Destination Racing

July 1st. First day of the second half of the year.

I have run 6 marathons since February. More than that, I could not run 5 marathons and 5 half marathons that I registered.

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. xlI carefully picked my races around the country, destination racing at its best.

Feb 15, Austin Marathon stated it all. When I told my friend Brittny H prior to the race, she goes “wow, that’s a hilly course”. I was like, meh,. But meh it was not. Plus I ran with a 12 lbs pack, for the first time. Long story short, I managed to survive that near death experience. Kudos to my poor (bro from anotha motha)friend RK, who took me straight to a vegan joint after the race where I failed to stuff my face with food, being too close to the end of a big race. But dinner was a completely different, feeding frenzy, story.

Next was my hometown race, DC Rock n Roll. My second fastest marathon to date, no pack was involved in this race and it was (mostly) a pleasant experience.

On to the next one which has a tagline “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” – Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke VA. And it was everything the tagline said it was. I had a tough time even walking up some of those hillsmountains. On the race shirt it says “You run hills I run mountains”. Hells yeah! BTW, my race partner *tricked* me into racing this. Sometimes I wonder if she has a death wish (growing-heart.png you Ellen download).

Ellen – this was her first marathon in ages (though she has done 2 multi stage ultras in recent years) and the first one this season. It was my third. Guess what, she had to wait for over an hour after she finished for me to catch up!!!

I am pretty sad about the ones I could not run – Golden Gate Headlands in north of SFO (course map below), Timberline (see the lake below) outside Portland, and Seattle Rock n Roll etc….

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“You never regret a run, you only regret the ones you didn’t”

That’s how I see it, after registering the slowest marathon to date. BTW, I heard this quote on Rich Roll podcast while he was talking to his guest, Robin Arzon. Two of my heroes!

I finished another marathon! 13343159_10154044050756886_843220479736512394_n

You are not up for a decent run, every time you go run. This one was hilly with one long ass continuous climb for more than 2 miles towards the end, with high heat and humidity. With one of my left peroneus(?) tendons screaming from start to finish, the only good thing (well, other than the feeling while crossing the finish line) happened, was all the compliments I got for my outfit.13417633_10154044050841886_525802991602645871_n

Also the dinner after the race with some Glenfiddich 14 (thanks Santhosh and Lekshmi).

Walking forever, the day after, exploring San Diego, was excellent, coupled with more good food and more alcohol. What was even better was saving all those beached red tuna crabs at Ocean Beach. 13346129_10154042221296886_7928804602156569631_o.jpgWatching them swim away when I put them back in the water was more satisfying than crossing that finish line, in many ways.

Mountains 2 Beach Marathon 5/29/2016

The name says it all. It stated off on top of a mountain in Ojai, CA and finished at the beach in Ventura CA. Lot of downhills, couple of uphills and a lot of flatness. High 50°s to low 60°s with light mist the entire race and no sun. Perfect setup for a PR right?
No.

TENDINITIS.

But I finished, eventually. medalpng
With the help of these angels IMG_2841

Now back to tendon rehab, which sucks!

From going to the race packet pickup place in LA, only to find out it was the same day last week at this location, to racing (in my Audi rental, woot woot) 70 miles to the pickup place in Ventura before the cut off time, to then racing back to catch a lil bit of sleep because I need to get up at 2:30 am to be at the start of the race by 6 am, 80 miles away, to racing with an injury, to slow driving back to LA… it was all worth it.

Why?
IMG_2842This is the post marathon vegan dinner at it’s best. After all, this is what I run for. download

I visited Moo Shoes. The store where everything is cruelty-free. After this very pushy salesman, Maki ( IMG_2863), who wouldn’t quit, I had to buy a pair of shoes, even though I don’t need any more shoes at the moment. Good times!

And as always, I was sad to leave LA! Where I get amazing home cooked vegan food (thanks Sonali) and intellectually stimulating conversations and excellent(well, almost) chauffeuring (thanks Shan) and a lot of party time with my 2 favorite tiny lil friends.

And va who makes my travel to the left coast always a pleasant experience. Emoji-heart-eyes-face-free-printable-3.jpg

Fuck you diabetes

I got diagnosed with diabetes a few years back. At the time I was running / biking 3-4 times a week!

I have some super enthused coworkers (Thenna D, Komal P) who want to start racing (running). One of them have the same situation as me, not losing weight or his gut in spite of running, like, A LOT. Then one of them found this article.

Wait.

What the crap?

[Since you didn’t read the article, here is the skinny. It says, when you are at an aerobic workout for an extended period of time, cortisol stays active in your system, fucking up your insulin functions causing your blood sugar to shoot up and eventually making you diabetic. Oh, and your gut growth goes on overdrive.]

Yes, this is also a thing. Upon further research by yours lovingly and my RNP Amy S (who has dedicated her life to keep me as a diabetic endurance athlete) and my awesome dietitian Cat T (who (unwarily)happily accepted the mountainous challenge of working with a vegan, diabetic, endurance athlete), it was established, I have that crappy body type where regardless of what I do, I will remain fat, FOREVER. Some of my wise coworkers immediately dropped all plans to run.

Me?                 me

Umm… But I ….

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” –The Buddha

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I started some HIIT (big up George C, my kickass trainer), speed training etc, to supplement my slow, long distance grinding. Let’s see how it pans out!

More on this fucked up “condition” – http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p38.shtml

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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Bikes runs yoga alcohol…. dude!

Started my serious “come back” training in March of 2015. Biking. Lots of biking. For RAGBRAI. Me and Ela(my super awesomest full carbon road racing Kestrel crotch rocket, she is Eleanor but she like being called Ela) were one with each other. March thru July thru RAGBRAI, 2000+ miles, 41 local Iowa brewskys in 7 days – lost 5 pounds, the lightest I’ve been since school days. Capture.PNG

What went wrong? Run training from end of July thru Marine Corps Marathon thru Golden Gate Half in SFO thru Christmas – back to fatness.

I know why. And it is science. But that’s later.

Yoga – going back to play a yogi is just awesome.

Wait, alcohol. I (almost)stopped drinking when I started training earlier in the year. May be once every week or 2 weeks, only when I go out with a bunch of friends.

OK, back to yoga. Remember the vegan yoga retreat after Christmas? 6 days, drank more than the last 2 years combined and yet did yoga every day and even ran a couple of times, including on New year’s morning, completely hung over, wearing the party outfit from the night before.

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Now, that was what I needed, to start elevating my performance – personal training, eating stuff other than potatoes and breads. Above all to take running and my diet seriously.

Cut to the airplane – whiskey drinking scene.IMG_2634

Why

I think I can do this. Not going to care whether I am losing weight or my fatness has changed.

I need to do this.

Why do I need to do this?

I have not always been vegan. In my “pregan” days, I have run 3 marathons and a couple of duathalons and a few long distance bike races and one RAGBRAI and countless other races. I was part of an elite group of athletes. We did awesome shit together. All of us, except me, were BIG meat eaters, some even paleo. When I became fully plant based, there were skeptics. I was warned by some well wishers how I will drop my performance and even become a non-athlete.

Oh, the horror.

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And then there is always the lack of … ugh… protein. 9725c7cac72b47e5b82d55683bf1e7cc230f190916e138f38900c1a46cd0584c

Vegan. I had to do it. If I never race again, that’s ok. But animals rights is first in my life. I took more than a year off from “athleting”, also due to a diagnosis as being diabetic (lovely, thanks mom for this gift that keeps on giving).

Diabetic athlete – an endurance athlete that is – does not exist. More on that story later.