Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Save the Lobsters!

Currently, our fridge is running on low, near empty.

I knew it was bad, when I got up this morning to grab some fruit with my oatmeal, eggs, yogurt and coffee, and discovered to my horror, we were out of fruit. I take it back - we had some apples, the ones that had been sitting in the back of the fridge for 3 weeks... they didn't hold much promise. So I ate my breakfast, minus the grapefruit, and vowed to stop off at the store after my swim.

My swim itself was tough. I've got to send a personal "thank you" to Bree Wee. Let me explain. I've officially started my training for Ironman Arizona (my FIRST IM!!!!), just the basic base work. A lot of endurance with a little bit of intensity thrown into the mix (to keep me honest!). A few weeks ago, Bree sent me an email with some GREAT advice for my first IM - the best being to "do the training! If you can do all the training, the race will be easy..." Now I'm not sure if the race will be "easy", but I was really comforted and inspired by her message - thanks Bree!

Back to my swim. It was tough: I was assigned endurance, but endurance + speed. Not my favorite combination. By my third 500, I was growing weary of the workout, and was trying to focus on "just getting through." Bree's words echoed through my mind, as I swam lap after stinking lap: the training is tougher than the race itself... I kept repeating those words throughout my set, and even though I was a few seconds off my T-pace (training pace) for my 4th set, I kept going. I thought briefly about using a pull buoy on the 5th set, as my body felt so heavy, stiff, and cumbersome in the water, but squashed the thought as Bree's words reverberated through my head. I was happy to be done, but happier that I had toughed things out. I finished my workout with some technique work, kick sets, and then promptly emptied the contents of my stomach into a garbage can (NOT the pool, thankfully).

It's been a while since I completely tossed my cookies. I usually try to plan my workouts well in advance, as I don't have the greatest stomach. For some reason, my eggs, oatmeal, and coffee stuck with me, and decided to make their presence known (and felt). I felt a little queasy after the third set, but attributed that mostly to the workout. By the fifth set, every flip turn was painful, and I was happy to finish out the workout with lots of kicking...but about 10 second after I got out of the water, my stomach did a flip-fop of its own, and made its discomfort known to all.


But again - at least it wasn't in the pool...

Afterwards, I gingerly made my way back to the car, and tried to think about stuff to eat. Even though food didn't seem like the wisest of choices, I was extremely depleted, and I knew that what we had at home wasn't sufficient. I decided to stop off at Albertson's, and just let myself peruse the isles.

Just as a side note - we're usually pretty good about planning our meals out, making sure we've got enough in the house (I HATE going hungry, and not feeling like I have "healthy" options to eat), so when I haven't got the food I like available, I'm not the happiest of campers. After really tough or long workouts, I usually let my eating standards relax.

4 hour ride + :45 run? Sure, eat whatever you want!

Just ran a marathon? The bottle of wine and yellow cake with chocolate frosting calls your name!

Swam so hard you puked? You deserve to eat whatever you want!

Needless to say, after my swim, I allowed myself to peruse Albertson's (first stopping at the candy bin and "sampling" a Swedish fish or two... or eight :). Even though I didn't know how well I could stomach food, I wanted to get grapefruit, some tofu and chicken for our Pad Thai dinner, and treat myself to something yummy after the swim. Whatever you want baby - you GO Girl!

While I was making my way up the gum and candy isle (did I just see Peanut M&M's???), I caught a glimpse of the meat counter. The salmon looked wonderful, the tuna nice and deep red, and the shrimps looked perfect to go with our Pad Thai. And then I glanced towards my right.

And that's the exact moment my world came crashing down.

Let me first explain so that you'll understand. Even though I enjoy eating meat, I don't like thinking about where it comes from. Cow? Pig? Duck? Sure - they exist in the wild.... but those that are in the store... well.... they just come that way... they're made in the shape of a patty, and meant to fit into a little container!... we don't eat anything like the "wild" ones, just the ones that are pre-packaged... At least that's what I tell myself. I don't like thinking about cute little animals being slaughtered for my own personal gain.

For Pete's sake, I hate watching survival shows where cute little animals are killed to demonstrate how to survive in the wild. Hey Buddy, I've got a better idea: why don't you NOT go wandering alone in the Canadian Rockies in the middle of winter? But also, I recognize that survival is important - Nathaniel will have to go through something called "SEARS" school, where, among other things, he'll learn how to "eat" rabbit (eat meaning kill, skin, and cook...)- I just don't like to think about little animals being harmed.

As a little kid, I was traumatized when I watched my second cousin Petr kill and skin an old rabbit. At the time I was 6 and living in Czechoslovakia, and we were visiting my Teta Liba's farm near Hradec Kralove. We were going to have rabbit for lunch, and being a curious 6 year-old, I wanted to see how the deed was done. When I finally figured out what was about to happen, I was horrified, but couldn't pull my eyes away. It was like watching an accident in slow motion: I saw the rabbit get killed, skinned, and then saw the two rabbit feel left hanging below the farm rafters next to the house. I was sad for the rabbit, but drawn inexplicably towards the rabbit feet. It was hard for me to believe that they had once belonged to a living rabbit. Later, when the bunny was cooked and supper was served, I refused to eat any of it, because I "didn't want to hurt the rabbit's feelings" (according to my Dad).

(And as a side note, if Nathaniel ever needed to eat a bunny to survive, I would encourage him to go after the flippin' thing... they reproduce all the time anyway...just don't look into the cute, little eyes...)...

Needless to say, I'm a little sensitive about living creatures.

(I try to buy "Cadge Free" Eggs, for Pete's sake...I brake for squirrels.... and I deliberately will stop ANY workout and move a turtle safely to the side of the road, even if I'm in the middle of an intense bike set....I love turtles...)

So when my eyes glanced to the right of the meat counter, I was horrified when I saw the cage of LIVE LOBSTERS!

I know that Albertson's (and a lot of grocery stores) will carry live lobsters for customers to pick out... but this was ridiculous. These poor lobsters were stacked, one after another, right on top of each other. The tank was filled, nearly to the brim, all waiting to be hand selected and then...steamed...and...eaten...

It made me sad to think about all these little lobsters, living out their final moments in a tank filled with other lobsters, just waiting to be plucked and thrown into the Great Silver Pot.

I turned away, but not before trying to plot a way to free all the lobsters.

In the past, I've contemplated buying ALL of the captured lobsters, and then setting them free in whatever lake, river, or ocean is nearby. Rationally, I know that they would never be able to survive... but at least they wouldn't be thrown into a pot of boiling water. I also debated contacting the local aquarium and seeing if they were interested in a new "lobster exhibit".

The sad thing? I've thought about this nearly all my life.

I don't know why today was more difficult than other days: perhaps it was the swim, perhaps it was the "holiday season", perhaps it was because there were so many little lobsters, just waiting - patiently - in the tank.

I just found myself wanting to save the lobsters.

What do I make of this? Well first: people in Florida sure like their lobsters. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Could I ever hand-pick my food before I ate it? Absolutely not. No, I prefer to believe that it's born in a package, pre-wrapped and ready to be eaten.

But I know that they're there, I know they exist.

So this holiday season: if you pick out a lobster, at least put it in the fridge before you toss it in the pot. Because of the lobster physiology (I hate to admit that I've actually researched this...), when lobsters encounter cold, they essentially fall asleep. So then when they DO hit the boiling water, they won't register the pain of their imminent death by the time they're, well, dead...

Me? Well, we'll probably have Lutefisk. It's a Norwegian type of fish, Cod - soaked in lye. It's covered in melted butter, and tastes like, well, melted butter. Lobster may taste better, but at least I know the fish is dead well in advance of my consumption of it.

Then again, doesn't it come pre-packaged?


Ashley said...

Lobster... YES! That sounds good. Maybe I should go to Mexico and have some for dinner. SWEET, I'll be there on Saturday (can you tell I'm a little excited?!)

BreeWee said...

I am so EXCITED about your Ironman! Your attitude sounds AWESOME- that is what you need going into the training! I promise you that if you can make it through the LONG LONELY miles, the early mornings, late evenings, hunger, fullness, bonks, bumps, pains, you will ENJOY every moment of an Ironman where you come in rested, healed, fresh, & NOT ALONE! Have fun- eat lobster :)