What Guides Your Moral Compass?

Mine is guided by empathy. 

There’s nothing necessarily wrong if yours is guided by your religion, but let’s be clear about what your religion teaches. 

If your leaders are teaching you things like, “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” or that certain groups of people don’t deserve God’s grace, then maybe your religion isn’t truly righteous. 

Perhaps those of us who are seemingly good people without the guidance of organized religion are even more righteous. Why, you ask? Because we are good people without the threat of eternal damnation being held over our heads.

Can you believe that some religions teach that empathy is a sin? That trying to relate to others is overindulging in your own feelings? By attempting to relate to others, you submit to and accept their personal sins and become sinful yourself. Such are the teachings of certain theologians. 

Some of these go so far as to say that the general cultural shift to be more empathetic has broken down the very values of Christianity. 

But empathy is not a sin. It is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. 

I eat with empathy since I follow a vegan lifestyle. Why should an animal have to suffer for me to survive? I can thrive on plants. 

I’m so empathetic that I rescue spiders from my house. They just found their way into a place where they aren’t supposed to be. 

This brings me to the rash of shootings making the news lately; those of people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Crimes that can seemingly only happen in gun-crazy America. 

But in the past month, we have had 3 shooting incidents that seem way out of proportion to the supposed crime of entering someone’s property. A Black boy was shot when he showed up at the wrong address to pick up his siblings; his elderly white male shooter is free on bond. A 20-year-old woman was shot and killed because she dared to turn around in someone’s driveway. And two teenage girls were shot when they entered the wrong car, mistaking it for their ride. 

This violence is senseless. Did any of these shooters actually feel threatened by these people? Startled, maybe. But did they really think they were going to die? I doubt it. But they have pent-up anger and a gun, just waiting for an excuse to pull the trigger. 

Perhaps if they had taken a moment to pause, to try to understand the intent of the person in their space, maybe they could have seen these actions as they were: simple mistakes. 

The world needs more empathy. 

If we could imagine living in the world of another human, maybe we could reach a better understanding of all of the injustices in this world. But more than just thinking with empathy, we need to act with empathy.

In order to correct the wealth gaps, racial disparities, ageism, and ableism of our world, we actually need to consider what real people experience in modern America. Lawmakers need to get their hands out of the deep pockets of corporations funding their campaigns and try to understand the constituents they represent. And based on the discriminatory teachings of evangelical circles, I can’t say that guidance through a religious lens is the correct path for a just America. 

When your rules and laws encroach on personal freedoms, Americans are not free. America should not be a theocracy. We are not a Christain nation. Whites are not superior. Mothers should have more rights than a fetus. Justice should be dealt equally; no separate rules for the white and wealthy. And guns should not have more rights than people. 

I’m increasingly disenchanted with the current situation in the United States. We have more guns than people. We have the worst healthcare system of any developed nation. Our life expectancies are dropping. Guns are the leading cause of death in children. We have the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country. Where do we go from here? 

One thing is certain. If we don’t try to understand these injustices and problems, even if they don’t seem like they will affect us personally, we will not make progress as a nation. We need to seek empathy as a guide. We need to act with empathy and help make this country better. This is no time for apathy. 


Are you frustrated with the state of the US as well? I’d love to hear about it.

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

How Long Was Your Marathon?

Blue Ridge Marathon Race Recap

Well, my race did not go as planned. It was an act of nature, however, not my lack of athletic prowess that was the demise of this event.

As the forecast for Saturday’s race was finalized, it was apparent that we would get wet. And the radar in the morning showed a strong line of thunderstorms headed toward Roanoke. 

As we toed the line to start the race at 7:35 AM, the weather was warm and very humid, while the air was simply stagnant. But as we approached mile 6 toward the crest of Roanoke Mountain, suddenly the weather changed. It became very dark, the wind started picking up, and the rain began. Not just rain, but thunder and lightning. 

We were less than a mile from the top when runners ahead of us on this out-and-back section of the course warned us that officials had shut down the event. My running partner and I decided to trudge on to the top, since we were so close, before we made a decision about finishing the race on our own. 

With Selina at the top of Roanoke Mountain, the view obstructed by clouds and rain. Photo courtesy of Selena C.

We were advised by race officials that if we continued on the course, there would no longer be water stops, any aid, or timing mats, and the roads had already re-opened. We were also told that since this was a sanctioned event, they had no choice but to call it off for insurance reasons.

With other runners waiting for a bus to take us back to the start. Photo courtesy of Selina C.

Now that we had stopped, we were cold, soaking wet, and completely defeated. We joined the 40 or so other runners under a tent around the corner from the base of Roanoke Mountain to wait for a bus to take us back to the finish area. 

What arrived wasn’t any ordinary bus. It was a paddy wagon! I sincerely hope it’s the one time I end up in one of these. 

With my friend Selina in the paddy wagon. Photo by author.

This bus took us further down the mountain to a point where the city buses could access it, and this is the bus that took us back to our cars. 

My patients often ask me how long my marathon was. I tell them that a marathon is always 26.2 miles. But to answer my question posed in the title, my marathon on Saturday was only 9 miles. 

I have the option to repeat the race virtually at home. I’m not super crazy about this idea, as I’ve done two other virtual marathons. The point was to conquer America’s Toughest Road Race. 

I’m conflicted about what to do. Here are my possible options: 

  • Since I have family in Roanoke, I could return, stay, and do the course again. 
  • I could plan a 26.2 mile route here in Richmond. 
  • I could sign up for a different spring marathon. I’m already trained!
  • Or, I could ditch the whole idea of running a spring marathon altogether.

I’m really disappointed. And now I wish I’d just finished the course on Saturday. Many of my friends did and found the neighborhoods in Roanoke stepping up to provide support for all of the runners who decided to trudge on after the storm had passed. Some of the volunteers even stayed after the finish festival was supposed to be shut down so that they could hand out medals to renegade finishers. 

This was the first race I’ve ever started that I didn’t finish.

At the Roanoke Star after the race was canceled. Photo by author.


Have you ever had a race called off while you were running it? I’d love to hear about it!

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

Tips for a Great Runcation

How to prepare for your out-of-town race

Are you traveling for a race soon? Runcations, as we call them, can be super fun. But preparing for the big adventure can be stressful!

I’m going to share a few things that I’ve learned over my years of running and traveling for races that have helped me!

An example of “flat me” laid out before the Richmond Marathon. A hometown race, but I do this when packing my race day gear for trips, too, before placing it in my luggage!
  1. Lay out your run gear in “flat me” style while you’re packing. Just like you would prep at home or for your weekend long runs, doing this will help ensure that you aren’t leaving a critical piece of attire at home. I had a friend who forgot her sports bras one trip! Don’t let this be you!
  2. Have plan A, B, and even C outfits. You may think you know what the weather will do on race day, but you may be surprised. Packing different shorts/pants/shirts options will ensure that you are prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions.
  3. Bring all of your nutrition and hydration needs with you. Even if your race has a big expo, don’t count on a vendor having your special gels or electrolyte products available for sale. 
  4. If you are expecting to rely on the course nutrition and hydration products, make sure you have practiced using these during your long runs. I made the mistake of drinking the Gatorade on the course of the Chicago Marathon, my second one ever, and paid the price! I had not trained with this, but assumed it would be fine. I was so very wrong! 
  5. If your race morning will be chilly, and you’re the type who normally wears something you can toss at the start, try this option instead: throw away clothes can be bulky, so trade your old sweatshirt or bathrobe for a mylar blanket. These will pack nicely into a small carry-on for plane travel and not take up precious cargo space in your bag. They are easily available in camping gear sections of big box stores.
  6. Pack a throwaway poncho. It may come in handy waiting for the race to start! Of course, runners are fantastic at stalking the weather apps for your races, but you don’t want to begin your race already wet.
  7. Nothing new on race day. This includes food! My meal the night before is usually in a national chain restaurant. Why? Because the recipes and food quality are generally consistent. Eat what your gut knows, and you will be better off on race day! Nothing is worse than an upset stomach with multiple porta-potty trips during your goal race! Save your trips to new, exotic restaurants for your post-race celebrations. One of my coaches used to tell us the story every year about how eating spicy Thai food for his pre-race dinner literally ruined his stomach for his goal marathon. 
  8. Take antacids with you. See above. Especially if you have a sensitive stomach or have special dietary needs. Plus, layering on a bit of travel anxiety with a meal that doesn’t settle well is sure to require intervention!
  9. If you are staying in a hotel, ask for a late checkout if needed, especially if traveling home on the day of your race. If you will be running a major race, area hotels may be more accommodating under the circumstances. In one of the Marine Corps Marathons I ran, the hotel couldn’t give us a late checkout, but would hold our bags and even allowed us to shower in their fitness center before traveling home. 
  10. Do not be tempted to do all of the touristy, walking things the day before the race. This was another mistake I made before running the Chicago marathon! I was exhausted before I even started the race. 
With friends after the Chicago Marathon in 2015. We are in front of the Bean!

Am I missing anything? 

As you train for your goal races and for travel, keep some of these tips in mind! And I hope you all have the racecations of your dreams!


My inspiration for this post is preparing for my own mini racecation! Do you have any tips for preparing for travel and running? I’d love to hear them!

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

I’ve Been on a News Fast

I like to consider myself well-informed, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed and burdened by the news. Do you ever feel this way?

On my commute to work, it’s normal for me to listen to NPR. Public radio is a great source of information, and I enjoy programs like Fresh Air and the BBC News

But when all the news is bad, I find myself retreating to my personal music bubble. That’s been more often than not lately. I turn to the 6 CDs in my car’s disc changer, which consists of Dave Matthew’s Band, REM, and The Smiths. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

So, what’s actually on the news? Yet another mass shooting no one wants to do anything about except offer worthless thoughts and prayers. A criminal justice system that favors whites. More reproductive rights are being stripped away from women. Nothing is affordable. Another major weather disaster due to global warming. More stories about our freedoms being sacrificed in the name of freedom, like closing libraries so no one can access banned books. Sigh.

It’s too much on most days.

I struggle between wanting to do all the things to protest and stop these injustices and retreating to my safe bubble. I’ve tried calling my lawmakers, signing petitions, and sending emails. My emails either go unread or with generic replies. Phone calls are answered by eager interns who assure me that my words will be heard. I have my doubts. Petitions seem disregarded by lawmakers because some big organization started them. 

How, then, do we let our voices be heard?

We saw in Tennessee what happened when young people protested gun violence. When their representatives stood with them, those lawmakers were expelled. Expelled! Meanwhile, other lawmakers admit to child molestation or straight up pee in another representative’s chair. Yet standing with your constituents is akin to an insurrection? Sigh.

It’s just so frustrating. 

It just seems that the minority are in power, have manipulated the system to get even more power, and the views of the majority don’t matter anymore. 

I don’t want to live in a theocracy. I don’t want our democracy to succumb to fascism. But unfortunately, I think we’re already past the tipping point. 

It’s as though we live in two separate worlds. Those of us who are rational and respect others are in the majority but are either underpowered or apathetic about taking action. And those in power are bulldozing the system and taking away our freedom one bit at a time, serving their own greed. 

Where does this stop? When will America finally wake up and see what’s happening? And are we really too late?


Are you as frustrated with the current state of the United States as I am? This is not the greatest country in the world. 

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

Where Did my Mojo Go?

Or is it taper madness?

It’s taper time in training for my 11th marathon. Up until this point, I’ve been extremely motivated in the process, going on all of my planned runs at the planned mileage. 

But now that taper is here, the wheels are falling off. I simply have lost my motivation to run. Is it burnout? Is it that I suddenly have more work than usual? Is it the mini heat wave we are experiencing in Virginia? Maybe it’s all of the above. 

I keep telling myself that the hay is in the barn. I have trained up to 20 miles. The fitness is there. 

If I take off for a run during taper when I don’t feel great, I’m truly setting myself up for injury. 

These are the lies I repeat in my mind. 

Other things that are happening in my life right now? I’ve started a new medication. I’m onboarding to a second job. There are lots of changes at my first job.

And I finally took the cat who adopted us to the vet. He’s FIV positive, we found out, but he’s also chipless. He’s officially ours! I couldn’t put off the vet visit any longer, I was dreading it because I was worried that a cat as well-mannered as he is would surely belong to someone. But when I discovered that he had worms, we had to take care of them. 

That vet visit took up most of my Tuesday, which is one of the only days I’ve had off this week. 

The trip to and from the vet was excruciating, as Nugget cried the entire time and tried desperately to either claw his way out of the carrier or toss himself and the carrier to the floor of the car. (I now know why they make hard-sided carriers.) He was still crying when I brought him through the door. That adventure set off my anxiety for the rest of the day!

Chicken Nugget. Officially ours! With some special needs.

But also on the agenda for Tuesday? I took my younger daughter to the local community college to pick up her cap and gown for college graduation. She’s doing a dual enrollment program and will graduate with her associate’s degree before getting her high school diploma! 

I’m not ready to have an empty nest. 

So is my loss of mojo really a lack of discipline, or am I just completely overwhelmed with life? Or is this simply a newer version of taper madness? 

I may never know. 

My girls will both be in college next year. I’m not ready!


Have you experienced taper madness? I’d love to hear about it!

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

The Time When the Hypervigilant Security Guard Was the One Stealing

More tales from my life in retail

I loved working in retail. I love to shop, so of course, I would love to help others find the perfect merchandise, too! But there was one aspect of working for a large department store that I didn’t enjoy. 

There are lessons that are meant to be learned, such as the people most adept at calling out sins are usually the most guilty of it themselves. Such was the case with this one security guard I worked with at Hecht’s. 

Ugh. This guy. 

He was just a jerk. His whole persona reeked of it. Not only that, but he was ruthless in calling out seemingly benign problems on the selling floor. 

We never knew when he would just randomly show up to audit a drawer. He would accuse you of swiping money, claiming he saw you on camera, embarrassing you in the process in front of fellow associates and customers. And when he couldn’t find any errors, he threatened to catch you next time. He reduced multiple associates to puddles of tears, including me, with this scare tactic.

And there was a time that I was returning something. I hadn’t been working in the store that long. He practically ran across the store to berate me in front of associates and customers to tell me that I needed to go through the proper channels to return something. Apparently, there was a form I had to fill out. I was mortified! And his behavior was truly unnecessary. 

I wasn’t even 20 years old, working retail, and had to deal with this bullshit every shift. He indeed created a toxic work environment. My fellow associates and I were always on our toes. 

He was equally ruthless with actual shoplifters and was the type to walk the floor and try to catch them. Since most of my time at Hecht’s I worked in men’s collections, he was frequently nearby. If you were shopping for Polo or Tommy Hilfiger and you fit a certain profile, you could expect to have a shadow as part of your shopping experience. It was gross. 

Since I only worked on breaks, and this was the age before cell phones, the news took a bit to travel. So imagine my surprise that on my first shift back home from college, I learned that this security guard had been fired! Not only that, but he had been the mastermind behind a very elaborate black market scheme, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise. He would be spending some time behind bars. It was a crazy story! 

His behaviors were meant to distract us from what was actually happening. If he looked the part and was acting like he was trying to figure out why the store was losing so much money, he thought he could deflect from his own actual crimes. 

Am I comforted that he spent time in jail? Maybe. But the best part was that his absence made the work environment seem much more at ease. 

I didn’t know any better. I thought that all department stores had crazy vigilant security. I’m glad that’s not how it’s supposed to be. 

But I certainly learned the lesson about hypocrites. 


Do you have a story like this about someone who was quick to call out sins or crimes but was guilty of the behavior themselves? I’d love to hear about it!

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

It’s My Six Year Vegan Anniversary!

I can’t believe it’s been this long

Where has the time gone? 

Although it’s true that I have been some version of vegetarian since I was 18, I was one of those veggies who swore they would never go vegan. That’s just crazy, right? Of course, I said this about running marathons, too, and look where that got me. I’ve now run 10 of those. 

Besides the standard question about where I get my protein, I often get asked why I choose to eat this way. My standard answer is that I went vegetarian for the animals and vegan for my health. That’s how the transition went for me. 

I don’t like the idea of animals suffering for my own sustenance. It’s not necessary. And once I saw that I could survive without meat, I also learned more about how damaging animal agriculture is to our environment. It’s also extremely inefficient. 

Behind a chicken truck. Look how packed they are! Photo by author.

Here are a few facts about the animal agriculture industry that may surprise you:

  • It takes 11 lbs of grain to make one pound of meat.
  • Animal farms are the largest producers of methane on the planet. 
  • Animal agriculture is the largest market for antibiotics in the United States contributes to the evolution of superbugs. 
  • Cows have best friends and feel emotions, actually crying before slaughter. 
  • Male chicks are ground alive, saving the females for egg laying. 
  • It takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.  

The longer I’m vegan, the more empathy I have toward all living creatures. I’ve even rescued bugs from my home! After all, if I ever find myself in the wrong place, I hope someone will guide me to safety, too. 

A lightning bug I rescued from the bathroom at the stadium where my running team meets. Photo by author.

And in my effort to become healthier, I think I’ve achieved that. The biggest overall change is in my symptoms of asthma. I used to get bronchitis 2-3 times a year. I haven’t had it once since going vegan!

I had a physical last week. And although my cholesterol was once only 142 after going vegan, it’s now 151. My HDL cholesterol was under 50 at that time but is now 56. So I attribute part of the rise to taking my “good” cholesterol to a healthy range. And my hemoglobin is 14.3. So I’m definitely not anemic! 

I even made this transition to vegan after I started running. Although my speed has declined as I’m now pushing 50, I still manage to complete long distances with relatively quick recovery. I definitely attribute this to reducing inflammation through my diet. 

There are so many windows that going vegan has opened for me. With so many questions asked about my lifestyle, and especially how it affects my running, I decided to start writing about it, which is how my blog was born. Through the blog, I was asked to speak at our local VegFest last year! And my writing has evolved to include helping edit my local run club’s magazine. None of this would have happened without going vegan.

Following this lifestyle is easier than ever. So many more products are on the market to make eating meat and dairy-free more convenient. And I’m thrilled that in my town, more and more restaurants are becoming vegan-friendly. 

So, there you have it. I have evolved into one of those crazy vegetarians who went vegan, and my life is far better for it. 


Peta (statistics about grain and water usage and methane production)


Ned Hardy (information about cow behavior)

RSPCA (information about the chicken industry)


Thank you for reading about my vegan journey!

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

Only Crazy People Run 20 Miles Solo

I guess this makes me crazy

It’s peak week in training for the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon. All of my runs this week have been on my own. This isn’t necessarily bad, but I’ve surprised myself by reaching this point in my running career where knocking out multiple double-digit runs in one week seems fine. 

Until Sunday’s long run, the most I’ve traversed by myself was 14 miles. I did this once on vacation a couple of years ago in the summer heat and humidity and again a few weeks ago in conditions that would make anyone else stay inside with a mug of hot cocoa and a warm fire. The juxtaposition of the weather for these runs isn’t lost on me!

The cold run was 34 degrees and raining. My choice to run in that weather was poor enough that when I passed an older man smoking on his covered front porch, he scolded me for it! I kept my opinion of his outdoor activities to myself. 

But unlike the abysmal conditions for that 14 miler, Sunday’s weather was darn near perfect. It was sunny and in the upper 50s/low 60s, with just enough wind to cool you off when you started to feel warm. 

I set off in my favorite place to run with a rough idea of how I would piece together the miles. I relied heavily on my previous 14 miler as a reference, ready to create my own adventure. That’s the beauty of running in a place that’s so familiar. 

One of the trees had fallen on the trail. The other pulled on the power lines that run parallel to this rail trail. Photo by author.

We had a big storm blow through the night before. This left a couple of fallen trees on one of the trails I ran. And then in a new neighborhood under construction, I was confused when I didn’t see any of the porta-potties I was counting on. They had all been toppled over by the strong winds of the storm!

Despite taking in salt tabs and energy chews, the pain set in a bit earlier than anticipated this run. As with any big, double-digit runs, you reach a point where you just have to accept that the pain will be a constant companion and deal with it. 

I was surprised to find every porta-potty in this neighborhood under construction had toppled over in the heavy winds of the weekend’s storms! Photo by author.

I stopped at a Wawa for a snack about 13 miles in. There was a strange man who asked me if I was having a nice walk. He was shocked when I told him that I was running 20 miles today. I passed him again as I left the store, and he told me that I looked like I took good care of myself. It was a bit creepy, but I let it go. 

My body was asking for salt and a Coke. I happily walked the remainder of that mile, enjoying every bite of my crunchy potato chips and every sip of my fizzy, sweet, caffeinated Coke. And it gave me the last little bit of sustenance I needed to finish my miles. 

With 4 miles remaining, I finally turned on my music. I was doing intervals at this point, but I didn’t care. I was getting it done. I even sang a bit. I’m sure I looked crazy to the casual onlooker. 

I know that I could have reached out to multiple friends also training for marathons this spring to run at least some of my miles with me, but a part of me wanted to push the limits to prove to myself that I am strong enough to do it. And I did succeed. 

I’ve now earned a taper. Tapering brings its own special madness. And if you’ve ever trained for a marathon, you know!

Blue Ridge Marathon, I’m coming for you! All 3 mountains of you. You aren’t known as America’s Toughest Road Race for nothing!

Along one of the trails that were a part of my route. Photo by author.


Have you ever trained for a marathon before? Especially a notoriously challenging one?  I’d love to hear about it!

Other than being a bit sunburned and feeling a little sore, I’m surviving today.

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

The Time I Helped a Vietnam Vet

Stories from my life in retail

Once upon a time, I worked for the now-defunct Hecht’s department store. I love shopping, so it only seemed natural to help others do the same. 

I took great pride in this job, realizing that I made a bit more than minimum wage, and it was the nicest department store in my town. I approached my work with the understanding that every customer deserved respect, and it always brought me great joy to help someone find that perfect outfit or gift. 

The Christmas shopping season was particularly hectic in retail, but I enjoyed working the holiday season on my breaks when I was home from college. 

One day, I had been assigned to work in the ladies’ lingerie department. In walked a man who looked like your stereotypical Vietnam vet. As I lived in a military town, this wasn’t that unusual. He had long hair and a seriously long beard; he wore a military camo jacket and a band around his head. 

He looked as confused as he did disheveled, so I politely asked him if he was looking for something in particular. His steely demeanor immediately changed. Indeed, he was looking for a gift. His mother had recently moved to a nursing home, and she needed some nightgowns. 

As a future physical therapist, I had a few more questions. I asked about her shoulder range of motion. I asked if she was frequently cold. I asked if the facility would be doing her laundry in the big commercial machines, or if someone took her laundry home. 

The answers led me to select the perfect gown. Long-sleeved, long length, made of a warm but sturdy knit fabric, with a few functional buttons to allow for less stretching of your arms when donning it. The only problem? It was expensive: around $80. This was in the 1990s. Even by today’s standards, this was a lot of money!

I made some suggestions of other stores in the mall where he could look, but with the satisfaction that at least he was armed with greater knowledge of what he needed. I figured I’d never see him again.

But about two hours later, my friend returned. He said he was so disappointed with the help he received in the other stores that he came back to buy two of those gowns from me. I felt honored!

I happily sold him the items, wrapped them up, added a couple of gift boxes, placed them in a fancy shopping bag, and sent him on his way.

That was one of my first lessons in understanding the power I had in customer service. Many of the lessons I learned and practiced in interacting with customers have proven worthwhile in working with my patients.

Everyone should work retail at some point in their young adulthood. It’s a valuable experience, and you will definitely have a greater sense of empathy and patience toward those who do. You may even learn a thing or two about how to help others.

It just goes to show that listening, showing a bit of care, and treating people like they matter, well, matters


Have you ever worked in retail? Did you learn some lessons in how to interact with others through your work? I’d love to hear about it!

I will be sharing more stories about my life in retail. I hope you enjoy these tales!

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

Road Runners Club of America Convention: Part 3

It’s a wrap!

The biggest takeaway from this convention is that I have a greater sense of how special the Richmond Road Runners Club is. I have a much better appreciation for our size as a club, the number of races we do, and how much of an integral part of the Richmond running community our club is. 

Networking with club representatives from other parts of the country, it was amazing to share how clubs are run, what activities they do, and how big or small they are. I’d say most of the clubs represented were smaller than ours, but also are the backbone of their running communities. 

We are lucky in Richmond to have so much structure in the running community. Especially with such great relationships with Sports Backers, with multiple smaller running organizations and groups, with other non-profits like #WeOffTheCouch and Girls on the Run, with improvements in places to run like the Virginia Capital Trail, and with retail running stores, it’s easy to see how Richmond was awarded the designation of a Runner Friendly Community from the RRCA. 

I learned so much from the seminars I attended. 

Running by the lake with the skyline in the background.

Friday began with a group run, where I met some new friends! 

The first seminar was about insurance. Not the most fun of topics, but many questions our own club had about coverage were answered here. 

The next was about growing club membership. The speakers were from a much smaller club than ours, but still had great ideas of how to improve recruitment, such as recognizing new members and updating language used when planning club events, such as having “tailgates” rather than “picnics.” 

Our speaker at lunch, Jeff Tan, told us the story about how he started running marathons and all of his crazy adventures trying to accomplish his goal of running one on every continent! He nearly didn’t run the one on Antarctica due to visa issues! 

I also went to a very inspiring talk by the organizer of the ‘Go Run group in Chicago, and non-profit that puts on free 1 mile and 5k races every weekend during the running season. The organizer was inspired by the Park Run programs in the UK. The club’s mission is to improve accessibility to the sport and encourage everyone to live active and healthy lifestyles. This will hopefully develop runners who can then join other running programs through CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) in the city. 

The day ended with a reception in the Bank of America building. One of the best parts was seeing the views of the Chicago river from the reception room. 

With fellow RRRC members Mara and Allison at the Bean! Photo courtesy of Allison M.

Saturday began with a group run, then the RRCA board meeting. I went to a seminar about leadership transitioning, something that the RRRC has been working on. Our lunch was followed by national awards with a special appearance by Olympian Galen Rupp! And then I went to a seminar led by a clinical social worker and run coach about mental health management which was very good. 

Galen Rupp, accepting his RRCA Hall of Fame award. Photo by author.

On Sunday, everyone else with my club ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. I chose not to register, allowing my anxiety about checking out of the hotel and traveling get the best of me. But I did watch the coverage on TV and got to see many of the runners, as our hotel was on the race course. 

Obviously, we made it safely to the airport on time and home!

I’m grateful to my club for sending me to the convention. It was a great experience! But I’m also so glad to be home, and now with an even greater appreciation for how wonderful the Richmond running community is!

A fox hanging out near the Bean. A strange sight in such an urban setting! Photo by author.


Have you ever been to the RRCA convention? I’d love to hear about it!

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