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Today was a big day; I RAN!

Two months ago I had an accident and received a traumatic concussion. Not only has it kept me from writing, but I haven’t been able to run. The dizziness and headaches have kept me away from all physical activity actually. I even had to go on light duty at work for a month. It was the worst 1-2 month span that I have had in a while!

Even though I eat right, I gained 5+ pounds during that time. Normally it is super difficult for me to gain weight, this was not the weight I was hoping to gain though.

Yesterday, my wife and I went to Sears just to poke around and see what type of gym equipment they had. We ended up buying a home gym set up and a recumbent bike! What?! It’s not going to be delivered for another two weeks though.  But, ya, I’m pretty sure it was my bodies way of saying it’s time.

Later on that day, my brother called and wanted to go to the gym. Now, the universe was intervening! It was time to try something physical and see how my head reacted. Thankfully the only thing sore today is my triceps and back, but that’s from lifting things up and putting them down! YAY!

I wanted to keep the momentum up and decided to go for a short run. It was barely a 5k but the good news is, I felt great. Again, no dizziness and no headaches; that’s a win-win to me! Here’s hoping I can keep it going, I miss it!

Running For Something: Redux

This past September I wrote “Running For Something.” The short and tall of it hinted that this year, 2016, I would have more of a reason to run.

In the past, I ran as part of one of the largest obstacle racing communities, The New England Spahtens. It was only until recently that I was on the admin board of the team as I was one of the founding members. During the last year with the team, I ran as part of our mens team during the Cape Cod Ragnar Relay. I fell in love with the format of the race and enjoyed the camaraderie of the team during our time together.

IMG_0176From the beginning of the race I had seen another team that had some snazzy shirts; The Strong Hearts Vegan Power team. They seemed to be everywhere! It wasn’t until the stop at Nauset High School in Eastham that I had the opportunity to talk to them and see what they were all about. I walked up and introduced myself to Peter Nussbaum. I obviously knew what a vegan was, I was just unfamiliar that this particular team existed and that they were this large. Like many people at this pit stop, Peter was off to find some relief and pointed me toward some other teammates of his. I met Scott, Julie and Kathleen and they gave me more of the low down on the team. Read more

Expectation; A Personal Demon

I’m not sure about everyone else out there, but I have certain expectations of myself. I expect that no matter what, with training there should be progress. If I run often I should be able to run faster and farther, right? And when that doesn’t happen, I/we get down on ourselves and turn to the comfort items in our lives that might console us. Yesterday, I came to terms with the fact that it is not always how it is, nor how it should be.

During a not so brief 6 mile run, the anxiety crept in and I started getting down on myself. My pace was way off. I had taken a wrong turn. The place I wanted to get to was now out of reach for the distance I wanted to travel. Read more

I Finished My First 50k!

It’s Wednesday night and I think my legs are finally ready for a run, wow did they ache the past few days…

bib127This past Saturday, I attempted to run my first 50k ultra-marathon. Minus training leading up to the event, I had only run a half marathon distance for my longest. I was certainly out of my element, and looking back, maybe was out of my league. But, being the bullheaded person I am, I showed up at Noon Hill Rd in Medfield, MA at 6am ready to tackle the TARC Summer Classic!

Parking was super simple. This wasn’t like a major production race, instead of thousands of participants and cars, there was just about a hundred and most people carpooled if they could. The check-in table was just ahead of where I parked, a mere 15 foot traipse at that. I got , my bib, #127, went back to the truck to make sure I had everything I would need as the start line was a 1/4 mile jaunt up the dirt-road. Read more

50k Checklist, Beginners Edition

I say beginners edition because, well, I’m a beginner at this whole ultra thing. This will be my first 50k and maybe I’m over thinking, but I am a planner and have to make sure I have what I think I will need. I’ve gained valuable insight from folks on how to plan, prepare and so forth. So, for the beginners that may come after me, this is what works for me in my prep.

Of course I will bring a change of clothes, etc. The drive home is 2 hours, I’m not going to just sit in the funky 50k sweaty clothes on the way home, that’d be gross. Read more

WTF…Progress?!

I’ve been dealing with a bit of a running issue lately, and frankly, it has me scared a little for my upcoming 50k. It will be my first and I’ve really been looking forward to it. There are a few people out there that think I bit off more than I can chew, and at time; I believe them. But, the fact that my sheer stupidity got me to sign up in the first place, I will be giving it my all. I know I can do it. I may be last, but I will finish.

june12

My short runs, 3-6 milers, are getting slower and slower. My discouragement is getting larger and larger, while my endurance seems to get smaller and smaller. I know from research that ultras are not about speed, so it’s not like I am pushing hard. Read more

Congrats, Scott Jurek!

scottrecordWhat else is there really to say, other than congratulations!

Scott is an inspiration to so many already, including myself, this feat just raised his profile even more so. He has proven the human spirit is capable of anything. He has proven that the body, with proper training and nutrition, can achieve greatness at any level.

As plant based folk, we can all rally behind the fact he has been plant based for 16 years. But, I don’t want to minimize his accomplishment and say that should somehow be the rallying cry. Sure, it’s a slap in the face to the protein myth folk, but this achievement is so beyond one’s protein intake or the amount of carbs. He did what worked for HIM, that is what mattered. He set out to achieve this goal, as icing on the cake of an amazing endurance running career.

There are folks out there that are also questioning his time on the trail. They say he was too quick. They say he missed the point of a thru-hike. What? Are you the Appalachian Trail police? Does he have to do it a certain way to meet your qualifications? What are those qualifications? How about this, you worry about you. Let others achieve their own goals. Let other’s choose to live their lives the way THEY want to without your holier than thou attitude.

Scott, and I doubt you will read this, what you have done is beyond the pale. There are only a few that would even conceive of the idea to attempt this feat. You are an inspiration to many. A hero to more than a few. Us mere mortals bow to your greatness and cannot wait to read about your adventure. When does the book come out??

I stumbled upon awesomeness!!

So I am out of my usual Vega protein that I really love. I have a tub of Garden Of Life though so I check to see what else I had. There it was… some Vega Accelerator. The simple equation hit me, add the two and maybe, just maybe, it’d taste like a creamsicle. Vanilla and tropical flavors should at least be close right? It worked and I am a friggin genius! (just kidding, not kidding)

Recovery done right!!

vegagardenoflifeOrange Creamsicle

2 cups water
1 scoop Vega recovery accelerator (tropical)
1 scoop Garden of Life raw protein (vanilla)
6 ice cubes

Shake it up and BAM!! Liquid gold!

 

Squeals, Bleats And Cackles: Matt Frazier from No Meat Athlete

NoMeatAthlete

I’ve been a fan of No Meat Athlete for some time now and am ecstatic to bring this interview to you. For years, Matt has been at the forefront of a movement, a plant based athlete movement including such names as Scott Jurek, Brendan Brazier and Rich Roll.  From his humble beginning as a blogger, to a pod-caster and now an author, Matt has helped bring a plant based lifestyle into the limelight when it comes to endurance events, and more importantly, health. I recently had the opportunity to read and review his book, you can check it out here.

I’ve been at many races recently, including the 2015 Cape Cod Ragnar Relay, and I’ve seen more and more people wearing “No Meat Athlete” shirts. His message is getting out there further each day, and I’m happy to share his story with you.

VCG: I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you here, Matt. For the readers that are unaware, give us a brief history on No Meat Athlete.

matt1NMA: I started No Meat Athlete back in 2009, really just as a way to document my own experiment of going vegetarian while trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The first six months were just me writing about my meals and workouts, but in that time I built a following of people who were interested in the story. So I started making t-shirts with the name and logo on them, and that was really the beginning of it turning into something much bigger than me. Within two years this little blog became a full-time job, and I went further with it, going vegan and getting into ultrarunning. Since then I’ve published a book and started a bunch of No Meat Athlete groups around the world … it’s become my life!

VCG: When you made your transition to a veggie/ plant based diet were you a runner at that point too, or did you start when you made the transition?

NMA: I had been running for six years or so, and in the process had essentially become obsessed with the goal of qualifying for Boston. My first marathon took me 4 hours and 53 minutes, and my Boston-qualifying time was 3:10, so I had 103 minutes to cut down! And over those six years I had gotten down to 3:20 or so, but those last 10 minutes seemed like an eternity at that point; I had no idea where they would come from. That’s part of the reason I was willing to try a plant-based diet — I didn’t think I’d get to Boston on my current trajectory. So I took a chance on eating the way I felt that I should, and it turned out to work really well: six months later, I ran a 3:09:59 and got in to Boston.

Read more