DALLAS COWBOYS SUPERSTAR TROY AIKMAN--HE WHO COULD BE KING OF DALLAS--FINISHED THE ROCK N ROLL HALF MARATHON LAST YEAR IN 1 HOUR AND 48 MINUTES. HE RAN IN THE KOMEN EVENT AND IS INVOLVED HEAVILY IN KOMEN SINCE HIS MOTHER IS A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR. HE IS STILL FAST FOR AN AGING ATHLETE BUT I THINK I CAN OUT-RUN HIM.
So back on New Year’s Eve I went temporarily insane and signed up to, uh, “compete” in the Rock N Roll Half Marathon Foot Race here in Dallas March 25.
I use the term “compete” loosely, mind you, since my primary goal is to complete the 13.1 miles without having to be dragged across the finish line with an oxygen tank in tow.
My other, more serious goal is to raise awareness and money about the epidemic that is Diabetes–a disease that is killing and crippling even young people in this country, even though the event itself is for Komen and breast cancer funding and awareness.
Longtime readers of the Jitterbug Cult know that I had issues with Komen long before the recent Komen fiasco, but I’m not so critical of it that I’m not supportive for all the good that it does for women with breast cancer. And I would have no problem running in a Komen event someday even though it’s not one of my favorite charities. (I might be more inclined now that it’s getting the scrutiny and greater accountability it needed.) It’s just that my time as a hospital chaplain has raised my own awareness of the well-known epidemic that is diabetes.
It breaks my heart every day on hospital duty to see patient after patient after patient laid low by the crushing effects of diabetes. I also know first-hand how it’s keeping the cost of health care in this country spiking. And it all is such needless devastation because it mostly all can be prevented with eating properly and exercising.
I’m not about to get all preachy (well, not too preachy) about the need for you and everybody else to eat healthy and exercise for the salvation of your body and health and the health care system, so relax and read on.
For the record, since I’ve started running and training for the big race against Aikman and thousands of others next month, I’ve lost 13 pounds–poundage that I never could shake off working out an hour a day at the gym, at least four days a week for years. The weight loss I’ve had this year isn’t so much from the running, I don’t think–even though running 9 miles like I did Saturday will burn up nearly a thousand calories, and the 10 miles I’ll do on my weekly “long run” training this weekend will send a lot more calories up in flames.
Most of my weight loss can be attributed to eating the right foods to fuel my runs. I haven’t had any Tex Mex and margarita therapy on my nights off from hospital duty this whole year–or not very much at all–because it makes the runs, which are now actually pleasurable now that I’m in such good shape, a lot less pleasurable. All those bad Mexican food calories will put the damper on a “runner’s high” on the next day’s run.
I’m not going to deny myself any simple pleasures in life entirely, mind you, and will have a little Tex Mex are other fun foodstuffs now and again on a Saturday night, but I’ll do it without stuffing myself and then trying to work it off at the gym on Monday.
Because I’m in “training” for the run against Aikman (be afraid, Troy, be very afraid), I’m eating mostly organic food and a lot of stuff like turkey loafs–red meat and greasy foods and gobs of sweets are out of my life for the rest of my life.
And the best thing is, I’m not even missing all the fun but bad foods; I was told by a trainer and a doctor who is a runner that this would happen, that I wouldn’t even miss the kind of eating I used to do once I reached a certain level of fitness.
But I hear ya–organic groceries and other ultra healthy foods are budget busters.
But to that I say–so is eating out at a Tex Mex restaurant with your enchiladas washed down with a couple margaritas. Not to mention all those chips and salsa and (gad!) quesa. It’s expensive having that second big beer at a Mavericks or Rangers game with that big pile of high-dollar nachos. Eliminating a lot of that stuff enables more shopping at Whole Foods Market.
Look, I never dreamed in a million years I’d be one of those “runaholics” you see breezing down the running trails, but I am that now. And–again–relax, because I’m not going to be a reformer now, preaching that everybody should start running miles a day and eating groceries from Whole Foods and going all drastically radical in a change of lifestyle.
That said, I do just wish we all in this country would become more mindful of the often toxic stuff we’re stuffing our bodies with.
Speaking of which– way to go with that “MacRib is Back” campaign, McDonalds! You can’t sell enough salads to redeem yourself for that kind of stuff.
My only motive for running against diabetes next month is to make you more mindful of how even the mildest exercise done on a regular basis could curtail this epidemic that is killing us in such massive numbers.
And if you don’t believe what a lethal and crippling epidemic diabetes is, come follow me around the hospital for a couple of hours and see the dying patients in ICU, or the ever younger people having limbs amputated, or the constant flow of diabetics into the ER.
Allow me to preach this: All the diet crazes and expensive diet programs in the world can’t beat the bottom line–you lose and maintain a healthy weight and body if you take in less calories every day than you burn, even though the calories you put in have to be reasonably healthy. And there’s no getting around a good 30 minutes of just walking down your street every day–or 20 a good 20 minutes on a treadmill or stationary bike.
So more to come on all this in the weeks before I take on Troy Aikman in the Annual Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon Foot Race here in Dallas, Texas, the headquarters of the blawg that is saving the world. And meanwhile, here’s Rod Stewart and the Faces with a song that is great for getting the adrenaline flowing for the last mile of a run–especially with that great clashing of drums at the end.
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