No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Monday, 6 September 2021

FUNDRAISER 2 - A NEW CHALLENGE: An Ultra Marathon

Tuesday 27th July 2021

Well, I did it! Or at least I completed 70km out of the full 102km. I'll come on to why I had to drop out in a moment, but I want to start at the beginning. But first, I should like to thank everyone who donated to Viva! both on Just Giving, and on Facebook Donate. I finished up raising around £1700 which is absolutely amazing! Thank you, each and everyone of you!😍😍

Here's an article that I wrote an article for the Vegan Runners Newsletter, about the whole adventure - and it was an adventure, it was a complete blast!



How I discovered at the age of 82 that I should have been a runner all my life!


Couch to 110k in 93 days!

When the first lockdown began, in March 2020, I figured, like a lot of people, I’d like to come out of it with a new skill. So, inspired by friends who did the local park run, I thought running was maybe something I could do. I measured out a 20 yard track on my back lawn, and, on the 30th March, I began to run round it. I started slowly, running up to a mile a day, in quarter-mile segments. I ran my first full mile after 9 days, my first 5k after 22 days, and my first 10k after 8 weeks. As my stamina built up, I began to feel I could put this exercise to some good use, and, hearing from a friend of mine, that animal sanctuaries were in dire straits because of the lockdown, I thought I would do some fundraising for Dean Farm Sanctuary, where she was a volunteer. So at the end of May, I announced I intended to run 100k over ten days - 10 x 10k over the last 10 days in June.

This is where something completely unexpected happened. I had anticipated that, the further I got into the challenge, each day would be more and more tiring. Instead, by about the 4th day I realised this wasn’t happening, and with each run I was feeling stronger. So, every day, instead of doing 10k, I did a bit more, and by the end of the challenge I’d done a total of 110k over ten days, in the process raising over £4000 for Dean Farm Sanctuary.

Bit of history: I’d tried running in my forties, but had to give up after 6 weeks because of the pain in my knees. This time, at the age of 82, I had no aches, no pains, no twinges, even. What had happened in the meantime was that I had given up all animal products. In the early 2000s, I had given up meat, to avoid Mad Cow Disease (BSE), which was rife at that time. I had never really taken an interest in animal welfare prior to this, but, for some reason I started looking at the dairy and chicken industry. And I didn’t like what I saw - so I went vegan. Surprisingly, after several months on whole food plant-based nutrition, the osteoarthritis I had suffered from for years completely disappeared! The joints of my fingers had become gnarled and twisted, and were getting steadily worse each year. It was painful to shake hands, or change gears, or even to hold a kettle. But giving up all animal products cured all that, and I was now totally pain free.


Vegan Runners Community: UK

All my running up to now had been round the circuit in my garden, in my 10yr-old trainers, but, on the 7th October, armed with some new Asics, I ventured outside. Around this time I was invited by VR Kevin Doherty to join the Vegan Runners page (on Facebook), which I did - and found I had joined an amazing group of people. Not long after I signed up, I mentioned I’d love a VR vest, but was unable to purchase one, since the VR shop was closed. Almost immediately I was offered one by James Tveeg, who had a spare he would let me have, free of charge. Within a few days, the vest arrived in the post and I’ve been wearing it ever since (when running that is! πŸ˜€)

And then, when I reported that I was estimating the distance I run with a combination of driving it first, and then checking the mileage on my iPhone. Paul Millsom posted to say: “Pity I just gave my old serviceable Garmin 620 away to someone last month else you could have had it Paul. Maybe someone else who is upgrading might be generous?”, which was a lovely thought. And straight away, Gabrielle Bassett posted: "Paul Youd I have a Forerunner 205 you can have for free if you are ok to pay postage?”. Of course I PM’d her, and a few days later, after Gabrielle checked that the watch was working OK, it came in the post. 


Preparation for the ultra - and outreach!

After my 110k effort, I had asked on the FB Athlegan page, how I could keep this level of fitness, and someone suggested I might consider doing an Ultra marathon. And when I looked at the website of the SW Coast 2 Coast Ultra, almost on my doorstep, it was love at first sight! I persuaded Alex Laska and James Gibson, both of Vegan Runners,  to join me, and we signed up as a team - calling ourselves The Runner Beings. During my preparation for the ultra I would often cut through and around a large estate near my village - always wearing my Vegan Runners vest and my VEGAN AF beanie - and occasionally I’d stop for a chat with anyone who looked approachable. Given my experience doing outreach with Anonymous for the Voiceless (I’m one of the organisers of AV Taunton, and have been a member since April 2018), I find it easy to strike up a conversation with the folks I meet. I had a few conversation starters up my sleeve - the easiest being with families with young children, especially if they are running ahead as children often do. So I would say to the parent/carer, “ You’ve got a budding runner there, don’t you think?” Then I would add something like, “I found out in my 80s that we are all supposed to be runners - kids just love running, but something happens in their teenage years and they don’t follow up with it.” 

I began by handing out AV cards to people I met, but then I received a supply of leaflets from the animal rights charity, Viva!, and when they were done I sent away to the Everyday Activism shop and was sent 100 of their high quality - free - leaflets. [pic] As I started fundraising in earnest, I got Jacqui Ahmed Oates to include my story and my fundraising link on one side. [pic] I found these were a brilliant resource to hand out to people. Here are some typical training/outreach sessions:


Brilliant conditions for running, once again, bright sunshine for the most part, with a little wind, but nothing to worry about. I kept my running nice and slow, with an average pace of 14.40, so the 10 miles/16km took me 2:26.46 and put me on 37k for the week, so far. I was out a bit longer than that, since I delivered about 50 Viva! leaflets - along with my chocolate cake recipe, and a link to the Vegan Cookery post on my blog. Plus the link to support and advice (or Veganuaryin case anyone thinks they'd like to go vegan. I was also held up by several conversations that took place, which finished up with me handing out an AV card. The first was to a young guy who was exercising his dog - he was very interested in my training, and, about a vegan diet was '...up for trying anything, really.' the next was to an old friend I last saw at the school gates, 30 years or more ago. He was walking with difficulty, pushing a walking frame, so he got the whole 'I cured my arthritis by going vegan' spiel and he promised to look at 'What the Health'. And the third was a young guy mowing his lawn - which we both agreed was quite ridiculous given that we were halfway through December! He said his wife had seen me running around, and had noticed my Vegan Runners shirt. He did a bit of running himself, and was interested in my Ultra. When I told him about Rich Roll's preference for Ultras over Marathons, since you get pitstops every 12km or so on an Ultra, he said, 'Well, even I might be able to manage that!' He was aware of - and full of admiration for - Fiona Oakes, and knew that she was vegan. When I left, I said, only half joking, ' Well, if you do go vegan, you can come and join us on the Ultra'. He didn't say he wouldn't! :)


Quite a departure from my usual route this morning. I finished on 10.6km, which included a #notparkrun (walk) - 5k in 55:45. The nearby M5 motorway was closed, and all the traffic decanted onto the A38, causing massive tailbacks. The A38 skirts the large estate where I do some of my training - I generally follow it a bit, then dive into the side roads and parks, etc. But not this morning, since I had a captive audience for my Vegan Runners repping. I stuck to the A38, then back again, and doubled back once more, getting plenty of smiles and thumbs ups. This last time I struck up a conversation with a friendly driver who was stationary at the time, telling him that "This too will pass." He told me I would get to Cornwall before he did. So I hopped over the road and gave him a leaflet, telling him about the ultra. I gave another to a family of cyclists, after exchanging greetings; another to a couple of people from the village that I'd known since our kids went to school together; one more to a young mother, whose youngster was skipping and running ahead; then a couple more to two other couples I came across that I'd known for many years. They were suitably impressed by my running, and one of them in particular was very interested in how my osteoarthritis had disappeared after going plant-based. All in all it feels really good to get out there again!


Upped my walking distance again this morning, to 7.7k. I felt really good, and I'm feeling stronger - seems the strength work I've been doing is paying off. And my average pace increased slightly, without any conscious effort on my part - from 5kph to 5.3kph. No hiccups thus far, and I'm starting to feel a lot more positive. 4 weeks tomorrow I'll be on the starting line.

3 leaflets handed out - one to a youngish foreman on a nearby construction worker, who was very impressed; one to a friend of my son's I stopped to chat with; and the other to an ex-neighbour I came across - he was stooped over and was shuffling along, poor chap.


Out in my Vegan Runners vest this morning, and did my longest run to date - 17k, beating the 16k I did last month, including a few hill reps. I was aiming for 17k, since that's a third of the distance I hope to cover each day on my Ultra. My aim is to do 3 of these in one day sometime early in the NY. Towards the end of my run I passed a gang of bricklayers I'd seen several times on my runs, and they'd always given me a cheery wave as I ran past. This morning I stopped and told them why I was often to be seen out running - and they were well impressed. I also threw in the fact that I'd tried to run 40 years ago, but my knees became too painful to  continue. But since going vegan - for the animals -my arthritis has completely disappeared and I'm now pain free. I urged them to watch The Game Changers, using my usual line of "It's about top sports men and women going vegan and finding their performance is enhanced - and not just on the playing field." Later on in the run I said "Hello" and 'Thank you" to a couple of women when they moved aside to let me pass. They were very friendly, saying they'd seen me running often - so I told them I was training for an ultra, and about Viva! the charity I was supporting. They were quite chatty, asking about my Vegan Runners shirt, so I told them that the VR club is one of the largest running clubs in the UK - one of them said she was going to Google that when she got home. One of women had done a 10k in the past. I was able to do a bit of outreach, since they were curious, asking about my age, how long I'd been vegan. One of them had arthritis so I told them about the benefits of whole food plant-based nutrition - they got the whole spiel! As I left, they said they would check me out on FB. 

It's been my intention all along on these runs to portray myself as The Friendly Vegan Runner - I make a point of greeting everyone with a big smile and 'Hello'. If I come across any dog walkers - and I meet quite a few - I try and greet the dog first, generally complementing the walkers on having a lovely dog. Any parents with children, I always greet the child first, if it's appropriate. Wearing a Vegan Runners vest, I feel as if I'm representing the vegan community - I want people to see vegans in a good light, as it were. 


My knee injury:

Observant readers will have notice that my training consisted of both running and walking at different times. At the end of January I strained my knee somehow, and although I rested it for good fortnight, and only started back walking slowly, it stubbornly refused to heal. At various times I felt I could run on it, but inevitably, the niggle would return. I did the ultra wearing two knee braces, as a precaution, and I’m glad to say that my knees were absolutely fine. However, the problem still persists - my physio tells me that ligaments can take as long as 18 months to recover. So, in the meantime I’m concentrating on walking and strength and conditioning exercises.


The day of the ultra:

On the Friday evening, my son, Ben, and I drove to Minehead and parked at the Northfield Hotel (not recommended, since I found I had to make my own bed!), then went and completed the initial registration. Up around 5.30, we had a breakfast of porridge oats and dried fruit which we'd brought with us, and set off for the start.  There were about 1200 people starting that day, at different times, and we were in the 7.40 group. So, after a bit of zumba to warm up, we were on our way. A walk through the streets of Minehead, first, then we were on the path up to Dunkery Beacon.

The walk was initially quite easy, and the path not too steep. The weather, which had been threatening, held off, and the first part of the climb was quite pleasant. However, about halfway up, the rain and wind struck with a vengeance - and there were thunderstorms about. I struggled to put my poncho on, which was quite difficult in the wind. I had one hand trying to hold the hood over my head, while the other alternated between holding it down at the front and pulling it down at the back - whilst trying to keep my glasses clear so that I could see the slippery, stony track in front of us. I’ve described the conditions elsewhere as ‘brutal’, and indeed they were - but I said to my son and anyone else who would listen, “There’s just nowhere else I’d rather be!” I don’t remember feeling so alive as I did climbing that hill! Needless to say, the temperature dropped and it was freezing. The rest of the day is a bit of a blur - it was just a case of putting one foot in front of the other. When we got to the halfway finish point there were cheerleaders and an MC, encouraging the finishers through the finish line. The MC was congratulating everyone for having come through those terrible conditions, and, as I went past him, I said, as an aside, “It was a bit of a doddle, really.” He called me back and asked me my age. When I told him I’d be 84 in September, he announced to the crowd, “This man is 84 and he’s just told me it was a doddle!” Which made everyone chuckle. I told him that I was there with my son, and said: “I’ve been looking after him for 43 years and today he’s been looking after me.” Which the MC duly relayed to the crowd. 

The next day a woman told me that when she’d heard that it had moved her to tears!”


That night we stayed in a hotel in Tiverton - a couple of miles away from the campsite. We got a taxi there, but had to walk back the next morning, ready for a 6.30 start. This is when my failure to buy a new rucksack, at the urging of my son, came back to bite me. For the last ten or so km on the previous day I had found myself bending further and further over to my left, to compensate for my ill-fitting rucksack. I thought this wouldn’t be too much of a problem on the second day, but I was wrong - as soon as I put my rucksack on, I began to bend over again. I struggled on as best I could, with my son carrying my rucksack for long periods. But, 2k after the first pitstop of the day, at the 70k mark, my son asked me if I honestly felt I could continue walking almost doubled over, for the next 30k - and I thought, no, I don’t think I can. So I pulled out at this point. I got a shuttle bus to the next couple of stops, whilst Ben carried on walking. I went to see the medics as soon as I could and was given an ibuprofen spray and some paracetamol, which pretty well sorted me out. I was there at the finish line to greet him, and the MC suggested I present Ben with his medal, which I did, to much applause. 

My impressions of the whole ultra experience: I’m so glad I did it. I’m still savouring the sheer pleasure the weekend gave me. Everything was great! The terrain - challenging at times, given the severe weather we experienced climbing Dunkery Beacon - the company, everyone of whom had their own story - and the staff, nothing was too much trouble. The food wasn't great - or even available at times, but, in the whole scheme of things, that was a minor issue.

Probably the best thing about the weekend was that my son came along, too, so we spent a rare 48 hours together - which was pretty special.


I was also able to do quite a bit of outreach over the two days. I did the whole journey in my Vegan Runners vest, and anyone who showed the slightest interest in my story received a leaflet. I think I handed out about 50 all told, and they were all well received. 


But I've now got unfinished business - I intend to complete it next year. And I may run part of it - it will be so good to get back into running again.


There remained one last bit of outreach. On the train back to Taunton from Dawlish, I was still wearing my race number on my VR vest, which was noticed by a young guy, one of a group of three, who asked me, as he was passing up the train, what race I’d just done. When the train started I walked up the carriage, found the guys, and told them the story of the weekend. They were drinking small bottles of Budweiser, and insisted I take one, “Because you’ve earned it, mate!” In return, they each got a leaflet. And that Budweiser tasted great, I have to report!


What next? Well, there’s the Chiltern 50 later this month - and I’m getting a new rucksack for my upcoming birthday.

September 2020

[It's my intention to run an Ultra-marathon next July - and this is where I shall detail all my preparations. How I got to where I am today - at the foot of this post]

The ultra I'm planning to run is the South West Ultra Marathon - 102 kms between Minehead and Dawlish, over two days next July. 

So, 9 months to prepare. [!!! That was written last November - I've now got 5 days!!!]
My intention is, to begin with, run three times a week, one long run and a couple of faster, short runs, gradually increasing the distance each week. I began about 10 weeks ago doing 18-20k a week, now I'm up to around 30k. Before the actual event I would like to have run the 100k over two days, then it'll just be the extra elevation I'll have to contend with - but with about 16 hours in each day to work with, I'm confident I can do this. 
Fund-raising: I've chosen Viva, a vegan charity, who do amazing work on behalf of the animals.

If you'd like to support my fundraising, there are two ways you can do this:

Click here if you would like to donate through Just Giving.

Click here if you prefer to donate through Facebook.


Notes:
I began running on the 30th March 2020, wishing to put the lockdown to good use and come out of it with a new skill. I made such good progress that, by the end of May, I felt able to announce that, over the last 10 days of June, I would run 100km, 10km per day, as a fundraiser for Dean Farm Sanctuary. Much to my surprise, instead of becoming progressively more tired as the runs mounted up - the opposite happened! I felt stronger and fitter the more I did. So much so that I felt able to throw in a couple of longer runs - including a final run of 13km - and finished up with a total of 110km over the ten days. After the first couple of 10kms, I was a little stiff if I sat too long after a run - but in the later stages even that went away. Apart from that, I had no twinges, aches or pains throughout my challenge. And after all my runs I still felt as if I had a bit more left in the tank. My final tally, including GoFundMe, was almost £4,000 for the sanctuary.πŸ™‚
So, now I feel I can call myself a runner - what next? Well the obvious half marathon sometime in the future is now a distinct possibility - and someone on here was kind enough to give me a list of the UK Ultra runs that are held all round the country. I'm not going to turn into Scott Jurek, by any means, but I think I've proved that age is no barrier to doing - well, whatever it is that you would like to do* - since I'll be 83 in September.πŸ’šπŸ‘πŸ’š
(*As long as you are on plant-based nutrition!πŸ˜‰)

In the interests of coming clean about my accomplishment:
I had one disadvantage coming into this adventure, and one advantage. Firstly, 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis from lung damage when I was a smoker nearly 50 years ago - however, I was discharged from the Lung Clinic fairly quickly, since I was obviously pretty fit. Now, I think that, thanks to my WFPB nutrition, I don’t have that any more. All I have left is a nasal drip, which is a bit of a faff when I’m running - but, hey ho!
The big advantage I had when I started running - and it explains, I think, why I was able to make such rapid progress - was that I do a lot of pushups. I started doing them, along with other home-based exercises, to avoid going to the gym, about 4-5 years ago, and found they were an exercise I could make reasonable progress at. To keep myself focused, when I turned 80, I thought I would challenge myself to do 1 million pushups before my 90th birthday. So far I’m up to 325,000, averaging 10,000 a month. So I was pretty fit before I started running.
My other aim in all this has been to inspire others, by showing that you can be fit and healthy and strong, as a vegan, into old age - should I ever get there!πŸ˜‰

I combine my endurance training with what I term 'Casual outreach'. I find it relatively easy to engage people in conversation, and I go out armed with leaflets from the Everyday Activism shop, and try and persuade people to go vegan. More info here

Monday 19th July 2021
Last week I averaged 22.5k during the week, with a couple of 10k walks over the weekend. Today I did 25k in temperatures of up to 30C - not great preparation, since the weekend is forecast to be 21/22C with 80% chance of rain! I still have the odd twinge in my knee but as long as I don't walk too fast I don't feel it. So 3mph [20 minutes per mile) is fine, but at 3.1mph I know it's still there - a bit like flicking a switch!
My son says he intends to walk the ultra with me - though, since his comfortable pace is a bit faster than mine, he may jump ahead at times, then wait up for me.
I didn't realise just how much gear we'd have to gather - the kit list is 22 items long! From running socks to head torches and everything in between.


Wednesday 14th July 2021
And now it's a week later - with only 10 days to go! 
Last week I was walking an average of 17k a day, this week I've done 18k, 25k and today I did 23. My intention was to average 25k a day in the week before the ultra, now I'm hoping for a bit more than that.
As I was turning onto the canal path, about 8k into my walk, I saw a runner coming towards me, and I noticed the wide straps of an ultra rucksack he was wearing. His name was Niall, and it turned out that he is also doing the same ultra as myself. So we had quite a chat about that. He'd seen me in and about the estate where he lived, but had no idea, of course, that this was what I was training for.

I'm trying to cover all the bases with my dodgy knee, which I still feel on occasion. So I've ordered two knee braces - figured the other knee might need a bit of help over the 102k I'm doing; and a friend of mine has lent me his walking sticks. I'm also be packing ibuprofen and paracetamol. :)
 
This week I received another batch of 500 leaflets from the Everyday Activism shop. So I've been doing quite a bit of outreach, shifting about 100 of them today, first to the parents dropping their children off at the local primary school - and this afternoon to the customers of Morrison's. About 9 in 10 people are very receptive, with only 1 in 10 refusing to take a leaflet, which is about average I guess. But even those hear my message - and see my vegan runners vest - which is that I'm doing an ultra for the animals. 

Monday 5th July 2021
Wow, time's going so fast! Now only 19 days to go. 
For the past ten days I've been averaging 10k a day, with my longest distance being 15k - still walking, but at least, I'm getting out there. 
Still doing outreach whenever I can. I was in the pub for the second half of the England v Ukraine match on Saturday with my son, who's also doing the ultra.We were chatting to a group of guys, one of whom I'd known for a long time - so they all left with a leaflet. And this morning, outside our local primary school I gave away about 60 leaflets to the parents. 


Saturday 26th June 2021
Quite a departure from my usual route this morning. I finished on 10.6km, which included a #notparkrun (walk) - 5k in 55:45. The nearby M5 motorway was closed, and all the traffic decanted onto the A38, causing massive tailbacks. The A38 skirts the large estate where I do most of my training - I generally follow it a bit, then dive into the side roads and parks, etc. But not this morning, since I had a captive audience for my Vegan Runners repping. I stuck to the A38, then back again, and doubled back once more, getting plenty of smiles and thumbs ups. This last time I struck up a conversation with a friendly driver who was stationary at the time, telling him that "This too will pass." He told me I would get to Cornwall before he did. So I hopped over the road and gave him a leaflet, telling him about the ultra. I gave another to a family of cyclists, after exchanging greetings; another to a couple of people from the village that I'd known since our kids went to school together; one more to a young mother, whose youngster was skipping and running ahead; then a couple more to two other couples I came across that I'd known for many years. They were suitably impressed by my running, and one of them in particular was very interested in how my osteoarthritis had disappeared after going plant-based. All in all it feels really good to get out there again!

Friday 25th June 2021
Upped my walking distance again this morning, to 7.7k. I felt really good, and I'm feeling stronger - seems the strength work I've been doing is paying off. And my average pace increased slightly, without any conscious effort on my part - from 5kph to 5.3kph. No hiccups thus far, and I'm starting to feel a lot more positive. 4 weeks tomorrow I'll be on the starting line.
3 leaflets handed out - one to a youngish foreman on a nearby construction worker, who was very impressed; one to a friend of my son's I stopped to chat with; and the other to an ex-neighbour I came across - he was stooped over and was shuffling along, poor chap.

Thursday 24th June 2021

Back to see the physio, yesterday, and the good news is that my knee seems to be improving slightly. I got permission from him to start gentle walking again - so I did 3.5k yesterday, and 5k+ this morning with no problem. I'm hoping to add to this daily, until I'm at least doing 20k plus a  day.  Whatever happens I'll be on that starting line in - less than 30 days, now!


Thursday 17th June 2021
Been a bit quiet recently but I thought, with 6 weeks to go, it was time for an update.
I finally got to see a physio last week - a week early thanks to a cancellation. He says the problems with my knee are that my hamstring is weak, and the ligament attaching my patella to my tibia is ‘puffy’.
I need to address both of these with movement and stretching exercises. Hopefully, these will leave me in a position to complete the ultra relatively pain free.
However, I’m not running or even walking any distance ATM, so I’ve been searching for endurance and strength exercises I can do at home.
I’m back doing press-ups, which I gave up when I got the knee strain, because they were painful. That doesn’t seem to be a problem any more. I think one of the reasons I was able to do 110K in ten days last year was because I was pretty fit, doing 1000 press ups every three days. I’m now doing 1000 every other day.
I’m also back doing chin ups - ATM 3 sets of 4
I have 2 kettlebells - 9kg and 6kg, and I do a few sets with these every other day.
So those are the strength exercises I do. But my main concern is endurance. To address this, I have access to a small exercise pool, 3m x 4m, and I’ve been spending some time in there. I’ve built up, over the past few days, to 48 minutes in a session, just swimming using my arms. Doing the breast stroke, with my legs dangling, I can get my HR up to 90+. With my legs out in front and sculling with my arms, my HR averages about 75. I figure if I can swim for hours at a time, with my HR elevated, this should help with my endurance.
Lastly, I've just started doing some of these exercises, “8 Low-Impact Exercises to Work the Core and Raise Your Heart Rate

All in all, I feel very positive about the way things are going. One thing is for sure, I’ll be on the starting line on the 24th July, come what may!πŸ’š



Tuesday 4th May 2021
Off across town to sit with a mate in his garden sipping coffee and eating a bit of cake. Having  face to face chat - something that's been missing recently. Not a bad morning weather-wise, but the wind was biting. On the way home, I took a detour and came across a couple of young guys laying paving stones in someone's garden. They clocked my vegan attire and one of them said, in response to my greeting, "What's all this Vegan Runners, then, what's that all about?" I had a lovely conversation with these guys who were very receptive to the vegan message - and promised to watch 'Dairy is Scary'. Then I walked past a guy in town who said, 'Nice top!' So I asked him if he was a vegan - which he was. He asked me, "Haven't I seen you on Facebook?" Again, a nice chat - during which he said he thought I might be the guy his wife had talked to in Sainsbury's once - down the vegan aisle. He confirmed that, once we'd 'friended' each other on Facebook. So he got an AV card and an invitation to come and join us this coming Saturday. By the side of the river Tone, I came across an older guy with a young couple. "Still going then!" he called out. He then asked me to confirm how old I was. "Told you," he said to the younger two. I must have spoken to him before, but I have no recollection of it. Anyway, another successful* conversation, and a leaflet handed out.
(*Successful in that a couple of seeds have been planted. I have no illusions that people are going to go vegan after one conversation and looking at a few links. But it serves as a foundation for the next time they meet a vegan - or even if they see something vegan in the supermarket. Veganism is getting more and more ubiquitous by the day.)
So, 9 miles of brisk walking, giving me 14 for the week.

Monday 3rd May 2021
Cold and blustery when I set out this morning - with rain forecast. Managed 5 miles, and for the last mile or so I looped near home so I could nip back if the weather turned nasty. I was just passing when I felt a few drops, so into the warmth I went. But not before I had passed out a couple of leaflets and gave someone a second reminder of the benefits of WFPB nutrition. The two leaflets were given to a couple of fathers watching their children playing. I'd looped round them twice, and one of them said, "You're still pressing on then!" 
The same guy said he'd seen me running often, so I explained why I was out there, and why I was  just walking ATM. The other conversation was with someone in his 70s that I'd given a leaflet to before. He told me he'd had a stroke in the last week. He'd 'Read the leaflet, thoroughly' but hadn't watched any of the films. So I insisted he watch 'What the Health' which would show him why he should eat plant-based. He was under the impression - as many people are - that olive oil was good for him?!

Saturday 1st May 2021
5k walk for my #notparkrun Saturday outing, giving me 36 miles for the week. Came across 3 people who took a leaflet: The first was a guy who lives down the road a piece, and we haven't really talked before. But this morning, as I walked past him, he said, "You must be on a mission," The ensuing conversation covered my ultra, disappearing arthritis, Lewis Hamilton and 'What the Health', and the reasons I went vegan - FTA!
Later young lad ran across in front of me, so I remarked to his father about what a good young runner he was. The dad replied,"I bet he hasn't run as far as you!" Which was a perfect conversation opener. Towards the end of the run, a guy I greeted asked me,"Not running today?" Again, a perfect opening.



Friday 30th April 2021
Uh oh, much to report since last Saturday. I did 12 miles on Monday, which was possibly overdoing things, because that evening I felt the familiar pain in my left knee. So, no more running for a while, I'm back to walking - and I'm going to give it at least a fortnight before I run again, and then I shall start back by going down the walk/run route. 
So, 6 miles on Wednesday, 8 on Thursday and 10 miles today. Passed out quite a few leaflets - and now I've got my fundraiser up and running, it's even easier to initiate conversations.
Here are a few stand out exchanges I've had this week:
Walking down by the canal I was stopped by a couple of young women - sisters - who said, "We've seen you running several times, you've really inspired us to get out more - we've told our dad all about you, how old are you?" And then they asked if they could get a pic of the three of us. All that was very gratifying, and it shows the value of running the same route.
In town I said hello to a postie, who checked my VR top, and said, "Hi, a vegan, eh?" Turned out he was a veggie who was trying to give up cheese and become vegan himself - his wife and son already were. After our conversation, which covered alternative cheeses, vegan22.com, disappearing arthritis and how cruelly animals are treated in this world, he said how delighted he'd been to meet me. I'm discovering more and more, recently, that there are many veggies out there who just need a bit of a nudge to go completely vegan.
Couple in town who said they'd seen me running around the village and estate I frequent, gladly took a leaflet.
Walking past The Mango Tree - a vegan restaurant - in town, which I thought was closed, I was called back by the owner, Prem, "Hey, Paul, fancy a coffee?" So I popped in for  few minutes. We were so pleased to see each other - it's been over a year since we'd last met. He was very proud of his new outdoor area, which I'd missed since it was on the side of the building:

Need a better pic than this, showing the whole painting.

Another guy said he liked my top, as I was walking past - so I asked him if he was vegan, which he was. 
A young mother with two youngsters of about 3 and 4. One of them was running ahead, so I made my usual remark to the mother, "Looks like you've got a good runner there!" Unusually, since I almost always forget names as soon as I've heard them - unless I write them down - I remember that the kids were called Florence and Freddie. Florence gave me a flower from the bunch of daisies she'd been collecting. A quite delightful family. The mother said she would definitely look at the links on the leaflet - and the fundraiser on my blog.
There have been more, I guess I shifted about a dozen leaflets through the week, but those are the only ones I can bring to mind.
All in all, despite the setback to my running, it's been a very satisfying week!
                                                                                


Saturday 24th April 2021
Expecting visitors, so out early this morning, under a cloudless sky and with a mild breeze. First 5k was my #notparkrun of 42.57, which I was quite pleased with. Then I went on to complete a 10k, running at a slower pace. This makes about 65k for the week. It's been spectacular running weather all week, hope it's been the same for you guys!

Friday 23rd April 2021
Aiming for 11+miles this morning, with a coffee and cake break with my allotment mate Chris, and I was out extra early to avoid the sun if I could. I did about 3 miles around - and cutting through, the estate, before I headed off into town via the canal, intending to have 7 miles in the bank before I rested. 3 leaflets given out - the first was to a group of road workmen who were cheering me on as I approached - this was about 5 past 8. And one of them said, jokingly, "Have you been out running all night?" This was because they'd seen me running past about 12pm yesterday. So I pulled  up for a chat. One of them said, "I'll bet you'll fancy a bacon sandwich when you get home!" So I launched into my anti bacon tirade: "Most of the pigs in this country are gassed to death. Around the age of 6 months, they are lowered into a gas chamber filled with CO2. If you know anything about this gas, you’ll know that it turns the liquid in the eyes, mouth, lungs, etc, into acid, and the pigs burn from the inside out. It can take up to 2 minutes for the pigs to go unconscious - and in that time they scrabble frantically to escape the choking gas. A (now ex-) slaughterhouse worker was sent in to clean up the chamber - and reported that he found around 50 - fifty - severed hooves. These had been torn off the animals in their frantic attempts to escape. That’s the price of your bacon, mate!" The guy said "Well that's me finished with bacon then!" So, a few more pleasantries, and off I went. Later I met a young mother, who said, 'Hey, vegan!' as I went past. She said her whole family was plant based and her 5yr-old was especially vocal, telling everyone he came across about it. So I gave her an AV card and told her about how easy it was to become active, "It's a very gentle way into activism - you simply stand in the Cube behind a mask, holding a TV, and listen to the conversations around you. Before long you start to think, 'I could have said that.' Then you do some shadowing of more experienced cubers, and you soon find yourself doing outreach. But it's all at your own pace." She promised to look up AV Taunton on Facebook. Another, older guy, doing some leg stretches on a fence beside the canal. Turns out his daughter was having the same arthritic problems with her fingers that I had cured myself of when I went vegan. So another leaflet and some recommendations.

Wednesday 21st April 2021
Started out in lovely sunshine - but clouded over towards the end of the run of 7.6 miles today, which I don't mind a bit. I shall have to start going out earlier to avoid too much sun, since I hate applying suncream.
3 leaflets handed out - one to the Library bus driver, who calls in the village once a month; one to a young mother with a 20 month-old toddler, Rosie; and one to a family of vegetarians, the mother of whom shouted 'Yay, vegan!' as I ran past. So of course I stopped and chatted for a minute or two. "Was it for the animals you went veggie?' I asked. And it was - the whole family were vegetarian and had been for many years. But they hadn't made the connection between dairy and the meat industry. So I said they should be sure to watch 'Dairy is Scary' - and Gary Yourovsky's  'The most important speech you will ever hear.'
In the afternoon, I had to take my car to get a slow puncture seen to. Talking about fitness, I told the guy I'd run 7 miles this morning, about how I couldn't run in my 40s, but now I was vegan, I was completely arthritis free. 'Makes sense,' he agreed, and proceeded to tell me about his daughter. All her young life she'd suffered from a terrible skin condition - but last year, just before Christmas, she had been quite ill, and only drank water for 7 days. And her skin cleared up! So he was very keen to watch What the Health, and The Game Changers - but he also agreed that giving up animal products was good for the animals, as well as for our health.


Monday 19th April 2021
10 miles of easy running on a bright sunny morning, mostly round the estate, then a 2 mile foray alongside the canal. Lots of cheery hellos - one shout of, 'You put me to shame!'  Couple of shouts of encouragement, 'Good for you, keep going!' 4 leaflets given out: To a young mother with two young kids who were running about - I always say something like, 'You've got a couple of good young runners there!', which often, as it did yesterday, start a conversation; An elderly lady, suffering from severe arthritis, who opened the conversation by saying, 'My, you must be fit!'; a young guy part of a road-mending gang; and one to an old neighbour of mine, who'd moved away and I hadn't seen for years. He was very interested in the health aspect - especially the arthritis. But with them all, I always mention I went vegan for the animals - and, 9 times out of 10, their faces screw up in acknowledgement. Most people are aware that animals are mistreated - they just don't know the extent.

Thursday 15th April 2021
Out early this morning, under a cloudless sky - it's so nice to be wearing shorts instead of joggers. 10 miles nice and slow  about 14.30/mile. This gives me 33 miles for the week, or 53k. For only the second time since I began running again I had long stretches where I felt as if I could keep going forever. 3 conversations - 1 with a gang of workmen (road menders) I'd exchanged greetings with earlier in the week; later I was doing a circuit of a large out-of-town shopping centre, and I passed a guy checking people in and out of a store - as I came back I stopped and told him what I was up to. He told me that he was dairy intolerant and he didn't eat much meat, so he was very receptive, promising to look at the links on the leaflet. The job this guy was doing lends itself to outreach, a captive audience, if you like. They're pretty bored, and would, I suspect welcome any chance to interact with someone. The third conversation came about when I caught up with a couple of walkers with a dog, on a path by the river Tone. The dog was frolicking around in the undergrowth, so I said, "Looks like someone is enjoying themselves," and the conversation flowed from there. One of the guys had tried giving up meat and dairy in the past, but had been seduced back into his old habits. But he wanted to try it again. So I recommended the challenge22.com link. He'd seen a film online - possibly Land of Hope and Glory - so he was well aware of the animal abuse which takes place, and would try to go vegan again for the animals.


Wednesday 14th April 2021
9 miles, 14.5k today - lots of sunshine, and again it was warm enough for shorts. Met a guy on the canal who saw my Vegan Runners shirt, and said, 'oh, a vegan runner, eh? Turned out he had seen VRs at his local park run - Burnham, I think he said. He himself had been a vegetarian for 53 years

Tuesday 13th April 2021
8 miles, or 13k this morning, bright and sunny, and a little warmer, so I had my shorts on - first time for a while. This run was broken up with coffee and cake at my mate Chris's allotment, across town.

Monday 12th April 2021
6 miles, or 10k this morning - lovely and sunny, but chilly, so I still had my joggers on.

Saturday 10th April 2021
Out early for just a 5k this morning since we had family coming to visit - for the first time since October last year. I was quite pleased with my pace - I was trying to run slow, as I generally do, but I seemed to be faster than usual, returning 44.04 for a #notparkrun. Bit chilly for the first km or so, but I was quite warm by the time I returned home. That gives me a total of about 45k, with two 15k runs and a 10k earlier in the week. I'm back to running full-time, now, my knee problem seems to be in the past - and I intend to keep it there! Only 1 outreach conversation today, a guy on his bike with a dog on a lead, which I thought was a bit dodgy. I had passed him earlier, then looped around and saw him again, always an excuse to explain what I'm doing. He was on a bike, he told me, because his knees were too painful to walk his dog. So a conversation about how WFPB nutrition can overcome the effects of arthritis - the benefits to the animals, of course, and the planet. He was very interested and was quite happy take a leaflet.

Thursday 8th April 2021
Longer outing today, so, not wishing to put any pressure on my knee I did a walk/run - probably 1/3 walking and 2/3 running. I did 9.8 miles, all told, with a pitstop at The Coffee Station, for a bit of  cake and a hot chocolate. The selection of cakes was wonderful, but the choice was easy, since the chocolate brownies were calling my name (but I only had one!). As I was leaving, a guy came past, saw my Vegan Runners vest, and said, "I'm a vegan - and I'm a runner!" So a lovely conversation ensued - always great to meet a fellow vegan, and a bit special to meet a vegan runner. He wasn't aware of The Vegan Runners Club, so I took his details and I'll send them to him. On the way in to town, by the river Tone, I came across a couple of runners who had just stopped and were checking their watches. Turned out they were trying to do a half marathon inside 1.45 - and they didn't think they were going to make it. They were interested in my story and happily took a leaflet. Going over Swingbridge, I came across 3 young men, and I asked them cheerfully, "Hi guys, you gone vegan yet?" One of them replied, "No, not yet." Which of course piqued my interest. He'd been thinking about it - and was definitely giving up fish, "Oh, I guess you've seen Seaspiracy, then?" I said. 2 of them had, and were thinking about going plant-based altogether - but the third one was too busy thinking up all the things he would miss if he went vegan. So they each got a leaflet. I'm sure there were other conversations, but I can't remember them at the moment. 
Up until now I've tended to ignore any fishermen I pass, but now I tell them to watch Seaspiracy "Tells you all you need to know about fishing", I tell them.


Wednesday 7th April 2021
Just 6 miles today, nice and steady, started off pretty cold, but the sun came out, and by the time I returned home I was sweating. And I ran all the way! First time in about 10 weeks I'd done a proper run. Just the one leaflet given out, today, to a bird watcher, who'd run the marathon in his youth, but now his knees were very painful. So I told him why I went vegan, a bit about the dairy industry, the suffering we inflicted on pigs, etc. And the unexpected benefit of going vegan was that my arthritis disappeared - and the same would probably happen to him if he gave up meat products.


Monday 5th April 2021
Cold but sunny morning saw me setting out to do a longish run/walk and aiming for 10k at least. I'd barely got out of the door, when I stopped and swapped stories - and a leaflet - with another runner, Matt. He was most interested in the SW Coast to Coast, and the fact that I was signed up to it. Said we may well meet on that trail. 
I once again did a brisk walk to warm up - about a mile - then began to run for short distances. As I built up the miles, I was gradually walking less and running more. I ventured down an unfamiliar path and came across a family of 3 - so I asked them where I was going. Turns out it was another way into Creech St Michael, a nearby village. They were very chatty and appreciated the info on the leaflet I gave them. Towards the end of my outing, when I was running pretty consistently, I came across an older couple I'd said hello to on previous runs. I did my usual holding up for a breather, had a chat about how healthy I felt, and it was all down to my diet. I went vegan for the animals, but the improvement in my health was a nice bonus. I was home before midday, having travelled 15.7k, which was a good start to the week - I'm aiming to do 55k this week, all told.

Saturday 3rd April 2021
At last! I'm back into running. I did 10k this morning - mostly bright and sunny with a mischievous breeze when you least wanted it. But great conditions for running - which is what I did, for the most part. Started off with a brisk walk for a mile, to get warmed up, then I did some walking and running - walk 50 yards, then run 100; which I gradually increased until I stopped walking altogether. Next time I go out - it'll be for a run! My 5k split was 44.51, Mike. I'm still going to take it easy - no more chasing the elusive PB. I mean, I'm supposed to be training for an ultra, so slow and steady is the name of the game. Shifted 4 leaflets today - 2 young mums with 3 budding runners between them. A dog walker, and a grandmother pushing a buggy. My usual tactic is to come up behind the target, make a show of stopping my watch, and say something like, "It's time I took a breather." Then I pull out a bottle of gel, and gel my hands, saying, "Do you mind if I offer you a leaflet? It's all about how the world's going vegan." 9 times out of 10, people are very receptive. 


Saturday 27th March 2021
Saturdays are Parkrun days, of course - or, during this pandemic, #notparkrun days, celebrated by Mike Harper and the Vegan Runners UK Community. I did a 10.4k walk this morning - pushing it a bit for the first 5k, which I did in 46.48, avg 4mph. I then relaxed a bit for the rest of my walk, which took place in brilliant sunshine - with a bit of a sharp wind at times to remind us that summer isn't here quite yet! I met and exchanged stories with a young woman runner who stopped for a chat - she's also training for an 50k ultra, didn't catch which one - somewhere here in the SW (Dorset?). So she got a leaflet. Then I found myself behind a couple of brisk walkers whom I thanked for doing a bit of pacemaking for me. They also got a leaflet. Finally, on the approach to the close where I live, I noticed a few bits of rubbish. So I went home and picked up a plastic bag. As I was collecting up the rubbish, I called out a greeting to a passing cyclist, who, to my surprise, stopped for a chat. He was Polish and lived in a nearby village - been here for 16 years and has made his home here. He told me he generally did about 50-60 miles on the weekend. He was very interested in the challenge I've set myself, and asked me how old I was. When I told him, I said I could only do this because I was eating WFPB and gave him a leaflet. So, not a bad morning, all told!



Thursday 25th March 2021
Out early in the morning for another trip to the Coffee Station in Vivary Park, this time to spend half an hour or so with my cricketing buddy, Alan. I left a stack of leaflets for the cafe to have on display. On the way home, by the canal, I fell into a conversation with a couple who were very interested in the leaflet I handed them - and also the fact that my arthritis had disappeared after going vegan. The guy showed me his fingers which were going the way mine were going before I went vegan. I also met another runner I'd seen previously on my running - he'd been wondering where I had gone. He told me about his barefoot running shoes, and how much freer he felt. I'm very tempted to go down the barefoot route myself when I replace my trainers when they've done about another 100 miles. So, 7 miles, 11.3km, today, 45km for the week so far, with one more walk to come on Saturday.

Tuesday 23rd March 2021
Another similar day weatherwise, out again this time for a 7.3 mile walk - so that's 34k for the week so far. I did this at a slightly slower pace, not wanting to stress my knee. I'll probably rest up for a couple of days, now. 
Just the one leaflet handed out today - but it was to the owner of our local zero waste shop, who is happy to have a stack of the leaflets for their customers to take.

Monday 22nd March 2021
Out of doors early this morning, for the long walk I'd been promising myself - and the weather couldn't have been more conducive to outdoor exercise. Chilly to begin with, but eventually the sunshine triumphed and by the time I got to the Coffee Station in Taunton's Vivary park, it was warm enough to sit outside. I can't remember the last time I visited a cafe to enjoy a hot chocolate and cake - and guys, I have to tell you, they were both gorgeous! The cafe were very receptive - both to the leaflet I handed out, and the idea of having a stack in the cafe, for customers to help themselves. Another customer, who was training to be a sports coach (I think), was also interested in the leaflet and took a copy - along with a vegan message from me.
I then did a couple of loops around the park - it really is a lovely place. There  were quite a few people around, and when I doubled back past a couple on a bench, the guy called out to me, "You look like you're on a mission!" 'Cos I wasn't hanging about. I was super interested, since I thought he was asking me to have a biscuit! I went over and told them all about my mission, leaving them with a leaflet.
Back out of town along the canal where I met a couple of young women cyclists. One of them said, "Hey look, a vegan!" And of course I stopped and we had a conversation, during the course of which, one of them said, "I know you, you were doing some fundraising last year - I contributed towards it!" So that was very gratifying. As we parted, she said how nice it was to meet a fellow vegan. And it was, very nice!
Nothing further to report - I just did a few loops around the local estate - and by the time I got home I'd walked 22km, just 1k further than I've done since I took up running.
I've been a bit stiff this evening - probably because I was sitting too long. I'm out again tomorrow, but I'm going to try and rein my pace in a bit. I was doing 3.8mph, mostly, today - I'd like to bring that down to 3.5 tomorrow. Knee is still not 100% - but, painfully slowly, πŸ˜‰ it is getting better.

Friday 19th March 2021
Wow - Can't believe it's been three whole months since I updated this post. There have been ups and downs in that time: my total for 2020 was 645 miles in 9 months: I started 2021 in fine form, averaging 40+km a week for the first 3 weeks, including my longest distance yet - 21k, or 13 miles, a half marathon distance; and I was steadily increasing my hill sprints each week. Then, on the 16th Jan, I did a 5k in a personal best time of 36.33. But afterwards I began to feel some pain in my left knee, which I thought little of at the time. I continued running for the next week, but, on the Friday evening, after doing about 40k in the week, I stood up from a kneeling position, and felt a sharp pain across the top of the knee. Since then I've been doing all the usual stuff - RICE, etc, and lately I've settled into a regimen of applying heat twice a day and strapping it up between times. It's been a long slow process, but I've just had to be patient. It's definitely a whole lot better, but it's not 100% yet, and I don't want to ruin things by rushing it. I've got over 4 months before my Ultra which I'm sure is plenty of time. 
What I have been doing, is - walking. I figure that if I walk the distance I would have run in preparation,  at least I'll build up my endurance. I began my serious, brisk walking on the 25th Feb, and since then I've increased my weekly totals from just 6k the first week, to 40 so far this week - and I'll be out again tomorrow. My immediate goal is to walk a half marathon distance next week, then make that a weekly target. When I do start running, hopefully I'll continue to build on the distances I'm doing now. When I started walking I was doing 3.5-3.6mph, and that has now built up to 4.0mph and I actually touched 4.1 for a brief period this morning. So far this hasn't affected my knee at all, so things are going well.

Thursday 17th December 2020
Brilliant conditions for running, once again, bright sunshine for the most part, with a little wind, but nothing to worry about. I kept my running nice and slow, with an average pace of 14.40, so the 10 miles/16km took me 2:26.46 and put me on 37k for the week, so far. I was out a bit longer than that, since I delivered about 50 Viva! leaflets - along with my chocolate cake recipe, and a link to the Vegan Cookery post on my blog. Plus the link to vegan22.com and Veganuary.com in case anyone thinks they'd like to go vegan. I was also held up by several conversations that took place, which finished up with me handing out an AV card. The first was to a young guy who was exercising his dog - he was very interested in my training, and, about a vegan diet was '...up for trying anything, really.' the next was to an old friend I last saw at the school gates, 25 years or more ago. He was walking with difficulty, pushing a walking frame, so he got the whole 'I cured my arthritis by going vegan' spiel and promised to look at 'What the Health'. And the third was a young guy mowing his lawn - which we both agreed was quite ridiculous given that we were halfway through December! He said his wife had seen me running around, and had noticed my Vegan Runners shirt. He did a bit of running himself, and was interested in my Ultra. When I told him about Rich Roll's preference for Ultras over Marathons, since you get pitstops every 5/6 miles on an Ultra, he said, 'Well, even I might be able to manage that!' He was aware of - and full of admiration for - Fiona Oakes, and knew that she was a vegan. When I left, I said, only half joking, ' Well, if you do go vegan, you can come and join us on the Ultra'. He didn't say he wouldn't! :)

Saturday 12th December 2020
Saturday is #notparkrun day - and it's also when I put in a faster run after the slow runs I've been doing through the week. And, I was aiming for a PB. Conditions were absolutely gorgeous - temp about 10C, little wind and bright sunshine. I'd planned a flattish run - couple of loops through a nearby estate, then round the whole estate just gives me 5k - and, I did it in 37.40, 35 seconds faster than my previous PB. I carried on home, finishing with 7.5k - giving me a total of 47k for the week, which is the highest total since I began my autumn programme. 

Thursday 10th December 2020
3rd slow run of the week this morning, 13k - after a run of 12.5k yesterday - which gives me a total of 39k for the week, with at least 5k to come on Saturday. Came across a gang of bricklayers, who were interested in my running - and general health and fitness. So, another conversation ensued which included my disappearing arthritis and the film The Game Changers - in fact, this time I handed out an AV card with all the details of how to go vegan on vegan22.com.

Monday 7th December 2020
Good to start the week with a long slow run, which was probably my most enjoyable run so far! About halfway through the run, I was reminded of something I read on one of the running group pages on Facebook - 'Running is easier at 8k than it is at 2 or 3k', something like that. And I found it to be true - I felt as if I could go on forever. So, 14k in the bank, aiming for 40k+ this week. I've realised over the weekend that I'm well within reach of 1000k for the year - 895k so far, with 3.5 weeks to go. 
Several interesting conversations with people I exchanged greetings with. I asked a group of road builders if they'd seen The Game Changers, telling them that it would show them that vegans had better sex than omnis, which certainly got their interest. One older guy congratulated me on my fitness, bemoaning the fact that he could hardly get to the end of the street - so he got the full on story of how my arthritis had disappeared after I went vegan. I also had the obligatory 'Bacon, tho' person, who eventually promised to look at the vegan alternatives. Think I'm going to start carrying several AV cards to hand out to anyone who shows an interest.

Saturday 5th December 2020
Total of 40k for the week, in four runs - 14k on Monday, 11k on Tuesday, 11k on Thursday (with hill sprint reps) and a fast 5k on  Saturday.

Monday 30th November 2020
First run of the week this morning - aiming for 10k+, and finished up with 14k. I'm happy with anything over 30 k for the week, so that's got me off to a good start.

Saturday 28th November 2020
Rounded off the week with a #notparkrun and a new PB for the 5k of 37.51, a full 2 minutes off my previous best!
I knew I was on for a good time, when my Garmin was showing an average pace of below 12 minutes per mile. I'd seen that figure briefly in last week's #notparkrun, but today, it showed 11.50+ consistently. So, with 10k on Monday, the 17k I did on Wednesday, and 5k today, my total for the week is 32k.

Thursday 26th November 2020
Out in my Vegan Runners vest this morning, and did my longest run to date - 17k, beating the 16k I did last month, including a few hill reps. I was aiming for 17k, since that's a third of the distance I hope to cover each day on my Ultra. My aim is to do 3 of these in one day sometime early in the NY. Towards the end of my run I passed a gang of bricklayers I'd seen several times on my runs, and they'd always given me a cheery wave as I ran past. This morning I stopped and told them why I was often to be seen out running - and they were well impressed. I also threw in the fact that I'd tried to run 40 years ago, but my knees became too painful to  continue. But since going vegan my arthritis has completely disappeared and I'm now pain free. I urged them to watch The Game Changers, using my usual line of "It's about top sports men and women going vegan and finding their performance is enhanced - and not just on the playing field." Laughter all round. I'll check back on these guys - might offer them a few Anonymous for the Voiceless cards next time.
Just to add, I did my run this morning in a fasted state - not having eaten for 23 hours at the completion of my run.

Wednesday 19th November 2020
Amazing run this morning - 13k to add to the 2 runs of 12k earlier in the week. I started by doing a series of 10 hill reps, which I want to incorporate more and more into my training. I had two outreach/repping encounters - the first was not long after I had started. As I paused to post a letter, I was addressed by a bloke on a bike, who complemented me on my running. "I watched you run up that slope and you were running well - I'm a runner myself and I know good running when I see it." Turned out he was a vegetarian, who couldn't go vegan because of "Cheese!" But I think - I hope - I planted a few seeds. 
Later on in the run I said "Hello" and 'Thank you" to a couple of women when they moved aside to let me pass. They were very friendly, saying they'd seen me running often - so I told them I was training for an ultra next year, and about Viva! the charity I was supporting. They were quite chatty, asking about my Vegan Runners shirt, so I told them that the VR club is the largest running club in the UK - one of them said she was going to Google that when she got home. One of women had done a 10k in the past. I was able to do a bit of outreach, since they were curious, asking about my age, how long I'd been vegan. One of them had arthritis so I told them about the benefits of whole food plant-based nutrition - they got the whole spiel! As I left, they said they would check me out on FB. 
It's been my intention all along on these runs to portray myself as The Friendly Vegan Runner - I make a point of greeting everyone with a big smile and 'Hello'. If I come across any dog walkers - and I meet quite a few - I try and greet the dog first, generally complementing the walkers on having a lovely dog. Any parents with children, I always greet the child first, if it's appropriate. Wearing a Vegan Runners vest, I feel as if I'm representing the vegan community - I want people to see vegans in a good light, as it were. 



Wednesday 4th November 2020
Oh dear, I'm supposed to be updating this weekly! :(

Week beginning 19th October I did 19k, aiming for an average of 20k, so that's not too bad. Then the week of the 26th I did 22k.
18k so far this week: I did a 5k on Monday, and this morning I ran 8 miles - or almost 13k.



Saturday 17th October 2020
3rd run of the week this morning - overcast and a bit chilly with very little wind, just about perfect! I did my #notparkrun 5k in 40.44 which was a bit slow, but I wasn't going for pace. I finished with 9.3k, which took me 1:19, and gave me 30k for the week - my present target. On 4 or 5 occasions during the run I found myself thinking how comfortable this all felt. But I was reminded of a quote from one of Rich Roll's podcasts, "Becoming comfortable with feeling uncomfortable". I've got a bit to go before that kicks in, but I feel as if I'm on my way. Lots of smiles from other runners and walkers - plus nice comments from a couple of older guys:
"You're an example to us all." And,
"You put me to shame!"
All in all a very enjoyable run. 

Saturday 10th October 2020
First #nonparkrun, actually running outside this morning! I ran the 5k I've mapped out for myself in 40.07, which is 24 seconds faster than when I ran it earlier in the week. This was my third run outside and my 4th of the week. The reason I've finally made the break is that the 16k I did round my garden on Monday made the track so muddy, I spent half an hour washing the mud off the concrete part of the circuit. My total for the week is 31k in four runs altogether.

Monday 5th October 2020
The forecast for this morning was dry up until around 10.00am, when the chances of rain were said to be 50% - so I set off just after 8, planning to do at least 10k, but hoping to do more. In the event, the conditions were just right for running, mainly overcast, with a hazy sun breaking through intermittently - and the rain never materialised! So I just kept going up to 16k, or 10 miles, in a time of  2:18.26. 
- 16.34
5 - 24.28
6 - 8.23
7 - 8.18
8 - 8.25
10 - 17.00
11 - 8.45
12 - 8.59
13 - 9.10
14 - 9.12
15 - 9.22
16 - 9.40

Thursday 1st October 2020
Another PB this morning - a 10k in 1:19.23, knocking a full five minutes off my previous time. I've got to attribute this to my new birthday Asics trainers, a present from my kids.
Here are the split times; I'm quite pleased with kms 9 and 10, where I decided to push on a bit. It's always good to know there's something left in the tank at the end of a run. Oh, and just to say I ran in a fasted state - I last ate at 1.30 yesterday. I'm an advocate of Intermittent Fasting, so I do a 24 hour fast each week. Today I can eat again at 1.30.

1 - 8.08
2 - 7.54
3 - 8.04
4 - 7.50
5 - 7.53
6 - 7.55
7 - 8.01
8 - 8.12
9 - 7.40
10 - 7.41

Saturday 26th September 2020
Second PB this week, this morning for my #notparkrun, with 37.08 for the 5k, following my 37.16 earlier in the week. That's an improvement of 1 minute 23 seconds this month. 27k for the week.


Monday 21st September 2020

My long run today was 17k - a PR in that it's the longest run I've done, and it took me 2:26.45. For my personal benefit, my split times for each km were:
1 - 8.12
2 - 8.06
3, 4 and 5 - 24.40
6 - 8.33
7 - 8.19
8 - 8.34
9 and 10 - 17.25
11 - 8.53
12 - 8.59
13 - 8.55
14 - 9.10
15 - 9.12
16 - 9.18
17 - 8.24

Very pleased with that last km - I always feel I've got something left in the tank, so I try and prove it by putting in a bit of a sprint towards the end of my run. This tells me that I could have gone on for at least another km.

Wednesday 16th September 2020

ATM, I'm running a long run and two shorter ones each week, gradually building up the distance. On Monday of this week I ran 16k, and this morning I did 6k. Over the summer I was averaging around 20k a week, but from the end of July, when I decided to do an ultra, I've been gradually increasing this. Last week I did 25k and I'm on course to do 28k this week.

I ran my 6k this morning in 46:42 - the first 5k I averaged 7.50 per km, and the last I ran in 7.33. I almost always finish feeling I can do more, so I up the pace in the last km.


πŸ˜‰


I was asked where I got my will-power from. 
 I guess it comes from being vegan, mainly. I have a driving ambition to be the best version of a vegan as I can. To try and set an example to others, and hopefully inspire them to be the best version of themselves that they can be. With omnivores, it's about trying to convince them that, although they might think themselves as good people, there isn't one that wouldn't be a better person if they went vegan. With vegans who might think of themselves as a good person, there isn't one who wouldn't be a better person if they became active and spoke up for the animals. 
Got a bit side-tracked there...
But my determination comes from the animals - I figured that the further I ran, the more money I would raise, the more animals I would help. And I was inspired by people like Fiona Oakes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiona_Oakes
Also brave people like Matt Johnson of DxE, who confronted the owner of the farm in Iowa where they were roasting pigs alive - and got the practice stopped.
Here's one other thing - we are all capable of more than we think we are. It's just a question of bringing whatever it is you think you would like to do into your comfort zone. Once you do that, it's easy. 
"To think, and not to act, is not to have thought at all." Shinichi Suzuki. πŸ’šπŸ™‚

I was curious about why it was that I got stronger, day-by-day, through my challenge, so I asked the question on the vegan athlete's FB page - 'Athlegans-vegan strength and fitness':
Got a question for you guys: Some of you may remember that last month I did a challenge for a fundraiser. The challenge I set myself was to run 100k over ten days - 10k every day. I thought - and the advice I received told me to expect this - that I would get progressively more tired and exhausted as I went through the 10 days. But the opposite happened! As I got to the 4th, 5th and 6th days, I found myself getting stronger and stronger - so that I was able to do more each day in the latter stages than at the beginning. Because I was getting stronger, I decided to run more than 10k - one day I did 14k. My total at the end was 110k in the ten days. Not only that, but I had no twinges, aches or pains. The only thing worthy of comment was that, in the beginning, if I sat too long, I found I was a little stiff when I stood up. But that went away, and even after the tenth day, I had no stiffness.
Is there an explanation for this? The only factor which may be relevant is that, for the past two and a half years I've been averaging 10,000 press ups a month - on my way to 1 million before my 90th birthday. So, I was pretty fit when I started my running career at the end of March.

And I received this response, from Tobias SjΓΆsten

"It's formally called Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand (SAID). Basically, if you stress your body hard enough to disrupt homeostasis but not too hard to exceed your ability to recover, then good things happen. Your body literally changes to be able to do more of the initial stressor – the running, in this case.
Or what normal people call training and improving by doing. πŸ˜‰

Great work, 
Paul
!"

Since then, to keep things ticking over, I've been doing about 20k a week - 1 x 10k and 2 x 5k. And now that I've got an Ultra to aim for, I'm upping that figure by one or 2 kms a week. This week - starting 14th September - I'll probably do 26k.

1 comment:

  1. DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!
    DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!

    ReplyDelete