Article Response #7: Running on unhealthy

Article: http://www.runnersworld.com/health/running-empty

Author: Caleb Daniloff

Title: Running on Empty

Main Topic: This article talks about personal stories that took their obsession with running too far and let it develop into an eating or exercise disorder, and analyses different takes on the situation with the goal of raising awareness on the issues and finding more ways to get out of them.

 

This is quite a lengthy article, but I believe that it is well worth people’s time to read it – especially for runners who can learn much from the advice and anecdotes contained within. Several runners tell their stories, which are collected and relayed by writer Caleb Daniloff. These stories usually start out with the narrator being a dedicated, fairly healthy runner, who then hears that being lighter can improve running speed. Each runner-narrator then responds by gradually starving him/herself in order to beat his/her running records. Strangely enough, this tactic works, and the runners do in fact improve – quite noticeably, even. However, even after they revert back to healthier eating and gain back the often redundant weight they lost, their running continues to improve! I am glad that Daniloff mentions this, because it raises a suspicion in the readers that maybe being anorexic and running better are not so much a cause-and-effect as a coincidence.  It is certainly not a good thing for more people (especially active athletes!) to get positive ideas about conscious starvation. I’m a little frightened that other runners will read this article and only take from it the notion that losing weight improves running. It’s easy to ignore things such as long-term health issues when you can do something that gives you quick, short-term results.

I would have preferred if this article gave more information with regards to the health of runners and how they should be taking care of themselves. It talks a lot and gives a lot of opinions, but barely any scientific and nutritional information. All the people with eating disorders that tell their story end up becoming healthy eaters – but do they really? Caleb Daniloff mentions them eating burgers and fries, and endorsing the notion that it’s a diet that is completely fine. (Maybe that was the reason for their weight gain in the first place.) I’m not saying that even if you really love fries, indulging in a small serving once in a while is unheard of. I just don’t think such foods should be eaten regularly, because they’re not much of a good fuel for running, or much of a good fuel at all, if we get down to it.

I like the way this article gives advice and stories from accomplished runners to people who look up to them, but I think the direction strays from where it should go. I had really hoped it would be the sort of encouraging, “moral is: eat healthy and don’t be afraid to have a cookie here and then, and DON’T starve yourself!” kind of article, but it kind of left me hanging at the end. I’m not sure if the author intended for the audience to scratch up their own selection of advice from the article, or if there is in fact not supposed to be a moral. With something as severe as eating disorders among heavy athletes, I would expect there to be one.

I was also surprised how people who exercise so much can find themselves with considerable extra weight in the first place. If they are running through 600-1000+ calories with each training session and they train several times a week, then they must eat absolute junk to have 20+ extra pounds! There is an easy solution that everyone seems to ignore: the balance. I think there should be a middle ground for these runners, somewhere between their obsession with eating little and super healthy, and their later (or original) “burgers and fries” slack attitude. Runners need good fuel; all of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fibre, but not in the form of ice cream and cookies for lunch! It is possible to stay in good shape with a well-balanced diet even without running marathons, so I’m sure these runners will be able to accomplish their fitness goals as long as they make smart decisions. I just hope they know what smart decisions are.

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Doggie’s poem

Today’s prompt was to write about an object that is connected to dear memories (childhood or recent); I picked one of my favorite stuffed dogs of my childhood (and still my favorite now (: ) and kind of let my imagination get carried away, haha. I named him in Slovak, but it loosely translates to “doggie”. So here is “doggie” and his poem.
Doggie’s Poem
You’ve been all over the world
From work trips to vacations
In innumerable locations;
Witnessing daily frustrations,
As well as empty flirtations;
Yet the memories stay hid from you;
Untouched, and never to be unfurled.
Passed from hands to hands
A line of generations
The subject of countless unrequited relations
You’d reciprocate if you could, but
Filled with cotton stuffing
Your body houses no feeling.
Just in children’s memories,
You stay a real friend
Loyal, yet destined with time to end.
But despite all that:
All my thoughts and my chagrin;
You represent my past’s childish grin

Attempt at Landscape imagist poem

Purpose: to describe the same landscape as I wrote in Unit 1 in the form of an imagist poem

Date written: October 29th

Both pieces were inspired by these photos (and my memories):

    

Storybook Switzerland

A picture right out of a storybook,

Perhaps told by a beloved grandparent

In a swiss house,

filled with the smell of truffle hot chocolate;

Like one of those in this landscape.

Cows populate the hills, marching on

Lush grass that dances lightly around,

Waving its blades of grass at many a passerby,

A weaving carpet of soft green waves.

Blob-like lakes, and blob-like clouds

Lay and hover above and below;

And you feel like you’re suspended in between,

Like one of those colored leaves

swaying in the brisk afternoon air;

Standing on this sturdy hill

That has an air of hiding underworld treasures inside.

Cozy houses, with sweet cozy families,

And even sweeter dinners being put on the table;

What may happen inside those cottages?

I can only guess, and listen to

What the fresh wind whispers,

With scents and echoes as its only words;

Carrying with it tales of delightful dinner stories

and children’s laughter from over the fence.

Is there any sadness in this land?

Only the cows can tell,

For they alone have been here all day,

Munching on the land’s leafy fur

Yet oblivious to the faraway mountain adventures.

First attempt at Imagist Poem

Inspired by this photo:

 

The Forest Majesty

Autumn forest;

So tall, vast, colorful;

Stretching out to all directions.

Branches reaching out,

trying to touch their neighbours.

Leaves giggling, suspended from these arms;

Whispering the land’s secrets;

With the wind’s prompt.

Rising so high above;

These trees could pose difficulties to

Even the most adventurous

Furry squirrels.

 

Leaves collect at their feet

Like a pool of tears marking

the transition into the deadness of winter,

Or a christmas tree, with

it’s own nature’s gifts.

They had fluttered down

Like graceful paper ballerinas

Waltzing with the wind,

Then settling onto the earth.

Now earth is the forest’s sky

An autumn carpet speckled with color

And the sky can finally see.

Children play in this colorful array

Unaware that in a few months

The tree will be iced,

and the ground as well,

Like a model put on display:

Stunningly beautiful,

but barely able to breathe;

And even less able to move

 

But up high,

Crowns of color remain still

suspended from the multiplying branches

Higher and higher

Until they form just a domed sea of blended colors

Hiding the sky from any visitors

To this seasonal temple.

A leaf empire;

stretching out to all directions,

then one by one,

descending down peacefully.

Sacred forest:

Now it rests,

Awaiting the first snowflakes

To wrap it up and turn it into

A fragile winter wonderland.

 

Writer’s Notebook Exercise

Date written: September 25

Target audience: Teens and young-middle aged adults 

Possible place of publication: Used in a lighthearted older children’s story (for pre-teens)

You know those days when everything just seems to revolt against you, and you want to go hide somewhere and avoid everyone? Today is one of those days. Everything seems to be happening very weirdly, and I’m the only one that sees it. The animals have decided it’s finally their time to take over the world. Not that they have announced it or anything, but, I just know. It’s always the little stuff you have to watch out for.

My first hint was this morning, during the outdoor zoo drive-through my family went on. We are on vacation and my little sister wanted to see some animals. So we got in the car and slowly inched through a thickly forested area with animals roaming more or less freely. You’re even allowed to feed some. When we neared the llama enclosure, my dad rolled my window down, and said, “Why don’t you say hi, Joshua?” So I tentatively stuck my hand out, kind of scared to touch the robust animal that was sauntering up to our car. Apparently it wasn’t scared of me at all because it stuck its head into the window and burped right in my face. Everyone else ignored my yelps and shrieks and just sat there laughing while this llama attempted to chew on my hair. They finally rolled the window back up when I nearly sat on my sister trying to get away from the rude animal.

I cowered in the back seat until my parents finally gave up and decided it was time for lunch. We went down to the lake by our hotel and set up a picnic blanket. I had just barely shaken off this morning’s trauma when a squad of ducks waddled into a circle around me and started pecking on my shoes. I immediately knew what was coming, and I leapt off the ground, screaming.

“What’s going on?” Mother asked me, but I didn’t wait around to explain. I knew that the ducks were after me, and I had to act fast. I tripped and fell on a tree root on my first step, so the pain emanating from my ankle slowed me down considerably. When I hobbled into our hotel, just two minutes away, the ducks were right at my heels. The porter ogled them, befuddled, and stammered-yelled something at me, but I was already furiously jabbing the elevator close-doors button. The doors shut right in the ducks’ beaks, barely missing them. Thankfully I made it to our room alive, but only then I realized that my parents have the keys. So I’m crouching in front of our door, sneaking glances left and right, wondering if even the germs on the wall are participating in the “let’s mock Joshua” game. I’ve always known this would come eventually, right from the day that our cat Mitsi started hiding my socks all over the house. For years I fooled myself thinking it was just a kitten’s sock hide-and-seek. But the animal kingdom’s air of nonchalance and innocence is just a cute facade. I have no idea why they choose to pick on me – maybe I was dropped onto an animal as a baby, and that plus my series of unfortunate experiences with pets and tamagotchis has fuelled their resentment over the years. I really don’t have a clue. But one thing is for sure. Today is the day that the llamas begun to rebel against me.

People watching; characterization and dialogue

Date written: September 20th

Target audience: teenagers and young adults

Possible place of publication: can be used in a novel for teens or young adults

 

There’s just no studying in study halls

Characterization and Dialogue: There’s just no studying in study halls

By: Silvia Adamy

 

A normal afternoon in the cafeteria. A few classrooms, whose teacher called in sick, or perhaps just didn’t feel like teaching, occupy a handful of tables. Spare students are scattered around the remaining ones, some intermingled with the full classes. Across the room, a young teenage boy sits with a crowded table of energetic 16 – 17 year olds. His dark hooded sweater, thick and cozy, contrasts sharply with the white brick-patterned wall behind him. It loosely hugs his skinny frame, accentuating the almost scary effects of a velocious teenage boy’s metabolism. His legs sprawled under the table, his back bent in concentration, his head hovers over something on the table. Kids around him throw empty pop bottles and pencil nubs at each other, oblivious to his calm manner. He might be part of the group, or perhaps not – because he’s actually doing some work. He scratches his high cheekbone with the gnawed end of his pencil and shifts his head, as if the equations in front of him would make sense from a different angle. His eyebrows twitch in confusion above his light blue eyes, the corner of his mouth moves like it’s not sure whether to form a self-amused smirk or a grimace.

“Could I borrow an eraser?” He expectantly turns his whole body to the boy next to him. A smile, probably his ordinary one, but one coming off as mildly ironic, creeps onto his face. A tone of slight bewilderment and amusement touches his voice.

“Don’t have one.” The athletic companion beside him throws him a scoffing leer then goes back to hollering at someone across the room – it might be a similarly dressed friend, or a cute girl, or perhaps the wall.

The boy in the dark sweater swivels around on the bench to the redheaded girl on his other side.

“Could I borrow an eraser?” He repeats the same question, with the same expression, the same coy and mysterious smile.

“You’re making mistakes already?” The redhead bats her mascara-loaded eyelashes and starts nonchalantly digging through her pencil case.

“Well! …” the boy scratches his head and ogles his homework. “I just… I don’t…”

“I see.” The girl chuckles and tosses the eraser nearly into his face. “Have fun.”

The boy’s stutters dissolve into quiet laughter, his smile stretching all the way across his face. He grabs the eraser and furiously erases half his page. It crunches beneath his loose hand and a piece of it rips. He turns his head to look directly at the tear and stares at it for a few seconds, the same slightly satiric, slightly amused expression bending his mouth.

“Well that was…” He turns to return the eraser, but is interrupted with the redhead’s squeal directed to the girl across the table, as she leaps out of her seat.

The boy throws his head back, a delayed reaction, one performed solely for the comical show.
“Okay”. He stretches the “o” out. “Well, looks like I won’t be using this paper anymore.” He states to no one in particular and crumbles it up. The redhead turns back to him.

“What did you do??” She exclaims and starts laughing. “You’re an idiot!”

“How am I an idiot?” The boy grins even wider and looks at his companion with his sparkly light blue eyes. “For ripping up a page?” Sarcasm is one of his natural talents.

“Okay fine,” the girl says and whips out a new page. “Here, take this.” She slaps it in front of him. “Why are you doing this now? You’re so slow.” Out of nowhere, she’s suddenly a little annoyed.

“What?” The boy turns back to her, putting his hands in his lap. “I just wanna get my work done! None of you guys are doing that! You’ll have to do it for homework!”

“So?” The girl raises her eyebrows at him. “At least we’re socializing!” She gestures around her jokingly.
“Yeah man, why don’t you socialize with us?” The redhead’s friend, across the table, blurts out at the boy, a little dispassionately, but still playfully argumentative.
“Well, why don’t you guys join me and get some work done?” A little remorse now joins the smile in the boy’s voice. “We’d all be a lot more efficient!” He enunciates the last t in the sentence, jutting his bottom lip out in a comical grimace. He looks at the two girls with his penetrating eyes from under semi-closed eyelids. Both the girls burst out into giggly laughter, perhaps at his suggestion, perhaps at his funny face.

“I just…” The boy stammers slightly, his face dropping some of it’s sarcasm, allowing the issues he hides deeper inside to show more boldly on his features. Presently, a look of slight frustration emanates from his creases and worry-wrinkles. He throws his hands up in the air briefly then starts collecting his pages with short, brisk, but once again theatratical movements.

“Where are you going??” The redhead asks him over her shoulder, once again chatting jovially with her friend.

“Somewhere quiet!” The boy does the same funny grimace at the t, turning to throw the redhead a playfully-accusing look as he shuffles away. She sticks her tongue out at him then turns back to her riveting conversation about the upcoming Twilight movie. His steps gain more confidence after a few feet. He should have walked out ages ago. There is just no meaning to “study” halls.