It’s never too late!
We hear that quite a bit, but how many of us really pursue something and work toward a new challenge later in life? Jacob Young did! Let me introduce you to Jacoby.
He never ran as a child or as an adult, carrying extra pounds for most of his life. But one day he read a book that literally changed his life. These days, if you see Jacoby running at any of the run clubs, you will think that he is an elite runner. He has great running form. He is light on his feet. He always has a smile on his face and kind words to support fellow runners. Oh! And I can’t forget to mention that out of almost 2,000 runners, Jacoby is the most consistent runner in our Run Club.
His story is so worth sharing, so here it is…
jacoby: I work at Kamehameha Elementary School doing technology integration, maker education, and game design with all of our students from kindergarten to 6th grade.
jacoby: I have to say that I probably have it right now. Having the ability to work in a school that values creativity, play, and building relationships amongst students has been a dream come true.
When and why did you start to run?
jacoby: I had never run in middle/high school or as an adult because my lungs would hurt and heave from being out of shape. I started running in April of 2017 while reading Finding Ultra by Rich Roll. Rich is an ultrarunner that co-created the EPIC5 Challenge (5 Full Iron Distance triathlons on 5 Hawaiian Islands in 5 days). He did this with a drastic diet and lifestyle change in his early 40s after nearly 20 years of a sedentary life. I thought after reading Rich’s book that if he can do that, I can at least run a mile. Then it became two, then three, and so on…
What are the biggest changes in your life since you start to run?
jacoby: Of course there are the physical changes of weight loss, lower heart rate, quicker recovery times, more stamina and strength. More importanly though, I have increased confidence in setting goals and achieving them. I had often avoided competition and found myself gravitating toward the more “sure thing” before I started running. Running, and racing, has taught me that the only way to earn and accomplish a goal is to be consistent, to train, and to listen to the wisdom of those that have been there and are also on their way.
Which piece of advice would you give to someone that wants to run but doesn’t know how to start?
Walk. Walk/Run. Run. Run more.
jacoby: I believe that this can be done totally untethered from technology and without any support in the beginning, but using a simple Couch to 5K app was really helpful for me. It was supposed to be an 8 or 9 week run/walk training program, but by the 5th week I felt ready to run my first mile without stopping. I deleted the app and promised myself I would run at least 3 days a week and increase my mileage by half a mile each week. After a couple of months solo running, I reached out to my friend Russel and he told me about the Lanikai Juice Run Club. I have been running with friends for 80% of my runs since then.
What do you love about the run club?
jacoby: I love the support from the official coaches and having the opportunity to learn from all of my unofficial coaches. I love the variety of experiences and goals that everyone has. I love the consistency and the comfort in knowing that there will be, at least 3 days a week for me, a group of folks that I can hit the roads with. I love the commmunity that it has fostered in my life and the space that it has created for me to give back.
How long have you been vegan? And why?
jacoby: I have been vegan for a little over 11 years. I initially became vegan after watching a video about how cows, pigs, and chickens are used and abused in animal agriculture. It made me sick to know that if I continue to purchase and eat their body parts I am contributing to this cruelty. My momentary taste pleasure is not more important than their lives. There simply is no humane way to kill and animal that does not want to die and we fool ourselves to think otherwise.
After that, I learned about the environmental impact of raising animals for food. Even if one is only buying local and organic we are still using more land and water and creating more pollution and environmental degradation than if we ate a plant-based diet.
I do believe that it is possible to be healthy without being fully vegan, but with a plant-based diet I reversed a lot of my own health problems and am not experiencing those that still affect my family.
Finally the health aspect spoke to me as well as I lost approximately half of my body weight with an improved diet and exercise. I do believe that it is possible to be healthy without being fully vegan, but with a plant-based diet I reversed a lot of my own health problems and am not experiencing those that still affect my family. For the reasons of animal cruelty, environmental impact, personal health, and also the lives of the humans that have to work in these slaughterhouses and those affected by animal agriculture waste, I found that veganism is more of a lived ethic than a diet.
Could you share with us your usual daily meals…maybe you will inspire a few of us to eat more clean:)
jacoby: If you are transitioning to veganism it is important to make sure you are getting enough calories in a day. For many people eating a Standard American Diet (abbreviated as SAD, I’m not making this up), meat or cheese dishes will make up a significant amount of calories in a meal. Removing these without replacing them will leave you hungry and with low-energy. It is important to maintain your caloric intake with fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds.
For breakfast I love having 2 or 3 apple bananas, some natural peanut butter, almond or cashew milk, a generous amount of cinnamon, and some hemp or pumpkin seeds. It’s either this or I will make overnight oats with these same ingredients and some added chia seeds, cocoa powder, and frozen berries. If I want savory, there is the option of avocado toast with a vegan mayo and furikake.
I like to have a decent sized salad with dark greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, and carrots (prepping these ingredients ahead of time makes this easier). A bean or tofu dish with whatever sauce I feel like and rice usually fills out the meal.
I love curries with chickpeas/lentils, broccoli, mushrooms and dark greens. Kabocha and sweet potatoes are always welcome.
I eat bananas, papayas, any other local fruits that I can get my hands on, raw mixed nuts, and bars with simple ingredients like Larabar throughout the day. Many running fuel options like Clif Shot Bloks and GU/Huma gels are vegan too!
What is your next running goals?
jacoby: My first marathon will be Honolulu in December so I will be consistent in my training for that. It’s a long shot, but I just learned that Team Hawaii was a thing at Hapalua. Being able to get to that level of competition would be an incredible accomplishment as I truly admire all of those runners. I feel lucky enough already to be able to train alongside several of them.
Quote you live by:
“This is how you run.”
this is my simple, matter of fact, just accept that you are currently putting one foot in front of the other running mantra
“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”
Commitments like running a marathon or having a clean (in his case) vegan diet can sound like a very tough goal to reach. But Jacoby humbly shared that taking it one step at a time and with the right mindset, we can all achieve our wildest dreams.
Thank you for sharing Jacoby!