Eat and Run

I have the running bug again!

Over 30 years ago, I participated in cross country and track in high school and never in my wildest dreams thought I would be a competitive runner again.

At 48-years-old, I had my gut hanging over my belt, weighed 228 pounds and found myself winded just walking up and down the stairs.  That’s when I decided to lace up the sneakers and started pounding the pavement again.

It was a slow comeback during the Winter of 2011.  I started off running a mile on the treadmill.  A few weeks later, I was up to 2 miles and before I knew it, spring had sprung and I was able to run 4 miles.

I wasn’t on the return to running journey on my own.  My wife, who had never been a runner, wanted to get back in shape after having 2 kids and decided to take up the activity as well.

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To help motivate us, we signed up for a race.  Our goal, to run the Portland Sea Dogs Mother’s Day 5k Road Race.  Out of 2,459 runners, I finished in 1,224th place with a time of 30:28.  Not like my glory years in high school, but hey, after a few decades of not running on a regular basis, I was really just happy I ran the whole race and didn’t pass out.

I ran a few more races, continued to train during the Summer and Fall and saw my 5k time get a little better, but I wanted more.

During the Winter of 2012, my wife and I made the decision to become vegan.  By not eating meat, dairy or eggs and continuing to run, I lost around 50 pounds and all of sudden I round myself running longer and faster.  At the 2012 Portland Sea Dogs Mother’s Day 5k Road Race I finished in 420th place with a time of 24:50.  That’s an improvement of 5:38 from the 2011 race and I finished 804 places higher.

In 2013, I ended up in 290th place with a time of 24:21 and just last month at the age of 51 in the same race, I ran the 3.1 mile course in 22:36 and finished in 135th place.

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I am a firm believer that being vegan and continuing to run on a consistent basis have helped me become very competitive on the racing circuit.  When you look at my race times, it’s hard to argue that my new lifestyle isn’t the reason I have become stronger and faster.

Running and eating a plant-based diet isn’t for everyone, but it definitely has been for us.

That’s why my wife and I have started training for a marathon.  That still sounds crazy to me.  A marathon?  Just a few years ago, my wife could barely run a block and I got winded climbing the stairs.  Now in October, we will be running 26.2 miles.

After that, who knows what will be next except continuing to enjoy that vegan thing.

Jeff Peterson

About Jeff Peterson

Jeff Peterson anchors Daybreak on CBS 13 from 5:00-7:00am and Good Day Maine on FOX from 7:00-8:00am. Around 2 1/2 years ago, his family decided to become vegan. It was one of the best decisions he have ever made.