Friday, November 29, 2013

Boulevard Bolt Race Recap

   Yesterday was Thanksgiving, so Dudley and I headed down to Belle Meade to run the Boulevard Bolt. This is an awesome race that races money for organizations that help the homeless. It was a staggering 17 degrees when we woke up yesterday. Not exactly weather that makes you want to go outside and go for a run. But then you think about WHY you're running - to help people who aren't fortunate enough to have a warm home. Makes you think twice about bitching about running in the cold. At least we have the choice to be out there.

   For those of you who aren't locals, Belle Meade is definitely the wealthiest area in Nashville, and I read at one point was one of the Top Five Wealthiest cities in the US. It's a small city, really more of a mailing address with a city hall and a police force, but it's residents are loaded. The homes in Belle Meade, especially on Belle Mead Boulevard (where the Bolt is run) are just gorgeous. Well, some are gorgeous - some are just huge. Either way, it's an impressive backdrop for a run. 
   Unfortunately, what Belle Meade doesn't have is a lot of parking - especially to handle the 8,300 people who registered for the Bolt this year. (Apparently, the Bolt is one of the largest 5-mile races in the country. I believe it. It was packed yesterday.) The good news is that the Bolt is well aware of this shortcoming and has a shuttle service from the Temple, which is about a mile away. I was worried that we'd have to stand outside shivering for a long time while we waited for a shuttle, but we didn't. YAY for organized races!
So, so cold.

   Once we got to the race site, we started looking for friends - I think I knew about 20 people who were running the Bolt yesterday. The problem with cold races is that everyone is so bundled up that you can't recognize them. Any recognizable item, like an East Nasty shirt, was covered up. Well, except for my friend Kim. She was wearing a turkey on her head and I was able to actually find her.  

Jamie (left) and Kim. Who needs a running hat when you can wear a turkey on your head?  

   There isn't anything too interesting about the actual race. It's an out-and-back on the Boulevard. It's actually a tough little course in that it has several false flats. But Dudley and I never really planned on running it because of the amount of people, so we just went with our own pace, and it was great! Crowded races are a lot less stressful when you don't care about your time. We were able to see the top finishers on their way back to the finish. They were HAULING!  I think the top male was laying down something like 4:30 miles. CRAZY.

We're about 1/2 way to the front - and there are people on the opposite side of the road, as well.

   Fortunately, the sun was shining for the entire race, and though it never got over 25 degrees, it really wasn't that bad out if you were moving. The best part of the race was looking at everyone's costumes. Unfortunately, I don't have photos, but I DO have a clip to a news story, which happens to feature my turkey-hat wearing friend Kim. It also shows some of the funny costumes - I love the guy with the pie on his head! Check it out here.
   Overall, it was a great race and a perfect way to start Thanksgiving!  Hope you all had a great one!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Races!

   Thanksgiving is in two days - a time for family, friends and yummy, yummy food. It's also a time of Holiday traditions. In some families, the tradition could be always going to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving dinner and then watching football. Or it might be that Aunt Edna is the one who makes the pumpkin pie and Lord help the person who claims they can make a better one. Who knows? Maybe you watch the Macy's parade and then volunteer at your local homeless shelter. My point being - many people do the same thing for Thanksgiving, year after year.
   In my family, we have one tradition - my mom gives everyone a little Godiva chocolate turkey. Generally, this is found next to our place-setting on the Thanksgiving table. But sometimes, she has to mail it to us if we're not together for Turkey Day. It's a little thing, but, man, do I get upset if my mom forgets our chocolate Thanksgiving turkey! (Speaking of which, I haven't received ours for this year yet…might have to make a phone call.)

Gobble Gobble!  

   Over the past few years though, a new tradition has been created in the Mylls / Lightsey household - that of the Thanksgiving Day run. This started out innocently enough - Dudley and I weren't married yet and decided to do the 5-mile Boulevard Bolt together. Though I don't remember exactly, it was probably his idea since he was much more of the runner than I was back then (I HATED running). What I DO remember is completely blowing off the Bolt that year because it was cold. This is really funny to me now because it was probably in the 40's, which really isn't bad running weather at all.
   Anyway, fast forward 9 years and the Thanksgiving run has become a tradition in our home. It's to the point where it feels weird if we don't run the Bolt, or a Turkey Trot or a Gobble Jog on Thanksgiving morning. Last year, we were traveling and there wasn't a race that worked for our schedules, so I went out and ran solo - just so I could run on Thanksgiving. And by looking at the growing number of Thanksgiving Day races, I'm not the only one who feels this way.
   Why are Thanksgiving Day races so special? Well, I think part of it is that it's a fun event that the entire family can do together. Most races are 5k, which is a distance that can be walked by the non-runners in the family. Most, if not all, of the Thanksgiving races, support a local charity - always a good thing. Plus, other than a Halloween-themed race, I don't think any race has more costumed runners than a Thanksgiving race. You have the customary Thanksgiving costumes of Pilgrims, Indians and turkeys, but then you also find the Christmas costumes of Santa, elves and reindeer. Being that Thanksgiving overlaps with Hanukkah this year, I have one friend who is coming dressed to the Bolt as "Super Jew." I have no idea what that means, but I can't wait to see her costume.
   This year, Dudley and I are again Bolting. It will be more of a shuffle/jog rather than a run because there will be over 8,000 people at the race. But that's OK. It's really more of getting out, being part of the community and getting a little exercise before the Thanksgiving feast. I don't care about my time. If this sounds like fun, you should join a Thanksgiving Day race in your area! Nashville runners - here are a few races near you! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Boulevard Bolt (Nashville) -
Music City Thanksgiving 4 / 8 miler (Nashville) -
Indian Lake Loop (Hendersonville) -
BoroDash (Murfreesboro) -
Turkey Trot 5k (Franklin) -
Two Rivers Ford Turkey Trot 5k (Mt. Juliet) -

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

No Meat Athlete

   Tonight I went to a meet & greet at my local Fleet Feet running store for vegan runner Matt Frazier, otherwise known as the "No Meat Athlete."  He qualified for Boston on a vegan diet, and is now an ultra-runner.  He's currently on a book tour promoting his book, the appropriately named, "No Meat Athlete."

Runs on plants!

   I was curious about this book, and what Matt had to say because I was a pescatarian (eating seafood only) from ages 20 to 35. But here's the thing - I don't really cook. So, when I say "pescatarian," I really mean I survived on cereal, pasta, potatoes, salads, peanut butter/jelly and rice. I didn't create "meals" - I just foraged for whatever was in my pantry, which generally wasn't much. (A friend opened my refrigerator one time and found only condiments - true story.) Obviously, I didn't exactly eat a balanced diet. Fortunately, I worked for an awesome restaurant (still do) and I would order salmon or shrimp every once in a while. I only started eating poultry again because a nutritionist told me I wasn't eating as much protein I needed to maintain the workouts that I do. Shocker, right? And being that I don't really cook, it was much easier to just start eating chicken then learn how to cook more varied pescatarian meals that added more protein.
   You might be wondering, if I'm eating poultry and seafood, why did go to a vegan book-signing? Well, let me back up a bit - back to when I was a kid. I was that weird kid that actually LIKED eating fruits and vegetables - it was the meat that I didn't want to eat. My mom would always have to get on me for not finishing my chicken / steak / whatever. It wasn't an ethical or health issue - I was too young to know about those things. It's just that my system didn't crave meat. This continued as I got older, and as I started "cooking" more for myself, I ate meat less and less. Finally, when I was in college, my band mates (yes, I was in a rock band - but that's for another blog post) all thought it would be cool if we all became vegetarian. (Well, pescatarian...we didn't know that there were different levels of vegetarianism at the time.) So, that's what we did. For everyone else, this dietary change lasted anywhere from a weekend to a month. For me - it lasted until I met with that nutritionist. 
   But now, I'm thinking about going back to pescatarian again, if not vegetarian. (I don't think I could ever be vegan - I love cheese too much.) There are several reasons for this. The first one is, as previously stated, I just don't crave meat. It's become more and more of a chore to eat chicken or turkey.  It's like I'm a kid again - I know I should eat it, but I just don't want to. I can almost hear my mother saying, "Just take one more bite of chicken and then you can leave the table." I'd like to actually enjoy my meals, rather then forcing myself to eat them.    
   And the other reason is ethical. Not meaning to be preachy, but I'm a huge animal lover and it's hard for me to wrap my head around eating something that was once walking/swimming around. That's probably why eating meat is such a chore. Am I a GIANT hypocrite because I own and love leather shoes and purses? Yes, yes I am. Don't judge me. I'm working on it.
   So, that's why I went to the book signing. I wanted to hear Matt's story and learn a little bit more about his lifestyle. It was interesting because he's not a nutritionist. He's just a regular guy who incorporated this diet into his life and it worked for him. He actually has a pretty funny story. Like many people, Matt starting running with a few friends who decided to run a marathon. Not knowing anything about marathons, they decided to sign up for Boston. They quickly realized that you just can't sign up for Boston - that you have to qualify. And that began Matt's four-year quest to qualify for Boston, which he finally did after committing to a vegan lifestyle. It would have been nice for him to have some science behind his success, but he didn't. It might be in the book, I don't know. Unfortunately, his book shipment didn't arrive in time for the signing, and he only had 10 books to sell. I didn't get one, but I'm planning on ordering it online. I'll give a review after I finish!