Lady Saiju!

April

There is was a new Facebook group called DC Vegan Pickup Baseball. The idea is was to play baseball without any animal products involved, which means no leather gloves or regular baseball of softball. We play with tennis balls. And bare hands.

I met up with a few team members at our first event, but we couldn’t play baseball due the overwhelming number of tourists and protesters at the National Mall in DC.

Crap. sweat_emoji

The founder of the group, Corbett,  asked me if I can take over as admin of the group. I gleefully obliged. I suggested we play pickup soccer, which means smaller field and more doable. Success. Name of the group changed to DC Vegan Pickup Sports, we don’t wanna get sued, you know.

The plan is to get together every weekend and do something. Soccer, volley ball, biking, baseball, hiking, rugby (15c16cf39f5ab5b857081a285b1c2ecd--innovation-emojis.jpg), and as someone suggested, even pizza eating. Of course vegan pizza. (Personally I do not like vegan cheese but I’ll play)

The group is growing rapidly.

Prelude

My personal trainer George, at Vida Fitness, is a total badass. 6% BFP! Scared-Emoji I literally be begging for mercy at the end of each session. HIIT, core, iso, plyo… all of it.

I am the captain of DC PETA Pack running team that is racing at the Poplar Springs 5K which benefits Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary, in Poolesville MD. I am training a few first time racers as well.

I wake up at 4 AM every day. Then I go to the gym for a personal or group session. Or run. My friends are like “you are certifiably insane”. I’m like “awww thank you”. Needless to say I’ve never come met anyone who can match my energy or wake up at 4 AM or wanna do “things”, like, all the time. My experience is me begging my friends to do stuff and get a semi-yes then… nuthin. <sad violin emoji / bitmoji>

Kelly

I met Kelly through the new vegan group.

She wakes up at 4 AM to workout (so do I), like potatoes (so do I). She is vegan (so am I). More than enough reasons to celebrate a fellow human’s existence.

I took her to my HIIT session with George. And no, she wasn’t begging for marcy at the end of it (I was tho). She did not look like she was gonna collapse and die (I did tho).

She joined my PETA Pack team for Poplar Springs 5K. And she will join Catie and I at Navy Air Force Half Marathon in September. Yes, that is another PETA Pack race.

It these weren’t enough, for her to climb to the top of my list of favorite peoples,   ……

She hates Star Wars. images

SO DO I! download (1)

Kelly is the female Saiju.

Or what Kelly said “your are the male me”download

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler 2018

IMG_4383.JPGI asked Katie on Thursday about cancelling our core training session on Friday, citing my 10 mile race on Sunday. “Come, lets do some (foam)roll and stretch and prep you for the race. Your legs will thank me on Sunday.” Since my hipflexor-only-training-full-marathon was entirely made possible by Katie, I couldn’t argue. Then again, I shouldn’t have worried about the race much because I was running with Deepa, who is a new runner, this being her second ever race, last year’s Cherry Blossom 10 Miler being her first, so naturally I will be running slower than my pace,

(Not taking anything away from Deepa, she being a mother, spending 9 hours at work every day with a 2+ hour commute, and not having trained well for this race, thanks to unusually cold weather)

although running slower than your comfortable pace is harder in a certain way. Easy peasy right?

My bladder (not the water, the crotch) started threatening (audibly) “gonna go right now” even less than a mile into the race!

Fuck.

I told Deepa I’ll catch up and to keep running, as I ran towards a potty. The people in front of me on the potty line must all have been #2 because it took an eternity to get my biznezz done and start running again. I was going at full speed but I can’t see Deepa. I told her to stay to the RIGHT SIDE of the crowd so that I won’t miss her. WTF Deepa! I thought you said you didn’t train for this! Finally, after mile marker 4, I see her, on the LEFT SIDE OF THE CROWD! Bravo girl! praying-hands-emoji

I probably got a 5K PR, right there! I think this is where Katie’s race-prep workout, all of a sudden, turned out to be significant!

Easy peasy my ass!

The rest of the race was uneventful. Except for the beer stop at mile 8, which I double-fisted! Did I mention that the Cherry (Blossom) trees were in full bloom? And that most of the race course were through Cherry (Blossom) trees? And that it was a gorgeous day to run? Started off at around 32° (butt ass cold) and ended at around 40° (nice and pleasant)! raising-hands

My friends Thenna and Komal ran the race as well. We all looked like we are about to rob a convenient stores, not run (well, it was a coldass fuckin morning).

#thugs #indianthugs

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Deepa’s 4yr old daughter was waiting for her at the finish (how did a 4 yr old get to DC from Vienna?) Amazing! 12675130-Illustration-of-a-scared-yellow-emoticon-isolated-on-a-white-background-Stock-Illustration

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Post race late brunch was marvelous, with my favorite peeps, Catie and Amy, at Meridian Pint, one of my fav brunch / watering spot in DC. My #BFF Amy and I have this thing. She loves avocados. And dislike potatoes. I hate avocados 800px_COLOURBOX20556388. And LOVE me some potatoes. So we trade (the best trade in trade history). Even with this trade, with a few kilos of roasted potatoes on my plate, I was worried about not having enough food to eat, got a side order of fries. Oh my Goat, it was large enough to feed a small country! (See exhibit A below) IMG_4381

And beer.

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….

rnrcert

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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

Fresh Start

It will be hard but let’s do it anyway” she said.

And ” do it”, we did. And hard, it was! And amazing, it felt. And we started doing it at 16°.

And the feeling of keeping up with the tradition of running on the 1st day of the year – priceless!

Mayor Bowser’s Fit DC FreshStart 5K on the 1st of Jan was my first run since July(?). It was slow but good. Spirits lifted. Muscles, ruffled!

Oh, who is she? Stephanie. Her second only race to date. Thanks to her I found out about this race.

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There are a couple of things going on with my life that makes me wanna just start whining. Back in the day. I used to crowd-source my emotions (thru fucking facebook) but I have learned from that mistake. I’m not gonna start again.

Focus. I have races to do. Animals to speak out for.

Peas…

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La Jolla Half Marathon… and more

Pacific West Coast 

I go to LA a few times every year. My best friend and his family live there. They are like my family. In fact, they are my family. So last week I decided it’s time to go to LA again. The timing couldn’t be better because there was a protest against the cruel, unnecessary animal experimentations (more on this archaic “science” later) that occur in UCLA. I could join the protest. And I did. Here’s my new activist friend, Michael and I. 18034235_216115568876071_5141022368381432664_n

I looked for a race to do while I’m in LA, you know, as one would. I found one in San Diego! La Jolla half marathon. More on that later in this post.

I landed in LA on Thursday. Friday morning I did my first SHFT training session. I stayed in my target zone for 46% of the time! (Fuck yeah!) Then Shan and I went to a running store in Santa Monica for him to buy his first pair (of running shoes). It happened to be the venue for the packet pickup for a 5K (Leslie Cohen Law 5K) happening the next morning, by a beach. Did I walk out of there without registering?

Saturday morning : Ladies and gents, we have a first time racer, Shan! IMG_8496.JPG

La Jolla Half Marathon           I have done over a 80 races since 2008. This race course was one of a kind! (Oh, I bought the Spectacles by Snap last month and I wore them during a race for the first time at this race.)

It was one of the most beautiful courses I ever raced.

 

This race course was also one of the toughest, yet. The hills just kept on going up and up and up…

 

Luckily the sun was in hiding until after the finish! Plus there were high fives and water guns!

 

And the downhills were amazing! The last quarter mile to the finish were all downhill and was able to Finish Strong.

 

Then there was one McLaren MP4-12C!

 

And then I finished at the beautiful La Jolla Cove!

 

And then there were seals and sea lions!!!

18056062_10154839126461886_5440057302426119336_oThat’s Rocky, who knows he is the dabom, giving me some attitude. And I did not invade his personal space, I was respectful of his privacy and kept a safe distance.

BTW, I’m still injured!

More stories from LA comin up….

 

 

1% Effort

1% effort
10% training
50% injury
100% passion

That’s my running, for now.

1% effort huh? Not because I have become so good at this and it is effortless to me now, or anything.That’s how lazy I really am to get out and do something (running).

The last 2 races. First, the Rock n Roll DC half and then the Cherry Blossom 10 mile race, 3 weeks apart, were truly testing my limits. 2:24 for a half, injured, is acceptable (not a fast runner, to begin with). The CB 10 was running with a first time racist (racer? whatevs), so that doesn’t count. She did awesome for her first race tho. Running through the cherry blossoms was just amazing! IMG_8174

Then there was one training run with Deepa for about 5 miles. What used to be a less than 4 miles loop, which I’ve run many times before, from my house to The US Capitol, to The Washington Monument (through The National Mall), to The White House to back home, somehow grew in the past few months to an even 5 miles! Yeah, WTF, is right! Route.PNG

Remember, how I Injured my groin few weeks back? So, I can’t run like I normally would. I have to realign the landing on my left, and shorten my strides in order not make the injury worse. But it’s worthwhile to incorporate these workarounds to keep running. Especially because I wanna do the 55KM race in Iceland in July (I think).

Related news – remember how I am bling ho?

(I am.)

I run these races for those medals. Funny story, I registered both Deepa and myself for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler together. Unlike ALL the races in the world, you have to fucking pay extra for the fucking finisher medal. Of course I fucked up and did not buy a medal for Deepa. So what would a generous, kind, experienced, has-more-than-50-blings-in-his-possession-runner would do?

Yup She’s wearing MY medal. 6acefa4e02697bd009f844d9dbfa6c0e

But not before getting a picture of me wearing it. 🙂IMG_8187

We are all winners. 17504224_10154777950466886_8754943196921356868_o

So long…


Deepa – you spend a LOT of time with your coworkers. When you have someone you can call a BFF at work, it’s precious. I have no idea how she still manages to keep a smiling face and offers worthwhile responses everytime I am down. And whining.”

“In the beginning of the year, when I was freaking out about how to plan my training, my cool coworker (much appreciated, Deepa!) friend stepped in and created a spreadsheet for me that became an excellent tool to plan my training and keep my sanity in check.


 

Excerpts from  two posts from last year where I mentioned Deepa. She was not just a coworker but  huge part of my support system (I need a lot of support) that helped me get thru Fire & Ice last year.

Deepa and I are coworkers no mo.  OK, we are friends. But it is so easy to maintain a friendship with your coworker without putting any effort. I’m looking at having to travel to the village* to hang out with her again. I guess you have to earn the good things in life.

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Village – Because I live in downtown Washington DC, I see all places outside downtown as villages. All my coworkers live in villages.

Full disclosure, most of the people in my support system are from the village.

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