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Best Year of Running Yet!
2011 Personal Records
By Jed Soliz
Hello again! I’m back to talk about my race pr’s as I mentioned I would in my last blog. The last three years have been very running focused for me and I had done a significant amount of training and racing! My fitness really improved over that time and racing was getting better, however the best year was 2011! Coming out of 2010 was interesting. During the fall of 2010, I competed in many cross country races and my improvement from 2009 was impressive! 2010 was the first year I gave up Dairy products. My body could tell a difference. I felt lighter and less sluggish. I recovered quicker and stopped getting sick as much. I was very happy with the change, but by the time new years rolled around, I was ready for another change and to see where that could take me. In 2009, I gave up all meat except for fish, so I had 2 years of eating fish, and not everyday mind you, but on occasion, and was finally ready to give that up and go full Veg because I knew that’s where I wanted to be. Unfortunately, I started off the year with a freak injury that left me almost unable to even walk. I had to take a couple days off of work too. I injured my right hip and it was very painful! I will talk about this more later, but fortunately I had already discovered one of my “miracle supplements” that I had been taking for awhile, called MSM, and I just upped the dosage and took it twice a day without fail and within less then a week, the pain went down to almost nothing! Again, I will discuss MSM in another post about supplements, but the product really is amazing and 100% safe and legal!
So after that short set back, I was back on the trails and pavement. To my astonishment, I was improving rapidly heading toward the end of January. I was increasing my mileage every week and my tempo runs were getting faster then they had ever been! By the end of January my mileage was close to 60 a week and I was feeling great! The first race on my schedule was the Valentine four Miler. That has been traditionally the season kick off race for my running team and I had raced it the last 2 prior years as well. Coming into that race, my 4 mile pr was 22:46, set from the year before. I knew I was ready to beat that pr but I didn’t know by how much. So race day came along and the weather was good and I was feeling good. But it couldn’t be a perfect day, something always goes wrong. Two minutes until the start of the race and I happened to look down at my shoe and to my surprise, my race timing chip was not there. “I must have forgotten to put it on” I franticly told myself. So I sprinted to my truck, which was about 150 yards away, quickly put it on and sprinted back! I got there just in time for the gun to go off and out I flew, already out of breath. Lucky for me, my fitness was so good that I pulled through and hung on for a decent pr! I went21:43. That’s more than a minute record! My first race as a vegetarian was a success!
I continued to train consistently and gaining more fitness every week. Two weeks after the Valentine run, I decided to race a two mile track race. It was an open 2 miler at a high school meet in Elk grove. I was hesitant about doing the race because my focus was a 10 miler I would be doing in Redding the following weekend and I hadn’t done much speed work yet. But, to my surprise, I had another pr with a time of 10:13! Now, onto the ten Miler. So I was running high mileage and longer tempo runs to train for it. I was nervous about the 10 miler because the longest race I had done yet was a 10k. Race day came and I had my plan. I was going to take off really easy and conservative, in order to make sure I had some gas left in the tank for the end. So that’s what I did. I played it safe and took off at a nice gradual pace, just under 6 minutes a mile. A sea of runners flew by me in the first mile, but I wasn’t worried. There was plenty of time to catch up. I just sat, in a nice comfortable pace anywhere from 5:45 to 5:55 per mile for the first five miles. Then, I slowly started to pick up the pace and pick off runners one by one. No one passed me after mile two, but I passed maybe 30 runners after mile 5. I ended up with a time of 57:42 which averages 5 minutes and 47 seconds per mile. My goal was simply to break 60 minutes and I did far better then that! So, another successful race on Vegetarian! Next, I had the “Emerald Across the bay” 12k from Sausalito to San Francisco. This race didn’t sound so challenging because of the distance, but due to the difficulty level of the course. “Across the Bay” 12k is known as one of the toughest road races on the PA(Pacific Association) circuit due to the unpredictable weather and the long hill on the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge! I heard a good amount of negative feedback about the course so I wasn’t too enthusiastic about how I was going to do. However, I surprised myself again! The hill ended up being mild for me and the weather was pretty nice during the race. I had done a fair amount of hill training leading up to this race, so that hill wasn’t too bad and I recovered from it really fast! I found myself passing people left and right on the bridge. I continued to pass several people throughout the race and kept a nice, consistent pace. I ended up with a time of 42:15, which translated to a 5:40 per mile pace. I was very happy with that race and considerate it as, another successful race as a vegetarian!
Now I had over a month to train and prepare for my next big race. It was going to be, the Zippy 5k in San Francisco at Golden Gate Park. I had done this race once before, two years prior in 2009. I had a personal record in that first race there with a time of 17:09. So, I was pretty excited about it this time around because my fitness was at a whole other level, and of course, I had special vegetarian super powers this time around! Anyway, the 5k had traditionally been my focus race distance, so I was use to it and knew just how to train for it. As soon as I recovered from the 12k, I was back to 5k specific training. I was doing 3 to 4 mile tempo runs and lots of intervals and speed work. I was doing anywhere from 200m repeats to 1mile repeats. Over a month of this kind of training got me nice and ready for the race. I had also done a couple of local 5k’s for tune ups. So, my best 5k time prior to this race was 16:15, set at “Run to Feed the Hungry” the year before on Thanksgiving day. I knew I was ready to break that time, but things can always go wrong in a race. Come race day, the whether was not the best. It was cold and drizzly. However, I was ready for it. The gun went off and out I flew! This course isn’t known as the fastest 5k race because the 2nd mile is hilly and there are a lot of turns. My first mile was good. I went 5:07 and right on pace. The second mile was tough and I slowed down to run a 5:22. So there I was, with the hopes a 5k pr almost out of reach unless I pulled off something amazing! Thankfully, something came over me and I got a second wind and I just gave it everything I had! That third mile blew my mind because I was about 5 minutes flat! Now, all I had to do was hold on for the last 1/10 of a mile and that’s what I did! I ended up with a time of 16:02 and still consider that as one of my best races ever! And, I’m sure my mostly vegan diet helped me with that! 😉
The next big race on the schedule was a little over a month away, once again. So, I had a decent stretch of time to train for it and my fitness was already great, I just needed to start doing some 10k specific workouts because that’s what the next distance was. It was the Marin, 10k on Memorial day. So, I peaked my mileage up to between 60 and 70 a week and was doing 4 to 6 mile tempo runs and intervals the same distance as the 5k but more of them. I had done that race both the year before in 2010 and the year before that in 2009. I was in poor shape for the 10k in 2010 so that time was bad but my 2009 time was the record that still stood as my 10k pr. That time was 35:04. I was very excited this time because I knew how much better shape I was in, but once again, I had to put my fitness to the text and prove that I could deliver. Training went smoothly with no set backs or injuries – I was ready! I may have been a little too ready because I took off too fast in the race and had to slow down later to better pace myself. However, the race was still a success with a whopping Pr of one minute and 19 seconds with a time of 33:45! Wow! I was on a roll! Time for some speed! Six days later I had a one mile race. This was going to be interesting because I had been doing some speed work, but not nearly enough to properly train for that distance, but I was feeling good and confident, so I wasn’t worried. My previous one mile pr was set the year before at the same race, “The San Rafael 1 mile” with a time of 4:46. Just six days though, is not a lot of time to recover from a 10k, but it was enough for me! Do to my healthy eating, my recovery seemed abnormally quick! So race day came along speedily. I didn’t really have a plan except to go out fast but not too fast. However, there is so much momentum in that race that it’s almost impossible to not just go with the flow until the second have. Gun goes off, no time to think. First 400 is downhill. I look at my watch, is says “62”! “Holy crap”! I tell myself. I have a hard time running a 62 for a 400m interval on the track, let alone the first quarter of a full mile! The next 400 was a little more realistic but my time was still fast, but that was good. My time at 800 was 2:15, so I just needed to hold on to the pace and I would have a pr! The next 400 was uphill so that time was slow, but thankfully the last 400 was downhill and that’s where I really tore it up! I flew down that hill in what must have been close to sixty seconds for the last 400! I ended with a time of 4:35! An 11 second pr and another notch on my successful Vegetarian race belt!
So that was the end of my spring season, but the beginning of a whole new level of fitness! I took a little easy time after the mile race to relax and recover, but it wasn’t too long before I was out there hitting the hills, once again. I probably did the most training of my life and had the best summer training season in the summer of 2011! Starting in July, I drove up to Auburn nearly every weekend for Hill workouts. I would do anywhere from an hour and a half to 2 hours and 15 minutes. By the end of that summer, I was in the best shape of my life and running 70 to 90 miles a week! My plan was to run some cross country, but my main focus was my first half marathon in October. I decided to train with American River College Cross Country team again, so I could work on speed with the best in the state, but I was doing a lot of long runs and tempo runs on my own to get ready for the half. Although cross country was not my focus, I still did well, running faster times then previous years and beating my old record on the 2 mile time trial course the arc team does every year, with a time of 10:13. I had a freak accident injury that almost put me out for the season in mid August. I was out on an easy run and slipped and fell on some rocks and landed on my right hip. It was very painful and I couldn’t run for a few days. But once again, I seemed to heal rather quickly and was back at it in no time. Ok so, on to the race of the season.
The Humboldt half marathon landed on a Sunday in mid October. This was going to be my main event and challenge of the season, so it was a pretty big deal! Thankfully, I was prepared. All the proper training was under my belt and I was ready! I drove up the day before because it was far and I needed to get all the sleep I could. Alarm goes off, out of bed on race morning feeling good. I started off the morning with my usual race morning rituals, (which I will get into in another post about supplements and diet). Drove to the race, which was only about 5 minutes away, with plenty of time to warm up. The warm up went great and I felt almost weightless, gliding through the redwoods on Avenue of the Giants, feeling at peace and connected to the trees around me!. Finally, time for the race; I did all my strides and the prep was under way. Because this was my first half marathon, my goal was to treat it like the ten Miler I did back in March, but with a little more aggressiveness because I knew my fitness had improved. So the gun went off and I took off easy. There was no strain in the beginning, I just settled in my pace and relaxed. My mile average for the first several miles was 5:45 to 5:50’s per mile, and that’s right about where I wanted to be. I found myself dipping down into the low 5:40’s and then 5:30’s. However, I quickly realized that was too fast and so I threw it back a gear and got my pace back in the mid 5:40’s. There were several packs of guys ahead of me and I could see them for most of the race because the course was relatively strait. There was plenty of time, so I knew I had a good chance of catching many of them. So, by going out nice and easy in the beginning, it once again paid off. I found a running partner about 2 or so miles into the race, and we stuck together for the whole race until the last mile. We both ran that race so smart, drifting off of each other. Group by group, we caught runners and passed them. We were locked into our pace and running people down, mostly in the 2nd half of the race. I really didn’t start to feel any pain until 10 miles into it. Then I started to wear down, but still kept in strong until the last mile when I pretty much had to slow down. However, I still ran a 6 minute mile that last one and the final 1 tenths of a mile I gave it everything I had, which didn’t feel like very much at the time, but it still helped me land an impressive time of 1.15:32, which averages 5:46 per mile!
So my final race of the season went great and I had finally accomplished my first half marathon! There were other races planned for the remainder of the season, but I was ready to take a break for a while. There was talk of putting together a Nationals team for Cross Country in Seattle, but that fell through. So I decided to call it quits for racing that season and begin my long, extended base training phase that will kick off my Vegan Fitness Challenge in August of 2012! I was well ready for a break from racing, and I figured this would be the perfect time. For the last several years, running and racing has been my focus and priority. It was time for a change. So I decided not to race again until I start my challenge on August 6th when I turn 30. I am still running and training some, but the mileage and intensity is way down from when I was racing. This is a year for new things and to try new experiments. Not only am I taking time to pursue other interests, but I am finding other ways to cross train that will in return, benefit me with running in the long run. Yoga for example is one of them. There is a lot to be said about the advantages of taking yoga for running. It helps with flexibility, balance and strength. I have learned of several new innovations that are supposed to really benefit a runner also. Stay tune as I experiment with these products this year and reveal what they are and how they have helped me as an athlete.
I will soon be posting a blog about supplements and nutrition and sources to support my claims. If there are any questions for me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much for reading! I hope this information will help people realize there potential as a Vegetarian or Vegan Athlete!
How to be a healthy, strong Vegan athlete: By Jed Soliz
Hello all Vegans, Vegetarians and Veggie curious people! The purpose of this page is to Educate and show how a vegan lifestyle can be the optimal way to live and eat for any Athlete! And, to help encourage you to challenge yourself to try it out and see the amazing results living this way can produce! That is, if you have not already. As time goes on, I will be blogging and sharing links to articles and websites that promote a vegan diet as nutrition for Athletes. I will also answer any questions and concerns people have about powering their body solely from plant based foods. First, Let me tell you a little about myself.
My name is Jed Soliz. I am 29 years old. My sport is running. I started running back in high school. I ran track my freshman and sophomore year and my focus at that time was short distance sprinting. I ran the 100m, 200m and on occasion, the 400m. I wasn’t very good at short distance and after my sophomore year I quit because I was tired of losing. I had no concept of proper nutrition at this time by the way. I didn’t run for my high school any more after that, but ran a little here and there on my own. Towards the end of high school and into my late teenage years after high school, I started running longer distances. I wasn’t running competitively but really started to feel that I was better at longer distances. Looking back now, I wish I would have tried it out in high school because long distances is my passion now. I graduated in the year 2000 and decided to take some time off from school to work before going back to school. So I took a year off, then, went two part time semesters, realized that I wasn’t mentally ready to go back, took two more years off, then finally was ready to go full time and decided to take cross country.
During the two year period of time that I did not go to school, I had been running fairly consistently and continued to increase my mileage and was getting better and better. That was really the main motivator for me to go back to school full time because I really wasn’t looking forward to all the homework. I wanted to see how I could do up against serious runners and competition, so I took cross country. I had an interest for it then that I never had in high school. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before! The endurance training was extreme! That year, practice started at 2: 30pm every day, in mid August. So, we were running as hard as we could, as fast as we could, for several miles every day in extreme heat. That was a life changing experience! Unfortunately, my body was not ready for that kind of training. I was improving quickly with the training, but I became injured half way through the season and was pretty much out for the rest of it. This happened three more seasons as well. My body just couldn’t handle the intensity of training. However, I really had no concept of proper nutrition still. It wasn’t until I started training on my own and truly learning how to fuel my body the right way that I was very successful with running.
Sometime in the mid 2000’s, I started to get turned onto the concept of eating vegan from a family member and friend. Through their education and researching this myself, I learned why and how a vegan diet is the healthiest way to eat; especially one with many unprocessed, raw foods. Although I was not changing my diet yet, I became fascinated with this idea and really wanted to educate myself more on the subject. I wondered if eating this way would be beneficial for athletes, especially since I had always heard that we need to eat Meat and Dairy to be a good Athlete.
My research came to the thrilling conclusion that yes, we can be an amazing athlete on a Vegan diet!
It was just a matter of putting research to test. I was still very concerned that I would not be able to do this and that I would not like eating this way because I didn’t like most vegetables and some fruit at the time. The majority of my diet was meat, dairy, processed food and refined sweets. This lifestyle of easting seemed so extreme and out of reach! However, once I learned so many reasons why Vegan is best; not only for our health, but the environment and Animals too, I became determined to make this my path! So I set up a plan in 2008; A process of Elimination that would take place over the next several years until I became Vegan and mostly raw. I learned from my friend and from reading that the easiest and most successful way to do it for most people, is slowly and in stages. Unless you have a really strong willpower or desire to change because of health reasons, going cold tofurky is very difficult and most people can’t stick with it. So I first started with education and adding healthy food in before I started pushing the bad ones out. This will help you get used to eating healthy food without feeling like your being deprived of anything. Then after so much research and education on the subject, you will likely become very passionate about it and your taste buds will change so it will become much easier to take it on. This process could take different amounts of time for different people. The main thing is to stay positive about it try not to get too overwhelmed or frustrated about it. I’ts a process and could take a while. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up. Just keep moving forward and you will get there!
For me, I make it a new years resolution every year to give up something I don’t want to eat anymore. I started with giving up all meat except fish in 2009. I gave up Dairy (from cows) in 2010, and now this year, 2011, I stopped the fish too and became a full vegetarian and mostly vegan. Throughout this three year process of going vegetarian I had been running quite a bit. I found a Sacramento running club to run with and was doing competitive racing. Throughout this transformation, my running gradually improved and at times, dramatically. Each year, with giving something unhealthy up, I experienced new levels of running. This year, 2011, has been my best running year to date, with personal records in the 1mile, 2mile, 5k, 10k and running my first 12k, 10miler and half marathon! I will talk about my race times in another post.
The bottom line is, for the first year of my life being vegetarian, I produced some awesome results and experienced more energy, higher endurance and faster recovery! There are a few supplements I take as well that I will talk about later. Anyway, my mindset is so much different now then it was even a year ago when I was still eating fish that it feels like so much longer since I’ve eaten meat. I know I can never go back! This may very well happen to any of you that aren’t vegetarian yet. I’ts like, you finally see things clearly when you stop eating it. The last thing to let go of in my transition to full vegan is occasional raw goat cheese, however, I’ve made it my personal goal to go 100% vegan for life, (with the exception of honey) by this summer. This will be my turning point and when I kick off my Vegan Athlete Challenge! I want to see where I can go; to find out my true potential and what I’m capable of! I have no doubt that my improvements could be significant!