No weigh in this week.
When we were kids, my brother and I would spend a whole heap of time in the kitchen baking. It was inevitable given that grandparents on both sides and my father were diligent and talented bakers some of it would rub off eventually.
Hours were spent pouring over glistening Christmas Cakes, unctious pies, rich trifles and probably the best leek pudding you would ever, ever eat. Oh God, even 30 years later I still think about my Dads leek pudding.
On a recent trip to see my brother we were reminiscing about our baking days (my sister in law is a very talented cake maker). While there, I knocked up a few of one of our favourites from the 1970’s ubiquitous Be-Ro cook book, the coffee kiss.
Needless to say, since being Paleo for a year now, my baking days have dwindled to almost nothing. And that has been a nagging thought in the back of my head. The lack of baking is actually something much more akin to a loss of something important, rather than just not eating the product per se. But I couldn’t really put my finger on it. So, rather than put myself into the path of temptation in lieu of weight loss. I’ve stayed out of the kitchen for quite a while.
The recent series of Great British Bake Off has re-kindled a passion that has been simmering under the surface. I’ve found myself hunting down recipes and methods almost as much as looking at fit women lifting heavy weights (it’s kind of an absolution of sin – one clean and press equals a hail mary in my book!)
I found myself pondering (rather hilariously) whether, with enough practise, I could equal the talent in the Bake Off tent. Oh, rest assured, I have my hands full of businesses and Ironman training to think about it seriously. But I did go so far as to download the application form to have a ponder.
As I wandered through the questions, formulating answers and measuring myself against expectations, a particular question really triggered a reponse.
What do you personally get from baking?
The obvious answer would be the end product. The bake. The eating. Well D’Oh!
Is there anything else?
As I thought about it some more, it turned out there was. Although I enjoy the end product very much, I realised that wasn’t the reason I baked. I worked back through the last few bakes I had done, pre and post paleo. The bread I gave away, the cookies I took to a birthday, the carrot cake I made for a BBQ, the cheese cake I took to a dinner party, the coffee kisses I made for my brother.
None of these involved me eating the outcome and actually, it was never my intention to do so. So why did I make the products when it would have been just as easy (and maybe delicious) to buy the items.
What was my motivation?
I thought about the quiet of the kitchen, the time on my own, the distraction of the thought process, the soothing feeling of following a recipe one step at a time. The hypnotic ryhthm of the mixer, the tantalisingly delicious smells of the bake and the satisfaction of making something that looks appetising and pretty. It was ALL about the process and not at all about the outcome.
It is the truth that in the Great British Bake off, mistakes are forgiven. They are fretted and laughed over, but they are forgiven. John Waite who went on to win Series Three famously salted his Run Baba’s in one of the earlier rounds. All the judges look for is consistency and hard work, but they don’t expect perfection throughout. They are home bakers after all.
On another note, the London Marathon ballot results came out last week. This week we have seen the first results coming through the door of the shop. It’s been a mix of confident experience and nervous first timer. One lady, a newbee, when asked what she wanted to achieve insisted she wanted to get a ‘good time’. Her training would solely focus on that, despite her being an inexperienced runner. In her eyes, success or failure of her training would depend solely on her time on race day.
Now I do firmly belief in each to his own. And motivation is definitely a personal thing. But it seemed a dangerous thing to pin all her hopes on one day and potentially a number of factors that may not be under her complete control.
Alan has always insisted that the initial goal (be it a marathon or an Ironman or your first 5k race) is, in essence, the victory lap. The celebration of completing the training and your dedication to the goal. Essentially, the outcome on the day is irrelevant, as long as the reason to be there, the process, has proved to be rewarding.
I learned how important this attitude is myself at Ironman Austria this year. To put all of your expectations on one day is huge. And sometimes shit happens to prevent the goal from being achieved. Does it mean the last year was pointless? No, absolutely not. I loved the training and the plethora of positives it brought to my life. Each training session nailed, each lb lost was a victory. The outcome of Austria was in actual fact irrelevant. I just didn’t get a chance to do my victory lap, that’s all.
For me, just like my baking, my motivation to exercise is all about the process and not about the outcome. As I used to say to my trainng partner, ‘we’re doing it for love not money’. (Unless we can repeat a Knacker Cracker and lose the entire field again to sneak the win – it’s unlikely we’ll ever win a race fair and square 😉
So with that in mind, I’m planning to dust off the Kitchen Aid and head back into the kitchen and I daresay biscuits will be being doled out in a running shop near you very soon.