Being Honest and Realistic

There are a few things I want to squawk about today and they all sort of revolve around being realistic or being honest.

The first is in regard to “reintroducing dairy” or any other animal product back into their diet.


[vegan milkshake from SHC]

Let’s get real because here is what I see and I wish people would be honest. Dairy is delicious. I remember how I was addicted to it and although I don’t really remember exactly how eating it tastes, I imagine it’s the same as sugar. Science says that is the case and people are addicted to dairy. It’s hard to break addictions. I get it. What I would appreciate is more honesty when people break their morals and veganism and reintroduce dairy for “health reasons”.

Bullshit.

Just be honest. Dairy tastes good and you would rather eat it than find vegan alternatives. That’s your thing. Sure, I could lay some hate right now, but that’s just not my jam. If you want to eat dairy, you do you, just be honest as to why you’re doing it. People would rather eat a 300 calorie pint of Halo Top or arctic Zero rather than a 1000 calorie pint of So Delicious vegan ice cream. Just be honest.

It’s also easier. Yesterday I was driving home through really remote farm lands and there wasn’t really anything to eat. I was getting famished actually and pulled over at an ice cream shop (because why have a grocery store when you can have an ice cream shop right?) I was thinking about how if I was a new vegan and in this state, I would probably break my veganism and just get a cone. It’s easier. Life will go on. However, I’m not at that point anymore. The place had fries so I got those. Sure, it would have been easier and the vegan god would have forgiven me, but I can’t do it anymore.


[and why would I want to?]

In the spirit of earth day and knowing how terrible eating animal products is for your health, the planet and for the animals, I just want people to be honest about why they are eating that stuff. It’s not for your health. It’s because it’s easy and it tastes good. Be honest, be real.

The second is getting real about how moving has affected me and my training and how I plan to proceed.

It’s been a winter and early spring where I’ve been busy learning my new job. I’m not training optimally and oddly now, I’m at peace with it. There will be more time for running, more time for races and that’s exciting. Right now my focus is to enjoy running everyday. Not overdoing it or following a training plan. Just me and running, that’s still the goal.

So I’m not running as much, but it’s all good.


I’m happy. It’s spring.
Happy Earth Day!

Ragnar ADK 2016

The short version of this would be:

We crushed it, knocked 2 hours off our time from last year and won the race (I think).

The longer version is a bit more interesting.

We arrived at Saratoga Springs at 4:30 on Friday morning. I drove into Syracuse that morning and caught a van at around 2AM.

shvp-team-photo

Our first team D started at 6:00AM, team C at 6:30AM and team D at 8:00. My team started at 1:00, so we had time to kill.

After seeing the first few teams off, we went to a health food grocery store to eat and chill. I was definitely ready for some food at that point. It also gave me a chance to meet and get to know a few new teammates. I think I was the only person in our van who isn’t an ultra runn and I was the youngest.

team-a-photo-start

Racing Team Roster
When we get back to the start line, we found out that if we chose, we could start the race at noon instead of 1 if we so choose. So, we started.

I was leg 6 in van 1, so I got to wait and watch all my teammates run first. Two new guys, Jason Mintz and Mike Weldon were two new to Ragnar runners and they totally crushed their legs, clocking sub 6 miles and getting us ahead.

When it came to my leg, I felt ready to go. The first two miles were a bit frustrating as I ran through a busy section in town. I had to stop multiple times for traffic and people. My first few splits were a bit slower, in the 6:30s range, but after I got out of town I picked it up. I had a nice road section of rolling hills and then came to a steep downhill trail. Being the only runner in my van who doesn’t regularly run trails, I was the most under qualified for this section. I focused on not falling down.

As I neared mile 5, I saw a “one mile to go” sign. I thought my leg was 5.7 miles, so when I got to 6, I thought I had made a wrong turn. I started getting a bit upset with myself, because I made a wrong turn last year. However, I saw another Ragnar sign and eventually made it to the exchange. I passed it to Dana who was the first runner in van 2.

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My team was then off for a few hours, so we fueled up, rested and watched Mike and Alan pound tons of vegan snacks. You know they are ultra runners, because holy sh*t they can EAT!

We started our next series of legs at about 6:30PM and again everyone crushed them. When I was coming up, I just felt off. I have been struggling with confidence in my racing lately and although I knew I had nothing to prove, I still felt almost sick with anxiety. Thank you to my team who was so supportive and great. They talked me down off my pedestal and I started my leg of 8.7 miles.

Running at night is always something foreign to me. Tonight I felt fine once I got going, but I was lonely. There aren’t too many runners out there and the night feels empty. I thought I heard wolves, but it was most likely in my head. There was a bear sighting, but I saw no wild life, just blinking red lights. I made it to the next exchange in about an hour, accomplished, but not too impressed with my time. (Again, thank you to who talked me out of my funk).

Our team then went to the next major exchange, which was a creepy race track with no indoor bathrooms or anything. We just all slept inside the van and tried to rest before our next legs. Little did I know, van 2 missed an exchange point, so one of our runners, Ian, ran about 13 miles for his leg instead of 8. He totally rocked it and probably got us more ahead. Thanks Ian for making up for my slower time.

When we got the bracelet for our last legs, it was about 2:30 in the morning. This was the first Ragnar where we had two night legs. The one benefit of being the last person to go was that I had a sorta lighter leg. I began my leg at 6:15, which is when I normally wake up to run. I was tired, but so ready to crank out 4.4 last miles. My only goal for this was to stay ahead of an ultra team we had been running closely to all day. I can say I was successful.

After I handed off to Dana, a few of our teammates got this idea that we had to race the ultra team, who passed us on the next leg. A couple of the guys, who shall remain nameless, started keeping track of how many minutes we were behind the ultra team and coaching van 2 on how to get us back to them. In all honestly, it was really fun because I kept telling our runners that they should just have fun and not worry about catching this team. The ultra team was really good by the way, like father 60 years of age clocking 6:00 miles good.

So, instead of going to the finish line, we followed our other van cheering and “inspiring them” to catch the other team. I enjoyed this a lot more than sitting at the finish line waiting, so even if I wasn’t too keen on coaching our second van, it was nice to be out there. This was all in good fun. The other team was really nice and they beat us by a couple minutes to the finish.

team-a-photo

We finished with an unofficial time of 22:47 which broke 24 hours and beat our time last year by 2 hours. We also won our division, as the ultra team was not competing officially with us.

Our other teams also did very well and finished soon after us. We finished up with an awards ceremony and a drive back to Saratoga Springs.

Overall, even though I wish I could have raced harder, I think racing last weekend was a factor in my lingering fatigue. This race was the most fun I’d had and I’m once again surrounded by new friends. We really outdid ourselves this weekend and I couldn’t be happier with our team.

Check out the hashtag #strongheartsveganpower on Instagram and Twitter to see all the updates from the other teams.

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Check out how a bunch of #vegans won RagnarADK 2016! Click To Tweet

Thanks again to all the support we recieved and all the companies who donated to us. Our donation this year went to Maple Farm Animal Sanctuary, so show them some love too!

Strong Hearts Vegan Power website
Our Sponsors
Maple Farm Animal Sanctuary

Watergap 50K Race Recap 2016

I must begin this post thanking the race director, and my friend Ian for putting on this race. He did a great job with logistics, information, prizes and the course was great. I am proud to be on his Red Newt Racing team. Thanks again for a perfect first ultramarthon!

Pre-Race

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I drove down on Friday fully intending to sleep in my car at the race start. Luckily my friend Peter offered me a bed at his farm. If you’re ever in the Delaware area, check out Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary. Peter and his wife Gabrielle have done an amazing job creating a rescue for otherwise doomed farm animals.

I got my number and met a fellow Strong Hearts team member, Jason Young and his family for dinner. His kids are the cutest! Their older daughter (name omitted for privacy, but it’s a beautiful name, I just have to mentioned that) colored me a picture while we ate and I carried it with me in my pack during the race.

After an early dinner of calzones and French fries, I got to Peter’s house and get in bed at 8:30PM. I slept really well and was awoken by a rooster just before my alarm at 6:00AM

Everyone meets at the finish and then takes buses to the start, 30 miles away. The course follows the Delaware Watergap trail for 30 miles. Pretty self explanatory and not easy to get lost. After getting off the bus, a bathroom trip in the cornfield and a blowing of the rams horn from Ian, I was running my first ultramarathon.

Race:

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I began the race behind a few women, but after a mile or so it was myself and one other lady. She introduced herself and we talked for the first 10 miles. She actually went to Cornell so she knew where I worked. We traded places for a while and even took a wrong turn together, adding a mile onto the race. The wrong turn was due to some hunting markers being the same color as the race markers. After getting back on track, I had no other issues following the trail.

At the third aid station, she went to the bathroom and that was the last time I saw her.

The race is mostly rails trails with some single track at the end. Quite honestly, perfect for someone like me. I started off with gloves but took them off about half way, the weather was great. I clicked off miles between 7 and 8 pace, but wasn’t really focused on it. This race had no expectations, so I felt really relaxed. After 20 miles I remember thinking, ok I would be satisfied if I stopped now, but really, I didn’t feel like I wanted to stop. It felt good to be out there with no problems or distractions.

The last few miles had some single track and some steep inclines, but nothing crazy. It felt good to switch it up after all the flat trail. The last little bit of finish was on grass and I think I actually sped up for that section. I could have kept going (maybe, hindsight is 20/20).

Results:

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4:07 unofficial (7:26 pace) course record and first female.

The winning male time was 3:16. No words.

This is only the second year this race is being run, so I see a lot of fast future times on this course.

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Fuel:

I drank coffee and ate a date before the race.

I drank Tailwind at the aid stations, at a mini Clifbar at mile 15 and some dried mango at the last aid station.

Next time, I think I’ll just drink Tailwind in my bottle.

Post-race thoughts:

I needed this race. Attempting speed this past summer was not working for me. I was not having much fun and feeling burned out. After Ragnar, I realized I needed to find my love of running again. I started running not to be fast or anything like that, I run because I love it. I needed a race with no expectations. A race where I told myself to go slow, to walk if I needed it and to have fun. This race was perfect for me.

Have I signed up for another? No.

I am taking some time off mentally and physically. It is needed. I am very happy to end my season with this race. There is nothing worse than ending a season with a bad taste in your mouth.

You Can’t Save Animals If You’re Dead

This week in IIN, we began a lecture series on vegan and vegetarian diets. I have been vegan for almost three years now so obviously I have a biased towards this way of living.

Not only do I believe it is healthy for the body, mind and spirit, it is also good for the planet and of course, the animals.

In the first lecture, something Joshua, the founder of IIN said stood out to me. He was speaking about young adults and how we have the ability to eat a vegan diet successfully because we are young, vibrant and have healthy bodies simply because we have not yet lived as long.

He made the comment that what works for us now, might not always work in the best way, so we need to be mindful of that toward our clients and not force a certain diet upon them.

This made me think about my own personal choices and evaluate what I would do if such a situation were to arise.


What if a completely vegan diet wasn’t working for me at a certain point?

What if I had a disease and the only food my stomach could handle was some sort of animal product?

What would I do?

Well guys, you can’t save animals or promote healthy lifestyles from the grave.

I went vegan for ethical reasons and stay this way because it works for me, both healthfully and morally. However, if there came a point where I was ill or needed some form of calories from animal sources to survive, I would not hesitate to consume them.

This topic can be tied into my experience last Sunday with Coke.

Do I drink it regularly? No.

The situation I was in led me to consume it greedily.

Do I regret it? No.

Let’s say I was in another situation like that and the only thing available was cheese. Would I have eaten it?

Yes.

Why? Because honestly, I would not have made it home without something.

Click To Tweet

I am lucky (actually, we all are lucky) that we live in a culture and society that allows us the choice between animal calories and other types of calories. Given the choice, I will always choose the cruelty free option, unless my life and well being depend on it.

Consuming a small portion of an animal source to sustain my health and life is collateral damage for the good I can do alive to protect hundreds of other animals through my message.

Cruelty free and vegan is something I will always strive for, but I acknowledge that perfection is not always possible.

Tying this into my future health coaching practice, I will remember that each of my clients have their own lived experience and know what things they prefer in order to be successful. Just because I thrive on a vegan diet, doesn’t mean they will.

It will always be my message that a vegan way of eating is best for the planet and the animals, however part of meeting a client where they are at means allowing them to pursue their truth and realizing they might not be ready to embrace what I believe is the best way to eat.

Now, I am linking up with JenArman and Laura for WIAW!

Breakfast:

6

Pumpkin spice waffle with peanut butter, coconut butter and maple syrup. Side of apples and cold brew.

Lunch:

3

Budda bowl with tofu, roasted veggies, black beans and snap peas

Snack:

5

3 year old granola bar I found in my backpack

1

banana chips

Dinner:

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Almond butter, grape jelly and banana burrito, bowl of broccoli with dip

Is it pumpkin spice time for you yet?

Would you eat something out of the ordinary for your health?

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Developing a Personal Brand

When is the last time you sat down and made a list of what is important to you?

Happiness

Health

Love

Sure, I get that. We all want those things. When I ask myself that question lately I’m speaking in terms of career, life purpose and what fills me in the realm where I have to make money.

Until I started at IIN, I thought that my success in life would be dependent on running. I do not mean as an elite. Do not get that impression. I mean that I would work a job that I liked enough in order to pay for my athletic endeavors, allow me some time for myself and provide a stable income.

I was content with that.

Since starting my work at the Institute and getting another potential part time opportunity, I realized how much passion I have in other areas of my life.

I define what is important differently.

Veganism

Self-love

Athletics

Creativity

Feminism

All these things for me signal health and fulfillment. Health and fulfillment signifies happiness. When I feel happy, I feel successful, no matter my income or status.

What is important to you? How does that relate to your personal brand? #blogging Click To Tweet

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about branding. Specifically, my personal brand.

Personal Brand

That always sounded really prestigious to me. Only rich, important bloggers or athletes had a brand. But really, IIN has encouraged me to think about myself in that way. I need to figure out what fills me up and makes me happy in order to define my personal brand. My personal brand will be what my coaching business (or whatever career I choose) will be based upon. A personal brand is really just defining what is true to you and what makes you happy so you have to space to make a difference and be influential.

The one thing I’ve learned through blogging is that what I’m authentic, people respond. It is by analyzing my authenticity that I figured out what my morals are, what is true for me and what I believe in.

My personal brand is also my beliefs, my happiness and what I wake up excited to share with you all.

My personal brand is what makes me Ellie.

Vegan health

Fitness

Introverted self-care

Encouragement 

Holistic well-being

I look at my blog and I see someone who lives a very normal life, but also has experiences and has learned lessons about life that others can benefit from. My personal brand (which will continue to evolve) will always reflect that.

Where do I hope to take this blog and my brand?

I have no idea, but I will always be impassioned to help other people through my experience and what I’ve learned through IIN and others. 

I know Veganism is true for me, but also understand that it may not be true for others.

I am a runner, but that does not define me.

I am happy when I am holistically well. 

I want other people to feel the same way.

How do you want to use your personal brand to make a difference? #change Click To Tweet

Tell me:

What is your personal brand?

What do you like seeing on this blog?

What would cause you to hire a health coach? (I will not push veganism into anyone, yet being vegan I can only speak through my experience)

If you were to rename my blog, what would you choose?