This past October I get to meet volée rockstar, Ashley Evans. I had just finished Chicago and was barely moving through the post race 'chute' when I looked back to see Ashley putting me to shame with her post race walking skills. She had run her first marathon in 2:48:49! We hobbled through the rest of the chute together chatting and attempting to enjoy that post race beer. I have a feeling we are going to see amazing things from Ms. Evans this year and she's a runner to follow. I interviewed her via email last week, listen in and get to know Ashley Evans. So you can say you knew her back when...
Mac: Chicago was your first marathon, have you always known you'd gun for the 26.2?
Ashley: I always thought it was crazy to run a marathon. When I started collegiate cross country at 19 years old I made a promise to myself to run a marathon at age 27. Twenty Seven is my lucky number and I thought I would be good time in my life to endure a marathon. I signed a contract to myself at 19 years old to not run a marathon until then.
What was your preparation like for Chicago?
My preparation for Chicago was the hardest running training I have gone through so far. The long sixteen mile runs and the surprise track workouts where tough. Every time I stepped out on the track I learned something new about my soul and inner and outer strength.
You had a very strong debut, were you expecting to run under 2:50?
My coach expected me to finish at 2:47 and I did not believe I could even break 3:00. I was just trying to finish strong and hard and not burn out. I crossed the finish line shocked and amazed that I was still standing.
Looking back at your first tango with the 26.2, was there anything that surprised you about the distance?
I was surprised how much fun it was running a marathon and the excitement from the crowd in Chicago was amazing and powerful.
What would tell yourself if you could go back in time and give yourself advice before the marathon?
I would tell myself to not get so stressed about the marathon process and realize that all your training is part of the journey and to enjoy it.
I was lucky enough to run into you in the finishing chute, you looked great! How did the rest of your recovery go?
Oh my, I just wanted to sit down on the sidewalk by the pretty fountain along the finish line and soak up the sun. I was so excited to finish but then I hobbled back to the hotel because everybody told me the importance of walking after a marathon.
How long did you take off?
I took a week off of running. I was ready to start running again and training for Houston after that week.
I see you're already back in the saddle, racing 13.1 on 1/19/14. How did the ramp up go after Chicago?
It took me some time to get back into the perspective and goals I had set in the summer of 2013 starting with the Chicago Marathon and Houston as well. I thought it would be fun to see Texas for the first time through a race.
What are your goals in Houston?
My goals are to be determined, just taking it one race at a time.
What about 2014, what does that look like for you? I'm imagining another marathon is on the horizon somewhere.
Possibly Chicago Marathon again in the Fall of 2014 but will not run another marathon till the fall. I am still planning out 2014 but will run a lot of half marathons, track, and some off road trail races.
I read somewhere that you love a good concert. What's the last great show you saw?
I love music so much! In the Fall Nashville has a free concert series called Live on the Green. I saw two bands called Local Natives and Moon Taxi and they where awesome!
Who's on your concert bucket list?
I would love to see Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver, Lorde, Junip, alt- J, and Imagine Dragons.