Poplar Springs 5K, TFW and Landa

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My first Team PETA Pack race is over where I lead the team from behind, as the team captain.  Hehe. From behind because I walked the race with my favorite people Audrey, Amy, Catie, and Melanie. And of course my favorite doggo, Gunner!

Kelly and Adam kicked serious ass with fast finishes. So proud of them! Then there was also Richa, John, Kat, Anna! All the vegan runners! download1f3c3-2640man-running

I ran to PETA DC volunteer party a couple of months back and was talking to people there about running. A couple of them expressed interest in running. From there to a 12 member team at Poplar Spring 5k, was a fun journey. A bunch of them were first time racers as well. Including Gunner! Our team performance was not that great. But like I told my Team Humane League friend Thomas, “we are not here to compete, we are here to contribute”. Zing… right?

PETA, very kindly created Team PETA Pack shirts for us. Beautiful shirts, I might add.

This is super exciting for me as Kelly and Katie signed up for their first half marathon, the Navy Air Force Half Marathon on September 16 in Washington DC! DGX9GyAXUAAGpIf.jpg That will be a PETA Pack race as well. Also this means we will be training through summer and hopefully nobody gets hurt. John and my super-athlete-mom-friend Landa may join our team as well. Oh and my runner / ex colleague friend Komal is already in.

I met Landa in Tallahassee in 2009 when for the first time in my life, I joined a “gym” Quotes because it was just a rented open space with no air-conditioning or anything and a bunch of us worked out together, we pooled in to pay the rent. It was called Train Fight Win. A few of us were actual trainers. I owe my athletic life to the founders L.A. and Mike. And my amazing trainers Alyssa, Brad, and Ray. I started doing races with them and they helped me with my first full marathon in Estes Park, CO. 101 continuous push ups, 1000 continuous squats, century bike race training, and training for a 500 mile, multi stage (7 days) bike ride etc.. We were a wild bunch.

Back to Landa.

I met Landa while she was a week away from delivering her baby. I looked at her as she was working out and thought we may have a baby on the floor before the end of this session! But no baby that day. Less than a month after her delivery, she was back at it. Less than 3 months after her delivery, she raced a triathlon! Whoa! Then again, I only associate myself with the best! She lives in NoVA now, ran MCM last year, less than a year after another baby! BTW, I’m proud to announce that I ran with Landa at her first half marathon in 2012.

Stand by for stories from what will be an amazing adventure with 2 first time half marathoners!

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Goose Bumps

Prologue

Life is more than the sum of its parts. In my life, running is one part. Surviving a wild Canada Goose attack is another.

The Story

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Baltimore.

It was a crisp, chilly winter morning. I was in high spirits, and I had rhythm in my feet, coffee in my belly, music in my ears…. I was walking towards my office building.

Then I saw him.

He was in the middle of the walk way. He was alone. He looked like Gandalf trying to block Balrog (I have no idea what this reference means, Google gave it to me. I never read that stupid book, I have more self respect than that), waiting to stop me from entering.

OK OK. He was a Canada Goose. There are a bunch of them around the campus. They block traffic frequently, crossing the road, moving at a glacial place, wiggling their butts, with the full self knowledge that they can fucking fly if they want to. FLY! 800px_COLOURBOX20556388

Anyway, I recognized, with my expertise in ornithology, his aggressive posture. 29063764_10155668136651886_7604993273270156631_o (2) What to do? He is in the middle of the walkway, no other entrances or way to go around him. I could turn around and go back home to DC. Duh… the most obvious option. facepalm3        I moved forward, slowly, acting as normal as I can. Sure enough, he charged, angry-goosestarted pecking (?) with his mouth (?). Then he grabbed on to my pants pulling on it as if he is trying to disrobe me. Scared-Emoji.png

*See that is when I knew the goose was a fucking male goose.* eggplant-emoji

I was like dude, I am not into that… or that…. you know… guys…. or geese. Jeez…. sweat_emoji

So I stayed there, let him take his time, and feel manly that he attacked and won over a helpless human man. man-raising-hand-medium-skin-tone

All of a sudden he realized that he has won and decided its time to go brag to his goose friends.

The most harrowing 32 seconds of my life!   img_4384

And it was a Monday. . How was the rest of that week? It’s a totally different story.

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Epilogue

I may or may not have screamed “I’m vegan you dumbass goose bird, I’m in your team…”

Like my instagram friend stonehill2015 later said, “He must have been on lookout rotation and takes the role too seriously. Like a mall cop.lol-emoji

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And the medal goes to….

Katie! img_3152

Have you ever dedicated a race to your trainer? Neither have I, until now. Seriously, I am still in denial that I finished! And the only reason I finished is, all the hip flexor training, and nothing but the hip flexor training. With, and designed by, Katie.

Did I mention I did could not do any run training, AT ALL, for this? Oh, OK then.

The report from the field:

It was a crisp pre-spring morning in DC. 0° (c) at the start of Rock n Roll DC Marathon, at 7 am. I went in, mentally prepared to take a DNF, I was there just for the love of running. (OK OK OK, I wanted to show off, as a vegan athlete, I can run a full marathon with ZERO training).

You are on your 16th marathon. Although you haven’t set any time goals, you just want to finish, running mile 6 at 5:56 is NOT OK. That’s actually worse than a rookie mistake! That’s outright dumb. (I don’t think I was that fast, I think the tracker app fucked up, but I did run super fast every now and then during the first half). At half way point, I was headed for a PR. But then I paid handsomely for it.

The last 8 miles tho….

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My PETA Pack shirt got me a nice conversation and some high fives while running, with another vegan runner. She showed me her custom bib which read “Vegan 4 Animals”. Mine said “IRun4Animals”.

And all the cheers for PETA!

A girl in a chicken costume, with a megaphone, on the course, stopped me and wanted to play with my hair. She ran her fingers thru it and I was thinking, “fuck, you are messing it up”.

BUT she actually fixed it! See before and after! img_3154

 

My friend Lia, who is from Philly, who I think runs this race every year, who is also a vegan athlete, passed me right after the half way mark, just after I started getting severe quad cramps (didn’t even know it was a thing, never experienced it before) but not without some small talk.

The first time ever, I did not consume anything other than gatorade and water throughout the race! Of course I carb loaded at dinner the night before and had a piece of bread and coffee prior to start.

There is this killer hill along the course, about 10 miles into it, which is also part of my usual training route, which is also part of MCM and other local distance races. So I have traversed the hill mountain at least 10 times in the past few years but never ran up the whole damn thing. No, this time it was different. This time I ran the whole thing up and continued till next water station,which was more than a mile after! Booyah….

And I had to stop for a moment and pose for the finish line photographers, during “finish strong” last-quarter-mile-sprint.

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And like a total moron, I finished through the half marathon finish line!

End of report. 

Less than a week before the race, at an attempted, failed inversion pose during yoga, I messed up my back, big time. For the next couple of days, I even thought I may have to sit this one out. But no, my friend, and massage therapist extraordinaire, Chelsey, by use of her her excellent magical hands, cured it!

A couple of days prior to that, my hip flexor muscle had some issues and I had to go see my lovely and super knowledgeable NP, Gretchen. It was still bothering me a bit on race morning. At the end of the race tho, everything was hurting, so no biggie!

My primary care physician, Dr Loomis, who is also vegan, who is also a runner, ran a half marathon in November, faster than my PR, he is almost 60! I went to see him with an irregular heart beat issue the day before the race. My EKG was normal so I got the green to race!

Here are a lot of pictures of me running, from same and different angles. I know you live for this shit.

 

And…. not the least….
Thank you Katie, Chelsey, George, Dr Loomis, Gretchen, Becca(for those awesome songs and the early race day morning message)

And Ellen, Catie, Adam, Brianna, Amy, Chelsey for the “party”.

And as always, Shantanu!

#RnRDC #DCRocknRollMarathon #VeganAthlete #VeganRunner #NoRunTrainingMarathon

The Shitshow

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This picture says it all.

2017, the shitshow comes to an end.

0 marathons, 2 half, 1 10M, 1 10K, 2 5Ks. The last race was in May, Lace Up For RAINN 5K in DC. Had to defer MCM to next year. Missed 2 registered marathons, Virginia Beach and Running For The Bay.

Ran coldest race, 17° at the start of Rock n Roll DC!

Let’s recap. Had a minor adductor injury in Feb. Decided to get a Ph.D on tearing-just-a-hyper-stretched-muscle by running and HIIT. Races in March, April and May. Continued HIIT till November while rehabing.

The reason I finally decided to take complete rest is some unexplained headaches. Like getting hit by a hammer on my head when I land on my foot, every step, while sprinting. An MRI showed unmistakable presence of BRAIN (woohoo) with no major issues but some “white matter” in it. I am pretty sure that is just a high concentration of extra IQ but I am forced to consult with a neurologist, first week of Jan.

Fine, I’ll play.

Doctors – necessary evil.

What learned was it is hard for me to get up and train / run, without a goal! But Katie helped big time (yes still training with Katie), without her I’d be a complete slob, gained extra 20 lbs etc.

Thank you Katie.

What did I do with all the extra time by not running, you ask?

Well, I got much more involved in Animal Rights activism. To the point PETA had to lol-emojipresent me with the following:

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Thank you PETA! I feel honored.

Also elevated my alcohol game. Still haven’t put on any extra pounds, surprisingly!

Tentative plans for next year? (Provided, no more playing macho while injured)

MCM
Rock n Roll DC
At least 1 ultra (I have a couple that I have my eyes on) 
At least 1 trail marathon (yes, I know which ones(s))

Piglet playing….

This video is from Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary in Victoria, Australia. Go to their site to see the amazing work they do to help farm animals. If you will, support them by donating.

So why the video? What do these piglets and I have in common?

If you didn’t know, I ran 4(ish) miles on Sunday. If you didn’t see me run, watch the video, my running was just like those piglets’. No run tracking, no headphones, no water bottles… Zero fuck was given while running that 4 miles.

The best part? No aches, breaks or pains. I spent the rest of that day planning my 2017 race calendar. Like 2016, it could very well be super expensive, destination races. Hold on to your butts, I will be posting my race calendar soon(ish).

PEACE

All your money are belong to mine

I started a fundraising campaign in connection with my race. The money I raise will go to PETA.

PETA is the largest animal rights organization, in terms of membership and global presence. They are the only ones who can get a seat at a boardroom of a big corporation. I like grassroots movements, but to make a real difference, there needs to be someone who can take on the giants in the meat / fashion / entertainment / animal experimentation industries. That’s what PETA does. I can go on and on and on about PETA but here is where to go to find out more about what they stand for.

If you like to contribute to my fundraising to help animals, here you go. I will match every penny, upto $1000.

My fundraiser

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I can see clearly now…..

Scotch makes things better

As I was sipping my 4th Glenfiddich 12 from the tiny airline bottle (I pretend I am a giant whenever i hold those bottles), it hit me. What the fuck am I doing? I am supposed to run a full, trail marathon in 7 days.

Why am I in an airplane, drinking Scotch? distance

I made a new friend, Ellen K, who was introduced to me as a crazy (in a very admirable way) person on Christmas eve, 2015. One of the first things she asked me to do was to go check this site out (Fire & Ice). I did, that night, and thought – whoa! I must do this!

Off to a vegan yoga retreat 2 days later, where I was surrounded by beautiful ladies, I run my big mouth, announcing my plans to run 250 KM, in 6 days, with all the required living supplies on my back, in the northern part of Iceland (yeah, the country) through unbelievably tough terrains that includes a (active)volcano.

Fuck! Now I have to do it! loudly-crying-face

Back on mainland, signed up for core training with a personal trainer, and a nutrition consultant, in a sad attempt to minimize the (likely)scenario of me running to my death in Iceland.

4 months later, I have not lost a single pound, my body fat % is the same as when I started the training and my gut still enters a room a couple of seconds before my body. I needed to do something to break out of the rut. What do we, as “westerners” do?

Go to India. IMG_2326 (3)

Now you know why.

I did not run that marathon.

But I am running that multi-stage ultra in Iceland, late summer 2016. Hence this long story.