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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meat vs. Vegetarianism: a short discussion.

So if I were to raise one cow in my own pasture, and fed it only grass, my meat-related carbon footprint would be very small compared to that from buying the equivalent about of feedlot beef from a supermarket. It wouldn't be as low as if I just grew tomatoes and vegetables, but looking at it from a calorie standpoint, it's a pretty good investment:

Say a standard cow contains about 500,000 calories. *More in my situation considering I would eat (or feed to my dog) the parts of the cow that most people don't eat (heart, liver, intestine etc.)* That's 1370 calories per day for a year in ONLY meat (and I would never eat red meat -and meat in general- every day). Say the cow feeds three people (not three of me, just three people). That's 440 calories from an animal per day. Totally reasonable, considering where the meat comes from, and how it's raised.

Say I raise two cows. The marginal cost of raising a second is much less than that of initially buying a first. In addition, besides vet bills, the opportunity cost of time, and the energy I would have to use to freeze the meat or turn it into jerky, this would be a money-saving operation.

So, which is more economical:

a. growing your own vegetables (that you have to freeze or preserve for the winter as well)


b. growing your own animal?

Being a vegetarian is great and all, but if you're doing it for environmental reasons, how valid is it? Extremely valid if you don't have the means to hunt animals or raise them for food, but less valid if all you say is "Oh me oh my! The cattle industry produces so much greenhouse gas!" (Solution: don't buy unsustainable meat).

Know what you eat, and where it comes from.
Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
Know where your meat comes from, if you eat meat.
Make reasonable decisions and weigh out all of your options in regard to your diet.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Road Racing in Buenos Aires

This past week was a great 45 mile week (mileage is going up slowly, and I like it).

Monday I had planned a day off as usual, but ran home in my underwear in order to get to class on time.

This was my Facebook status that day:

So after giving myself two hours to find a specific bank-like establishment, I found myself out of luck with 45 minutes left until my first class. I was a 30 minute walk from home, and school is a 25 minute walk from my apartment. I was pretty gross, so I had to shower, get my things together etc. I think to myself, "If I run, can I get there in time? Of course. The problem was, I was wearing jean shorts and a cotton t-shirt. Who runs in cotton? The solution was the synthetic boxers I was wearing. They're not that much different from running shorts (longer, in fact). Today I went for a run in my underwear, down the streets of Buenos Aires. Has anyone else ever done this, or am I THAT strange?

I think that sums it up. I got whistled at by women, which was an interesting experience.

Tuesday and Wednesday were back to back 8 milers at night on the golf course, followed by descending 1000's and 600's in the park on thursday. Friday was meant to be a 10 miler, but I ended up incredibly dehydrated so I ran home for 8 again. Listening to your body FTW. Saturday night was four miles around the race course as a pre-race shake out with strides. Apparently at night there are prostitutes that line the streets where racecourse is during the day. They hiss at me and say things that only prostitutes would say. Go figure. I stay away from them. I think that's the epitome of sketchy, no? The strange thing was that there were families walking around the park as well.

On Sunday, I raced a 7k. I had never raced a 7k before. It was either going to be a 5k with 2k of extra pain added on, or a shortened 10k. Since I'm not trying to peak right now (I'm trying to not peak right now), I'm not going to hammer anything. I thus opted for a good competitive tempo run. It was nice. I like tempo. VERY humid. They told me wearing the race t-Shirt was obligatory (most everyone else wore it), so I wore it too, only to find out that singlets and going shirtless is completely acceptable. That was the only bad part. "Suns out, guns out" is 100% preferable.

Before the gun went off, everyone was dancing up a storm, while I was warming up, doing drills etc. They treated a 7k like a marathon! The races attract so many people, that they have to make them all a big deal. There must have been 600 people in this race, all wearing blue shirts. Talk about not being able to stick out in a crowd. I think I still managed to though.

The race was a fundraiser for UNICEF, which is an NGO that provides humanitarian aid to children and mothers in developing countries...this race was specifically for education. It's always good to run for a cause, and I'm not just saying that. I cycled 192 miles for Dana Farber in 2009 across Massachusetts. The kids on the side of the road with signs saying "I'm alive because of you" really made me think about what I was doing and why.

Anyway, I finished 25th out of 3,768, which was second in my age group, running about 6 min pace. It was the shirt! It was totally the shirt! I'm going shirtless next time even if they try to arrest me. Lots of fun for a good cause: Buenos Aires edition.