An Open Letter to the Athletic Chef

Dear Athletic Chef:

I am a recent culinary school graduate and am working at my internship right now.  Although it has been an enjoyable experience so far, I have one question for you.  How is it that you manage to be an athlete and a chef?

I used to run 5 days a week and I used to run for hour or longer runs when I did.  I’ve trained for a few distance races and really enjoyed training for them.  Now, I feel like I can never train for one again.  I tried to maintain my fitness level while I was in school, but it just didn’t happen.  I had super early classes and I was working full time.  I had homework to do and a 35 minute commute to school and a 45 minute commute back.  Now, I am on my internship and I am on my feet for 9 or more hours a day, often times standing in one place prepping food.

Horsetooth Half Marathon, 2011

My knees are killing me, but then again, I’ve always had bum knees.  My quads are so tight that I can’t squat without uttering a groan that sounds like I’m 80 years old.  My calves have been in pain since day one of my internship and after rolling out pizza dough for 2 hours straight, my arms felt like they were going to fall off.  My whole body aches when I get home from work sometimes.  I’m just plain exhausted!

I know I signed up for this lifestyle voluntarily and that it is a physically demanding job.  I also know that the culinary world is not forgiving and often times I will work long hours and not be able to do everything I’d like to outside of work.  But, can’t I keep my running?  It’s the only thing that keep me sane.  I had a bad day at work on Friday, working my first shift on the line.  The only thing that made me feel better was going for a hard, hot run the next morning.  I paid for it later at work when my feet were screaming at me, but I didn’t care.

Super cool compression socks

Isn’t it possible to remain reasonably fit and still work in the food service industry?  Tell me your secrets, please, because I am very frustrated and a little disheartened.  Last year at this time, I was recovering from running my second marathon.  Now, I get sore when I run 6 miles.  I’ve been doing some yoga, which is a nice change of pace from the frantic energy of a kitchen.  I bought some compression socks that seem to help the soreness in my lower legs and I wear padding around my bunions so my toes won’t ache as bad.  Surely, there must be some way to incorporate running into my life.  Thanks for listening to my ramble.




4 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Athletic Chef

  1. Take some magic blue recovery pills that your super-cool Mom gave you. Try four a day to help with sore muscles from standing.

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