As my writing moves forward with this blog and if you continue reading you may start to notice a subtle change in focus. A while ago I was “that vegan kid”, you know, the loud, obnoxious one. The one that wore all the t-shirts, went to all the protests, carried themselves with an air of self-righteousness and basically channeled a lot of confusion and anger through the cause of animal liberation. Some of it was well-placed and well-deserved while more of it was, well, just childish. As I matured I began to shift focus with my tactics and found myself becoming quieter and quieter when the issue of animal abuse came up so as not to cause conflict or offense towards others, hoping that my life as an example was activism enough. I think it was a smart move, but over time I became more complacent with this non-confrontational, or at least non-vocal, approach towards addressing the issue. I think I got too comfortable.
Fortunately, I found an approach through my running (via this blog) that allowed me a little more leeway to approach the issue of animal liberation a little more openly and constructively, more mature even, which brought the issue a little more into the open and gave me a little more solace that I was doing “something” to affect the lives of animals. Still, if you have a deeper awareness of this subject, you know that it’s never enough….not until every cage is opened.
Recently, I finally read a book my wife bought for me a few years ago, Eternal Treblinka, which as you can deduce by the title is a comparison of the processes that brought about the holocaust and their links, both theoretical and physical, to the animal holocaust. For whatever reason, this book affected me as a number of books on the subject have in the past and I found my activism reignited, so to speak. The drive to do SOMETHING was as strong as ever, but what? Honestly, I don’t know, but I’m starting with this blog. I know what aspects of animal activism I DON’T want to do and which aspects I CAN’T do (anymore), but now I need to really figure out how I can apply a stronger amount of force to the proper social levers, without reverting to that obnoxious “vegan kid” I once was.
I wish I could tell you that every race I win I’ll donate half of the proceedings to an animal liberation organization, but unfortunately that would be quite an empty gesture as I very rarely win any money in races. So right now all I have is this blog, which I will use to bring the issues surrounding the treatment of animals out into the open a little more. I certainly won’t bail on my running posts (as I’m about to add in a second here), but I’m also going to bring the larger and more important issue of animal liberation to the front of this mediated discussion we tend to have here. Please, don’t take offense. There are larger, more important issues at hand.
Like I said though, I also won’t abandon my thoughts related to (vegan) running. Speaking of….the Vermont 50 is less than a month away. I haven’t discussed my training much since airing the decision to run my first ultramarathon, but part of that is because I’ve been training so much!
As a matter of fact, I’ve been training more than I think I ever have in the past. I have been hitting 100 mile weeks consistently and when the opportunities present themselves I’ve gotten up to a 115 miles, maybe more. But as any ultra runner will tell you, mileage is only part of the equation. Some people run ultras on 40 – 50 miles a week. Others do it on 125 -130 miles. The more important consideration is what KIND of miles one is doing.
Along those lines, my wife worked out a schedule for the week that factors in training time for both of us (myself on two feet, her on two wheels), even if that entails getting up at 4:30 am 3 times a week to get in 15 recovery miles before work. This, however, allows me to also have Tuesday and Thursday nights devoted to training, which happens to be the nights the Athletic Annex team gets together to throw down on our speed work, the key runs to our successes. Add in the weekend long run, which for me has become weekend long runS, and I’m feeling more and more confident for a successful race as the September date nears. I’m putting in big mileage weeks, complementing it with crucial speed work and topping it all off with big long runs on the weekends, most often in Brown County State Park on the beautiful and challenging trails. We have been heading to the hills every chance we can get.
This past weekend we had the fortune of spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday camping at a trailhead with like-minded friends, allowing for hours and hours of uninterrupted trail time. I was able to do 4 hours on the trails both Saturday and Sunday, totaling at LEAST 50 miles in two days, able to recover well and build a massive amount of confidence, and decent amount of fitness, all the same.
Right now we have just under a month until the race. The butterflies are swarming. The legs and lungs are getting stronger. The mind is becoming focused. And I’m getting more and more psyched to unleash my building fitness on the Vermont 50 course, hoping to have a breakthrough race, while never forgetting that humble pie can be vegan too.
So friends, stay tuned. The blog will continue to expand and we’ll make something awesome happen one way or another.