Once a week I subject myself to the ugliest run possible. I hit the gnarliest trail I know in all its mountainous, muddy, rutty, rocky, ankle breaking glory. And it is awful. I call this my hate run, because quite frankly it is fucking terrible. It doesn’t leave me joyful and optimistic. It doesn’t get easier, even after 6 months of practice, and I haven’t even shaved time off my miles on it. It’s not even fun. While I’m running it I hate every minute.

When I’m finished I feel broken, angry, and frustrated. It makes me want to quit running forever. People always say you should do what you love, I am even guilty of saying that at times, but that’s kind of a misleading concept.

If everyone only did what they loved, we would all find something else to bitch about. Born out of these bouts of running with hatred though are the really really good times. And I think if I ditched my hate run in favor of continual happy sunshine I would definitely take those good times for granted. I don’t know if this weekly ritual has had any play in making me better at running. I don’t even know if it’s just a masochistic endeavor that will end in injury someday. But for now hate running remains on my to do list. I guess what it all boils down to is that I don’t think there is such a thing as being over-prepared. Brace yourself for the worst, expect the worst, and maybe you will come out pleasantly surprised, in running and in life

runningMeatless Monday and Flexitarianism

I think labeling yourself as a flexitarian tends to get a bad wrap. Vegetarianism tends to be a moral choice at the very heart of things, so trying to draw a line between when it’s morally acceptable to eat meat or not eat meat is a slippery slope. I personally steer clear of lumping my eating decisions into one category. I do eat meat, but I am a conscious consumer. I hunt deer, and nothing goes to waste. I buy all the meat I eat (and 90% of what is used at the restaurant) through a local butcher who does most of his own slaughtering. I’ve seen the whole processing process. I know where my food comes from, how it lived, and how it dies.

I don’t judge others on their choices, nor do I think that I am “morally better” because I am hands on with my hunting and gathering process. Still, I do make a conscious effort to go meatless frequently. My reasons are varying. As a chef I need to embrace dietary trends and know how to work them into my menu. As an adventurous eater, eating meatless opens up a whole new world of recipes to try at home and when out to eat. I like vegetables and lentils. I like to save money by using up all the produce in my fridge. The list goes on. And while I do think flexitarian is too ambiguous of a term to be beneficial, I like what it stands for.

This New York Times article explains flexitarianism in terms of moderation – not an all or nothing diet, but one that espouses an awareness of what you eat, how you prepare it, and consciousness of its environmental impact. It encourages one to add food groups, not completely eliminate them. Basically at its core, it is committing to make healthier choices. That’s a concept that I absolutely love, because moderation is something that is easier to universally adapt than extremely strict dietary choices. Meatless Monday has been popular in the blogosphere for some time, and it’s been something I’ve embraced myself.

I look at it as one more opportunity to raise my dietary awareness and help chip away at bigger problems in the world. There’s so much info on that website that your head will explode. Go check it out! So while I don’t think of myself as a flexitarian, I do like the idea of being aware on a global level as well as local. And if eating veggies is part of that deal, I’m totally fine with that.

Do you meat free Monday? Flex when possible? How do you feel about the term “flexitarian?”