There is also an online New York Times article at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/28/sports/othersports/28runner.html
about Joe Bastianich, Mario's business partner, and how he changed his eating habits, lost weight, and now runs marathons. He still eats some pizza, as noted in the article, which follows:
October 28, 2008
Passion for Food Adjusts to Fit Passion for Running
By CHRISTINE YI
GREENWICH, Conn. — Joe Bastianich’s three young children often ask him if he is going to win the New York City Marathon. As a first-time marathoner with modest goals, he will not be in contention. But if he completes 26.2 miles on Sunday, perhaps Bastianich should win something for defying the usual culinary doldrums of marathon training and instead finding his way to the finish line on a diet of rib-eyes, cured pig jowl and even Dom Pérignon.
Over the last 15 years, Bastianich has become a star restaurateur and winemaker. In partnership with his mother, the renowned chef Lidia Bastianich, and his business partner, the even more ubiquitous and ebullient Mario Batali, he owns 18 restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In June, he and Batali received the James Beard Foundation’s award for outstanding restaurateur.
For the last year, Bastianich has been training for the New York City Marathon, and on Sunday, he will join more than 39,000 other runners at the starting line. He may not shatter course records, to the disappointment of his children, but he has come a long way, and has done it without forsaking his relationship with fine foods.
Gone are the days of legendary feats of consumption with Batali, whose voracious appetite has been exhaustively documented. “We would eat from 2 to 5 in the morning, all night,” Bastianich said. It was not unusual to find him tucking into a 42-ounce steak for two at 3 a.m.
“He fell into the pressures of decadence,” Lidia Bastianich said. “It’s a potent current, a beautiful, enriching current.”
That current swept Joe Bastianich away and nearly broke him two years ago. Faced with a diagnosis of sleep apnea and the dread of having to sleep with a breathing mask for the rest of his life, Bastianich began running. Then, a year ago, he decided to run a marathon.
“It’s kind of like a midlife crisis kind of thing,” he said. “When you turn 40, you have to run the marathon, while all the parts still work properly.”
As Bastianich switched from marathon eating to marathon training, he has transformed the way he lives as well as his body, which is 45 pounds lighter now. He said that training for a marathon “is like a part-time job, literally 20 hours a week.” He tries to run in the morning near his home in Greenwich.
“Before, food and wine were the dominating things in my life,” said Bastianich, who decided to delay his 40th birthday party until after the marathon. “You do all that, and you never worried about the effects because the effects are inherent to the job. When the job becomes secondary, and the effects of your body become primary, that starts taking a second seat to how you respond to what you put in your body and you treat it. It’s kind of a flip-flop.”
But that does not mean Bastianich has reduced his diet to the often-bland marathon-training fare of mixed nuts, steamed chicken breast and broccoli.
“In the beginning, I started dieting, and realized I couldn’t,” he said. Instead, he moderated his consumption. He no longer eats late at night.
“If you have to get up at 7 a.m. and run a 20k, maybe you have a half a glass of wine instead of three, because three at Mile 4 — you start to feel every ounce of that wine,” he said.
Bastianich says that he can still eat well, as long as it does not detract from his performance. His running partner when he is in Italy, Luca Pascolini, fondly recalled a particularly memorable run.
“I still remember our amazing training run during a weekend in France, in the Champagne region along the Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay plants with the grapes almost ready for the harvest,” Pascolini said. “After the run, an unforgettable degustation of Champagne in the Dom Pérignon abbey.”
Before he started running, Bastianich would never eat breakfast, but now he must. A typical meal before a run is a rendition of breakfast cereal, Italian style. He boils arborio rice, adds a splash of soy milk and a drizzle of honey, collected from the honeybees in his backyard. The high-starch arborio rice lends a natural creaminess to the dish.
“It’s like risotto with honey,” Bastianich said. “That’s my fuel, my running fuel.”
That and a couple of espressos, and he is ready for his run.
Bastianich usually does not eat or drink anything during his training runs, and he twists his face at the thought of having to consume goopy energy gels during the race. He read a list of the gels’ indecipherable ingredients in quiet horror, and when pressed, he reluctantly endorsed a citrus-flavored variety as the best of the worst.
A typical meal after a run may include a pan-seared rib-eye steak with a porcini rub, garlicky broccoli rabe and mashed potatoes made with a touch of butter and soy milk.
At one of Bastianich’s restaurants recently, a chef whipped up a thin-crust pizza for a midafternoon snack. Topped with mozzarella, parmesan, an egg and translucent slices of guanciale (cured pig jowl, a sort of face bacon), the pie emerged bubbling hot two minutes later from an 800-degree wood-fired oven. As if cheese, egg and pork were not decadent enough, the pie was then given a smattering of black truffles. Bastianich poked the yolk, letting it ooze over the pie like a rich dipping sauce, before he savored a slice.
It was certainly not diet food, but Bastianich does not believe in diets.
As race day nears, he has one goal in mind: to finish the marathon in 3 hours 43 minutes.
Two weeks before race day, Bastianich went for a brisk 10-kilometer run. Upon returning home, he immediately went online to consult a marathon calculator. His wife, Deanna, plugged in his 10k time, 47:35, and the calculator generated an estimated marathon time of 3:43.
Bastianich’s newfound passion for running has delighted and surprised Deanna.
She said she was most pleased with his improved health and how he was in the best shape of his life.
“I am still getting used to seeing Joe in the spandex running pants,” she added. “That is a sight I thought I would never see.”
His exercise wardrobe may expand soon. His mother said Bastianich was talking about doing a triathlon next. “I told him, ‘You’re nuts!’ ”