It doesn't take much to make a delicious dinner.
Now, I'll qualify this statement by saying that I do not have what one might call discerning tastes when it comes to food. I'm not all that picky, and ever since I stopped avoiding food simply because it is green (roughly 4 years ago), the possibilities of the culinary world have opened up before me. I watch Man Vs. Food and drool quietly to myself over all the amazing food that is out there.
That being said, as a cook, I do not have access to the thousands of ingredients that seem to be in every dish on the Food Network, nor do I have the talent or specialized cooking utensils to imagine calling myself a "chef." When it's my night to cook, I indulge in the basics. I specialize in... well, I cook a lot of pasta, chicken stir fry dishes, and pasta. So recently, my goal has been to branch out somewhat and make something that is a little more complicated. Now, I make a lot of casseroles.
Tonight's meal was called Hamburger Pie, and there was really nothing fancy going on. It was hamburger, onion, tomato soup, green beans, mashed potatoes and cheese. And it was incredible. I stopped eating it only because I want to eat more of it tomorrow. It's not health food by any stretch of the imagination, but for someone who burns a lot of calories daily, it's an excellent source of energy.
And look at those ingredients. Nothing special there. Most people end up with all of those things after a grocery trip whether they're trying to or not. And that, my friends, is my thinly veiled tie-in to running.
What makes running a great sport is that anyone can do it. If you want to be a runner, you only need shoes and (depending on your city's decency codes) clothing. Nothing special there. You may not even need shoes, depending on your stance regarding minimalist running, but I recommend them to avoid, you know, crippling injuries due to glass shards and things like that. But other than that, you don't need any further equipment or previous experience.
There is one other thing that can help you on your journey, though, and that's patience. Much like a great meal can take a while to prepare (or a crappy oven can take forever to pre-heat), it might take a few weeks for you to really get the full enjoyment out of being a runner. It can be tempting to want to be fast very quickly. You might try running as hard as you can for a mile, and then be disappointed that you didn't run two. This is a lesson I still have trouble with myself, but it's something I'll have to be careful about tomorrow morning, as my mileage increases.
Every run this week is longer than it was last week. In fact, I'll be running 10 more miles this week than I did last week, a rather substantial jump. Most of that will come on Sunday, but each of the other four runs adds a mile, which means I have to be careful about running a seven-mile pace for an eight-mile run. Today, I did not push myself, but I also did not hold myself back, and I started to get a little winded toward the end of my four-miler. It wasn't a problem since that's all I had to run, but if I still had four miles to go, I might have been in trouble.
I want this week in particular to be great. Last season, week seven was when my injuries actually sidelined me for a while. I didn't run a single mile at this point last season. For weeks 7-9, I ran a total of 21 miles, 16 of which were in the third week. This season, during those same three weeks, I'll be running 119 miles.
So I better load up on hamburger pie.
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