Start training for Turkey Trot, but don’t skimp

Last year’s Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot raised over $6,000 for the Pagosa Lakes Swim Club.

More than 96 men, women and children competed in the five-mile run or walked a two-mile loop. Everyone then went and indulged in the traditional Thanksgiving meal, knowing hey had done their part — one, in helping the swim team and two, in helping themselves by burning some calories before overloading the body with all the delicious traditional Thanksgiving dinner fare.

The swim team is planning on putting on the same event this year. Start training now by getting some running or walking miles under your belt.

I love this time of year, the upcoming holiday season, I mean. I love the food, the parties with friends and I indulge in both with gusto. I frown on overly-zealous “health nuts” who give advice on a list of holiday eating dos and don’ts. Eliminate second helpings, high calorie sauces and dessert made with butter, they say. Good grief. Don’t skimp on the holidays. Eat sensibly the rest of the year, but give yourself a break at Thanksgiving (and Christmas). Besides, if you are training for the Turkey Trot, you will be burning calories in preparation for feasting. Here’s looking forward to more good eats just around the corner.

This is the time of year to give some attention to your yard in preparation for winter: soak trees and shrubs so they enter dormancy fully hydrated, rake leaves and mulch for use in the future, roll up hoses if they are to be of any use next summer, clean up by putting away tools and deck furniture, pick up trash and if you have a wood pile, cover it up to keep the wood dry. Speaking of fuel wood, have you cleaned your chimney?

Over the past weekend, Tom and I were in the woods collecting pinecones for kindling. It was fortunate that we had extra trash bags with us. This one area we were in happens to be a popular disperse camping location and it was heavily littered. What a shame.

On a different note, let’s take a look at changing times and new found freedoms in Afghanistan. The fitness industry’s attempts to cultivate a modern image and make a positive contribution to the nation’s health are, on occasion, still thwarted by government authorities.

As the level of military conflict has fallen, many of the young men who would otherwise be serving as soldiers have developed an interest in lifting weights and building their bodies — so much so that, over a relatively short period of time, the number of gyms in Kabul, the country’s capital, has doubled.

Previously, under the strict Taliban rule, the practice of bodybuilding was tolerated, as long as participants remained fully clothed and wore the mandatory beards. But, as restrictions have relaxed, practioners have altered their dress code to accentuate their impressive biceps and chest. That change was soon reflected in club’s marketing efforts.

According to press reports, the government has attempted to put an end to the trend by cracking down on any fitness related advertising that depicts shirtless, muscular men claiming that such images are immoral. Recently, in Khost, a city in southeastern Afghanistan, a government unit tore down billboards featuring bare-chested body builders. The unit, identified as the Morals and Rules Commission, was comprised of police, government officials, and members of the Khost Province Religions Ministry.

Well, despite changing times and newfound freedoms, public displays of sleek physiques still offend in Afghanistan. The freedom that we enjoy here in our country is unique and precious. Therefore, value it, preserve it and don’t forget to vote.