Friday, July 22, 2011

18 Months as a 99.998% Vegetarian and Impact on Ultra Running

It has been a while since I talked about the impact of my diet on my ability to log big miles.

My beautiful wife and I made the conversion from meat eaters to 99.998% vegetarians in January of 2010 for a variety of reasons. 

Abundant scientific evidence that plant based diets are better for your health. 

Less impact on the environment to raise corn versus cattle. 

The horrible treatment animals get in stockyards. 

Why the 99.998% qualifier?  Well, sometimes, in some parts of the country, it is hard to get a vegetarian meal.  Asking for a vegetarian menu in Kansas City will get you beaten up...

"You must be one of those sissy boys from California.  We eat beef out in these parts!" 

(good luck on your next colonoscopy I think...)

We don't want to make a big deal of our choice when we are out with company and there is no vegetarian faire on the salmon/scallops it is!

We made the conversion and are never going back.   Generally, we feel better, sleep better, have an easier time managing weight and are unequivocally healthier.

What has been the impact on my ultra running? 

I am running better than I ever have.  My marathon times are better today at age 47 than they were at 36.  My last 26 miles in race pace training, I ran a 3:15.   Not bad for an old dude fueled by veggies.  I can run 50 miles with relative ease with not one cheeseburger passing my lips!

People would assume that since I am not eating meat, I am not gettng enough protein to help me repair/build muscles.  Simply false.  Nuts and legumes give me all the protein I need. 

What about sustained energy? 

Lots of people tell you that carbs are great for energy, but meat protein is where you get the sustained, prolonged energy to burn once your body burns up the stored sugar.  No issues.  Ketosis is ketosis. Once you are past the point where your body is burning sugar and starting to eat muscle for fuel, it does not care if the muscles are grain fed or meat fed.  It indiscriminately burns whatever it can.

What about recovery? 

I have noticed no negative impact on recovery times.  If anything, I feel my recovery times are borderline freakishly fast.  I have noticed no issues.

So, 18 months of 99.998% vegetarianism and I am running strong!  As Ferris Bueller may say "I highly recommend it!"

p.s.  I do miss the taste of bacon...  Bacon!   MMMMmmmmmmmmmm!

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