Final Marathon Thoughts

This will be my last post before my race on Sunday. In order to not go completely insane, it think a mind dump is in order here.

I’ve learned so much in the past six months and wrote about it here.

That’s not what I want to talk about today. Today I just want to bare it all.

To be honest, I’m not as anxious as I predicted I would be. I get anxiety a lot actually, but I’m good at holding it in and coping. I know what to do when I get anxiety. As of right now, I only feel one thing:

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Excitement.

I just want to get out there and run!

My runs this week have felt fine. Nothing good or bad. I think that is a sign that I want to race. I want to run 26.2 miles in one go, cross the finish line and smile.

I have a time goal, sure. But I think what I keep remembering is that this is my first marathon. I am not putting as much pressure on myself as I used to. I feel relaxed about this. I know I am only 24, and have many running years left. Nothing rests on this.

I also have decided that it’s ok if I do not like this race and choose not to do another one. It is ok if I decide that my favorite distance is something shorter (or longer and slower). I have freed myself from needing to be a marathoner. I can be a one and done person.

My plans for this race are to enter the pain cave, but manage it. My friend and SHVP teammate said this of the marathon:

“It’s like, the longest distance where you have to go fast.”

I agree with this. I will have to push for 26.2 miles and hope it doesn’t go to shit. There are a lot of opportunities for it go to hell. There will be low points, high points and mental battles. I know I can physically run the distance and I feel confident and mentally strong. However, that does not guarantee success. I will have to race longer than I ever have before.

Shit show or not, it will be epic.

I have fears (not practicing nutrition enough), doubts (why am I entering the elite field again?) and just general worries (what if I get lost?). But what keeps me from going down those rabbit holes is the confidence I have in what the past 6 months have showed me and the wise words from my running mentors about my chances.

I’m not going for any other reason than to finish 26.2 miles with a smile.

Let’s talk post race. I’m already getting emails from fast women in my community about XC season or other races. I have decided to put all those thoughts on the back burner.

I am not ready to think about after the race. Regardless of how it goes, I am taking a 1-2 week break from exercise and my pretty good nutrition plan. Even if I end up only jogging or don’t feel tired, I need this mental break. I have been focused on this goal for 6 months (plus all the base building beforehand). I tuned my diet in, I slept as much as I could, I prioritized recovery, I ran hard. I need the time off.

Then and only during those weeks after will I even think about what’s next. I will not entertain too much thinking about this or commit to anything before I am done with the goal at hand. Running will be there after the two weeks.

So that’s what I’ve got today guys. That’s it. I’m ready. I’m going to do it.

What do you think about 3 days before a race? Read my pre-marathon mind dump here! #vegan #runner #marathon Click To Tweet

No questions. Thanks for reading!

The Seasons of my “Diet”

If you eat, you have a diet. I’ve long stopped seeing the word diet as a way to lose or gain weight. I feel the need to preface this post with that.

What I’ve noticed in the past two years of my running and blogging life is that the only factor that has stayed constant in my eating is being vegan.

I’ve often felt the allure of being in a vegan camp (cult?). How neat is it to have a little tribe of people eating the same way, sharing recipes and believing they have some secret to well being and happiness that everyone else is too dumb or weak to use? I am completely guilty of this even if I’ve never said it out loud.

I remember going raw for a month and loving it. The new recipes! The people telling me how amazing I was! It was an adrenaline rush I’d never experienced. Honestly, it felt good. I didn’t find going raw hard or annoying. It was just something I was trying.

I remember being in the high carb, low fat camp and again getting pulled into that mindset. There were others like me who were on the same high. It felt good to be labeled in this way. I liked the label. It was almost as if being vegan wasn’t enough. I wanted to be vegan. It wasn’t good enough to not eat animal products, I had to also be fruitarian, organic, carbing the fuck up or whatever those people say.

Then I started eating more nuts, avocados and coconut oils (because they sounded good and I was tired of the high carb community and their dogma) and suddenly I wanted to be some fat adapted person. I was again falling into the labeling camp even though the reason I stopped the other one was because I hated it.

I don’t think I went overboard this time with a label. I never claimed to be ketogenic or denounce carbs, but in my mind I was eating a slew more fats, so I basically was fat adapted right?

Now I find myself enjoying more fruits again and raw nuts etc. Oh my God what label can I be now?

Well guys, I don’t have an answer, because I don’t want one.

Last week I posted about the things I’ve learned from marathon training. I specifically did not address nutrition, because if I’ve learned one thing about that it’s that my diet has changed and will continue to change throughout the year. It will want higher carbs or raw foods at certain points, and more fats at other times.

My diet goes through seasons.

The Seasons of my #vegan diet through #marathon training Click To Tweet

I wanted to write this post to be transparent, but also to have a record for myself when I start getting interested in labels or specific vegan diets again. It’s not worth it to label myself a certain way, because I listen to my body. If my body is telling me to eat a certain way for a period of time, I will listen.

Being in the vegan community is amazing. There are so many great people, campaigns and recipes. However, just like any community, there are problems and if exploited, can harm you or the movement.

It’s almost like school. You can go to the best college or prep school in the country, but there are aLeah’s problems beneath the surface. Drugs, drinking, cheating and violence are all there regardless of the academic standards or money.

The vegan movement is like that for me. I’m in the best school, but if I’m not careful, whenever I have a problem (like a bad race of running) I am susceptible to other diets within the vegan community to solve my problems.

“Recover faster only eating dates and bananas!”

“Being fat adapted teaches your body to not bonk!”

These things are so attractive to someone like me. I am not professional or elite, but want to be faster so badly (not bad enough to dope of course), that what worked for one athlete I admire must also work for me.

This is so false I cannot believe have fallen and continue to fall for it time and time again. It will probably cross my mind again to get into a certain camp, but the next time, at least I have an arsenal of tools to prevent it.

I’m not high carb, low fat.

I’m not high fat, low carb.

I’m Ellie and I’m trying the best that I can.

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I’m linking up and sharing meals for WIAW

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[strawberries and cream protein cookie dough&apple] [dates, banana chips, cashews&unpictured smoothie]

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[bowl of greens&rocky road banana ice cream]

What are some diet camps you’ve accidentally fallen into?

What is the allure for you? Why would you choose a label?

Don’t forget to check out this post and leave a comment to win some B Happy Peanut Butter!

B Happy Peanut Butter [it’s not smooth, it’s not crunchy, it’s SMUNCHY!]

I love crunchy peanut butter. It’s a staple for me in my training and diet.

Smooth is a fine stand in or if it’s really on sale, but nothing holds the same pizzazz for me like a good old spoonful of crunchy, nutty peanut butter. The mouthfeel, the texture, the taste. Everything about crunchy nut butters is something I look forward to.

I’ve even made my own nut butter before in two steps: make the smooth first, then stir in the chopped nuts.

Doesn’t everyone do that?

Well, as I would later find, I also enjoy a “middle ground” version of peanut butter. Not smooth, but also not exactly crunchy. Smaller bits of nuts, still spreadable (and spoonable) and 100% delicious.
B Happy Peanut Butter is a new to me company that makes a type of nut butter they title “smunchy”. I was happy to recieve a couple jars during my training cycle, not only because peanut butter is my recovery food, but because this company is known for being delicious! Thanks to Emily for turning me on to them!

It’s a finer ground crunchy peanut butter that still holds onto that mouthfeel, but the chunks aren’t as big.

I am now a huge fan! As the jar states, it was hard for me not to eat it all by the spoonful.

Actually, let’s get real, it took me two days to eat the jar of original. I then dove into the apple cinnamon and loved that too.


The original version is great for sandwiches, as a topping for pancakes or Vegan Protein Cookie Dough and the apple cinnamon is perfect as is. Really I just ate it with a spoon. The apple chunks balance out the richness of the peanut butter, so I could eat more spoonfuls without feeling like my throat was clogged.

If you’ve ever eaten PB straight you know what I mean.


The apples cut it nicely and it was actually refreshing, not how I would usually describe a nut butter, but it works.

Another thing I love about B Happy Peanut Butter is the small batch, small company vibe. Based out of Zionsville, Indiana, the company keeps quality high in a single factory. I am happy to pay a bit more for that! The flavor names are also adorable:

Plain: KeepSmunchy

Apple Cinnamon: Pay It Forward

Snickerdoodle: So Happy Together

What else do you need?

Check out their website and B Happy!

Check out B Happy Peanut Butter! Eat your peanut butter with a spoon! http://bhappypeanutbutter.com/ Click To Tweet

Anyone interested in a giveaway? 

Leave a comment and email down below and I’ll pick a random winner for one jar of the original KeepSmunchy peanut butter. 

Tell me: What would you put this peanut butter on?

Training Talk [Running A Relay With A Team]

When you read this post, I will most likely be on my way to Cape Cod to endure sleep deprivation, exhaustion and 22 miles of running.

I can’t wait!

Strong Hearts Team

No matter what happens or how much of a struggle work will be the best day or two, driving 6 hours to meet a bunch of crazy vegans to run 200 miles never sounds better. I’ve thought a lot recently about why I am so excited to run this race. Honestly, when I described it to my coworkers, they thought it sounded awful. Granted, they are not runners, but they have a point.

I will be smushed in a car for 72 hours.

We still don’t know what food were going to eat.

I have to race, then sit, then race, then sit and then race again in less than 24 hours.

We all smell after the first run.

This is no small feat. Another contributing factor is that my team is the competitive team. We want to win. I am going to race each leg as best I can. When you don’t sleep, that’s a struggle for sure!

Why I do this to myself is because I am part of a team. I am part of something bigger than myself. We are part of a bigger movement advocating for animals. It just makes sense to me.

The pain.

The sleepless nights.

The uncomfort.

I thrive in that. I live for it. I can’t wait!

I think I’ve narrowed down a couple things that make being on a team worth it for me and why I think everyone should at least try it once.

1.) Less Presure

There are others on your team who share the burden of success/failure. In a normal race, it’s all on you. On a team, you help each other.

2.) Encouragement

I have never felt more amped up to run than when I have other people invested in my success. They want to see me do well in the most affectionate way. Whether it’s playing “slayer” music when they drive past or catching me before I fall into a pothole at the handoff (thanks Alan), I never have felt more cared for.

3.) Common Interest

This is a big one. I don’t know many people like me in my community. I don’t have close vegan friends. Close vegan running friends? No way! Being a part of a team, the Strong Hearts team, has given me a family. I feel completely safe and at home when I am crammed into that van for 48 hours. It’s a feeling that I would never want to give up because I don’t feel it often.

Running on a team is great! Here are my reasons why @SHVeganPower Click To Tweet

Running used to be something I would do to get away from it all. Since I’ve matured through many different stages in life, it has become so thing that has given me a community. Being part of a team, whether it’s an actual team, a group run or even a social media group, has given me that support I need to be happy and content in my crazy life.

Have you ever ran on a team before?

What keeps you returning to the pain cave running can be? To 

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?