Saturday, 23 November 2013

Great Month of Racing!

November has been a huge month of Jost Running races for me. The theme is "Run Your Mass Off".  I have run half marathon and 5K races this month with a 10K race coming up. I am without a doubt up for the challenge!

I went into my 5K race with a simple plan. To run at a fast pace for the entire race without stopping. My goal was to finish under 30 minutes. My last Jost Running 5K race was completed in 31:59. In past races I would use the 10 and 1 strategy (run 10 min and walk 1 min), but on this day I wanted to challenge myself to run fast with no stopping. I choose a local 5K route that I knew well. I wanted to run on a familiar route to make things a bit more easier on my concentration. I was poised and ready to get this done in under 30 minutes.

I headed up to the starting point, hit the timer on my watch and simply started running fast and hard. I knew there was a bit of an incline in the beginning but the strategy was get up that incline as quickly as possible. Once I got past the incline I really turned on the heat. I was flying! Really running fast. I made it a point not to look at my watch until I finished the race. I didn't want to be concerned with the time. My only concern at this point was if I would be able to keep up this blistering pace. Now bear in mind - I say blistering pace but my blistering pace would probably be considered a slow pace by most. :)

I knew to be successful at keeping this pace up was to get my breathing under control. If I was huffing, puffing and gasping for breath I would be doomed. While running, I kept taking big, deep belly breaths through my nose and exhaled through my mouth. With this method (thank you Scott Jurek) I was able to control my breathing.

I got to the halfway point running the same, fast pace. I felt the strain of this fast pace but I didn't want to stop. I just closed my eyes and told myself to 'keep up the pace", which I did. It seemed like I was running with blinders, all I could see what was in front of me as I had the finish line etched in my mind. I wasn't looking at the time, but I felt I had a great chance to finish under 30 minutes.

As i was nearing the finish line, I was really feeling fatigued. My pace did slow down a bit but I continued to run as fast as I was able too. I got up a small incline near the finish line. Once I got up the incline, my body told me to stop. And much to my disappointment, I obliged. I still had a bit to go but I stopped for about 30 seconds after I got up that incline. I knew I had to press on if I wanted to reach my goal. I continued running again at the fastest pace I was able to. I saw the finish line and really turned on the heat. It was funny, as I turned on the heat, an elderly lady laughed and asked if that was as fast as I can run. I responded with a hearty "Jost Running baby!"

When I crossed the finish line I was exhausted. I crouched down and took a few very deep breaths. I thought I had a great run and was proud that I kept up this pace even though I did have to stop 1 time. I wondered if I had finished under 30 minutes. The moment of truth had come. I looked at my watch and saw 25:41. I thought it might have been a mistake but it was no mistake. I had run this 5K with my best ever time of 25:41. I suddenly became a very proud runner.

With that best ever time, I was able to accomplish something I thought I would never be able to accomplish. I finished 1st in the Jost Running 5k race for November!!  I won my first race! This really made me a proud runner. Its great to see the results and my name is at the top of the list. That is awesome!

In addition to the 5K, I also ran the Jost Running half marathon. I decided to run this race through a local trail and to make a leisurely 13.1 mile run. I enjoyed this run, taking in the sites without trying to break any records or anything. I finished this race in 2:31:43. My second half marathon in two months.

I am very proud of my running these days and I don't intend to stop.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

But where do you get your protein from?

Being on a plant based diet, the question I get many times is, "But where do you get your protein from?". And when a carnivore asks me this question, they usually do it with a "I got you now" look on their face. Despite popular carnivorous belief, protein is abundantly available for herbivores. But first, let's talk about what protein is and it's importance.

Protein is basically a large complex molecule which is made up of one or
more chains of amino acids which are linked by peptide bonds. The amino acids that are linked up to make protein are available in our bodies. The only catch here is our body can make 14 different amino acids but our bodies require 20. So that means 6 proteins need to come from outside sources in the form of the food we eat. The 14 our bodies make are considered non essential proteins and the rest we must get from food are called essential amino acids. They are called essential because of the fact our bodies doesn't produce them and we have to get them from outside sources.

Protein is a vitally important component of every cell in the body. Protein is used by the body to repair muscle, rebuilds cells, and is a building block of bones, cartilage, skin, and blood. You body only needs a certain amount of protein to function well. Extra protein is not necessary and will not make you stronger. Too much protein can actually be dangerous.

But you have to eat meat to get the protein that a person needs, right? A vegan can never be strong like a meat eater because a vegan has no foods with protein, right? Carnivores have us herbivores up against the ropes and cowering when the topic of protein comes up, right? Wrong to all three. 

There are many, many plant based sources for protein such as green leafy vegetables, avocados, sweet potatoes, broccoli, lentils and beans, nuts and seeds, non dairy milks, and whole grains to name a few. 

Spinach is very high in protein as are mushrooms, corn, oatmeal, and whole grain pastas.  

If a variety of plant based foods are consumed, you will easily get all the essential amino acids your body requires. 

Now for the real advantage - when you get your protein from plant based foods you're also getting a package complete with phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. All these add up to amazing health and contribute to preventing disease! On the flip side, animal proteins are combined with unhealthy saturated fats and high levels of cholesterol with no antioxidants, fiber, phytonutrients and almost no vitamins and minerals. Yeah, you're getting your meat protein but you are also contributing to potential heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, turning on those cancer cells, etc.

There you have it Mr. or Mrs Carnivore. That's where we get our healthy proteins from. No need to ask the question again.