Runner of the Month: October 2018

Ashley Cossairt spends her time in the basement at Runner’s Edge orchestrating many of the Run Wild Missoula events and social activities we love. But when she isn’t working to improve running in Missoula, she’s getting out and running for herself. This year she has dropped incredible amounts of time in all distances and has transformed as a runner. That hard work has paid off and she was recently named the Run Wild Missoula Runner of the Year.
Name: Ashley Cossairt
How many years have you been running?
Growing up, running was the furthest thing from what I wanted to be doing. Running sprints at softball practice was unbearable, but part of the torture required to be a good athlete… I started running in the spring of 2015 as a way to get back in shape and survive grad school. I wanted to find somewhere else to focus some of my mental energy when I needed a break from reading and writing papers about Criminological Theory.
What’s been your favorite running memory so far?
I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in Washington D.C. this past spring. That was quite an experience! I never imagined I would participate in a race with 16,000 other people. Everything about that day was great – the Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom, the weather was cool but sunny (my favorite conditions), and I was able to run with a really good friend and teammate.
Something clicked this year for you and you’ve been making drastic improvements. What happened?
So many small things. I could write a few thousand words about how the last 12 months have fallen into place. I was starting to feel like I should be running more, because my job is centered around running and walking (not a job requirement). With a lot encouragement, I signed up for one of Courtney’s treadmill classes to get through the winter, and that sparked something. I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon last December, somewhat on a whim. Being a novice runner with zero experience on how to properly train for a marathon, I knew I needed direction. I reached out to Trisha Drobeck for coaching recommendations, and determined she was precisely what I was looking for. I quickly learned that having a plan of exactly what I was supposed to run each day was easy for me to follow. Accountability has also been a huge factor throughout this process. I amextremely fortunate to have some very motivating and dependable friends, and an incredibly supportive husband.
You just had another massive PR at the Bozeman 1/2. What was that race like? 
If you had told me at the beginning of 2018 I would be able to take 30 minutes off my half marathon time from 2017, I would have fallen over with laugher and disbelief. The race was tough, but absolutely worth the temporary pain and discomfort. I had a few goals going into the race that would either build my confidence for my upcoming marathon, or completely crush me. I try not to put too much emphasis on time, because it’s just one piece of your overall performance – albeit a big piece on race day. I learned a lot during the Bozeman Half that I will bring with me to Minnesotanext weekend, and to future races.  (At the last aid station, securely grab the water cup from the volunteer. When they won’t let go, do not assume the next volunteer also has water…)
You’ve been gearing up for Twin Cities Marathon (on October 7th) for the last year. How are you feeling a week out? 
Honestly, I am SO excited. Going into this wild ride of marathon training, I kept telling myself I just needed to trust my coach and trust the training. I never once questioned why I was doing something. I may not have enjoyed some of the workouts and wondered about the purpose of others, but there isn’t a single thing I would change about this training cycle. I am confident my performance on race day will show just how hard I have been working for the last 10 months.
Good luck at Twin Cities Ashley!