"When I found ultras, I threw the clock away. It became joyful again."
~ Ashley Ream
Today I'm really excited to introduce you to author and Ultramarathoner, Ashley Ream. Typically, for these RUNNERSWHOROCK profiles, I like to take some time up front to introduce you to the subject and tell you more about their life and how they rock. But, for this one, I'm going to mix it up. Because, honestly, Ashley does it so much better than I ever could. In her own words she shares why she runs, how she got into Ultras and then tells us one of the most incredible running-related stories I've heard to date. So, I'm going to go ahead and let her speak for herself here and then you can read more about her in the RWR interview below. Smart, tough, determined, and insanely talented...meet Ashley, a RUNNER WHO ROCKS.
ON RUNNING & RACING:
I didn't start running until I was in my early twenties and signed up for a 5K before I could run a mile. By the time I crossed that first finish line, I was hooked. 5K turned into 10K turned into a half marathon turned into a marathon turned in ultras within a couple of years. When I first started running I cared a lot about being fast. I trained for speed, and it worked. For a little while, I was fast. I was also getting hurt a lot and losing the joy of running. It became all about the clock. When I found ultras, I threw the clock away. It became joyful again. Now my goals are all about longevity. I want to be doing this when I'm in my 80s. My next ultra will be this fall. I'm doing the Ft. Steilacoom 50K in October.
HER STORY ON INJURY & INSPIRATION:
Halfway through a 50-miler, I broke my pelvis, didn't realize it and finished the race anyway. I was in terrible pain for a month before going to the doctor and getting x-rays. That and other similar experiences is what informed the chronic pain experienced by the character of Dr. Rachel Bell in the new book. In order to recover from that injury, I was forbidden any weight-bearing exercise for six months. You can't take someone who just ran 50 miles and put them on a couch. I would've lost my mind. All I could do until my pelvis healed was swim, except I didn't really know how. I could do something best described as "not drowning for brief periods of time," but that was not going to get me a full length of any pool. So I went to the local Y and asked for private lessons. They found me a young woman who was on the UCLA water polo team. Three lessons in she had me doing laps. Because that was all I was allowed to do, I did it for hours. Stroke, stroke, breathe, stroke, stroke, breathe. I'd show up well before sunrise when the pool was nearly empty. It was dark and quiet. There is no scenery in the pool like you get running. I didn't have my music to distract me. It was me and the water, and that is where much of Tilda's character comes from. That running injury was responsible for a lot of this book.
Ashley's novel, The 100 Year Miracle, is available for purchase today, May 24th. Head down to your local bookstore and grab yourself a copy.
Where you're from: Kansas City
Where you reside now: Seattle
RUNNING & MUSIC
What do you love most about running?
The community of incredible, welcoming female athletes it has connected me to and the way it has struck the word “impossible” from my vocabulary.
What do you love most about music?
Escapism, poetry and its ability to power me through the tough miles.
Band: (current, all time or both) R.E.M.
Album: (current, all time or both) Currently, Mark Knopfler’s Shangri-la.
All time? Maybe Nirvana’s Nevermind
Race venue: Sierra National Forest for the Shadow of the Giants 50K
Music venue The Echo in L.A. and Red’s in Clarksdale, MS
Race distance: 50K
Show you've seen live: Joan Osborne touring for How Sweet It Is
Ice cream flavor: Chocolate peanut butter cup
THIS OR THAT:
Sweet or salty? Sweet
Live or recorded? Recorded
Coffee or tea? This is Seattle. Cappuccino.
Summer or winter? Fall
MORE MUSIC INFO:
Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could? Alabama Shakes
Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could? Prince
Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could? Questlove
Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? Scissor Sisters
Today, I feel like(complete the sentence)....if only there were three of me all of this could get done. No problem.
Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both?
I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor by Arctic Monkeys
Crazy by Gnarls Barkley
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall
Shut Up and Drive by Rihanna
Sandstorm by Tunnel Alliance
Last 5 Songs you listened to today?
Always Alright by Alabama Shakes
Laid by James
Smart Man by Amy McCarley
Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim
Take Your Mama by Scissor Sisters
About THE 100 YEAR MIRACLE:
Once a century, tiny bioluminescent sea creatures light up the bay around a small Washington island for just six days. Dr.Rachel Bell arrives on the island as part of a team researching this once-in-a-lifetime event, but she's also got a personal mission: to find out if the small arthropods truly offer the powerful pain relieving effects of native myths and folklore, and to finally end the chronic pain she's been silently suffering most her life. If Rachel really wants to learn the truth about the 100 year miracle, she must contend with forces desperate to keep the island's secrets before the waters go dark for another 100 years.
Listen to this:
Always Alright - Alabama Shakes