I am supposed to do speed workouts because I kinda wanna go for time at Marine Corps Marathon this year. But I have not done much to date. Also I never train well.
I have a new friend, who is super young, who is just getting into running. We planned to go for a run together. Our meeting point was about 2 miles from where I was. Also we could not run due to minor leg injury she had. But I ran to our meeting location, at about 8 minutes per mile! Then we walked for over 3 miles. Then I ran back, another 2ish miles at 8 minutes mile! There, I got my speed workout for the week.
I am also supposed to do hill workouts. Which I do occasionally, thanks to a plan Katie created for me. But so far, it is on a treadmill tho. I hate running on a treadmill. HATE it. But I guess it is better than no hill training!
It rained all day in Washington today. Desperate measures, I went to the shitty “gym” in my apartment and ran on a treadmill. About 2.5 miles, a mile out of which at about 7.5 minutes per mile and the rest about 9 minutes mile. Is that speed workout? I’m claiming it anyway.
Marathon training – one of the worst things you volunteer to do.
You know how July 4th happened. On Wednesday. And then New York City happened on that Saturday!
Catie and I will go to NYC. We will run our training distance for the day in Central Park. Then we will explore the city with emphasis on vegan food and drinks. It will be a day trip. Leave at 0600, be back in Washington at 2200. It will be another one for me and a first for Catie. Destination Training, is what we call it. It will be filed under #VeganFoodQuestNYC. There will be more #VeganFoodQuests in other cities.
I had one more goal, as I told Amy at dinner Friday night, to outdrink Catie. Something that I have never been able to do but tried and failed. She can usually hold her alcohol well and me, not so much. So it’s a big deal for me. Shh… Catie doesn’tknow (cheating, I know).
0600. Saturday. Oh wait, 0530. Union Station, Washington DC. We are in the line to board the train that departs at 0600 to NYC. Catie is excited, being her first Amtrak ride and her first visit to NYC. In fact, her first time north of Baltimore, ever! What we were supposed to do, according to the plan, was to keep our backpacks at Amtrak storage in New York Penn station and walk to 59th and 5th and run 5 miles, come back to Penn station, change to non-sweaty clothes and eat at as many vegan restaurants as possible and drink as much alcohol as possible before heading back in the evening.
Right after we got to Penn station, we had a setback on step 2 of our plan, the run. Due to events not in our control, we could not run. No biggie, right? We’ll run in Washington on Sunday. We decided to not cry over spilt soymilk and enjoy the day. After all in we are in New York City and it’s a beautiful day!
by Chloe: First of many vegan food destinations of the day. That breakfast was just amazing.
Quinoa potato hash brown
Tofu scramable with avo
Tofu scramble vegan sausage sandwich on a potato bun
Catie sat on a swing while eating!
Brooklyn Bridge: We walked all the way to Brooklyn Bridge. I have walked and ran across the bridge in the past. But it always is a fascinating experience. Except this time it was packed, I’ve never seen that many people on the bridge ever before!
Urban Vegan Kitchen: One Green Planet and HappyCow told us about this restaurant. I had a feeling I’ve been there before and sure enough, I have. You can add any alcohol to any juice to make your own cocktail there. Sweet, right! Their chickpea hushpuppies are da bom! Since we were not hungry enough, also with the plan to hit more vegan places, we just had the hushpuppies. Lunch #1.
Tito’s with watermelon juice / vegan bloody mary
Jack’s Wife Freda: While we are planning our trip, we came across an article in One Green Planet about the best breakfast and brunch places in the country. Since One Green Planet is a vegan focused publication, we assumed that Jack’s Wife Freda, which was on the list, was a vegan establishment. I really wanted to go there. I was looking at the map to find the location and Catie goes “look across the street”. And there it was, directly across the street from Urban Vegan Kitchen! We went in, looked at the menu and realized it is not a vegan restaurant. We read the One Green Planet review again and realized that they were talking about just this one tofu dish, Mustard seed crusted tofu, on their menu. Sure we tried it. Hands down, the best tofu I’ve ever eaten! Bonus, meeting one of the vibrant bartenders ever, Fitch. She told us to definitely come back as she was shaking a cocktail, incorporating a full body dance move! Lunch #2.
Mustard seed crusted tofu
Bootsy collins / Pimm’s cup no 1
Mother of Pearl: The last stop in our quest. Incredible how everything – food, drinks, weather, our attitudes – kept getting better and better as the day progressed! Mother of Pearl was a fitting finale for an amazing day. Fully vegan Polynesian restaurant. It was so hard to choose what to order! We ordered everything. We had to try hard to finish our third entrèe (nothing to do with the taste, in fact the amazing taste was the only reason we could finish, we were just too full at that point) and realized that one more, the biggest one of our order, is yet to come. I don’t wanna get into the details, it was bad, all the way back to Washington. Dinner#1?
Avocado & ricotta toast
Frozen classic daiquiri
Pickled vegetable spring rolls
Tropical guacamole (fried guac!)
Cherry coke daiquiri
New York weather was super kind to us, with a high of a perfect 69°! Altogether we walked 13 miles in Manhattan. I think that covers the 5 miles that we were supposed to run? No? Fine.
And how am I gonna burn all the extra calories from the week?
On the way back, in the train, Catie says “Did you realize you drank way more than me. That has never happened before, you know that, right?”!
Did she know my secret goal? I know she didn’t but it was killer finish to the best day evuh, that she acknowledged it and that it was her who brought it up after all!
You work hard. You workout 6 days a week with one day a week for rest. Or so you tell your trainers while you workout on your rest day as well, like, biking or yoga or a long walk. Then you start seeing the results. You record a PR on a race. You are in love with your bathroom scale (BTW, her name is “Just”) because she tells you all the good things you wanna hear. Or rather shows you.
Then fucking July 4th happens. You drink. You drink like there’s no fucking tomorrow. Even though you did an awesome 30+ mile bike ride in the morning, the 12 beers and the vegan red wine and the tequila-kombucha combo and the home cooked brunch and the vegan cupcakes your friend brought to the party and the Uber Eats you ordered late in the night – oh fuck – there’s no justifying any of it. Then the next morning, the extra lbs you see is especially bad because when you checked your weight after the morning ride on the 4th it was lightest you’ve ever been since………. high school.
BUT, it was the best 4th of July ever. Thanks to awesome friends. Amy. Chelsey. John.
Also the bike ride was awesome. I had the entire 8 lanes on Constitution Avenue for myself and my bike Ela on my way to Mt. Vernon Trail!
Speaking of independence day, I missed the 20th anniversary of me moving to US from India. It was on the 28th of June. I was planning on partaying it up but, fuck me, I completely forgot about it! The first place I live in US was Baltimore. I still have a soft spot for Baltimore. How ironic is that I now work in Baltimore! My first American friend (big up, Aaron) is still my friend and we hang out a lot!
I should have titled this “weightless” or “weightloss” or something to do with “weight”. But limitless has more drama. Plus that’s how I feel lately.
I go to a group workout, bootcamp, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Through Vida Fitness, the #1 gym in DC. Wednesdays there’s a bootcamp in the evening as well which I just started going to. Yes, 2 bootcamps, 1 day. Typically I burn over a 1000 kcal during one of those 50 minute sessions. Easily. BTW, my badass trainer Katie runs these bootcamps!
About 5 weeks back, I started on a path to eat better. Yes I am a plant based athlete but it does not automatically mean I am a healthy eater. I am one of those *junk food vegans* (JFV)! Yes, it’s a thing. Well, lemme say, I WAS, a JFV. Enter the two new beautiful human vegans. Around the same time! They started “addressing” my bad food habits. Got called out on the following:
I don't like most vegetables (I know).
Love me all the fried stuff. Samosas, fries yumm...
I snack all the time.
Cupcakes and donuts - all of them!
Bread. Bread. Bread.
Long story short, I dropped 8 lbs in less in that 5 weeks. Probably the healthiest weight loss in history. Hit me up if you like to know the specifics.
I drank more beer in that same 5 weeks than the entirety of last year. Honest! Then how…? I know. 4 out of 5 of the recent weekends, I burned 6000+ calories, each (Saturday and Sunday combined). Work hard play hard, right homies? Run, bike, HIIT, yoga, and wait for it….
I’m a Zumba bitch now.
I am not trying to be a role model here. Nor I am trying to tell you anything good about approaching workouts and weight loss. A lil bragging? May be.
This morning, it was 78° – 80° during bootcamp. It was just me at the group class so Katie worked out with me. I love working out with Kaite, my favorite sessions. Something extra in the way she pushes me as a workout partner, from a trainer!
OK OK, back to the story. It was so humid, the heat index must have been 85ish. Plus it was one tough workout! The old Saiju would have burned, like, 1200 kcal but I only burned about 900! Even a minor change in body weight plays a big part in your performance! Truth. On Friday, I ran 3.5 miles with Katie at about 8:40 / mile! That’s a big deal. Yes, I am lighter on my feet, more agile, have more energy. Plus all the beer!
You know I am diabetic, right? I set an aggressive fucking goal for myself. I will reverse diabetes by the end of the year.
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!
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! 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!
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.
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 (), 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.
My personal trainer George, at Vida Fitness, is a total badass. 6% BFP! 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>
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, ……
I 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!
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!
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)!
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).
Deepa’s 4yr old daughter was waiting for her at the finish (how did a 4 yr old get to DC from Vienna?) Amazing!
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 . 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)