It’s my great pleasure to introduce to you a plant-powered runner whose passion for fitness and health touches everyone she meets. She’s dropped by to share her passion for running with all of you.
“I’m a 24 year old vegan and a Registered Dietitian living in one of our nation’s most active cities, Portland, Oregon! “
It’s so great to meet you, Gemma. What got you interested in running?
I’ve always loved sports — softball, rock climbing, hiking, you name it. But it took me years to become a “runner”. I’m talking since middle school. Although I started out barely able to run for a minute, I somehow stuck with it and just this past November finished by first half marathon. And, yes, I can’t wait to do it again.
Are you Vegan or Vegetarian? For how long? Why did you decide to give plant-based a try?
I had been vegetarian for eight years before transitioning to veganism in 2012. I haven’t looked back since. As a registered dietitian, I know that the research points to plant-based living as being the best for your body and for the world. But I also value animal rights and wouldn’t want to eat somebody I could call a friend.
What keeps you motivated?
It doesn’t take much for me to stay motivated on the eating front. Being vegan in Portland is oh so easy. There’s delicious food everywhere! As for running — those “rave run” pictures Runner’s World prints are so inspiring. They make me want to travel to every single featured place just to run that same route.
Running with my community helps me to stay motivated, too. I started running with Nike Run Club Portland, which meets twice a week for various routes throughout the city. The pacers are fantastic, and our routes take us all around Portland at night. I recently wrote a post about how fantastic run club is on my blog.
Do you have a favorite race length?
If you could run with anyone (living/dead), who would it be?
I would just want to run with all of my friends and family. Running with a group is so motivating and fun to me, and I always like to include everyone in whatever activity I do. I guess I’m one of those people who puts all their friends together in one room to see who meshes.
There are several people close to me that I’d love to run with but can’t due to whatever reason: injury, immobility, or just plain dislike of running (crazy, right?). I’ve found that displaying my life on social media (Instagram, etc.) has inspired some of my friends to join me in running and veganism, though. That’s always heartening.
What is your all-time favorite race? Why?
I don’t think I have one yet. I have a lot of ideas for where I’d like to run — I think next on my list will be Big Sur’s half marathon. I’m looking forward to traveling around the country to race now that I’ve proven to myself that I can do it.
Do you have a favorite pre-race food?
Something quick and easily digested, like tortillas with peanut butter or a banana.
A stir fry of tempeh or tofu with some delicious vegetables and rice simmered with a tasty sauce. Optional: beer. (Except, it’s kind of mandatory in Portland!)
What piece of running gear could you not possibly live without?
I mostly run in the evenings, and it can be pretty cold during the winter. My stylish ear muffs keep my ears from falling off or giving me a headache. Otherwise, I love my Belkin running armband. My phone and key fit snug inside so I don’t have to worry about them falling out.
What do you tell yourself when you are struggling?
“You CAN do it because you ARE doing it.”
Do you have any current goals? Races?
I ran my first half in 2:11 which was a disappointment to me. I want to run under 2 hours for my next one, possibly Big Sur.
What advice would you give to someone who’s new to running?
If you can run, you are a runner.
You mentioned your blog – what’s it about?
The Joyful RD – “Live like you mean it; my life as a registered dietician”
I created this blog because I want to investigate happiness. Whether it’s via food, nutrition, wellness, physical activity, writing, DIY ideas, or motivational thoughts (or ___, you fill in the blank!), I want to be my most authentic self here. We’re all just trying to chase our dreams the most rational way we know how. If you’re inspired by anything I say here, it will all be worth it.
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