Goodbye City Sports-Harbor East

I had thought about writing this for Thinking Out Loud last week, but I wasn’t ready.  I thought about starting to write it earlier this week but I wasn’t ready.  Now there is no time left, so it is time to write about City Sports Harbor East closing their doors.  It is a bit sad to write about, I just ran with them for the last time before they close on Aug 23rd.  For my running friends who read this I am sure they will tell you though I put up a tough facade, I’m the ‘sappy’ one of the group…you may agree after reading 😉

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In Feb of 2013 I was going through a rough patch and running was a way to take my mind off things, I still think running is a great form of therapy.  I had run with several groups around the city but couldn’t seem to find one where I felt like it fit in.  Then one cold evening in February I tried City Sports in Harbor East.  That Wednesday night it was just Tim (the run coordinator), Theo, and myself.  We quickly struck up a conversation during the run and even though they knew each other pretty well, they made me feel included.  After the run Tim asked me if I wanted to go to Whole Foods with them and get a smoothie, I said sure then quickly realized I didn’t have my wallet.  Tim said not to worry about it, he would cover me and I could pay him back next week.  I still don’t think I’ve paid him back.  I continued going to City Sports on Wednesdays; Tim, Theo, and I became good friends and we started running together quite often and hanging out.  As the weather warmed up more people started coming to run club, it was great to meet new people.

 

City Sports Run Club growing!
City Sports Run Club growing!

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In late July or early August of 2013, the perfect storm seemed to happen though none of us knew it until afterwards.  The new residents and fellows came to Hopkins and other hospitals in the area and many were runners who started coming to City Sports Run Club.  Many of us quickly struck up a friendship when we all figured out we were training for the Baltimore Marathon.  We started running together more frequently than just Wednesday evenings and then we started doing more things together.  There were eight of us who became really great friends.  We became, as we called ourselves, the core of City Sports Run Club: Tim, Theo, Lizzie, Cat, Stefany, Rich, Camila, and myself.

Theo, Tim, Stefany, Camila, Cat, Me
Theo, Tim, Stefany, Camila, Cat, Me

 

Patapsco State Park Saturday Morning Run Theo, Tim, Rich, Camila, Kristen, Me, Cat
Patapsco State Park Saturday Morning Run
Theo, Tim, Rich, Camila, Kristen, Me, Cat

I can remember when and how I met each one of them.  We didn’t just meet and gel instantly, but it happened pretty quickly.  Over the next year we got to know each other pretty well and we weren’t in each others lives just because of running.  There are so many stories I wish I could share, but some times special things like what we had are better left in our memories.  My individual friendships with each of the other seven means so much to me and was/is unique in it’s own way.  I used ‘was’ not because we aren’t friends any more, but some have moved away because of work.  We don’t talk or see each other multiple times a week, but we still text, email, and chat from time to time.  Some of us do still run together.

Run to Remember 5k, then we ran another 12 miles Tim, Firefighter, Me, Theo, Richard, Camila
Run to Remember 5k, then we ran another 12 miles
Tim, Firefighter, Me, Theo, Rich, Camila

It was a perfect storm because I don’t think you could ever replicate how we all came together for that year.  As I said most of us ran the Baltimore Marathon that year, I had my worst finish ever (let’s just leave it at that).  I wasn’t prepared to run a marathon, but that didn’t matter, that night we had a Marathon Party at my house and it was one of the best times I’ve had with friends.  That was the first of many gatherings at my house, we would watch football games here, had a holiday party, a spring party, birthday parties, and my graduation from grad school party.  We would pretty much come up with any reason to have a party and bonfire at my house.

Marathon Party 2013 Theo, Me, Lizzie, Cat, Camila, Tim
Marathon Party 2013
Theo, Me, Lizzie, Cat, Camila, Tim

My friendships with the core eight took me all over and opened up my mind to things I had never thought about.  I traveled to Africa on a missions trip with Camila, went to Mexico for Cat’s wedding, ran a bunch of races with everyone, and Lizzie even opened my mind to vegetarianism; though she didn’t deliberately try to.  I wanted to see what it was like and couldn’t be happier with my dietary decision.

Zoo Zoom 25 degrees! Stefany, Rich, Laura, Cat, Me
Zoo Zoom 25 degrees!
Stefany, Rich, Laura, Cat, Me

 

Richard, Cat, Me, Darrell The City Sports Run Crew
Richard, Cat, Me, Darrell

Through the winter in addition to traveling and having random parties we continued to run together every Wednesday at City Sports.  Regardless of the weather we would all show up because we knew the other seven were going to be there.  We ran in the frigid cold and even in the ice, I’d say we enjoyed it on some level because we were doing it together.  After every run we would normally go to a local restaurant or bar and make plans for later in the week or catch up on what everyone had been up to. Great times!

Pretty sure it was like 8 degrees this night!
Pretty sure it was 8 degrees this night!
Teavolve after a run! Theo, Me, Stefany, Darrell
Teavolve after a run!
Theo, Me, Stefany, Darrell

As the summer of 2014 approached we knew things would be coming to an end.  Rotations at Hopkins and the other hospitals were ending and some of the Core Eight had taken jobs in other cities.  Tim had given up his position as run coordinator because he had gotten another job and didn’t have time, plus his focus was elsewhere.  Camila was the first to move, a few weeks later Rich left.  People’s schedules became more hectic and it was harder to get people together after that.

Random Saturday Run Lizzie, Theo, Stefany, Me, Cat
Random Saturday Run
Lizzie, Theo, Stefany, Me, Cat

I still see some of the Core Eight on a semi-regular basis, some more than others.  I look back and cherish that year we had together.  I left a lot out of our story, because some of it is private and personal to us.  We know what we had and we know that we will have that forever in our hearts and minds.

Saturday in the rain and 40 degrees Cat, Lizzie, Me, Phil, Camila
Saturday in the rain and 40 degrees
Cat, Lizzie, Me, Phil, Camila

Two weeks ago City Sports announced they were closing for good, due to their lease expiring and they would not be relocating in Baltimore.  Tonight (Aug 19) was the final Wednesday City Sports Run Club, it was a bit sad to walk in and see the store practically empty.  I thought about how many times I had been there on Wednesday evenings to run.  It was a small group tonight, but some familiar faces were there.  As I ran, I thought about that what City Sports Run Club had done for me since I had discovered it and all the great friends it has brought into my life.  These friends have changed my life forever, and without City Sports Run Club I would have never know them.  Tonight was a farewell to City Sports Run Club but also a fond walk down memory lane.

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My advice to you, if you’re fast, if you’re slow, it doesn’t matter find a local run club and give it a try.  You never know who you are going to meet!  Who knows you could be part of a perfect storm.

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Thank you City Sports Run Club Harbor East!

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Re-cooping after the long run.

 

Week 2 (6/22-6/28)

Week 1 in the books, and running on the plan has already strengthened my legs, but has tired them out in the process.

Monday:  3.1 Miles (Pace 8:12)

The heat and humidity has not subsided, we are having a classic Baltimore summer!  Today I took a loop around the neighborhood, I waited till later in the evening to run but that didn’t provide any relief.

Tuesday:  5 Miles (Pace 8:30)

I’ve been doing some cross training and riding my bike a bit more, on Tuesdays I run at Tin Roof and normally ride my bike.  I went a bit early for an appointment I had and then rode to Ft. McHenry.  We normally start running at 6:45, but the skies opened up at 6:15 and there were bad storms for about an hour.  Once the rain let up, I rode home, in total I did 2o miles on the bike.  The storm had really cooled things down and it was still overcast when I started running.  That didn’t last long about two miles in the sun came out and the temps started rising again.  I did have a negative split for the run!  My quads were really sore, as I was running I was thinking about scheduling a massage for Friday!

Wednesday:  4 Miles (Pace 8:12)

Today’s training plan called for 3 miles but I decided to do 4.  On Wednesdays I normally run with City Sports Run Club, that is where I first started running with a group about 2 and a half years ago.  The group isn’t as large as it was in the past, but a few new people came this evening.  I didn’t want to turn around before any of them since there was just a few of us.  Each mile was a negative split, the run felt strong and it wasn’t as humid as it had been the last few days.

Thursday:  1.5 Miles (Pace 7:02)

So I was feeling unsure about the tempo run the training plan called for, I’ve never done one before and was hoping someone would run one with me but everyone was busy or had already ran.  I decided I would do hills with November Project and Sarah in the morning tomorrow.  Tonight I decided to do a quick mile and a half, faster than my race pace.  When I started I was thinking about a new PR for the mile but the humidity was a little much and I didn’t warm up for it.  No excuses, I just didn’t have it in me, but I was happy with the run!

Friday:  4 Miles (Pace 8:24)

Normally I’m not a morning runner, which is kind of odd considering when I was in the military I was up almost everyday at 4 am or early for PT.  Today I woke up at 5:30 to go to November Project and run with Picky Runner.  When I went outside I was pleasantly surprised at how cool it was, and thought maybe I should start running in the morning more often!  I rode my bike to Patterson Park, that is where NP meets.  I think I am finally starting to get over my social anxiety with NP, they pride themselves on being weird and I think I’m starting to get use to it.  Most people think I’m an extrovert, but those who really know me, know I’m an introvert and it takes a lot for me to be comfortable in social situations where I don’t know everyone.  In between 1/2 mile hill repeats, we did partner pushups and hoisties and every other repeat we were suppose to do ‘last man up’ sprints.  Last man up sprints use to be called ‘Indian Sprints’ but we live in a post-PC World now.  I did a variation of those exercises and ran with some new people today!  I didn’t catch their names, maybe next time.  NP has a lot of good runners and happy people, so I think I will keep going when I can.  Today was a good day of running days like today are why I run, or maybe it was all the endorphins, running releases those, It’s Science!  All this before 8am!

Saturday:  11.1 Miles (Pace 8:59)

I decided to move my long run to today.  After a few hours of delays and wishful thinking that the weather would clear up, my friends Cat and Elizabeth convinced me to go running, well I suppose we all convinced each other.  The weather had finally cooled and was in the 60’s!  When we started the rain had stopped but it was cloudy.  The wind started to really pick up in mile 3, by mile 4 the rain had started but wasn’t to bad.  Somewhere around mile 6 the sky really opened up and it stayed that way the rest of the run.  At first it really didn’t bother any of us but by mile 9 our shoes and clothes were soaked and we just wanted dry feet and to not be weighed down by our clothes.  Around mile 10 is when we all came to the consensus we were miserable, but Cat was trying to talk me into another 3 miles.  I just didn’t have it in me, my stomach had started hurting a while back and I just wanted to finish the 11 and call it a day, that is what happened.  Even with the rain, it was a good run and it was nice to run with Cat and Elizabeth, we are pretty much the only ones left that started (other than Theo) running together 2 years ago.  Today, I wondered, and I imagine all distance runners do at some point, why am I out here doing this?  I’m not sure there is an answer to that, today the answer was because my friends are out here doing it with me and my legs need the miles!

*Note, my phone didn’t survive this run 😦  I’m now on the market for a new phone, but I’m not really sold on an iPhone 6 upgrade…decisions, decisions.

Sunday:  3 Miles (Pace 9:28)

Today I only wanted to run a mile, but I ran with my best friend John.  He is training for the upcoming Heritage 6k next week and wanted to run farther.  After the run yesterday, I really didn’t feel like it but once my legs loosened up, I knew I had 3 miles in me.  The pace was slow and that was fine with me, it let me go a bit further.  We picked up the pace the last mile and I took off in the last half mile, I just wanted to stretch my legs out.  It was a good end to week 2 of marathon training!

Total Miles:  31.7 

Week 2 Photo

Sweat Gutr

Here in Baltimore, like most places it is getting warm, instant update, it is getting hot!  In the summer Baltimore is known for summer days with high humidity and today was on of those days making it a great opportunity to wear test a new piece of gear I bought, the Sweat Gutr (pronouned Sweat Gutter).

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I’ve actually known about this product for a few years.  My dad would always complain about sweating when he would cut the grass or go bike riding.  One Father’s Day a few years ago I saw it in a bike shop and bought him one, he loved it (I did Dads have to like anything you get them for Father’s Day).  I had never bought one for myself until a few weeks ago.  I ordered it on Amazon, using my prime account, thinking I would get it the next day and I could try it out before an upcoming race.  Not so, I haven’t had much luck with the things I’ve order on Amazon Prime, it arrived about a week later.  I didn’t have time to give it a good test before the race and testing out new gear during a race is not a good idea, so I didn’t use it.

When it arrived I took it out of the heavy envelope it arrived in.  It smelled a little funny, I think it was because it is all rubber.  I looked over the instructions quickly on how to adjust it to your head and how to wear it.  The manufacturer recommends about a finger space above the eyebrows.  It is very easy to adjust with velcro tabs and elastic bands to keep it tight against your forehead which is key.  On the front there is actually a gutter that catches the sweat a then lets it flow back towards your ears and is suppose to keep the sweat out of your eyes.
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So many times when I am running or biking I am removing my sunglasses to wipe my forehead, usually with my shirt, or rub my eyes because sweat is getting in them.  The last thing you need when you are running is more discomfort.  Today Picky Runner and KBT invited me to go for a bike ride and I thought it would a great time to try out the Sweat Gutr.  I’ll admit it doesn’t look all that stylish, but I was hoping it would work.  It took a little bit of adjusting on my head to get it under my helmet and not interfere with the temple part of my sunglasses.  (The temple is the piece that rest on your ear, I actually had to look up what it was called).  After it was adjusted we were off and riding, we rode some pretty hilly sections of the city, at a decent pace for about 28 miles, the sweat was pouring off of us, but not into my face!  Surprising the Sweat Gutr really did work and it was comfortable to wear.  I only adjusted once during the ride when it was bothering my ear, but that could have also been the sunglasses.  It was great that I didn’t need to keep removing my sunglasses while riding to wipe away the sweat.  At a stop light near the finish Picky Runner said she could actually see a salt line where the sweat was being channeled away.

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Me and Picky Runner (KBT on the camera)

I didn’t stop the wear test there, after all I am on day #231 of my run streak and I hadn’t ran yet today.  Would it hold up the same during the run, with more bouncing and movement?  It was really starting to heat up it was almost 12:30 and near 90 degrees by the time I hit the pavement to run, we had stopped for breakfast as well.  The Sweat Gutr held up during my run just as good.  In the pictures below you can actually see the sweat being channeled away from my face.  I did have one sweat droplet make it past the Sweat Gutr but that could have been that is was full.  I recommend angling it slightly to the rear of  your head to help the sweat move out of the gutter.  When I tilted my head back I could feel the sweat moving away and down the side of my head.

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Sweat going down the side of my head

With something that is going to get covered in sweat you want to make sure you keep it clean and since it is all rubber that is easy to do as well.  After I was done I simply ran it under the water with some soap and laid it on the counter to dry.

Overall this a great product if you are looking for a way to keep your eyes and face free of sweat, I would definitely recommend it to anyone.  Amazon has it listed for between $10-$123, I have no idea who would pay $123 for this, I bought mine for $16 and the Sweat Gutr website has it listed for $19.99.  It is definitely worth $20 and will be the last headband you need to buy.

Sweat Gutr Rating:  5 Veggies out of 5 Veggies

Do you have a problem with sweat when you are running?  How do you deal with it?  Let me know your thoughts!

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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Making it to a month in Mexico (#kittyfunk)

The first few weeks of running had been going well for both the run streak and as a vegetarian.  The cleanse had not been as difficult as I thought it would be, though by day 17 or 18 I had to stop taking the vitamin pills you are suppose to.  There were just to many and they were to big.  It was hard to swallow them and my throat was getting sore.  I had also learned a few lessons about how I would need to run to make sure the streak would keep going.  First, if you think you are going out in the evening, run in the morning or afternoon.  There were a few times I was pounding the pavement at 1 or 2 in the morning to keep the streak alive…not the best idea.  Second, I would need to make sure to ‘rest’ a few times a week by only running one mile.  Third, make sure that I stayed hydrated.

With those lessons in hand, I was off to Mexico!

First time getting an airplane drink, actually not as expensive as I expected!
First time getting an airplane drink, actually not as expensive as I expected!

Two of my friends were getting married and having a destination wedding.  I had met them through running about a year and a half earlier and became really good friends with them.  I met Cat first, at City Sports Run Club, and through her Eric (he doesn’t run).  It was a great opportunity to go to the wedding and take a vacation for a week.  On day #23 of the run streak I landed in Cancun, Mexico!  It was the perfect time to go, the weather in Baltimore had started turning colder, so running in warmer weather would be nice.

Hurry up luggage, I have to get to vacation started!
Hurry up luggage, I have to get to vacation started!

After checking in at the resort, which was all inclusive, and having a welcome drink it was time to run.  I looked at the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort map and planned out a loop that would be about 2 miles and I was out the door and running.  I ran along the roadway around the resort and along the beach for a little while and back to the hotel lobby.  Just as I was getting back Cat and Eric were walking out to begin greeting other guest, it was a welcomed surprise to see them.  I hadn’t seen them in over a month since they had been busy with wedding planning.  We chatted briefly and Cat informed me of the wedding theme #kittyfunk and the dinner plans.  We were going to a steakhouse.  Cat was worried I wouldn’t be able to find anything I could eat on the menu, but I assured her I would be able to.

Barecelo Maya Beach Resort
Barecelo Maya Beach Resort

After showering I met up with everyone at the hotel bar and we went to the steakhouse, which was included in the resort package.  All-inclusive resorts are amazing!  After looking at the menu, I quickly realized there wasn’t an option for vegetarians and not much I could eat.  When the waiter came I told him, I would just be eating the bread.  He asked why and I explained, he left, went to the kitchen I assumed, and came back and said the chef would be able to prepare a plate of steamed veggies for me!  Yes veggiefuel!  Most of the week was like that when we went to dinner, for the rest of the meals it was buffet-style so things weren’t an issue.

At dinner these little peppers came with some of the meals.  The waiter told us they were very hot and spicy.  Someone tried a small bite and confirmed they were hot.  I decided I would eat the whole pepper at once…what a bad idea!  My whole face was burning from the inside out, I could feel the heat inside my ear canals.  I couldn’t believe how hot it was, everyone had a good laugh, even the waiter who eventually brought me some milk and bread to tone down the heat.  Oddly the milk is served warm in Mexico, but I was glad to have it!  (I laughed too once I didn’t feel like my face was when on fire)

Before the heat!
Before the heat!
This is a 'trying' picture.  Trying to recover from the heat and the waiter trying to be funny
This is a ‘trying’ picture. Trying to recover from the heat and the waiter trying to be funny

It was a great first day in Mexico and the rest of the week was shaping up to be the same way, I was going scuba diving (I have been a diver for over 20 years), the wedding party had rented a catamaran, the wedding itself, a week of relaxation, and of course running!  After dinner we went to the hotel bar and had a few drinks and those of us who run agreed to meet up the next morning and run together.  We pretty much did that every day of the trip, we would all run different distances and stop when we wanted to, if running can be relaxing, that is how we were running.  I always got my mile in and most days I ran 3.

Richard, Cat, Me, Darrell  The City Sports Run Crew
Richard, Cat, Me, Darrell – The City Sports Run Crew

On day #26 my legs were really starting to hurt, they were aching all over and when I would get up after sitting I would need to wait a few seconds before walking or I would be hobbling the first few steps.  I think my legs were trying to tell me running that many days in a row was not a good idea and they wanted to rest.  There was a spa at the resort and I thought about getting a massage, except I don’t like massages (or at least I thought I didn’t).  I’d never had one before and I don’t like strangers touching me, just a weird quirk.  So after asking tons of questions to my friends who have had them and another day of aching legs and running I decided to make an appointment at the spa.  I was really nervous, I wasn’t sure what to expect even though everyone had told me what to expect and that I would enjoy it.  I arrived at the spa and explained I wanted a Sports Massage, whatever that meant, it sounded like what I needed after all I was running everyday.   They explained that a Sports Massage stretches the muscles and helps you relax, so it was what I needed.  They escorted me to the locker room and told me to put my clothes in a locker, where I would find a robe and then meet them back in the hallway.  I was feeling more tense now that I was actually going through with this, but trying to be optimistic.  After getting ready, I was escorted to the ‘relaxation’ room.  Basically a waiting room before the massage, it is dimly lit, incense is burning, soft music playing.  It actually did relax me, but it seemed like I was in there forever, which annoyed me.  Then another person came in, I didn’t know whether it was okay to talk in the relaxation room so I chose not to say anything to them.  Finally the masseuse came to get me, after explaining the massage and going over the aching areas she left the room so I could get under the covers.  She came back in and started the massage, after a few tense minutes I started to relax and realize…this was awesome!!!  The 60 minutes had gone by really quickly and I was bummed I didn’t go for a 90 minute massage or longer!  When the massage was over my legs felt rejuvenated and ready to go!  My advice to anyone who is unsure about a massage is find a reputable place and get one!!!  The way I look at  it is, that it is a medical procedure and there isn’t anything to be nervous about.  Since that first massage, I’ve gotten several more to help keep my legs and muscles relaxed.  I actually became a member at Massage Envy and go once a month, it has really helped.  Getting a massage is one thing I wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for the run streak, thank goodness for the run streak and trying new things!

Swimming during the Catamaran trip!
Swimming during the Catamaran trip!

On day #28 Cat and Eric got married in the afternoon on the beach, it was beautiful ceremony!  Between the ceremony and the reception there was about 2 hours, so I got my run in!  I had gone scuba diving earlier in the day, so this was a great time to fit it in.  At the reception when dinner came they brought me chicken, I had RSVP’d before becoming a vegetarian.  I didn’t think I would be able to eat, but once again the hotel staff and chef were very understanding and prepared a vegetarian meal for me.  After dinner music was playing, tequila was flowing, we were all dancing, we danced for hours, and at the end of the night Cat and Eric changed into ‘wedding’ bathing suits and jumped in the pool, pretty much everyone followed fully clothed.  We had a blast!  One of the most fun weddings I have been too!

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On day #30 it was time to head back to Baltimore.  I ran that morning, the last time I would be able to run in nice weather until the spring.  While running I tried to soak in the whole week, it was a great week, just spending time with new and old friends, scuba diving, sailing on a catamaran, and being on the beach.  A great destination and a great way to round out the first month of the running streak!

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to run with the great El Caballo Blanco.  You have to have a Born to Run reference in a running blog!

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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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