I’m sixty days away from the one year mark on this 365 project and surprisingly I don’t want it to end. The pandemic lockdown had me looking for ways to distract myself from not being able to go anywhere. Resurrecting this abandoned blog site seemed like a good way of passing the time. I liked the idea of a challenge to create a routine for myself outside of work, but after doing it for a few weeks, it turned into a bit of a chore. It’s not an effortless process, but after all of this time doing it, I’ve grown accustomed to it, I enjoy it for the most part, and it is quite therapeutic. I have not completed this challenge yet and I am already thinking about continuing it.
Once again, I was back at my favorite Korean restaurant. I like trying different things, but this time I wanted to revisit my favorite soup there: the beef bone soup with tripe and tendon. Admittedly the soup is boring to photograph because all of the ingredients are obscured beneath the cloudy bone broth. I wasn’t going to photograph it until I added the green onions. However, I liked the way its surface was reflecting the signage of other businesses.
There’s a little French restaurant nearby that we have been curious about and finally decided to give it a try. Even though we are finally allowed to eat inside, we had dinner outside because it is safer. I’ve already got one dose of the Moderna vaccine, and I’m not going to take any unnecessary risks after all this work.
Anyway, the setting was beautiful. The afternoon was lovely until the sun set and quickly started to get chilly. I wanted to love this place. I love French food and wished this was the neighborhood gem waiting to be discovered, but the food was very salty. I expected the food to be very rich in flavor, and I am a person who prefers his food a little on the salty side. These dishes, however, were all beyond even my salt comfort levels. The lobster bisque, the onion soup, and the coq au vin all had good flavors, but the salt just kept overpowering everything.
It was prime time for dinner, and the restaurant sat pretty much empty with nary a single takeout order. I doubt this restaurant can survive much longer without improving its food. It wasn’t terrible, but I’d genuinely be concerned about consuming so much sodium if I return.
My intention for today was to not run or walk and instead workout inside to rest my legs. However, the morning was nice and cloudy so I wasn’t going to let a good opportunity go to waste. I went for a shorter route since I needed to be back on my computer fairly soon. A few minutes into it I noticed I was wearing a pair of blue running shorts I found in my drawer that I hadn’t worn in a long time. They were my racing shorts. I pretty much worn these to every race I’ve run. I started to think back on my racing days and I got chills as I was listening to Madama Butterly. I got so wrapped up in my memories that I had a brief panic moment when I realized I wasn’t wearing my hydration pack. It was the weirdest thing and it may even sound a bit ridiculous. I haven’t worn a hydration pack in years and yet in that moment I felt like I was missing something. I will take it as a sign. 🙂
I have always had an interest in cooking, but it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve come to enjoy it and appreciate all of the ingredients that go into my food. I have slowly been getting away from my aversion to vegetables and have started to find them fascinating. Their size, color, texture, and flavor vary based on where they grow and what the weather was like during their growing season. It is all incredibly marvelous when it all comes together on your dinner table. Crafting delicious flavors in your kitchen is only the very end of pretty complex chemistry that has evolved over billions of years and refined by the terrains and climates both near and far.
This morning, I set out to repeat my run/walk pace of a couple of days ago, and I felt great. I ended up running a more considerable portion of my route, and I felt so encouraged and inspired. Today’s music was Madama Butterfly: I was in heaven. I felt like my old self. There was a time when I would look for longer operas because some of my runs lasted longer than some operas. I need to focus on how good I felt to encourage me to keep at it, and one day I know I will be outrunning my beloved operas once more.
With no exciting food or imaginary places, today was quite an ordinary day. Probably the only noteworthy thing is that the temperature was at 37 degrees when I woke up. It’s rare to get that close to freezing and even rarer still during March.
I didn’t exercise today partly because I had a busy day with work and errands and partly because I want to slowly build up my running again. At the time, I was running a lot. I loved being a part of my running group because I built up my speed and endurance alongside other people in the group. After a long time of not running, going back to the group made it all the more demoralizing when the people you know were off to run long distances at a far faster pace. All I was left with were a bunch of beginners I didn’t know. Going on my walks these past few weeks and pushing myself to reintroduce running on my own has felt liberating. I am focusing on the data on spreadsheets and charts like the nerd I like to be. When I refer to data, I mean the whole suite of time, pace, heart rate, weight, oxygen intake, etc. I love numbers because they tell a story, and every time I workout and make food choices, I am writing my story. I’ll share more of these numbers as I collect more data.
The other thing I enjoyed about yesterday’s run is that it all tied back to the beginning when I was that weird guy that loved listening to classical music and operas on his runs.
It was raining again today, so I didn’t walk in the morning like I usually do. I kept looking outside and was starting to consider doing an indoor workout instead. Then I noticed the rain beginning to lighten up, and I checked the radar on the Weather Channel app to see if there was any more rain heading my way. It looks like I was in the clear for the rest of the day, so I decided to put on my running clothes and head out the door. There was a bit of wind, and the air was quite cold. I love the cold, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity, so I decided to go for it and turn this into a bit of a run.
Now, it’s been a very long time since I’ve anything remotely close to running, so I decided to approach the road before me with intention and run with intervals. When I used to run long-distances, I used the interval method, which had me running for five minutes and then walking for one minute. I would not have been able to do all of that running without it. Today, I modified the interval to be one minute or running followed by five minutes of walking. This, of course, is mostly walking, but I need to transition my body slowly into building more stamina and strength.
During the one-minute run intervals, I felt like I was taking flight, and it was absolutely liberating. Couple the Mahler Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) I was listening to, and I was in heaven! I caught myself smiling behind my mask and imagine I was nowhere else but here in this moment. The sun even briefly shone, but it soon turned dark and even started to sprinkle on me. I did three miles and returned home feeling like my old self again. A few minutes after being inside, it began to rain steadily outside again. It was meant to be.
I was looking forward to imagining myself in Thailand; however, the colder weather kept me firmly planted in reality. To fully imagine myself in Thailand, I will probably need to wait until a rare humid day in the summer (preferably near a body of water). For dinner, we had Pad Thai, Glass Noodle Soup, and Manga Sticky Rice. This was my first time trying food from this particular Thai place in the Valley. The food was good, but nothing extraordinary. I probably enjoyed the Mango Sticky Rice the most, and it brought back memories of Bangkok where I was enjoying this Thai dessert from a tiny corner restaurant with friends from my MBA program.
I didn’t imagine myself being anywhere else today, but I had a great time eating foods from Taiwan and Korea today. Both are places we often frequent where little English is spoken. I included a menu of the Taiwanese place in the pictures above so you can see that menu is all in traditional Chinese. We eat food from here very often, so I rarely take any photos of the food, but I probably should. The only thing I took a picture of today was the fried calamari. The calamari was seasoned very similarly to popcorn chicken (Asian basil and all) and was not overly fried as calamari usually is at other restaurants.
For dinner that evening, we went back to the Korean restaurant that I love and makes me feel like I’m in Korea. We tried a new soup that they recommended. It was a pork neck stew with lots of veggies. It was pretty delicious and reminded me of pozole.
These last few days, I’ve been putting my writing on the back burner to focus on work and reading. It hasn’t been intentionally, but that is the way that is has worked out. Each day, I wrote a little something, but I never got around to finishing it. I keep planning on finishing the posts late at night like I usually do, however, lately I’ve been unable to stay up late. I just fall asleep regardless of whether I’m reading, working, or watching television.
Instead of skipping these posts, I am going to finish them this weekend and post them as if they were published on the appropriate day. I’m bending the rules to my own challenge, but with honesty. This afternoon and evening I wanted to devote some time to finish those posts and catch up with my writing challenge, but all my plans were thrown out the window when I was able to score an appointment to get the first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine. It won’t be until a few weeks after I get the second dose that I will benefit fromt he full effects of the vaccine, and I am aware that there is always still a risk; but feel tremendously better knowing that soon I will have much better layer of protection from this pandemic.