I love when my passions collide! This weekend was quite the combination when I joined 40 other vegan runners/drivers to conquer the hills at the Adirondack Ragnar Relay and raise awareness about the treatment of animals. I flew into Albany Thursday night and was greeted by Kaitlyn, who I had never met before but graciously offered to pick me up and let me stay with her. After meeting a few other teammates and carbing up on vegan pizza, we headed to her house to get a few hours of sleep. With the adrenaline rushing none of us really slept. But fueled by love, passion, and lots of coffee we headed out at 5 AM to take on the next 30+ hours and 200 miles of the ADK hills!
My first leg was a beautiful 5 mile run along a bike path, that ended on the beach at Lake George. I paced it well and came in about 3 minuets faster than expected. The night run was a 2.6 scenic run at 4 AM. I gave it my all because I knew it was a short one. I ran nearly a whole minute/mile faster than anticipated! My final run was 8 miles of hills in the heat, I knew to start off slow so I could run the whole thing. I was steady climbing for the first 5 miles, admiring the first colors of Fall leaves, but at mile 5 I kicked it into gear knowing my teammates were all waiting for me at the finish (I had the privilege of being the last runner).
Our A team took first in their division and second overall! Proving that vegans can be just as strong, fast and athletically accomplished as omnivore athletes. One of the things about being vegan is we are constantly questioned about our nutrition, and health. Wins like this prove you can accomplish all your athletic goals without causing harm to others. To quote one of my favorite places, Edgar’s Mission, “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others…why wouldn’t we?”
While I love this accomplishment, winning the race was second to what we were there for. If being vegan made us run slower and caused us to come in last, we would still be vegan, run and have fun – The harm caused to animals for our ‘food’ is not worth the suffering. We were there to make a statement, and we weren’t easy to miss! While we received some of the expected, “Want some beef jerky?” comments, the overwhelming majority of people were curious with their comments and questions, “So are you all actually vegan? “ “Yay vegans!” “You guys are fast!” “I’m vegan too!”.
Although I had some PR runs, my most important win from this race was the loving community I was with, and the new friends I made. All too often vegans spend precious time and energy arguing tactics or being angry at the imperfection of this world. This group had quite the opposite energy (maybe it was the runner high!) but I loved being around them. Passionate, smart, fun, caring…the list of positive adjectives could go on and on.
We run for those who aren’t able. We run to build positive community. We are strong. We are passionate. We push our own limits. We are Strong Hearts Vegan Power, and with our participation in ADK we have made this world a bit more of a compassionate place.
One last huge THANK YOU to all those involved in organizing, to *our sponsors for keeping us fueled along the way, and to those who supported my fundraising for The Humane League!
*Zevia, Temple Tumeric, GU Energy, Pretzilla, Sophie’s Kitchen, Gardein, Picky Bars, Field Roast, Chao Cheese, SurfSweets and GoMacro