- Learn techniques -
I'm decent enough on the cooking and baking front, though I don't feel that I always have basic techniques down. What I have been meaning to do in the past is work my way through a "how to learn everything" cookbook. Martha Stewart has her cooking and baking handbooks, and the Culinary Institute of America has their versions. There is no particular reason why I've always wanted to do this other than to develop a comprehensive culinary knowledge. I don't have any plans to formally enter the culinary world, though I've always wanted to work at a bakery/cafe because it seems fun. Basically, I would like to learn the techniques that separate the chef from the at-home cook, and maybe one day enter the Gordon Ramsay cooking contest show on FOX (not Hell's Kitchen, because the idea of running a kitchen really does sound like hell).
- Cook and bake more consistently -
Maybe not so much bake, because who needs that many sweets lying around? But cooking... I get really lax. At best, I make up pasta dishes comprised of sauteed vegetables, maybe a protein, and the pasta. It's weak, and not worth writing home about. Or posting about. Part of this problem comes from a lack of planning, general laziness, or feeling like if I don't create a full meal (with a main entree and sides), it's not a meal. Instead, I could make a nice little stuffed chicken with a vegetable side in 45 minutes. Like I said, I'm just lazy and lack the foresight.
Bread. I used to bake bread religiously, then I fell off the bandwagon. I rarely eat bread nowadays because store-bought bread repulses me. It just isn't that good, and if it is good it costs $5 a loaf. Why pay that much for one loaf when I can buy five pounds of bread flour for approximately the same price? Also, bread making is an art, particularly artisan bread. I've made a few baguettes in the past, and though I really like the no-knead bread technique I want to learn how to really make traditional artisan break.
Pies. Pies are my weakness. The pies I made for Thanksgiving were the best. Why? Because the bottom crusts were crispy. I baked them for much longer than the recipe said to, otherwise it would have been a failure like usual. I don't know why this is. Maybe a pie a month, at least.
I can't think of anymore cooking resolutions right now.
- Training -
I use the word "training" very lightly. Mostly what I mean is that I want to be consistent and build a respectable (for myself) weekly mileage base, like around 30-35 miles per week. I'd like to incorporate speed work, long runs, and whatever on a semi-regular basis so I can be decent at races if I choose to run them, without actually training for any particular race. What I'm saying is that I want to be ready for spur-of-the-moment decisions. I'd also incorporate rest weeks/months where I just run without worrying about speed and crap.
December has been a good month. While the grand total of 94 miles isn't impressive, it represents consistency and the fact that I created a plan for myself that I stuck to. I'm hoping I'll remain consistent as the weather begins to deteriorate. I'm not sure I have any motivation right now other than the realization that I'm no longer young and it's not going to get any easier, so I better do it now. There's nothing like fear to get you moving.
- Races -
Um... My racing schedule is tentative. There is the Sunburst half marathon that I've always wanted to do, but couldn't because I never ran enough during the winter to support a decent training plan. I have until the end of January to register for the earliest entry fee of $55, which is the most I'd ever consider paying for a half. I'm saying this because the cost of the race is relative to the effort I'm putting into it. If I know I've slacked off and I won't race as well as I want to, I'm not going to sign up for an expensive race.
Why Sunburst? Sunburst is important to me because if it wasn't for this race, I would never have started running. I trained for it all by myself using a 5k plan from Cooking Light, managed to not get injured thanks to my lack of knowledge (I had no concept of pace -- the first 400s I ever ran were horrible), ran two 5ks leading up to Sunburst, and finally ran the Sunburst 5k in 24:54. It means a lot to me.
Other races are up in the air. I considered the Holy Half in late March, though I'll most likely not run it. There is a half in May I considered, but I'm not signed up for it yet and I still don't know how I feel about it. As for any 5ks and 10ks, my lack of motivation is prompting me to bag racing all year, like in 2011. I'm just not there mentally, and I'm okay with it.
Cool story, right?
Now that I have nothing more to say, I'd like to hear about your goals. What are they, and what do they mean to you?
Happy New Year, folks.