Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obsession, maybe????

Before surgery, I never ate the same food two days in a row. I'm not even kidding. I'm weird like that. If I had leftovers, there was always a day in between the original consumption and the reheating of the leftovers. If I had cereal for breakfast one morning, I didn't have it for breakfast the next morning. I would go out of my way, or sometimes not even eat dinner, if it kept me from eating the same thing twice. Fast forward to three months ago (can you believe it has been that long?!). The doctor went in an did this procedure on my stomach, but somehow it turned into something more like brain surgery! Now, instead of avoiding the same foods two days in a row, I eat the same two things constantly! Without fail. It's actually quite funny...or ironic.

Here is one example (I'll share the other example another day, but it's not nearly as exciting):
You take some chicken, oil, and a Wok...

Add some Rice Stir Fry mix, fresh zucchini, onion, soy sauce, water, and a sauce packet....
Ta-da! You get some YUMMY Kung Pao Chicken!
Yes, welcome to my new obsession - Kung Pao Chicken. I eat it no less than 4 days a week, sometimes twice a day. It is that good. I go hooked when I realized Panda Express was practically the only fast food place I could eat, because everywhere else either offers fried entrees or bread! Let me tell you, after a couple of attempts of just eating the meat off of a fast food hamburger, I decided to just let it go....haha. Ok, back to the Kung Pao. I decided it wasn't too economical to run through Panda Express every evening, so I scoured the grocery store and found alternatives. There are two different packets of sauce that I have found, a frozen ready to make packet that includes the chicken, and a boxed packet that you add your own chicken to. I have tried them all. I'm still not sure which one I like the best....the only thing I am sure of right now is that it will take me probably 5 days, 2 meals a day to eat all of this Kung Pao....but it sure is delicious!!
Lots to post in the coming days - I have my 3 month check-up tomorrow morning; classes start on Monday; and I have a birthday coming up. My parents are in town this weekend (yeah!!!!!!), and we're hosting a party for my friends at my place on Saturday evening. I'm excited - now if only this durn rain would go away (I'm sorry West Texas family, but we're drowning up here! If I could send you some, believe me - I would!). That brings me to another funny point, then I must get back to finishing grading rubrics and making cookies for the weekend.....
I came home Monday afternoon and my elderly oh-so-sweet next door neighbor - whom I affectionately call "Old Man" because I can't remember his name - was standing on his porch. The sky was threatening rain, so after saying hi, I asked him if he thought we were going to get some rain that evening. His reply, "I hope so...we sure need it." When I got inside, I thought about how interesting his comment was from my perspective or that of most of my family. See, I have decided that in Kansas City, people "need" rain so that they don't have to water their yards. It's true....people around here don't regularly water their yards - some never do. Weird, I know. Where I come from, and where most of my family lives, they really do "need" rain. They will go weeks without rain. I think we have gone a total of 9 consecutive days this summer without rain....but apparently we "need" it.
....Most of life is about perspective, isn't it?

Monday, August 10, 2009

A celebration - of 2 types

This weekend I had an opportunity to celebrate something very special to my heart, and accomplish a personal goal at the same time. I have always wanted to be a runner. I love running, and I have always wanted to incorporate that into my fitness routine, but it has been very difficult over the past few years, and I have been a little lazy about it as well. Since my surgery, exercise has become even more important, so I decided now is a good a time as ever to start running. I decided a few weeks ago I wanted to start the "Couch-to-5K" program that has become so popular. Knowing myself, though, I knew I had to have a goal to work toward; so, I decided that I would find a few different 5Ks on the area to participate in. The first one I found could not have been more perfect - the Kansas City Race for the Cure to benefit the Komen Foundation. See, a few years ago, my world was rocked when we found out my maternal grandmother (my Gran-Gran), and my only living grandparent, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Thank the Lord, she is now cancer free and is doing great; however, having a woman in your family diagnosed makes it that much more of a reality. According to the Komen Foundation, an estimated 192,370 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed during 2009. When it has happened to someone you know, much less someone who shares part of your genetic makeup, this statistic gives you pause. That being said, I decided that my first exercise goal post-surgery was to participate in the race in celebration of my Gran-Gran.
Little did I know, that 28,000 other Kansas Citians decided to so something similar this weekend! The response was moving and overwhelming. To see so many women, survivors, men, and even children turn out to support research in this area reminds me that there is still a lot of good in the world. I was overwhelmed, and it was hard not to get too emotional at times! As we stood waiting for the official start, they read names of survivors and those who had lost their fight to the disease over the loud speaker. It was touching. We even had a moment of silence before the start for those women (and men). I was deeply honored to participate in such an event, and to wear my Gran-Gran's name on my back. I know that unfortunately this disease will effect even more women in my life in the future, but on this day, I truly felt like I was doing something positive to perhaps circumvent some of that because I am confident that a cure will be found!
So, details on the race itself. For starters, I am not a great runner - yet. I am training, and I am doing my best. Some days I push my body so hard that I never want to see another pair of running shoes again! Other days, I love it so much I want to go twice. (I never thought I would say that!!) When I started exercising again after my surgery, it would take me at least 25 minutes, usually closer to 30, to walk a mile. What can I say? I'm slow! Most of my training thus far has been walking/jogging for about 35 minutes, which is not quite 2 miles. I knew with that in mind, the fact that this race was 3.1 miles, Kansas City is 90% uphill (I'm convinced!), and the large crowd, that it might take me a while to finish. My goals were:
1. To finish without stopping to rest
2. To jog some
3. To finish in under an hour
Well, guess what - I did all of that! I was so pleased with how I did! I started out jogging, and probably jogged the first half a mile, then did a lot of walking because the first 3/4 of the course were uphill (I'm not exaggerating, either!). I was hot, and my legs were very tired, and about 3/4 of the way through, I wanted to stop or seriously slow down, but I didn't let myself. I told myself that if my Gran-Gran and all these other women could fight breast cancer, the least I could do was finish this race! I finished 'officially' in 54 minutes because I started well behind the start line. I started my stop-watch when I crossed the start line, and according to it, I finished in 52 minutes.
What a great day! Here are a few pictures that I took of the day. Now, on to train for the September race! The Royals are hosting a 5K to benefit autism and some of their other charities, and I'm already signed up for that one! We'll see how training goes this week and next, and I'll let you know my goals before the race!
Until then, I've got a full day (week) of work ahead of me, and I'm off to buy a good pair of running shoes - ones that actually support my feet the way they should. I've just been jogging and walking in my regular workout shoes, and my hips and knees are protesting!
Me, before the race
They had cards to wear that said "In Honor of" or "In Celebration of" - this was mine!

At the start line - look at all those people! Just think - I was pretty close to the front, actually! If I wasn't so short, I would have tried to take more "crowd" shots!

Right after I finished!

Kind of blurry, but this is "my" official time!