Strangers were cheering me on.

(Insert the song Under Pressure here)

A few hours later, I ran into Carla. Her friend Meghan, another Perfect Stranger, had sprinkled the idea of a full marathon in Carla's ear all day.

So by the time I met him up the crew to celebrate Josh Dial's amazing full marathon earlier that morning, Carla made the first move.

"Ashley, I've always wanted to do a full marathon before I turn 30," Carla said from across the table.

"And I've been thinking about doing 26 miles for my 26th birthday November!" I said.

"I turn 30 in December! Let's do this!" Carla said.

She whispered her pace across the table to me.

To my relief, we are around the same pace.

We would make a great team.

Not to mention, Carla is really fun.

It seemed to good to be true...a running partner - at the same pace as me - with the same goal - AND an extra bonus, I love Carla's fun personality and stories.

"Deal!" I said across the table. "Let's do it."

And then I tweeted about our new journey together to make it official and public.

The next morning, I woke up with a feeling of regret.

Maybe not regret...but definitely self-doubt.

Can I really do 26.2 miles? 

Can I really commit to the training? 

Can I really keep up with Carla?

Can I really stay injury free for ONE training program? 

These questions have haunted me for the past two months.

On Monday, Carla joked that she also woke up the next morning thinking, "What the heck did I just agree to!?"

So far, Carla and I have ran together about 4 times. I absolutely LOVE running with Carla, but this Tuesday was a hard run. It was hot. I was sore. I was mentally unavailable. The entire time, I found myself thinking, "Can I even do this? 4 miles seems so far...I can't imagine doing 22.2 more miles."

We ran with one of Carla's friends. The hot weather, lack of hydration and lack of mental strength got the best of me.

"Ash, if you need to take a break just let us know," Carla said when she heard me struggling.

"You guys just run ahead," I said. "I think I'm going to slow down."

I hated to walk, but I felt awful. I am training myself to get out of the habit of walking...and surprisingly we can the first 2 miles with only one 30 second (or so) walking break.

The last two miles, I probably took 3 more 30 second walking breaks. Carla and Lindsay finished about a minute ahead of me, but when I saw them finish I heard Carla yell for me, "FINISH STRONG ASH!"

I pushed my body forward and sprinted to the end of the road.

"Nice work, girl!" Carla said. 

I thanked them for keeping me positive and inspiring me to finish strong. Support and motivation from your friends and even strangers, is truly invaluable when your body and mind are weak. Heck, I love the inspiration even when I'm running at my best pace!

I would be lying if I said I was confident in my running, training and this full marathon in general.

I feel anxious and nervous and defeated at times.

Thankfully, just when I'm feeling deep in my self-doubt, Justin perks me up.

He encourages me to run when I'd rather drink wine on the couch.

He helps me eat healthy by cooking fresh meals at home (and now from our garden!!).

He reminds me that beyond anyone else, I am the one who needs to believe in myself.

And when he sees me spreading myself too thin (everyday), he encourages me to step back and make time for my goals (running a full marathon).

Today, I looked in the mirror and noticed a difference in my body.

"I am starting to feel like I look athletic," I said to Justin.

"That's because you are!" Justin said and put his arm around my shoulders. "You're killing it, Ash! That's why I tell you not to give a damn about the scale - because that number does not show how amazing you look!"

He gave me a kiss and said, "I am so proud of you!"

It's about time that I be proud of me too.

Tomorrow, I will run with confidence.

Tomorrow, I will run for me. 

Tomorrow, I will run and dream of crossing the finish line on November 3 after fighting through 26.2 miles.

Much love,

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Golf Clubs for My Birthday?

Golf gal in the making.
The last time Justin and I went to the golfing range, I BARELY made contact with the ball. 

That was two years ago.

Today, Justin went golfing with his dad- and Lisa and I tagged along for the golf cart ride.

At first, I was just drinking my vodka tonic and yelling random comments like the guy from the US Open.




But then, I started to pay attention to the game.

The detail.

The concentration.

The form.

The approach.

The strategy.

And soon enough, I wanted give this game of golf a try again!

Justin gave me some coaching with his driver, and I took a few practice swings.

Once I made contact with the ball, it felt amazing.

"Holy shit," Rodger said. "That's impressive." 

I hit the ball about 200 yards.

I was thrilled.

Justin and his dad let me play my ball all the way through the hole.

"Dang girl," Rodger said after I hit the ball for the second time with the 7 iron (maybe, that sounds familiar) and it got really close to the hole! "Looks like you might need some clubs for your birthday or anniversary."

I looked over and Justin was laughing.

"This is uneblievable!" Justin said. "Maybe I need to start taking you out after all!"

And when they turned around to drive away, Justin looked back with a giant smile and pointed at me.

I felt so proud.

I finished by using a wedge to plop my ball closer to the hole and then used the putter. Look - I'm even learning the terminology. 

Tiger Woods might have won the 74th PGA Tour today, but I won so much more: Confidence and encourage to take on a sport I know nothing about. 

Much love,