Review: The Plant Based Runner

By | March 10, 2019

On Reading

Yay, I can start a Weekly Run Down post with something other than PT, although I am still in and loving PT. This week I wanted to share my review of Jonathan Cairns’ The Plant Based Runner. Note: I received a copy of this book for review, but all opinions are my own.

[bctt tweet=”Running, reading and relaxing in the lead up to the #NYCHalf” username=”travellingcari”]

Two main takeaways I loved from this book:

  • Know your why
  • Change the plan, don’t change the goal

Cairns is an overweight, divorced father turned wannabe vegan ultra runner. This book explores his journey between those points.  Although I don’t subscribe to the full extent of his beliefs and dietary choices, I really appreciate the path he took to them. He read a lot and read the information presented with a critical lens to arrive at the place that worked best for him and his progress as an athlete. He’s 100% correct, there’s information out there to support whichever side you wish to follow, you need to know your body and your why. And realize that nothing will change until you do.

I’m still surprised at how I ended up virtually giving up soda almost accidentally. We got more seltzer in the office and I found so long as I had the fizz, I’d drink. You can still pry the diet root beer from my cold, dead hands. I’ve mentioned a couple of times here that what I eat definitely has an impact on how I feel/run, but I’m not yet compelled to give up sugar, dairy and meat. I did love his advantage of Irish (or at least not American-English) slang for this poetry when it comes to refined sugar: white is shite.

Changing the plan vs. goal has been a huge part of this half marathon training cycle for me. I wanted to run three in three months (well really eight weeks!) and while the achilles injury changed the training plan, the goal is on track. The larger goal of the marathon remains on track.

While I have no desire to or interest in running an ultra, I enjoyed following his journey and the interspersed quotes and race recaps. Read more from the author on his blog or enjoy his amazing Instagram photos.

Physical Therapy

When I spoke with my PT about the hip pain on Monday morning, he decided to work on that first and decided it’s not the hip flexor, but rather the TFL. Per google (and LIz who was quicker than I was, “Tensor fascia latae“. Per my PT, it’s common in compensating for stability issues. This whole Achilles issue is similar to when I had a knee injury back in high school. Back, hip. We really are all connected like that old childhood song: leg bone connected to the foot bone. Not to mention all the muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Monday night he gave me the homework of working on breathing, activating my core and pressing my back into the floor. We’re working toward the Dead Bug and since I know I have the coordination of a dead bug, that isn’t going to end well. But we’ll get some laughs in as I try. Monster Walks on my toes are my new favorite.

That said, I still feel like I’m making progress and the Achilles is in a good place for the NYC Half, which is somehow less than two weeks away. It will be a week away by the time this posts. Plan is & remains to have fun and enjoy every step.

NYC Half Goals:

  • Have fun
  • Don’t re injure the Achilles
  • Finish smiling

Yep, that’s literally it. No time goal other than finishing. I may be one and done without some lottery luck, so want to make the most of it.

Weekly Run Down with Deborah and Kim:

  • Monday: snow day PT and a museum press event. The snow was a complete non event, but I’ll take the work from home day to review some documents that are hard to get to in busy open plan office. Capped it off with a lovely sunset walk with Darlene. When we could see the Verrazano Bridge it was surreal to think that in almost eight months exactly we’d be standing on the far side ready to run the city. Fitbit calls this 9.46 miles, I call it: never miss a Monday complete.
  • Tuesday: Darlene and I decided to meet and test our injuries. While it was too cold for a selfie, we got another gorgeous sunset. The weekend’s snow had done a number on the non-paved parts of the park and neither of our legs were doing well with the cold and hills so we took it easy in a three mile run/walk. Slow and steady better than crash and burn ahead of the NYC Half.
  • Wednesday: PT and talk about graduating out after the Half. More work on core and trying to figure out whether I can do Dead Bug. No formal exercise, dinner with friends.

#nevermatch, and proud of it

  • Thursday: as I dressed for our Office Run Group, a friend/colleague mentioned her admiration for my aggressive non-matching. This wasn’t even intentionally bad-I wanted a shirt with thumbholes and the black one is too hard to find sometimes in the dark of my closet and these tights were on top. What’s not pictured as much is the bright orange buff from Liz and neon yellow base layer. Beheaded to get full effect of colors without skin autocorrect. I’m a fan of comfort over matching, but this was some next level nonsense. Alas my coral shoes aren’t running shoes. On the actual run, it was a nice rebound from Tuesday. What I love about running with this group is that it pushes the pace. I know I give up on pace too early when I’m running solo, so this is a nice way to push it. He doesn’t push me beyond what he knows I can do, especially with the injury. Even slowing up as we crossed the pot-holed reservoir track, we had a good time and although I was sore after, I think that was the bitter cold. Post-run was a quick zip to the last open Payless in Manhattan to acquire a backup pair of the Mary Janes I love so much.
  • Friday: plan was to workout before a meeting, but meeting got moved earlier so this was replaced with a quick row and abbreviated PT exercises after work and before seeing a show. Patricia Kalember as Gloria Steinem is amazing and a behind-the-scenes tour of NYPL was pure magic. It’s rare that I see a piece of theater twice in a short window, but this was magic and resonant.

heaven is a place on earth

“A dream is like a river ever changing as it flows and a dreamer’s just a vessel that must follow where it goes.”

  • Saturday: that thing I said about what I eat impacting how I run? Yeah. It was a planned off day but the weather was remarkably decent and I wanted to go out so decided on a riverside shake out. I could not figure out why I had absolutely nothing in the tank. I’ve fueled many a run on cheerios and coffee. Why not this one? Oh self? You had a brownie for dinner last night. Turned this into a walk and some outdoor PT.

Happy drowned rat in Sidewinder Lotta Breeze capris

NYRR goodie bag

present to myself

  • Sunday: NYRR/New Balance hosting a shakeout run ahead of the NYC Half. Also a shakeout for my new capris which I want to wear for the Half. PURPLE! The weather was horrid and we lost an hour of sleep due to the clock change? What do I do? Play hopscotch to avoid puddles and had a blast for ~4.5 miles. It was windy too and sometimes wasn’t clear whether we were being hit with rain or river spray! We set off in 5M increments and I quickly realized the one I set off with wasn’t happening so ran on my own for most of miles two and three before dropping back to run with a duo of coach and runner who had run DC yesterday! and were moving way more my “speed”. Proud of myself for approaching strangers in the group run and we had a fun chat. Could I have finished faster? Absolutely. Was it more fun not to be alone? Yes. The ponchos I bought ahead of FLL were perfect and other than the neck area where rain got in because I couldn’t keep the hood up in the rain, I was dry. Was so glad for dry socks and shoes back at the Run Center though. Also awaiting us there was a free goodie bag that included the mug, fuel above and a 20% off coupon with which I treated myself to a hat. It’s purple! I never thought about a running hat as I so rarely wear ballcaps but the Yankee one I wore for Lebow and FLL is too hot for summer and gets gross, so curious to give this moisture wicking, performance one a go. Especially if I follow my current whim and wack my hair off in a few weeks.

Plan for the Week:

  • Monday: off, dinner with a friend
  • Tuesday: run?
  • Wednesday: PT
  • Thursday: run
  • Friday: volunteer at the Expo, maybe cross train. Finally saw the shirt & medal. I like the medal, and think I like the shirt color. Since I didn’t like the one for Poland Spring and won’t wear it on race day, I likely will not be wearing green for St. Pats.
  • Saturday: off
  • Sunday: NYC Half Marathon

22 thoughts on “Review: The Plant Based Runner

  1. kookyrunner

    Glad that you’re feeling the progress in PT. I also have issues with my TFL so I know exactly what you’re talking about!

    I hope that you have a great race next weekend!

    1. cari Post author

      Thank you! I never heard of TFL before Monday but it seems common

  2. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets

    Sounds like an interesting book! I never thought of going the veg route – I don’t have it in me, lol! But I do appreciate your takeaways from the book.

    I hope you have a great time at the half! My husband is running but I’m still not sure about logistics…will I go to the start or just see him at the finish? I would love to find a way for us to meet!

    Love the hat! I wasn’t a big hat person while running but I realized that some of those performance wicking hats are actually pretty nice! Right now my hair is too voluminous to try to wear a cap, haha!

    1. cari Post author

      I’m not a huge meat eater, but I could/would never give up sushi. It’s funny because I remember when Weight Watchers came out with Core and I was all “Nope, sticking with points because sushi rice!”. I don’t eat red meat in general (taste, not ethics or diet) and don’t care for chicken’s texture — but some days it just needs to happen in the crock pot and/or buffalo chicken pizza.

      They’ve changed the course yet again and I think the start may be runners’ only. Along 42nd can be great to spot him again and you can easily take the 4 to Grand Central. If you go to the start, Q to Barclays and change to 4 there. That’s where I cheered last time and only missed one runner. Hope we can connect too!

      I think what inspired the hat purchase was the rain in my eyes today. I hope it ensures a dry Half.

  3. Marcia

    I had a TFL strain and the post about my tx for is one of my most popular. I think it happened while training for MCM and it was such a hot summer I did my long runs on shaded trails but they were so uneven. Anyway, cheers to race week! I’m excited for you and I love the purple! Gosh I hope the weather cooperates. I’ve had just about all of this winter I can handle.

    1. cari Post author

      I said to Darlene that between Brooklyn (both of us), Lebow (me) and her Florida one we are owed a dry Half. It’s looking ok, but I don’t trust it a week out. Especially in March! But if I’m in purple I can’t be unhappy.
      Off to find your TFL post. It’s interesting how all of this is evolving, but I’m definitely avoiding lunges and loving the piriformis stretch. Feels wonderfully deep.

  4. Wendy

    Thanks for reviewing that book–now I don’t have to! LOL. I’m a pretty healthy eater but I do eat meat. I couldn’t be a vegetarian. Chicken is a pretty important protein for me, as is fish.

    Good luck at the NYC half. I’m glad you and Darlene found each other!

    1. cari Post author

      When his marketing person reached out to me and I was doing some due diligence to see if I’d like it, your book archives was one of the first I checked since I sometimes miss yours. Surprised you hadn’t. It’s a good one, and I found him to be fair minded in that wannabe vegan works for him, he doesn’t expect it to be for everyone.
      Me too — she’s such good fun!

  5. Coco

    Glad you are enjoying and making progress with PT. I think I’ve always got some muscle imbalance or strain to fix — the question is whether it’s bad enough to be worth the time/money/effort to get treated. I am just the opposite – I HAVE to match, even if I’m working out alone in my basement. It’s so silly!

    1. cari Post author

      Socks, undergarments. I am the worst at matching. Partially being in a rush to pack gym bag and partially it’s what’s clean. Plus print leggings and race shirts rarely match anyway so why not take it to the next level seems to be my MO

  6. Kimberly Hatting

    Glad the PT has gone well and the Achilles is feeling better.I had to laugh at your poncho pick, because I had a very similar look at my race yesterday. My shoes and socks were a soppy mess, but most everything else was fine. Non-stop and numerous puddles are not a great accessory on race day LOL Thanks for linking with us!

    1. cari Post author

      Oh yeah my socks were a mess early, but somehow no blisters. Shoes still wet despite two changes of paper towels. Didn’t want to plastic bag them though as I find them more slippery

  7. Deborah Brooks

    That book does sound interesting to me as well being a vegetarian. I like the idea of changing the plan not the goal.Good luck next weekend can’t wait to hear all about it! Have the best time

    1. cari Post author

      I would definitely recommend it and you might enjoy his recipes. I think he got paid per mention of the word sprouted. If you read on Kindle i think it’s only $2 or so – well worth it.
      I think changing the plan is applicable to so many things in life

  8. Zenaida Arroyo

    I am not a big meat eater. During the week I try not to eat meat at all and then just a little during the weekend. Although this weekend I did eat more than I wanted to.

    Have a great race on Sunday!

  9. Liz Dexter

    I am a librarian at heart, still, after all (re fast looking-up of PT terms). Glad your PT work is going well. I see mine today after running 16.1 miles yesterday hmmm. And yes to the connections – my hamstring is my weak glutes/stiff lower back!

    Aggressive non-matching – love it! I was a bit horrified to see I’d accidentally picked up the pink on my blue trainers with my top, while wearing blue leggings. Matching! no!

    1. cari Post author

      Matching should be illegal
      My hip is still annoying at times, but overall much better. I need to do more glutes work, have just ordered second band so I can quit being wihtout it when it’s in the wrong place vis a vis my PT exercises

  10. Renée

    the book sounds interesting; I enjoy reading stuff like that. I read Scott Jurek’s book (Eat and Run) a few times just because I enjoyed it so much (and he’s just an amazing person whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet 3 times and even run with once!). He’s vegan and while I won’t give up meat completely, I really love several of his recipes from the book.

    I definitely know about the TFL from my anatomy studies for Sport Massage. I have a few clients who have issues in this area and I always feel a little bit bad that massage hurts so much there (but helps!)

    Horray for race week!

  11. Chocolaterunsjudy

    Why do you think Dead Bugs will be so hard? Lack of core strength?

    I like baseball caps (not so much what they do to my hair) — especially if it’s rainy! They do help keep the rain off.

    If I weren’t married I’d probably be pescatarian. As it is it’s a struggle getting Mr. Judy to eat veggie meals, but he doesn’t complain . . . too much. 🙂 Oddly enough I do enjoy a good steak, but I also don’t crave it. It wouldn’t be hard for me to give up & when he’s not here I never have meat.

    Good luck Sunday! I hope that you meet all your goals!

  12. Shathiso

    It really is amazing how the different body parts all connect. A friend of mine is just back after a two-month injury break. The issue was her hamstring but her PT was able to dig deeper and find that the root cause of the problem was not in the hamstring at all. And I know since working on my glutes, I am having less trouble with my knees. It’s amazing what we are learning on this running journey of ours! Purple and pink, those are my feel good colours! Best of luck at the NY Half Marathon and I hope you get to meet Janelle – that would be awesome!

  13. vitatrain4life

    I absolutely love the two takeaways from that book – they are spot on!
    I ran the NYC Half a few years ago and loved it. It’s a fantastic race and I really hope you have good weather and can enjoy it!!

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