Poplar Springs 5K, TFW and Landa

img_4666

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!

086042827890d823b58b1ff6ba641cb9

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

29063764_10155668136651886_7604993273270156631_o

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.

29744872_10155682524241886_1347792065764143790_o

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

335853_10150523252056886_261442397_o

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

30261615_10155693431961886_1871068104109326336_o

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

30264883_10155693798446886_5423839363161128960_o

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.

Run a marathon with no run training

#HowTo #DIY #HipFlexor

Start hip flexor training about 30 days prior to the race

Strengthening workouts exclusively on your hip flexor,  twice a week with your trainer

Learn home hip flxor strengthening routines from your trainer (and try to do it at home at least once before the race)  download (1)

Stretch extensively, like, all the time  (learn from your cats)

Get a stand-up desk at work

Increase the number of training sessions to 3 per week, 2 weeks prior to the race

Eat K. Eat a LOT OF K. Dates, Bananas, coconut water, Nuun…..

Yoga 4 times a day week

No alcohol until the race (then make up for lost time)

Dye your hair fiery pink/orange/yellow (it helps,… serious)

DO NOT RUN UNTIL RACE DAY
img_3193

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

823175_1052_0002

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.

823147_1299_0048

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