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2018: A Dream Gone Awry

(ed note: This post is going to be a bit long so settle in if you are interested in a near chronological telling of my 2018.)

Where to start.

2018 started out like any other year.

It just was. There was nothing extraordinary about the beginning of it.

December 31, 2017 became January 1, 2018 and on time went. Maybe that was part of the problem. There was nothing special about the beginning of 2018, and it seemed the continuance of the mundane would roll on unimpeded.

Things did change though and mid way through, we bought a house! It was so exciting. This was something we had always wished we could do. Living on Cape Cod it always seemed so far away but in June of 2018 we finally became home owners. The year changed from there as our responsibilities changed, but our dream of home ownership had come to fruition.

On a personal note, I hit a running stumble in June as I took my first DNF in a long time. I hadn’t taken one since the Winter Death Race in 2015. I had run the Vegan Power 25k before and while the course was treacherous, it was manageable and I trained to finish. I hit the starting line ready to go and ran the first couple laps with friend and teammate Jess Ryle. I think it was lap 2 (or 3) that I hit a root and twisted my right knee. After lap 3 or 4 I decided to pull myself out of the race, there was no way possible I was limping through the last couple laps. I was demoralized and ashamed. I was so prepared for that race and while there was no way I was winning I knew I had it in me to finish. Never the less, I did not.

After the race our boys reminded us of something we had been telling them for a while and that is when we finally bought a house we would adopt a dog. July 2018 we adopted two, Buster and Master. They are two handsome Great Pyrenees rescues from Tennessee. They seemingly completed our family and we couldn’t be happier. Buster was care free from the get go and is such a love Master took a bit to warm up, and is still timid with strangers, but he now shows love and is an amazing companion. Our two cats got along great with the boys; it was perfect.

On the morning of August 7th , one of our cats went missing; Agatha. She was sitting in the front garden and the morning sun was hitting her just perfectly, her black fur was lit up all amber and she was beautiful. I took a photo as I got into my work van not knowing that it was the last time I’d ever see her. She was an amazing cat. Her kindness was amazing considering when she came into our lives it was because her previous owner had abandoned her and she was feral for many years. We loved that cat; I loved that cat.

My running redemption came in September when I ran with Strong Hearts Vegan Power again at Ragnar Adirondacks. We had a great van, we were team All Out War. The inside joke was that the average age in our van was well over 40 so we became team AARP. It was such a great race, we had so much fun and I really pushed myself. My last leg specifically, I felt someone breathing down my neck as I was maybe 1/2 mile to 3/4 of a mile out from the exchange. At that point we were running in the Whiteface Mountains and it was tough, my legs were shot. I was not getting passed, no f*cking way! Not here, not in front of my team. This race I made more kills than I had at any other Ragnar, I was f*cking strong as I ever was. I threw the hammer down and finished a few hundred feet ahead of that person! F*ck yes!!!

That said, there was a moment during that race that was quite sad and you can read more about it here. Peter Nussbaum (co-founder of Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary) and I had witnessed something at a dairy farm that will live with me for a long time. The cries of a young calf have been etched in my brain.

The runners high of that race was short-lived as something I felt coming for a while reared its head. My wife and I decided it was time to end our relationship. There are no hard feelings, we decided to do it amicably and not keep it from our sons. We told them and it was hard at first but we were still living together so they saw that divorces didn’t always have to be ugly and nasty, they could be civil.

The hits just kept coming after that though.

One night while Leah was at work, I was at home with the boys. Itsy, our other cat, was meowing to come in which is something she NEVER did. She would stay out all night if we let her. During the summer she spent many nights out as she refused to come in. This time she was meowing to come in and was limping. I figured maybe she was sleeping under a bush and her paw had fallen asleep. I helped her up onto my bed and consoled her for a bit. I left her alone for a short bit of time hoping the leg would wake up. It never did and I called Leah to come home so I could take Itsy to the all night emergency vet. Long story short, Itsy was throwing blood clots and we left the office with her in a box. We were told it was the compassionate thing to do as the next clot could be in her brain, heart or somewhere else that might cause her pain. So we took on that pain and lost our other furry friend. We had her since she could fit in the palm of our hand. We loved her so much.

Shortly after all of that stuff, I had moved into a two bedroom condo. It is a serviceable place and fits what I need; for now. One Thursday (December 6th) I had gone in to work for an 8 hour overtime shift. The boys come over on Thursday so I had just picked them up. We walked into the condo and sure enough, my first step onto the carpet made a squish sound. The water heater had blown while I was at work and flooded the whole first floor. It took 24 hours to get someone out to put in a new heater and shortly after someone else to remove all the water and the soaked carpet. At that point there was nothing but a concrete slab and 4 machines running to dry the place out and clean the air from any spores that might be growing.

Here we are, December 28th and I still have a cement floor.

We celebrated our first Christmas in the condo on cold concrete and that is exactly how I’m going into 2019.

That said, I refuse to let it define my year and there will be a second part to this post on January 1st. I have plans and goals and aspirations. 2019 will not be a repeat of 2018. I’ve been given the opportunity to redefine myself and re-center my life. I can’t wait to share what’s going to happen next.

World Vegan Day 2018

I’m a little late to the party here but today is World Vegan Day and I just wanted to put out some words really quick…
 
I always thought going vegan was tough, that I would miss things and that it was going to be super expensive. I could not have been more wrong.
 
So for real, is it tough?
It took some adjustments at first, to be perfectly honest. But with all the substitutes out there it became easier and easier by the day. Going out for dinner was hard at first because I had to ask the waiter to remove this or remove that. Most places now have vegan options though, you just have to speak up. I was always coy about it. Now, not so much. I never wanted to use the vegan word because I felt like I was immediately being judged; now I could care less about that judgement, I’m comfortable with who I am and the choices I make. I am comfortable knowing that I choose not to harm other sentient beings in order to satisfy my stomach.
 
Since going vegan (almost 5 years ago) I don’t miss anything because what ever you can eat, I can eat vegan. Think about it, you season your food right? I use the same seasonings. You don’t eat meat raw do you? Of course you don’t, you season it and cook it. Vegans do the same thing with our food. My food tastes the same and because it’s not animal flesh, I don’t intake all the cholesterol and other harmful byproducts. Oh and vegan ice cream is the bomb by the way; yes we have ice cream!
 
It can be expensive but it can also be cheap. Any type of food can be expensive, I mean for crying out loud foie gras (which is really f*cking nasty by the way) is expensive and so is your filet mignon, so don’t say being a vegan is. Not only can veganism be cheap, especially if you eat beans, fruits, veggies, tofu, rices and grains. Unlike foie gras and filet, you don’t have to force feed a duck or slit a cows throat to eat some tasty AF rice and beans. No one get’s hurt and your taste buds will be just as happy with some seitan wings rather than the wing of someone who didn’t want their wing to be removed.
Your food choices affect more than just you. Today I ask that you take a step toward veganism to not only save your health and to save the environment but to save the lives of all the sentient beings that would rather live than to be killed and get served on your plate. If I can help you can always reach out to me, I’m happy to answer questions and help you transition to a more compassionate lifestyle.
Please, go vegan!

Running for Something

I’ve been running for a few years now.

I started out running for my immediate health. My cholesterol was off the chart, especially for someone my size and weight. I had to do something, or I would continue to spiral downward and eventually end up hoping that a defibrillator would bring me back from the brink. That’s not a life I wanted to live. I’ve run from the grim reaper long enough; it was time to run toward him, taunting him.

As you can read in my “about” page, I begrudgingly learned that running wasn’t enough. I had to make dietary changes, so I went plant based. Within a year I dropped my overall cholesterol by 66 points, no meds just food!

In another middle finger in the air moment directed at the grim reaper, just about 6 months ago I got hypnotized and finally quit smoking. 25 years of addiction gone with some mumbo jumbo talk that I never thought would work, yet here I am.
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Vega Protein and Greens

I’m a rather big fan of Vega, especially their VegaOne. They have a variety of ways to get your protein. You can go vega_proteinGreens_tub_chocolate_medium_us_358x450pxwith the VegaOne which is more of a daily nutritional shake, you can go with the sport Protein which is a little higher in the protein content, or you can go with this one which has the same amount of protein as the VegaOne. The bonus here is this is like a mixture of the sport and the VegaOne, you get a couple servings of veggies here that you maybe didn’t get in the sport mix, which I like having so I can sneak a few more into my diet. I have gone this direction a bit more as I’ve been running and training harder for my 50k in August.

It’s really hard to find a protein powder, in the vegan/ plant based realm, that is not chalky or tasteless. Vega’s Protein and Greens is exactly the opposite. I mix mine with only water and it tastes amazing.

It’s got just enough sweetness so it’s not too sweet, but satiates the palate. I’ve read other reviews about the over abundance of stevia in the product and, on a personal level, I couldn’t disagree more. I honestly do not like stevia based products. To me, if there’s too much, it tastes very synthetic. That is not the case here as it’s a smooth flavor and the chocolate is well balanced.

The mixability is amazing, just a few shakes in the ole shaker cup and it’s ready. I can’t comment on mixing with anything else, as a shake, than water though. I can tell you that I have mixed this with chia seeds to make an awesome chocolate chia pudding! Yeah I will post the recipe on the blog soon enough. I used it to help fuel me on the recent Cape Cod Ragnar Relay.

All in all, this is another solid product from Vega.  I guess it’s time to order more, only another shake or two left. 🙁

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Ragnar Week

Along with my teammates, this Friday I take on the Ragnar Relay Cape Cod. The race starts in Hull, MA and ends in Provincetown, MA. Ragnar says the mileage is 200ish, so that’ll be fun!

Working as a cable guy on the outer and upper Cape, I’ve seen this race run for multiple years now. To be honest, I always thought it looked fun but never thought I would even attempt it. That changed when I started running and now I am ready, and looking forward, to the challenge. My friends have done it, my teammates have done it and they all agree on one thing; it’s one of their favorite races to run each year.

I have leg 10 (12.8 miles through Plymouth), 22 (3.7 miles through Brewster into Harwich) and leg 34 (1.6 miles in Truro). My first leg will be at roughly 8pm so a night half-marathon is the plan there. I banged out my last long run, 10 miles, a couple days ago and feel good. I should be able to hold my projected pace and allow the stronger runners to keep theres as well. My hope is to not be slow and cause them to have to make up the time.

The plan now is maybe one more slow and short run and to eat nutritious meals. Of course there’s that whole hydrating thing too!

Bodyweight 10 to 1 WOD 4/24/15

This workout is going to be 10 rounds. As daunting as that seems, it is not.

What you are going to do is complete the first series of exercises 10 times, next round will be 9 times, the next 8 and so on until you finish the last round of 1.

Here are the exercises:

Burpees – Watch this video to see how to do a proper burpee

Mountain Climbers – I do not know this guy personally, but it’s how I do this exercise. Watch this video to see how to do a mountain climber.

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PlantPure Nation’s Kickstarter is LIVE!!

plantpure

From the folks that brought us Forks Over Knives comes another project, PlantPure Nation. Yesterday their kickstarter page went live and they are looking for your help in raising funds to bring this film around the country. Why is that important? It’s important because people are going to need to see this film. It uncovers a truth that so many will never see unless given an opportunity suck as this.

Go to the Kickstarter page here: PlantPure Nation on Kickstarter

Synopsis taken from PlantPureNation.com

“The documentary film PlantPure Nation tells the story of three people on a quest to spread the message of one of the most important health breakthroughs of all time. When nutritional scientist and author T. Colin Campbell inspires Kentucky State Representative Tom Riner to propose a pilot program documenting the health benefits of a plant-based diet, they inadvertently set in motion a series of events that expose powerful forces opposed to the diet. When industry lobbyists kill the pilot program, Dr. Campbell’s oldest son Nelson decides to try his own grassroots approach in his hometown of Mebane, North Carolina.

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Rip Esselstyn and Slaying Dragons

Eating plants doesn’t have to be that image you have in your head. You know, the image you have of your mom’s hippie friends sitting around blasting Janis, cooking lentils, sipping on tea and smoking “doobies”.

This video shows you can be a bad-ass and still give two sh!ts about your health. I’m a firm believer that science isn’t exclusive to the lab, science is based on real life, practical tests. There’s evidence here folks, put aside 15 minutes and watch already!!