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Brian Pessolano - Runner of the Week March 3, 2020

Name: Brian Pessolano

# of Years Running: 10 years (but its complicated) I got the running bug after seeing a 5k go right past my house, so in 2010 I figured I might as well sign-up and run my first race since the street was blocked off anyway. Then in 2012 plantar fasciitis got so bad I opted for surgery. After staggered surgeries on both feet and recovery time I was out of shape and frustrated so I stopped running. A few years later I was way overweight and my blood pressure was out of control so I decided I need to do something. I got back at it and in 2016 finished my first Half Marathon and then a Marathon in 2017.

Favorite Race Distance: Half Marathon (I know everyone says that but its long enough to give you a sense of accomplishment but doesn't require the level of training of a full marathon)

Last race: Dahlgren Trail Half Marathon - February 22

Current Shoes: Adidas Solarglides are my go-to but I also cycle in Hoka Cliftons

Training For: I don't really have a BIG race on the horizon right now but I'm competing in the Fredericksburg Area Running Club (FARC) Grand Prix so I'm trying to get better for each of those events which means being ready for various distances.

Trails, Roads, or Track: Road by far!

Group runs or solo: The majority of my runs are solo... I enjoy running with groups but you don't find a lot of takers at 5am. I try to make the FARC runs on Saturday mornings. When my daughter is home from college she is my running buddy and those are always my favorite runs!

Longest run: Full Marathon (just finished my 4th in January)

Why I run: I run to stay healthy because I want to be around for my family. I will admit though... I do love race bling! Dangle a cool medal in front of me and I'm as good as registered.

Favorite thing about running? The feeling of accomplishment you get from training for a run and beating your goals... keeps me coming back for more.

Best race experience: This is a tough one... but I have to go with the 2018 Devil Dog Double (Marine Corps Historic Half + the Semper 5ive) with my daughter. We ran the Historic Half in 2017 and we heard this distinct clanking sound of runners walking away with their 3 medals and immediately decided that would be us the following year. It was tough going up Hospital Hill the 2nd time but completing those races with my daughter is a memory I'll cherish!

Worst race experience: 2019 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler... I was pushing/running for Ainsley's Angels so its hard to say this was a terrible experience since it is such a rewarding experience. The race had over 17,000 runners and the race director put us in the back, typically we get put up front and have a head start on the field. It was so hard navigating the chair through the crowds trying not to clip anyone with the front tire.

Advice for new runners: Find your joy in running! When you first start it will seem like anything but enjoyable if you compare yourself to others or focus on what you can't do. Set a goal and make a plan to achieve it. Goals can be anything... maybe just to run a certain number of times a week, complete a race, or achieve a time goal. Find what brings you joy and be proud of what you achieve.

Fun Fact: I talked about it briefly already but I run with Ainsley's Angels. You've probably seen us at races before... we are the group wearing pink and pushing the big pink chairs (we call them chariots). It is such a rewarding experience to lend my legs to an Angel Rider and help them accomplish something that they would not get the opportunity to otherwise.

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