No Meat Athlete Radio: An Interview About My First 100-Miler

Podcast Radio2By now, if you’re a regular No Meat Athlete reader, it’s likely that you’ve read (fine, skimmed) my 4500-word recap of my first 100-miler last weekend. I’ve loved reading and responding to the comments, and am truly humbled by the nice things you’ve all have had to say.

Well, here’s some more for you! No Meat Athlete Radio has a minor obsession with ultrarunning, so we couldn’t let my first 100 go by without an episode dedicated to it.

But to make sure this didn’t just turn into an audio version of my text recap, we did something a little different — Doug (himself an ultrarunner eyeing his first 100) and I didn’t exchange a word about the race until the tape was rolling.

So these are Doug’s questions, my answers — two budding ultrarunners chatting, unrehearsed, about a first 100. As a result, there’s a good bit different here from my written recap, with a lot of “inside the head” stuff that’s easier to express in a conversation than in writing. I think you’ll take away some valuable nuggets from our conversation.

If nothing else, it’ll help you pass the time on a long run this weekend; listening to podcasts got me through a lot of mundane miles in the training for this race.

Enjoy!

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The importance (or not) of sleep the night before an ultra
  • Pacing strategies and walk breaks in a 100
  • The single biggest mistake I made
  • The low point, and inside “the moment” where it all turned around
  • What I warned my crew not to listen to me about
  • Why a negative outlook before the race actually helped me
  • Advice for beating wet feet, and a crucial piece of equipment I forgot to bring
  • What it’s like to run through the night on trails
  • My eating strategy for the race
  • Drinking only to thirst instead of to a schedule
  • What’s so great about Hoka One One’s
  • The reason the whole thing wasn’t quite as hard as I expected
  • How a friend helped me decide not to have a time goal
  • What the recovery has been like
  • What’s next? (Hint: RAGNAR!)

Click the button below to listen now:

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The Ins and Outs of My First 100-Mile Ultramarathon

br100 medal1 1024x657My alarm went off at 3:30 a.m. This is it, I thought.

Even with all the advance planning I had done in an effort to make absolutely certain I got a full night’s sleep, a fitful four hours was all I had managed, tossing nervously and with a distinct feeling of guilt for three hours before actually drifting off.

That’s right, guilt. A friend who has done many ultras had warned me that 70 or 80 miles into a 100-miler, a feeling of guilt for abusing your crew is not uncommon, one of the brain’s many tricks for convincing your body to quit. But the night before the race?

It seemed my brain was getting a head start, trying to undermine the whole effort before it even got underway. I felt badly about how much time I had spent training since we had our daughter less than three months ago, how much of the workload my wife had shouldered to pick up my slack.

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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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