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Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Red Bandana: A Red-tailed Hawk and A BBQ Relapse

Baby back ribs waiting for an olive oil basting.
 The Red Bandana: A Red-tailed Hawk and A BBQ Relapse
By AnthonyTrendl
(also read: The Red Bandana: Only 600,000 Steps To Fitness)

Majestically, on the way to a workout, a red-tailed hawk leapt from the stoplight pole to a telephone post. Talons sharp, yet stout, reached and grabbed its place. It would not be moved unless it decided to move.

How could I not marvel at the brute strength and raw beauty of this primal bird? Ruddy-brown, matching the coming autumn, with a spotted white breast, this bird of prey greeted all passers-by with a look that said, "I am free!"

Such as I ran this week: freely. It has been just over two weeks since I started into my personal campaign of fitness. My muscles are looser. My mind is more resilient to the drone of the treadmill. I stepped into the workouts looking forward to the run. I ran and walked roughly every other day, averaging a little over five miles the days I worked out.

Starting up the treadmill one afternoon, the Simpsons television show started up. This was the one when Homer decides to run a marathon, and hits the wall after just a few steps, then gains his second wind. He hits another wall, and then enjoys a third wind. Exhausted, he shrivels like a raisin. Marge calls out, "Hey, Grampa's running!" Lisa responds, "That's not Grampa. Dad's just dehydrated."

I drank enough water, but smiled anyway. Water is serious stuff, so be sure to drink plenty after each workout.

I had a great week, but was it without struggle?

I relapsed.

Running came easily this week, it's true, but so did eating. Graham and Ellie, were visiting from Papua-New Guinea. He is a running buddy back from a decade ago, or, as I like to think of it, "MGBBBQ - My Gut Before Barbecue."

She was originally from, Joliet, and he was from Australia, so I felt bound by duty to make a traditional American meal.

Four slabs of meat baby back ribs smoked in merlot soaked hickory chunks were my undoing. All the trimmings were there that you might expect. My family, my guests and I enjoyed madár tej (translation: 'bird's milk') for dessert, which is a sort of Hungarian custard-like pudding with a light meringue on top. We finished all with honey mead, an ancient and delicious sweet drink.

So I ate. Then I ate leftovers. Then leftovers of leftovers. The next day, I ate what survived.
You want a calorie count? I don't. The people at Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab both have confirmed the numbers don't go high enough. Something about a number one with "more zeroes than are known to man." I'm not a mathematician, but I think that means a big number. A really big number.
What is so intoxicating about my BBQ ribs? You tell me:

BBQ Ribs Recipe

The Rub:
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Freshly ground mustard seed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil for basting
Baste. Grill at 250°F with the top closed for around two hours, switching the smoking wood chunks after an hour. Baste as needed. Loosely wrap the ribs in aluminum another 1.5 hours, then grill unwrapped for 20 minutes, adding a basic, commercial sauce the last 10 minutes.

As it cooks, be ready to fend off neighbors who, though having never stopped by before, suddenly treat you like a long-lost relative right after a rich uncle leaves you his bankroll.

Write to me for the madár tej recipe.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, as performed by Manfred Mann
"There she was just a-walkin' down the street, singin' "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do"
Snappin' her fingers and shufflin' her feet, singin' "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do"
She looked good (looked good), she looked fine (looked fine)
She looked good, she looked fine and I nearly lost my mind."

Remember to sing the song as you join me at the PADs Walk/Run. September 11, 2010, 8:00 am at 703 W. Liberty, Wheaton, IL. 10K/5K Run and 3.6K Walk. $30 if you sign up now, $35 on the day of race.

I'll be hollering at you on a street corner. Why should you run or walk? You get to have a great time with your neighbors, and your money goes to a great cause. The Run/Walk for DuPage PADS supports programs that provides housing, job training, and other support services to assist men, women, and children who are homeless.


Writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, folk music and porches. Recently divorced from his couch, he looks to running as he battles midlife and his mid-section. Find out more at

For more about my running adventures, see A Runner's Dilemma (workout details, videos and more)

Click here to contact me.

originally posted here

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