Tuesday, September 26, 2006


F and i have a rolling date to run sunday afternoons. this past sunday he texted me this:
run w o me... fasting statred tod. feel too waek. sory.

even on his shittiest days, F can spell passably well, so i infer that fasting has really fucked him up.

wait. fasting?!?

for all his afghan-ness, it never occurred to me that F might be a practicing muslim. with his new acura, weakness for blackjack & roulette tables and affinity for barbados rum, F seems, well, like ME. american. corrupted and secular. so the fact that he celebrates ramadan was an eye-opener, as was the reality behind the fasting the holiday entails.

-- so, when can you eat? i asked him yesterday. at 6:30 in the morning he sounded like an old man, nasal and wavering.
-- well, i woke up at 5:40 – he paused for a gulp of air. ah, that was filling – and i’ll be able to eat at 7:20.
-- so, like in an hour.
-- no, like tonight. you fast from sunup to – gulp & swaller; ah, nummy – to sundown.
-- dude, that's harsh. how long do you do this?
-- a month.
-- a MONTH?? i screeched. that is outrageous. F is my main man, my munchable morsel, for the XC race in november. this fasting bit is a definite wrench in my works.

and even for a sedentary human bean, fasting for a month cannot be healthy, can it? to gorge yourself at night and fall into bed? or do you sleep during the day and graze all night? is it understood that, in the muslim world, people will be pretty much dazed and tottery for the next month? do businesses and stock markets close during that time when people will not be making very wise decisions?

i did a little research and came up with dr. shahid athar’s writings on the medical benefits of the ramadan fast:

There is a peace and tranquility for those who fast during the month of Ramadan. Personal hostility is at a minimum, and the crime rate decreases. This psychological improvement could be related to better stabilization of blood glucose during fasting as hypoglycemia after eating, aggravates behavior changes.
or it could be related to everybody being passed out on the kitchen floor! o folly folly folly. dr. athar also makes a case for not drinking during fasting time, arguing that dehydration is GOOD for you because it makes PLANTS live longer. right. dr. athar obviously wrote this treatise while dazed and tottery himself. it probably took him all month.

and what if you’re an athlete? your choice seems to be:
  • train late in the day, on fumes
  • train early, then eek out the rest of the day on a major glycogen bonk
either choice sounds like misery to me, and hell on your bod. did muhammad ali celebrate ramadan? if smokin’ joe frazer were smart, he’d’ve scheduled all his matches with ali in during ramadan.

ever-respectful of other people and their crackhead beliefs, i don’t tear apart the whole ramadan/fasting thing before F in his weakened state; but over the next couple weeks you can be sure i’ll be working on making him feel guilty about leaving me in the lurch.

because that is MY religion.


Subhangi said...

Egads, that must be hard on your friend. But if you can, do raid his kitchen once the fast ends - they whip up lovely stuff to break their fast!

Me, after coming to college I've become a bit of an agnostic. My parents don't mind though; I guess they'd rather have a kid who works her ass off and graduates than one who prays and doesn't do a spot of work (I've known people to do that.)

fatmammycat said...

Jezzzzzuuuuzzz. I can't go four hours with nibbling something. In fact I"m nibbbling cheese right now because your post about his fasting made me hungry.

finn said...

FMC we are the Nibbling, Giantess, No Team Sports sisterhood.

F looks a bit peaked today, but when i ask him how he gets through this fasting bit, he thumps his chest and explains, "warrior heart." we'll see how warriorly he feels after the tues nite track workout.

thanks for the idea, subh -- i am always up for a good fridge raid. F still lives with his parents, and that's maybe why he's still chained (oops did i say that??) to their religious customs; whereas you've got more freedom. freedom to work your ass off. :)

fatmammycat said...

Have you ever tried yoga Finn? One of the guys that attends the evening class was there today and he's semi professional footballer. He reckons that by doing yoga he had reduced his injuries this year alone by about 50%. Might be worth looking into...
I"m now eating chilli. Yah!

finn said...

ta for the advice, cat. i should really get back into a regular yoga routine. it's the first thing to go when i start racing -- only so many hours in the day. no doubt i'd do it more often if there were semi-pro footballers doing the half-moon pose alongside me!

are you doing vinyasa?

fatmammycat said...

I don't know what that is, I could well be doing it for all I know. Sarah, the teacher, so far has just instructed us where to move and how to, she does use names but I just hear ' 00000ana and 00000ishi', I"ll try listen to the names next week.

finn said...

hey cat there is a banANA in your mitsubISHI... hihi.

vinyasa's where you flow from pose to pose w/o a break. **if kath were here she'd describe it better...** it's therefore more strenuous than traditional hatha yoga, but IMO it's rewarding.

i hope you're feeling more twisty today.