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

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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When I’m not running… part II

My friend Michelle is NOT a runner. She started experimenting with running, like a year ago. She asked me things about running and I was helping her out with the things I know about running. Then she expressed her interest in running a marathon! Never say no to someone who whats to run a marathon. I said I will help her plan the race and that I will run it with her. We registered for Running For The Bay Marathon together.

That was before Fire & Ice.

I injured my back last Monday. Wish I had a great story behind it, like, it happened while I was saving a drowning dog or rescuing a kitten stuck on a tree etc. No, it was a stupid mistake involving a super heavy bag of kitty litter and early morning and lack of sleep etc.
Although Michelle may be fully capable of finishing the marathon by herself, I felt super shitty about not being able to keep my word. If it was just my stress fracture, I would run but with the back in jury… I can’t.

Fuck me, right?

I talked to Michelle and let her know that I won’t be running but I will be there at the start and finish to cheer her on. She said that means at least one of us will be at the finish!  lol-emoji
So I met her at the start, waved her off, on to the race. After hanging out with Scott (Michelle’s better half), we met her at mile 12-ish. We walked with her for a mile-ish. The worst part of the whole race is just up ahead and I offered to walk that part with her. She didn’t say no. At the end of that stretch, which was a 4.5 mile long bridge, I decided to finish the race with her!

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There were dolphins, pelicans, seagulls, butterflies and other runners along the course. Minutes after the race, I drove 6 hours, back to Atlanta to catch my flight.

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I was wearing my jeans and T shirt, you know, as a spectator, per original plan. BUT I had my running shoes on. Never leave the house without your running shoes. Because you never know…

Can I get a medal please?

When I am not running, I support runners

Friday, I completed 2 weeks of rehab, phase 1,  for my stress reaction (meh). To test if it is healing, I was supposed to run a mile and if it didn’t hurt, move to phase 2.

I volunteered for MCC at Baltimore Marathon on Saturday morning. 3 friends were running the full marathon. I offered to meet one of them (Thenna, this was his 8th marathon) at mile 12.5 and replenish his coconut water. I was getting race alerts on Thenna and the half way point was about a mile from my tent. I had to go through a “secure” area to get to that point which they won’t allow me to go thru because I had my sling pack with me. I realized that if I don’t act quickly, I will miss him at the meeting point. I sprinted about .25 mile to the tent, dropped the pack started running to the meeting point.

Sure enough I missed him.

I know how it feels when your support didn’t come thru at a race, a very miserable experience and you may even have to change your race plan!

It was hard to spot the runners because the whole area was packed with supporters hovering over the metal barricade! So I started sprinting again all the way to mile 13.8(ish) where the crowd was thinner and started walking back, slowly. I caught Thenna at mile 13.2.

The look on his face when he saw me was worth all the effort.

That’s one way to get my “test run” for rehab.

And my tibia did not hurt a bit, which I’d like to call, a reward for a good deed.

Both my first time marathoner and 8 time veteran marathoner friends finished the race.14717148_10154341556271886_1510290754198033586_nThenna, left and Komal. 

At Komal’s victory party at my favorite restaurant, Kalpasi, in Herndon (yeah in the fucking village) I drank more than I did since coming back from Iceland, combined. I ate enough to last the whole of next week.

Talk about will power.

My other friend, Tyler, who is a vegan athlete, super fast runner, first time marathoner, finished the race in 3:24! He earned BOTH those bananas!

VEGAN POWER!

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Tyler ran representing The Humane League, an excellent animal protection group. They are very active and has a huge presence in DC. Check them out and support them.

Never too early to say thanks….

Remember, it takes a whole city(apparently) for me to get ready for this race. I’ve mentioned a few people before, who have been part of this journey from the beginning. I wanna make sure that I give them proper credit!

Ellen – my race partner, who is to blame for this mess. 12-face-with-stuck-out-tongue-and-winking-eye.png She has been inspiring me from the beginning with her performance. And how humble she is about it! And front-ending all the logistics associated with this race. And for all the whiskey and beer and deelish food during our planning sessions! And driving me to race after race after…

Cat – my fabulous dietitian. She gets to be on top of this list because she has made the biggest positive change in my lifestyle. For starters(SWIDT?) I eat vegetables now, not just potatoes. She made me check the nutrition levels in my body and I find out that I have severe D deficiency (that will explain a lot of my physical problems including my eye issues – more on the eye later). Even crazier that she is not vegan herself but now knows everything about vegan diet and a (vegan)diabetic athlete!

George – he makes me smile, throughout every (tough)core training session at VIDA. And remembers every race I do (there was a fucking lot of them – even I couldn’t keep up) and checks with me at the end of every race.

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.

Shantanu – my bro from anotha mutha. Puts up with all my bullshit (it’s a lot) still welcomes me with open arms everytime I visit LA(which is alot) and picks up my call everytime(again, a LOT), regardless of what time it is. Being a neuroscientist, he dukes out some seriously solid advises that you should never question, but I always do.

Dr. Salcedo – I haven’t said a word about Dr. Salcedo until now, though we have been working together since March (and her lovely assistant Virginia). She is my physical therapist and a tremendous resource for an athlete with her wealth of knowledge. She fixed my tendinitis and my injured back, quickly, like a boss. I learned a LOT about performing like an athlete from her! You can go see her at Chirocentric. Tell her Saiju sent ya!

Lisa – I have not mentioned Lisa either! She is a Rolfer extraordinaire, who keeps my body parts from separating out (or something like that). Cat connected us and it’s been awesome! I cry everytime during the session but feel AMAZING after!

Amy – my RNP who has been on *it* to keep me running and do other crazy things in spite of my diabetes and a slew of related and unrelated shitty issues!

Michelle – I have known Michelle for over 15 years now. I have been talking to her about racing recently and we are going to run a marathon together in October. Talking to her made me pay attention to a lot of minor details that will make a major difference. There are a bunch of them, which I might write about later.

Sumit – my bro I’ve known since 1990 (that’s a whopping 26+ years)! When I was not sure of running this race in the beginning, he talked to me in such a way that made sense to me to push my limits and pursue my goals! Bonus points to him for not using the term YOLO.

Amy (from OK) – my partner in crime, lately. Huge emotional support provider (because I am emotionally weak and a big time whiner), who told me “you are not shallow, you are discerning” which was a revolting concept for me! Bonus points for being an excellent yoga instructor.

Sonali, Rajesh and Sona, Rajesh and Sreeja, Rajesh and Kavitha (haha, they make it easy for me to remember their names), Santhosh and Lekshmi, JK, Tripti, Komal, Thenna…. some way or the other were there for me.

And then there is lovely Stephanie. My kitties love her and so do I. I can go away for races peacefully without worrying about Tango and Foxtrot thanks to Steph being there for us. And she is ALWAYS smiling.

Here is to hoping I won’t let my team down.