Me vs Me, Lionel Adams The Ultra Running Raw Vegan

Normally the terms ultra runner and vegan would seem to not go together.  Combine ultra runner and raw vegan and you get the beast that is known as Lionel Adams.  This Mobile, Alabama native combines his joy of running long, with his sober, raw vegan lifestyle.  He manages to maintain a full-time roll at the VA, log many miles per week, and contribute to the running community through his role as Director at large of the RRCA.  I caught up with Lionel for a chat about all things running.

Kim: Lionel, I’m so happy to connect and get to know you better.   I know you are originally from Mobile, but where do you reside now?

Lionel: I am in Charleston, South Carolina right now.  I have been here for seven years next month…Wait, seven years in October almost.

Kim: What brought you to Charleston? 

Lionel: I worked for the VA and at the time I had another position that required me to sign a relocation clause. So, I started within the same month. You know, hi, Mr. Adams, um, we'll need you to relocate to Charleston to fill this position.  I said, okay, and it was one of those things where if I said, no, it would be frowned upon, or, they'll politely remind me of the agreement that I signed. They rolled up the van line to the front of my apartment, I was living in Atlanta at the time actually. They packed up my place, just like the military and shifted on to South Carolina.

Kim: Wow! Did you know that there could be a chance that you would have to just get up and go?

Lionel: Yes I knew, but I didn't realize it would be so fast.  I thought, maybe I'll get a couple years and stay here for a while, but no, it was quickly.  I got hired in August, and moved in October.

Kim: How did you like living in Atlanta?

Lionel: I had been living in Atlanta for probably a little over seven years as well.  I had been there in another capacity. I used to be a restaurant manager back in the day and I actually loved Atlanta. It’s one of those places where you can see people who are black succeeding along with everyone else in society.  Everyone is displayed of having an equal opportunity and doing well in life and it was inspiring.  It allowed me to flourish and I felt good about getting up and taking on the day because everyone around me was doing the same thing. 

Kim: So do you miss it? I have family in Atlanta, so I'm there all the time and I'm not going to say I hate it, but it, it takes forever to get everywhere!

Lionel: Yeah. Atlanta is something else. It was that way when I first moved there and every time I visited since it's been that way and worse, It’s its own beast. I miss it though.  I like that it has some hustle. Um, but yeah, I miss it. 

Kim: You mentioned that you work for the VA. What do you do there?

Lionel: I am a patient experience trainer, specifically veteran experience trainer.  I spend most of my time working with staff members, direct and indirect patient care staff members, to enhance their communication, their skill sets withour veterans in the care that they deserve. 

Kim: Do you get to work directly with veterans at all? 

Lionel: Well the employees themselves are veterans, but I am not a provider as working directly with veterans.  I do have interaction in the hospital and the clinics, minimal interaction, but most of my interaction is with the employees. 

Kim: Were you ever in the military? 

Lionel: No. No, I'm a civilian. 

Kim: Wow. So I would think that to get that type of job, you would have to have some kind of military background.

Lionel: Well, it helps to have a military background, but actually being in restaurant management in Atlanta is what brought me into the VA. I was managing the food service in the Atlanta VA hospital and got transferred to Charleston. So it instantly put me into the VA and I took another job. 

Kim: Let's get into some of your, running preferences. What is your watch of choice? 

Lionel: I'm currently wearing the Coros Pace 2.

Kim: That is my watch too!  

Lionel: I used to be a Garmin person. I don't even remember which one I used, but I actually won the Coros a race. It's spectacular, and has been the best, & it has never died.

Kim:  Listen, I preach to people all the time about cutting the Garmin cord because we are so tethered to Garmin, and I don't understand why.  We’re paying $500 for a watch, & they break all the time. The Coros Pace 2 is like $200, $240,  well worth the price. 

Lionel: It’s nothing like some of the higher end watches but you get the same and better features with Coros.

Kim: Oh, my gosh, so much better. And guys, the battery on the Coros last four weeks! I took off a little bit of time from running and I didn't charge the watch and I came back like a month later and it was still charged.

So what kind of sneakers do you like to run in? 

Lionel: I'm kind of unorthodox, I am a diehard Sketchers person. Right now my go to’s are the max road.   I don't care for the latest ones, but I have the four and four plus. I haven't switched over to the newest iteration. The cushioning, bar none, I love it. 

Kim: So look, we always see Meb in his Sketchers. He's like Mr. Sketchers, and  you are the first person that has ever said that they run in Sketchers. What made you try them? 

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