Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Tonia Blanchet

This week's spotlight is on Tonia of Racing with Babes. I had the pleasure of meeting Tonia during the Chicago RNR 1/2 Marathon. I was running along and at mile 3 I saw Katye and Tonia and was pretty sure I read their blogs (to be honest their matching outfits were what had me thinking it was them). I took a chance and ran up to them and asked them if they happened to blog and sure enough it was them. We ran together for a little while and said we would try and meet up at "R" for run at the family reunion area. As you can see, we were successful in meeting up after the race. Now that I think about it, when I sent Tonia the Thumbs Up Thursday email, I should have asked her if she thought I was "stalkerish" when I ran up to her and Katye and introduced myself. Feel free to answer that in the comments Tonia!

Jamie, Katye, Tonia and I after the Chicago RNR 1/2

Okay, now that I have explained how I had the pleasure to meet Tonia, I give you the question and answer portion of Thumbs Up Thursday!!
Jodi: How long have you been running?
Tonia: I celebrated three years of running this August. But it seems much longer than that. Maybe it has something to do with that quote, "I don't run to add days to my life. I run to add life to my days."

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Tonia: Honestly, to lose the baby weight. I was sick and tired of being a slave to the numbers on the scale. So, I decided to shift my focus from weight loss to becoming healthy. I knew that running was the key to that. So, three months before my middle daughter was born, I made a New Year's resolution to run a 10K by the end of the year. I kept that resolution, lost all of the baby weight and ran my first 10K on Thanksgiving day of that year.
Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Tonia: Just shy of three years. I ran my first 5K in September of 2007 and was instantly hooked on racing. So much so, that I ran my first marathon six months later.
Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Tonia: I love, love, love the 8K. I am a much stronger runner over shorter distances. And while the 5K is a great distance, I usually don't find my groove until about mile three. so the race ends up being too short. The 8K, on the other hand, is short enough for me to feel like I am running strong. I am registered for the HCA 8K in Richmond on November 13. I have been waiting almost a year for this race - I signed up less than 10 hours after last year's race concluded.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Tonia: Without a doubt, crossing the finish line of the 2010 Marine Corps Historic Half while holding my husband's hand. It was his first half marathon and I was there to pace him. We ran every step of the course side-by-side and it was the most amazing thing to experience that accomplishment with him.

Tonia and her husband after the 2010 Marine Corps Historic Half

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Tonia: Mile 18 of the 2008 Shamrock Marathon. I had been nursing an ankle injury (the doctor told me not to run). I was OK up until that point and then suddenly my foot hit the ground and my ankle couldn't hold me. I started crying instantly. Eventually, I composed myself and called my family to let them know that I wouldn't be finishing when I had expected, but I would be finishing. I walk/ran the next five miles (rather slowly). Then with about two miles to go, my foot was numb enough that I could run through the pain. I hauled tail to the finish, running my two fastest miles of the race.

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Tonia: Hmm. This is going to sound weird, but now that I think about it, my least favorite race memory is my proudest running moment. I had to overcome a lot to finish that race and I am incredibly proud of myself for doing so.

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Tonia: I wish it were that simple. I NEVER run without the following items: a skirt, a pair of knee high socks, my Mizuno Wave Riders, my Nike Sunglasses (even in the rain), Body Glide and a watch (usually my Garmin).

Tonia sporting her "must have" gear on a training run over the Nickel Bridge in Richmond

Tonia sporting the rest of her "must have" gear on a training run with her husband
Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Tonia: CUPCAKES! I love them. And would eat them everyday if I could.
Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Tonia: There isn't really anyone who takes that title. I admire cetrain traits in a lot of people and I try my best to use their examples to improve my own character.
Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Tonia: Yes, I have a couple. But my favorite running quote (which I don't really think is a running quote) is "There is nothing better than the wind to your back, the sun in front of you, and your friends beside you." I'm not even sure who said it, but it pretty much sums up my perfect run.
Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel ________.
Jodi: What is your current goal?
Tonia: I am a woman of many goals. But right now, my top three are:
1. A sub two hour half marathon.
2. An injury-free marathon training cycle.
3. A sub 40 minute 8K.
Here are a few more great running photos that Tonia sent to me!!

Tonia's adorable kids cheering her on at the 2009 Richmond Marathon

Tonia looking INVINCIBLE at the 2009 Richmond Marathon

Tonia at mile 12 of the 2010 Bermuda half
Thank you so much for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Tonia!! You are one invincible woman! Good luck achieving your top 3 goals. I know you can do it!!
Keep running, you're simply the best, and Tonia YOU inspire ME!!


  1. Love it! No you weren't stalkerish! I'm so glad you introduced yourself! Go T Go!

  2. T is so awesome! :) Great interview

  3. Not stalkerish in the least. I love it when people introduce themselves. Thanks for featuring me!

  4. Glad I didn't seem stalkerish to you ladies! Thank you for the opportunity to feature you!!

  5. Tonia has given me a major cupcake craving!