I’ve mentioned this in my vegan transition story, but, to set the stage….
I started running in 2004. Begrudgingly. In the summer of 2003 I went on “The South Beach Diet” because it was vegetarian-friendly (unlike Atkins). Mind you, I was eating fish at the time (I was that vegetarian) but mostly only at restaurants. I lost nearly 20 pounds with no exercise. Shortly after reaching “goal” I remember going to a yoga class with my friend Lisa, it was in October. It was my first formal exercise in years. I lit up a cigarette right after the yoga class. The irony was not lost on me. I went to the drug store, bought the patch and that was my last cigarette.
I became fearful that I would regain the weight as I overcame smoking. So I started walking on a treadmill. Walking, I tell you. In November of 2003 my husband and I went to Barbados for Thanksgiving. He was running on a treadmill and I was walking on one. I decided to run. Not a total fail, but nothing fabulous. When we returned to New York I went to our local running shop for running shoes. I told them I would only be running 2 miles or so at a time. And then I didn’t run at all.
In March, after the thaw, I pulled out the new shoes. I had no idea what to do. But I love a plan and a spreadsheet so I decided I would pick a race to help motivate me. I chose the Nike Run Hit Wonder 2004 race in Central Park and followed Hal Higdon’s 10k training plan for beginners. Essentially I went from couch to 10k. And I was hooked. Three months later I ran my first half-marathon. After I finished the half I told my husband that I would never run a full marathon. One year later I ran my first full marathon. The following summer I competed in my first triathlon.
Six years later, I run / tri 100% on plants. When I started researching a vegan diet in January, I was also gearing up for a spring half-marathon so I made sure to find information on how to fuel a vegan runner. I found some terrific vegan/vegetarian athletes!
My first research hit was Brenda Brazier. A Vegan Ironman? Yes! I promptly ordered two of his books, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performnace in Sports and Life and Thrive: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness. I read about Brazier’s company, Vega, on Twitter and in blog posts but I confess, I don’t use the stuff. I find it too expensive. But it’s a great option for folks who don’t mind the cost.Check out Brendan’s video:
The next hit was for the site No Meat Athlete. What drew me into this blog was Matt’s honesty. He’s trying to make it all work, the vegetarian / running thing, while, you know, competing in 50-mile races! I read his blog faithfully and proudly sport his No Meat Athlete tech shirt in races.
Lindsay S. Nixon
I started following the Happy Herbivore on Twitter. I liked her tweets and one day she sent out a tweet asking athletes to test out some of her performance recipes. I was game! The first recipe I tried was the Chocolate Recovery Pudding
Vegan, ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek finished second at the World 24-hour Run Championships in Brive, France, setting a new American record. Non-runners probably heard of Jurek from a wildy popular (okay, maybe just in the vegan world) article in the New York Times: Diet and Exercie to the Extremes.
I recently read that the Editorial Director of Triathlete and Inside Triathlon magazines, T.J. Murray, has started The Burning Runner project and is in the process of transitioning to a vegan diet. Read his latest post The Power of a Plant-based Diet.
I’m inspired by many other vegan / foodie bloggers who run: Food Makes Fuel Fun, OhSheGlows, Rosey Rebecca, Sweet On, The Edible Perspective, The Front Burner, to name just a few. I get great tips from them:
-In the old days, I’d grab a GU or HammerGel before heading out for a run. Now I eat a medjool date.
My next race is Grete’s Great Gallop (13.1 miles) in Central Park on October 3. Grete’s was my first half-marathon in 2004. Six years later I’ll be back. Fueled on plants!