By Stephanie, Vega Blogger Fit Mom in Training
I’m going to start by saying that I am not a naturally born athlete. I’m fairly uncoordinated (as my file at the sports medicine clinic in town will clearly reflect), not overly competitive in a team environment and all around too shy to really try hard anyway. I’ve always done much better in activities where it was me against me. And even when that’s the case, I don’t think I’ve ever been mistaken for an elite anything. That said, I do consider myself an athlete. Maybe not one that stands out in a crowd but most definitely one that puts forth the time and effort when I have a goal in mind.
Just a mom with a running addiction
To most people, I’m your typical, average, everyday gal. I work in an office, I’m raising two boys in my spare time (a four and two year-old), and I love running. Truthfully, I have a running addiction and though I’m neither fast, nor graceful, I hold a passion for the sport that is rivaled only by my passion for being a good mother to my boys and a good wife to my husband. I write my blog, Fit Mom in Training, to journal my life as a running mom and to give my poor husband a break from listening to me talk about running every waking moment of the day.
For the past five years, I’ve been exploring the sport of running and trying to unlock the mystery of things like negative splits, finding the quickest port-a-potty line and that enigma known as a Boston Qualifier. Love it as I do, I’ll be the first to admit that becoming a good runner has been an uphill battle.
My biggest struggle with running has always been my lack of improvement. While others seemed to have the ability to knock minutes off their best times, mine stayed painfully the same. Slow. It didn’t matter that I followed my training to the letter or that I pushed my body as hard as I could. By the end of every training cycle I was depleted, beat-down and sore from head to toe. My tank was empty when it should have been ready to go.
What I didn’t realize then, is although I had become very good at training my body, I was absolutely horrible at fueling it. In short, I wasn’t fueling at all and didn’t realize that water alone wasn’t going to sustain the prolonged effort I needed to finish a race strong and injury-free.
I decided to sign up for my second half marathon which would take place eight months after my second son was born (clearly, my best ideas were coming to me in a near delirium of fatigue at about 3 in the morning). After dealing with a severe infection, I was left with only six months to train and was literally starting from scratch.
Fueling with plant-based nutrition
Around that same time, I had also made the decision to adopt a vegetarian diet, eating as much whole, plant-based foods as I could. My search for a plant-based protein powder led me to Vega. As I was reading through the stories of several plant-based athletes, it became very clear to me that what allowed them to reach their full potential wasn’t the amount of time spent at the gym, but rather, a combination of fuel and performance. More than anything, it was the marriage of the two that resonated with me and caused a million-watt light bulb to go off in my head.
I started to experiment with Vega products, sticking mostly to the Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator. It helped me manage inflammation and I felt energized rather than lethargic. I ran that half marathon about 11 minutes faster than my previous one—in which I had double the training time under my belt and practically needed my lifeless corpse dragged across the finish line.
The year that followed saw me incorporating more Vega products into my fueling arsenal including Vega Sport Sugar-Free Energizer, Vega Sport Endurance Gels during long runs and the absolutely heavenly Vega Sport Protein Bars.
I saw myself run a Ragnar Relay and 2 half marathons within an 8 week period (shaving another 2:30 off my best time), set a 5k and 10k PR in training and felt amazing. Clearly, I had finally discovered what it meant to fuel my better.
Now that I’m pregnant with baby #3, I’m not able to fuel with Vega Sport and though I’m still running and racing, I’m doing it for the experience, not the personal records. I fully intend to pick up where I left off after this baby is born in the fall and have my sights set on a full marathon in late 2015 or early 2016. Ultimately, I have the goal of transitioning toward triathlon soon after the next marathon. Vega Sport has been the key piece of the puzzle that has allowed me to take my passion for running a step further and a step higher. I feel like I’m just beginning to scratch the surface of what I’m capable of.