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Wish List Wednesday

Lets get right to it………..

Todays Wish List Wednesday Running/Fitness topic is….

I wish….

I had a running companion…

Set up- Virtual Running Companions

Running companions seem like such a great thing to have. I have read countless articles about how they improve your training, keep you on track, and just make running more enjoyable. It is that last part that I really makes me want one. I really wish I had a good friend who loved running as much I do, and lived close enough to run with me on a consistent basis. I should clarify, I have a couple of friends who are runners who I chat with over text/email/computer about running and racing quite frequently. These conversations are enjoyable, but virtual running companions are not real running companions. You see none of these people can actually run with me, because of conflicting lives as it were. Running groups- which are prevalent in the area, and have a level of support of camaraderie that I really enjoy- dont work for me for a variety of reasons.

The IDEAL Wish- That Extra Layer

I wish that I had a buddy male/female around my age to do my night time runs with me. I wish that I could call them up on Wednesday night, and say “Hey I hit intervals pretty hard this morning, what pace do you want to do tonight? And where do you want to go?”.  Or that I could text them on Friday and say , “I need an easy recovery tonight or tomorrow, can we do a slow 4?”. Just like that, like it was a common request and the friend would frequently say yes, or let me know when I needed a break and told me no. I wish that we could discuss our individual training times while chilling and stretching out after our runs and then just hang out and do whatever. That would be awesome. Even though I would still keep my hardcore training individual, and only run light tempos and recoveries with my running pal, I believe it would still help me improve and just add an extra layer of enjoyment to it

I would love to just have someone I could jog with on a consistent basis

The Reality- Playing Solitaire

I train entirely solitary and run the majority of races the same way. This isnt exactly a horrible thing. I prefer to do the harder aspects of my training alone. I have no problem self-motivating and I can push myself really well. I just focus better when its only my internal voice demanding the next level. The downside to this is that it can get inredibly lonely. I would love to do lighter runs with friends or buddies at night, when Im not going exceptionally hard and its more about fun. Money and time prevent this. Most of my running friends (only a few) are as busy as me and we cant connect because of time, distance, and schedule. Running groups are a great option but dont work for me for a host of reasons. The biggest one runs on days that I cross train. Plus it would require I get up at near 4 :30 am to run with them on weekdays, which is just too early and would add to my caffeine addiction. “Running for Brews” groups are common in the area and seem like they are a viable option at first glance. But reality is much different. I dont have a lot of money to go drink beer after I run, thats ten dollars I could be spending elsewhere. Ten dollars wont kill me for sure, but I dont particularly enjoy drinking lots of beer after I run. I tried it after the Blue Moon Half and it just didnt feel right.  So now you are talking about ten dollars to nurse beer Im not enjoying, and that I could be saving or spending on something I need. I know, I know, I dont have to drink anything, but who wants to be that guy? Besides which, most of those groups would require lots of gas and driving just to get to. I already roll 80 miles a weekday on my car as its. I dont want to have to drive far to run and add mileage to the poor dying Scion, unless its for a race.  So solitary it is. All the time

Although this one is from my last race, all my training and night time runs looks like this. Running by myself

The Possibility- Chatting It Up

In a few months the whole situation may change, and I may end up in an environment where there are more runners around me all the time. In the meantime I think I have a responsibility to just make the most of my race day experiences. Chat runners up at expos, or during pre-race and post race. Most runners are excessively friendly at those times. I have had some of the best conversations with people at pre-race before every distance race I run. Sharing each others pre race jitters, chatting about the latest gear, discussing prs, or just shooting the breeze as it were. Those are people I need to make friends with in some bigger regard. Also its a great time to just savor and soak up the conversation. Who knows? Maybe Ill meet someone who has some extra time for a Friday jog with me.

Sometimes the best conversations happen right at the start line, a quick chance to make good friends possibly?

Now…

Onto……

My nutrition wish………….

I wish had good knife skills…..

Set Up- Not Exactly Cutting It Up

To me, you need good/great knife skills to be a good chef. I want to eventually be a successful chef to be able to put together fun, healthy, and nutritious meals for myself to eat. The idea is that these  will be cheap, tasty and simple. In short, with good knife skills I could produce Runcheap delights and probably save some dough.

Right now, I am a nutritious eater but I do it in a beyond simple manner. Bland chicken breast, brown rice, and frozen mixed veggies is a normal dinner for me. Occassionally Ill switch it up, add in some black beans, store bought fish (but tasty) filets, sweet potatoes and other frozen veggies. See what I am getting at here? Simple, easy, boring, and involving no cutting whatseover. Knife cutting intimidates me because Im terrible at it, and do it badly. I would love to tell you its because I have lousy knives but I dont. I am well equipped (although I take crappy care of my knives) , I just hate using them, because Im bad at it. Scratch that, Im awful at it. Whats worse is I have taken a class in knife skills and learned some additional techniques from my mother. Yet, I still continue to struggle at it.

I own a decent set of cooking knives and a nice block like the one you see above. Most of the time, it just sits there

The IDEAL wish- A Knife Master

That I could cut up foods like a combination of Kat Cora, Bobby Flay, and Morimoto combined. That I could cut up fresh carrots into perfect slices. That I could look at an onions, peppers, other fresh greens in the stores and just grab them and dice and slice them into exactly what I wanted to. This way my meals would be delicious and exciting. That I knew how to properly cut up meats into correct sizes to sautee them and use them in unique ways.  That I could use my chef’s knife like it was second nature, and my other knives for whatever they are for (I honestly have no idea). That I remembered everything and more from the very good knife skills class I took. That I could look at recipes with a lot of cutting and think-“Pssh, I got that. No worries, I am a knife master.”

I love cooking shows, its 90% of my tv viewing. I wish I could use my knife maybe 10% as well as some of these guys to make myself cheap but interesting dinners

The Reality- Unfine motor skills

When I was very young my parents discovered that I have grossly terrible fine motor skills. Cutting with scissors was a disaster, pasting objects was surprisingly difficult, coloring inside the lines became coloring close to inside the lines, and handwriting-  well, calling it chicken scratch doesnt do it justice. Hell, my parents almost had me tested but did not because they were worried about me getting a dangerous label at school. So it is not a surprise that my cutting skills with food are lackluster. It doesnt help that I avoid it like the plague. If I see a recipe with an onion to be chopped, I dont do it. The same goes with most peppers, fresh veggies, and fine cuts of meats. Basically, if they ask for a cutting technique that I cant otherwise accomplish in the food processor, then forget it.  That recipe is out.

About a year ago, I took a class in knife skills close to where I live. It was an excellent class that reviewed every aspect of knives from types of cuts to types of knives. We practiced cutting a whole bunch of different foods, and as a class collectively produced a delicious soup and sandwich type meal from it. I was certain it would improve my knife skills. I didnt follow up though. I didnt have the money to go out and practice cutting, but mostly I didnt pursue it further because other things came up. Consequently, anything that I might have picked up through brain or muscle memory was completely lost.  So Im back to square one, or cut one in this case.

See how well everything is cut here? Picture the complete opposite and thats my ability level

The Possibility- Cutting Bootcamp

This one is a harder fix. I probably just need to find a few days this summer, and devote them to learning technique. Call it a “cutting bootcamp” if you will. I would start by finding books on knife skills from the library or printing stuff online so I can get the techniques straight in my head. I can do all this part on the cheap. Then I think it would be a good idea to review the skills of cutting  a few different cheap fruits, veggies, and maybe one or 2 other things with my mother. Not only is she a great cook, but she loves to teach cutting/cooking and she has good knife skills. Then the next step would be to buy in bulk (usually cheaper) several of these items (Potatoes, onions, I dont know..) and cut away until I got them the way I liked. I dont expect myself to ever be great, but I think I could improve significantly. Once I conclude this few days of practice (which I could probably do for 20$ or so), I would then look up recipes that use these the items I practiced with.  Next I could cook 1 or 2 of them to reinforce and reward the skills. Then over the next few months, I would make it a point to constantly cut and cook with those cheaper items to get to a comfortable level with them. At that point, I could slowly and cheaply branch out as much as is possible.  If I followed that plan I think I could increase my knife ability from Skill Level-Atrocious to Skill Level-Acceptable/Effective. Then I might be able to cook some of those healthy and CHEAP meals I constantly come across online and in magazines, instead of running for the hills when I see them.

I need to read up, get re-educated, and then learn how to wield one of these things so I that I am able to cook cheaply for myself in a pinch

Enjoy your run. Enjoy your day :0

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