Follow This Mother!

Warrior parents: Ashley and her husband, Andrew, with the kiddos after a Warrior Dash

One of the 26,000+ runners lining up on the start line of the venerable Boston Marathon next Monday, Ashley Shaddy, a 35-year-old mother of two, stands out because of her bright smile, generous spirit, strong faith, and warm friendliness. I've been fortunate enough to stand at a few start lines with her, and she (along with an awesome group of running moms in Vancouver, Wash.) has been instrumental in organizing a few local events for Run Like a Mother. She's awesome, and I can wait for her to shine on Monday on the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Copley Square.

Best Recent Run: After having a nasty chest infection that held on for a month right in the middle of my Boston training, I had a 20-miler on my training schedule haunting me with all kinds of self-doubt. A new, amazing running buddy of mine (Megan), who has run Boston, committed to doing 15 miles of the run with me and took me on a new “kick butt” hill route. It was such a selfless act from a friend: She had no reason to have to run THAT far and was giving up precious fuel for a race she had the next week. Her encouragement during that run was the point I got mentally back in the game for Boston. I remember coming to the top of a really hard hill and her saying, “That hill was harder than Heartbreak Hill and you just did it.” Thank you, God, for running buddies!

Boston bound: I am on a roller coaster of emotions with less than a week away from Boston--excitement, fear, anticipation, doubt (knowing I had some obstacles during my training), but mostly feeling blessed to be part of such an amazing race. A few years ago the Boston Marathon wasn’t even on my radar of adding to my running accomplishments. Honestly, I am lucky to be distracted by my “to do” list I have to get ready to leave the kiddos behind. My husband (the best cheerleader ever, even when he holds up signs asking if I pee’d myself), dad, and stepmom are coming along!!

A friend indeed: Julie--my best running buddy, my BFF. I didn’t know friends like this existed. When we became friends, we immediatelyconnected on many things and soon found out we both wanted to run our first half marathon. So we did it. Since then, life and running has brought us closer than ever. The day before we ran our first half, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Julie ran beside me that day and in the months and years to follow. Her beautiful daughter was born on the day my mom passed, which can only be one of those incredible timings God had planned. Boston will actually be the first race I have done in years without her. I look forward to our future finish lines together--running and otherwise!

Tutu-much love: Ashley (left) and Julie at start of Skirt Chaser last year!

Miles for mom: Strength: I didn’t know the true meaning of the word until I walked beside my sweet mom during her battle with cancer. In life, as with running, our finish lines are not always as we dreamed they would be. When her battle ended a few years ago, I gained new perspective and inspiration. I carry my many beautiful memories of her, her determination, her joy for life, her love, and even her stubbornness on every mile I take on. I learned I can either use a loss like this to halt me, or to grab onto the pieces of it that make me a better person, that give me inspiration and strength--and keep on RUNNING. What better way to honor such an amazing woman?

Ashley and her dad before she ran 26.2 in a BQ time

Miles with dad: I am, and forever will be, a daddy’s girl. My earliest memories of running are with my dad around our neighborhood. He has been one of my biggest fans and was running by my side when my first marathon (Seattle Rock n Roll) last year ended at mile 25 in the medic tent due to hyponatremia. I think my dad’s heart was more broken than mine, but I still knew he couldn’t have been any prouder. So a few months later, when he and my husband got to watch me cross that finish line and tell me I qualified for Boston, oh, what a moment!! [EDITOR’S NOTE: Ashley needed a 3:45:59 or better; she ran 3:43:25.] We are appropriately running the Vancouver USA half marathon together on Father’s Day.

On the way in from Hopkinton: My approach to this race is different because I feel the pressure of not truly knowing if I will ever be back on the Boston course again. I can tend to get in a zone but I really want to take it all in, even the hills: I think being a little distracted by all that is going on during this race will be well worth it. Life threw a few kinks in my training plan this time around, so I am going to take a more conservative approach to my pace. Music is certainly a motivation that I use during races, but I am planning to turn it off several times during Boston to hear the excitement of the day!

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Ashley and me at RLAMiversary Run last week

24 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. Ashley, girl, you ROCKED it today. I hope you had as much fun as all of your fans back home did, stalking the boston website and getting text updates as you passed check points. Your heart is more beautiful than any medal you will earn…you are a gem!

  2. What a great story! Your an inspriation for us all. Enjoy your race Ashley! I hope your sleeping bag keeps you warm at the start line and I can’t wait to hear all the details when you get back in town.

  3. Way to go Ash!! We will be thinking of you on Monday as your “kickin butt and taking names” in Boston! Miss you!

  4. Ashley, good luck in Boston on Monday! I live here and am so excited for this weekend, running in the 5K on Sunday, my best friend coming into town from NYC to cheer me on. I agree, take it all in, and don’t worry about the time.

  5. RLAM – thank you for thinking I am worthy of highlighting!! So many inspire me – hopefully I pick up pieces along the way that inspire others.
    Everyone else – thank you for all of your encouragement and inspiration. I will be carrying all of you with me on Monday!!!

    1. We are SO proud of you for all of your accomplishmentst, and know that you will ALWAYS be a winner. We’ll be cheering you on from Arizona, and are filled with awe that you have touched the hear’st of so many who don’t know you, but recognize your beautiful spirit. The encouragement from your family is noteworthy; the suport system that you deserve. God bless.

  6. Sarah, you couldn’t have described Ashley better. Ash, you enjoy every moment of that course but don’t you think for a minute that you won’t be seeing it again!! You have to be there with me someday! Thanks for the sweet words— I am just one of the lucky to call you, ‘friend’! Go kill it Ashley! Ps–does Andrew know he is famous? ;).

  7. Awesome. OK I need to know why in the ‘mud run’ picture, her husband is in a suit? is that what he wore for the run? and why? Anyway – thanks for sharing her story and good luck in Boston! Yeahhh we’ll be cheering for all of you!

    1. Beth- it would take so long to explain the humor of my husband – but in short – he knew everyone would be dressed “warrior” style fort he race, so he thought it would be fun to dress in a suit. And yes he wore it for the whole race. He said he wanted everyone to know he meant “business”.
      Thank you for your encouragement!!

  8. What an amazing strength you have! It’s inspirational and I hope you continue to share your journey with others. Have a GREAT time on Monday! No matter what your finish time, you should be so proud of everything you’re accomplishing with your race. And can I say, I love that you husband holds up signs asking if you’ve pee’d yourself! 😉

    1. Dear, dear Ashley,

      How we wish that we could join Andrew, Gloria and Tom in Boston on Monday to witness this
      momentous event. Just know that you’ll be in our prayers every mile along the way. It seems that you have a great following already, which is no surprise. We pray that you will have no difficulties during the RUN, so “GO GET ‘EM,TIGER”. God bless.

  9. I love, love, love Miss Ashley! Such an inspiration. She’s one of the reasons I got in to running and has really been a running mentor to so many. She’s going to rock Boston!

  10. Ashley – good luck in Boston! I have never run it but when I lived there it was always such a fun and hug event for everyone in the and around the city. I loved cheering the runners on from the sidewalk outside my apartment on Beach Street. In fact, watching those Boston Marathon runners really inspired me to run my first 5k, my first 10k, and later my own first marathon. I am sure the cheers along the route will help carry you to the finish line, but also know you are inspiring countless women (and men) cheering you on from the sidelines. GO ASHLEY!!!!

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