40 Cities, 50 Days: My U.S. Book Tour Recap

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The 3-foot tall poster my wife and kids used to keep track of me. :)

Just like an ultramarathon, it was both exhilarating and exhausting. There were times when I looked at how far I had left to go before I could sleep again in my own bed, and — feeling completely overwhelmed — I did what dozens of ultras and marathons have taught me to do.

Focus on the next step. And then the next. And then the next.

And, just like that, I went from city to city for a month and a half. Instead of aid stations, they were hotel rooms. Instead of long hikes up hills, they were 8- and 12-hour drives. And instead of downhills, the fun parts that ended too quickly were the events themselves, where I met hundreds and hundreds of No Meat Athletes and felt anything but alone.

I’ve been back home with my wife and kids for two weeks now. I’ll hit the road next week for two more events nearby (Raleigh and Charlotte, NC), but it sure feels like I’m done. And like every ultra I’ve finished, while I’m glad to be done, I’m especially glad to have done it.

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The First 10 Days of the No Meat Athlete Book Tour

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Speaking at JackRabbit NYC. Photo courtesy Ben Ko.

Wow, what a week! It’s been 10 days since I started my book tour, and I’ve had two events each in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Ohio, plus Boston and New York City.

If all that weren’t enough for 10 days, I took a two-day “break” to run the RAGNAR Relay in DC on an ultra team … which meant running 40 miles of our team’s 200 total. In 90-degree heat. From a smelly, crowded, always-moving van. Over the course of 28 hours. Fun times!

Actually RAGNAR was a lot of fun, even if doing it in the middle of the book tour wasn’t my best idea ever — see Doug’s RAGNAR recap if you’re interested in more about how our team did and Doug’s do’s and don’ts.

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The No Meat Athlete RAGNAR DC team. 28 hours, 199 miles, 1 seriously disgusting van.

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The No Meat Athlete Book is Out Today (Saying Thanks)

bookphotoToday, the first day my book is officially available in stores and online (serendipitously, World Vegetarian Day), is a surreal one indeed.

I’m typing this post from the passenger seat of a car, driving to Boston for the second stop on my book tour, in just a few hours. Even that phrase — “my book tour” — feels very odd to actually say or write.

But it’s underway, and the faces, names, and stories of the people I met last night in the small town of Media, PA made it feel very real, reminding me why I decided to take on this tour in the first place.

The book is at the top of several categories on Amazon. All morning I’ve been doing phone interviews and email interviews and scheduling new ones, amidst excitedly reading early reviews of the book on blogs — some of my favorite blogs, no less. It’s like a dream, and one that I’m doing everything I can to appreciate while it lasts.

It is beyond incredible that all this has happened. And while I’m feeling lots of different emotions right now — giddiness, nervousness, excitement, fatigue, missing my wife and kids — the one keeping me centered and integrated is gratitude.

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Announcing No Meat Athlete Book Tour Dates & Locations!

Leaving your college dorm at midnight, to drive seven hours each way. For a sandwich.

Using your dishwasher to create a floor-to-ceiling foam party in your (carpeted) living room.

Planning a 40-city book tour all by yourself.

All things I’ve done that seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight weren’t my best ideas ever.

But when it comes down to it, I can’t honestly say that I regret any of them. Not even the foam party, which resulted in moldy carpet and four sick roommates.

As for the book tour, I definitely don’t regret the decision to do it … just the heroic attempt to plan it myself. Thankfully, my mom (yep, my mom) stepped in and saved me from a nervous breakdown last week, and I’m pleased now to announce that the schedule is just about set.

No Meat Athlete’s big splash this weekend

After I announced the bonuses for pre-ordering my book (which comes out October 1st, less than two weeks away), things got crazy.

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the No Meat Athlete Book (Plus 6 Fantastic Pre-Order Bonuses!)

no meat athlete book coverMy goal today: Write a “My book is almost out!” post without being sappy, self-indulgent, and giddy like a schoolboy.

Believe me, that’s not easy, because with all the work that has gone into the book, it’s impossible not to be pretty amped up and emotional that it’s finally here.

The official release date is October 1st, just three weeks away. And a few days before that, I’ll be hopping in the car to start what has somehow turned into a nearly two-month long tour of the U.S. to support it. It seems things are about to get interesting.

Although I’ve mentioned the book here several times, I haven’t yet taken the time to explain who it’s for, what’s inside, and why I’m so proud of it. So that’s what I’m going to do today.

Oh yeah, and I’ve also got some amazing bonuses that I’ll send you when you pre-order before the official release on October 1st. And that’s not just marketing-speak — I really do think these bonuses are pretty darn special, and I think you’ll agree.

So here goes. If I get too deep into the self-gratification bit, punch me in the forehead.

The Big Risk I Took that Might Totally Backfire

Early on in the writing process, I made a decision that I knew could blow up in my face. But it’s a decision I stand by, and I want to share it with you.

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Vitamin B12 and the Case For (and Against) a Plant-Based Diet

The other day, Jeff D. asked some great questions in the comments section of my post 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Vegan:

What are your thoughts concerning the inability to get B12 naturally on a vegan diet? It’s necessary for the body but a vegan diet only seems to get B12 through fortified foods and supplements.

Also, what about grains? It seems that a vegan diet relies on a lot of grains (bread, pasta, cereal, etc.). Recent research and acknowledgement of our anthropological history point to the idea that our bodies were not meant to process grains (especially gluten-based ones).

Grains are a topic for another post (check out The Paleo Diet Debunked?, by my friend Steve — a Paleo proponent but whose view on grains is almost identical to mine).

Right now, let’s stick to the B12 question; it’s a common one. Often, it takes a more argumentative and challenging tone, like this:

If we were really meant to be vegan, then why would we need to supplement with B12?

There’s little doubt about the presupposition: a vegan diet, without supplementation or fortification, is deficient in vitamin B12. Some will argue that you can get B12 from chlorella or “dirty produce,” and that before modern agricultural practices there was more B12 in the soil, but that’s not the discussion I want to have here.

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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Vegan

How do vegans possibly do it?

Even after I became vegetarian, I turned this question over and over in my mind. I knew that I wanted to quit eating animal products but just couldn’t imagine making it work. I had even tried a vegan diet for a month, only to learn in the process that I wasn’t ready.

The commitment to officially say “I’m vegan” was a decision I deliberated about for a long time. In the end, it took two full years before I completely cut out eggs, milk, butter, and cheese. But when the time was finally right, there was no question about it.

Two and a half years later, now that this once extreme lifestyle now feels familiar, I have just enough perspective to wish I could go back and give my pre-vegan self (or someone else in my shoes) a few pointers.

So whenever they give us the promised time machines and jetpacks and I get the chance to go back and talk to that guy, here’s how I’ll help him prepare:

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Details About the No Meat Athlete Book Tour!

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It’s official! But this map isn’t, yet.

Call me excited. I’m happy to finally announce, officially, that throughout the month of October and a good bit of November of this year, I’ll be doing a nationwide tour around the release of my book, No Meat Athlete: Run on Plants & Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self (which is now available for pre-order at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other great booksellers).

I’m calling it a book tour … you know, so that I sound like an actual grown-up. But let’s be serious.

What this really is, is an excuse to do something I’ve dreamed of forever: traveling across the country to run amok in 30(ish) cities, all along the way meeting, talking to, running with, racing with, eating with, cooking with, or perhaps grabbing a coffee or a beer with like-minded folks and No Meat Athlete readers.

Which, I’m hoping, will include you.

I don’t have a ton of details beyond these yet, but that’s where you come in.

I’m looking for venues to host tour events — certainly we’ll do some at traditional bookstores like Barnes and Noble or independents, but what I think will make this way more fun is if many of the events aren’t at bookstores. Like all the stuff I mentioned above … stuff that’s outside, stuff that requires moving, stuff that involves scrumptious plant-based food and drinks.

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