Name: Tonia Blanchet
Location: Glen Allen, VA
Years Running: 3.5
Marathon: 4:15:48 (2011)
Half Marathon: 1:57:06 (2011)
10 Mile: 1:30:40 (2010)
10K: 53:17 (2008)
8K: 38:54 (2010)
5K: 24:09 (2010)
Favorite Race Distance: 8K – It is a distance I have consistently performed well at. I don’t always find my “groove” during a 5K and I can lose steam during a 10K. The 8K distance seems to be the perfect blend of speed and endurance.
How Many Marathons Have You Completed: 4 (Shamrock ’08, Richmond ’09, Indianapolis ’10, National ’11)
Race You Are Currently Training For: I’m currently training for a sub-1:55 performance at the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon on April 16. After that, I plan to focus on some shorter races, maybe a 5K or 10K (I haven’t run one in three years) before starting training for the NYC Marathon.
Race Advice/Tip: Respect the distance. Whether you are running a mile or a marathon, things can go awry. It happens to everyone, but a strong runner will be prepared for it.
Favorite Pre-Race Food: My go-to pre-race meal is a Chocolate Chip Clif Bar, banana and water. It’s easy on my stomach and fuels me well.
Favorite Post-Race Food: A vegetarian Chipotle burrito with hot salsa and a cupcake.
Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a two-time NJ State Champion in the Shot Put.
How did you get into running: After I had my second daughter, I wanted to lose the baby weight without obsessing about it. I thought running would accomplish that while making me healthier and stronger. So, I promised myself that I would run a 10K by the end of that year. Not only did I accomplish that, but I ran my first marathon the day after her first birthday. I have been hooked ever since.
How do you find/make time to train with kids: I fully admit that raising three children can make training challenging, but I think it all comes down to sacrifice and balance. I do the vast majority of my runs during the early morning hours before my family is awake or at night on my treadmill once my daughters are in bed. I try my best to not take time away from them in order to get my workouts in. It also helps that I have a very supportive husband (who is also a runner). He is willing to do his part to help me reach my goals.
Did you run when you were pregnant: I ran my entire third pregnancy. And returned to running exactly three weeks after my youngest was born. It made for such an easy labor and recovery. Plus, it’s so awesome to tell people that I ran eight miles two days before I delivered.
Do you like running alone or with friends: I prefer running with friends, but I see the value of solo runs. On race day, it’s just you and the clock. I like to use my solo training runs to build the mental strength it takes to push past my limits.