Home » Featured » I finished my 4 miler!! (and a goofy pre-race video…haha.)

I finished my 4 miler!! (and a goofy pre-race video…haha.)


Be sure to check out my review and GIVEAWAY of the FitBit Activity Tracker.  This little gadget collects data about your daily activities, such as exercise intensity levels, calories burned, sleep quality, steps and distance.  It does it all.  And cheers you on too!

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Remember my 4 mile race that I signed up for last weekend?


(Entering the race was motivated my this Inspiration to Fitness campaign I’ve been involved with.  And thank goodness for it, because the nudge to focus on my health has been so renewing this year.)



When I woke up Saturday morning, it was snowing, adding to the several inches that had already fallen during the night.  I was bummed.  I talked myself out of running my race that day, 8 times.  And then talked myself back into it, 8 times.  All I needed was a good excuse.  But, you know, I have really been trying hard to stick to this work-out (and take better care of myself) thing this year.   And let me tell you, I have messed up many, many times.  So I have had to have so many pep talks with myself about why I need to put myself first before something else that day.  Some days I listen to my pep talks and other times, well, the pep talk fails.


But, my “you better get out there and run your frozen butt off” pep talk worked Saturday morning.  Because I went.  And I drug my poor husband along (who was actually a bit sick) to take pictures.  Because if I was going to freeze, someone else needed to freeze with me.  (And the other racers didn’t count.  I didn’t know them.)


But wooo-weee, was I nervous!  I have run harder and longer races in the past……so what did I have to be nervous about?  However, now that I think about it, I was nervous for those races too.  And after arriving at the race location, I realized, it was good nervous.  You know, “first day of school” nervous.  Or “first date” nervous.  Or maybe “it’s time to start pushing out the baby” nervous.  My insides were jittery. 



You wanna see?



(And yes, when I’m nervous, my bladder is OUT. OF. CONTROL.)




 Finally, it was race time.


All the racers began gathering near the start line, and I kept fidgeting with my earphones.  Because my tunes are what keep me going.



Right before the race began, I was frantically getting my timer/counter/pacer app ready on my iphone. 

(It’s the bridge to 10k app that someone recommended to me weeks ago.  Love it!)  Eeeeeh, I almost forgot about it.



Once the race began, all the jitters flew right out of my belly.  My music was on, my legs started moving, and my body remembered the routine.  And I have to say, the beginning of the race is my very favorite.  Here I was, stuck in the middle of a herd of anxious runners, squirming to find their comfy place in the pack.  The adrenaline is unreal.  The shouting and squeals are encouraging.  There are well wishes heard from surrounding friends/family/spectators.  It’s exhilarating.  Some runners weave in and out, trying to reach the front, hoping to improve their time/pace.  Not me.  I scoot over and let as many pass me as need to.  My goal?  Just finish the race without stopping.


Steve (my husband) and I numbered certain points of the race, so he could drive ahead, find me, cheer me on, snap a few photos, etc.  So after about the first mile and a half, I got a call from Steve.  My earphones have a little button to push to answer the phone (which I use for my music too), and without much breath left to spare, I muttered a hello.  He told me he was at point #2.  And he told me good luck!  Awesome.  I picked up the pace just a bit.




I loved seeing him.  It made me forget about my frozen nose and numb toes.



After the first 2 miles, I feel like the pace had settled and I was surrounded by others who were most likely going to be running next to me for the rest of the race.  I found myself continually watching a husband and wife, each with their own dog, and their 10 (ish??) year old son.  The man and woman seemed to be skilled runners but were jogging a slow pace, so that their little boy could keep up.  They were so encouraging to him.  I was just flabbergasted that this little guy was running a 4 mile race.  When I was 10, I hated running.  And could barely run the 100-yard-dash on field day.  Ick.  (Oh wait, I still hate it.  Kind of.  It’s a love/hate thing, I guess.)  So, it was a great distraction to watch this mom and dad encourage their little boy.  They constantly prodded him with, “come on buddy, you’ve totally got this.”  And, “you see that guy taking pictures? He’s from the newspaper. Show him what you’ve got!”  (Ooops, that was just my husband.  Not the newspaper.)  The mom and dad would occasionally stop and jog in place to give him a breather and then he’d kick it in gear again.  I totally stole their encouragement for him and used it for myself too!


For the entire race, this little family was either just ahead of me or right behind me.  So yeah, I totally snapped a picture with my phone, just to remember this little running family.  They inspired me.



(And I didn’t even get embarrassed until later, that my slow running pace was the same as a stop-and-go 10 year old’s pace.  Because we finished the race about the same time.  Ha!)



By the time the end of the race neared, I realized the last 1/4 mile of the race was uphill.  And covered in bumpy snow clumps.  In case you were wondering, bumpy snow clumps are really hard to run on at the end of a race when you’re nice and tired.  (FYI, I cry-baby about anything other than super flat and smooth running surfaces.)  I just wanted to stop and walk for just a few seconds but………ack, my brain wouldn’t let me.  Because that wasn’t in the “plan”.  So 17 pep talks later, I kept running (probably at a slower-than-walking pace) and made it to the last stretch of the race. It’s funny, I don’t even remember people being around me.  So, to see this picture, confuses me.



Because all I remember is the snow.  And desperately looking for the finish line.  Oh, and I also remember that the stinkin’ bumpy snow under my feet was making me tired.



But don’t worry, this story has a good ending.  I finished the race.  I met my goal.  And I felt so good when I was done. 



4 mile race: 45 minutes 22 seconds


Not bad.  More like a walking pace for some……haha! 


And I should probably write a Thank You letter to the parents of that little 10 year old boy.  Because watching/listening to them kept me going.


Next up?  A 5k with friends in March.  Maybe a 10k in April?  I need to sign up for a few more so I don’t lose my steam. 


Running makes me happy.  Well, when I’m done.

. . . . .


Have you hit a plateau with your workouts?  Alysa offers some great tips to challenge your body and keep progressing.  I love her timing…..because I need to remembering that hitting a plateau is normal.



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Way to go- well done!

  2. megan b says:

    I had to comment after reading this because I kept pace with a mom and her two kids during a cold, snowy 5k a few years ago. It wasn’t my proudest running moment but it was better than not running at all!

  3. Zirtael says:

    So great! ;) I love running too. ;) I’m looking for some marathons in Poland. ;)

  4. Barny says:

    I love your posts on running. Those photos your hubby took are awesome :) thank you for sharing!

  5. Kelli says:

    Good for you! I just started running last April and am working toward a 10K now. I’ve never run a race, but I’ve convinced my sister (a VERY new runner) to run one with me. She just mentioned the color run in Orlando this December and my 7-yr-old wants to run it with us. After seeing about the 10-yr-old near you, I’m going to definitely let her do it with us!

  6. Sarah K. says:

    Congrats! I love to run, but I’ve never run a race in the snow! Brrr! Well done!

  7. Aonika says:

    Congratulations on your Finish! :) So proud of you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    O.K. so i don’t even know you, but I had to write you. YOU ROCK SISTER. I am triaing for my first 1/2 marathon and it is not going so well. I have done 2 5ks and 1 8k. I live in Mississippi and if you can do this in the snow I can do it in the nasty raining weather we are getting. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU….. :)

  9. Alison says:

    Congrats on going thru and finishing your 4-miler. A friend and I were discussing the weather and wondering if you would still be able to run.

    There is a beautiful 10K down in Colorado Springs in the summer you might consider.

    1. Melissa Yeats says:

      Hi Alison!

      I am in Colorado Springs, and I am just curious what 10k you are talking about? I have done the bolder Boulder, which was a blast, and a few 5k’s in town, but I would love to know about a beautiful 10k in town. Thanks!

  10. Donna @ ItalyHolidays says:

    I sincerely congratulate you on this race! Although I’ve been swimming for a couple of years now, and I’ve been a professional volleyball player, I couldn’t be seen running to save my life.

  11. alyson says:

    Good Job. I started running 3 years ago and you are already faster than I was when I started. Running in the snow and uphill also takes some skills. Just so you know even if you had walked it would have still counted, but good for you to keep going. Watch out though it might get addicting.

  12. Carol says:

    Congrats on finishing the race. I can relate to the bladder issues–happens to me too. I ran a 5K in Dec. and it started snowing heavily about half way through the race. Hard to run when it is icy and you have snow in your eyes! Keep running and writing about it. :)

  13. Jennifer says:

    Ashley!! I am so proud of you!!! I have a big grin on my face just reading all this!! Way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep us updated on your running! :0)

    – jen

  14. Marcie says:

    Hey there friend! I have so much I want to chat with you about and catch up but I guess for now I wills say, “Way to go!” We should do a 1/2 Marathon together one of these days

  15. michelle says:

    care to share your running playlist? I am always looking for new songs!!!

  16. clmosher says:

    GREAT JOB! I’ve convinced my husband to sign up for a 10k with me that’s on St Patty’s day. I ran my first 5k the weekend before T-Giving! Keep up the good work… and when you get around to it, the great posts! This is seriously my favorite “how to” site!

  17. sarah says:

    i think this is my favorite of all your running posts, and that we likely share a love-to-hate-it relationship with the sport. congratulations on your race finish!

  18. Marie says:

    Congrats! I just started running again about 5 months ago. Crazy thing is I was in the Marines and hated to run, now I love it. Awesome job!

  19. colleen says:

    Congrats! Your blog posts about about “not” being a runner have inspired me to get out there and move. I ran/walked for 20 minutes today following along to the Couch to 5K program. Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. Desiree says:

    Good for you Ashley!! I can’t wait for the one in March too, I am going to need A LOT of pep talking!

  21. Laura D says:

    Congratulations! I’ve never actually run a race, but I did fast walk/jog the bolder Boulder race about 5 years ago. I need to work up to that again! Won’t be this year as we are moving back to CO right after Memorial Day. (Been in VA for 5 years for my husband to attend seminary.) Hopefully I’ll be able to do it next year though.
    P.S. I loved seeing picks of my hometown. Although I’m a “weather wimp” now and they made me really cold. =)
    Oh, and thanks for the tips about U-boxes when you moved from Georgia to CO. We are going to use that method too!

  22. Brandi says:

    Good job girl! I’m a runner myself and running in the snow takes some dedication!!

  23. Smriti says:

    Wow!! Congratulations to you! You did an awesome job running in that snow – I can never even dream of doing that! Your endeavour is so inspiring!!

  24. Jenn says:

    I’ve been so inspired by you! Not just your running posts, but your sewing posts as well :) My New Year’s resolution was to get back into running again after having a baby (3 yrs ago ha!). You are very encouraging for me, so thank you. By the way, I totally teared up reading about the running family – how great are those parents??!!!
    I’ve signed up for a 5k in April and am planning on doing a 10k in May with my sister. Thanks for all your inspiration!

  25. Christine says:


  26. Nicki says:

    Good job! If I had woken up and seen snow, I totally would have gone back to bed. Your video was hilarious.

  27. Emily says:

    Yay! I was wondering when we’d see this post, I remembered you signed up. Good for you. Just so you know you’ve encouraged me to sign up for my first race! There’s a 5k through the historic part of Toledo Oh where the symphony orchestra plays along the route. In their words “from the porches of the mansions”! Now I just need to get my former runner husband to sign up too, not that I’m likely to see him, he’ll probably be napping at the finish when I get there :/

  28. Angela says:

    Congrats!! What an awesome goal to be able to accomplish and in the SNOW! Can’t say we’ve seen any of that yet…snow that is. NC has hit a massive heat way for January/February odd for this time of year! Congrats! LOVE your blog and all your creative ideas – I forward them all to my talented sister in law who sews, but I did take you up on on the paper doll magnet idea! LOVED that and so did my niece!

  29. Kelly says:

    Congrats! I’m a power walker but I can only get 3 miles in 45 minutes, so give yourself a little more credit!

  30. Phoebe says:

    Congrats on your 4 mile run! I definitely would have talked myself out of that one when I saw the snow. Great job!

  31. Amy S says:

    Congratulations! Running in cold, snowy weather is not fun. I live in MI…and it is so hard to get out there in the winter. Looking forward to reading about your future races! You can do it!!!

    1. Emily says:

      I hear you on Michigan! Though, we’ve been almost snow free down here by the borde this year.

  32. Katie says:

    Awesome! Way to go! You completed more miles than most Americans ever will. As a runner I can tell you, we all have to start somewhere! Definitely sign up for those next 2 races! You can only get better!!

  33. jamieS says:

    I love this post, congratulations on your achievement! PS… The scenery is absolutely gorgeous!

  34. Danielle D. says:

    Congrats on finishing! Especially in that weather!

  35. Natalie says:

    ROCK ON!!! Running is so great…when you’re done! Hahaha! I totally agree. :) But as they say, the only run you regret doing is the one you don’t. What songs do you have on your running list? I need some good ones!

  36. Rachel says:

    Wow, way to go! This post made me tear up! And I’m not in an overly emotional state (like being pregnant or something. Lol). I think it’s great that you’re meeting your goals, even when you don’t really feel like it. And that’s so sweet about that family cheering on their boy. Don’t you just love that post workout feeling? I go to the gym and every time after my workout, I can’t get enough of that feeling. Keep up your hard work! :)

  37. nicole says:

    that’s awesome! Way to go!
    I have no idea how your ears wouldn’t be frozen! Ears and toes are my thing to keep warm, I can handle cold fingers, but not ears and toes!
    I started to have running goals this year! I ran a 10k in January, and running a half in April.
    If you can do a 4 mile, you should be able to meet a 10k goal. 5ks will be too easy for you! ;)

  38. mandy says:

    I find any excuse not to get up in the morning and run… but after seeing that you did this race I feel rather silly for not getting up when it is just partly cloudy or there is a light mist / rain.

  39. Melissa says:

    GOOD JOB ASH!!! You are AWESOME!! keep it up! Maybe next year, you can come do a half marathon with me! I would love a running buddy!

  40. Shary says:

    I love your blog. So very much. I just started running, did day 2 of the couch to 5k last night. I love that you’re so serious about it, but at the same time totally laid back about your own pace and style. (I actually came here for the tutorials originally, but the rest of the stuff makes me even more excited to see posts from you!)

    Music is a big part of my life, and I feel that it’d be a necessary part of my new running thing. I have a problem though: I’ve tried two pairs of earbuds and they both fall out when I run! Am I running wrong (too much bounce? I don’t know) or do you think my ears are just weird? Do you have any pro tips? I’m so sad…

    1. Kara says:

      Congrats on the running! You can totally do it – just takes a little dedication and motivation! Ashley’s dedication is definitely inspiring. Re: earbuds – I hate earbuds – they are always falling out of my ears too. However, there are alternative options for headphones. I personally like the ones that sit inside your ear, but have a part that hooks over your ear also (to keep them in place). I have seen them at various places, but you kind of have to look hard b/c the earbuds are all over! (Try Wal-mart, Walgreens or maybe Best Buy) Here’s a link so you can see what I am talking about:

      I just had to reply, because I cannot ever, ever imagine running without music. In fact, not being able to find my headphones has stopped me from running several times!!
      Best of luck, and happy running.

    2. Shary says:

      Thanks so much! I remember these but totally forgot about them because the tiny ear buds are so popular. And for a while I was thinking I’d have to run with my big clunky computer headset. Haha. Thanks again!

  41. Abby says:

    Awesome! So proud of you!! You can do the race with us at the end of May :)

  42. Krystal says:

    Congratulations! Those cold, snowy conditions would give anyone pause. I’m so glad you hear you stuck with it and finished. You should be proud!

  43. Lynette says:

    I loved the video, it made me laugh! Especially when you said, “have to go to the bathroom! bye!” Ya, when I’m nervous my bladder goes crazy too! Way to go for meeting your goal and finishing—even in the snow! Go you!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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