Carrot sticks vs. Cupcakes

Illustration by Jim Carroll
Cupcakes kick ass.
Illustration by Jim Carroll

Carrot sticks suck.

There is no way around it. It’s not an opinion, but a fact (there goes my Carrot Growers of America marathon sponsorship). Their blandness is unsurpassed, and in my opinion, Mother Nature should have phased them out a long time ago — give me a dinosaur over a carrot stick any day. For school kids everywhere, they are the collective disappointment that lies at the bottom of every lunch bag. If a carrot stick were a super hero, its super power would be boredom.

Cupcakes, on the other hand, rule! They sit upon a throne of instant gratification and decadence. They come in many sizes and a full range of colors, both pleasing to the eye, as well as the taste bud (think: direct opposite of the carrot stick). They are the rock n’ roll roller coaster to the carrot stick’s sewing circle. They are fun, period. And in a battle to the death, they’d surely kick the ass of the carrot stick.

Why this long rant on carrot sticks and cupcakes? Well, what I have noticed in the last five weeks of marathon training is the power of choice. It’s pretty simple — when training for a marathon, life becomes about everyday choices: stairs vs. escalators, getting up early vs. sleeping in, and yes, carrot sticks vs. cupcakes. When I said “yes” to the marathon more than a month ago, I found I started naturally saying “no” to things that, in the end, aren’t very good for me.

And believe it or not those choices have been getting easier to make. I’ve started to intuitively know that the healthy choices I make today will, in ways big or small, influence the outcome of Nov. 3, which is why they are getting easier to make. Don’t get me wrong, a cupcake now and then is fine, and when I do I eat a cupcake I eat Baked By Melisa (wink, wink — I smell sponsorship). But the fact is “now and then” just doesn’t fly when training for a marathon, because all there is is now (I had Morgan Freeman reading that last bit in my head). I guess what I’m learning is that marathon training isn’t just about the time I spend running, it’s also about the moments when I’m not.

No doubt on Nov. 4 I’ll start hearing the sweet siren song of the cupcake calling me to shipwreck my health on the rocky coast of indulgence. But who knows — maybe by then I’ll have come to appreciate the carrot stick in all its blandness, and maybe some of these healthy lifestyle choices I’m making today will stick and become healthy habits of tomorrow. But I’ll always have a soft spot for the cupcake, and in the end, perhaps there is room for both cupcake and carrot stick in a post-marathon world.


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