there are some extreme gaps in my pop culture knowledge. i’ve never seen austin powers, for example. or star wars. and i’ve never ever watched seinfeld. but then again, my pal nq didn’t know who mr. belvedere was until i brought bob uecker up in conversation one day, and she is as sitcom-saavy as they come. so i guess we all have our achilles heels.
but there is one thing that i do know, and that’s the movie mean girls. it is a piece of cinematic perfection, and one of the few that i can quote with ease. written by tina fey, and starring lindsay lohan back when she was so young, innocent, and not too drug-riddled, as well as the adorable rachel mcadams as the dastardly regina george, it is pure happiness in dvd form.
and, strangely enough, this gem of a movie also teaches us a number of important lessons about running.
lesson number one: learn when to embrace the cheese fries
Regina George: 120 calories and 48 calories from fat. What percent is that?
Gretchen: Uh, 48 into 120?
Regina George: I’m only eating foods with less than 30 percent calories from fat.
Cady: It’s 40 percent. Well 48 over 120 equals X over 100 and then you cross multiply and get the value of X.
Regina George: Whatever, I’m getting cheese fries.
cheese fries are very enticing, especially for those of us who spend time exercising. when i get home from a long run like this weekend’s (WE RAN 12 MILES! AND I AM NOT SORE! WOOOOOOOO!), i want to eat EVERYTHING EVERYTHING EVERYTHING IN OUR HOUSE, from bread to jam to luncheon meats to m-effin’ cheese fries. i want it all, because i deserve it! hours and hours trudging through all sorts of weather and obstacles has to have some kind of payoff, right? sadly, not always… after my half marathons, i have easily replaced the 1300 calories that i have burned by way of gigantic ice cream cones, cheeseburgers, and baked goods. and, yes, even bacon.
this is dangerous for a runner like me, who does not have the metabolism of a hummingbird. i have previously mentioned that i am neither tall nor slender– i am short, with an athletic build that seems to put on muscle like crazy. (if only i could join those jersey shore boys for some gym tannin’ laundry, i could show them what is up.) (also, one time one of my weird nurses scared me by telling me that i no longer have any metabolism AT ALL because of my diabetes– she claimed that my insulin intake (insulin makes you put on weight, fyi) has rendered my metabolism useless… does anyone know if this is true?!) sometimes, after a long run, or really any run, which should in theory be good for me, my food binges can put me at risk of putting on weight, which is REALLY dang annoying.
but paying attention to nutrition all the time is not a reasonable goal, either. if we do, we may run the risk of turning into regina george, a (and i am quoting the movie here, mom! i would never talk about someone like this on my own accord!) selfish, back-stabbing slut faced ho-bag. and therefore, sometimes, we may need to get the cheese fries, for our own sanity, and the sanity of those around us. and here is a picture of miss piggy moi, modeling this good behavior on a recent trip to chicago:
and look how reasonable i am being here… in addition to the 900 hot dogs, giant platter of cheese fries, and other heartburn-inducing foodstuffs, i am drinking a sugar-free can of fresca! see, it’s all about moderation!
lesson two: beware the nutrition bar
Shane Oman: Why are you eating a Kalteen bar?
Regina: I’m starving.
Shane Oman: Man, I hate those things. Coach Carr makes us eat those when we want to move up a weight class.
Shane Oman: They make you gain weight like crazy.
Regina: Motherf –
[she spits out the bite of the bar that she was chewing, and then she lets out a high-pitched scream]
as a diabetic and as a runner, i have taken a very active interest in exercise nutrition, especially in what foods are best to eat before and after an athletic endeavor. and i have a love/hate relationship with energy bars, drinks, goos, beans, and cubes. they do have their benefits: energy bars, like luna bars, have a great carbohydrate : protein ratio that seems to give my body the appropriate amount of energy to make it through a run between 3 and 6 miles. but what i hate about them, in addition to their cloyingly sweet taste, is the fact that i am ingesting a buttload of calories right before i am supposed to be going out to do something that’s good for me.
unfortunately, as a diabetic, i am left with little choice on this matter. even before a short run, i must eat something that is going to hold my blood sugar steady, and it must fulfill that tricky carbohydrate : protein ratio. i have tried lots of things, with little success: yogurt, yogurt with cereal, yogurt with granola, whole wheat bread, whole wheat bread with peanut butter, cereal, cereal with milk, cereal with yogurt, chocolate milk… the list could go on, but i won’t bore you. despite their downfalls, those darned luna bars work best for me. but if you have a normal pancreas and are not in love with the taste of a luna bar or other nutrition in bar form, i urge you to find your nutrition elsewhere, perhaps in the form of a whole food like a banana or an orange. in fact, my running partner nandi had a ton of success with eating a banana on our 12-mile run this week, and writes all about it in her most recent blog post, which you can find here. also, it’s really amusing to think of all the hijinx and slapstick comedy that could ensue from throwing a banana peel on a running path!
lesson three: our stomach-related business is just that– OUR business
one of the most important pieces of the runners’ code is a shared understanding of what i will call “stomach issues.” they can be a really big problem for a lot of folks who hit the pavement. and it makes sense– spending multiple hours running, which bounces your body and tummy up and down, well, that can affect some things. and i do think it happens to most of us. right? tell me, please, that it’s not just me.
anyhoo, i have been out on many runs with pals (i.e. my main running buddy nandi) when this has happened to me. when my stomach starts with its tiny gurglegurglegurgle, i snap to attention. if this gurglegurglegurgle escalates to a thudthudthud, i am on red alert, brainstorming all of the possible free restrooms in the area. and if, god forbid, the noise then becomes a full-on THUDTHUDRUMBLETHUD, i raise the alert level to a DEFCON 1 and inform my running partners of the impending doom.
and this is where the code comes in. as runners, we do not chide each other about this potential disaster. instead, we work together to find the nearest bathroom, and do everything in our power to gain access to it. and afterward, there may be some awkward apologies, but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do we make fun of each other, laugh at each other, or tell anyone else about it. of course, i am now telling everyone about it on this blog, but because i am talking about myself, i don’t think that i am breaking the time-honored code.
lesson four: this movie is friggin’ hilarious
Ms. Norbury: [after implying that an elderly biker is her boyfriend] I’m kidding. Sometimes older people make jokes too.
Damian: My nanna takes her wig off when she is drunk.
Ms. Norbury: Your nanna and I have that in common.
this lesson does not have anything to do with running. it’s just an important truth.
today’s book recommendation, in honor of the ny jets’ big win yesterday, and my good friend pete, the biggest fan i have ever seen:
a fan’s notes, by frederick exley
freddie exley is the pride of watertown, ny, and his memoir is a gem. it’s a true story of fandom and its trappings, as well as upstate new york, a man named mr. blue, and sweatshirt-enrobed dog. a necessary, engrossing, and unforgettable read.