More Holiday Running Streak: Weeks 4 & 5 (Days 19-32), Plus How I Managed to Keep Running Every Day and Eat Vegan While Traveling

Weeks 4 & 5Christmas morning in Huntington, NY

Wow, I can’t believe how fast the last couple of weeks flew by! As I continued my Holiday Running Streak making sure to run daily for at least a mile (usually more), I also got a chance to get out of my comfort zone during our trip to New Jersey and New York for Christmas to visit my husband’s family. What was so “out of my comfort zone” about our trip? Well, I’ve gotten very used to my daily routine at home where I could go for a run in the morning in fairly warm South Alabama winter weather, and then follow it with the enjoyment of playing around in my own kitchen fully stocked with plant-based vegan ingredients to make whatever foods I felt like… yep, quite an enchanted lifestyle indeed 😉 . During our six-day out-of-state trip, I wasn’t the one making the rules about our family’s daily activities, so fitting in daily runs in colder weather and making sure there was something plant-based to eat felt like a juggling act at times. And I suck at juggling.

Nevertheless, everything went fine! The divine inspiration to keep running daily never left me (even though it meant that I had to sacrifice eating breakfast at the same time as everyone else in the family), and plant-based food options were always on hand – I’ve got to thank my mother-in-law for her effort to stock her kitchen with lots of plant foods, and to find a vegan-friendly restaurant for one of our dinners!

Since I’m covering two weeks of my running streak in this post, let me indulge you with all of the stats right away, and then move on to more words, words, words…

Week 4 Daily Mileage (Mon-Fri in Alabama, Sat-Sun in New Jersey):

  • Monday – 5.1 mi
  • Tuesday – 2.5 mi + gym
  • Wednesday – 4.75 mi
  • Thursday – 4.55 mi
  • Friday – 2.5 mi + gym
  • Saturday – 3.5 mi
  • Sunday – 3.6 mi

Total Mileage for Week 4 – 26.5 mi

Week 5 Daily Mileage:

  • Monday – 2.2 mi (New York, outside in cold rain in the dark…brrrr)
  • Tuesday – 3.6 mi (New York, outside in sunny 34° F – not bad!)
  • Wednesday – 2.55 mi (New York, inside on a treadmill)
  • Thursday – 3.2 (New York, treadmill again)
  • Friday – 4.75 mi (outside, back in Alabama!)
  • Saturday – 4.2 mi (treadmill, 1/4 mi intervals)
  • Sunday – 7.5 mi (outside, with my running group – missed them!)

Total Mileage for Week 5 – 28 mi

My Strategy for Weeks 4 & 5: To just keep running. No matter how busy/packed with activities or responsibilities those days before Christmas were, I knew that it was possible to squeeze in a short run. The rules for this Holiday Running Streak (as outlined by Runner’s World magazine here) allowed to run for as little as 1 mile a day to make this streak legit, but I managed to run more than that, as you can see above.

The Easiest Part: I was worried in the beginning of my streak that the weather in the Northeast during the holidays would be too cold. Thankfully, the weather cooperated very well! In fact, the day of our arrival in NJ the temperatures climbed into the 60s, which caused all of the snow and ice to melt, so it was no problem at all for me to go outside for a quick run. The following day it was just as warm, which we enjoyed a lot as we headed to New York City for a walk in the Midtown Manhattan. Later during our trip, the weather got colder – it’s wintertime, after all! – so I took advantage of my mother-in-law’s treadmill.

The Hardest Part: As much as I tried to keep my runs short and early to spend more time with the family, I still couldn’t avoid missing some of the activities. I’m not a morning person, and getting out of bed early can be pretty brutal for me. Plus, New York is in the Eastern time zone, so getting up at 7:30 am in Long Island feels like 6:30 am in Alabama… which is even harder to do if you went to bed after midnight… Therefore, most of my morning runs happened between 8:30 and 9:30 am while the rest of the family was having breakfast, or opening stocking stuffers on Christmas Day (we opened the actual gifts on Christmas Eve). Add to this the time it took me to shower after the run, and then make some version of a vegan breakfast because I didn’t want to eat French Toast or bacon and eggs… Okay, to sum this up before my complaining goes out of hand: missing some family time because of my commitment to run was the hardest part.

What About the Food? My husband and I are vegan, with a heavy emphasis on plant-based vegan. Naturally, this presents certain challenges during traveling, but this time I wasn’t stressing about it too much since I knew what to expect. For our plane flight on Saturday before Christmas, I packed us a couple of chickpea salad sandwiches (a big hit with my husband for traveling!). As we arrived in New Jersey, we went to dinner at a lovely Indian restaurant in Princeton area where we had a mind-blowingly delicious dinner with lots and lots of plant-based choices (my sister-in-law is Indian, so she knows a good Indian restaurant when she sees one!). On Sunday, we lucked out with vegan food twice: first, we had a lovely lunch at a tiny but cozy all-vegan restaurant in Midtown Manhattan called The Loving Hut; later, we had a family dinner at a Middle-Eastern restaurant called Ariana on Long Island – their menu had some vegan options, including delicious vegan ice cream. Does it seem like we went out to eat too much? Maybe, but I was glad to have so many vegan-friendly dining options available all over the area – a nice contrast to our current home of South Alabama…

After that we mostly ate at my in-laws’ home: oatmeal (steel-cut or instant) for breakfast, veggie wraps for lunch, and I even found time to bake my Pumpkin-Walnut Bread that turned to be a big success with my husband’s omnivore family! Christmas Eve Dinner option for me and my husband consisted of pasta primavera with oven-roasted veggies and a salad. Christmas Day dinner: we had huge servings of my vegan lasagna with two different types of layers (a new recipe!) that I made a couple days earlier. This lasagna was so good that I had to snap a picture for your visual pleasure:

Lasagna This lasagna had two different types of layers: 1 – vegan sausage, mushrooms, tomato sauce; 2 – steamed sweet potato and kale plus the same tomato sauce. Daiya vegan cheese on top.

What I’ve Learned: It’s possible to keep on your daily running routine, even when you’re traveling during the holidays, as long as you’re willing to sacrifice some things. Yes, not being present at the breakfast table with the rest of the family was a little sad for me, but thankfully I had the rest of the day to catch up!

Click here to see my other posts regarding this Holiday Running Streak.

In my next post about the rest of the Holiday Running Streak, I’m going to sum up everything I’ve learned from this running experience, so stay tuned! #RWRunStreak

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