veggiefueled.

adventures of a plant-based athlete


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veggiefueled, a testimonial.

Every year Mercedes Benz puts on a 5K for the corporate world. It’s called the Mercedes Benz Corporate Run. There is one in West Palm, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The Miami race is huge; there were about 25,000 runners last Thursday night! (That’s a lot for a 5K!)

I had a great run and was the second place female and 13th overall in my company with a 25:40 minute time. I set a new personal record! That always feels great…

But I can’t take all the credit. So I wanted to explain how I got to this point in my running “career.”

photo

(Ok so not from the Corporate Run – but they haven’t posted the pictures yet.)

Running has really been the catalyst for my current healthy vegan lifestyle. I decided to train for the Disney Princess half-marathon a few years ago and…long story short… here I am.

Hehe just kidding, what kind of blog would this be if I didn’t tell the whole story?!

Because of running and training, my husband (then boyfriend) and I started to transition to healthier eating habits. First it was learning about trans fats, eating organic, counting calories, and eliminating processed foods. The full transition to veganism really has taken about 3 years. That’s not to say it can’t happen faster, we just weren’t really aware or considering it at the beginning.

But the main points I want to get across in THIS post are what I believe to be some of the results/benefits of my newly vegan diet in relation to running. (I’ll post later about the transition to veganism!)

Injury

Since high school I have had lower back and knee pain. So bad that I missed a season of cheerleading and had to go to physical therapy to help alleviate the pain. Then when I started running, the pain returned. After my first half marathon I couldn’t run for months. I had a horrible pain in both knees and was on prescription NSAIDs to help suppress the inflammation. I went in and out of physical therapy trying to figure out how to run without pain. Unfortunately, because I had to wait so long to start running again I wasn’t able to stay in peak shape. I figured it was the cost you pay to be a runner. Then I injured my foot right before my full marathon but luckily recuperated in time for the race. Where again after the race, I was out of commission for months. I thought that was the way it was going to be… race… recovery…start all over.

Since cutting meat, dairy and eggs out of my diet I have competed in a half marathon and two 5Ks without injury or discomfort. (KNOCK ON WOOD!!). After I completed the half marathon I was able to run within 2 days (only because I decided to rest, not because I wasn’t capable). The whole time during training I hadn’t had a single issue with my back or knees. I felt and feel great!

Speed

My fastest half marathon before going vegan was 2:12, about 10:04 min/mile. My fastest 5K before going vegan was 26:39, about 8:34 min/mile (mind you this was in the midst of my FULL marathon training). My typical 5K time was closer to 28 minutes. If I ran my training run at a 10 min/mi pace I was happy… that was a great run!

After becoming vegan, I set a P.R. with my last half marathon 2:02, about 9:18 min/mile and past two 5K’s at 25:43 and 25:40, about 8:16 min/mile (without major training – 1 to 2 runs per week, slacker I know…). All you runners out there will know that a 10 minute improvement on a half marathon is HUGE! And the best part is that I know I haven’t yet reached my peak speed. I feel it in me… I know that I can hit the under 2 hour mark for the half and run a 24 minute 5K!

Before keeping a vegan diet I swore I was a 10 minute/mile girl… now I start my training runs at a 9 min/mile pace and that’s taking it easy!

I know that the above has not been scientifically proven to be a result of changing to a vegan diet. But it’s an awfully big coincidence. And really, the point is that I feel better than ever, stronger than ever and happier than ever with my new eating habits. I feel like a true athlete and am so glad that I’ve learned how to properly fuel my body… veggiefueled.

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