Friday, March 7, 2008

The Sweet, Sweet Truth

I’ve been good at climbing since I was two or three years old. It was really a means of survival. Surviving as a sweets-obsessed kid, that is.

You think I have a sweet tooth now? Well, adult-me is totally under control. When I was a kid I would wait for my parents to go outside, go to work or just get distracted and then climb the kitchen cabinets to get the sweets they stored on the top-most shelves in the house.

The treats were so high, I had to stand on the counter, use props to pull things down and pitch them back to their rightful places. Once I finished eating the sweets, I developed complex wrapper-disposal plans, which generally meant throwing them under my bed or putting them at the bottom of the garbage, to hide my indulgences.

I thought I was so slick. I always felt like I was getting away with something.

That’s how I felt on Thursday evening when I took advantage of yet another “last day before the Abominable Snowman returns” and ran around my neighborhood. Rumor has it that the world’s ending again this weekend, so it really felt like a treat (just like Sunday and Monday) to get out running.

How great is it when running becomes a reward? A treat to do? I remember this time last year when I was fretting over my upcoming first race at St. Malachi (that’s why I’m so eager to go back!). While I had been running for 2.5 months, it hadn’t become something enjoyable yet or something I longed to do. Like it is now.

And the concept that running for 45 minutes after work would be a) relaxing; b) invigorating; and c) a short run would have blown my mind a year ago. Oh, how far I’ve come! Oh, how far I have to go!

The upside of nasty weather is that it tempers you to nasty-but-not-as-nasty weather. Running in last year’s 20-below totally made 15-degree days doable. Granted, this year I’ve been supremely wimpy, but I’ve begun to find 30+ days pretty enjoyable. I may not be the frostbite-loving runner I was last year. Maybe just a smarter version of myself.

Last night’s run was another laid back, squeeze-it-in-while-you-can run that covered about 4.5 miles. I wasn’t keeping track. The only unfortunate thing was that I never seemed to warm up and felt stiff in the shins the whole time. It kind of put a bump in my warm-up time analysis (in prep for race season), but it still gave me some data.

So far, I'm not on any type of training plan; just getting into the swing. But I've been scouring resources, coaches advice, publications and blogs to get a sense for my summer training, and I'm feeling inspired.

Unfortunately for Thursday's run too, it didn’t end with a cupcake. I always treat myself to dessert after dinner, but it’s generally on the scale of cinnamon-dusted fresh apples and pears. You just can’t beat fresh fruit.

Besides, cupcakes will have to wait until next Saturday, following my first race. Main Street Cupcakes reports a new Boston Cream cupcake, which my dreams say will be my new favorite. Move over red velvet and canary crème!

OK, so I’m a little big on desserts and I always have been. Thankfully, I was active and dentally hygienic as a kid. Otherwise this blog would be about living as a 900-pound diabetic with sugar crystals in place of teeth. Perhaps an interesting read, but not exactly the life I imagine.

Like most kids, I loved candy. But I didn’t just love candy, I was obsessed with sweets. Cookies, crèmes, napoleans, pastries, truffles, trifles, tartes, tortes, brownies, cupcakes, crepes, fritters, scones, biscuits, mousse, custards, pies and cakes—you name it! I was the under-10 expert on it. And it was all dee-lish.

Most runners I know scold me for my sweet, sweet ways, but it generally calms them to know that I not only make most of the desserts I eat, but I tend to use natural ingredients and rarely use any refined sugars at all. In fact, I’ve tried to curb the unhealthy factor in my sweetventures by replacing cookies with Luna bars or having a bowl of fruit in place of a fruit tart.

Perhaps I'm obsessed and a little indulgent, but I have a good approach!

While the holidays—including my birthday—threw me off the wagon and tossed a few pounds my way (I have to be lugging around 5-6 extra pounds of cupcakes and dobos torte alone!), I’m totally ready for a new season of running rewards and the season of rampant fresh fruit.

Here's to yum!


jkrunning said...

I have been obsessed w/ Boston Cream Cupcakes ever since I saw them on The Biggest Loser (which I'm sure wasn't the proposed outcome of that show, but whatever). I have been scouring the internet trying to find a recipe!

TrainingtoTri said...

Thanks now I'm hungry! You and me in April - we are totaly having a main street cupcake run. I can't stop thinking about it! argh.