There is nothing more I love to do than run. And I do not do it because of the usual reasons—as a stress reliever, health fad or as every sport’s punishment. Drop a pass, run a mile. Miss a day of physical education in high school, run a mile. Make a baseball error and circle the outfield lights. No, I do not care that some people run to overcome the roadblocks in life. The real reason why I run, whether it is at a track meet or on the streets, is to indulge my second favorite subject: food.
That is something I can never stop thinking about, especially during a 12-mile run around Frank G. Bonelli Park. How much protein do I need? How many calories do I need to intake? Should I even care whether it tastes good? These are a few of the many questions penetrating my oxygen-deprived mind. It used to be when I finished, I put little to no thought into what I ate. Whether there was a 16-inch pizza from Warehouse or a simple Denver omelette, if it were within my sights, I devoured it with no hesitation.
But running has introduced me to cooking and baking. At first, I made my own meals because of impatience: “So tired, so hungry. Food, now.” Food was seen as fuel and nothing else; however, it was not until I started to make more sophisticated meals that I realized this was something to be passionate about. It even motivated me to develop my own creations, including the cookie bars seen in my picture at left. They may not be as glamorous as Gordon Ramsay’s chocolate marquise, but they seem to have people craving for more. Yet, while beneficial, this new hobby can be problematic.
Good news: This new hobby lets me learn how to be more self-reliant and allows me to give back. After I learned the basics—proper time to cook parmesan chicken, the right temperature for soufflé—it allowed me to serve runners from the University of La Verne cross-country team—people who are as crazy and hungry as I am. They want nothing more than a homemade meal or treat after a tough workout. People who know me are aware I hate offering a standard meal. For me, everything has to be unique. A hamburger? I wrap two strips of bacon around a ground beef patty, mix it with cilantro and coat it with mild barbecue sauce. Presto: the standard hamburger becomes “the greatest abomination.” Knowing how to cook is also a status symbol within the family. Go figure.
Bad news: It is too much power. Now that I am capable of making my own meals, there are times when I abuse it. Even with the excessive miles I run, that is no excuse to devour an entire five-egg omelette, crammed with so much cheese and chopped sausage that I give it the honorary title, “heart-clogger.” I am obsessed; I cannot stop eating. Compared with senior psychology major Cristobal Gutierrez featured on page 20, his collection of 54 pairs of running shoes makes Cristobal seem ordinary—at least his collection has meaning.
Frivolity aside, it is all balance, and if done correctly, obsessions can work to your benefit. My focus on food can make for a vicious cycle, but when I run a steep hill, at least I have an idea what I will make for dinner.
Alex Forbess, Editor-in-Chief