Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 14 - Ashley Anderson - BALANCING A FULL LIFE - Part 3 of 3

So, I want to backup to earlier in your life where you're riding horses. Okay, so you said you showed horses? Were you doing like dressage? Were you jumping? What did you do? 

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JESSE: So, I want to backup to earlier in your life where you're riding horses. Okay, so you said you showed horses? Were you doing like dressage? Were you jumping? What did you do? ASHLEY: To never jumping intentionally. So, I showed for the majority of my career, I still ride now. So, it’s something that's near and dear to my heart but what's called hunter pleasure. So, think fox hunting, like the little pants in the jacket, and the boots, the black boots in the black hat. So, you're not going over fences, but the horse and the rider are judged on three different or four different, let's just call them speeds - called gates. So, what’s called a walk, a trot, a canter, which is a three beat gate and a - gallop, which is essentially like controlled, hauling ass around with your horse. And then you switch directions, you do it again, which sounds very simple, but the horse has to look a certain way, has to carry itself in a certain way, you have to carry yourself as the operator in a certain way, and try not to cause major havoc in the arena with probably 25 to 20 to anywhere either side of that other horses. So, I did that for a little bit, tap into some dressage for a period of time. And then also showed what's called sport horse, which is a little bit more based on kind of the horse’s athletic prowess performance, horses that are geared more towards like endurance sports. So, cross country jumping dressage, the horse that's a little bit more athletic, in confirmation versus more showy, for lack of a better way to put it into this and like non-horsemen terms. But yeah, I did that, and went all over the country. And it was a huge part of our family. I mean, like triathlon, there's a lot of equipment involved, there's travel involved, there's a lot of time involved. I mean, I played basketball, I took up space in the court, like I told you for shoot since I was in elementary school through college, excuse me, not through college through high school. And I loved it, and it was great and I enjoyed it. But outside of basketball season, I was at the barn, I was practicing, I was taking care of horses, helping out around the barns. And when we traveled and went to shows, my parents went, my brother went sometimes and it took us all over God's good earth so yeah, part of my life. JESSE: Yeah. I assume you're working like with one dedicated horse for when you're doing each discipline, right? ASHLEY: Yeah. So, I got into riding when I was about six. Obviously, with this being a more involved sport, both from a time perspective and a financial perspective. Once I got to be a little bit older, my parents kind of sat me down, they're like, all right, you're playing the piano, you're dancing, you're doing this, that, and the other thing. If you really want to get involved with horses, like we need to pick and focus. So, I picked and focused. And when I was 11, or 12 so I've been involved for quite some time and shown my love for the sport and also my dedication. So, not just going out and riding but shoveling poop, cleaning around the farm, that sort of thing, got my first horse, which is an interesting story I will bore you with for like two minutes. So, my trainer at the time, I learned this after the fact was at a show in Florida. And she called my dad and she was like, there's a horse down here, I think would be a good fit for Ashley. We can bring him up from Florida, she can try him out. If it doesn't work, we take him back to Florida. And I'm like, or my dad was like, all right, let's try it and see. And so they brought him up with the premise to me as an 11 year old that they wanted to test drive him to see if they could sell him and market him as a kid friendly horse. So, I wrote him for like a month. This was like right before Christmas time, and all of a sudden, right before Christmas, my trainer looked at me and she said, you know, we found a family, his name was Tango. We found a family for Tango. He'll be leaving in the next couple of days. Go ahead and tell him goodbye. So, walked over and tell him goodbye and was like super sad. Christmas morning rolls around and we all know how the story ends, but I’ll continue the story. I go to the front door, the doorbell had rang and my trainer is standing there and I'm like, what are you doing here? She's like, are you going to let me in or not? And so she hung out with us for a little bit and she told me to go look outside. And I did and there was this trailer there and Tango is sticking his head out. Dumbassed looks at my trainer and says oh, that’s so sweet, you brought Tango to like say goodbye one more time before you take him to Pennsylvania. Thank you. JESSE: It's Christmas. It's not all coming together yet. ASHLEY: She like whack me on the back of the head. And she's like, no, he's yours. I’m like what? So, he was the horse that I worked with for quite some time and then he-- So, there's a suitability of course to rider component. And I for all intents and purposes outgrew him. So, I’m exactly short, but he was. And so we ended up selling Tango to a friend, and there was a girl on the farm that was trying to sell her horse, she was getting ready to go to college. So, we ended up getting, his name was Bam. So, we got Bam from Annie and that was the horse that I rode from shoot, my sophomore year of high school-- Yeah, my sophomore year of high school until college. We still have him. So, long story, but he's had some pretty significant health issues recently and I actually went home not too long ago, we didn't think he was going to be able to make it. And he's doing okay, now with a lot of medicine, and we're just kind of seeing how he does. But they become like family when you work with them that long. But yeah, those were my two-- JESSE: So, I'm a big animal lover so I know like, I took-- I guess it was technically just dressage lessons and then a semester of driving in college-- Well, the college offered it because there was a nearby stable. So, this lady just raised American celebrates, so that's what I had to work with. I haven't like since-- and I loved it. But I got attached to like the horse I kind of graduated to I went through, I guess I'll say three horses in the time that I was with her and kind of progressed, his name is Ricky. He was a retired show horse. So, a little bit more like the horse, they start you out on his real forgiving but also not going to be super high performance. So, he was definitely more like touchy, you know. So, with the range, I mean you could like move your pinky to ask him to do something instead of like having to pull it. It's just like that very light touch. So, I'm curious what you would recommend, as a casual horse person very casual because I don't ?? 8:46> to ride. What should I do if I want to ride a horse but I can't own a horse, what would the average person do in your opinion? ASHLEY: Yeah. So, you'd want to research different farms in your area. And just based on my experience, some farms are really friendly to people coming in for casual lessons every now and then. Or just coming out with the farm and hanging out with the horses. There are some farms that like triathlon are more into elite performance, and you're here to ride and show compete and eventually buy a horse and that's it. But I would say in today's market, most farms are just looking for people that want to ride, and enjoy riding, at least, that's what I would hope. And then if you want to get more involved and go down the rabbit trail a little bit more, then sure that's there for you. So, you want to find kind of a farm that fits you and fits your needs. Oftentimes, farms offer lessons, so that would be a good way, kind of as a novice, new some background to get into it is have a couple of lessons. A nice alternative, and when we did this for a while before buying a horse is it's like a car, you can lease. So, an existing horse at a farm that may be used for lessons, you can lease from the farm. JESSE: So, is that, I’ll say it's like fractional ownership or like you can take it to the trail, but you got to bring it back. ASHLEY: Yeah, you can't just go like buck wild and run into the horizon and never come back again. So, you know that can vary. You have the ability to ride the horse more or less when you want to. You do pay for its that bills, it's feed, it's basically your horse. There is usually some fees that are covered by the farm. And then there may be some special agreements where the horse is used for other people's lessons on occasion, but that's a nice, like, kind of get your feet wet, getting your feet in the door. In addition to you know, once you've gone past that, I'm just going to take some casual lessons. Yeah. And it makes the sport so much more accessible for so many people because they're little ones that come out to the farm, and be like, I want to ride ponies. And then next year, it's like, no, I want to do gymnastics. So, you're not going down the slope that you can't get out of it from a financial standpoint. JESSE: Yeah. I think we're kind of kindred spirits in a sense, which is what I said in the beginning. Growing up, I've had so many hobbies it's like, how do I even find time to do all the things I want to do? It’s like I was trying to figure out how can I do this casually, like I love to just be able to like, I've got time, let's go ride on the weekend or something. But it wouldn't be like, every week I can take lessons. So, I’m always just like, from people in the know, how do I get back into this? So Greg, I don't think you've met Richard, but have you met Richard, do you know Richard? ASHLEY: I do know Richard. I have not actually met Richard. It’s more of like I know him through-- [by association’ Yes. So, interesting story about Richard and Richard, if you're watching, thank you for the wheels. So, when I got my initial bike from Blue Sky ,over time, Greg, so I was like using the bikes at the gym for power data and giving that to Greg is kind of like an initial, like, where the hell am I from a standpoint. And so Richard was selling a set of wheels that had a power tap hub. I forget like, this is why date then because I know nothing hardly about bikes. But I had a power chat hub in the rear wheel and Greg put me in contact with Richard and said, hey, would you be interested in buying Richards wheels? I think it would be really beneficial to have power data on your road bike, and then of course on your trainer. So, that way, obviously, I'm not having to go the gym all the time and ride the damn peloton for power data. So, that's how I met Richard, and Richard was really sweet. He mailed, packed, put together, the set of wheels, gave me the wheel case carrier thing. And I've used those wheels on my road bike ever since and it's been-- It was a game changer at the time for my training and continues to be. But I know Richard through through Greg. JESSE: Okay. The reason the reason I ask is because-- So, Richard is a certified yoga instructor and on your Instagram profile you say you're a wannabe Yogi. So, I was like maybe there's this weird like, confluence where Greg, and maybe you and Richard do yoga retreats, and so I was trying to like, dig down and see if there was any-- ASHLEY: I'm not chill enough for yoga. Like I'm still like always trying to find my chill. I'm like two extra for the namaste, but I really try hard. And it's something that both from a mental standpoint, headspace standpoint, and then from like a rehab kind of wellness standpoint, it's integral to what I do, and I just have to make time for it. With all that goes on up here for my main hustle, my residency, it's really hard oftentimes to clear my headspace. And that's something that I've talked to Greg as I've had more experience over the last year with racing, a lot of this stuff transpires to my performance. And have talked about kind of, getting my head out of my butt and getting my head space clear, so that my training shows full - on race day. But now I'm forever trying to cool and be really good at yoga, but it's a work in progress. JESSE: The trick is the hard part because it's like, you have to try to not try but if you're trying you're not not trying. You know what I'm saying? So, it's like you just have to not try and let that headspace go, which is difficult when you're very wrapped up. That reminds me of I had the same problem. And one of my coaches in college, he said to me, and I repeated, I'll call it a quote, but it’s paraphrase, I repeated this quote to an untold number of people. He said, Jesse, do you know why stupid people are so much faster than you? He said, they don't think how much it hurts. They just run. And that really encompasses all because I was like, trying to micromanage all my feelings on every rail. It's like, it's good to be in touch with how you feel. But it's like I said, micromanaging every single feeling on every rep on every corner of the - and it was just too much. And he was just like, just stop with all this, just stop, just run. And anytime I'm overthinking it, come back to that quote from him. Like, that was stupid people are faster than me because they're not thinking so hard. ASHLEY: Yeah. And I think it's hard I mean, for it type A, oftentimes triathletes, those of us who do balance, careers and you know very headspace necessary entailing things on a daily basis. Be it teaching research medicine, dentistry, whatever kung fu. Yeah, that does require the headspace. It's so hard to turn the brain off from the science and tune the brain into what is my body feeling or not, just do it, just go do it. And that's been kind of my mantra. As I've gotten more races under my belt, that have rolling into race being like, okay, is my bike pedal in transition exactly where I wanted to be? Are my cleats laid out exactly where they want to be? I'm going to start the run out exactly like this. I'm going to swim this many strokes and then breathe, and then - No, just go do the damn thing. And the times where I've gone out with that mentality, the performance has been heads and shoulders above any time that I've gone into something and just over thought it. And that's the case in my residency, that was always the case with riding and competing. In fact, my trainer would oftentimes, like if she took a heavy sigh, and a sip of her coffee, you knew the phrase, just stop and the face palm were coming. Yeah. So, I mean, it's something that I think we're constantly struggling with as nerdy athletes. JESSE: I know your boyfriend's probably finishing up with dinner here soon. So, we’ll-- ASHLEY: ...smells really good. I wish my phone had like a scent feature, but it doesn't. JESSE: So, I kind of want to be mindful of that and make sure you're not going to have a cold dinner. You haven't yet seen this question I think because you haven't watched the last part of Greg's-- Greg's episode is not out yet but I asked everybody, because it's such a universal thing. If you can only eat one food for recovery for the rest of your life, what do you choose? ASHLEY: Oh, my God, I can't say cereal. JESSE: We’ll go plan B is cereal. ASHLEY: I could-- So, Greg and I have this joke that I need to eat real-- So, I love - energy strip waffles. I don't know if you've ever had one. If not-- JESSE: But I know what it is. ASHLEY: Yeah, so I've like been weaning myself off of those in my training, so I can't say strip waffle because otherwise Greg will get angry. But I'm going to go with and it's going to be really weird, but sweet potatoes. I mean, essentially, like it's a complex carb, right? You can do a whole lot of things with it, it's pretty Hardy, good beta carotene and I am like when it comes to like favorite foods, seasons, things like that, I'm like, basic white girl like I love fall. And sweet potatoes remind me of fall so I'm going to go with that. JESSE: ?? 20:18> I don’t think I’ve had anybody say sweet potato yet. So, Mark went...potato crowd. Ashley, if people want to follow you and see what you're up to, where can they find you? ASHLEY: Sure. So, I feel like really talking right now... You, follow me on Instagram. I am DDSAA you can follow me on Facebook, Ashley Anderson. You can follow me on Strava, it's always entertaining. Again, Ashley Anderson. I am new. So, this is the first time I've had Skype on my computer since college. If you want to Skype me on Skype, my email. But yeah, that's call me...whatever. JESSE: Sounds good. Thanks for coming on today, Ashley. ASHLEY: Yeah. Thank you so much. JESSE: Okay, so I'll stop the recording. ASHLEY: Okay. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2

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