Encountering New Challenges: A Vegan Vexation

please dear god don't make me go back

in case there is any confusion about my state of being, i have been on christmas break for the past three weeks. this means i have not had a job nor have i been in school. it has been three weeks of doing jack shit… and i mean that. over christmas break, i watched all four seasons of the television show “Heroes,” i saw some movies, i slept until noon or later every single day, i stayed up until at least 3 or 4 every night, and i ate like a hoss. fortunately, i pegged those bad habits that were starting to re-solidify and i am moving back in the right direction. anyway, it is the last sunday night of Christmas break. tomorrow, i will be venturing back to campus, structuring my life, and hopefully, preparing for my MA graduation in may. this semester holds many trials for me, including comps and a half marathon, but the rewards on the other side of graduation are going to be so sweet and plentiful that i can handle being stressed for one more semester. 16 weeks and i’ll be there. i just have to keep that motivation train moving. i cannot allow myself to become unhinged again. i have a lot of personal pride riding on this half-marathon and although it seems like something so far, so non-achievable, i know that when the time comes, i’ll be ready. i have been working toward this for over a year now and i know my body will do what i ask it to do. i just have to take a risk and ask. i cannot be derailed by my own personal feelings and emotions– i am capable of many things and i need to realize that. so many people have said so many kind words to me and i need to take those words and say them to myself. so, thank you all for always being so supportive. i doubt anyone has any idea how much it means to me when someone says “i read your blog” or “i love your blog.” it never ceases to make me smile and boost my morale.

as i was perusing Facebook today, Run the Bluegrass Half-Marathon had posted a picture of the finishing medals

the front of the medal

i have never been more motivated by a picture in my life. i will have one of these medals and i will cherish it for the rest of my life. i am so anxious and excited about my future and it truly begins with this physical accomplishment. how many people can say they’ve run half-marathons? a lot of my friends can say that, but a bet a general portion of the population has not. i will become part of this half-marathon club and i will use the experience to further motivate myself. right now, i am considering training for a marathon, but i want to wait and see how the half goes first. i am so pumped.

the first week of 2012 has been pretty spectacular, not gonna lie. i cranked out 7 miles of running this week, combined with another couple of miles of walking and 3 miles on the elliptical for some cross training. i have eaten relatively healthy and have (almost) maintained a completely Vegan diet. i need to talk about Veganism for just a second because this challenge is blowing my fucking mind. initially, i wanted to do this to see how well i could fare, how much cooking i could do, and to jump start my system to eat good, healthy foods again. what i am learning, though, is so much more about nutrition labels and how to properly feed myself. in case of confusion, Vegans do not eat anything that contains any sort of animal byproduct– no meat, dairy, eggs, or honey; some Vegans go as far as to not use any product tested on animals. and if this is extreme, check out a “fruitarian.” it’s intense. it is no surprise that Veganism is relatively difficult, but in a society where so much emphasis is placed on meats, it is borderline ridiculous trying to find food to eat. in a small town like Richmond, Kentucky, it is even more problematic, but so fucking fascinating. every day is a new challenge! i am excited to go to the grocery store!  when searching for food in the grocery store, every nutrition label must be inspected carefully. on many nutrition labels, the manufacturer may list “contains: milk, soy, and egg ingredients.” but, i have learned this week that those labels cannot always be trusted. for example, on pop tarts, they list “wheat and soy” ingredients, but upon further inspection, those bitches contain gelatin. additionally, Orange Leaf, a frozen yogurt chain, offers a “lactose free” pineapple choice. but, after reading the instructions, it actually contains a milk derivative. even if my Veganism is not permanent, this endeavor is teaching me to look more carefully at food and to appreciate the ingredient list. it’s insane what a person can learn by simply looking deeper. ultimately, this will lead me into making better choices for myself in the future.

tomorrow, i have four miles on board, but i may push it to 5 if i’m feeling nasty. i do not think Spring 2012 is ready for the ass kicking i am going to hand it starting bright and early. i will be merciless and i will take what i want from this semester, much like a looting, plundering viking. i am Scandinavian after all. enjoy the rest of Sunday evening, kick this week’s ass, and stay healthy, y’all.

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Kara

trying to get by in this wonderfully difficult world

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