Ashley at Harvest Half

Following the birth of her first child, Ashley Rose began coming regularly to the YMCA. She called it her “new mom self-care.” As part of her exercise routine, she began to run, and slowly built up her endurance. While she always used to proclaim that she “wasn’t a runner,” Ashley realized that it came down to confidence. “I struggled with building up my endurance through persistence,” she says. “I was skeptical that I could actually accomplish [a race].”

Ashley had heard about the Harvest Half Marathon, hosted by the Brentwood Family YMCA, but didn’t decide to register until, of all things, she bought a used car. “The company had removed all of the previous owner’s decals,” she says, “but missed a 13.1 sticker that blended in. The salesman offered to have it removed, but I stopped him. I knew it would be a fun way to force myself to commit [to a half marathon] and actually earn that decal!”

Ashley's husband
Ashley's husband also ran the Harvest Half.

With her new goal in mind, Ashley began to run with intention. She maintained a consistent routine at the Y, and then continued to build endurance by running on the weekends. “When I used to think about training for a race,” she says, “I assumed it was something you did over the course of a few weeks—not months or years.” It took the new mom almost six months of regular running before she felt like she didn’t have to stop every so often for a break. Ashley started increasing her mileage on the weekends until she hit a brick wall—a stress fracture in her right foot.

Having come so far toward her goal, Ashley refused to give up. After all, race day was just six weeks away. She recognized that her foot would need to heal if she had any chance of finishing the race. “I used those weeks to do a lot of cross-training,” she says. “I tried to maintain my endurance and rest the best I could.”

A stress fracture wasn’t her only obstacle, however. She was deterred by out-of-town travel that impacted her longer weekend runs and faced a stomach bug that forced her off course. “Ultimately, I had to tap into my confidence,” Ashley shares. “I had to recognize how far I had already come. Looking back on what I had accomplished was the final nudge I needed to make it to race day.”

Ashley and husband racing

Ashley made it to the Harvest Half, and hit a runner’s high around mile 11. “It dawned on me that I was actually going to finish and that I was going to finish strong,” she says. “It felt wonderful. I felt so incredibly accomplished and proud of myself for achieving something I didn’t think I was capable of.”

She credits her race training with helping to build confidence in her abilities. “It’s a great way to set a goal for yourself. I still catch myself believing that I’m not a runner, but then I remember that I ran an entire half marathon. Of course I’m a runner!”

Join the Brentwood community as the Harvest race goes VIRTUAL for 2020! Sign up to complete a 5K, 10K, or Half Marathon (13.1 miles) on your own course from Oct. 30-Nov. 1. You can run, walk, or jog it all at once, or split the distance over the weekend. Then, submit your results online to see how they compare to other runners! When you race with the Y, you race for a stronger community. Learn more about the Harvest race here.