Hello from Duluth Minnesota, home of Scott Jurek (Proctor is part of the greater Duluth area)! I am originally from Columbus Ohio but I have lived here since 1998. I am an abolitionist vegan. I went from omnivore to vegan overnight on February 27, 2011, so 18 months ago and I have never looked back. It was an easy transition for me because I was lactose intolerant before. The horrid cramps and diarhhea I would get with dairy eliminated any possible cravings for it and in fact I am repulsed by the smell of most cheeses. I was never a big meat eater either and I already enjoyed eating lots of legumes and vegetables. I didn't know much about veganism until January 2011 when I read "The Omnivores Dilemma" and was introduced to some new concepts, including veganism. Fascinated with veganism, I poured over information about factory farming, where my food came from, and then deeper into the abolitionist and other vegan philosophies and I have read countless books, journals, websites etc on the vegan movement from many different perspectives (feminist, African American, ethical, animal rights, world hunger etc). I was so moved by what I learned that it took me all of a week to transition to a vegan diet and rid of all my animal derived clothing, cleaning products, toiletries, vitamins, etc. and replace them (my hiking shoes and boots took a little longer to replace). In the last 18 months I have also managed to influence my Mother (who is a Benedictine Sister and teaches at the College of St. Scholastica) to go vegan and she made the transition in April. My sister recently went vegetarian and is slowly making the transition to veganism. Unfortunately my husband is still set on his omnivore lifestyle and it has been a struggle for me as I feel I can not be as close to him as I once was. He hasnt always been the most respectful of my commitment either.
I can't quite label myself as an athlete as I do not compete. I have always been quite active. I was a dancer years ago and studied ballet six days a week, three hours a day, and then modern dance (Martha Graham technique) into my twenties. I made a series of bad choices in my mid twenties, struggled with mental illness, and became ill for a while in my thirties but I am slowly recovering. I am forty now. I enjoy cycling (started two years ago) and ride to work most days from April to October. I have a mountain bike that was given to me as a gift and have been dragged to some wicked mountain bike trails by my husband who used to be a die hard mountain biker (he has health problems now) but I secretly wish I had a road bike instead as I am not much for mountain biking (scares me too much). I also love to hike, canoe (I have done six week long wilderness canoe camping trips now), snowshoe, work out at the gym (started in 2008), and my newest love is running, especially trail running. I am VERY new at running, having started a few months ago with it other than flirting with some light treadmill running off and on over the last year. Cycling turned me on to exercising outside regularly as opposed to the stagnant gym but I like to get out to remote places and struggled getting there by bike (my mountain bike skills leave something to be desired). Running is so much more freeing and requires very little equipment (and obviously you can cover more terrain in less time than hiking). I am in love with trail running even if I can only run two miles at a time outside (three to four on the treadmill at a faster pace) and then have to take walk breaks. I am SLOWLY building myself up. Although I am slightly underweight but in decent shape I have struggled with hypothyroidism for 23 years and I am in surgical menopause (for the last seven years due to a hysterectomy and removal of ovaries I still regret) and due to these two issues I also have osteoporosis (diagnosed by dexa scan in 2006) so I have extra challenges to overcome in my quest to become a better runner and I need to be extra careful. I am also working and going to school for Health Information Management, but exercise is a huge daily priority for me. It is how I express myself, work out my anxiety, deal with chronic depression, get my endorphins going, live in the moment, find spiritual enlightment, and a closer connection to nature. Someday i would like to add in some races to compete in but that is down the road a bit for now until I build myself up some.
I just discovered this forum a few days ago from another vegan forum and I love the idea of a vegan fitness forum. Mainstream fitness forums and magazines are not the most welcoming towards vegans. Thanks for reading my long intro and I look forward to meeting all of you!