Q&A with 2013 Leadville champs Ian Sharman and Ashley Arnold - Page 3
Q&A with Ashley Arnold
Photo by Austin Lottimer
So, you left your job at Trail Runner at the beginning of this year to focus more on your training … and it seems like you've been pretty much on fire all summer long with your wins at Desert Rats, White River and now Leadville. How are you feeling about your training overall this year in comparison to past years?
I think my training hasn't been very targeted, but overall, it's been more relaxing and more stress free. At the same time, I've been sick on and off a lot of the year, so I am pretty surprised that I've had such a good season. Definitely makes me feel like I have a lot of room for growth and improvement.
In 2010 at Leadville, you struggled a lot with sleep deprivation going up Powerlines (which seemed to be my downfall at this year’s race!) How did your experience this year compare?
Well, to be honest, I have had a lot of sleep deprivation over the past year. I've grown pretty good at going to sleep super late and waking up super early and functioning. While I've worked hard to get my biorhythms back to normal over the past month or so, my ability to function on less sleep now, really paid off at Leadville. I didn't get sleepy at all. Of course, I'm sure getting up to the top of Powerlines before needing a headlamp was helpful.
What else did you learn from your experience in 2010 that helped you train for this year's race?
Consistency and being conservative. Hiking up Hope Pass.
What was the hardest aspect of the race for you this year?
The rocks. In the dark, on tired legs. Coming back around Turquoise Lake after spraining my ankle back in December I am really, really cautious about rocky terrain—really to a fault. I got scared during that section, and I was tired. It was hard to really push myself there when I had a big lead. I also was pretty sick for the first 39 miles so I had a hard time taking in calories until I got to Twin Lakes the first time.
How about the most enjoyable part?
My crew and pacers were incredible. NO WAY could I have completed the race without them. They lifted my spirits every time I saw them.
It was awesome seeing you near the top of Hope Pass, as you were on your way down and me on my way up. You looked really strong … is it nerve-wracking leading a race and wondering whether anyone will catch up to you, or did you enjoy leading?
It was a little nerve-wracking heading out of Hope and seeing other women coming into Winfield. But as the race continued and the gap widened, I felt a little better, though, still a little paranoid at the idea of just leading all day and then maybe losing in the last few hours. At the top of Hope, though, I was feeling really good. I felt good all the way into Twin Lakes really. Zach [Woodward] was a great pacer in that section. I had been a little behind on my water and salt intake, so we worked pretty hard on that on the way up Hope. It was so great to see so many familiar faces (like you!) on the way back!
What's next for you? Will you keep focusing on the ultra distance?
Definitely I'll keep running ultras, but I'll do some shorter stuff also to mix it up. I might be running UROC, but my dance company, Co-Motion, has a performance in late September in Carbondale [Colorado], and the dates are similar. So, my fall schedule is a little up in the air. I need to finish choreographing this dance and give my body a week to recover before I start running again. I will definitely run TNF50 in San Fran, though. I am already ready to run Leadville again. Surprisingly, the next day I was ready to run it again.
Anything else to share about your Leadville experience?
I feel so fortunate to have my legs, to have the ability to see so many amazing places by foot. To be able to run a race like Leadville and to have my closest friends and family there, supporting me. I am so, so, so thankful.