musings on fruit and running
Saturday morning we had something special and new with our breakfast.
On our way back from Yamanashi last week we passed through an organic store to pick up non-homogenized milk to feed my kefir colony, and while we were there I spotted a display featuring a cut one of these beauties at the not so horrible price of ¥398 (~$4) for a bag of four.
Mushroom & onion omelet made by Eric as per tradition, everything bagel with butter, & a rainbow red kiwi.
Apparently they are called Rainbow Red Kiwis, and as far as I can tell they are new to Japan. I’m not sure if that means they are available -only- in Japan, but as the only search results that came up on google were in Japanese, I’m inclined to believe so.
The kiwis themselves are slightly smaller than a normal kiwi and smooth skinned. The internet tells me that they are also supposed to be less sour than normal kiwis, but I don’t find kiwis to be particularly sour in the first place so I didn’t notice. They are sweet, moist, and squishy, but the main differences are just the color and lack of fur.
It was fun to try out a new variation on a classic fruit, though.
After breakfast I did a little cleaning and kitchen work, then set about slicing bananas for flash freezing, as our frozen banana supply had begun to run low, and to remedy that we’d bought a few bunches several days before to sit out on our counter and get brown.
Sliced, arranged on a plastic wrap lined cutting board, and ready for the freezer.
Fruit is pretty expensive in Japan, with one of the most affordable varieties being bananas. When I first moved to Japan bananas were pretty much the only fruit I keep on hand regularly due to my limited budget and sticker shock. I mostly ate them fresh with breakfast or as a snack for my first year or so in Japan, and got into the habit of tossing the overripe ones into the freezer for banana bread for convenience and to avoid waste.
Over the next few years I became accustomed to the higher fruit prices in Japan, and now keep a variety on hand at all times (I am a total fruit fiend, truth be told), which means we don’t eat quite as many fresh bananas as before. However, we still go through them at a pretty ridiculous rate since moving into our current apartment and purchasing a blender.
I would say now about 75% of our banana consumption is frozen. I blend bananas into smoothies & kefir instead of ice for creaminess and as a sweetener, cook them into oatmeal, use them for banana soft serve or as a baking sub, and I still make the occasional banana bread as well.
We keep a big gallon sized bag of banana slices in the freezer and replenish it as the bananas we buy go brown. This is usually enough, but occasionally our consumption spikes, and we have to buy a few extra bunches specifically to freeze; such as this week.
With the bananas sliced and settled into the freezer I set out on my first run since my 10k race last week. It took me about 30 to 45 minutes longer than planned to get myself to actually leave the house, because I tend to develop motivation issues when I’ve taken a break of a week or longer from running. I finally I set off on what I planned to be a quick and easy 5k at about 3:30 pm.
It was hard.
I struggled through most of the five kilometers up and down the river path I usually run along in my neighborhood. I felt sluggish and awkward, and each step seemed to come down heavier than it should have and was more difficult to pick up than I remembered. It took me until around the last .75 km to really feel like I knew what I was doing again.
It really baffles me that no matter how much I increase my endurance, distance, and overall running ability I always struggle with the 5k distance. My gut tells me that this is because some part of me feels the need to improve my speed when I run 5k, but even when I go out deliberately slow and tell myself I am aiming for a moderately paced 5k it seems to take more out of me than 6k, 7.5k, or even 8k.
My current theory is that because 5k is the distance I have run the most it’s harder to trick my mind into using sneaky coping methods to get through it. I think that when I go out on longer distances I compare them to 5k on some level and convince myself I need to conserve my strength to get through the whole run; and in response my brain somehow follows through on that.
May be crazy, but I’m at a loss for another explanation as to why 7.5k is so much easier for me to get through than a simple, slow 5k.
After my run I stretched, snacked on a mid-afternoon kefir smoothie & half an english muffin, and then showered. We had plans to meet a friend for dinner at 7 pm in Takadanobaba and wanted to leave home with enough time to hit the furniture shop we found last week and order a shelf for next to Eric’s computer before then.
We made it just in time, and managed to get back to the station just a few minutes after our friend, Derek arrived.
Derek was a classmate of ours in our Japanese classes at SF State prior to our move to Tokyo. He currently works for a Japanese company back home, and is sent to Tokyo on business for a few weeks at a time around three times a year. We always look forward to getting to see him again, and this was our first opportunity since late spring.
I suggested that we go to Chaika, the Russian restaurant that had been closed when we went there the week before, and everyone seemed to be agreeable. Dinner was pretty fantastic and I will be posting a full review very shortly.
Have any tips on getting over blocks running certain distances? What is your favorite use for bananas?