Ashmei Ambassador Day 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Last weekend was pretty awesome.  I spent much of it running with like-minded people and exploring new neighborhoods.  Oh, and I got my photo taken with Mo Farah (but more on that later).

Last year, I met Stuart and his Airstream at the Dorney Lake Duathlon. He had me at merino really, but I wasn't in a position to invest in new kit just yet.  When I heard Ashemi was looking for new ambassadors, I was keen to get involved.

Saturday I visited Aldbury, Herts for the first time.  Toto, I wasn't in London anymore.  I was surrounded by green fields, a small village, and an Airstream campervan at the Ashmei Headquarters.  It is a very cool open space in a converted barn.  Plus it was full of bicycles, running kit, and Ashmei clothes of course.

My new socks!
On the way up, I met up with The Fit Advisor, Helena, on the train.  It was fun to meet another fitness-minded individual who was up for new challenges and sporty activities.  We weren't sure what to expect at the ambassador day but were excited to meet some new people and see what Ashmei was all about.

Matt, the Bald Runner, picked us up at the train station and drove us the embarrassingly short distance to Ashmei.  We noticed a guy (who ended up being named Guy) was running from the train station and he arrived at the same time as we overshot the driveway.

The Fit Advisor's selfie above the salt mine
We were welcomed by fruit, pastries, mounds of Ferrero Rocher, and reps from Freestak and Ashemi.  Stuart, the founder and designer of Ashmei, took us through their innovative technology and signature design points.  He aims for performance over everything, followed by quality and style.  Although the price point is a bit higher than other brands, Ashmei is worth every penny.  Long time readers of this blog know I am a big fan of merino wool.  Ashmei uses merino in their clothing with a unique feature of added carbon to help the clothes dry faster, regulate your body temperature, and avoid post-workout stink.  Stuart generously gifted each of us a pair of socks to try out on the physical bit of the day.

We were supposed to make a funny face.
Attendees were divided into a running or cycling group for an hour long excursion around the local area.  I headed out with about 20 others on a scenic run along trails, up hills, alongside a 16 mile trail race, and passed a salt mine.  It was fun to run in a new place (the views were incredible but I left my phone with my bag) with so many friendly people who just love to run.  I tried to talk to as many people in the group as possible, hoping to get some good marathon training tips and suggestions on places to run throughout the UK.

We ran just over 5 miles at a nice social pace (see my Strava feed for the route). The energy in the air was electric.  We watched out for each other when we got spread out along narrow bits of the trail, and stepped to the side to cheer on the runners in the trail race.  No ego.  No competition.  Just fresh air, mud, and a love of running.

Back at the HQ, we didn't have to wait long for the cyclists to return.  We ate more, talked more and then packed up.  It would have been a lot of fun to head to the pub as I didn't get much of a chance to talk to the cyclists, but I think I could done a bit more networking.  (Lesson learned for next time!) It was overwhelming in a way as I didn't know anyone and many of the other athletes were ultrarunners, on Team GB for triathlons, etc.  Talk about being out of my league!

On the way home, I chatted with a bunch of other candidates and I have since started following most of them on social media.  I am grateful to have connected with my new friends and look forward to running with them again soon along a new trail.

Group shot in the cold. Woop!

Check out a short video of our run, filmed and edited by James MacKeddie, of Running Without Fear.  This is proof I need to strengthen my glutes and hamstrings to pick my heels up off the ground.

Big thank you to Freestak and Ashmei for inviting me up for the day and considering me as a potential ambassador.  Hope to hear from you soon ;)

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