Ashley Dier

Friday, December 12, 2014

Q. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for a living?

A. My name is Ashley Dier, I am 29 years old and live in Toronto. I am the General Manager of an independent home wears retailer, a freelance writer and most importantly, a runner. I run with an awesome crew of people, the Parkdale Roadrunners. 

Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life?
A. Like many others, my job is demanding and finding balance between running/training and work can sometimes be super difficult. Honestly if you have a passion for something you can always find time for it, "I don't have time", is just an excuse! It may meaning getting up at 5am to get in a run, or missing a party but you can always make time! Setting specific days for running and days for cross training always makes it a bit easier. 

Q. What does your weekly fitness regime consist of?
A. My fitness schedule (it feels weird calling it that!) varies a bit depending on if I'm training for a race or not. Training can get real, quick, but generally speaking I run as much as I can and cross train a few times week. Running is the core of my routine. I just trained for my first half marathon, it consumed my life for many, many months. It was pretty incredible to see the transformation both of my body and my mind. In the end I accomplished something I never even imagined was possible years earlier. I plain on trying to keep up that momentum and passion, maybe just with fewer long runs :)

Q. When and why did you start running?
I've never really been the athletic type. I'm tall and was/and still am lanky and awkward. I played school sports when I was younger but that's kinda where it ended. About two years ago I started running to be healthy. I remember how hard the first two kilometres were, and I vividly remember being so self conscious that I'd run on roads where people wouldn't see me. I look back on that now and want to hug that person. 

Q. What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it?
A. It's really easy to make excuses to skip a run, I find if I just get up and throw on my gear and go without thinking twice about it makes it easier. The crew I run with really helps motivate, I could text a number of them for a quick pep talk anytime, they really are the best! 

Q. What is the longest distance you have ran?
A. I just ran my first half-marathon, and it was by far most challenging, emotional and rewarding thing I've ever done. Honestly, it's been almost two weeks and I'm still feeling the high from it. The overwhelming support I received from my friends, family and crew was completely overwhelming. Nothing could ever compare to that feeling I felt when I crossed the finish line with one of the women from the crew. We looked at each other, hugged and couldn't believe it happened. It's giving me goosebumps now just thinking about it. Pure joy!

Q. What do you love about running?
A. Running is therapeutic. It sounds cliché, but it's true. Nothing compares to listening to your breathing and the sound of your feet hitting the pavement. Many years ago, my life was about excess, partying was all that really mattered and I really could have cared less about my body or its capabilities. My life is much different now, and although it wasn't running that got me out of that place, running allows me to see how far I've come and shows me that I'm capable of anything. 

Running has introduced me to some of the most inspiring, warm and loving people I have ever met. I owe so much of this journey to them (my crew). I love that the act of running, something so simple and intrinsic has created a global movement and a huge global family. Bridge The Gap is a movement and Have Kicks Will Travel is a way of life! It's almost like a secret language exists in running, you can look at another runner, make eye contact and you both just know. 

Q. What do you hate about running?
A. Focusing on the negative is never a good thing. Sure your muscles will ache, and your body will hurt, but at the end of the day I think it's awesome that I'm able to go out and go for a run and feel those aches. The human body is an amazing thing! Bad runs or races are great learning experiences. Turn that negative into a positive!! 

Q. What gives you the confidence to run in the streets?
A. As I mentioned earlier there was a point when I was embarrassed to run in public, but now I couldn't imagine anything else. I've grown so much since then, and I wish for every women to have confidence in themselves and their bodies and not be embarrassed to run or be active. Preety, one of the female leaders of the crew I run with is the perfect embodiment of this mentality. She wants nothing more than to encourage other woman runners and make them feel comfortable and confident. Go Volt Women!! 

Q. How do you think running can empower people?
A. All physical activity is empowering, it shows you that you can train yourself to do anything. Running is no different, it's so much more than just the physical motion of running. Running sharpens the mind and body, with a sharp mind and mental clarity follows and everything eventually improves!

Q. What would you like to achieve in the future in terms of running?
A. In terms of personal running goals I want to run a marathon. In all honesty though what I really want to achieve is to help and inspire other people to do the same. I see it now, people close to me start to lace up and ask questions, knowing that you are helping someone become a healthier version of themselves and being a positive influence is the best feeling ever. 

Q. How do you envision the future of running?

A. I think that the "urban running movement" is growing, and growing fast. I think that more and more crews will start to develop and begin to outnumber the "clubs". I think that ultra's will get longer and longer and I think there will be an increase in unsanctioned races in cities. 

Q. What do you think about the lack of exercise among the youth?
A. It makes me sad to know that physical education, health and exercise for youth as a whole is not held in higher regards by most governments. I feel that introducing running and running crews to youth would have incredibly positive results both socially and physically. Young people are impressionable, if they are able to have access to groups and crews doing positive things both personally and in their communities, I think a whole new world could open up for them. We have a responsibility to teach youth to cherish their health. 

Q. What was your best running experience?
A. Running my first half marathon was a pretty awesome experience that I think will be hard to top! Super positive moments and a few lows, mixed with lots and lots of emotions. You put so much time and hard work into training that when it's actually happening it's pretty surreal. Running through the cheer squad at 18k was incredible! 

Q. What was your worst running experience?
A. I try not to dwell on negative running experiences. When they happen I use it as a learning experience and keep going.

Q. How do you push through the pain?
A. Breathing and relying on my body to do what I've trained it to do, run forward. Ignoring that little voice in my head telling me that I need to take a break, or that my legs are too sore. If it's getting really tough I try to break things down into smaller chunks...just get to that tree, ok now get to that sign. I visualize my family, and family members struggling with various sicknesses, I think of how hard they are fighting every damn day and they push me forward. I also have a few things I tell my self in my head with things get hard, my own personal mantras! 

Q. What is your favourite shoe to run in?
A. I like running in a few different shoes and I'm always into trying new ones out. Right now I'm in Nike Flyknit lunar 2's, Lunarglide 6's and Pegasus 31's I'm looking forward to trying the Zoom Kiger 2's this winter.

Q. What can you not run without?
A. Air in my lungs and ground under my feet.

Q. What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running?
A. Just start. The first few kilometres will be tough, but like anything it gets easier. Your brain will try and trick you and tell you that you need to stop, but ignore it, it will get quieter. Find a buddy to run with, it will take your mind off any pain and discomfort and its great to have someone to talk to. Join a run crew the bonds you form will last a lifetime,

Q. Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you?
A. Instagram, I'm @ashley_dier


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