Sunday, December 5, 2010

Brendan Brazier, Gene Baur, and that Guy from VegNews

Who: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly
What: A Run Around a Lake
Where: Lake Merced, San Francisco, Calif.
When: November 21, 2010
Why: Vegan Athletic Prowess

The Scoop: Brendan Brazier is a vegan machine. The former professional triathlete, two-time Canadian 50k champ, best-selling author of Thrive and Thrive Fitness, formulator of the Vega line of plant-based food and sport drinks, and Hugh Jackman's vegan guru was in the Bay Area on a promotional tour when he received a call from VN Publisher Joseph Connelly (that would be me). The San Francisco-based Dolphin Sound End Runners were holding their weekly Sunday morning race, this one being the Lake Merced Single/Double, meaning one or two loops around the 4.5-mile man-made lake. I invited Brendan to join us. He said he'd try to be there.

Ominous clouds hovered over Lake Merced on the morning of the race

Gene Baur is a vegan wunderkind. The co-founder of the farmed animal rescue movement, president of Farm Sanctuary, and best-selling author of Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food was in Northern California for his Orland property's annual Celebration FOR the Turkeys, held Saturday, November 20, which included special guest John Salley, four-time NBA basketball champ and the newest vegan... well, you get the picture. I invited Gene to the race. He said he'd try to be there.

Joseph Connelly is a vegan. Slow of foot but swift of mind, he might not finish first but enjoys writing about himself in the third person. He's a runner as well, and his connections as publisher of VegNews Magazine sometimes come in handy. The morning of the race the weather was horrible—cold, windy, and quite wet. I was pleasantly surprised when Brendan called. "I'm on my way."

Gene, meanwhile, was driving in as well, and it didn't look good. Taking a wrong turn after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, the race started without him. About two miles in he blazes by me. He had a five-minute late start and was making up the time. Gene finished a quite respectable 21st overall in the single loop race, and probably would have been in the top 10 had his GPS been working. Brendan, meanwhile, ran away with the double loop, finishing not only first but nearly three minutes ahead of the second place runner. You can view the results here.

Brendan Brazier, Gene Baur, and Joseph Connelly at the VNHQ

After we all showered and warmed up, we headed to Herbivore for brunch and then a quick stop at the new VNHQ, where we showed off our trophies, sort of. Brendan and Gene left signed copies of their books, which we are giving away! Simply submit a question for either Brendan or Gene in the comments section below to enter; we'll pick the best, you'll win a book, and we'll even get them to answer your query.


Ellen Jaffe Jones said...

Thanks for posting. Because of Brendan and a handful of other vegan role model athletes, I finished my first marathon in Palm Beach last weekend. More importantly, without injury. At the age of 58 and 30 years of eating mostly plants, I was the 5th oldest woman to finish. Mom, aunt & both sisters: breast cancer. Yup, this plant thing really does work.

zelda said...

First, I love VN mag. Second, I have been following Brendan Brazier for a few years now...have his book "Thrive" and enjoy his Vega product every now and then. Now my question.....I really, really, really try to eat as close to a vegan diet as I can but at 52 years old and having been raised a carnivore, it's not always so easy. Do you have any words of wisdom, tricks of the trade, encouraging words?? I need to get healthy and know intellectually that a plant based diet is the way to's just difficult sometimes to stop lifelong habits. Thanks for a great magazine and keep up the good work!

M.C. said...

Vega is the truth...Thank you, Veg News for all you do, but also for introducing me to Brendan. Love this post—what a great, funny story! :)

Kelly G said...

My hat is off to these wonderful vegan role models that prove to the world being vegan does not equal weakness!

As a vegan woman, I spend a good amount of time at the gym doing mostly strength training. I am not looking to lose weight but would rather maintain it. (Even gaining a little weight wouldn't hurt.) My question is in regards to fueling up beforehand. What would you recommend as an optimal breakfast to have pre-workout? Is it important to load up on carbs even if I'm not doing long cardio sessions?

Thank you all for your great work in promoting the vegan lifestyle as a happy and healthy one.

Sharon Nazarian said...

Hi, my name is Sharon aka Vegan Pimp. Sharon prefers dancing over running. She's going to stop talking about herself in the third person now. :) Thanks for the post Joseph! My question for all you fabulous hegans is, what was the main driving force behind your decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle? & if I get a bonus question, what's your favorite vegan dessert? Thank you all for all the great work you are doing!!

Laura Aragon said...

I would like to direct a question to Gene Baur:
What do you think would be the best way to get young people involved in vegan and animal rights causes?
I work at a high school in San Diego County and many students have requested that we start a vegetarian/vegan club here on campus. I love the idea but also want the students to understand the social issues, not just the dietary ones. Thanks so much for your continued example and inspiration!

SailorPluto247 said...

I have a question for Brendan. I am familiar with your Thrive in 30 program, and I found it very helpful. I am curious if you could shed some light on an issue that has perplexed me for quite some time. I am vegan, and have been since 2004. I do not have any cravings for non-vegan food, and no matter how badly I wish that a non-vegan food would be vegan, I'm not even tempted to eat it (like desserts). However, if it is vegan, I'll eat it, even if I know it is bad. I would like to learn how to extend that self control that is so easy for non-vegan foods to include less healthy foods that are vegan. I've done my best to cut out most processed foods. I am pretty good about avoiding fried foods. I have eliminated about 90% of all white flour, sugar, and rice from my diet. Instead I opt for whole wheat (or spelt), agave or unprocessed sugar (I only use sugar in baking), and brown rice. I try to eat quinoa instead of pasta. But I still eat far too much pasta (though it is always whole wheat, little to no sauce or olive oil, and with lots of veggies). But I still have cravings for vegan junk food, like chocolate, chips, cupcakes, and pie.

I was curious if you had any suggestions on how I could up my willpower. I also would love suggestions on how to control my portions. I'm 26, 5'4" and 145 lbs. This is the heaviest I've been in a long time, and I am just thankful that I eat healthier than the average person and that I'm vegan, otherwise I would probably weigh double what I do.