Sunday, September 30, 2012

You Run Because You Can

One of my best friends (Ann) and Justin had a stress intervention with me on Thursday.

"What, you think I'm stressed!?" I asked.

"THINK?" Ann said. "Um, yes- you're absolutely stressed out.You are stressed right now. Just sitting here."

I looked at Justin, hoping he would have a different answer.

He didn't. He agreed with Ann. 

"I don't feel stressed all the time..." I said. "I mean, I feel busy a lot."

"You worry a lot, Ash" Justin said. "Maybe it's not stress as much as worry and anxiety."

"You're always on the go," Ann said. "You just need to slow down."

Slow down.

That's an interesting concept. Justin and I literally do not have a free weekend until November 19th. And soon after that will be Thanksgiving followed by Christmas.

I sighed. 

"Okay, you're right," I admitted. "I'm stressed. I'm spread thin. I'm exhausted. I'm sick of coming home at nine pm most nights. I'm tired of never having a weekend to just relax. I'll work on being less stressed."

But what does "less stressed" really mean?

For starters, it means saying "NO."

I can't be everything, to everyone, all of the time.

It also means learning to live in the moment. 

And stop worrying.

"We need to go on a hippy camping trip," Ann said. "Just us and nature."

"I don't think I've ever wished for a trip like that," I said while starring out the window into the woods. "But maybe you're right. Maybe I need to enjoy nature more often..."

The changing leaves were beautiful...and until that moment, I didn't even take the time to notice the beautiful, new colors.


Usually when I go for run, my mind is racing. I'm planning my daily "to-do" list or making mental notes of projects to do or people to call.

I've got TONS of things to do today. Projects, blogs, work emails to catch up on from being out on PTO, laundry, DJ playlists, DJ timelines, etc.

But today, I put the to-do lists away.

I laced up my shoes and looked down at Bandit, who was eager to get moving.

Stretching before our long run.

I closed my eyes.

"All you need to do is run, Ash," I whispered to myself. "Don't worry about anything else except for putting one foot in front of the other. Just run."

And with that, I took off for our (stress free) 8 mile run.


When I was half a mile from home, I began talking to myself. I didn't give a darn who heard me.

And let's be real, I am not a quiet person- so you KNOW people heard me.

"You're doing great!"

"Don't stop!"

"You're almost there!"

My body was hurting.

I wanted to stop.

But I didn't.

Instead, I turned into my own personal cheerleader. 

"You run because you can!!"

"You run because you can" has become my running motto lately. I think of all the people who can't run due to physical or mental challenges, and I remind myself that I shouldn't stop. Because some people can't even begin...

When we got closer, I wanted to cry. I was so proud of myself. I started out doing timed intervals, but eventually I just said "screw it" and ran until I needed just a quick break.

We stopped twice to stretch and went into two different places in search of water (without luck). The burrito shop was closed and Domino's didn't have cups. What restaurant doesn't have cups?! I was so desperate I almost asked for a soup for me and one for Bandit.

We ran up to the driveway, and I went straight for the fridge to chug a bottle of water.

Bandit ran past me to his water bowl.

"How far did you go?" Justin asked.

"To the shoe store and back," I said barely breathing. "So, 8 miles."

"I don't think that's 8 miles," he said.

"WHAT!?" I said.

I looked down at my watch (my phone was dead... so for once in my life, I didn't have my phone attached to my hip).

He was right.

There is no way I ran 8 miles in 80 minutes.

A big smile BEFORE I realized I only went 6 miles instead of 8.

"Dangggg it!" I said.

I did not want to run again.

At all.

The sun was hot and my feet were hurting.

And I think my right butt cheek had lost feeling (I know, so random- just the right one...)

"Well, looks like I'm going out for another two miles."

And so, Bandit and I ran again.

Because we can.

By the time I was finished, I felt so accomplished.

I didn't go super fast, but I'm around the pace I need to finish my half marathon around 2:45 (goal finish time). 

Finally, a good long run.

And best of all, I didn't let the stresses and worries of the day slow down my run!

Okay, I lied...the best part was coming home from my long run and shoveling food in my mouth!

I have no words for how amazing this tasted post-8 miles.
I may or may not have eaten some cheesy potatoes too....(worth it)!

Much love,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Don't Be Afraid to Fail

My friend Megan emailed me last night. My heart filled with happiness knowing that she took the time to think of me...and wanted to make me feel better. In fact, the response from everyone yesterday was so amazing and overwhelming....

I can't even tell you how many times I've read each of these comments.
I'm so blessed to call each and every one of you a friend.

Here is what Megan said in her email:

Hi Ashley,

This is what is on our fridge and I need to read it all the time...

Don't Be Afraid to Fail

You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember.

You fell down the first time you tried to walk.

You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you?

Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat?

Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.

R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.

English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.

Don’t worry about failure.

Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.

I cried - because that's what I do best with people inspire and motivate me. And then I thanked her for the kind email, which came at the most perfect timing.

Worrying about failure is a huge fault of mine. Even though it took years to see it and even more years to admit it, I'm a perfectionist.  I like need everything not just accurate and correct on the first try- but PERFECT on the first try.

But life isn't always perfect....

I am not always perfect...

And failing is simply part of life.

Because failure teaches you lessons. 

Failure helps you appreciate the journey, not just the destination.

Failing at something makes you stronger and wiser.

And as I think about my blog post yesterday, running a half marathon instead of a full marathon is not a failure. Not even close. But next time when I start to train for a full marathon, I won't be afraid of failing. And most importantly:

I won't let failure win.  

And this message doesn't just apply to running my half marathon in November. It applies to everything. And probably something you're experiencing right now too...Work, school, health, marriage, friendships, financials, goals, dreams - whatever you're going through...just think of this blog post. 

Don't worry about failure.  

Don't worry about anything.

Just believe in yourself, focus on the journey, and give it everything you have to come out on top!

Much love,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Scale Wars

A reminder for today.

For every single day.

Much love,

The Decision

I've been trying to write this blog post for nearly a week. I made my decision last week. And here is why:

Monday, September 10:

The scale said 224 lbs.

I closed my eyes and tears quickly filled them.

I was hoping if my eyes were closed, the tears would stay inside.

But that's the problem...I've been keeping too much worry and fear inside.

And the number on the scale proves it.

What happened?

Why did you let yourself go?

Why didn't you catch yourself earlier?

I walked downstairs after I fixed my smeared make-up.

"I've gained some weight," I said to Justin.

He looked up at me from my computer.

"I'm going to lock that scale in the gun safe," Justin said. "Or bury it in the backyard."

I smiled. I knew he was trying to cheer me remind me that a number doesn't determine WHO I am. But, easier said than done.

"Please don't," I finally said. "But I've got to do something, especially after everything that happened with Uncle Jerry today."

My Uncle Jerry was admitted into the hospital last week for chest pain. Today (September 20th) he is having a quad bypass survey. He'll turn 47 years old tomorrow. The same age that my Uncle LJ was when he passed away from a heart attack in June.

"Listen, I don't care if you run 26 miles or 2 miles, Ashley," Justin said. "I care that you're healthy. I care that you don't have a heart attack or diabetes in your 40s. I care that I grow old you with you."

I sat there and didn't know how to respond, but Justin was right.

He was absolutely right.

"You're so afraid that you'll fail at this race that you've just let everything start to slow down," Justin said. "You aren't going to the gym as much and you aren't eating as healthy as you used to. And it's because you're afraid."

Right again.

"I am afraid," I said. "I am not prepared for this race because I've missed a few too many long runs. I could work harder to make the time, but I feel like I don't have the time. I feel like I am spread so thin..."

"Well that's because you're out trying to save the world every night," Justin said. "Which is what I love about you the most, but you do need to make time for you."

I need to make time for me.

I need to make time for marathon training.

But I haven't made time for either...

And I'm afraid now I don't have the time to play "catch up."

So, I've made the decision that I'm doing the half marathon on November 3, 2012.

Deciding to NOT do the full marathon was an extremely hard decision. I hate committing to something and then backing down.

But, I'm simply not prepared.

I'm not ready.

And I want my first full marathon to be an amazing experience. I want to be prepared. I want to be well-trained. I want to cross the finish line in one piece.

"I'll still do the half-marathon," I told Justin. "And I'm going to get my PR finally!"


I've aimed for this number every single time.

And I'll hit this finishing time on November 3.

Or do better.

In the meantime, I'm making big efforts to clear my "plate."

We are retiring from DJing. Being a wedding DJ is so much extra stress, time, travel, and planning.

I'm also cutting back on my extra curricular activities. 

I am slowly, very slowly, learning how to say "NO."

And while saying "NO" to the full marathon this Fall was a huge and hard decision, I believe that it's the right decision.

More importantly, I believe in my heart that I'll have an amazing half marathon experience, which will give me the courage and strength to pursue a full marathon very soon.

Scale update: I'm back down to 214!! Maybe all that stress and worry really was weighing me down...

Much love,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Most Colorful Run

I'm typing this blog post with blue stained fingers.


Color Me Rad 5K - that's why.

When I woke up this morning, my only mission was to HAVE FUN!

No pace goal.

No finishing time goal.

No interval plan.

Just run.

And get blasted with color.

White T.
Side ponytail.
Let's go.
 I woke up early. I am NOT a morning person, so on race days I woke up especially early so I'm not "living dead girl" at the start line.

Usually, I eat a healthy pre-race meal (toast or a bagel with peanut butter and a banana), but today I knew my only mission was to have fun...and we have zero food at the house, so I stopped by McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin. I was hoping I wouldn't regret that decision later (thankfully, I didn't).

When I was about one mile away from the State Fairgrounds (the parking and race area), traffic was at a stand still. I looked at the clock.

8:18 am.

Okay, I have plenty of time.

Around 8:47 am, I only moved about 200 feet. I was supposed to meet my co-worker, Emily, at 8:45 am near the start line.

Obviously, that wasn't going to happen....I was getting extremely nervous that I would miss my start time.

I text my friend Meggie (I saw on Twitter that she already arrived at the race), and asked if she parked at the State Fairgrounds. I was hoping she would reply and saw she found a secret (free) parking lot.

She replied back and said, "Yes- start passing people and jump in at a later start time."

Even though part of me just wanted to give up and go home, I knew Meggie was right. I need to suck it up and run during a later wave. 

Around 9:05, I pulled into the parking lot. I saw a bunch of people in white shirts running to the start line, so I followed them. As I was heading toward the start line, I heard people screaming. I thought of my friend Jenny, who was starting at the 9:05 wave. As I got closer, I didn't waste any time jumping in another "wave" of runners. The group of friends in front of me had a ton of color packets. They were throwing color all over the place. I was happy when one of them turned around and splashed me with some color.

I'll be fine.

I'll have fun.

After all, that is my only goal! 

By 9:15 am, I was off for my first completely solo race.

About to run into a cloud of pink!!

A lot of people were walking, so I was running on sidewalks and "off road" to pass people.

Passing people was an interesting concept because usually people are passing ME!

At times, I was jealous I didn't have friends with me to stop and take fun pictures. I tried to easedrop in a few conversations to pass the time. One girl was giving advice to her friend about half marathon training. I smiled and found myself agreeing with most of the things she said.

Color Me Rad isn't a timed race and you don't have mile markers...and because my iPhone was tucked away in my bra...I had no clue what my pace or mileage was...I had a feeling I was going fast, but a lot of people were stopping and waiting for the color clouds to blast them. The water line was also a hardstop.

But I tried to make up for it by running as much as I could!

At one point, I found one of the professional photographers. He wasn't taking pictures, so I looked right at him and said, "HEY! Take a picture of me!!"

In true Ashley Sieb fashion, I jumped into the air only to come falling down on my butt.

When am I going to learn my lesson and stop jumping in the air for pictures?

Thankfully, the only thing injured was my pride. I heard a few people chuckle behind me.

For a split second, I pictured people whispering, "Who is this awkward chubby girl running by herself and falling all over the place?"

Who cares what people think, I reminded myself. I stood up and struck a final diva pose (just wait until you see these pictures, people- they will be great), and then I took off running again!

I ended up running most of the final mile. I later learned that my last mile was a 10:22 pace! AMAZING! 

The finish line.
The finish line was a COLOR explosion. Everyone was given a color packet and the color cloud was really thick! I had NO clue where I was going...I saw a few people rolling around on the ground like drunken hippies and I saw one mom get completely blasted in the face with color. I sneaked on through the finish line without a direct shot in the face or tripping over anyone...but when I snapped a picture of myself at the finish line...I realized I had a blue mustache!

Hey yo!
When I looked at my final time, I was blown away!

A personal best!!!!
When I got home, I quickly stripped down- realizing I had color ALL over my body (not just my clothes).

Overall, I had an amazing time during the race. The volunteers were a blast and the fellow runners kept me entertained along the way! My only wish is that I could have done the race with some of my friends.

So, who is signing up with me next year!? :)

Much love,