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My First Blog Post

Wellness

The quality or state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal.

— Merriam-Webster

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been chasing wellness most of my adult life in some way. It’s one of the reasons I chose to become a physical therapist. I wanted to also help others feel well, and it’s not always about medicine. I’ve also been some version of vegetarian my entire adult life, finally making the full jump to vegan over two years ago.

What exactly does it mean, though, to feel well? One could argue that there are many facets to wellness. It’s not just about your physical well-being, but also social, spiritual, emotional, and environmental factors. If one of these is off, you feel unsettled. And sometimes it’s challenging to figure out which one of these elements is the culprit.

We tend to focus on physical wellness, right? What’s my cholesterol? How many medications do I rely on to stay healthy? How can I better manage my chronic diseases? How can I achieve and maintain a healthy weight?  How can I keep up with my kids?

I know I asked myself these questions when I first began my own wellness journey. I was overweight after having 2 kids, dealing with persistent pain, and wearing the largest size clothes in my life. Not exactly great for my emotional wellness! Does this story sound familiar?

So I began with a goal. My goal was to lose weight. 30 lbs to be exact. I started making use of my YMCA membership and used the food and activity tracker myfitnesspal to reach my goal. It took me about a year to lose the weight, but I knew I wanted to keep working toward better fitness. I was already bored with gym equipment.

In the lobby of my local YMCA, I saw a flyer for a local 5k, the Ashland Harvest Run held every October. Running 3.1 miles seemed like a daunting, yet achievable task. The best way to reach a goal is to break it down into smaller ones. I worked toward running a mile without stopping, then 2 miles. And then it was race day. I ran/walked the entire thing, finishing in the middle of the pack! It was so exciting… the whole race experience, meeting my goal, and performing better than I expected. I officially caught the running bug that day. A friend of mine convinced me to join the Sports Backers/YMCA 10k training team, and this is where I met one of my best friends. She would convince me that I was capable of even more… the marathon. A few training teams later, we have a solid crew of running sisters… sole sisters… and my life is exponentially better because of them! So great for my social wellness! I have now completed 6 marathons. I’m currently training for number 7, the Marine Corps Marathon. I’m also now a coach with the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team with Pink Nation.  

What other crazy do I do, you ask? Well, my journey inspired my husband to find his tribe, too, and he started like me at our local YMCA. He eventually found his way to CrossFit, and he is now a level 1 trainer. I told him I would never try CrossFit unless he opened his own gym. In July of 2017, I had to eat my words, because he started a box with some business partners! He has even competed at the Masters level with some success, placing first in the Festivus games and third in the SuperFit games in 2018. We have since left this business endeavor, but Ralph is working out at a new box and focusing on being an athlete for a bit.

I enjoy the new challenges of CrossFit. Everyone is good at something in the box. Maybe you can’t do handstands, but you can lift weight! Maybe I can’t lift as much as you, but I can do pistol squats! The day I climbed that rope for the first time… well, I felt like Shalane Flannagan crossing the finish line of the NYC marathon! But the best part about CrossFit? It’s been great for our marriage.

I’m also spending some time fostering my creativity. I’ve recently launched a tie-dye shirt business, and I am dabbling in turning my favorite quotes into mixed media art. I hope to sell these at some point as well.

So, here I am. A 44 year old mother of two, married to a talented CrossFit coach, working as a physical therapist, 6 time marathoner, Vegan, artist, and sometimes CrossFit athlete. This sounds more impressive on paper than it really is. This is just me, chasing wellness.

Through this blog, I hope you find inspiration in your own journey. I plan to share with you recipes, running stories and tips, CrossFit stories, vegan tips, nutrition information, fitness clothing reviews, vegan food reviews, a bit of art, and fun features of living in Richmond! Thanks for reading!

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Staycation

Last year during my vacation at the beach, I wrote an essay that was a commentary about our capitalistic society and how it makes us feel guilty for taking time off; as if none of us deserve it and being unproductive is shameful. At least, this is how I’ve always been made to feel. 

I’m pretty sure karma decided to pay me back for that commentary this year. Instead of my scheduled beach trip, I got Covid. So instead of the family going to the beach with my in-laws, we all stayed home. 

I wish I could say that after more than a week of having a fever, I was feeling better. I’ve seen some improvement, but overall, this is going to be a long road. Curiously, I’ve been bradycardic. Most of the patients I have seen with Covid have the opposite problem. My heart rate is typically low anyway, but not in the 40’s as it is now. I’m sure that’s contributing to my low energy. I’ve had the added bonus of being in a part of the minority of those with Covid who have daily episodes of hives with this. And things taste weird. For example, ketchup tastes like potpourri.  I’m double vaxxed and boosted, so I can’t imagine how bad this would have been without that bit of defense. Luckily, my older daughter had just recovered from it, quarantining with a friend who also had it, and the rest of my family were fine. I’m just mad that I didn’t get to go anywhere this summer. 

So, did I accomplish anything during my forced staycation, mostly confined to my bedroom?

Well, for starters, it seems that a neighborhood feral cat has adopted us. Any time I have spent outdoors sitting on the porch, I was greeted by this fellow. He’s an orange tabby that my kids have named Chicken Nugget. One thing I know for sure, cats choose people. He now has a bed and food. My husband seemingly has ultimate veto power and is resisting making this fur baby an official part of the family. Our dog, Ellie, is extremely curious. They have even spent time together on the porch, mostly peacefully. 

He’s trying so hard to adopt us. This is Chicken Nugget.

I have also successfully viewed the entire season of Parks and Recreation. I never got into this show when it aired on TV. But someone recently told me that it’s one of those shows that starts off kind of slow. The first season was not its best. But once you got into subsequent seasons, it got so much better!

Leslie Knope has to be one of the most inspiring sitcom characters ever. Her dedication to public service and eternal optimistic idealism are things to be admired. One of my favorite quotes:

“Now go find your team. Get to work. Whatever that work is that you find worth doing. Do it, and find some people to love who’ll do it with you.”

Leslie Knope

Mostly, I’ve just been lonely. For sure, I’m an introvert. But there’s only so much TV one can stream while isolating in one room. I tried to read a book, but couldn’t concentrate on it. I didn’t even get to run with my team this week. Although there’s no way I could run 12 miles right now, which was what was scheduled, I sure do miss my team. 

The longer I feel bad, the more I see my fall running goals evaporate. I’m supposed to run a half marathon in 2 weeks. I have 3.5 hours to do it. I have to remind myself that I had what was most likely Covid 2 years ago and was way sicker. I still managed to run a marathon that fall. So I have a sliver of hope. 

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Lead photo is a view of the marsh as seen on a run last year at Cherry Grove Beach, SC.

It’s a rainy day here in Virginia. Matches my mood. If you’ve had the latest Omicron variant, let me know how you are doing. Although this definitely isn’t the sickest I’ve ever been, the duration of the symptoms is what is bothering me. 

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Oh, my. The news.

It’s a bit overwhelming right now. 

Between the sudden escalation in the investigation into our former president and my own county making the news for continued discriminatory practices, there’s been not a dull moment. 

I have lots to say about all of it, but I will try my best to leave my judgment out of it, and I’ll let you decide. Just follow the links.

First, our local NAACP president wrote a letter to our board of supervisors asking them to reconsider their recent appointment to the school board. This newly minted school board member took great offense to this statement. Made the news. 

Next, our professional development seminar for teachers leading into this new school year designed a logo that to some, resembled a swastika. This was printed on t-shirts, and images were posted to social media. After swift backlash from the community ensued, our superintendent quickly issued an apology, blaming the incident on the teacher who created the design. No plan to investigate the matter further has been announced. This made national news. 

Lastly, our school board has been working with faith based organization the Alliance Defending Freedom on developing an answer to Virginia state guidelines in addressing transgender rights. The proposal will require transgender students to apply to use the bathroom of their gender identity. The application includes a criminal background check. After all materials have been submitted, the school board will meet, discuss, and decide on a case by case basis. Made the local news. 

All of this negative press distracts from all of the good that actually happens in our county schools. Hanover is full of hard working, talented, and caring teachers and administrators who really do want the best for our kids. My own children have benefited from a solid education in this system. Our educators are the real heroes in this story. I just wish more resources were being devoted to education than to defending discriminatory policies. It’s what our students and teachers deserve.

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We’ll see what happens with all of this. Still not convinced that justice will prevail right now, but I have to have a sliver of hope. 

For the record, I stand behind our NAACP president and the work of the Hanover NAACP, I gasped out loud when I saw the logo, I believe firmly in the separation of church and state as outlined in the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and disagree with the proposed transgender student policy. Hanover County needs a diversity director, and our stunning frequency in making the news for discriminatory practices is proof.

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Bruster’s Ice Cream: Vegan Restaurant Review

I scream, you scream, we all scream for… Did someone say vegan ice cream? 

As a kid, my brother and I would always look forward to our occasional trips to High’s Ice Cream, our neighborhood ice cream parlor back in the 80’s. I still remember the way it smelled, the twirling bar stools, and the pink bubble gum ice cream I would always order. 

When my husband and I started raising our own family, our local place became Bruster’s. Bruster’s has over 200 locations in 22 states, with 6 in the Richmond metro area. They even offer a special pup cup with vanilla ice cream and a doggie bone for your four legged family members!

Going vegan meant the end of these trips for me. One of the most isolating feelings as a vegan is not being able to enjoy a trip to the local ice cream shop with your omnivorous family for a cool treat on a warm summer’s day. Eating sorbet or a coconut milk based non-dairy treat just doesn’t cut it some days. You just simply want something that tastes more like you remember as a kid, and in flavors that are more creative than plain chocolate or vanilla. 

Thankfully, Bruster’s has now answered this call! I happened to be running errands near the Robious Road location a few weeks ago, and I decided to stop in for a visit. They have a very active Instagram page and have been enticing me to visit with their multiple, new vegan flavors, all made with oat milk! Although this visit, the flavor choices weren’t their most interesting, they did have 4 options: vanilla, chocolate, banana, and coffee. I got a scoop of chocolate and coffee.

Upon first bite, I couldn’t believe this was vegan ice cream! It was so very creamy and delicious! I told the young man who helped me with my order that I had come to their store solely because their social media campaign was so compelling. He actually apologized for not having one of their more original vegan flavors available that day. (They have 14 on rotation, with at least 4 flavors available each day!) I lamented that my most recent visit to the location closest to me did not have any oat milk based varieties that time. 

Two scoops of vegan ice cream: Coffee on top of chocolate!

However, it seems my local Staples Mill store is beginning to catch on! I went there with my daughters the week after visiting the Robious location, and they had 2 vegan flavors on the menu. With a choice between chocolate and chocolate chip, I chose the chocolate chip. I enjoyed this just as much as the coffee and chocolate combo! The girl who helped me said they are now going to try to have 2 vegan flavors each day. I’m so grateful! Because the Robious Road location is about 40 minutes from my house!

So, vegan friends, if you have a craving for old fashioned ice cream, look no further than Bruster’s. Their vegan varieties are so delicious, so rich and creamy, it will make you tear up with joy! And, no, I’m not kidding. I will definitely be back!

Chocolate chip!

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Do you miss real ice cream as a vegan? I forgot how good it is! Sure, I can get pints of store bought non-dairy ice cream at my local grocery, but there’s something special about going to the local ice cream shop! Thank you, Bruster’s, for offering vegan flavors!

Lead photo is from my last trip to Bruster’s. That’s coffee chocolate chip oat milk ice cream!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Jumping for Better Running

If you’ve been running for a while, hopefully you’ve learned that cross-training and strength training complement your running workouts and decrease your likelihood of injury. Another great group of exercises to add to your repertoire of activities is plyometrics. 

What are plyometrics, you ask? The goal of these fast, power moves are to:

  • Incorporate fast twitch muscle fibers
  • Improve coordination
  • Improve efficiency with turnover and cadence
  • Improve stability
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness

There are multiple power moves you can incorporate into your strength training days, including jump squats, jump lunges, box jumps, and burpees, but a more familiar plyometric activity that might even take you back to your elementary school days is simply jumping rope! (Any other 80’s kids remember Jump Rope for Heart?) 

Jumping rope takes a small amount of space, is a highly effective cardio workout, improves endurance, and definitely works on that quick turnover we need to improve our speed with running. When jumping rope, your body recruits your calves, quads, and glutes primarily, but you also need your core to be stable to maintain an upright posture and utilize your arms to turn the rope. It’s a full body workout!

If you’re not used to jumping rope, it may take a bit of practice to feel comfortable coordinating the movement. Not only that, but it may surprise you by how taxing this activity is on your cardiopulmonary system. It can be humbling, for sure!

During my CrossFit days, I became reacquainted with jumping rope, even learning how to do double unders! I never got great at these, but at least I could do them! I finally ordered myself a custom jump rope from Double Under Wonder, and I love it! This was a beginning of the pandemic purchase that I have never regretted, and a perfect accessory for my home gym. I chose all pink (go figure!) with plastic handles, and it’s sized for my height, removing much of the frustration from jumping rope! 

Jumping rope in my garage gym.

I currently add single unders to every cross training workout. I started the month of June doing my own fitness challenge of 100 single unders a day, and that lasted a couple of weeks. It only took a couple of minutes out of my day, and once I did this, I was more likely to find the motivation to work on something else in my home gym. 

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your cross training workouts, add some plyometrics! Jumping rope is a great place to start. 

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If you’re training for a fall marathon, you have likely reached the point that you are running double digits for your long runs. You should already be in maintenance mode for your strength training! Adding plyometrics can be a safer way to add a new challenge to these workouts. 

If you are interested in checking out Double Under Wonder jump ropes, I have a discount code for you! Use code ANNETHEVEGAN.

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Baba Ganoush Mediterranean Grill: Vegan Restaurant Review

On the agenda this summer are multiple tours of Virginia universities as my younger daughter contemplates her choices entering her senior year of high school. This week, we decided to tour the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. 

As is customary when touring a college, you must sample the cuisine of a local restaurant! A quick Google search of “vegan friendly restaurants near University of Mary Washington” resulted in several choices, but none as appealing as Baba Ganoush Mediterranean Grill. Google said it was ½ mile from campus, but it was literally right across the street on route 1. 

Inside the restaurant

Walking up to the restaurant, we noted the outdoor seating, and were greeted by an eclectic decor inside featuring beautiful lighting. The staff were super friendly, and even shared samples of the day’s special: an eggplant dish that happened to be vegan. Although delicious, I had my heart set on the falafel! This restaurant serves 2 versions: Egyptian and traditional. I opted for traditional. 

The falafel bowl

Falafel can be served as a wrap, plate, or bowl, and I chose the bowl. I had already explained to the person helping us that I was vegan, and as always, I was a bit worried that my meal would arrive at the table with something I couldn’t have. But I had no need to worry! My bowl arrived with a bed of rice, which was wonderfully sticky and seasoned with cumin, 4 traditional falafel balls, a side of salad, and two different tahini based sauces. He also included a sample of house made hummus and a piece of Egyptian falafel! At $8.95, this meal was a steal. I couldn’t even finish it all. Everything was super fresh and absolutely delicious!

You may be wondering what the difference is between traditional and Egyptian falafel. I did, too. They explained that traditional falafel is made from chickpeas, while Egyptian falafel is made from fava beans and has sesame seeds, too. Both were yummy!

Traditional falafel

Although I didn’t ask if any other menu items are vegan, they do also have vegetable Korma, Sagg, and Biryani on the menu. I may have to try one of these dishes next time, along with their dolmas. My daughter really enjoyed Mary Washington, so I’m anticipating another trip there in the near future as she finalizes her choice of schools. Hopefully I will get my chance to try something new! 

If you happen to be traveling on I95 and are driving through Fredericksburg, you should definitely stop here for a meal. The food is outstanding, the service is super friendly, and the value is very good. We mentioned our dining experience with the reps in the admissions office at UMW, and they offered their eager approval! It’s a favorite of theirs, too. I will definitely be back!

Lighting inside the restaurant

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I love finding new places to eat, especially while traveling. This restaurant is definitely worth visiting!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

All Creatures Great and Small

Sunday morning after my 10 mile run, I hung out with my fellow coaches for a bit, which is customary for us. I kept being bothered by a fly. I’m sure my stench after the effort of those hot and humid miles was irresistible to him.  

But when I got to my car to drive home, I didn’t expect that he would follow me in! Not only that, but he wouldn’t leave through the cracked open window. He made it all the way home with me. Naturally, when I opened the door again, he followed me out. 

Now I’m wondering if he feels happy or sad about his trip? He’s like, what, 15 miles from home? Did he have friends, family, etc. there? And then, as annoying as he was the whole ride home, I started to feel sorry for the guy. Or perhaps this is exactly what he wanted: a great escape.

The other weekend, I was in the bathroom at the stadium before our team’s group run, and I noticed a lightning bug was lost! I easily convinced her to climb onto my hand, and I took her outside. She hung out for longer than I thought she would, but I eventually convinced her to find a new resting spot on a fence. She was simply in the wrong place. 

I now do this for spiders, too. No longer something to fear, especially if it’s not a poisonous variety, I’m the girl who takes the sheet of paper and cup, gently scoops up the critter, and lets him free outside. 

I’ve evolved into one of those vegans who rescues bugs. How did I get here? 

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The longer I’m vegan, the more I realize the value of all living things. A biologist at heart, I know that even the smallest insect has its place in the universe. 

The lead photo for this piece is the actual lightning bug I rescued from the bathroom before our group run!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Hurley’s Tavern: Vegan Restaurant Review

This unassuming pub is nestled in a strip mall in Innsbrook on the West End of Henrico. I first heard about it on the RVA Vegans Facebook page, so I decided I needed to check it out at some point. Last weekend, my daughter wanted to go out for lunch, so we hit up Hurley’s for some vegan and omni-friendly cuisine!

The tavern itself is a little disheveled right now. It’s undergoing a bit of a makeover. But for vegans, this is very, very good news. They are adding a separate vegan kitchen and an all vegan to-go shop in the front of the restaurant! They currently have a separate fryer and cookware for their vegan menu items in their main kitchen. 

The menu at Hurley’s Tavern

The staff today were so helpful, and they were very excited that we were there to specifically try some vegan eats! I would describe their meal options as classy bar food. There are several vegan options on the menu, most based on Beyond burger products or their house made vegan black bean patties. I opted to try their fried green tomatillos, which were served with a spicy remoulade sauce, and the black bean burger wrap, which came with house made chips. All vegan! The tomatillos and the house made chips themselves were a good enough reason to visit! The black bean patty was also very good. Past daily specials have included homemade seitan “chicken” nuggets, which received rave reviews in the RVA Vegans Facebook group. 

Fried green tomatillos

Since they are a tavern, Hurley’s also has a wide variety of adult beverages on tap and drink specials. Saturday’s drink special was $4 bloody Mary’s and mimosas! I was good and stuck to water. (This Sunday was the first double digit run of marathon training season, with high heat and humidity forecast. I had good reason to behave!)

All in all, dining at Hurley’s was a great experience. The staff were nice and knowledgeable about their menu and cooking methods, the decor has character, and the food was excellent. There are multiple options to make both vegans and omnivores happy. I will definitely be back, and I’m super excited for the new vegan market! If you are ever in the Short Pump or Innsbrook area in the RVA, you should absolutely give this place a try!

Black bean patty wrap with house made chips

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It’s always unexpected and fun to discover a new vegan friendly restaurant so close to home, and especially one that is locally owned. I especially love the care that Hurley’s takes to ensure that there is limited cross-contamination with non-vegan items in their kitchen. I’m so glad I heard about them on Facebook! I’ll definitely be back.

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Race Recap: The Cul-de-Sac 5k Series 

Just like the Ashland Half Marathon, this is another super hot summer race that I love to hate! And just like last year’s rebranding of the Patrick Henry Half to the Ashland Half made me sign up to run for the new swag, the promise of a pair of Goodr sunglasses was just enough temptation to  lure me in for this race series. 

This is an event that we strongly encourage our runners on our marathon training teams to participate in. It gives you not only the opportunity to get one of your 3 mile runs from the training schedule completed, but also some practice racing. This event typically attracts a few pretty talented athletes, too!

With my friend and Olympian, Maria Elena

Held on the first 3 Monday evenings in July, the Richmond Road Runners Club hosts this race series in the Wyndham neighborhood in Henrico County. As you can imagine, conditions are typically hot and humid, and may even be interrupted by thunderstorms. This year, we kind of lucked out. Conditions for the first two nights were really decent for Virginia summers! Low to mid 80’s with fairly low humidity. But the final night was brutal: 93 degrees with 50% humidity with a feels-like temperature of 102 degrees. Yikes!

Conditions at race time on the last evening as documented by my weather app!

Despite all of the challenges of this race, I managed to run all 3 nights without stopping to walk. I surprised myself! The course winds in and out 3 cul de sacs. I only see the leaders in that first loop. After that, they make so much headway, I never see them again. After navigating those, we traverse some long, gentle hills to make our way back to the start/finish at a local elementary school. 

Jeff Van Horn, one of the owners of Lucky Road Run Shop, greeting us with ice pops after the race.

At the finish, we were rewarded with fresh cut watermelon from Hanover Vegetable Farm, ice pops from Lucky Road Run Shop, cold towels, a cooling station, and Gratisfied bars. But the real reward came after running all 3 races. Those Goodr sunglasses were worth it! If you are an RRRC member, the series costs $20. The retail value of the glasses is $25! Since I have to get in a 3 mile run each of those weeks for marathon training anyway, it all worked out! Hoping next year’s swag is just as awesome!

With fellow Pink Nation coaches Chris, Dawn, and Malerie

Even with the heat and humidity, it was tons of fun hanging out with the Richmond running community! In fact, many of my friends ran the event virtually, and showed up in person to volunteer. (See… virtual races are a good thing!)

The race swag!

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Will I run this race series again next year? We shall see. It’s another event Richmond runners love to hate!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Magic Hour

Having a day off means I’m less motivated to wake up early to run in the summer. Regardless of the benefit of running early, sometimes before the sun rises, some days my body simply craves sleep. And so I listen. 

But on days that I do awaken to that pre-dawn alarm because I need to run before work or with my training team, I find that even though the temperatures are cooler, the humidity can be brutal in the summer. Something happens in the Virginia air at night to hold on to moisture; it can be so thick, every breath seems to knit a new stitch of a sweater lining your lungs. As if the air were a sponge, so saturated that you could wring out the water. The atmosphere is simply stagnant, and the only appreciable breeze is the one you create yourself.

Pausing for a selfie while running one of my favorite little trails!

Occasionally, like the other morning, I set out for a run in what seems to be the magic hour of summer. Sometime in the mid-morning, like 9:00ish, something happens. As the sun warms the air, it stirs the atmosphere, and winds finally begin to move. With temperatures still not blazing hot, the winds cut the humidity, and the cool and warm air masses start to have a conversation. 

As I seek the shade of the trails on my run, entering the woods seems to drop the temperature by at least 10 degrees. And as the conversation of the parts of the opposing air masses continue, I can feel the dance of the cold and the warm as they embrace each other, my skin being the beneficiary of this performance. It’s actually glorious. 

Despite my lack of discipline in forcing myself to wake up in the pre-dawn hours to complete my training runs, I can find the benefit of allowing a bit more sleep, finding peace in a later morning run before the heat really turns up for the day. 

If you are training for fall races, I hope it’s going well! Seeking the solace and relative cool in the shade of the trails is a great way to find a break from the heat. Happy running, friends!

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Have you ever experienced this phenomenon? It’s most noticeable to me when I’m running on trails and in the woods. It’s such an amazing thing to take in!

With Keira D’Amato earlier this year.

I just watched the American women finish the marathon in the World Championships! Goose bumps, for sure. So excited for their 5th, 7th, and 8th place finishes! This includes Richond’s own Keira D’Amato! I had the pleasure of meeting her at our Richmond Road Runners Club banquet in May!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Lead artwork for this piece is my own.

Comfort Movies: Legally Blonde

Yes, I know. How ironic that a blonde would love this movie? Yet another underdog story, Elle Woods becomes the unlikely hero for underestimated women everywhere!

My friend Sarah and I can quote virtually every line from this movie, which we often did while on training runs during marathon season. They would come out of nowhere. “Oh my God! The bend and snap! Works every time!” “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!” And especially pertinent right now: “And for that matter, any masturbatory excretions where the sperm was clearly not seeking an egg could be termed reckless abandonment!” It’s amazing what will entertain you on 16 mile training runs…

With my friend Sarah after running our first marathon together in 2014.

My favorite part of this movie, besides the gripping, triumphant court scene where Elle figures out the murder mystery, is the message it gives about women and what they tolerate from men. Yes, Elle initially begins law school to chase a boy, but she realizes she is worthy of more than he could give her anyway. And she is definitely worth more than her professor gave her credit for, too. 

I also love the moment when she realizes how powerful the law can be in helping those who need it. The moment she helps Paulette get her dog back? That’s when the light bulb turns on. That’s when she realizes that the law can be transforming, even if her use of the rules was somewhat questionable. 

I know that this movie seems frivolous. And on the surface, maybe it is. But beyond the fluff of a beautiful fashion diva are messages of the strength of friendship, of women helping women, and women realizing their own power. Never underestimate a “dumb” blonde. And never underestimate the power of women. 

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Do you love this movie, too? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.