Why hello there! My name is Ashley and I am a Pittsburgh native, current resident of Celebration, Florida, runner, newlywed and a whole lot more! After becoming really interested in reading some of my favorite running-related blogs, I have decided taking a stab at writing my own. I hope you enjoy reading my musings.
My thoughts are solely my own and are not representative of my employer.
The nickname Dolly comes all the way from my childhood. My doting parents considered me their delicate baby doll and eventually started adopting Dolly as an ongoing nickname. This continued to be a term of endearment used at home and later in e-mails and text messages with my parents. The name became more and more special with time. Well, when my lovely husband (then-boyfriend) picked up on my dad greeting me with an excited “Hi Dolly,” the mimicry began and the name stuck! So long story short, I am “the Dolly” in the minds of all of my loved ones. When it came blog naming time, it just felt right.
My Happily Ever After.
My happily ever after began in 2010 when I met Charles. We met somewhat indirectly through friends but that’s really the least interesting part of the story. He lived in Tampa and I lived in the Orlando area (which made for an ongoing 60-90 minute drive). After meeting each other in the middle, which just so happens to be the lovely town of Lakeland, Florida for our first date, we began a cycle of alternating Tampa-Orlando weekends. This was ultimately very much worthwhile as we grew closer and fell in love. Although Charles will be happy to tell you that he is not a “Disney person,” Disney definitely played a central role in our love story. I am not afraid to admit I am a Disney nerd and cannot think of anything better than spending time at Walt Disney World. Needless to say, Charles got to enjoy his fair share of Disney visits throughout the relationship. He first told me he love me over a dinner at ‘Ohana, he proposed as we had our caricatures done at Magic Kingdom Park, and in September, 2012, we said “I DO” at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion with a reception in the American Adventure Rotunda at Epcot. True to style, our honeymoon even included a visit to Disneyland Resort Paris. We live in the home that we bought together with our two cats who we have lovingly nicknamed “The Whale” and “The Squid” and have an incredible life.
My Running Journey:
I have definitely fallen in love with running but, I assure you, love at first sight it was not! I have always been athletic and played a variety of sports growing up. My dad was a very successful competitive runner for most of my life so, while I certainly was exposed to the sport, it never really sparked my interest. Running was only ever a means to an end as part of a required team work out. During the later part of high school and into college, I briefly went through running “phases” where I would run once or twice a week for a period of maybe a month or two at a time.
This all changed in January of 2010 when I had an opportunity to visit the Expo for the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon. I was absolutely swept up in the excitement and had the crazy thought that maybe I could be a part of something like this. I set the 2010 Disneyland Half Marathon as my goal (as it would certainly be a good excuse to take a trip to Disneyland) till I started doing my research. Once I found out that you could get a special Coast to Coast Medal for completing a Disney race on each coast in the same calendar year, a new goal suddenly came into focus. The Princess Half Marathon was 8 weeks away but I made a swift and irreversible decision to register and run this race first! That meant I had to train and train quickly! Train I did and I completed my first half marathon in 1:21 which was not too shabby. I was hooked.
I have completed 6 half marathons to date (all runDisney events) and am beginning to pursue running with a new degree of seriousness. My latest focus is the 5k distance where I hope to continue my improvement with a goal of becoming competitive on the local circuit. I have endless passion for the sport and love learning and growing as a runner every day! Blogs have become a primary source for my running learnings and I hope one day to help another runner to gain a valuable insight from something I have shared.