The Year of 32…

In mid-October of 2014, since my clothes were getting a bit snug, it was time to buy a scale.  When I stepped on the scale for the first time it was a bit of an awakening for me.  In the three years since I had started running again, I gained back the weight I had lost and then some.  I’d never seen that high of a number on the scale before and I wasn’t happy about it.  No one ever said anything to me about the weight I had gained, it was just the pressure I put on myself.  It was time for a change, but I had said that before and didn’t do anything about it.  Running was infrequent, maybe once or twice a week, and my eating habits were not ideal.  More often then not it was fast food, high sugar, carb-loaded foods that were slowing me down and adding to the waste line.  The change needed to be serious this time.

Made this myself!  Was eating to much of these types of things!
Baked this myself! Was eating to much of these types of things!

When I turned 30 I did a year of ‘yes’.  It was fun, but I felt a could have done a lot more, but I digress.  With my 32nd b-day approaching, it would be a good time to start something new and dedicate a year to it.  Why a year?  Because I’ve never done anything for a year, and it seemed as good as any arbitrary time.  So what would I do for a year…the last year running had become tedious for me and I was just going through the motions to try and stay in shape, I wasn’t enjoying running like I had in the past.  I had backed out on two marathons, and had only entered two other races, the year before that I had done 18 races.  Perhaps it was burnout, but I needed to focus on running again.  There is something therapeutic about running, that I had almost forgotten about.  That is when a year long running streak popped into my mind.  Quickly, I looked up what constitutes a running streak and Runner’s World (basically a runner’s bible) stated for their streak you have to run at least a mile a day, so that would be my minimum to keep my year long streak going.

My Brooks could hold up, but could I?
My Brooks could hold up, but could I?

But was running enough to shed those pounds?  In my mind…no, my eating habits needed to change.  One of my very good friends is a vegetarian and so again, arbitrarily, I decided being a vegetarian for a year would be a challenge as well.  How do you go from eating meat your entire life to giving it up?  I just decided to stop and see how it went.

On Oct 25th, I started the run streak and Oct 26th, cut meat out of my diet.  Two big changes at once!  I was a bit nervous that I would not be able to do either for a year, so I didn’t tell many people what I was doing at first.  Rarely (even when I was running more frequently) would I ever run three days in a row, let alone 365.  Some people immediately said, if you are going to run that much you need to eat meat…you need protein.  I would quickly retort you can get protein from other sources, i.e. eggs, nuts, soy, etc.

The streak started in NYC during a trip for my birthday.

The same time I decided to start my year long challenges a friend of mine started selling one of those cleanse packages and convinced me to try it out.  It was a 4-week cleanse and I was worried, especially since I was changing my diet so drastically, that I would not have enough energy to run.  To my surprise I think it actually helped with the transition from being a meat-eater to a vegetarian (cleansing my palette) and I lost about 8 lbs. over the 4 week period.  My energy level stayed the same and I may have had even more energy then before starting the cleanse.  I never had a craving for meat at the beginning of the challenge and haven’t to date.  The cleanse was a jump start (I call it a gimmick) it wasn’t a way of life.  The challenge would begin by maintaining a healthy vegetarian lifestyle after the cleanse was over.

When I reached day 7 of the run streak I was overjoyed and decided to start sharing my challenges with friends and family.  Seven days is a long was from 365, but even after a week I felt accomplished and knew support from my running friends and family would be helpful.  Some of my friends teased my about the barrage of run-selfies that began appearing on my instragram, so I’ve cut back and tried to take ‘more exciting’ run photos (or at least ask someone else to take the pics of me).  Having support along the way has been really helpful in both my challenges, today will be day #229 of the run streak, the encouragement and motivational pep talks from my friends have been very helpful.

One of my many selfies, this was Day #9 of the run streak.
One of my many selfies, this was Day #9 of the run streak.

There have been many challenges and new experiences in the last 228 days that I’ll be sharing with you, but I’d like to hear about goals you have set for yourself, challenges you’ve had, what you have accomplished, and what motivates you, and is there any way I can help you reach your goals?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

You’re a vegetarian now and you’re running everyday?…

Yes!

That is the simple answer, to those ask.  Let me give you a little background about me and why I decided to start blogging.  I took up distance running about three years ago on a whim.  I was sitting at my desk at a 8-4 job and was gaining weight.  Looking back 10 years and almost 30 lbs. ago I needed to do something to get healthy.  On a whim I was signed up for my first marathon.  My training wasn’t as serious as it should have been but my weight was down and I was feeling much healthier.  The Baltimore Marathon was my first, I’ve completed two more since then and will be running again this year after skipping last year.

The next few years would be an on again off again relationship with running.  Then on Oct 25, 2014 I decided to get serious about running and a healthier lifestyle!  The previous year had been pretty bad in terms of running; dropped out of races, poor training, and started to put on the lbs. again, mostly due to unhealthy eating habits.  Stepping on the scale was becoming scary and something needed to be done to get back in shape, all my running friends were getting faster and I was struggling to stay at the same pace.

On Oct 25, 2014 my run streak started with a friend in Central Park, NYC.  We had decided to visit there for my birthday.  We were both hungover from a party at her house the night before but we really wanted to run.  I didn’t tell her till the next day I was going to start a year long running streak or that I was going to become a vegetarian (after 32 years of eating meat and loving it), that came the following day.  She was a vegetarian and a bit surprised when I told her I would be giving it a go, one of the first things she said to me was “You can be a vegetarian and still eat unhealthy, you need to focus on eating healthy as well!”  Until then I didn’t think of it like that and would need to take her advice into consideration; thinking about it there are plenty of things you can eat that don’t have meat but are high in carbs, sugar, sodium, fats, etc.  So I started to pay attention to those things as well.

The run streak and becoming a vegetarian (at least for a year, but not sure if I’ll go back) was really about the challenge myself to even see if I could do it.  So far it has been a great experience!  The other day one of my friends, KBT (mentioned on another blog site), who runs with me and dates Picky Runner said I should blog about my experiences, so here I am.  I’ll do my best to keep you entertained and hopefully give you some motivation to get out and run or achieve your own goals.  Since I’m on day #228 of the running streak this blog won’t always be chronological, but I will do my best to make it easy to read.

I look forward to sharing my experience with those who choose to read my blog and maybe see some of you out on the streets logging some miles!

-Veggie Fueled Runner