“I’ll have the burger please” – words I have literally been waiting four weeks to say.
The end of the veggie experiment was the finish line of the Hampton Court Half Marathon that was held on Sunday. The race is one of my firm favourites, not just because it’s a flat, fast course with excellent organisation and a hefty, gorgeous medal but because it gives me an excuse to stay with two incredible friends who, coincidentally, are also runners. Happily, this year one of them was running and said he’d help me pace out a new PB. He recently set out to set a 1:45 Half Marathon time and did so with a time of exactly 1:45:00, so I fancied our chances of getting the pacing right . We were so good at pacing that unbeknown to us, until about mile 10, we had amassed a pack of people following our pacing strategy behind us. Mile 10 was when I hit the wall, our steady and strong pace waved and I began to slip back. I wouldn’t put me hitting the wall down to my diet but more to losing my rhythm. If it wasn’t for my friend shouting words of encouragement and literally pushing me on at times, I wouldn’t have got anywhere close to setting a new personal best.
In the past four weeks I have set three new PBs in 5k, 10k and half marathon. I’ve recovered faster and felt more motivated to exercise but now that I have finished and looking back I am still left wondering what if anything did the vegetarian diet have to do with it? Rather than the diet itself I think the last month has given me a better understanding of what my body wants vs what it actually needs. I have become far better at giving my body the best fuel it needs and more resilient to my constant craving to eat bacon. mmm bacon.
I would encourage any runner to try something like this. It is a fantastic way to get to know your body and what it needs to keep you bumbling along. Running is so remarkable because it is all about learning more about yourself, challenging yourself and ultimately looking after yourself. Doing this has made me re-evaluate what and how much food I eat and in doing so it will no doubt make me a better (or at least a thinner) runner in the future. One thing I am sure of though, I will definitely not turn into a vegetarian runner. Quorn burgers are nothing compared to the real deal.
But what was the first meal I made after stopping? A mushroom risotto. Seems like you can teach an old carnivore new tricks.
NEXT RACE: Silverstone Half Marathon
Three Song Playlist
Banks – Trainwreck
Majical Cloudz – Downtown
Jamie Lawson – The Only Conclusion