Friday Randomness – Jan. 13

This weekend is like the Super Bowl for fans of distance running, as the Olympic Marathon Trials will be held in Houston on Saturday.  I’m sure most people will be keeping their eyes on the elite runners, like Kara Goucher, Desiree Davila and Shalane Flanagan, but I will also be cheering on a local runner, Sara Petrick, who qualified with a time of 2:45:28 at last year’s Houston Marathon.  Go Sara!

One of the things I love best about the Olympics are all of the truly amateur athletes who come into public view, some of whom have incredible back stories.  One of the women who will be running in the marathon trials on Saturday is Victoria Russell, who like most of the field is unlikely to qualify, but is super inspiring nonetheless.  Russell started running ten years ago.  This year, she will run in the trials, which take place just a few days before her 40th birthday.  Plus, she’s a mom of three, which I find particularly of note, considering that I’m hoping to become a mama myself in the next year or so.

Margaret Cho lost her shit on some people who were dicks to her after she posted a photo of her ass which now bears a beautiful new tattoo.  In a follow-up post on her site, she writes about her rage in a way I think anyone who was ever made to feel ugly or worthless can relate to.  It’s worth a read, if only for the sheer eloquence of her righteous fury.

A magazine about plus-size fashion recently published photos from a shoot in which two models, one plus-size and one straight-size, posed next to each other.  I don’t want to comment on the healthiness of either woman – even though I’ve gathered that, as a Person on the Internet, I am apparently gifted with Magic Diagnostic Powers that let me determine such things by simply looking at a photo? – but I do think the differences between the two women’s bodies are fairly striking.  (P.S. Don’t read the comments.  It’s a link to the Daily Fail, which is worse than a cesspool.  The Daily Fail is more like the waste products of the bacteria that feed off the feces dumped into a cesspool, after that cesspool has been sitting in the summer sun in the jungle for ten years.)

Judge Dee Anna Farnell is a bit of a rock star.  She presides over the Pinellas County drug court, which has in recent years seen a huge surge in the number of people who are dealing with prescription pill addiction, and she is very awesome at her job.  One of the (many, many) things she does is encourage defendants to take up physical activity, especially running in local races.  (Judge Farnell is a dedicated runner herself, and she’s even completed 15 Boston Marathons!)  Sadly she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  Here’s hoping she pulls through – the world really needs more people like her.

This New York Times article, entitled “The Fat Trap,” was maybe one of the most interesting things I’ve read in a while.  In it, Tara Parker-Pope looks at research that asks why heavier people have such a difficult time losing weight.  I really liked this article, and think TPP’s conclusion supports a humane, fair-minded way of approaching the question of weight loss.  It’s a shift in mindset that is sorely needed, as evidenced by this misguided ad campaign in Georgia, which purports to fight against childhood obesity by basically shaming fat kids.

Reader Ilyse shared a link to an NPR story about a woman who is aiming to become the first American Muslim woman to compete in the Olympics while wearing a hijab.  Ibtihaj Muhammad hopes to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in women’s fencing, and she trains 40 hours a week in pursuit of her goal.  The interview is really interesting, particularly how she trains during Ramadan.

My best friend, Brandi, sent this link to me by Aerial Amy, in which she writes about being accepted to a graduate program in biobehavioral sciences, and how even just sitting in on a PhD thesis presentation gave her new insight into her method as a pole instructor.  I got all giddy while reading this, because it made me think about grad school and how excited I am to get started with it.

I’ll admit – I snickered when I first read this NPR article about learning how to eat out.   But then I got over myself and realized that mindfulness is an excellent ideal to aspire to in all aspects of our lives, not just when it comes to dining on tapas at Ceviche, but when working out, when reading, when spending time with loved ones, when doing just about anything, really.

Do you have a good idea to help people in your community get healthy?  GOOD is looking to give a $1,000 grant to an individual or group to implement that idea.  I’ve got some smart cookies reading this blog, and I’m pretty sure at least one of you has some idea or other that would rock this contest.

Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke is in a coma after she crashed hard during a training session in Park City, Utah.  Burke, who is a four-time Winter X Games champion and who was a favorite for the 2014 Winter Olympics, underwent surgery but is still in critical condition.  Here’s hoping she pulls through okay.

Somalia has a national women’s basketball team, and they play under conditions I find difficult to fathom.  They train in the police headquarters in Mogadishu, so armed security officers can guard them during their two-to-three hour long practice sessions.  “There are people who will see girls playing sport as a devil’s thing and they will not allow it,” a Somali National Olympic Committee member said.

Over at the Great Fitness Experiment, Charlotte Anderson talks about the weird cultural expectation where women are required to have only as much body fat as will allow us to have boobs and a butt but absolutely no more than that.  It’s a pretty new thing, this whole “abs like cut glass” standard, but it’s so pervasive, and so perversely appealing, too.  Oh, six pack abs, how you vex me so!

Austin Stair is a researcher at the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport (which – !!!) and she focuses on heteronormativity in sports biographies.  In a recent blog post, she talks about the recent naming of the Minnesota Lynx’s Seimone Augustus as the Sportsperson of the Year, and how consequently someone called her research obsolete, a fact that she doesn’t mind at all.

3 responses to “Friday Randomness – Jan. 13

    • Hey Larkin! I thought your post was really insightful and I’ll probably reference it again at a later date for another post I’m working on. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and it’s really interesting and well-done.

  1. I actually found myself disappointed by the end of “The Fat Trap.” As someone who’s worked hard toward accepting the body I have, it’s jarring to read, “Nobody wants to be fat… It’s also just embarrassing.” I do want to keep the body I have, the one that’s fat, and I don’t find my body embarrassing. And I know a number of other people who share the same sentiment. Even if it’s we happen to be the only couple dozen people in the world who feel this way, it’s still patently untrue that “nobody” wants to be fat — or that fat is universally embarrassing.

    It’s a realization that’s undermined by a lot of projections of beauty in the mainstream media. For me, it’s a realization that I constantly work to hold onto. To see it so pithily stated as truth as part of the conclusion of a really good piece struck me as disingenuous.

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