I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to feature this week’s inspiration! Our lives crossed paths last year when I decided to run my first ultra marathon. I had no clue what I was doing, or where to start, and I pretty much said all that to my friend, Wendy. Because they are both extremely kind, I’ll never know if she made her husband, or if he volunteered, but the next thing I knew, I had a running coach willing to train me for my first 50 mile race.
I’ve enjoyed watching Ashby’s running journey from afar, as he recently completed a race that most wouldn’t even dream of trying: Leadville 100. If you love running, you’ll want to head over to Transcend Endurance where he shares his running experiences. Ashby has been a patient, knowledgeable, and positive coach for me. He’s gotten me across two ultra-marathon finish lines and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to others looking for a coach to take them to the next level in their running.
My Fit Family: Tell us a little about yourself.
Ashby: I am a 40 something husband and father of an eight year old daughter and ten year old son. As far as hobbies go, running is pretty much it. If I’m not running, or thinking about running, I’m writing about or coaching other runners. I was active from an early age and started running when I was 9 years old and saw Chariots of Fire. From that moment on, I was a runner. I have always enjoyed being outdoors and being active. It is one of the main reasons that I became a police officer after graduating from undergrad. It allowed me to be physically active and outside almost all day. Two things I loved. In 2000 I made a career change and slipped into a more sedentary lifestyle. I quickly gained weight and got out of shape.
MFF: Have you always lived a fit/healthy lifestyle?
Ashby: In late 2002 I was sitting on the sofa watching television, as had become my habit when the NBC coverage of the Hawaii Ironman came on. I was immediately sucked in and knew I had to make a change. I knew I had to become active again. In 2003 I signed up for a half marathon, a triathlon and the Chicago Marathon. I spent most of the next year running, riding and learning how to swim with my face in the water. (Prior to that I was the king of the dog paddle, but not much more.) I finished all three races, although they were all ugly, and I was hooked. Since that time I have run over 20 marathons, a dozen ultramarathons, two iron distance triathlons and a ton of shorter races.
Leadville 2014 Finisher
MFF: What does a typical workout look like for you?
Ashby: These days I focus my efforts on running. I usually run 5 days a week. Distances and intensity vary depending on what race I am getting ready for and where I am in my training cycle. In addition to running, I do about an hour of strength training three days a week and will ride the bike once or twice a week. In order to get ready for a 100 mile race I will do lots of long runs on the weekends, but have found that speed work during the week is just as important as the long slow days.
MFF: How do you make the time to train?
Ashby: My wife is an athlete too so we work together to make sure we get our workouts done. We make time to support each other and our goals. I take care of the kids and the house while she works out and she does the same for me. On occasion, we actually get to work out together, which is always a nice treat.
MFF: What is your favorite physical activity?
Ashby: Running is my favorite activity because of its simplicity. You don’t need a lot of equipment, just the desire to step out the door and go. It also allows me to explore and see places that I wouldn’t be able to get to by walking or riding a bike.
MFF: We love talking food! Give us an example of your typical daily nutrition and of course we want to hear about indulgences!
Ashby: I used to eat crap all the time. I had the diet of a 14 year old boy. A little over a year ago, I completely changed my diet. I gave up regular soda, fried food and fast food. I now eat six or seven small meals a day. I work on trying to get a good balance of macro nutrients in each meal. One of my favorite healthy snacks is low fat blueberryGreek yogurt, with granola and some almonds. As far as indulgences go I have a terrible sweet tooth and love sweet tarts. I eat those more than I’m proud to admit. We also have family pizza night once a week.
MFF: Who inspires you?
Ashby: I don’t have one particular person who inspires me. Instead I am moved, sometimes to tears, by stories an regular people who decide to make a huge life change. Hearing stories of personal struggle and triumph, whether it is losing a lot of weight,or getting off the sofa and accomplishing a goal always makes me want to hit the gym. That is one of the main reasons I decided to start coaching athletes. Helping someone make a life change, feel better about themselves or accomplish that long held goal is incredibly inspiring and rewarding and I love having a front row seat to that show.
MFF: What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning their health/fitness journey?
Ashby: The advice I would give anyone just starting out is not to listen to anyone who says you can’t do it, including yourself. We all are capable of accomplishing more than we can possibly imagine. If you truly believe and are willing to do the work, there are no limits to what you can accomplish. The only limits we have in this world are the ones we put on ourselves.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Ashby!
If you want to connect with Ashby, you can find him at Transcend Endurance.
Never Give Up,