Why I have gone vegan

Undoubtedly, choosing the way of the vegan is gaining momentum. Each person will have their reasons. Here are mine.

There’s little doubt in my mind that I have chosen a vegan diet over the past couple of months to test the effects in me. It is likely I have been influenced by notable ultrarunners such as Scott Jurek and Capra Corbett.

(Being slightly philosophical for a moment, any decision that we make is the culmination of a range of beliefs, most of which are hidden away from our conscious awareness).

So how has it gone? It’s been interesting, that’s for sure, including other people’s responses. All in all, I can summarise by saying that I feel more energised, my running times appear to have improved (maybe I’m pushing harder?) and my digestive system seems to be working better (less bloating, discomfort, lighter). It is early days.

At the end of the blog are some of my favourite vegan things to eat

Initially being vegan meant a very different shopping experience. I had to really think about what I was going to eat and hence what I needed to buy. It has become easier with new habits of where to look, such as knowing where the oat milk is located.

Vegan mince pie

Then there is the challenge of being vegan and eating a healthy diet. The two do not have to co-exist. It would be easy to go for processed vegan food, all neatly packed at the end of one aisle in my local supermarket. When you look, there are plenty of vegan options, replacing day to day foods: cheese, sweets, biscuits, chocolate, bacon, sausages etc. I have had some scrumptious vegan sausages!

A recent trip to Liverpool meant finding places to eat. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was rather easy, with plenty of vegan options. I even saw a vegan chicken burger ad on a huge billboard from a well known fast food company — not my thing, but an interesting shift.

Beyond being curious and seeking to build wellness, there is also the positive effect upon the planet. Each person doing what they can adds up. This could be reducing plastic, easing back on animal products, or less travel.

From a scientific perspective much more research is needed. The recent film Game Changers provoked controversy with opponents claiming that the studies used were poor quality. However, if the reaction is to reduce the consumption of meat, this can only be a benefit. Many of the people who adjusted their diets subsequently were probably ready for change for different reasons. Whilst some of the quoted research may be inconclusive or lack certainty, it is pointing us in a particular direction.

Veganism is growing. And with the increasing numbers of people choosing this approach, there must be further research to understand the consequences. For instance, are there risks that need countering with vitamin supplements?

Only a couple of months in, I am unable to make any concrete claims about my case study of one. However, I will stick with it for now. Besides, much of the food is so delicious!

Beetroot juice

RS


Some of may favourite dishes so far…

Vegan Indian food with jackfruit, soya, tofu and vegetables

Roasted vegetables with tofu

Coffee with oat milk

Sauerkraut

Avocado & green vegetables

Fruit smoothies with chia seeds

Granola with oat milk or soya

Vegan sausages for breakfast with beans and mushrooms

Bean burritos with home made guacamole and salsa, plus vegan cheese

Lentils — spiced and seasoned

Quorn chilli and rice

Peanut butter on toast

Sweet potato and carrot soup

Green soup — beans, peas, broccoli and more

Humous as a dip or in a sandwich

Beetroot

And there’s so much more to try!

#upandrun 10 Hampton Court to Henley

Setting sun coming into Marlow

#upandrun 10 Hampton Court to Henley

76k along the Thames Path taking in Shepperton, Chertsey, Staines, Windsor, Maidenhead, Marlow and finally the home of one of the most famous regattas

The final ultra of the year for Understand Pain saw me running along the Thames, finishing at Henley-upon-Thames bridge. It’s a flat route meaning that most of the strides were similar, making for monotony as a challenge. The only variation was traversing fields, featuring uneven ground — tyre tracks, mole hills, divets etc. This was especially interesting in just the light of my head torch. Patches of fog provided additional fun.

Now it is time for some planning: monthly races and solos for 2020. There are so many to choose from! My thinking is to go for a 100-miler and another mountain race. I have some unfinished business on Snowdon, but perhaps Europe.

The UP workshops will have a different look in 2020. There are a couple of new projects afoot, which I will announce in more details once the details are finalised.

Exciting times ahead!

Meanwhile, here are some photos from #upandrun 10.

Runnymede

River Thames

Windsor Castle

RS

#upandrun 10

The route for #upandrun 10
Thames Path

#upandrun 10

Here’s the plan. Hampton Court to Reading; just over 50 miles along the Thames Path heading west.

Never has the need to understand pain been greater. Undoubtedly we are in times of great suffering for many reasons — mainly driven by our choices as humans on this planet. Whilst suffering is undoubtedly part of the lived experience for all of us, we can do so much better at being there for each other, regardless of background. At the end of the day, we all have the the same needs and desire for a fulfilling life.

Understand Pain plays its part by bringing practical knowledge into society so that people can improve their lives. My preference is face to face at the workshops: UP for people suffering persistent pain, for GPs and for healthcare professionals. The latter includes student physiotherapists who are the next generation and can make a huge difference. Last week I was enormously enthused by a sizeable group of MSc and BSc physio students at Leeds Beckett University where I ran an impromptu session (read here); a kind of surprise gig….

My hope and dream is much more of this as the story gathers momentum — so please share far and wide!

Look out for the next blog and the pics of #upandrun 10 on the day >> @painphysio on Twitter and @paincoach on Insta.

3000k for #upandrun 2019

3000k for #upandrun and on go!

On Friday night Strava told me that I had reached 3000k for the year so far. Undoubtedly, the cause Understand Pain (UP) has been a massive motivator together with a sense of purpose, echoing the thoughts of Dean Karnazes: ‘…ultrarunning is a noble pursuit and has brought purpose to many people’s lives, as it has mine.’

However, there’s a long way to go. Society needs to develop its understanding of pain: what it is really and why it can persist. That’s one of the main purposes of UP.

My intention is to continue with the ultrarunning to raise awareness of the problem of pain. There is no end goal; just to keep going as in the style of shuffling mile after mile. Along the way, I hope to gain partners who want to share the story of making a positive impact in society (do get in touch here if you are interested). For example, UP recently has teamed up with a large healthcare company to work on a really exciting Pain Coaching project — more on this soon.

But, none of this would have been possible without the support and encouragement of a number of people. Therefore, I dedicate this blog and the #upandrun 3000 to them with massive gratitude. Some I know well and some I know of; all have helped in their own unique ways and many won’t have realised!

Here they are, and there will be others! My wife Jo (boy does she have to put up with a lot! Socks, shoes, driving, boring running talk, my new vegan diet…), my kids, Mike Pegg, Jeff Weigh, Chris Peskett, Adharanand Finn, Catra Corbett, Richard Askwith, Scott Jurek, Charlotte at Fancy Running, Kilian Jornet, Dean Karnazes, Rich Roll, Michael Gervais, Cody Royle, Russell Brand, Mick Thacker, Sanjay from Pursu, and Georgie with whom I started the whole UP project.

And as Mike Pegg always says: on we go.

Indeed we do. Indeed we must.

#upandrun No.8

Richmond Stace co-founder of UP running for #upandrun

It is time to think about the October #upandrun ultramarathon now that I have recovered from the Snowdonia adventure and am back to running around locally.

There are several choices, both of which are solos. That is when the runner heads off on his or her own, unsupported, making their way from A to B.

The one I shall go for is Richmond to Oxford along the Thames Path. Previously I ran from Hampton Court to the Thames Barrier, so this will be going the other way; out of town so to speak.

The route is 100 miles. I will chunk this into two days, finding somewhere to stop overnight. Any suggestions are welcome. Preferably somewhere quiet, with nourishing food where I can dry out and put my feet up for a few hours before setting off again. All I will carry is what I can fit in my backpack.

So that’s the plan. I will confirm the dates soon.

If you are interested in sponsoring this run and the October UP workshop, or sponsoring/associating with #upandrun do get in touch >> richmond@specialistpainphysio.com

South Coast Challenge 29th August

Running a ultramarathon along a coastal path

6th ultra: South Coast Challenge

The next in the #12in12 ultra series for #upandrun is the South Coast Challenge 100km, from Eastbourne to Arundel.

The course follows an undulating route across the South Coast taking in Beachy Head, Brighton and the South Downs along the way.

You can follow the run on the day on Twitter with the usual hashtag #upandrun & @painphysio and on Instagram. I will be posting photos and videos on the way round.

And as ever, the purpose is to raise awareness of the problem of pain; the No1 global health burden.

You can support our work here >> thank you

RS

UP Ambassador Chris Peskett at Grossglockner Ultra 2019: in pictures

Grossglockner Ultra — read here

Chris Peskett ~ ultrarunner & UP ambassador

Those hills look alive….

Packed and ready

 

Night running

Check out that scenery!

Look out for part 2!

#upandrun

#upandrun is an Understand Pain project raising awareness of the problem of pain — the No1 global health burden. We are working to reduce the enormous suffering caused by chronic pain that affects millions and costs billions.

Ultra before work #upandrun

Thursday morning >> ultra before work

You could say that ultrarunning is addictive. A few years ago, a study entitled ‘Would You Stop Running if You Knew It Was Bad for You? The Ultramarathon Runner Response’, found….what result do you think (n=1349)?

…that 75% would NOT stop running, even if it was found to be bad for you. Those who would stop (25%) ‘..were older, more likely to be married, had more children, were running less, were more health oriented, were less achievement oriented, and had less psychological motivations for running.’

One of the most fielded questions is why? Why do you do it? Last weekend I ran for a couple of hours to drive my wife home. Yesterday I ran for a few hours with an old friend (old in that we have known each other for almost 40 years, not that he is old…) to a BBQ. We arrived sweaty but not smelly. No-one wanted to hug us. You just fit it in, the mileage that is. Early starts, a mode of transport, when home alone etc etc.

Reading some of the writings of the great ultra runners, all will give their reasons. They are personal and varied. Some of my reasons include pursuing a purpose (#upandrun to ease suffering and improve lives affected by chronic pain), wanting to know how far I can go, pushing beyond the pain barrier, exploring consciousness, feeling fit and well (despite consistent aches and pains from the running — paradox?), seeing places, being alone, meeting people, being part of something a bit mad, to impress my wife :), and more. This is in no particular order, although it is often my purpose that keeps me going.

This coming Thursday I am running from Hampton Court to the Thames Barrier along the Thames Path before doing my afternoon clinic: an ultra before work. An ultra is anything beyond a marathon (26.2 miles). This is part of the prep for Race to the Stones on July 13th, which is 100k.

Thames Path
Last section up to the Thames Barrier

I’ll be setting off early, so if you are out on a run, walk or commute along the river and you see me, do give me a shout, tweet a pic or on Instagram using the #upandrun hashtag.

The next Understand Pain Talk and workshop is on July 3rd >> read here

ultrarunning
Richmond Stace

RS