Thursday, November 29, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal : November

The Lean Green Bean

Foodie Pen Pals is a program where you are matched with a blogger or blog-readern at random from across the United States and get to send and receive food packages. Sort of like those goodie packages you would receive from mom in college. As the Foodie Pen Pal website states, boxes are to be filled with "fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats!... The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!" At the end of the month, you blog about your fun goods for the other participants to see...

Now for my November reveal! And I gotta say...

My Foodie Penpal for November was REALLY awesome.


I mean check out these goods!


What I received:
 
Vegan stuffing
Raw crunch snack bar
Fruit strips & other raw snack bars
Assorted teas & chai
Apple cider drink
Cherry jam
Veggie chips
 
Notice how the apricot bar is empty? That's because I was hungry and ate it before I could take a picture of it :)




The veggie chips didn't last one night. Even the dog enjoyed a little treat :)
BTW - my hubby had been asking for veggie chips for over a month. Thank you foodie pen pal for making him VERY happy.


Included in my package was a bag of vegan stuffing. And, it was perfect for our first ever Thanksgiving as vegetarians!!


This was my first go around at being a Foodie Pen Pal, and it was an awesome experience.

Here's why:

I love food

I love mail
                                     
I love handwritten notes

I received lots of snacks to stash away in my new office for work day munchies

Food is awesome

The End.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Workout of the Day


Workout of the Day:

As the weather gets chillier, more and more people will be moving their workouts inside. I for one, am a huge advocate of strength training to build lean muscle mass. Need some workout inspiration to get you started? Check out this at home workout I wrote up for some of my athletes to do over Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

Warm-up: Do functional exercises or cardio for 5-10 minutes

60 seconds per exercise (unless otherwise noted) 
Repeat Entire Cycle 2-3 Times. Weights are optional.

Wall sit 
Mountain climbers
Wide leg squats
Side plank x both sides
Stationary lunges

Sit-up with oblique rotation
Fire hydrants –20 each leg
Glute kickbacks –20 each leg
Mountain climbers

Wall sit
Bridge
Push ups – 10-15 reps
Mountain climbers
Plank

Burpees
Bicycle
Narrow grip pushups

1 legged squat (put one foot back and on a chair) x both legs – 15-20 reps each
Reverse lunges – 15 -20 reps each
Side lunges -15-20 reps each
Plank w/ rotation side to side

Make sure to stretch upon completion of your workout!!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Survival Guide: Fighting Off Sugar Cravings


Statistics show that the average American eats 130lbs of sugar per year! I'll admit that my intake of sugar has definitely increased in the past week with the start of the holiday season. Between hot chocolate, pumpkin pie, chocolate candy and other delicious goodies, it all adds up quick. And the more I eat, the more I seem to want. Sound familiar? That's because research has shown that sugar has addictive properties and stimulates the same neuro-pathways as cocaine. It is also possible to build up a tolerance to sugar, causing the need to eat more and more for the same 'reward' response. 

Looking to nip your sugar cravings in the bud? See my post below for some tried and true tips for preventing yourself from falling into a sugary coma this holiday season.

Hydrate
Staying well hydrated will keep cravings at bay. Oftentimes, our body's signaling processes get confused and instead of drinking when we're thirsty, we grab a bite to eat. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Staying hydrated throughout the winter months will fight off dry skin, boost your mood and energy levels, and act as a natural deterrent to sugar cravings. **Side note: Be weary of liquid calories! 

Eat Adequate Calories
Basically, don't let your blood sugar drop so low that your sugar cravings become out of control. Eat at regular intervals (I recommend 3 meals and 2 snacks daily) and make sure you're eating adequate calories for your needs. Depriving yourself throughout the day will only lead to ravenous cravings in the evening hours. So if you have a nighttime function to attend, it's best eat nutritiously throughout the day beforehand. If you overeat at a party, choose to cut back a little bit each day for the next few days, rather than depriving yourself within a short time span.

Push the fruits & veggies
Aim for 5-9 servings per day! The more you crowd out junk food with whole foods in your diet, the less frequent and intense your cravings will be. Combine this tip with staying well-hydrated for a power-packed sugar-fighting punch.

Create yourself a menu
Related to the previous two points, knowing what you plan to eat ahead of time can prevent impulsive snacking, which often leads to poor nutritional choices. Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day to write our your meals and snacks and stick to it!

Focus on non-food rewards
Proud of yourself for a recent long run, or for receiving a promotion at work? Avoid using sugar as a reward. Instead, opt for activities that are relaxing or health promoting, such as a massage or long walk. Buy yourself an early christmas present. Either way, the less you can use food as a reward, the better.

Sugar substitutes aren't much better
Be weary before choosing artificial sugars because in reality, there's no quick fix to America's love affair with sugar. Not only are you introducing unnatural substances to your body, but because your body doesn't know how to metabolize these "sugars," recent research shows they may be associated with weight gain and other metabolic disorders. For more information check out this blog post by Dietitian Cassie.

Get plenty of sleep
A jam packed schedule during the holidays can lead to sleep deprivation, which definitely will increase your cravings for sugar. Prioritize what you have going on and maintain your normal sleep schedule to the best of your ability.

Be Realistic
Going "sugar-free" is an ambitious goal, and not realistic for most. Rather than depriving yourself of all sugar, which can lead to increased cravings, choose to practice moderation and keep your intake in check. Some people need to go "cold-turkey," and I say "to each their own." Do what works best for you!

Do you have any additional tips for fighting off your sugar cravings!? If so, please share!

Happy fueling!




Sources:
http://www.kens5.com/news/health/Sugar-and-kids-The-toxic-truth-146588025.html
http://www.dietitiancassie.com/the-truth-on-truvia/,

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dreams Do Come True!

Today my husband ran the NCR marathon near his hometown of Baltimore, MD. 
It was epically awesome... and here's why.


For one... a bunch of our friends were running. That's a great looking bunch!
Of that group, 4 people finished their first marathon and 5 set a new personal record.


Even better... my husband qualified for Boston!



 I forgot to mention that last weekend my dad ran the Philadelphia Marathon... and also qualified! Being the awesome father that he is, he drove up 5 hours just to watch the race (perhaps to see me as well). Together we drove around to the various aid stations to cheer on our friends. I was dubbed the "gu-queen" after bailing out 4 of them with some extra calories at the halfway mark. Dad enjoyed volunteering some by taking trash (empty cups) from racers.


Yup, that's me, my dad, and my husband... 3 weekends, 3 marathons, 3 boston qualifying performances!!

Richmond Marathon                                       Philadelphia Marathon                               NCR Trail Marathon
Running a marathon and going to Boston have been dreams of mine since I was a kid. Ever since I watched my dad first run the Boston Marathon in 1998 (I was 11 yrs old), I knew I wanted to someday return to run it with him. Now, I get to share the experience with the two people who helped me to get there! I have my dad to thank for my running roots and endless encouragement, and my husband to thank for pushing me to do more than I ever thought I would. It doesn't get much more special than that!

Someone made a comment today that we "made it look easy." Maybe so, but it's been a rough journey for each of us. It took us each 3 attempts to qualify (read about my first two attempts here and here). Running a marathon is never easy... covering the distance is a challenge in itself, not to mention all the things that could go wrong! I'm glad we stuck with it and our perseverance paid off. 

So... Boston '14 here we come!! 

What are your dreams? Whatever they are, I hope you stick with them!!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Holiday Survival Guide: Preventing Holiday Weight Gain

frugalnovice.com
Yes, November is more than halfway over and the holidays are just around the corner! Ready or not, stores are stocking up on their Christmas decor and holiday tunes are playing throughout. Over the next month, I will be featuring a series of posts in the form of a Holiday Survival Guide. Today's post is filled with tips on getting through the holidays unscathed. By that I don't mean surviving the Black Friday shopping rush, I mean navigating the inevitable parties and holiday functions while keeping your waistline (and sanity) intact.







#1 - is to PLAN AHEAD!
Aroundtheplate.org recently posted a pin on Pinterest that "healthy eating is 80% planning and 20% follow through." I think they are spot on. Planning ahead for the holidays will prepare you to make nutritionally sound choices. For example:
  • Plan some healthy side dishes to be served at Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • Schedule your workouts on the calendar so you don't miss them. Make a date with yourself (or a friend) and keep it! 
  • Politely ask hosts what types of foods will be at a party ahead of time
  • If attending a potluck, bring a healthy dish that you will enjoy in case few other good (healthy) options are available.
  • Know you can't deal with baked cookies sitting around the house? Wait until you need them to do the baking and avoid making extra.
#2 - Keep up with the exercise!
It's easy to let your normal workout regime fall to the wayside with holiday functions, shopping, family gatherings and travel. However, keeping active will keep the pounds off and give you a little more wiggle room when it comes to indulgences. Even better- make a date with a friend to keep you accountable. The holidays are about spending quality time with family and friends, so choose to do something active together!

#3 - Mind your portion sizes
Whether at a holiday party or sitting down for Christmas dinner, make it a point to only fill your plate once and try to model it off the MyPlate: Aim for 1/2 your plate to be fruits and vegetables, 1/4 to be a source of lean protein and 1/4 to grains.
marieclaire.com

#4 - "Pre-load" before holiday functions
Have a tendency to overeat at potluck luncheons or parties? Research has shown that drinking a glass of water before a meal, or even a salad or bowl of broth-based soup can help curb your appetite and prevent over-eating. I recommend a piece of fruit, string cheese, greek yogurt or light soup as a great snack to help you enter into such situations fueled vs. fasted, which will in turn help you to make healthier choices (similar to the fact that it's not good to go grocery shopping while hungry).

#5 - Be selective with your indulgences
Similar to #1, plan ahead. If you look forward to grandma's deep dish apple pie every Thanksgiving, choose to make this your major indulgence of the week. Relatives' tend to be food-pushers? If it's something you're truly not craving, politely state that you're not hungry or just say no.

#6 - Monitor yourself
Maintain an exercise and food journal over the winter months and weight yourself regularly. If not daily, once or twice a week should suffice. That way, there are no surprises when you step on the scale in January. Self-monitoring will allow your to make adjustments such as exercising more or indulging less and keep you on track to meet your goals.

#7 - Have a goal!
I personally think having an athletic goal that you are working towards in early 2013 is the best way to keep yourself on track. Don't wait until the new year to set all your goals and resolutions - do so now and start working towards it! Sign up for a spring marathon or hit the gym to build some muscle in the winter months. 

#8 - Start a new tradition
Gather the whole family to do a "turkey trot," "jingle bell" or new years' 5k. Go out and do some active volunteer work. Or swap out the post-feast football watching at Thanksgiving for some family flag football! Be creative!

#9 - Practice mindful eating
The holidays are a great time to be more aware of what you're putting in your mouth. Choose to eat while sitting at the table and take your time. Avoid the temptation of holding a conversation by the food table of a party and mindlessly grazing as you talk. Avoid grazing all day long by planning out meals and snacks.

#10 - Eliminate "all or nothing" thinking
SO MANY people will use the weeks leading up to the new year as an excuse to over-indulge with the thought of "I'll start my diet in January." Avoid falling into this trap! Remember that sustainable lifestyle change is a matter of treating you and your body with greater respect. Indulgences are inevitable, so don't beat yourself up if you accidentally overdo it. Put it behind you and vow to do better the next time.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Common Pre-Race Nutrition Mistakes

I realize my marathon my be over, but there's still plenty of endurance events left to round out there year. This weekend I have friends competing in the Star City 1/2 Marathon in Roanoke, VA and my dad will try to Boston qualify at the Philadelphia Marathon. Two weekends from now my husband and many friends will be running the NCR Trail Marathon in Maryland! This one's for you, my friends!

The week leading up to a racing can be pretty daunting. You're nervous, potentially-stressed trying to get everything done before leaving town or worried that you didn't train hard enough. Reality is, the best thing you to ensure your best race in the final days is to rest properly, hydrate, and ensure focus on your nutrition. The miles have already been put in the bank, now it's time to move forward, spend them  wisely and have fun!

Pre-race nutrition will have less of an affect the shorter the race (10k and below), but still should not be ignored. Eating a balanced combination of complex carbohydrates and lean protein at each meal should be sufficient, with emphasis being on diet quality rather than quantity of calories or carbohydrates. For longer races though, how you fuel your body in the days leading up to a race and morning of can greatly impact your performance. Here are some common mistakes and tips to avoid them:

1. Improper carbo-loading

Tapering is a tricky process. Cutting back on miles can leave some people feeling sluggish and as a result, many people cut back on calories to compensate for their lack on activity. Personally, I too used to fear pre-race weight gain from running less and eating more carbohydrate. Reality is, this is the time to top off your glycogen stores to assist your body in delaying race-day fatigue and dehydration.

Get your fuel from complex carbohydrates like these...
Not simple sugars like this.



How to approach it: The key to proper carbo-loading is to increase your carbohydrate intake without increasing your overall caloric intake. Focus on quality, complex carbohydrate sources like fruits, oats, wheat bread, sweet potatoes, rice, cereal and pasta. Make the transition slowly and remember, this is not an excuse to over-indulge on sweets!! According to Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, you should aim for up to 4g of carbohydrate per day for proper pre-race carbo-loading. 

2. Not starting early enough 

Don't wait until the day before the race to start your carbo-load. Stuffing yourself with pasta the night before is not ideal and will likely lead to gastrointestinal distress race morning.

How to approach it: Proper carbo-loading takes place over the span of a week. Build a base by maintaining an adequate daily intake of carbohydrate (55-65% total calories from carbohydrate) to avoid glycogen depletion. 2-3 days before your race, increase your intake to 4g carbohydrate per pound body weight. For a 150lb man, that equates to 600g carbohydrate or 2,400 calories from carbohydrate per day. Ease into change, and drink plenty of water throughout. Some racers find that eating their biggest meal at breakfast or lunch the day before a race works better than at dinner the night before.


3. Inadequate pre-race breakfast and timing


Your pre-race breakfast should be well-rehearsed! Remember to not try anything new race morning by sticking to foods you know your body can tolerate over the long-haul. Training is the time to experiment, not the morning of your race. Pack a meal that travels well and save the expo samples for another day.

Oatmeal with PB, chia seeds and banana is my choice of pre-race breakfast for longer races.
Experiment during training and learn what works best for you!
How to approach it: Practice your pre-race breakfast before a majority of your longer training sessions. That way your body is well adapted to your choice of fuel selections and you can tweak things well before race-day. Aim to eat up to 50g of carbohydrate by the time you reach the starting line. Simple starches that are easy to digest are recommended and complex, fibrous carbohydrates should be avoided. Some suggestions include: bread with PB and banana, oatmeal with berries, energy bar of your choice (low in protein, fat and fiber), cereal or a liquid shake. Aim to consume these calories 1-3 hours before your race, depending on what works best for you.


4. Waiting too long to fuel during the race


When the adrenaline hits in the early stages of your race, it's easy to ignore nutrition because you're feeling great. I've been all too guilty of this in the past! However, it's important to keep the later stages of your race in mind throughout those early miles. The longer you wait to consume calories during a race, the harder it is for the body the catch up.

How to approach it: Spread out your calorie intake and start eating early. Don't skip the first few aid stations, even if you only can get in a sip of water. If possible, break up your food or drink into small portions that you can consume every 15-20 minutes. Have a well-rehearsed plan of what you will eat on race day and carry it with you. I have learned to not rely on the race's provision of food because often times it's not provided early enough or often enough (during my most recent marathon gels were first offered at mile 16). Your goal should be to consume 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour either through liquid nutrition (sports drinks), gels, or simple solid foods such as gels, bananas and oranges.

Adequately fueling for your goal race is essential in optimizing your fitness potential. After putting in months of hard effort, it's important to follow through with proper nutrition that will prevent the dreaded "bonk" and leave you feeling like a rock-star out on the course!

Me fueling early on during the bike portion of an
 international-distance triathlon; circa 2007.

Happy Fueling!!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Race Report: Richmond Marathon...And Qualifying for BOSTON!

If you read my previous post, Thoughts on Richmond, you know that I went into this race with no expectation of pushing myself for a stellar performance. And I maintained that attitude the rest of the week. After the race, my husband asked me when I knew it was going to be a great race. I honestly did not realize it until around the 18-20 mile mark.


Rewind to race morning: I was relieved to had made it to Richmond and get in a decent nights rest. My dad, sister and I stayed at the Crown Plaza downtown, nice and convenient to the race start and finish! Way back when, I convinced my sister to run the half-marathon and my dad the 8k so as to make this a family event. I'm glad I did!! My dad got us both into running when we were young (10 & 12 years old) and it's always been a special bond between us. 

At the starting line, chill (literally) and relaxed.
Race start:  I tracked down my friend Robbie, who was running this as his first marathon, and lined up. Except, with me being so short, I lost him in the crowd and spend the first two miles of the race trying to track him down! 

The first few miles chugged along. Honestly, they did not feel great. My lingering hip pain was giving me trouble and I was afraid it would only get worst. The pace felt decent, but not great like previous marathons. I was enjoying the crowd though. We reached mile 5 after what seemed like an eternity and I said out loud, "Whelp, only 21 more to go!" People laughed. Everyone around me seemed relaxed! We eventually made it to the first bridge at mile 8 and here I really loosened up. The view was incredible, we were running with a group of people who were having fun and I decided I was too. Though our goal pace was 8:30's through the first half, we were running closer to 8:10's on a consistent basis and feeling good.

Bridge crossing near mile 8. Thanks to Robbie for the phone pics!
Miles 10-13 were along the river and were a treat. The temperature was a little cooler and I just took in the scenery. Around me I could tell people were starting to get more serious. I was a growing anxious as we approached the half-way mark: Excited at the thought of being on pace for a 3:35, yet scared that I had made the mistake of once again going out too fast. We ran through mile 13.1 in 1:48. Mile 14 was exhilarating because of the incredible crowd lining the street and here we picked it up to one of our fastest miles, around 8:00. 

The crowd really pumped me up. My 13.1 time pumped me up. I was starting to feel great and the race was going well. I still did not expect anything amazing though... I've run enough of these now to respect the final miles and know anything could happen. I tried to hold steady and looked forward to mile 17, where I knew I would next see my husband. Robbie told me to go on after the aid station at mile 15, so I did. I was anxious approaching the bridge because people said it was one long hill. Such hills have killed me in previous races, but honestly, I didn't even feel this one! I was starting to pass a good amount of people. At the end of the bridge I passed my husband and gave him my empty fuel belt. He said a friend of ours was just ahead and I should try to catch him.

Mile 17 Bridge Crossing
The next few miles were a blur. I was running well, but fully aware that the hardest miles were still to come. I was also concerned with the warming temperature that I would soon start cramping. Miles 18-20 were run in fear... this is where my previous races have gone downhill (and very quickly). Just when I needed it most a friend of ours, David Horton, road up next to me on his bike and we talked for a minute or so. That was a nice break and very encouraging! 18, 19, 20... it actually felt like the miles were going by more quickly now.

Around mile 20 we turned a corner and so did my race. I looked at my watch a saw I was on pace to do something great. I also had a good cushion to still set a PR if I faded in the final miles. I decided to take my chances and push the pace, but it wasn't until mile 22 that I really turned the engines on. I had 4.2 miles to go and 35 minutes to get there if I wanted to BQ. Instead of focusing on the finish line, I was determined to get to mile 25. I was told the last mile was downhill and figured adrenaline would carry me the rest of the way. I continued to pass a good amount of people and grab water cups whenever possible. Somewhere in there I started to feel sick and cramp, but luckily this passed pretty quickly.

Approaching the finish line and feeling great!
I kept trying to do pace calculations in my head, but was much too tired to think that clearly. Instead, I decided to focus on my turnover and staying relaxed. I conquered one mile at a time: 4, 3, 2... 1 to go. The closer I got to the finish line, the more excited I grew. At mile 25, I had 11 minutes to finish if I wanted to Boston Qualify. At this point, I knew I had it in the bag. I high-fived a friend along the course and was smiling ear to ear. I turned the final corner of the race and sprinted down the hill. I heard my husband cheering and the crowd was amazing. It was a tunnel of yelling fans. When I saw the finish, I put my hands up in victory. I had finally conquered the marathon and it felt AMAZING. I had finally run a strong 2nd half and as a result set an 11 minute PR -- qualifying for the Boston Marathon was really just icing on the cake!


Looking back on my pre-race thoughts, I stated "My plan for Richmond is not to strive for a stellar performance. I have no intentions of qualifying for Boston, or even setting a PR... my main goal is to go out and have fun, run a conservative race, and stay strong through the final 6-8 miles." I truly meant those words. I stayed relax and had fun, I ran a conservative first half and my final 10k was the fastest of the entire race. Things certainly went a lot better than expected.

Part of me wants to think, "Do I deserve this race?" But I quickly remember that yes, I do. This race was the culmination of a year's worth of solid training (other than my 2 month break). I may not have put myself through a killer training cycle this fall, but the miles and workouts I put in earlier in the year certainly contributed to my success. This was my third "attempt" to qualify for Boston, and my persistence finally paid off. I feel like I conquered the marathon and as a result am floating on air!!

As always, I'd like to thank everyone that has ever supported and encouraged me. Most of all, I'd like to thank my husband for pushing me to do this and not letting me give up. [Now the pressure is on and it's HIS turn to qualify for Boston 2014].


Monday, November 5, 2012

Thoughts on Richmond

A lot has been on my mind lately regarding the Richmond Marathon. Perhaps because it's only 6 days away now?!! For one, I cannot believe this is my 4th marathon (+) distance for the year (Holiday Lake 50k, Rock n' Roll USA Marathon, Eastern Divide 50k, and now Richmond). For someone who used to shutter at the thought of running more than 10 miles, it's quite a cool feeling!

Training for Richmond has not exactly gone according to plan. I kicked off the training cycle with the Eastern Divide 50k. It was the middle of the summer and HOT. I had high ambitions of redeeming myself from my disappointment at Rock n' Roll in the spring, and was bound and determined that I would finally get the Boston qualification I've been striving for. But my life (and body) had other plans. I had trouble adapting to the summer heat, was traveling for work most weekends and my life was full of uncertainty concerning full-time jobs and where we would be living by the fall. When I was finally honest with myself, I realized I was burnt out. It became apparent that I was expecting too much and needed to take a break. In the past I have faced this same situation, except I relentlessly pushed forward and suffered major consequences. I was not willing to go down that road again.

Throughout August Jordan and I were essentially living on the road. Early September finally brought the stability I had been craving: We moved to Blacksburg and my husband took his first job as a physical therapist! Before I had realized it though, I had taken 6-8 weeks off from any structured running. Richmond had been the last thing on my mind, yet the time had come for me to decide whether or not I would run it, switch to the half marathon, or defer until 2013. I wanted to settle for the most comfortable option by switching to the half marathon, but my husband, being the motivating, affirming and crazy person that he is said, "I think if you start training for the marathon now you'll go into the race fresh and not overtrained." Wise words, but I didn't want to listen to him because such an idea was outside my comfort zone. In the past, I've lived in a world of black or white-- either I was well trained and would do the race, or I was not prepared and would not.

Long story short, I decided to start training towards the marathon but with the intention of building a base for a strong marathon performance come spring 2013. And this is still my intention. In the past 8 weeks, I  have covered long runs of 14, 16, 18, and 21 miles. Some runs have felt effortless and many have been a struggle. Regardless, I am grateful for how quickly my body has regained the fitness I worked so hard to attain this past spring. I am no where near the shape I was going into the Rock n' Roll Marathon, but my love for running and the willingness to push myself to new limits has returned.

As I said, Richmond is now 6 days away. Though I am not as prepared as I'd like to be, I am excited to race and blessed for the opportunity to do so. Running is a gift -- it brings me happiness each day, leaves me with a feeling of accomplishment, helps to relieve stress and is a source of camaraderie between so many people. My dad, who is 63 and running the Philadelphia Marathon in two weeks, is running the best that he has in years. Countless friends will be running Richmond as their first marathon. My husband will be running one of his favorite races, the Hellgate 100k, in early December. These things also make me happy. Finally, reading all the stories about the NYC Marathon cancellation and the people who either ran on their own or volunteered on Staten Island has reminded me that running and racing is not just about me, or winning, or hitting a specific time. It's the journey that matters most. It's about believing in yourself and others, community, health, setting a positive example, striving for something great and learning about yourself in the process.

Unlike my previous two marathons, my plan for Richmond is not to strive for a stellar performance. I have no intentions of qualifying for Boston, or even setting a PR. This sort of pressure has not faired too well in the past -- I get over-ambitious and go out to fast, bonk, then look back on my race with disappointment. I have time goals for Richmond- I would love to be in the 3:40-3:50 range, but my main goal is to go out and have fun, run a conservative race, and stay strong through the final 6-8 miles. I plan to look for as many familiar faces as I can find, offer up encouragement to others, and sit back and remember why I love running. Who knows... maybe I'll even enjoy a treat at one of party aid stations. I want to get the full experience of racing in America's Friendliest Marathon!

For everyone else racing in Richmond this weekend, see you out there and good luck! When the race gets tough, I hope you will dig deep and remember all the reasons why you love to run.


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