Ashlee Homan

Describe your experience with the Equinox.  Have you participated in the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra?  How many times?

My first time, I ran the relay (the 2nd leg up Ester Dome) and that was in ’08, and then I had an injury in ’09.  I ran the whole thing for the first time last year.  This year, I plan to do the ultra.

When do you start training for this race?  How much of the course itself do you incorporate into your training?  How often do you incorporate the Dome into your training?

This is the second season that I’ve actually trained, and I started training because I ran this marathon and it was really inspiring.  I run the Dome and the trail as much as humanly possible every week, and ski the trails in the winter.  My theory is the more times I get up the Dome, the easier it will be, but I just don’t know if that’s true!

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Hills, hills, hills!  And this season because of the ultra, I’ve put more miles on my legs than in my entire lifetime.  I’ve done a 40 miler – ran the Chilkoot and couldn’t get picked up on the highway, so had to run to the Canadian border… that was kind of interesting.  I’ve done maybe eight 20 mile runs, and I just ran a marathon two weeks ago.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

I love the people. Everyone on the course is so friendly and encouraging.  It’s hard to feel discouraged at any point.  

What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?

The end is the best part!  I like when you get done with the out and back because you’ve got the chute, and at the bottom of the chute there’s these beautiful birch trees.  It puts a smile on my face every time.

Ester Dome – I should just make peace with it.  Give it a big hug!  That’s the part that gives me the hardest time.  It’s brutal.

Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.

The relay felt easy and awesome.  When I did the whole thing, definitely when I got back to the University and on the last hill behind the Botanical Gardens… This is totally cheeseball, but I remember saying “You’re doing it, girl!” to myself out loud!  I’m that crazy person!  I did it!

This year, I’m excited to push it even farther. The Equinox is a really challenging course and I think the organizers have done it justice with the extension of the ultra.  This is the first ultra I’ve ever run and I’m super excited about it.  

I don’t have a worst moment.  Every time I felt tired, there would be a kid at the bottom of a hill with something delicious.  And those cookies at the out and back!

Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?

I’m pretty new to this running thing, but I’m competitive with myself.  And I want to keep having fun.  When it stops being fun, then I know I’ve done something wrong.  Even when a run is long and brutal, 20+ miles, or doing back to backs kicking my butt because I’m already fatigued the second day of running.  As long as I’m having fun – that’s what it’s all about.  And feeling strong and healthy; hanging around cool people.  If I kick-ass along the way, then that’s a bonus.

What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?

Smile!  Pace yourself.  I’ve learned so much from other runners, and there’s some really inspiring runners in this community who are willing to share their expertise.  They’re amazing. What I love is when they tell me that it’s hard for them sometimes, and that they weren’t always good at this… Remembering their first marathon time and how much growth they’ve made… You’ve got to have that network, and people to run with.  It sucks to run by yourself.  Come to Steve’s Equinox Training Runs!  

Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?

Not yet!  Though I struggle with the taper.  I don’t like to take it easy; that’s really difficult for me. My husband is horribly injured with tendonitis this season.  He’s this great athlete and he really inspires me.  He’s not going to have an Equinox this season and that’s a really hard thing, so it’s a good reminder that we have to take care of ourselves and listen to our bodies.  

Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year? This race has been described as one of the most grueling marathons in the country!  What keeps you motivated to participate in this event?

It’s the people.  I was going to come back and do just the Equinox this year, but I had such a good training season and met all these incredible ultra athletes.  When I ran the relay, I felt I needed more, so I ran the whole thing, so now it’s like, why not do the ultra?  People in this community are incredible.  They’re inspiring and they do crazy things.  The Equinox is truly a community event, and you really see that and feel that, and you see it out in the community even when it’s not Equinox day.

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