Sunday, October 03, 2004

Strong legs, healthy lungs, huge appetite

I ran 9 miles this morning through Rock Creek Park with a friend, "A." It was a gorgeous, sunny morning in the high 60's and low 70's. You couldn't ask for better weather. It was a good run; I even felt strong enough to sprint the last several hundred yards.

Afterwards, we ate breakfast at the cafe of posh Dean & Deluca in Georgetown. We sat at an outdoor table, and surrounding us were bicyclists in multi-colored lycra and waterpaks, women wearing expensive cosmetics, swishing their long hair and chattering in French, and middle-aged men in shorts or sharp suits.

I was famished: A lox and bagel with capers and red onions never tasted so good. After gobbling that down, I sampled "A's" pasta salad and drank her grapefruit juice. Then I leaned over and ate the saffron risotto cake of her friend (who met us after the run), and finished with a cup of extra-dry, kick-in-your-pants cappuccino (very little milk, mostly espresso and foam).

I've always had a big appetite. That's reason number one why I exercise: So I can eat much, often and well. No dry-as-dust rice cakes or rabbity little salads pour moi. In school, my friends' moms always liked having me over for dinner. I gratefully accepted second (and even third) helpings, unlike their daughters, who often picked disinterestedly at their food.

I'm feeling good healthwise. I'm eating nutritiously (except for a few days last week, when I snarfed cold pizza), running regularly and lifting weights. Hey, use it or lose it, eh?!

Looking ahead: When I'm old, I don't want to be beset by easily-preventable aches, pains and diseases such as type 2 diabetes. About 20 percent of Americans over age 60 have type 2 diabetes. And almost all of them - such as my grandmother - could have avoided this debilitating disease had they exercised several times a week and eaten a balanced diet as younger adults.

Just a bit more preaching: As it is, two friends of mine who are only in their early to mid-30's have high blood pressure and take medication for it. High blood pressure! At their still-tender age! They have it because they're 20 to 50 pounds overweight, ingest too many calories and too few fruits and veggies, and lead sedentary lives. That, ladies and gentlemen, is just sad.

"A" and I talked on the run about doing a triathlon - nothing as hardcore as the infamous Ironman Triathlon - (2.4 mile swim, 100-mile bike ride, then a 26.2 mile marathon run) but somewhere along the lines of a 400-meter swim, 20k bike race and 5k run.

That's totally doable. But first we've got to finish the Army 10-miler in a few weeks.


  1. I admire you for being so disciplined about exercising. I remember five years ago I used to exercise a lot as well. Last night I went out with a friend to a Jewish deli and I gulped down this huge burger. At the end I looked at my almost empty plate and I couldn't believe I ate such a huge thing! Well, for thing I was starving most of the day because our EDR serves bad food. I have a huge appetite too. I really have to get myself in shape. You are right. It is important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to avoid health risks later in life.

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  3. Yahoo! You rock, sistah! You have named all of the very things that have been spinning in my little brainpan since I took up this dedicated path of eating healthily and exercising 6-7 days/week. The payoff is fabulous, I feel great in spite of everything else going on personally, which is a major coup.

    I always thought partaking in a marathon of any kind was so amazing. Best of luck to you. Who knows, one day this wahine may even get up the gumption to know running a marathon (let alone participating in a triathalon!) is within the realm of her POSSIBLE.