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10k preparation aids in family fitness

The Ingram family (left to right): Erin, Cori, Eric, Carla and Christopher

As preparations gear up for the 14th annual Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, there seems to be news about 10k sign-ups (which recently set a record for single-day registration), training teams, contests and charity promotions at every turn.

But at least one Eastern Henrico family of five needs no reminder of the event's April 13 date, or of the benefits of training and keeping fit.

What's more, no one in the Ingram family needs help drumming up enthusiasm for the 10k, running and other fitness routines.

Least of all, Mom.

At a January kickoff event held at Maggiano's in Short Pump Town Center, Carla Ingram joined Cheryl Oliver of Sportsbackers, her 10k training coach, to discuss her transformation from sedentary and soft around the middle to streamlined and health-savvy.

Ingram, who was the first PTA president of Harvie Elementary School after it opened, recalled that the pounds added up over the years in typical fashion: three pregnancies, TV-watching, and lack of exercise.

"But [once] I had an eight-year-old son," she said with a laugh, "I had to stop blaming him for baby weight."

The Hill
Ingram started running in her neighborhood a number of years ago, but picked up the pace of her workouts after an aunt was treated for leukemia. Her aunt ended up at VCU Massey Cancer Center, the official event charity of the 10k, and Ingram ran to raise money for the Center on her behalf.

Then Oliver, a friend from Hampton University days, got her involved at DNA Fitness in Glen Allen. In addition to taking a "90-day challenge" of clean eating and exercise, Ingram started kickboxing classes. She also began participating in the 10k training team, and is helping Oliver to coach the team based at Richmond Community Hospital.

"Yes, we run 'The Hill!'" said Ingram with mingled pride and disbelief, referring to Church Hill.

The training team experience is especially helpful, said Ingram, because it commits her to those weekly runs with the group.

"On Saturday," she said, "I know I've got to go out there; I can't get out of being with training team. And we don't want Cheryl out there waiting [for us] all day."

Noting that her friend is a trainer for DNA in addition to coaching the 10k training team, Ingram said, "It's really a blessing to have someone who has gone through their own [fitness] journey and doesn't keep it to herself; she shares it. She's to be commended."

Oliver responded that Ingram has been a valuable addition to the training team as well.

"It's cool that Carla is coming back as coach," said Oliver. "Any time that someone is frustrated or getting down, Carla has been in the same place. She can say, 'I've been there.' [We can use] her experience as a springboard, as a success story."

During the week, Ingram supplements her Saturday exercise with personal training sessions, often running from her Clarendon Woods home to the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center (EHRC) to use the track or the adjacent trails.

Ingram said she is grateful for the sidewalks that allow her to run to the recreation center; otherwise, she pointed out, she would have to drive there, or to go to a gym to run on the treadmill. She wishes, however, that the sidewalks were on the west side of Laburnum instead of on the Harvie Elementary School side, so that she could cross at the Harvie Road traffic light instead of at the EHRC entrance.

A frequent companion on Ingram's neighborhood runs is her daughter Erin, who ran track at Moody Middle School and is now a student athlete at Hermitage High School Center for the Humanities.

"I don't make my daughter run with me," emphasized Ingram. "She runs if she wants to. She is a sprinter and much faster than me, but she can run ahead."

Full DVR
One of the biggest satisfactions of being fit, said Ingram, is that she no longer has to tell her children, "Don't be like Mom. Be active and not sedentary." Now, she models good lifestyle habits for them instead.

"As a mom, I want them to be active -- and also do the things they have an affinity for," she said. Her younger daughter, Cori, is graceful and has taken up dance; her son, Christopher, the youngest, is agile and enjoys Tae Kwon Do. And her energetic older daughter is active in cheerleading in addition to running.

After chatting recently with her children about their activities, Ingram was pleased to report that "it turned into a 'what I really want to do next' conversation – which leads me to believe they enjoy being on the move and are having fun staying active.

"Cori started talking about what she's been learning in gym about the importance of staying fit, so they are getting the message at home and at school."

And although Ingram is happy to have dropped 15 pounds as a result of her training regimen, she said the more important effect is what she has gained.

"Energy!" she said exuberantly.

"I am at the point now," Ingram added, "that I have a regimen I can maintain and not gain back [weight], even if I did nothing else. I've had a real lifestyle change.

"My DVR is full now – but I only watch one show a week."

The 14th annual Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k presented by Martin's is accepting online entries for the April 13, 2013, event at http://www.sportsbackers.org Regi.stration for the Virginia 529 Kids Run is also open. Entry forms are available at all Martin's locations and Richmond-area YMCA branches.
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

Lakeside microbrewery beginning to take shape

Original Gravity gets the green light to move forward with relocation, expansion into larger space

A Lakeside home-brewing shop has felt the gravitational pull toward the booming craft beer scene.

Original Gravity, a shop that sells beer and wine kits for homebrewers, has just been given the green light to start work on a microbrewery.

Owner Tony Ammendolia is expanding his 1,000-square-foot shop in Lakeside Town Center to 5,000-square-foot digs a few doors down to add a brewery and expand his supplies.

Ammendolia opened the home-brew supply store in November 2011 and since then he said business has taken off.

“I think I outgrew this place in the first year,” Ammendolia said. “We’ve seen steady growth and I’ve been looking for a place to expand to move the shop to get more square footage.” > Read more.

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