Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Intersection of Running and Cooking

I have been a runner since I was in the seventh grade and ran the Presidential Physical Fitness mile in under 6 minutes and 30 seconds. I competed through high school and college and have spent the years since running for myself. It may seem odd to think that running and cooking could intersect somewhere, they almost seem diametrically opposed. For me, both give a mental calm that I haven't been able to find through anything else.

When I set out on a run, or start chopping that first vegetable of a meal, my mind almost clears. I push out the things that are stressing me and just focus on the one task in front of me. In the case of running, it's as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, when it comes to cooking, most of the time I'm trying to not chop off any fingers. My favorite part of cooking, beside the eating, is the prep work. I love the monotony of it, slice red pepper, slice green pepper, dice onion, dice celery. When you have a recipe that you know so well, you don't have to think about what you are doing at all. Just like on a fantastic run, your mind can go completely clear.

I often find at the end of a great run, or after I have done the prep work for a great meal, that I don't actually remember any of what I was doing, and I don't remember thinking about anything. It's as if my mind has gotten some much needed rest, and my body has been on auto drive. It's the perfect beginning (running) and end (cooking) to any day.

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