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

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….

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

Running in Central Park

It finally happened.

What would an out of work, bored, runner would do on hump day?

Go to NYC and run in Central Park (I’ve been wanting to do that for such a long time. Finally happened). CheckIMG_8222

Then spend the rest of the day in the city. And walk for over 17 miles, hit at least 3 vegan restaurants. Check

Not to mention, miss the 4:45 AM train and then find out the next train is sold out and the one after that has been cancelled, then buy an Acela ticket for about $300 and get to NYC half an hour earlier than the original train and get an early start to the awesomeness that followed. Check 

OK, full disclosure. I am preparing for my next certification and I was supposed to study all day. Anything to avoid studying.
Right?

I wanna say Acela was the highlight but it wasn’t. Freedom Tower or Brooklyn Bridge walkway? Nope. It was the Korean vegetarian restaurant Hangawi.

In the morning I got out of the train, walked straight to Terri, the cool vegan joint, then walked to Central Park, ran 4 miles, then walked to Penn station, got may bag out of the storage, walked to Hangawi, stuffed myself with vegan goodness, subway-ed to Brooklyn Bridge, walked to Brooklyn and back, went to the top of Freedom Tower, walked to Urban Vegan Kitchen, stuffed myself with more vegan goodness and cocktails, walked to Penn station, caught the train back to DC.

I definitely recommend these restaurants:

Hangawi – Korean, vegetarian, wonderful ambiance, delicious food. Most dishes are vegan.

Terri – Vegan fast food, quick service, tasty plates.

Urban Vegan Kitchen – As the name implies. Amazing food, pricey but totally worth it.

DC vegans got nothing on NYC vegans. le sigh….

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?

The Myth of Humane Meat

Hu·mane / hyoomáyn / adj. 1. having what are considered the best qualities of human beings; kind, tender, merciful, sympathetic.

I attended the Future of Food Conference organized by The Humane Society of the United States on Friday and Saturday. There were some really good panels and some amazing vegan food. And Peter Singer. I “broke up” with Mr. Singer after I found out about his comments on bestiality. But after listening to him speak on Friday, I’m back on the wagon with him. I even got a picture with him.

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I had a decision to make about dinner after the conference. To go with my vegan friends or with my non-vegan friends, both groups equally being fun and entertaining. I went with my non-vegan friends, as a good vegan should be. 12-face-with-stuck-out-tongue-and-winking-eye They were ethically conscious eaters and talked about looking for certified humane label when buying their food. I commented that certified humane is a myth. They asked me if I can give them more details about my comment, hence this post. Go to one or all the links below to learn more about humane certification and the propaganda put out by the meat industry.

I was watching Easy  last night and the vegan in me was fully committed to the show from the beginning of the second episode. Then came the end of that episode. What a complete disappointment! Check it out yourself.

Go here to get a comprehensive look at humane myth in all of animal agriculture.
http://www.humanemyth.org/

Another excellent resource for all “humane” labeling lies
http://humanefacts.org/

An excellent article on “humane” farming
http://freefromharm.org/animal-products-and-ethics/a-comprehensive-analysis-of-the-humane-farming-myth/

Undercover investigation at a whole foods “certified humane egg” farm
http://theirturn.net/humane-myth/

PETA Prime article on “humane meat”
http://prime.peta.org/2010/12/the-myth-of-humane-meat

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

– Maya Angelou

Recovery time? What recovery time?

Being a plant based runner is just right.

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I remember walking like a zombie, days after finishing the pregan marathons. My first vegan marathon however, the day after, I tied my shoe laces, kneeling down, and came up to a standing position, all by myself, LIKE A BOSS! Yes, recovery time (or not needing any) is the biggest difference I have experienced after going vegan.

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Meeting other vegan marathoners and listening to Rich Roll talk to elite vegan athletes – we all agree. there is no “recovery time”. It’s a thing.

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