The Apple Crisp Incident
It was to be the perfect apple crisp! My family went to the local farmer’s market and got tart 20 ouncers apples, the best for baking! I peeled and cored them by hand. It’s funny, I have a fancy tool that will do that for me, but I LOVE food and I LOVE to be as involved as I can with food preparations, so I keep that useful tool in the basement. I cut all the apples, used the more expensive light butter ($5/pound, geez), and made the brown sugar and cinnamon crunch for the top. The ingredients were the best. The preparation time was great. The audience (my family) was excited with anticipation as we would be eating this delicious dessert while watching the season premier of The Walking Dead. This had to be the perfect apple crisp!
As I was about to put the crisp in the pre-heated oven, the oven door got caught on the opened door of the adjacent dish washer, but my over excited hand had already started to put the pan in. This all happened so fast…. The pan caught on the edge of the oven door, causing the pan to flip over, dumping all the contents into the hot oven! What a mess! I yelled like a slowed down highlight reel, “Nooooooo!” I started to cry! There goes that perfect crisp! Gone!
I pulled myself together as much as I could. What to do, what to do? Could this be saved at all? I carefully (oven was still hot) scooped up as many apples as I could and put them in another pan. I decided, darn it…. I’m not giving up! I preheated our toaster oven and baked the “crisp” in there. By now the show had started and my daughter’s boy friend and best friend were over. I got distracted and went to get the crisp…. The top was burned! Really? Was there no end to this pain? I asked those who had just witnessed the beating of a lifetime on TV if they’d like the crisp if I could salvage it. They were still shocked by the big reveals on The Walking Dead and said, “yeah, sure, whatever.” So I scraped off the burned parts, and served hot apple something with French Vanilla ice cream. Know what? It wasn’t bad!
Why am I sharing this story? As I spent the 3 hours after the incident cleaning the kitchen and scrubbing the oven, I couldn’t help but see the similarities between this unfortunate incident and some of the races I’ve done. Bear with me, this might be a bit of a stretch! I’ll use my last marathon as an example. I trained so hard! I did tempo runs. I did hill repeats. I did speed work and long runs and strength training. I even lost 13 pounds! I was ready for the perfect Boston Qualifying race! But then I decided to wear a new, minimal shoe in the race and my apple crisp dumped right into the hot oven…. I mean…. I couldn’t run what I set out to run. That was a rookie mistake! I always share with my runners, don’t get brand new shoes for the race, especially new ones that are a completely different type of shoe! But I felt that I was super fast for the 2 short runs in those minimals, and I let my excitement get the best of me. I was running well in the first half, but those shoes were starting to affect my form. By mile 17, my BQ pacer passed me and I was in pain. I made a mess of my race. I thought I should drop out, because I still had nearly 10 miles to go and I was hurting. But I decided to keep going. I walked a lot, and I shuffled a lot, but I made it to the finish line. My family was there waiting for the perfect marathon as well. They didn’t know I was hurt. Just as with the crisp, I felt I let my family down. But I finished. I kept going and I got that medal, and in 4:23, not too bad.
I learned something from the crisp incident. Slow down and look around to make sure there are no obstacles when you put the pan in the oven. I learned a similar lesson with races. Trust your training, and don’t try anything new without testing it out. I also learned that those spectators love me. Charlie had to nearly carry me away from the marathon finish, proud that I persevered, and Erika and her friends still ate the “crisp”, probably just to make me feel better. Turns out I didn’t let them down and they still love and care for me. I hope to make another apple crisp in the near future, just as I plan to train for another race. Lessons learned and all.