Thursday, June 23, 2011

The missing link

After half a dozen phone calls, I tracked down my TDaP titer so I don't have to get that vomit-inducing vaccine again! That was the last piece of the puzzle. Thanks to a good tank of gas, several hundred dollars, fingerprinting, and familiarity with the local post office and KU student health, I think I might be done with my overwhelming grad school checklist. And could it be? I'm still several weeks ahead of the deadline! Now if I could just motivate myself to start cracking on this self-driven independent-learning stats class...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

... to the most selfless, encouraging, supportive, intelligent, caring man I know!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lucky 13.1

This morning, I ran 13.1 miles before 10am. Cripes.

Start running? Oh crap. Luckily, I was too tired to realize what I'd gotten myself into.
That's me on the far left... with 12.85 miles to go!
I will be honest, I probably bit off more than I could chew with an impulsive mid-week half marathon registration. But I just couldn't stomach the thought of another solo long run today. I was scheduled to run 11 miles this weekend but was also feeling some pressure to 'make up' for last week's missed long-run (due to a 4-day bout of food poisoning).

I told myself I'd just take today's half really easy and cut back on my mid-week mileage to compensate for the longer distance (**by the way, I never would've done this if I didn't have a previously successful half under my belt from 7 months ago**). I think that plan would've worked, if the course had been flat. Here's what I read before signing up:
Peculiar's Lucky 13.1 Half Marathon takes participants on a fast and mostly flat out-and-back course from the football stadium at Raymore Peculiar High School out to Coleman Road and back to the school for the finish.
Flat? Fast? For once, my lungs and my stomach were cooperating at the same time, and I was facing a terrain that set out to tear up my knees and hips. I've never finished a race limping, but I am now. I was going strong until about mile 9 (which shouldn't surprise me since the farthest I've run since November is 8 miles). But those hills. Never. Stopped.

To be fair, they were gently rolling hills. Nothing super-long or super-steep. But definitely not flat either. This basically turned into an 11 mile run followed by a painful 2 mile walk.

I was lucky I rolled out of bed with my alarm, despite only getting 4 hours of sleep.

I was lucky I hydrated beforehand and carried water with me- it was already 75 degrees and humid at 5:45am!

I was lucky I only got lost once, and very briefly, on my way to Peculiar.

I was lucky I picked up my bib in time to get the last technical shirt in my size.

I was lucky the spitting rain and huge gusts of wind stopped 2-3 minutes before the race started. 

And I'll be lucky if I can get out of bed tomorrow and walk without legs that feel like bricks.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Early Summer Risotto

When Ross and I were dating, he would often spend Fridays driving from Amarillo to Ft. Worth, TX and I liked coming home from work and making dinner for us to eat when he got in. I braved risotto once, on a whim, and have never looked back. We both love this risotto recipe from Cooking Light, and it lends itself pretty easily to ingredient modifications. Here's what I came up with tonight based on the ingredients I had at hand.

Early Summer Sugar Pea and Sausage Risotto
makes 7 servings, about 3/4 cup each

2 cups water 
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can vegetable broth 
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided 
2 1/2 cups sugar snap peas  
2-3 sausages, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion 
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice 
1 cup dry white wine 
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1. Bring water and broth to a simmer in a saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

2. Slice and brown the sausages over medium-high heat.

3. Peel the "veins" from the snap peas. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add peas; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from pan.

4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute 2 minutes or until tender. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.

5. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes). Stir in mushrooms, cheese, and remaining ingredients.

Dishes like this crack me up. I'm certainly more meat-friendly than I was last summer (IF it's locally and humanely raised and slaughtered). But still, Ross and I will still sit down to a dish like this and I'll pick mostly vegetables from the pot with a few pieces of meat for good measure, and Ross will pick mostly meat with one or two bites of vegetables on the side. It's like that Jack Sprat nursery rhyme:

 Therese, Therese would eat no meat.
And Ross would eat no greens.
But betwixt them both, you see, 
they licked the platter clean!

 P.S. I like to buy the 32oz boxes of vegetable broth and pour half into a glass jar to freeze for later use. As for leftover wine, well, that's easy...

Attainable Goals (it's not what you might think)

Since Saturday morning, I've had a stomach bug that has really put a cramp in my marathon training plan (no pun intended). But never let it be said that I don't have goals. I'm on my way to finishing 7 books.
Obviously, this isn't the first time I've re-read them
And 7 movies.

Hmmm looks like I need to purchase HP 7, Part 1 in the near future
In the 31 days until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 comes to a theater near me. This is a goal I KNOW I an accomplish!

In less pathetic news, I actually had a great week before the unknown pathogen hit (I kind of suspect food poisoning from a dinner out on Thursday). On Tuesday, I went to a great goodbye dinner at an Italian restaurant called NoRTH, south of town.

Me, Rachel, and Jin who is currently on the move to DC
Our food tasted great- nice and fresh! But dinner was even better because it was on the house. Apparently they forgot to put our order in and our food took a while to come out. But we were so busy talking we didn't even notice!

I also got my teeth cleaned for the first time... since we moved here almost 2 years ago. But look, ma, no cavities!

I got in 4 great workouts, including swimming laps in an outdoor pool.

Finally, we got to see some out-of-town friends for a bit last night and meet their sweet baby!

Now I'm just hoping this week shapes up a little, because it's not off to the best start.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Veggie Challenge

I ran 8 miles yesterday. And it felt good! I fueled right, had enough water, got up early enough to beat the heat, and came upon a surprise sanity-saving zero-grade fountain during a sunny stretch of trail. I got to run through it at mile 5 and again at mile 6.

I came home and logged my run online, and then decided to be curious and look back at the only other time in my life I've knowingly run 8 miles: about 9 months ago when I was training for my 1/2 marathon. To my dismay, I saw that my average was a full minute-per-mile faster last year! I thought surely that can't be right, because now I run 10 minutes between my 1 minute walking breaks instead of 5. I've been running 2-3 times a week almost every week for over a year. So I tried to think back (and look back at old training logs) to see what I was doing differently.

For one, I had consistency on my side last year. No matter what my pace was, I ran 2.5-3.5 miles 3 times a week without fail before I started to build mileage for my 10k and half marathon. I know I've been running for over a year now, but with holidays, asthma, sleeping problems, and [insert-any-excuse-here] I haven't been as consistent with training lately. That means I need to get back to 3 runs a week (no less than 3 miles each time), speedwork once a week, and strength training 2-3 times a week like I was doing last year.

Looking back at my blog, I also realized that I was eating vegetables. A lot of them. Our CSA was frustrating in the beginning, because we kept getting spring veggies like bok choy and turnips that I wasn't in love with. But I ate them because they were fresh and local, and I hate seeing good food go to waste.

You know what this means: veggie challenge starts now! It's ridiculous how much better veggies taste when they come from the local, organic farmer's market as opposed to the supermarket. Unbelievable differences. I forgot how wonderful our CSA was and just looking back at my weekly pictures is making me crave fresh produce. I'm so excited things are growing again! My own container garden had a brief hayday and gave us several weeks of abundant lettuce. But now the lettuce has bolted and we're waiting on the next round of veggies to ripen.

cherry tomatoes
Hungarian hot peppers
In the meantime, I'm loving what my favorite farmer's market, Badseed, has to offer (I had to limit my purchases this week, but Friday is payday and you can bet my reusable canvas bags will be busting at the seams):

lettuce and herb salad

spring onions
For more vegi-ful inspiration, here are some other posts/articles for your reading pleasure:

EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides (although if you know your farmers and their practices, you don't have to worry about a list like this)

The Chic Life's Project Veg-Up (includes a downloadable calendar to print out and keep track)

Mama Pea's thoughts on the new "food guide plate" (there are some great links within the post that are worth reading as well)

Mark Bittman's recent article Meat: Why Bother? I will never be completely vegetarian, but I do feel best when I eat a plant-based diet and think of meat as a side-dish or condiment. In the last 2 years, I've revamped my meat consumption so I only buy local, grass-finished beef or bison and true free-range chicken and pork from farmers I've met myself. And, well, the occasional piece of preservative-free organic bacon.

So, cheers to 5 - a - Day for the month of June!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My To-Dos Might Do Me In!

I haven't been blogging much lately, and I was hoping to write today to share: a) my awesome 8 mile run this morning (!) or b) the great, timely sermon we heard at church this week. But instead I came home and got swallowed by paperwork.

I thought the hard part about grad school (well, minus the actual coursework) was going to be applying and getting accepted. Wrong. THEN they make you jump through about a thousand at least 6 different hoops from what I can understand from the world's most disorganized "checklist" that they sent me. From what I can tell, I have one month to:

-get a Missouri license (A process in itself. I do not remember it being this hard to get a Kansas license when I lived in Texas.)
-immunization updates, TB test, physical exam
-color blindness test
-criminal background check (and I get to pay a large sum of money for this privilege)
-proof of health insurance (I know I am blessed to have insurance already, but it's one more thing to copy and mail at this point)
-clinical orientation training and exam
-HIPAA training and exam
-Harassment training and exam
-Computer security training
-Safety training
-meet with my advisor (who somehow lives 2 hours away)
-do more paperwork for tuition reimbursement (Again, I know I'm blessed to work at a hospital that offers a fair amount of tuition reimbursement, but the woman in charge is more disorganized than I am, which is saying a lot. This means plenty of un-returned calls and e-mails, paperwork that needs to be redone, and extensive stress and pre-pre-planning on my part so I can still enroll on time.)
-In addition to this list, my BLS and NRP certifications expire in August so I need to take those classes again in the next month or two
-I am also taking a Graduate level Stats class this summer. I think it's safe to say my days of boredom/leisure are over and I didn't enjoy them while they lasted!

I sincerely hope that I don't have to do this kind of paperwork before each and every semester even starts. Once is enough! And wading through this is incentive enough to finish what I start, lest I have to start over from scratch.

P.S. This is totally my fault, but I also now have to find money for a speeding ticket (I admit I was going 9 over in I-29 in the middle of nowhere Iowa/Missouri, but he ticketed me for going 12 over-- a $25 difference) and I need to find 6 hours to take Defensive Driving ASAP. Fun.

Now that I've whined about these to-dos, I have to tackle one I've been avoiding for a few days: scrubbing the fridge. Our fridge and freezer have broken about 4 times in the last 8 months. Each time the apartment maintenance men came to fix it, it worked just long enough for me to feel confident about stocking up a bit and then at the peak of fullness, it dies again and I throw away hundreds of dollars of food. 

Anyway, when it broke last week, that was the last straw. I told them they had to give us a new fridge. And they did. Well, a new old fridge. But beggars can't be choosers-- although I do wish they'd cleaned it first. I came home after work one day to see they'd switched the fridge out and put all our food in the "new" fridge. But there's mysterious black residue in the ice maker and several gross spills in the fridge and freezer that obviously aren't ours.

So I'm off to empty it all, Clorox the heck out of it, and re-organize. Yay!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why I'm starting grad school even though it terrifies me...

*You’ll seldom experience regret for anything that you’ve done. It is what you haven’t done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it! Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it. Value your present moments. Using them up in any self-defeating ways means you’ve lost them forever.*

-Wayne Dyer