Grand America: Vegan Style & Running a Half (half-marathon, that is)

A few weeks back, I ran a half-marathon.

I ran it in one hour, 49 minutes.

I haven’t run since. Not that I don’t like running, it’s just I set a goal to run a half-marathon, I trained hard for it, dedicated myself, ran it in good time, and now it’s on to other aspects of my life. Like teaching. Fall semester just started at the university, where I teach 4 sections of fitness classes, so that will become my daily workout, more or less.

Here are a few things I learned from my half-marathon experience:

1. Running can be fun. For some people. I always ran with my IPOD and listening to music, podcasts, ect. so I always felt I accomplished a little more than working out. To be honest, even after this experience, I’ve learned that I actually don’t enjoy running that much. I enjoy it a lot more than I ever did. That said, it’s still work, not really all that fun. And I like variety. So running day in a day out, well lets just say, thank goodness for my IPOD and the ability to run outdoors.

2. Running 25-30 miles a week forced me to eat even more. And I didn’t like it. I felt like I had to eat ALL of the time! I would eat dinner, than afterwards, I finish it off with a huge bowl of cereal. My stomach was full but I needed more calories. Nursing and running to and fro after my kids all day long didn’t help matters any. 4,000 calories a day isn’t what it’s cracked up to be! I much prefer eating like a normal person. I’ll stick to 2,500 calories a day, thank you.

3. Running, while in a race, is different from running for fun. Lots more adrenaline involved.

4. Training for a half-marathon, seriously, takes A LOT of time. Don’t know if I like devoting that much time to just one thing, but it was a good thing for me do over the summer months when things were a bit more open and at least I could run outside.

There I am, so happy (an understatement) to finally being done with the race! I’m in the purple tank top. Running a half-marathon is much like childbirth–a horrificly painful experience, followed by the elation of knowing you’re done and that you’ve created something wonderful. In this case, I created an experience that I can look back on and be proud.

My mantra, that I kept repeating to myself throughout the race: “I don’t care how you feel, run, run hard, and don’t stop ’til you’re done.”

These crazy people are the reason I ran the race in the first place. I got suckered in, though glad I did, because sometimes all you need is some positive peer pressure to get you to do things that you wouldn’t otherwise do. Pictured here are my brothers, my sister (next to me, and also vegan), my sister-in-law (in the pink), and my brother-in-law (the one behind my sister). I’m proud of the fact that of everyone, I got the best time (I’ve earned bragging rights, haven’t I?). It was so much fun running it with everyone, a great experience I definitely want to do again, maybe next summer. I love these people!

Switching gears drastically, I wanted to share some pics from a recent fancy schmanzy dinner my husband and I attended. It was held at the Grand America in Salt Lake City for a group of attorneys and spouses. A lot of vegetarians say they’d like to be vegan, but it’s just so hard, especially when eating out. It’s true, you can go most anywhere and there’s bound to be a vegetarian option. But vegetarian option is generally code for: smothered in cheese, butter, oil, and/or eggs.

Ever been to a 5-star hotel? My eyeballs nearly fell out of my head. I could not believe the extravagance (note the never-ending crystal chandeliers behind me). I really am sort of rural, small-town girl at heart, so things like this still amaze me.

I love this picture, because it looks like we both have flowers and feathers growing out of our head. I really look forward to dressing up, and more than that, I love dressing up and going out with my DH. Makes me feel girlie and giddy.
For the dinner portion, I ordered the vegetarian option, knowing full well it would be something very cheesy (it was–pasta with goat cheese, these 5-star hotels really go for it). When the server came to our table I told him I didn’t want cheese in my dish. He, recently new to America, and in broken English said, “Cheese? You want cheese? I get you lots of cheese.” No, no, I didn’t want any cheese, I explained. A few minutes later, a managing food server came over and said, “You lactose intolerant?” Having learned that simplicity is best, I said, “Yes, yes I am.” The lady understood lactose intolerant. Vegan probably wasn’t in her vocabulary, and not wanting to give a lesson on the in’s and out’s of veganism, opted to plead lactose intolerant.

So here is evidence that you CAN eat vegan, wherever you go. In fact, in this case, I think my dish was leaps and bounds cooler than two slabs of flesh and a scoop of potatoes.

Below, is what everyone ate: chicken AND salmon (as if they weren’t getting enough protein!), buttery potatoes, and a wee bit of veggies for color. The vegetables are pretty, but meat, an any form or type, is not the slightest bit tempting or appetizing to me anymore.
Now this, this is what I’m talking about. I don’t even know what this is called, but I can tell you what it is made of–couscous (a type of wheat), mushrooms (between the two beds of couscous), sun dried tomatoes (just a guess here), cranberries, and steamed carrots and asparagus for garnish with a delightful carrot sauce. It was sooo fun to eat something so delicious, that I DID NOT make!!


  1. Katrina
    on September 2, 2009 at 6:09 pm said:

    First of all…. great job on the half-marathon! Second… that meal looks great! I'm still in the don't want to ruffle too many feathers stage and so I still eat cheese when out in these situations, but you've inspired me to speak up. 🙂

  2. ann
    on September 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm said:

    That is so awesome! Both things!

  3. Stephanie
    on September 1, 2009 at 4:22 am said:

    Awesome job! Thanks for posting the pictures, they were fun too.

  4. tbsomeday
    on August 31, 2009 at 8:14 pm said:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!what an awesome accomplishment!! i bet you are so proudi hope to do the same some day…i actually thought i'd do a marathon..but i didn't realize how far they actually were, lol–shows how much into running i amyour dinner looks wonderful!