It's not often I return from a long run and rush upstairs to type the messages running through my mind.
In reality, that concept was what started this blog in the first place. 4 years ago when I was just starting to run (a few km's a week), I quickly realized my mind was beginning to escape what had become 'the norm' of a dark place I let consume me.
The more I ran, the more my mind would release.
If by now you don't know my story, here's an "in a nutshell" version.
At 16 I was involved in a car crash that resulted in sustaining an acquired brain injury. For the next 8 to 9 years, I had no idea what had happened to me, the changes that were occuring and the person I had become. I was quickly consumed by addictions; food, tobacco, recreational drugs, alcohol, really anything I experimented with and enjoyed. I had lost almost all my friends from my the pre-car accident days, and my weight had skyrocketed - to a peak of 230lbs (yes, really).
I started the blog to coincide and help promote the Not-For-Profit I had started, Troy's Run Foundation (now a Registered Charity). When I ran across Canada in 2012, each day I wrapped up my run I would quickly jump in RV, fire up the laptop and write a daily blog (log of the days events). Two months into the run, I ended up having to add a video blog to help give me some time to stretch/re-fuel post-run.
Following the successful completion of my run across Canada in support of Troy's Run Foundation (please DONATE here) - I blogged semi-regularly, and soon it became weekly, then monthly and so the story goes on. My life started to take shape, for that - I'm grateful. Things really started to come together for me.
In 2012 I was able to get my weight under 200lbs, finishing my cross-Canada trek at 190lbs. I was still a believer that the Western diet could be tinkered with to make healthy, a few dairy products here and there, cut out the meat - how hard could it be. Although I believed I had it all figured out, deep down I knew something wasn't right. How on earth could I run across Canada and not drop more than 10 pounds. I still had a gut, still felt pretty crappy after large meals... what was it?
In 2013, I knew it was time to alter my vegetarian diet (started in 2009) and clean it up a bit. The old saying of 'Junk-Food-atarian' was my life from 2009-2012. On January 1st, 2013, myself, along with my now Wife (married Nov 9, 2013) began our lives as 'Plant-Based, Whole Food lifestyle' followers.
I had traded in my nasty addictions for much better uses. Reading and studying nutrition and health, running and fitness - you name it, I was reading it. I spend 2013 learning how to become a better runner, while also trying to conquer my food demons. Sure there were some slips, but for the most part - an overall success.
Today - I continue to read. It's true what they say, 'Knowledge is power'. Something they leave out though... knowledge also creates a stir. You see - some 'educated' persons who learn from the old school techniques often don't want to 'hear it'. It's never good to be a no-it-all... never. BUT when you study up to date literatures and read both sides of the debates and form an educated opinion... trust yourself that your knowledge may be as good on a topic as that someone who studied the same topic, but their information may have been created many moons ago. If you are highly educated, believe in yourself too - just remain a scholar and don't ever stop studying up to date literatures.
So 2013 comes and goes and boy was it a rush...
In 2014, more energy, more running and more learning. I've taken my knowledge and education of nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle to a whole new level and it's left me reaping some incredible results. I've been able to cut out the man-made gluten gut killers (no I'm not 'gluten free', but yes I sort of am)... I still will eat glutens, that are NOT man made. Think oatmeals and such... as for my body weight, I've been able to cut my body fat to below 10 percent and sustain this. That's something I couldn't do before while being able to keep up with the high food demands I required. Reminder: I eat every 2 hours or so... I've finally been able to understand the importance of eating nutrient rich foods and I laughed away the old protein myths. I'm still strong in my upper body (able to perform pull ups daily), and yet all my proteins come from plant sources ...
My diet consists of plants and fruits and a bare minimum of 'man-made' foots. If it comes in a box, it probably isn't good for you.
My speed has increased dramatically to a point where I'm averaging less then 4:50 per kilometer (that's 2 minutes off my per-km pace in 2012, 1:30 from my pace in 2013). My body recovers at an extremely quick rate. I'm now able to train much harder, and recover quicker. I wake up in the morning, run a quick clip (speed work) with a minimum 6km distance (max around 12km), go to work, and run again the afternoon anywhere from 10 - 25kms. I repeat this schedule 3 to 4 times a week, and run daily 6 days a week.
I credit my eating habits for 90 percent of these results. An adjustment to a more minimal shoe gets a lot of the credit (started helping my body recognize the natural feel of running). I know I still have a long ways to go. I Know I'm capable of running with the best Ultra runners in the world, I just may not be able to keep up with their insane speeds. Hopefully one day though!
I don't care to run fast, in fact - it's usually the least of my worries... I just want to be able to run forever.
The more I run, the less I hurt, the better I feel mentally, and the more aware I am emotionally.
Running is beautiful.
Runner's Review note:
I'll soon be teaming up with a great team, Earth Runners, who're based out of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California to review a pair of their running sandals. I hope you take some time to check out their great work. Here's the link to their website for anyone interested. Earth Runners
Shout out to my man Rich Roll who hit 4 MILLION downloads this past week for his incredible podcast - check it out here (Rich Roll Website)
Peace + Plants + Run