Interview with a Runner

This week's runner is Ashley Combs. Ashley hails from sunny Florida. She works as a real estate development consultant - that is, when she is not traveling or running! She and Meghan trained together to qualify for Boston and then ran it together in 2008. Some of Meghan's fondest running memories are with Ashley and getting up at 3:30am to run 20 miles before the Florida heat set in.

When did you start running and why?
I started running when I was in college and the freshman 15 found me. I grew up a competitive swimmer, softball player and golfer - not sports that were sustainable as a college student. Running allowed me to get back in shape and gave me new challenges to achieve.

What is your favorite running route? Why?
My favorite running route is a peaceful route along a dirt road in the North George Mountains. My family has a vacation home up there on the Taccoa River and it is truly the most peaceful place in the world. And the mountains provide quite a challenge as well!!

Favorite post-run meal?
On my daily runs, I enjoy a protein shake with frozen banana and blueberries but after a loooong run, it has to be an omelet and a huge cup of coffee (I obviously run in the mornings!). I particularly enjoy thinking about that post long run meal at about mile 15!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don't run so many miles!! I went through a time when I was running a few marathons a year and kept getting injured (and running anyway). By reducing my miles and make them count, I have remained injury-free for over a year now. That and the old adage "listen to your body"...there is some truth behind that!

Are you running for fun or sport? 
I run mostly for fun but do enjoy racing and beating my own goals. I find running a form of therapy...I can think out any issue, problem or stress in my life - even what I am going to wear for the day, haha!

Who inspires you to run?
Although I have not seen her in years, I attribute the beginning of my love for running to my college friend, Nicole Goodman. Nicole encouraged me to run my first competitive 5K in Tallahassee (go Noles!). It was a point to point race and I remember observing the college runners adding on by running back to the start -in effect completing a 10K - and exclaiming how crazy I thought it that they were running 6.2 miles!! It seemed so far to me at the time. Now that is a normal Tuesday morning training run for me! Ha!

Who would you love to run with and why?
I would love to go for a run with my grandfather that I never met. I find a run the best way to catch up with a friend or to bond with a new one and I have so many questions for my father's father!

Favorite way to sweat other than run?
I still enjoy swimming as my second favorite cardio sport but I often find myself in yoga classes, barre fitness classes and a crossfit-style bootcamp (sans the Olympic weight lifting!).