100 Miles … Ready or Not

Whatever “ready to run a 100-miler” feels like, I can’t say I feel it.

As I reached the end of my seven-mile run last week, my last before the 100-miler, that frightening thought crossed my mind.

When I started training back in January, I pictured future-me as something of a tank / truck / beast of a man (or at least as much a beast as my 140-pound frame would allow for). A hundred miles would be nothing for that guy.

I mean, a 26-week training program? Complete with 50K, 50-miler, and many, many runs over 20 miles — often followed the next day by 7 or 10 more miles? How could anyone do all that and not be ready?

And yet, I don’t feel so different from when I started. Sure, seven-milers are easy now. Even 20′s don’t seem like a big deal, just something to knock out in the morning so as not to disrupt the rest of a Saturday (a toddler and newborn have made that necessary).

But 100 miles?

As we drove last night from Asheville to Ohio for the race, several times I took note of just how long 50 miles feels. In a car. And I’ve got to do twice that, on foot.

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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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My Rules for Navigating Vegan Life in a Non-Vegan World

shutterstock 123875626 300x287A few months ago, fitness writer Craig Ballantyne wrote a post for Zen Habits called 12 Rules to Live By that I really liked.

I was inspired: just as Craig intended, his list made me examine about my own life rules, borrowing from his where I found them useful. The point was not to say, You should follow these rules too, but rather:

These are my rules. Have you thought about yours?

As an exercise, I put together my own, narrower list, just around the topic of veganism (distinct from healthy eating, for which I have another list). I’ve gotten here gradually over the course of about six years, beginning with the day I decided I was going to cut just the red meat out of my diet — and that was a big deal! So it’s interesting for me to look at the rules I now eat (and live) by, many of which didn’t form consciously but instead resulted from habit, grooves that just kept wearing deeper over time.

Like Craig with his list, I have no intention of this being a “here’s what you should do” post. Nor is it final or comprehensive — I’m still progressing, still figuring out how I want to eat and what I want to be my “policies” as they relate to food.

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Whole Food Nutrition Versus Supplementation and the Reductionist Approach

Podcast Radio2A few weeks ago, I posted a (long) article called “Are You Getting the Nutrients You Need from Your Plant-Based Diet?“, written with my friend and book co-author, Matt Ruscigno, R.D.

It was a fun post to put together (especially the infographic, which I think is pretty handy), and I learned a lot in the process, as I always do when I work with Matt.

But a few of the comments in response to that post, along with T. Colin Campbell’s new book, Whole, left me with a nagging question:

Should we even bother worrying about individual nutrients, or is it enough to say “eat whole plant foods” and be done with it?

It’s a tough one — Campbell’s book makes a compelling argument that the only reason individual nutrients like iron, omega 3′s, all the letter vitamins, and even protein are in common parlance is the green stuff … and I mean money, not kale. “Eat whole foods” doesn’t sell magazines, pills, doctor visits, or surgeries; reductionist approaches to health do.

And yet on the other hand, those of us who eat plant-based are choosing a diet that’s very different from the norm in our society. Do we have a responsibility (to ourselves, our kids, the people to whom we recommend this diet) to know that we are, in fact, getting everything we’re “supposed” to?

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Google Reader Users: Find an Alternative Way to Get NMA Posts (Before July 1!)

Kind of a weird post, since usually I prefer to handle housekeeping issues with social media or email. But this one’s important if you read No Meat Athlete and other blogs via Google Reader.

Google Reader officially goes away on July 1. That’s this coming Monday, just a few days from now.

Which means if you want to keep having No Meat Athlete posts delivered to you, without having to remember to come visit the blog, you’ll need to choose a new way to do it.

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6 Make-or-Break Factors to Dial In Before Race Day — or Pay the Price!

For as long as I’ve written this blog, I’ve advocated treating your long runs as rehearsals for the big day. Hone in your nutrition, pacing, and even clothing strategies while it doesn’t count, so that there won’t be any surprises when it does.

Actually, I think you should go beyond just rehearsing: instead of just “sticking with what works,” use your long runs as a testing ground for potential improvements. I truly believe most runners have many minutes of improvement just waiting to be discovered, but instead they fall into the trap of never varying from a routine that works well enough.

Up until I started training for a 100-miler, though, I hadn’t actually done any of this.

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5 Recommended Books for Healthy Summer Reading

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post called “On Turning Pro” where I laid out my plan to make some changes in my mindset — this after the roughest six months of my life, when anxiety issues came (seemingly) out of nowhere to render me pretty darn useless.

Central to my plan: reading for one hour each day.

It’s the one habit I can identify that is most closely tied to my sense of well-being. My hope was that by making sure I absolutely stuck to it, other good habits would naturally form.

And I’ve actually done it! I’ve gone through busy periods where much of the daily hour has shifted to listening to books (easy during 100-miler training), but that’s acceptable, and I must say it’s worked pretty much as I hoped it would.

I’ve taken on a lot this year — finishing up writing my book, training for a 100, moving to a new house, and having a new baby (granted, my wife played a slightly larger role in that than I did) — and anxiety has really taken a back seat to it all. Gooooo, reading!

My Summer Reading Recommendations

Anyway … in this past month I decided to read five health and running books that had piled up on my to-read list. Many of them had been sent to me for review by publishers, and I had back-burnered them in favor of books that I personally wanted to read. (By the way, I’m trying to get back into updating my GoodReads account, so you can follow me on there if you’re into that sort of thing.)

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22 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Your First Triathlon

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It’s triathlon season! Shout it with me, people: IT’S TRIATHLON SEASON!

I haven’t always been such an overeager pain in the ass about this sport. I used to be scared — really scared — before triathlon races. I knew what I was doing as a runner, but triathlon was just so … complicated.

With running races, it’s simple: get a bite to eat and hit the porta-pot ahead of time, and beyond the actual running, there’s not a whole lot that can go wrong. But triathlons are a different beast, with not just three sports to worry about, but also the transitions and plenty of logistical opportunities for bigtime screw-ups that bodies of water and racks of bikes add to the mix.

Before my first few triathlon races, my hands would shake as I quietly set up my bike in transition area, and instead of confidently rehearsing what I needed to execute during the race, I’d focus on everything that could go wrong:

  • What if I have a panic attack during the swim and hyperventilate?
  • What if I forget where I put my bike and wander around transition like an idiot?
  • What if I drop a water bottle and get dehydrated?
  • What if I make a total ass of myself?

Sound like you?

Fears like these prevent a lot of runners from ever jumping into the triathlon game, and it’s a shame. In addition to providing runners with more strength than ever before (cycling is an excellent cross-training activity), accomplishing the mental challenge of triathlon gives an athlete more tricks in their wheelhouse for breaking through “the wall” of their next road race. On a personal note, triathlon has given me confidence I didn’t have before, introduced me to friends around the world, and led me to a new career with No Meat Athlete and print magazines Competitor and Triathlete. Triathlon has changed my life – literally. All because I took a chance on a new sport.

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