Okay, this post is way delayed … but I suppose that’s what moving will do to you. I’m moving to Asheville, NC in 10 days with my wife and son, and this has been Crazy Packing Week. But the POD loaded with all our stuff gets picked up tomorrow, so things should return to normal soon.
In the meantime, I want to share a few photos and a quick recap of last weekend’s events. Saturday was the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon and Half in DC, and the first race we’ve done with an official No Meat Athlete group! We had a blast, and a lot of first-time marathoners and half marathoners crossed the finish line sporting their NMA colors.
Here’s how it all went down.
Dinner at Cafe Green
About 35 NMA runners and their guests gathered at Cafe Green for a wonderful vegan pre-race dinner. It was nice that everyone already knew each other from posting in the forums and attending the Q&A sessions. Lack of lame awkwardness = win for everyone.
On the menu were entrees like mac and cheeze, raw zucchini pesto pasta, gnocchi di roso (my choice), and a housemade veggie patty on a mung bean pancake. We also had appetizers, salads, and some vegan fudge and cake for dessert.
The food was delicious, and looked really nice too. Apparently I’ve forgotten my food blogger roots though, because I didn’t even think of taking a picture of the food.
We also had a special surprise guest join us — Gene Baur, co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, who happened to be running his first marathon the next day. Gene was kind enough to say a few words before dinner, and it was an honor to get to hang out with someone who has done so much for our cause. (I actually ran with him and the 3:30 pace group during the race, but eventually Gene dusted me en route to a sub-3:30 first marathon.)
Next time you’re in DC, check out Cafe Green. I had never heard of it before this, but it came highly recommended by Doug, who was our man on the ground in DC and did most of the planning for our event. The food was wonderful and I’ll definitely eat there again when I’m in DC.
Race day morning
Not everyone stayed at the “official” hotel (Helix), so pre-race, we hung out in different groups. Luckily, we had handed out some fruit and the vegan bagels and muffins we got from Sticky Fingers Bakery the night before at dinner, so nobody went hungry.
A few of us met up briefly at the start area, but soon it was time to head to our different starting corrals. I actually saw several NMA shirts on people who weren’t in our group, so that was pretty cool. For as many stories as I hear of people who run into each other while wearing their NMA shirts, I hadn’t seen all that many on random people until this weekend. Score.
As for the race itself, by and large it was a big success for our runners. As I mentioned, we had several first timers in our group, and a few of us set PR’s.
Susan, who is training to qualify for Boston and treated this race as a training run, finished the half right at two hours, just as she planned. I finished the full in 3:39, which I was actually pretty happy with. Almost all of my training had been on hillier terrain at a slower pace, so I wasn’t really sure how fast to run. It turns out that I started too fast, and as a result I slowed down significantly during the last six miles. But trust me, I’ve crashed a lot worse than that before!
After the race
Post-race, it was time to relax and enjoy not just a beautiful day, but the fact that this group came together the way it did.
That, and Sticky Fingers cinnamon buns plus free Michelob Ultra in the beer garden. I mean, say what you will about our being a real presence at the race and introducing tons of runners and spectators to the idea that you can do awesome stuff and be vegetarian, but we all know we really did it for the pastries and a free 8-ounce can of beer.
Where do we go next?
Alright, back to packing for me. But first, I’ve got one more photo to share, this one completely unrelated except that it involves an NMA shirt.
Kayna, a longtime fan of the site, wore hers while she took first place in her age group in a half marathon. That half marathon, I should mention, was in Antarctica!
And so the carrot has officially reached all seven continents. What’s next?
Well, we are definitely going to do another group race, hopefully bigger and even better. We’re shooting for this fall, and we’re open to ideas about where to go next — preferably on this continent (for now). If there’s a race you think would be just perfect, we want to hear about it!
Thanks so much to the 25 members of our first-ever training group, and to all the people (and the two restaurants) that helped make it happen. And of course, thanks to Competitor.com for putting on a great race. The Rock ‘n’ Roll races are still my favorites.
Hope to see you in our next group!