Went to a working lunch today at a burger joint; I was excited because I had heard their veggie burgers were good.
We all sat with our burgers and I guess I was distracted and began eating. And you know what’s coming next… I took two bites and decided that either it was a great imitation or not a veggie burger. Not veggie and didn’t freak out. I only took two bites; I wasn’t worried about it.
Now, 7 hours later, I hurt so bad I feel like my stomach needs to be pumped. Could it be the two bites of beef?
I’ll never know but I learned that I don’t miss meat as much as I thought I did. Before every race, I imagine how good a juicy cheeseburger reward would taste. I never give in to it but now I know: It sounds better than it tastes and feels.
I’m not ashamed to admit I became a vegetarian (really pescatarian) because I wanted to run faster. Here was my thinking behind the change:
- I’ve read enough running books to know that many elite athletes are vegetarians.
- Jon Odgers told me he lost weight and his times got faster.
- I had gone to see Matt Frazer, No Meat Athlete and read his first book, No Meat Athlete.
- After running my first full marathon at City of Oaks in 2013, I decided to run Myrtle Beach Marathon 3 months later thinking I was already trained and it would be easy.
Not a great idea for me: my body hurt a lot; I had a hard time sleeping; I had cranky knees and plantar fasciitis. I realized very quickly, to become a Marathon Maniac would not be a goal for me.
“You know the quickest way to get faster, don’t you? Lose 5 pounds.” ~Jon Odgers, @beerandracing
So, in an effort to complete my second marathon, I decided to give up meat for the month of January and see what happens. It was too soon to really say whether it made a difference or not but I did PR by 9 minutes. Elevation between Raleigh and the beach was a factor.
Overall, I have been satisfied with my veg decision. There are times it hurts: smelling bacon, BLT’s in the summer, Chic-fil A sandwiches and my fave after a long run or morning after a night of drinking: a Bojangles chicken biscuit. I haven’t found the perfect vegetarian foods for these occasions yet.
Fast forward 6 full months as a vegetarian and training begins for my fall marathon. My training for Richmond went great; I trained smarter and harder, never felt aches and pains, no cranky knee, slept like a baby, and PR’d my full again by 18 minutes.
Most notably in terms of running performance, my recovery from long runs is hands down easier and quicker as a vegetarian. I can run 20 and easily run the next day–on tired legs but able to run. As a carnivore, I needed about three days to recover from a 20.
My only disappointments are I didn’t lose 5 lbs and I was hoping for more energy. Neither of those things happened. I still have adjustments to make to my diet and overall fitness to get faster, have more energy and discover the fountain of youth.
No one would dispute that Julie is an amazing athlete; some would argue that she isn’t human. She began training for her first half marathon and midway through decided she should train for the full 26.2. She did that and qualified for Boston. First half, first full and a BQ. I thought that alone would make her the most remarkable runner in my circle but I was wrong.
This past September, Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her course of treatment would be mastectomy, reconstruction and four chemotherapy treatments. She would be in the midst of chemo when she had planned to start training for her 3rd Boston Marathon. She chose to focus on healing and not on what she couldn’t do. In between chemo weeks, she continued to work out as much as her body would allow; mostly Pilates and cycling classes. She felt as though working out in between, helped her recovery after each round of chemo.
Twelve days after chemo, she started running and considering whether or not she could handle 26.2 Boston miles with less than 2 months to train. She asked me to put a schedule together and training began.
You have to understand a girl such as Julie. She is a fierce competitor. Deciding to train for Boston would only work if she could truly accept and embrace a slower, non competitive pace. We didn’t want to risk her health. Her husband had his concerns. I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. I know her. I’ve started out a run with her where she says, “I’m just running easy tonight.” And then BAM Julie is gone girl. She just can’t help herself!
On the weekends, we gradually added longer runs and she was great. She ran slow, she stopped when we had planned even if she didn’t feel the need and she kept to the plan. In March, she did a half marathon and bandited 4 more miles at the All American Marathon, she gained the confidence that she could run Boston. #thanksTodd. We ran 18 the following week and 20 at Umstead State Park this past weekend. She is ready for Boston. It will be different from the others because she will focus less on the competition and more on being present in the most amazing race in the world. She will see this race with new eyes and embrace every mile like never before.
It has been an honor and an inspiration for me to run a few miles with this woman who has beaten her cancer with such grace and faith. I am in awe of her journey and sheer determination to beat cancer and run Boston. She earned her spot and she is going to take what is rightfully hers.
I won! I won! Thanks to Ron Wahula, Director of City of Oaks and Big Boss Brewing run club, I won a race registration in a raffle drawing. Scheduled two weeks before Richmond; it was a perfect, final 13.1 training run.
I chose City of Oaks last year as my first full marathon; I love this event. Great route through downtown Raleigh, lots of familiar faces, great crowd support and the best beer garden in the Triangle.
It was a great race, my legs felt great and I saw lots of friends along the way. I finally broke through the 1:54 barrier I’ve been stuck at all year with fresh half PR.
The best part of the day was watching @triangleexplorer accomplish his goal of crossing the finish line in sub 4 hours.
nOg Run Club St. Paddy’s Run Green 8K
This fun run is always on my schedule; it’s a given. 2014 was the second year the club tried to break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Kilt Run with a 200 meter run prior to the 8K. The current Guinness World Record was set in 2012 in Perth, Ontario with 1,764 runners. They didn’t break the record but I will help them try again March 7, 2015.
March 22, 2014: Merge Records 25K
Merge Records was celebrating its 25 year anniversary in 2014 with several events leading up to Merge Festival. As soon as I saw this race, I knew I had to participate. In the early 90’s I was living in Chapel Hill and working in Durham. Evenings that weren’t in an editing bay, were spent at shows around town. My friend, Jeff was always ahead of the next upcoming band. My favorites were Superchunk (of course), Dinosaur Jr.; Bob Mould, Teenage FanClub and Arcade Fire.
This was my first 25K and my first point to point race. The race began in Chapel Hill, where Merge began, and ended in Durham, where it’s currently located.
I ran with a friend who had never run that distance and who is much faster than me. He agreed to run slower with me and I agreed to get him to 25K. It worked out great for both of us. I ran the most uncomfortable I’ve ever run for that distance and he became clear he is not about distance!
Photo courtesy of Tara Hill, the woman behind the third beer.
Merge Records 25K: 15:44 miles, 2:10:35, 8:28 average pace
I love this snapshot of my running highlights of 2013.
Tuna Relay 200 was by far the craziest event I said yes to this year. I had my fastest 5.52 run on my first leg. 8.01 average pace.
12 Chicks, 2 Cars, 12 Thongs, 200 Miles, 36 Runs
Most Intense Run
I’m not sure what criteria DailyMile uses for intense because the only thing intense about this run was the heat coming in at 90-100 degrees. The inaugural IronMan 70.2 Raleigh was an eye opening experience. Triathletes kiss serious arse. Our relay teams had a blast and spawned a couple of triathletes.
Farthest and Most Talkative Runs
It is only fitting that my farthest and my most talkative runs go hand in hand because I have the most amazing and supportive running friends!
It is with their help that running come down to my first full marathon, a whole 26.2 miles one week from today.
Today I ran with a guy who joined River Run Club in June. He is a guy who doesn’t “look” like a runner. He looks more like Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is the type of guy who is grabbing life by the horns and shaking it up.
“I want to learn how to run,” said Arnold. We made plans to run together at our next meet up. He was so excited by the group energy, he took off with the leaders who planned on running 8 miles, sub 8. “There’s no way he’ll be able to hang with them,” said me. “When he falls behind, I’ll show him how to run.”
Well, he was able to keep up with them for the majority of the run and has been coming back for more week after week. I had told him he was already a runner but he has denied himself that title like so many runners do…until this morning.
We set out to run 10 miles at an even 9 minute mile pace; this was to be his longest run ever. Due to my fantastic sense of direction, we were off by 2 miles, luckily in the right direction. When we finished on pace plus 2 miles he said, “You know, when I came to run club I was a jogger and now I’m a runner.”
I’m on the other side of halfway through 16 weeks of hills, intervals, cross training, short and long runs to my first marathon. What I’ve learned along the way:
Intervals and long runs are hard.
Intervals and long runs are my favorite.
I discovered I love riding my bike.
Running friends make my world go around.
Treat your heart to some great cardio activity this Thursday and join the group for our regularly scheduled run…with a twist!
It’s a themed run this week, so weather you’re lucky in love or still waiting on cupid’s arrow~ it’s time for the RRC: Kiss off Valentine’s day run!
FOR THIS WEEK ONLY:
We will meet in the parking lot of The Piper’s Tavern on Falls of Neuse Road and run a route up Falls through North Ridge and back to the tavern to share a post run beverage…or two!
This special run includes some give aways~so be sure to RSVP to the event and look for more details to come!
SPECIAL Thanks to Mary Morgan for her design of this themed run!
- Work is too busy right now
- It’s too cold (disclaimer: NC cold)
- Less hair maintenance
- Lots of late night TV
- Less laundry to do
- Sleeping in
- One less website to keep up with
- Liberated Friday night cocktails
- Saving miles on new Mizunos
- Normal looking barefeet
A more balanced runner friend said,
Giving ourselves permission to be ok with time off is an important part of balance.
I cannot publicly repeat how I responded because none of these ten things beat running. #8 is close but there are 6 other nights!