Ragnar Cape Cod 2016

This race is an ultramarathon. I am writing this the morning after we finished the race on that beautiful coast. I feel like I got hit by a truck and then thrown under water. Yet, I can’t wait to do it again.

Team Photo 2

Getting together with more than 50 vegans from all over America proved yet again to be an incredibly exhausting experience, one I will never forget.

I think it will be easier to write a recap in sections, so that’s what I’ll do.

1.) Getting there

I left Ithaca, NY at 1AM on Friday morning. It was a relatively slow start and after working that Thursday, I was not rested getting little sleep. After about three hours, it was increasingly challenging to keep my eyes open, so I pulled into a text stop area and napped for a half hour. I felt a surge or energy, got a coffee, put on some tunes and the rest of the journey was relatively easy.

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6 hours in total of driving got me to the Rockland Park and Ride bus stop where the team was meeting. A couple vans were early like me, so we went to Whole Foods to grab breakfast. It was here I finally met The Vegan Zombie himself, Chris Cooney. Check out his YouTube channel, it’s rather awesome.

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Getting back to the meeting place, we divided up into vans and made for the start of the race. There were so many of us! I was introduced to Micah Risk, who you will recognize as a Runners World cover model and “the girl with the vegan socks”. She was actually on my team, so I knew we would be going fast! Next to her is a new SHVP guy named Sam who basically looks like he could bench press a bus, but decided to come run around with us.

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After sending our team off, being in van 1 of team A, we left to get to the next exchange. I was the third leg so I had about an hour to get ready to run.

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2.) Leg 1: 8.5 miles

I was nervous for this, but looking at the elevation profile, the rolling hills didn’t look too bad.

Ha. Jokes on me.

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I started off feeling good and fast. I averaged sub 6 miles for the first three and passed a runner. Then the wheels came off. The hills were not rolling. They were long uphill and steep short downhills. I knew I was in for some pain. Honestly, after the third mile, I was feeling really desperate. I felt stupid for taking the first miles so fast. I also felt hopeless because the up hills did not end. Seriously they just did not stop. I almost cried once or twice.

I returned to my mantra of “relax, just relax,” and it worked for a few miles. When I hit the last huge uphil around mile 6.5, I was in so much pain, I actually practiced my sorry speech for my team as to why I was so slow. I shouted out loud that this was for the animals, and just pushed it to the end.

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Pain was real folks and I was humbled by the hills yet again.

I ended with a 6:18 average time (not as slow as it felt) and made the decision to take the next to legs very easy.

Leg 2: 4.2 miles, 7:15 average pace

My night leg went really well. It was short, flat and straight. It was just what I needed to recover some confidence from the last one. The sidewalks had an odd melted texture, but I’m not hating. I finished relatively quickly, happy and ready to eat some food!

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We had a lot of food again this year, but also a larger variety thanks to Samantha and Sean sort or organizing it. I remembered that by the time night rolled around I wanted fresh fruit and veggies, so I made sure to bring that. I also brought a large container of peanut butter, which I’m embarrassed I made such a dent into.

My teammate Jason brought lentil sloppy joes and fruit salad, which we had alongside pretzel buns sandwiches. It was delicious! After the feast, we realized our car battery was dead, and it started raining. Cue panic.

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Because most of the vans at Cape Cod were rentals, no one else had cables either so we couldn’t get a jump. We called triple A and got them to come, but luckily found some before that happened. I have to give major props to Suzie Jo, because she was a boss during this time. She knew what to do and got us back on the road. #GirlBoss

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Leg 3: 9.45 miles, 6:48 average pace

My last leg started at about 6:30 AM. This is my prime running time and the weather was beautiful. I decided to run with a podcast and just take it easy. The hills were rolling again, but felt easier as I wasn’t pushing too hard. The last 6 miles were on a bike path similar to the ones I run in Ithaca, so everything felt familiar. It was my favorite leg and the pace spoke for itself.

I feel confident for Buffalo now. I think I maintain that pace for a while.

The rest of our van finished and each of us really kicked it in at the end. Sean, our team captain had the most beautiful finish over a bridge and was going so fast I almost missed it. It was cool to hand off to him for every leg like I did at Ragnar ADK.

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Post Race:

After the race, we did what all great vegans do, feasted, relaxed and talked about vegan food, push-ups and ultramarathons. I think I’m one of the only people not have done one, and I’m terrified of them so that’s completely fine.

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We had a long time till our second van finished signaling the finish of our team. The post race party was fun and soon enough our last runner came in like a bullet, passing a whole team at the end. He was SO fAST and this sprint finish was faster running 10 miles.

Team Photo

We ended up with a time of 23:15, breaking 24 hours.

Final Score

Unfortunately I had to leave soon after because it was 2:30 and I had a 6 hour drive home. After napping the team picture, my two teammates Alan and Jason and I took our van back to the park no ride, where I picked up my car to begin the journey home.

Part 5:The Ride Home

This is where the ultramarathon er in me comes out. The first three hours were ok. I ate while listening to podcasts. Soon I felt myself fading and having to go to the bathroom. I figured I would stop at the next station. However, there was nothing to be found, and it started torrential raining. My eyes were so tired, but I knew I had to be sharp.

Honestly, this was the hardest part of Ragnar. Keeping my stuff together and focused on the road.

I counted down the miles and finally found a bathroom 5 hours into my journey. The last hour was a mix of really cold AC and yelling 80s hits to stay awake. I can’t believe I got home.

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Today I’m sore, majorly sunburned and eating everything in sight. The way it should be after an ultramarathon.

A bunch of #vegan #runners take on @RagnarRelay in Cape Cod! Check out the recap! Click To Tweet

I’m ready for the next one!

Marathon Training [05/09-05/15]

What an amazing week it has been in terms of running, racing and having a community.

This morning at around midnight, I returned from Ragnar Cape Cod completing 200 miles and 3 legs around the coast of Maine with my racing team, Strong Hearts Vegan Power.

The results are in and my team finished 5th with a time of 23:15 unofficial. It was quite a weekend!

I start tapering for the marathon today and quite honestly, I’m so sore and tired, it will be an easy first few days to scale back. Before I jump ahead to that, I want to first look back on my training this past week.

Training Log

Monday: Easy Run

8.4 Miles, 7:18 pace

After running a faster 13 miles on Sunday, I took it easy Monday and circled the parks. I saw a hot air balloon land in the inlet by the lake. Those things are so big!

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Tuesday: MP work

12.2 miles, paces ranging from 8:34-6:40

I had to work early this morning so I ran a bit on the treadmill. I am not going over MP again for a workout outside of Ragnar, so this felt ok although I was tired. Closing Monday evening and then waking up early is a struggle, but I’m happy to have gotten this in.

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Wednesday: Group Run

13.6 miles, 7:45 average pace

Another great group run. It was still 40 degrees when we started, but I wore shorts anyway. I think my legs are fine for colder temps, but gloves are a necessity. I didn’t run long like usual because I don’t really think it would provide me any benefit. I also had to work at 9AM, so I chose breakfast over more mileage.

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Thursday: Longer Run

AM: 16 miles, 7:27 average pace

Today was slope day and also the night I head to Cape Cod. I felt good despite some fatigue in my legs. Cornell campus smelled terribly of alcohol for 8:30 in the morning. Those kids are ready for summer

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PM: 6.3 miles, 50 minutes

I needed to wake myself up before driving to Cape Cod. This also helped loosen my legs up for the drive. It felt good.

Friday: RAGNAR!

I’ll post a recap of this later this week. My legs in total accumulated to 22 miles. My fastest mile was 5:56 and I think my slowest was probably 7:30ish. It was grand!

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My last peak week of training me around 90 miles. It’s taper time!

What does the last week of my marathon training look like? Check it out! It's taper time!!! Click To Tweet

I am linking up with Meg for Week In Review! Head over there for more weekly recaps!

Have you ever done a relay race?

What is the most unique thing you’ve ever smelled on a run?

Runner’s World [A Day In My Life, May 2016]

Distance runners seem to be creatures of habit. I know that’s certainly the case for me. I like going to bed each night with a general plan for the next day. Here and there I have days where anything goes, but that’s not the norm.


Right now, my job is really busy so I work 6 days a week. On my day off, I am more relaxed about timing, but I need to get all my errands done on that day, work on the blog and spend a couple hours training. Days off are a break even if that seems like a lot.

As I come to a close in my marathon training, (less than 3 weeks out) I am pretty dialed in. I have one focus and my life sort of revolves around that. Training takes priority, then nutrition, then recovery and then my job and this blog. Here is a peak into a normal day for me right now:

6:15AM: Alarm goes off. I feed my cats, strap on my Garmin and head out the door. I usually run for about an hour and then do 30-45 minutes of easy stuff like mobility, core or weight lifting. This change day to day.

8:15AM: Grab coffee from CTB on my way home from the gym.

8:30AM: Make breakfast while playing with my cats, eat breakfast, do some social media for my blog, read my bloglovin feed and watch YouTube videos (current favorites are Plantriotic, Obese2Beast, Chelsea Lifts, drewlikesrice and Brian Turner)


[microwave peanut butter-chocolate banana bread, topped with B Happy apple cinnamon peanut butter and Jiff salted caramel PB]

9:45AM: clean up my breakfast/previous nights dishes and head back to the gym

10:00AM: work on my blog/read on the bike. This is not a workout, but a slow spin that gets out any soreness and increases my leg turnover


11:00AM: head home from the gym, shower, work a bit more on my blog.

12:00PM: start work at CTB

3:00PM: Eat lunch, check Instagram (oh shoot I need to post that picture!)


[Tofu khan, black beans, peas, cucumber and squash]

3:30PM: back to work

8:04PM: finally clock out at work

8:15PM: make dinner, talk to my cats


[another peanut butter, banana, protein bowl of some kind with nuts mixed in, bowl of greens, extra banana]

8:25PM: eat dinner, read blogs, work on my blog, check Facebook/Twitter and respond to comments

[eat a couple more spoonfuls of nut butter]

9:30PM: Get into bed, lie there for a bit and go to sleep.

The end!

This is probably my most frequent day when I have to work at that time. If I do a longer run in the morning, I don’t bike but try to do some type of mobility work at home on the mat. If I do a longer run, I also nap before work. Naps are key when working 6 days and training for this race.

I am linking up with WIAW this morning to show a day of eats.

Any other questions about my day?

What time do you work each day?

Basic Chocolate Vegan Protein Cookie Dough [gluten-free]

Who doesn’t love a simple, nutrient-dense, delicious breakfast that only has three ingredients? Naturally sweetened, vegan and gluten-free, the inner athlete in you will become obsessed with the first installment of Vegan Protein Cookie Dough. Plant Fusion has kindly sent me their products to sample and create recipes for all of you to fuel your next workout or run. Let me know in the comments if you have any flavor recommendations or recipe ideas! 

Plant Fusion

I remember when I first started running more than 10 miles at a time. I would be a wreck all day. My body simply was not used to that training. I also was not prepared to fuel it afterwards. My breakfast, although delicious, we’re not adequate for what I was doing. This caused me to be tired and slow moving all day.


As I’ve matured as an athlete, I realized that in order to run like elites, I needed to fuel like elites. Through my research, I saw a few common themes:

1.) Protein AND carbs AND fat are all important

2.) Refuel within an hour of finishing the workout

3.) Eat what you can stomach and tastes good

Athletes need all the foods to perform their best! #carbs #fats #protein Click To Tweet

From then on, I was on a mission. I knew what kinds of foods I like. I knew what foods my stomach can handle. I knew what foods were vegan. Put those things in the shaker bottle that is my brain, and out popped these recipes.

Bananas (satisfy all three criteria)

Protein powder (see above and also a fast nutrient mix)

Nuts (see above)

You see, I don’t like to spend much time making my meals. I’d rather spend time eating them and doing other things. Where does that leave me? Foods ready to eat.

I’m not talking pre packed stuff, I’m talking whole foods (mostly) and nutrient dense sources.

I know, I know, protein powder is not a whole food. However, it is a great supplement for your active life. I really only use protein powder when I’m training. Why? I don’t feel like measuring out flour and sugar to make the same basic thing. It takes less thinking to make breakfast. It also has a quicker nutrient punch, which I could get from whole foods, but that would take longer to eat. Who has time to spend all day eating and digesting food?

Long story short, this Vegan Protein Cookie Dough series is what I’ve eaten for the past few months after workouts and training sessions to get the biggest nutritional bang for my buck that takes little time to prepare.

So I can spend my time on my butt recovering for my next session or my job.

Sweet!

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Basic Chocolate Vegan Protein Cookie Dough

1 large ripe banana

1 scoop Plant Fusion protein powder

1 T cocoa powder

1 T coconut flour

Mash the banana in a bowl unless thoroughly mushy. Add all other ingredients. Stir until combined. Pour into another bowl or use the same. Top with your favorite nuts or nut butters.

Note** If your banana is small, add a bit of almond milk until you get the consistency you desire.

Vegan Protein Cookie Dough, new recipe series using @PlantFusion protein powder! Click To Tweet

What flavors would you like to see?

How do you refuel after a hard workout?