Tag Archives: vegan joggler

Yonkers Marathon here I come!

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At the Yonkers marathon last year

As I’m sure many of you already know, on October 18th I will joggle the Yonkers marathon for the 3rd time, my 4th marathon overall. I’m really excited about it this year because it’s on an almost entirely new route. The first several miles are the same as last year, but instead of being a double loop, it’s one big loop that incorporates much of eastern Yonkers with all its glorious hills. Another reason I’m excited is because it’s in the middle of October instead of the end of September like the last few years, so I’m expecting much cooler weather this time around.

My goal is to finish in 3:30, compared to 3:40 last year. I also hope to run the entire race without dropping, just like last year. Even I’m still surprised I managed to joggle the entire marathon without dropping. It was blissful how all that training paid off, much to the enjoyment of friends and the enthusiastic crowds at the marathon. A big thank you to all my friends and supporters, I couldn’t do it without you. Well, maybe I could, but it wouldn’t be as fun. Let’s continue to take vegan athletics to new heights!

See you there!

My marathon training

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Hills like this are a big part of my marathon training

Many people are curious about how I have been training. With a few minor changes this year, this is how I train for marathons: My marathon training

What I don’t do anymore are the ankle weights exercises, since they are no longer necessary. I also no longer do resistance band hip exercises. The exercises I did with the ankle weights were a holdover from many years ago when my doctor recommended them to help heal a knee injury. My knee would feel worse whenever I stopped doing them, but now it feels fine. I very occasionally do half squats.

This year, to help improve my speed and endurance and because I’m crazy, I’ve been doing more hill runs, with steeper hills and lots of repeats. I think this has really helped me improve my speed. Unlike last year, I also have a lot more 20+ mile runs under my belt(it’s a vegan belt), unlike the small handful I ran before the Yonkers Marathon last year. I also run more mileage generally compared to last year, usually a minimum of 40 miles per week. Besides this, the less I run, the more I juggle to stay in top form.

Everything else in that old post is still part of my training, though I don’t drink beet juice as often. It should go without saying that I am carb-loading(this is an understatement!) and still tapering.

Here I come Yonkers!

 

The WNY Vegfest

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The WNY Vegfest in Delaware park, Buffalo, New York

Last week’s Vegfest in Buffalo’s Delaware park was a blast! It surpassed my expectations and even the expectations of the organizers. It was a big success thanks to the indefatigable efforts of the gang at Vegan Pathways and others. To think this is the first one; next year it should be even bigger. They originally expected 2,000 people to attend. Turns out over 5,000 attended, and there are reports that some people went vegan as a result of some of the talks(in particular by Georges Laraque).

There was so much going on at this fest it would be difficult to encapsulate it all in one post. There was an almost endless variety of delicious vegan food, inspiring speakers, live music provided by Alison Pipitone and the Skiffles Minstrels(these guys are really good!), hilarious puppeteers, and so many other things. I found the martial arts performers from Master Chong’s World Class Tae Kwon Do among the most inspiring, along with various yoga(Acro Yoga Buffalo) and acrobatic performers doing incredible athletic feats that put me to shame.

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Were some of you expecting me to run in my underwear?

The Tofurky Trot 5k at the beginning of the fest was thrilling. I joggled the entire distance without dropping. I was a bit concerned I might drop due to my unfamiliarity with the layout of this park. Though I’ve been to Buffalo before, I’ve never been to Delaware park. I think I managed to complete the race in 20 minutes, 5 seconds. The crowd support was incredible, thanks to everyone for cheering me on. It was awesome running with so many other vegans(and a few almost vegans), including Georges Laraque, Andrew Peters, and Esther the Wonder Pig’s dads running in their underwear. The Buffalo Joywalkers danced the entire 5k!

When not eating or talking with other vegans, I would walk around the fest while juggling. A lot of people, especially children, enjoyed it, especially when I dropped. It was great connecting with so many other vegans, almost vegans and people curious about veganism. I feel bad for not staying the entire time, but I had to drive nearly 400 miles through the rain to get back home.

Overall, an epic race and awesome celebration of the vegan lifestyle. A big thanks to everyone who attended. If you couldn’t make it this year, be sure to come by next year. Niagara Falls isn’t that far away, and the Buffalo area has a lot to offer. Thanks to everyone who attended for making this a big success!

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Joggling Oranges

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Now that spring is in the air and I have recovered from my injury, I thought it was time to experiment. I decided it was time to joggle some fruit, instead of my usual juggling balls, to make things a little more interesting and challenging.

I have juggled oranges many times, because their size, shape, and skin texture makes them perfect for juggling. So they seemed like the best fruit to go joggling with. In fact, I have joggled with oranges before, but mostly while running back from the market which is less than half a mile away. Today, however was the first time I ever joggled oranges or any food for more than a few miles. Before I get to the run, let us look at how to pick oranges for juggling or joggling.

IMG_2398The most important thing is for the oranges to be all about the same size, shape, and weight, unless you’re really looking to challenge yourself. Make sure they are spherical and solid. If they are too oblong, they may be difficult to juggle with. About the size of a tennis ball or a little larger is ideal. Since you or someone else will eat them later, be sure they are ripe and fresh, and heavy for their size. Avoid oranges that are discolored. I think navel oranges are best for juggling in my experience.

The oranges I selected were about 8 ounces each, which is double the weight of my preferred Sil-X juggling balls. While joggling these oranges, I could feel the difference and they slowed me down. I managed to run with them for 10 miles, and much to my surprise, I only dropped them once, and that was at the 2 mile mark. So I managed to run 8 miles straight with them without dropping, even while running up and down a 150 foot hill twice, and doing juggling tricks. It took me 1:42 minutes to complete this run. A 10 mile run from last week with my regular juggling balls in warmer weather took me 1:30 minutes.

While running with them, I tried playing in my mind the Sergei Prokofiev opera, The Love for Three Oranges, but couldn’t, since I have no idea how it goes. Oh well, I don’t like opera that much anyway. This very orangey journey got exhausting after a while, especially on those hills, but I kept pushing myself. I couldn’t run in shorts today because it was cold(mid 30s) and very windy, the last gasp of Old Man Winter. It should be very spring-like next week.

In a way, this was like a strange ritual both for challenging myself and for connecting with my food. I have a newfound respect for oranges and Mother Nature, who provides us with these natural, somewhat heavy juggling balls, which also happen to be a good source of some vital nutrients. Granted, it also took thousands of years of selective breeding to produce the orange as we know it today.

I’ve been wondering if joggling fruit would encourage onlookers to eat more of them. I really have no idea. I often wear a vegan T-shirt when the weather is better, and while I like to think I am making an impact, it’s not always easy to tell what people think. Since the only joggler in the immediate area also happens to be a vegan, I hope it gets people thinking.

Of course, besides using them for juggling, you can eat oranges. I hear this is what most people use them for anyway. These particular oranges were so sweet, juicy and fresh, though it felt kind of weird eating them after joggling with them for 10 miles. The juggling didn’t damage them at all.

Oranges are a great source of vitamin C, and fiber. They are also a good source of phyto-chemicals which may also have some health benefits, but the research on this is still preliminary. Most people need to eat more fruit, and it can’t hurt to juggle them too, since most people could use at least a little more exercise.

In case anyone is wondering, I will slowly work my way up to joggling with cantaloupes. Whatever you do, make sure you have fun exercising in the warm, wonderful spring weather.

 

 

Breaking distance record on Christmas Eve

Screenshot from 2013-12-24 17:19:0828.79 miles – The most miles I’ve ever run. According to some people, this makes it an “ultra-run” since it is more than a marathon. It took me and the Meet-Up group I ran with 5:37 to complete, but this was due to it being a casual kind of run, not a fierce competition. We also stopped many times to get snacks or water from stores along the route, to take photos, to make jokes, and to make sure the group stayed together. And by chance, we ran into Vincent Chiappetta, co-founder of the NYC Marathon in Van Courtlandt Park! We chatted with him a bit. He’s in great shape, though he told us he is more of a walker than runner these days.

The run started in Bryant Park on 42nd street at 8 AM which is in Midtown Manhattan and very close to Times Square, and ended in Tarrytown, New York. We went north on 6th avenue, through Central Park(first time I joggled through there), then along the Hudson river, then into the Bronx, then crossed into Westchester county and ran north along the Old Croton Aqueduct trail.

It was an amazing group of runners, everyone from the slowest to the fastest was very enthusiastic and supportive. Some onlookers were also very supportive. Helen and Mike who I finished with(only 3 out of the 8 runners who attended completed the entire run) are accomplished ultra-runners, and it felt great running with such accomplished, inspiring people. They offered a lot of great advice, and I could feel their energy as I trailed them by a few feet.

The weather was cold and dry, but it was clear skies through the entire run. I felt the Christmas spirit in the air, which provided a little extra warmth. The Croton trail wasn’t as muddy as I thought it was going to be due to all the recently melted snow and rain. I juggled for maybe 75% to 80% of the time, since I would eat or drink sometimes while running, and some areas were too crowded or rocky. I dropped the balls I think 4 times. I feel a little sore now; I had a little trouble going up and down stairs after the run.

All in all a great experience – it feels great to have broken through another distance barrier. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My Brooklyn Marathon experience

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Just after completing the Brooklyn Marathon. They also gave me a nice hat, besides a Brooklyn Marathon running shirt, which I didn’t wear.

First of all, congratulations to all finishers of the Brooklyn Marathon! it was great running with all you energetic and wonderful people. And Thanks to NYCRUNS for organizing a great race experience.

Earlier today, I completed the Brooklyn Marathon in Prospect Park while juggling. The Brooklyn Marathon is a very young marathon compared to the Yonkers Marathon(also organized by NYCRUNS) I did back in september. I often call it a “baby” marathon because it is only 3 years old, unlike the 106 year old Yonkers Marathon. This in no way means it is an “easy” marathon, though it is a lot less hilly than the Yonkers Marathon.

Now for the results: I was a tiny bit slower than last time, finishing at 3:52:33, compared to 3:51:43, which is how I did at the Yonkers Marathon, an almost trivial difference. At least I managed to finish in under 4 hours again. There were 400 finishers in the race, and my overall place was 122. I think that may be kind of impressive.

At least I improved when it came to juggling, dropping only twice during the entire marathon, compared to 4 times in the Yonkers Marathon. I probably would have done better if it hadn’t rained on and off for nearly 30 minutes, leaving me all wet and making it slippery in some spots. It was also a little warm for this time of year(nearly 60 F or 15.5 C toward the end of the race) and uncomfortably humid, though when the race started at 8:30, it was a little chilly.

I think the tedium of doing several laps on the same path in Prospect Park going around and around and around got to me mentally(I did this entire path once earlier this year). This was the biggest problem with the race, from my perspective. I prefer a race that isn’t repetitious and takes me places. Fortunately, NYCRUNS has some ambitious plans to bring the Brooklyn Marathon out onto the streets of Brooklyn. I even feel like they stole my idea – I kept thinking to myself: “Wouldn’t it be great if this race ended in Cony Island?”. And the organizer at the beginning of the race said exactly that! So this is a potentially great marathon in embryo form, just as the big New York City Marathon was once an embryo that used to be completely run within Central Park back in the 70s.

I also felt a borderline nausea during some parts of the run, especially when I tried running faster. I wonder if this would have been less of a problem if I had been consuming the probiotic blueberry or cherry kefir before the run, which is what I did last time. Unfortunately, due to time constraints I wasn’t able to make any this time, though did have some store bought kimchi.

Another issue was that the marathon route wasn’t closed to non-marathon runners. I couldn’t get over how many people were walking or running on the path, seemingly oblivious to the fact that a marathon was going on and they were in the middle of it. This must have slowed down a lot of the runners.

On the bright side, the crowd support was amazing. There were so many people cheering for us, and I gotta admit, especially me. This feels so weird to me. I can’t count how many times I heard people say “Go vegan joggler!”, because of the vegan T-shirt I had on. I think at least a few of the people watching the marathon were vegan(which may have explained their excitement), and I am aware of a few other vegan runners who I met. Yes I know I get a lot of attention, but you all inspire me too; I don’t think I would be doing this at all if it wasn’t for vegan runners setting an example for me to follow and to feel camaraderie with. Not to mention that part of the reason I do this is to dispel myths about veganism.

After I crossed the finish line, some other runners thanked me for making the race more “entertaining” for them. This is why I do what I do – it makes racing more fun for me and everyone else. I’m glad I could entertain you, and maybe inspire you to run a little faster – after all, who wants to come home from a race and say they got beaten by a vegan joggler? This is also the first long run in which I’ve worn the new ASICS sneakers I got about a week before the race. It felt terrific running in them, they are definitely a little roomier width wise compared to my previous pair.

All in all, a great race experience in spite of its flaws. I also wish I had gotten more sleep the night before. I got around 5 hours which is usually inadequate for me. This also may have slowed me down a little bit.

I drank a lot of tart cherry juice during the ride home, and ate some Cliff Bars. It’s difficult to have a full meal after very long runs. I drank a lot of tart cherry juice because it may help speed recovery. I feel sore now, but I did go for a walk after I got home. Hopefully the soreness will be gone within a few days.

I look forward to doing many more marathons and races. I wish all my followers much success with your races and your fitness routine. I hope anyone reading this who ran the Brooklyn Marathon had as good of a time as I did. And if you happen to be planning a trip to New York City, be sure to visit Prospect Park, it’s a lovely little green space that has a lot to offer.

Related posts:

Joggling the entire length of Manhattan and more!

When I said “I’m back in business!”, I meant it! Yesterday on Halloween I joggled 23 miles(37 km) in 4 hours from lower Westchester county to the southern tip of Manhattan in Battery park, 16 days after donating a pint of blood. This involved running the entire 13.5 mile(21.7 km) length of Manhattan island, almost entirely along the Hudson river bike/pedestrian path which runs along the West Side Highway. This is the farthest south I’ve ever run, so I ended up taking the train back home. The other 9.5 miles of my journey come from running through the suburbs of Westchester and the Bronx, and the occasional westward run out onto the docks on the west side(the run south wasn’t a straight line). The path is mostly flat, except in northern Manhattan where it is hilly in some parts.

The orange line going south was my path.

The orange line going south was my path. I started out using the Putnam trail until I got to route 9(in the Bronx).

I’ve been wanting to run the entire length of Manhattan island for years now. I kept putting it off, but now it feels great that I was able to accomplish this – while juggling almost the entire time. Somewhere near west Harlem, the path is blocked off due to some construction, so I had to make a detour onto some side streets. I was prepared for this since I read about it on an online cycling site. Fortunately, this detour onto the mean streets was only a few blocks.

Along the way, many other runners and walkers asked if I was ready for sunday or if I was going to do this during the NYC Marathon, which is on sunday, november 3rd. I said no, and mentioned I did the Yonkers Marathon about a month ago. While I do not qualify for the NYC Marathon, even if I did I still wouldn’t run it because of how expensive it is.

I did drop the balls a bunch of times, but I think no more than 8, and always while doing tricks. These school kids taking a Halloween day school-trip along the Hudson path loved the joggling! Since it was Halloween, I often saw demons, zombies, vampires, ghouls, lawyers(the scariest of them all!) and other scary, interesting creatures both along the path and out on the city streets. It was hilarious how so many zombies and vampires on the loose of the streets of New York City would look at me all perplexed as I joggled past. I considered wearing a devil or zombie costume while running, but I freak out people enough as it is.

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Although I have run and walked the Hudson river path before, I never covered a significant distance. It was so intimidating, seeing these skyscrapers in the far distance to the south in lower Manhattan and thinking to myself that I have to run past them. Ordinarily, when running in the suburbs or rural areas, I can’t see landmarks I will have to pass or make my turn-back point 12 miles in the distance(except for big hills or mountains). This was especially the case with the nearly completed Freedom Tower, which was built on the World Trade Center site. I felt thrilled when I finally ran past it. It was also inspiring how the city bounced back after the horrific tragedy on september 11th.

It felt fantastic running along a large body of water for once. The mighty Hudson is a real river, unlike the Bronx “river” I usually run along, which is more like a stream. It was a cloudy day and there was a sweet breeze coming off the Hudson that kept me cool. At one point, I think it was at mile 14, it started raining for a few minutes and I got very wet. I don’t think I hit the wall, though I was kind of tired by mile 18.

If it wasn’t for the crowds and busy streets in the Bronx, in upper Manhattan, and also in lower Manhattan(had to make another detour near the Freedom Tower to make my way to Battery park), I probably would have completed this run at least 15 minutes faster. I was reduced to walking in some crowded areas, and sometimes slow running without juggling, not to mention all the times I had to stop because of the heavy traffic. On the Hudson path from Washington Heights to about 14th street though, there were hardly any major interruptions. I was wearing my vegan T-shirt on this run.

All in all, a great experience!

I hope everyone is doing great and hope you all had a great Halloween! And to everyone running the NYC Marathon or any other races, I wish you the best of luck!

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The Statue of Liberty, as seen from Battery park

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Joggling across the Brooklyn Bridge

Last week, I joggled across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn for the first time on a slightly warm, sunny day. I didn’t blog about this earlier because I was hoping some good photos that were taken that day(not by me, but by the many people on the bridge) would surface, but unfortunately this hasn’t happened.

Since the span of the Brooklyn Bridge is a little over 1.1 miles, this is by no means a great athletic achievement, though it felt amazing since this was the first time I joggled from one New York City borough to another. The views and the crowd support were priceless. I’m sure other jogglers have done this before.

I kept thinking I was going to drop the balls due to the crowds, the cyclists, the noise from the cars, the occasional beautiful woman, and the temptation to keep spinning(I did this a few times) around to see the Manhattan skyline, but no, I didn’t drop any of the balls even once. The incline toward the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge isn’t much of a challenge if you’re an experienced runner, though it did tire me a little. The wind was light to moderate.

I mostly ran on the bike path(or the line between the bike path and pedestrian path) of the walkway, since this was mostly clear, while the path for pedestrians was very crowded. I had to maneuver my way around a lot of tourists and occasionally some slow cyclists on the bike path, shocking many people as I zoomed by, but eventually made it to downtown Brooklyn in one piece where I took a break due to all the traffic and because my throat suddenly became very sore. It may have been due to all the traffic on the bridge and because my lungs aren’t used to running in the city(I mostly joggle in the suburbs or wilderness areas). On the bridge I only had to slow down just twice due to the crowds, but did my usual speed almost the entire way across.

I resumed joggling along the Brooklyn waterfront, and almost fell in the water a few times. You can get amazing views of the lower Manhattan skyline from here, especially the new Freedom Tower, which is nearly completed. This is the skyscraper that is on the former World Trade Center site, so it’s nice to see we have made a comeback from that dark, horrific day on september 11, 2001. I mostly enjoyed running around there, in spite of my throat, and memories of that day.

After another short break, in which I just power-walked instead of running or joggling, my throat felt better. I made my way along Atlantic avenue and many side streets to Parkslope and then to Prospect Park, joggling about half way there, dropping the balls a couple of times, coughing occasionally, then taking a few water breaks since I was sweating a lot and to help relieve my scratchy throat.

Prospect Park is basically Brooklyn’s Central Park, and I joggled around the entire main running path which forms a big circle around the entire park, then had lunch in a shady spot. After this, I explored Parkslope for a bit before heading home. Like Central Park, Prospect Park is full of runners and cyclists(and weirdos and muggers), including some barefoot runners, more than I see up in the suburbs. Many people were amazed by the joggling, especially because I was running faster than usual, though it isn’t all that new to Brooklyn or New York City. The kids down there love it, and I loved their Brooklyn accents.

So yes, you can joggle across the Brooklyn Bridge if you’re an experienced joggler, and it is not too crowded. It is likely much easier on a weekday(I did this on a thursday) than during the weekend. And Parkslope looks like a great neighborhood to be a vegan. The sore throat was likely due to pollution, and was gone after a few days. Luckily, it didn’t interfere with my running all that much while I had it.