Ashley Jensen: Race Ambassador
New for the 2019 Reebok Boston 10K for Women, we are pleased to introduce you to a group of fun, strong, creative, and powerful women that you should know. They are our Official Race Ambassadors!
Hi! My name is Ashley Jensen and what can I say, I love running! It started as a child running after my family pony, continued in to Hershey Track in elementary school, high school cross country and track, captaining the teams at Providence College ’06 and the University of Southern California ’07, and post-college running a dozen races per year on roads and trails. I’m currently training with the goal of running sub 2:45 to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials.
What is your favorite distance to race?
This is a tough one. On the roads, the marathon. On the trails, a half marathon. The marathon is unbelievably hard both on your body and your mind. You put so many months of training into race day, and with that distance so many things can go wrong. I’ve raced the distance 5 times, and 2 of those times it was pure magic. The other 3 were incredibly hard and disappointing, but I learned so much and became a stronger runner and person because of it! On the trails I love flying over roots and rocks, up and down mountains, and due to the terrain, 13.1 miles feels longer.
What events are you running in 2019?
I’ll be running a few 5Ks and 10Ks this summer and early fall (one of which will be the Reebok Boston 10k for Women!). I will be running and looking to PR in a half marathon and marathon in the fall. I’ll also be running a trail half marathon as well. My goal is to run sub 2:45 by the end of January 2020. So that leaves me with 1 or maybe 2 marathons to hit that goal!
Do you have a special race-day ritual?
On race mornings I eat the same breakfast about 2.5 hours before the start and drink lots of water. Wheat English muffin or toast with crunchy peanut butter, sliced banana and honey, and SOS supplement. I have a race day only sports bra I wear and usually wear my hair in French braids. I warm up 45 minutes before the start of race for 15 minutes. I always say a quick prayer before each race.
What is your favorite post-race meal?
Definitely a cheeseburger or filet mignon—theme here is beef! And chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream sundae for dessert.
What do you believe in?
I believe in hard work and most importantly believing in yourself! In my opinion training is 90% ability and 10% mental, while racing is 90% mental and 10% ability. So it’s extremely important to stay positive and not let doubt creep in during races (I’m still working on this). I think this also applies to everything else is life—work hard and believe in yourself—and the possibilities are endless!
Do you have any advice for first time runners?
1.) Take your time easing into running. Most runners (myself included) end up with overuse injuries by doing too much too soon. So slowly build up on training runs and race distances. Listen to your body! If you’re very tired one day but supposed to have a hard workout, it’s okay to take an easy day and push the workout a day. 2.) Take part in the running community! I’ve met some of my best friends through running. Go to group runs, join a club or volunteer at races. We runners are pretty awesome people and very supportive of each other. 3.) Always smile and never forget why you started. Running is a gift, so much fun and a lifelong sport. Trust me—it’s addicting. 🙂
What’s the best training advice you have ever received?
In regards to the weather surrounding the 2018 Boston Marathon, my coach Ray Treacy said something along the lines of twenty years from now, no one will be talking about the weather. People will talk about who won that year, but people won’t remember the conditions. I applied that logic to my race day prep—no matter the conditions, there was a race to be run and we were all out there running in those same conditions. I ran a 19 minute PR that day, 2:58.
What’s the best race-day advice you’ve ever received?
My mom used to leave notes with my pre-race breakfast saying, “Don’t look back. Leave it all on the track.” And to this day she’ll text me good luck with this quote. My mom can’t take credit for the quote—it’s a line from the movie Racing Stripes. The movie is about a zebra trying to be a race horse—so it definitely applies to the running world!