Another Vegan Running Blog!!!

I thought of changing things up a bit.  Maybe make this a more productive blog!! You can catch some of my earlier posts, although i’m hoping to go down a different route with future posts. So here it goes, presenting to you, THE KALE RUNNER!!!

Who am I? 

I am an aspiring ultrarunner, vegan blogger, newbie doctor (Yes, the one that pays better, although I hope to get a PhD someday), and neuroscience researcher! I’m originally from Mumbai recently relocated to Boston; flipping through brains, hoping to make my way into a neurosurgical residency program eventually.

What’s this blog about?

Chronicling my amateur attempts at becoming an ultrarunner (marathoner first. Hopefully soon!), information on a vegan lifestyle, and maybe something brain.

Why running?

Let’s back track a little. I’ve been an obese kid, a fat teenager and a very obese adult. Rewind August, 2014. Hitting a low point in life, health wise and personally, I though it’d be a good idea to start running. I’d always been fascinated with the idea. I came across a post on facebook from someone about the Tahoe 200. A Two hundred mile trail race seemed bizarre. A marathon seemed ridiculous enough. Actively seeking motivation, I headed to the nearest book store looking for a guru. There, shinning back at me was ‘Dare to Run’ by Amit Sheth. It was a signed copy too. I remember going out that evening for a walk and completing a run for a full minute. Now 5 half marathons later, considerably lighter and training for my first marathon, I thought I’d start writing this.

Why Vegan?

It was a video about the egg industry that got me thinking about animal farming. Up until, having grown up a vegetarian, I hadn’t really given any thought to the idea that my food choices may be causing a great deal of suffering. Then there came environmental impacts and health benefits. I read ‘Eat and Run’ by Scott Jurek, heard talks by Peter Singer, watched Forks over Knives and Cowspiracy. I’ll elaborate in detail in future blog posts.

Currently, I’m training for my first full marathon. I’m planning on writing a few posts on how I got here and a few posts on what my training aims to be like.

Like any sensible person who gives advice, I must add,

“The contents of this website such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the website (“Content”) are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website” .

Wait. I am a doctor. STILL always consult YOUR doctor. You are NOT my patient.

I’m experimenting with a Whole foods plant based diet ( In addition to being vegan, I try to cook most times without oil, sugar and salt. Really it’s not that tough and it’s a whole lot tastier) courtesy some great tips from some amazing people I’ve met in Boston and ofcourse having purchased the Instantpot, which makes cooking so much easier!

Next post – Dealing with that four letter word every runner hates. Stay tuned.

 

Advertisements

Not quite Ultramarathon Man!

Sadly, running seems to have taken a lesser priority in my life these days. That’s not to say I don’t run. 3-4 times a week, leisure runs, with no bearing on pace or the type of running(intervals, tempo…blah blah) is not classified as serious training. The only marathons I’m running are the ones involving my books. Even that like running, seems largely a mental game. Both require a certain discipline and endurance and repeated questions to oneself “why are you doing this?”. With the studying I can safely say “this will fill your bank accounts for all the destination marathons you have planned in the future”. Score! That’s motivation enough to ace this exam.

This exam hasn’t been the only reason my mileage has dropped. The God dam sun is to blame too. See the Mumbai heat is killing me. It’s hard enough to get by the day in this weather, can you imagine the internal protests my body has when i’m moving with a heart rate close to 150 bpm.

When you start getting good at something you start getting a little cocky. Not the wisest thing to do. But running seems to bring me crashing down every time I get carried away. Humbling experience, if you may.

In the marathon world, I’m still a novice. Having taken up running late last year, my focus has largely been on distance. I mean speed or different terrains, hardly cross your mind when your still learning to run long distance.  So when I completed my 3rd half marathon I was feeling pretty confident. 21km!!! pffft I could run that any given day. I’ll do it today, i’d boast. Then came the Kundalika river marathon. BAM!!! This race shattered all the overconfidence I seemed to have gathered. See previously all the training and races I’ve done were pretty much flat tracks. Who knew inclines could take the wind out of you. Lesson learnt I said. I still have improving to do.

But take away the inclines and I was still pretty proud of my progress. With all the weight loss and endurance I’d gathered in the last few months, who wouldn’t be right! So what, I’ll conquer them hills eventually. Little did I know there were other challenges waiting. That’s when there was another BAM!!! The Sun seemed to smile sadistically. See quietly, I was already dreaming of the Badwater Ultramarathon. How tough could it be? Tough, sure, but give it a couple of years and I should be ready. It being summer and the heat killing me, it seemed like a nice place to start. So I set out for a run. I felt like a 15 km run that particular day, something I had grown very confident of in the comfortable so called ‘winter’ months of Mumbai.   4 kms in and I was begging to stop. I carried on till 6. Bad day. We all have them. 2 days later, same result. After a week of practice I’m getting to 10 kms. One more hill to climb. That reminds me of what Mandela said:

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

The Ladakh marathon is what I plan to attempt next. With my exam finishing in early June. It should give me just enough time to build up some endurance to have a fighting chance. With plans to go the United States later this year to pursue the excruciatingly long training required to be Surgeon, I know if I don’t attempt Ladakh now, I wont for a few years. What’s the worst that could happen, a DNF (Alright, alright, I know for most of you runners that’s as good as a death sentence). But then again, I’ll still have an exciting trip to tell the grandkids about.

With my ego firmly crushed and any thoughts of venturing to Death Valley hidden in a dark corner of my brain, I realize how much I still have to gain. That’s not to say I’ve given up on Badwater or being an ultramarathoner, I’ve just realized how much hard work is left to do. Maybe, just maybe I’ll run on the Sun. (click on the link if you’ve never heard about the Badwater ultramarathon)