Nike Women’s Marathon (2010)

In the rare instances where I write about doing any form of cardio, I think I invariably mention how much I hate it. This was not always the case. While I’ve never loved it, I really did give it a fighting chance and…tolerated it for a time. Back in the day, when I was dating an avid runner, he’d convince me to come with him on his crazy treks throughout town. The very first time, I obliged, but on my bike. That was actually kinda fun (and I didn’t feel like I was slowing him down, so there was that), but I was dragged on several more of these crazy adventures throughout the year, and it was pretty much a testament to how much I liked spending time with this guy. After he introduced me to/I fell in love with weightlifting, running was but a distant thing of the past (other than uh, some more 6-7 mile runs that I managed to live through only because it meant that we’d get to eat the world afterward).

Anyway, if you fastforwarded (really rewinded, since we are now in 2014) to May of 2010, a Nike college ambassador came into my exercise psychology class to pitch to us the awesome-ness that was the Nike Women’s Marathon. Her exact wording may have been something along the lines of how “finishers [would] get a Tiffany’s necklace presented to [them] on a silver platter by a hunky SF fireman in a tuxedo.”


I’m usually not into this whole expensive jewelry thing, since I’d much rather spend my money on food (they don’t call me a black hole for nothin’!). But if I were to run a half marathon and they’d give it to me? Why would I ever say no? Especially when there was a fat discount offered to college students? (My mom was appalled by the idea of having to pay to run. I think once upon a time, I thought the same way about this, but anyway.)

I coerced two of my friends from junior high to come along and run it with me. At the time, I’d started running somewhat regularly, but was forced to take a break in the fall due to a super-fun back injury. The idea of this half-marathon entered my head when I’d just gone through ~1.5 quarters of cardio kickboxing. I figured that signing up for this would do me a whole lot of good, including:
1) Motivating me to actually run regularly
2) Giving me an excuse to hang out with Whitney/Becca once we were all back home (this was the year we all graduated from undergrad, in case you were wondering)
3) Brag rights if I finished running it without dying

#2 slightly backfired because Whitney ended up not being able to do the run with us. #1′s “regularly” was relative, but considering my running as of that year before and how grumpy I got after mile 3 or so, I’d have to say this was a vast improvement.

The Friday before, I got together with Becca so we could make shirts for the occasion. My fabric paint backfired on us (or at least, the colors I wanted to use did), so we ended up using pink. I think they turned out fairly well though. As somewhat of an explanation, two years ago, we were trying to come up with a term that could collectively incorporate all three of us, and we somehow came up with this:
Whitney
Becca
Farrah


“We Be Friends,” because we’re hella ghetto.

We went off to SF at noon to pick up our race packets and check out the expotique. We’d gone on an epic run up Mill Creek on Monday (bright and early at 6 a.m., because my physics class had gotten cancelled and covered about 10-11 miles, which, at that point in time, was the longest distance I’d ever run. I figured 2-3 more miles should definitely be do-able.

My name on the wall! It made me feel super-special awesome, but alas, I’m too short, and could only point to ‘Frank.’”

My main concern was to be able to finish the race without dying (such an ambitious goal, I know), mostly because I hadn’t really have a lot of time to train for speed. (Although to be honest, I doubt I ran anywhere near as much as I should have to prepare for it.) For the better part of my high school/college years,my favorite forms of physical activity have been [and still are] gymnastics, horseback riding and dance, none of which were a regular occurrence. (I have since added on weightlifting, MMA, pole-dancing, occasional yoga/pilates, and for that short period of time, running.)

We had a pasta dinner the night before and went back to Becca’s mom’s friend’s hotel room. On the way back, I was stopped by a guy who asked me what I used to style my hair.
F: (recalls how she stayed up til 4 a.m. the night morning before watching Make It or Break It, and blearily woke up this morning to pick up Becca) Um, nothing?
Guy: You don’t use anything to get it so perfectly straight like that?
F: I didn’t even comb it this morning. :[
How’s that for honesty? It’s nice to know some things don’t ever change.

Bright and early at 4:30 a.m. (I’ve only ever gotten up this early to run one other time in my life >_> ), we got up to eat and get everything ready, then walked our way over to the starting point. Auntie Judy handed us bottles of water, but since we’d overestimated how much time it would take by…a lot, Becca and I ended up leaving to give our water away to two homeless people we’d passed by on our way there.

Somewhere around 6 a.m. in the morning…

Waiting for the race to start…

The first three miles or so felt pretty surreal. I couldn’t really believe it was actually happening, and before I knew it, we’d already gotten to Mile 6, which was the start of the horrible hills. Oh, what fun. But they weren’t actually that terrible, most likely because the Mill Creek run did us a lot of good.

We were handed all sorts of things throughout the different miles (water and Gatorade every other mile, orange slices, POM, Luna bars & Clif Shot Blocks at Mile 9, Ghirardelli chocolate squares at Mile 12… I ran with Becca for 13 miles and sprinted the last 0.1-ish. Finishing it felt pretty much like…it hadn’t really happened. I thought it’d be a hell of a lot harder.


So. I forgot to get a picture with my fireman. :[ But we did do a video testimonial together that they probably shouldn’t use. I believe I said something about how you get a pretty necklace from a super-sexy fireman and how Don’t Stop Believin’ is an awesome song in a semi-fob accent. And then we couldn’t figure out how to turn the thing off because we’re hella awesome. Yeah.

The fruits of our labor!

NWM 2010 Necklace! :D

I didn’t die! :D

I seriously cannot fathom running even 3 miles now without gasping for breath, which is pretty depressing. When I look back on this, I usually feel a sense of complete disbelief that it ever even happened. So why am I talking about running to begin with?

I’m thinking of actually starting that up again. Linda took me on a mini-tour through the town I’ve been living in for the past 1.5 years and I discovered that there’s a beautiful park with an amphitheater, a track, what used to be the pool that is now a community garden, pull up bars, parallel bars, playgrounds, picnic benches the river…and it’s literally less than half a mile away, just down the hill from where I live. How did I not know that this existed!?

Recipe Redux: Pumpkin Pistachio Kale Fried Rice

The theme for April 2014 is…

Treasured Cookware: Share a story of classic cookware – and a healthy recipe to go with it. Some of us will be celebrating Mother’s Day next month (May 11,) but it’s more than once a year that many of us cook with a pan, a wooden spoon or another piece of cookware passed on to us from the kitchens of our favorite relatives. Let’s see what you can cook up with your treasured kitchen tool!

I had slight difficulty with this one, mostly because my family doesn’t do all that much cooking. My dad once gave me a bowl of mustard pasta (yes, really) and I made the mistake of believing my mom.
(dad): Try it!
F: (sniffs the pot of pasta) Why does it smell kinda…strange…?
(dad): Just try some!
F: Did you have any yet?
(mom): Yeah, I had a bowl of it. It was fine.
F: Well, okay then.

In case you were wondering, I now have trust issues. I forgot that my mom doesn’t love and adore food the way I do, and pretty much only eats because it’s necessary to survive. ;_;

This entire back story is really just to explain that there isn’t actually a piece of classic cookware that’s been in my life for as long as I can remember. The one constant I can consistently recall (which may or may not have to do with the fact that I’m Asian) though is our rice cooker! Since I’m currently located across the country from my family, I’m obviously not using the same one they have, but I absolutely adore this thing. <3 I’ve used it for all kinds of kitchen experiments in the past 1.5-ish years–for instance, to bake cakes for friends’ birthdays and to cook quinoa.

The recipe is adapted from here! One look at that picture and there was pretty much no way I could go on without trying to make it. The substitutions were done based on my budget/what I already had in my apartment, and it didn’t come out looking anywhere near as pretty as the recipe I modified it from, but people liked it a lot! It’s been ages since we’ve been able to do a potluck (med school got in the way), so I gathered everyone at my place over the weekend and we had a mega-feast! It’s been a long, long year, so it was great to be able to relax for an evening while enjoying great food and company. :]

Pumpkin Pistachio Kale Fried Rice with Maple Tofu Cubes

 

Ingredients:
-4 cups brown rice (cooked)
-1/2 cup raw pistachios, shelled
-1/2 small sweet onion, diced
-3 cups kale, chopped (thick stems removed)
-1 grapefruit (juice + pulp)
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-sea salt, to taste
-black pepper, to taste
-pinch of cayenne pepper
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tbsp EVOO
-2 tsp honey (can sub with maple syrup to make it vegan!)
-1 tsp ground ginger
-1 cup firm tofu, cubed

Instructions:
1) Cook rice in rice cooker. (Preferably day-old rice.)
2) Heat 1-2 tsp EVOO in a skillet (or ginormous pot) over high heat. Add the chopped onion + saute for 1-2 minutes. Add pistachio nuts and saute for another minute until they’re toasted.
3) Add in another tsp of EVOO and add rice, pumpkin, salt, pepper, grapefruit, garlic and spices. Toss and saute so that pumpkin distributes evenly through the rice.
5) Add grapefruit juice to hydrate the pan and ingredients. Saute until it absorbs. Transfer to large bowl.
6) Add tofu cubes to skillet Drizzle honey and ground ginger over tofu cubes.  Add a bit of salt and pepper.
7) Saute on high and toss it with the rice until just combined.
8) Serve hot!

This was the view from our “front porch!” WV paints its sunsets as though the sky’s on fire. My phone camera doesn’t do it justice, but it’s still beautiful all the same. <3

bowlathon

For some reason, I never ended up posting this, so here it is now! In all kinds of weird tenses because I wrote it…last April. As in 2013. I’m cool.

At the end of Endocrine, our school held a bowl-a-thon to raise money for the Talia Seidman Foundation, which helps kids who can’t go to school due to medical conditions by giving them ways to still participate in their education/still have the social experience as well. There was a prize for the best team costume, and since we finalized our “team” the other day (Monday), we brainstormed some ideas.

F: We’re dressing up as emo kids for this bowling thing we’re doing on Thursday. It’s gonna be wonderful. D:
N: lolwhaat.

Other ideas included 80′s-themed since Adam has enough of that to clothe us all, or just whatever sport we used to do…but Mike used to wrestle and didn’t want to spring that on people (“I would do that in a city where I knew I’d never see these people again. But I’m going to have to see everyone the next day, and I don’t think this town is ready for that yet.”)

Adam is a cyclist, so his clothing would be very much the same.

I’d basically have a choice between a leotard (I didn’t bring any of mine here because, let’s face it, what reason would there have been to bring it?) or uh, pole dance clothing, so how about no.

So we decided to be emo kids. (Mike’s idea.)

As it turned out, however, Mike decided to ditch our team to join another one. To be fair, he did call to ask if we’d mind, since the other team needed a 4th person to be considered a team, but we had a lot of fun giving them crap/trash-talking them when we got there.

M: Hey! I like the look!
F: Whatever, traitor.
M: But you said it’d be okay.
S: Hey, Judas. Was your team’s costume theme to dress up like douchebags?

It was highly amusing since our entire team consists of HBLers, which meant that a number of the people there basically never see us. There were definitely several people who gave us double/triple-takes. (I think they thought we dressed/acted like this on a regular basis.)

I wanted to document the fact that I managed to bowl a strike (two, actually, but one piece of pictorial evidence is enough) and the machine didn’t shut down on me. (True facts. The only other time I ever bowled a strike was in 2008, where the machine promptly decided that all was not right in the world and spontaneously murdered itself, thus taking with it the only evidence that proved that I was capable of bowling a strike.)

In case you couldn’t tell, we suck at bowling.

On the offchance that you need more proof, these are our final scores (somewhat blurry). Notice that my score is the highest and doesn’t even break 100. We’re awesome.

But you know what? None of that matters. We won the costume contest and got $50 to go stuff our faces with sushi (or whatever we wanted to order there). :D Mike’s team won for highest overall score (their team won bowling pins, so I’m pretty happy that we were rewarded more for creativity than for actual skill, haha).

Victory is sweet.

chocolate festival 2014

The annual chocolate festival was on April 12th! :] As the name might suggest, it encompassed all things chocolate-related. 35 local shops/businesses make some kind of chocolate-related treat and you buy tickets (in increments of 5) at City Hall for “chocolate tastings.” There was also a 10k Chocolate Chase for HospiceCare, a chocolate brunch, bake-off, live music, pastry chef demonstrations, a chocolate mousse eating contest, and special chocolate-themed entrees and desserts at some of the restaurants throughout the evening.

I started my day off at the Lewisburg Food Locker handing out bags of food to people and decided to stop at the festival before going to church, lest they run out of all the goodies (I’d been given $5 from one of my friends to pick up some things for her since she was mandated to go help out at Habitat for Humanity for the Super Smart People club.)

As per last year’s tradition, our first stop was the Harmony Ridge Gallery because they tended to have really awesome things that ran out quickly (the line had already extended across the street and back by the time we left).

Dark Chocolate Pot de Creme with Yuzu Citrus Cream & Triple Chocolate Verrine (Parfait): white chocolate dulce de leche panna cotta, bittersweet chocolate mousse & milk chocolate Chantilly

I also got a Chocolate Brownie Smore with Salty Caramel Drizzle from Food & Friends, Chocolate Mousse Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream & Raspberry Coulis from Stella’s, Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Treats, Maraschino cherry-infused brownie with buttercream topped with a cherry, Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods, and DeBrand Chocolate Truffles.

I stopped by church for the last half of the sermon and for lunch!

I went to go train/learn BJJ with Dan in the afternoon. I’m kinda sad that I have to leave also because it means I’m going to be losing him as a teacher. :[ He's full of awesome.

There were several restaurants in town that were doing some kind of a special chocolate-themed entree, so Lynnlee, Elise, Dustin and I decided to go out for dinner. :D We chose Stella's, a farm-to-table restaurant located inside a restored 1890's Victorian home. We were sold on their rather enticing food descriptions and compared to most of the other restaurants, their pricing was the most reasonable. One of these days, I need to go there to try their brunch!

After very little deliberation, I decided to get the Rainbow Farms Half Hen with Butternut Squash Mash & Vegetables du Jour. :]

I split a passionfruit creme brulee for dessert with Lynnlee. :D My philosophy on ordering desserts in restaurants basically boils down to whether or not I can recreate it at home, and this is definitely one of the ones I can’t make. It was amazing. <3

an end to year 2

I’ve finished my last pre-clinical exam (aka last textbook-studying exam) ever!!!

19 years of school after 2 years of preschool (my brother refused to go without me) and a year of kindegarten.

This doesn’t feel real.

Now I just need to pass boards! (Please be kind.)

Complete with a present from my boards buddy! (I get to find out who she is on Wednesday!)

more goodies

My Boards Buddy struck again! :D She is a wonderful soul. :O

Whilst studying for our OPP practical last week, Hira and I decided to loot the president’s office as a snack break. (I may have failed to mention that he keeps a whole bunch of goodies [cookies, crackers, candy, pretzels, etc.] in his office so if any of us are ever hungry, we can stop by to grab something. He is a wonderful man, in case the last sentence didn’t make that incredibly clear.)

Here are my spoils of war! (He was out of his office, so we didn’t get to say hello.) I managed to show slight restraint.

03/29/14-03/30/14: returning home

I took a picture of every meal I had here. :D (I figured everyone else would have the people + scenery parts covered.) It is my hope that I will one day be able to recreate healthier version of all of em’. :] This is an assortment of some of em’! I love colorful foods. :D

It took a good number of hours to get back, mostly because there were so many hours of waiting in between. Here’s our timeline:

  • 9-10:30 p.m.: traveled from Hato Mayor to Santo Domingo
  • 10:30-3:30 a.m.: hang out at airport in Santo Domingo
  • 3:30-7:30 a.m.: fly back to Boston
  • 7:30-10:30 a.m.: hang out at airport in Boston
  • 10:30-12 p.m.: fly back to Richmond
  • 12-2:30 p.m.: redistribute luggage + drive to Charlottesville
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m: lunch at Zin Burger! :D
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m.: driving back to WV
  • 4:30-5-ish p.m.: obtain coffee/gas/some sleep at Sheetz
  • 5-7:30 p.m.: finally back at school!

The green bottle on the top left is the DR’s version of our moonshine, which they called “gasolina.” Brad was a source of constant worry for our group because he was always losing things/himself and kept unintentionally scaring locals/patients by trying to speak to them in Spanish that would translate into really awkward things, so he made himself a sign.

We got to the airport at 10:30 p.m. and our flight wasn’t going to leave til 3:30 a.m., so there was a lot of lying around and/or sleeping in that time frame.

My seat got taken so I made a compromise.

I’ve missed being able to flush toilet paper and drink tap water and I haven’t combed my hair or taken a hot shower in over a week. I’ve been struck down by “el gripe” and may or may not have typhoid fever/malaria/a couple parasites that I’m hoping the albendazole will take care of, but…it’s a small price to pay for all the experiences and memories I’ve made? (I’m most worried about the typhoid fever because risk of malaria is fairly low and other than my slightly late start due to the Philly trip, I’ve been participating in our Chloroquine Fridays. However, the county clinic completely failed at life at giving me my oral typhoid vaccine properly because they told everyone else that it was a live vaccine and had to be refrigerated/gave it to them in a plastic bag on ice…and for me, they mentioned nothing of the sort and handed it to me in a paper bag, so it was pretty much long dead by the time I realized this. THANKS, GUYS.)

In all honesty, I was originally somewhat regretting my decision to go on this trip because I felt like I should be studying for boards at home instead, but I’m really glad that I went. I learned a great deal on this trip and would love to come back next year, if I can make my vacation dates align with the trip/convince my parents not to disown me for not coming home. (They’ve already been gracious enough to not be angry about my telling them about going on said trip 1 hour before boarding the plane. :x In my defense, I figured it’d be better for them to worry for 1 week as opposed to half a year. They told me not to get dark/tan and not to get sick and I managed to do both.) If I do get to come back at any point, there’s a lot I want to bring with me just to leave there for people.

Coconut Date Protein Shake

Once upon a time, Kroger decided to mark down a whole bunch of their Liberte coconut yogurt (25 cents each! :O!). I’m a huge fan of sales and yogurt, so I bought a bunch of em’. :x Ever since, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to incorporate them into recipes (I’d like to try making curry with it, but I’m still in contemplation on whether or not that would turn out well). Since I’m still on my grocery ban (I really, really need to finish off the stuff in my apartment so there’s less to pack when I move to Kentucky), I figured I might as well continue with this whole eat-everything-in-my-apartment crusade. I need to start actually contributing to church potlucks. :O

I discovered the concept of date shakes from Lappert’s Ice Cream in Sausalito, California, but could not justify spending $5 on a drink, so I decided to make my own!

For the record, unless myfitnesspal is lying (which I don’t think it is, since I checked the labels), this thing is a frighteningly deceiving calorie-bomb and should probably be used as a meal replacement or post-workout recovery drink. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. :O (At least they’re good fats?)

Coconut Date Protein Shake

~553 calories, 77g CHO’s, 17g fats, 28g protein, 5g fiber, 322mg sodium.

Ingredients:
-7 dates, pitted + coarsely chopped
-4/5 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-6 oz. coconut yogurt
-1 scoop Designed Whey vanilla protein powder

Instructions:
1) Chop dates and put in container with milk and protein powder. Refrigerate for ~10 minutes.
2) Scoop in the coconut yogurt.
3) Blend until smooth.
4) Pour into glasses and enjoy!

03/28/14: beach day

I feel like the title is pretty self-explanatory. :O Pictures of pretty beaches below!

Shannon got two rather awesome panoramic shots–one of the beach and one of [almost] all of us (at the bottom of this post).

I will very much miss this weather. *-* The beach was absolutely gorgeous.

‘Playa Juan Dolio

I’ve never done a beach jumpy picture, so here we (my room) are! :]

03/27/14: day #4 in rural Seibo

Last clinic day! We went to a super, super rural part of Seibo today and managed to see everyone there as well (tis a plus, because I hate having to turn anyone away). We saw 150 patients and I got to witness several pretty unique cases.

We saw a case of what we think was Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, as well as several hypertensive emergencies (I took a 224/106 and a 232/118). where one of our doctors did her very first IV Labetolol push while an translator interpreted for her and the patient through the window.

We stopped at a craft market put together by several women in the area after clinic and also set up a makeshift clinic back at the hotel for all the staff when we got back. OMT is a big hit with them because almost all of them had aches and pains of some sort. (We’ve coined a new phrase of”machete back” for the workers in the fields that end up with extremely tight back muscles.)

I’m unfortunately coming down with something that I sincerely hope is just what they refer to as “el gripe.” ( Typhoid fever would suck, but the incubation period is 6-32 days, if I recall correctly, and I think these are the wrong symptoms, so hopefully, I’m in the clear.

We’ve been really spoiled here. I’m sincerely going to miss having our meals prepared for us. ._. I’ve never had people legitimately stressed out that we were still working and hadn’t yet taken a break to eat. This is probably the most salt and sugar my body has seen since junior high. (My salt/sugar intake this week is probably more than I’d have in at least half a year.) My feet are so swollen that I no longer have malleoli. :( Small price to pay though, because the food has been delicious! I’m very much going to miss the passionfruit juice, fresh pineapples and coconuts, and plantains.

This encompasses our entire group, minus two of our Dominican doctors.

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