Icespike Fan of the Month: Dani Ashford

We’re so pleased to be featuring our newest fan of the month: Dani Ashford!

We were introduced to Dani by our friend (& contributor to our blog), Dane Rauschenberg. Dane & Dani recently ran the Sandbox Indoor Marathon, where she became the fastest female to ever run a marathon on an indoor track (verified by the Association of Road Racing Statisticians).

It was her third marathon ever.

When we heard she ran the race using Icespikes, and found them to be an invaluable tool, we had to contact her and get to know her better!

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We asked Dani for an account of her experience at the Sandbox Marathon, which you can review below. We can’t wait to see what she pulls off in future marathons! In the meantime, she’ll be receiving a new set of Icespikes as our thank you for letting us feature her as fan of the month!

[box type=”info”]We are looking for our next Fan of the Month! If you know of someone who should be nominated, please contact us to let us know how we can contact them, and a bit about why you think they’d make a great fan of the month. And, hey, don’t be afraid to nominate yourself! There’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn, as far as we’re concerned. Each “Fan of the Month” will receive a free set of Icespikes, as well as a feature here on our blog.[/box]

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Dani Ashford at the Sandbox Indoor Marathon

It was the first time any racer had competed in the Indoor Sandbox Trail Marathon. For me, it was the first time for many other events. This marathon was my first race as a twenty-four-year-old, my first marathon I had to race without the aid of a pacer, and my first marathon victory. Originally, the marathon was going to be my tune-up race before a 60K race in Kentucky a month down the road. However, I received news in late January that I would be moving from Minnesota to Washington just four days after the Indoor Sandbox Trail Marathon. Traveling from Washington to Kentucky just a few weeks after beginning my new job became highly unlikely.

In the two months leading up to the Indoor Sandbox Trail Marathon, Minnesota received record-breaking amounts of snow. My confidence in my training grew smaller and smaller as the snow continued to pile up and my runs became more challenging. In January my friend, Dane Rauschenberg, told me about the product Icespikes that he would be wearing in the marathon. Desperate for any help battling the winter footing of Minnesota, I immediately ordered Icespikes. My first run in the Icespikes was magical! This product is amazing; why didn’t I know about Icespikes earlier? I had been training through Minnesota’s winters for the last five years so of course I wouldn’t discover them until I am about to move away from the snow!

Race day approached quickly. Normally, I would have analyzed my race plan weeks in advance and become increasingly more nervous. However, I was so busy at work and focused on moving halfway across the country that running the marathon got pushed to the back of my mind. I finally started to question what I was about to do when Dane and I tested out the course the day before the race. One hundred and twenty laps around a course with tons of twists and turns suddenly seemed daunting. There was no sense getting worked up now. It would be a great mental workout and a chance for me to get a marathon win under my belt.

I decided to make my time goal three hours and ten minutes which translated to about ninety-five second laps. I was only two laps into the race when I chose to stop looking at my watch. I was much faster than my goal but I felt too comfortable to start worrying about slowing down (That could have been a disastrous and rookie mistake). I went through the halfway point in just over an hour and a half but I still felt strong and was having a blast! As the race progressed, the racers, spectators and volunteers became extremely encouraging. This is one reason I am addicted to marathons. It is truly amazing and humbling to meet people for the first time at a marathon and have immediately supportive friends. People like Mike, who volunteered to hold all my gel shots and hand them to me throughout my race (Apparently it is nerdy to hold onto them while racing), Kent and Chris who gave an encouraging “Way to go, Dani,” every time we turned the same corner, and Lisa who helped me get all my racing supplies all contributed to my wonderful marathon experience.

The race left me extremely excited to get back into racing more marathons. I have already registered for two more marathons this year. Most likely, I will run more in order to prepare for my goal of running a marathon every month next year. Chances are I will be back to New Richmond, Wisconsin to run my February marathon!

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