Monday, March 28, 2011


I'm not in the mood to do anything today, even though I have to run errands and walk 20 minutes on my ever so slowly improving foot.

Last night a friend and I went to Mod Market, a cute little restaurant that features locally grown produce, healthy salads and lower calorie pizza. The calories of each item are shown on the menu. I wasn't sure how I felt about this. I gave up counting calories long ago, and am glad I did. I noticed, however, that when the lady at the counter handed me the soup, my first thought was, "I bet there are WAY more than 150 calories in that bowl!" My friend and I split a big salad with steak and a bowl of chicken chili soup, and she had a few small slices of pizza too. Neither one of us liked the tough and slightly gritty potatoes, so we both took them out of the salad. Though it wasn't the best meal I have ever had, I like that they support local growers, and the food was, overall, nicely prepared. I think I wanted to like it more than I did, but I tend to be quite happy simply getting a salad with some sashimi salmon at Whole Foods. With that, I love to get their Ciabatta roll with a pat of butter. That's like dessert to me. Mmmmm.

When I was struggling so badly with the eating disorder, I used to spend way too much time going over calories, recipes and food magazines. I used the excuse that I like to cook and bake, but I know it was more about the food obsession than anything. Somewhere deep down behind the obsession though, there was some passion. It was a little bit like my obsession with running. On some level I loved it, and on some level I was over the edge with it. I had a fascination and love of cooking and food that got distorted with the illness. Unlike some anorexics who completely lose any joy in eating, I still felt ties to my mother's country of France, where pretty much everyone has an intense interest in food and eating to please the soul. There was no way around that for me, despite the severe restrictions I placed on myself. So it ended up being this weird combination of knowing how I wish I could live, while living this strange and twisted life of baking for others, watching others eat and thinking about all the things I wanted to eat but woudn't. I even had dreams about food. I also had dreams about missing running races, but I'll save that for a different post.

There was a brief moment when I was on top of my running game. I had transferred back to Boulder after a year in Utah (no, I'm not Mormon). I was working again with my high school coach and focused on breaking my own record at the Pikes Peak Ascent. I was dominating the mountain racing scene and poised to shatter that record. Unfortunately, I got terribly sick a few weeks before the race, but I had some great races, runs and experiences in general during that time. I was training with two adventurous girls who were a few years older. Though I was the fast one of the group, especially on the uphills, K was best going down. J was the one to go the distance. That girl could run forever. We did some outrageous mountain runs together. We would get lost, stumble down scrambly hills and follow hints of trails that lead nowhere, forcing us to backtrack and make the run even longer. After hours in the high mountains, we would head back to Boulder, and plop ourselves down in a comfortable booth at our favorite restaurant, joking with the waiter to bring us everything.

I was running so well and training so hard then that eating wasn't as much of an issue as it had been in the past, though I still had strange habits, like not eating most of the day and eating more at night, a habit I still have today, though I eat enough during the day. Still, it wasn't all that odd to catch me eating a big fat cinnamon roll from the Great Harvest Bakery or enjoying some Ekte Gjetost on Carrs wheat crackers. My friend liked her Ekte Gjetost with butter on crackers or toast, while preferred it plain. For those who don't know, gjetost is a Norwegian cheese that is brown from caramelizing the milk sugars in the goat milk. People generally love or hate it. There's no in between with that cheese. I happen to love it.

I don't mean to make it sound like I was on a food frenzy. That didn't happen until I was coming out of the most severe part of the illness much later. Then I was doing some really crazy shit, like eating pop tart sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly and having ice cream three times a day. What a nightmare that was. The pendulum had swung from one extreme to the other. Fortunately, I learned about balance along the way. Considering how low my weight was, all those pop tarts were needed on some level, but it wasn't the healthiest way to go about the weight gain!

I sort of miss those days of being able to make my body do amazing and wonderful things. I also miss moving through nature, challenging myself to push harder, keep going and find out what's beyond the next hill. Somehow even thinking about the big mountains scares me now. I always had a healthy apprehension and concern when running in high places, but I also had confidence. After that first ten minutes of getting the jitters out of the way, it was a wonderful feeling to get into a steady groove of running up the hills, arms pumping to keep my feet in a solid tempo. I loved it.

Unfortunately I have to cut this off mid thought. In conclusion here, I have decided to splurge once a month or so, and get an interesting piece of cheese for myself. I get excited about gourmet cheese, and I haven't been treating myself due to the high cost. Today I got one from Italy. It's a semi soft cheese with a nice washed rind. It's a little stinky, but not like a pont l'eveque or anything. I'm looking forward to trying it, and will report back in a week or so if it's any good. I'm on the verge of being able to walk, but I can see my foot isn't quite there yet. I've thought about it though, and I don't need to be training a million miles to splurge on some fun food. For years I never went out to eat and ate only certain things. I like that I'm back to having a little advneture with food again. It's nice to occasionally have some ice cream or share a meal with a friend. I now know that I don't have to be tackling the trails in order to enjoy a little gourmet cheese.

This is the cheese I decided to get:

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