Wednesday, October 8, 2008

the smog chronicles

Santiago is a dazzling city and capital, it's spread wide across a valley and surrounded by the majestic Andes mountains. Nearly every day I step outside I'm thankful for having the chance to live in such a beautiful place. Everything is not as ideal as it seems though. Due to it's geographic setting, Santiago has become a natural bowl... of smog. And the man-made air pollution from nearly thirteen thousand certainly doesn't help either. From an international perspective the city's air quality is among the worst, exceeded only by cities such as Calcutta, Beijing, and sometimes Mexico City. I'm going somewhere with this, just bear with me during this quick food break.

Tuesday's lunch was tasty and colorful, just how I like 'em! I had 3 left-over Hamburguesas de Salmón (someone was hungry!) paired with lovely servings of tomatoes, lettuce, and carrots.
Dinner that night was Spinach Ricotta Raviolis in a Bolognese sauce (made with soy meat). I've had it before and enjoyed it but my host family doesn't seem to appreciate al-dente pasta and this dish was just plain mushy. I also had leftovers for lunch today. Yuck!

Thankfully, a flavorful Estofado de Carne de Vacuno made up for the disappointing meals. It was chock full of veggies and nicely iron-rich. Next up was a serving of cabbage salad with lemon juice. As far as refueling after a difficult run, this din-din came in first :).

Which brings us back to el smog. I slept in past my workout again this morning (did make it to class though, no worries, lol) and found myself "itching to run" all day. That's never happened before! You should've seen how thrilled I got, I used to think running was one of the most undesirable forms of exercise ever! Haha, sorry if that's insulting, my opinion has obviously changed ;). Anyway, although I had decided to run tonight, once 5:30 rolled around and I was all finished with my work, I was on my way out the door. I couldn't possibly have waited any longer! Not my brightest idea. My legs were working just fine (yay) but with the rush hour traffic and end of a warm day heat, the smog was intense. Too intense. I really should've wrapped up early but I was determined to do my scheduled run. And after I did I was left beet red, short of breath, and inches away from healing over. I had to sit for a good 20 minutes and down 3 large glasses of water before I felt okay enough to take a shower. Not good, Danielle, not good.
Santiago de Chile may seem to take the cake but I'm warning you, my American friends, you aren't off the hook just yet. Air pollution is a problem in every major city all over the world. These are the top 10 smoggy cities in the U.S. On the list or just wondering how you can keep you and your outdoor workouts safe? Here are some tips to keep you and your lungs at your/their healthiest. These are especially important when the weather warms up, so please keep them in mind when summer hits the north again. And now I will step down from my podium, hehe. I'm exhausted! Take care darlings, and I'll be sure to stick to my morning workouts from here on out! ¡Dulces sueños!

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