Liza Howard

Liza Howard

Liza Howard is a long-time is a longtime ultrarunner who lives in San Antonio, Texas. She teaches for NOLS Wilderness Medicine, coaches, directs the non-profit Band of Runners, and drives her kids around in a minivan.

December 2010
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Table Topics


Last night my mom and dad, sister, Eliot, and I sat around the table after dinner playing Table Topics.  It’s a huge deck of cards with questions that are meant to provoke “great conversations.”  We were playing the Family Edition, so the questions were pretty tame.  (I’m curious about the Girls Night Out Edition.)  And my sister culled the deck further, so the questions didn’t touch on topics that would agitate any one of us too much.  “What would you like to learn to cook?”  “What was you favorite family vacation?”  “Would you give up junk food to live 10 years longer?”  That last one didn’t generate any conversation, just a round of “No’s!” and brief statement on the quality of life between the ages of 90 and 100 and the goodness of Cheetos.  Besides tortilla chips, I don’t like junk food much (MANY other weaknesses as you know if you’ve read for a while), so I kept quiet.  I also give up tortilla chips every other year because I bought Kurt Hahn’s “sensible self denial” maxim hook, line, and sinker years ago.  (“I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self denial, and above all, compassion.”)

Anyway, I’m thinking about the junk food question this morning.  There are the usual slew of obesity epidemic articles in the morning papers including this one about Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity, which has generated partisan rancor.  Apparently Sarah Palin has accused Mrs. Obama of trying to deny Americans dessert.  (Mrs. Obama wresting a S’more out of Asa’s tiny hand.)  The obesity epidemic is such an interesting issue.  Public health entangled with individual choice, complicated by aesthetics, muddled by mutable nutrition science and agribusiness.  I feel a big New Year’s resolution coming on.  Gotta get a hill repeat run in now though before we head to the North Shore to watch the waves and eat some shave ice.

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