Client Spotlight – The Vegan Runner with Tess J.

Introducing the witty, funny, one-of-a-kind athlete in my life – Tess Jones.

Tess is a mom of one VERY darling little girl as well as a step-mom and wife. She’s such an inspiration for working moms out there who want to keep a life of their own and be an outstanding parent – ain’t gonna lie, she makes it look kinda easy but she might have something to say about that.

I met Tess in 2017 online, helped her out with a meal plan for her non-competitive time as well as helping her with endurance nutrition. I also had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with her and her little nugget helping prepare meals for her busy life. She’s got health and wellness as a priority in her home which is SO refreshing. You’re amazing Tess.

If you’re in Pittsburgh looking to run throughout this beautiful city check out this running link HERE from Fitt Pittsburgh. Also, if you’re in the hood AND in need of some help with your gear, please head over to Fleet Feet and see Tess for the best of the best service.

Thanks for being an inspiration for vegans, runners and moms, Tess.

xx

 

How long have you been running?

My Dad has been a runner his whole life and started me when I was 13. I am now 32 and have been running ever since!

When did you discover that running was your “thing”?

I realized I was good at running in high school as I was winning a lot of local 5K races. Once I started training, I realized I could be a solid runner. I went to college and competed on my Division III Cross Country team.

Why did you decide to go vegan?

I have always been mostly plant based as it just made me feel better. I had a lot of stomach issues when I ate dairy and meat so doing a lot of trial and error to find what worked for me was helpful. Eliminating animal products made me feel better overall.

 Do you notice a difference in your abilities running as a vegan?

It honestly took a while for me to adjust. I had an eating disorder in high school and in college, so going vegan really made my family worried that I was restricting again. I initially lost a lot of weight and was really tired all the time. It took me a while to figure out the right combination of Macros and supplements to make sure I was fueling myself properly so that I could keep up the mileage. Once I did, I was able to be a good runner and a vegan athlete.

What is a typical day of training for you?

It really depends if I am in marathon training mode or I am in an off season. I usually run 5 days a week and do 1 day of strength training and one off day. Usually a day of speed work, a day of long distance and then moderate distance the rest of the time.  

What are your favourite pre and post workout foods?

I love a good banana and toast pre-long run. The carbs are great for longer distances. I love a smoothie post-run, it is cold and feels so good and is easy to digest!

When did you decide you needed nutritional coaching for optimizing your training, and why?

Veganism is wonderful, but hard to navigate sometimes. There is so much information out there and I wanted to be sure I was getting enough nutrients. As I said, with having had an Eating Disorder, it is easy for me to go back to my restrictive tendencies. I really had to focus on getting the proper coaching and guidance.

What is the biggest hurdle you feel you face in your day to day life that running helps you to overcome?

I think running is my best therapist! I really can unwind and relax and just be me. I have a 5 month old daughter so having the time and space all to myself is really helpful for my overall health and wellness.

What are some of your favourite places to run and why?

I love running throughout the city; Pittsburgh is a beautiful place to run! So many trails that are just absolutely breathtaking. I love being out with nature!

If you could give three pieces of solid advice to those considering taking on running, what would it be?

Like anything else, start slow and ease in. Don’t try to start off running 8 miles if you have never ran before. Know that it might  not be fun to start, but the benefits are endless and it can truly be a lifetime sport if you do it safely.

Is there anything that you are personally passionate about that you would like to share with FML clients, friends, readers?  

Having a plant diet is doable while being an athlete! You just have to plan, be smart and work hard!

Forged by fire.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for 2017 to end…and for some of you it already has ~ happiest of 2018 to you!

This last year has been FULL of everything. A lot of negative with a sprinkling of some positives that helped us to limp along to the finish line. I am grateful for all the new relationships I’ve made with friends and clients alike. I’m learning so much about who I am and what my position on this planet is and it’s empowering.

 

Shots in Rittenhouse

In January, I was in NYC solidifying collaborations & partnerships which was very exciting. We spent time back in Philly revisiting all of our favourite Vegan haunts and waxing nostalgic about our first time visiting Pennsylvania.

February, after an ass kicking bout of food poisoning, I was back in Calgary freezing my nards off and visiting my step-daughter Anastacia, who was re-diagnosed with a second childhood Cancer. Pretty rough start to the year while the clock was ticking down for us to “make 1MM or leave”.

 

March. I was in Savannah, Georgia, competing in a WNBF show where I didn’t do as well as expected and was generally miserable about it. I met new friends and will savour those relationships for life. I learned a lot about coaching BS during that trip.

Vancouver Vibes

April I regrouped and spent 5 weeks busting my chops for another kick at the can in Vancouver, where I came in first place & redeemed myself to myself. I got to see my besties and my family and couldn’t be happier because I released my first Vegan cookbook!

May, we took a 10 day trip back to Mexico to unwind & shoot a bit …then we moved from our shack in The Hill District to our home on the Slopes & secured a Studio lease on the South Side – exciting!

June we moved into our new home AND new office/studio digs and tried to settle in. Both of our dogs ended up getting Lyme Disease which required antibiotics and a lot of costly follow ups.

July, we rode from Calgary to Pittsburgh on my motorcycle which is NOT built for 2 and long haul trips. We also got to see Anastacia at the end of her surgery and beginning of new chemo. We saw a lot of cool sites on the way back home…South Dakota & Rushmore/Black Hills being the best of the best.

August, understanding our 1 year visa was running out we spend the entire month of August on the ground in Pittsburgh putting together our next 5 year petition. It was horrible, stressful & costly. We wanted to spend more time in Pittsburgh in case our Visas were denied and we had to move back to Canada. We spent a few days back in Manhattan for some work I had to do & had a good time in Jersey City. We celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary.

Falling Water

September, back to the grind and finishing touches on our application. Another amazing month in Pittsburgh however, FULL of ticks outside. We traveled to Chicago for Riot Fest & fell in love with the city. My parents also visited this month. To date, the only people that have visited us in Pittsburgh at all. I was voted on of Canada’s Top Vegan Influencers and featured in a magazine spread. 

Chicago, baby.

October, the final countdown. I was asked to a complete an interview in The Native Society online publication alongside some pretty prolific positive influencers in North America and Beyond. Later in the same month we were crossing the border late at night with our dogs in tow and a roof rack full of clothes with no idea when we would be back home, if ever.

November, tick tock, November 1st arrived and we both had a 5 year approval to head back to the US and really dig in on Business Development for our Engineering company. My training business picked up a lot online this month as well as in person which was a great ego boost that I needed then.

December, all work & a little play with 6 days in Fort Lauderdale & another photoshoot.  Businesses ramping up and travel for next year is starting to roll out.

Pfew. Those are the things I rattle off the top of my head!!!! I’ve decided to leave behind the evil stress of the “Birth Mom” drama we’ve been under. If you know me, you know it’s sick and I don’t talk about it anymore.

I have faced adversity, I have nearly lost my mind, but all in all I am made of STEEL now. My marriage & training was the only thing that kept me going for all the days that were hell on earth.

The best thing to come out of 2017 is the forging of my relationship under fire – indestructible now, as the tests we have survived would have killed 1000 marriages by now.

Find your fire, walk through it and push on through 2018. I did it, you can do it.

XX – S