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.

Article Response #2: Luck, talent, and hard work

Article: http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0310/from-poverty-to-power-celebrities-who-started-with-nothing.aspx#axzz2H7IrzZwK

Author: Michael Deane

Title: From Poverty to Power: Celebrities Who Started With Nothing

Main topic: mini biographies of famous wealthy people who started from the bottom

 

This article, written by Michael Deane, may be considered an inspiration to those who feel that if they are not rich today, they never will be. I think that the fact that the world  is always changing (along with our personal circumstances) is almost blatantly obvious, but it does help to remind ourselves of it once in a while. The problem is, however, that the people spoken of in the article are more the exception than the rule. They did have great talent- but also, they found themselves in the right place at the right time. You may have the best singing voice in the world, but if you are not in the right place and time to be heard, no one will listen to you. It is partly talent, but also luck, that got Oprah, J.K.Rowling, Jay-Z, and the others mentioned to their lofty, successful positions. That being said, luck is not always just a matter of arbitrary chance. There are dozens of sayings that express this: “chance favors the prepared mind”; “some people are destined to be great, but more often they are determined to be great”; “a winner never quits, and a quitter never wins”; bottom line is, hard work pays off. Effort may, in the end, be the biggest part of success of all.

The law of attraction, an idea that’s steadily gaining popularity, may explain how all these hugely different factors tie together. Some people want something a lot, and they channel their energy correctly into positive thinking and harnessing positive “vibrations” that allow that situation to actually come to happen. Some do it automatically, without even realizing it- and call the outcome “pure luck”. The process is easy, but the reason why not everyone is able to make it work is that not everyone has the determination to work really hard at something. Or perhaps life just doesn’t want to let everybody be super rich and popular and famous – we would all be the exact same, and then where would fortune go from there, if it didn’t completely lose its value?

The way Deane wraps up his article is a perfect conclusion. It is an encouragement- an incentive nudge immediately following the evidence of “miracles do happen”, which prompts people to get off their feet and go change the world (especially their own) for the better. I would replace his use of the word “talent” with “passion”, however, as I don’t think talent exists – it is merely the result of hard work driven by our love for the given sport or activity. I feel that I should here return to my argument that things such as luck may be perceived to be randomly given out by nature, but in truth they are just results of our own hard work. You must not be afraid to get your nails dirty from effort, and the best way of ensuring this is to have a true passion for your goals. If there is one thing that the people discussed in the article have in common, it is that they all love what they do. It is impossible to work day after day for something you don’t want- something that your heart wouldn’t chase after if it could spontaneously sprout legs. I share Deane’s encouraging outlook regarding the inspiration coming from these fortunate celebrities, so I will follow his lead in my conclusion; perhaps not everyone can make it to the top, or even chase after their dreams, but you will not know if you are one of the few who can until you give it a try.