Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why Crohn’s Disease and my cooking abilities don’t mix

By: Chef Nadia

To be fair, my cooking abilities and anything except possibly food poisoning don’t mix well. I am a very bad cook. Not just kind of bad, but really bad. The kind of bad where there is no room for improvement because there is no potential.

But my brain and short-term memory don’t seem to comprehend this. And after every failed episode when I tell myself “Well, I won’t make that mistake again.” Cut to many weeks later. I’m watching an episode of Top Chef, I somehow forget this and think “I bet I can cook like that too!” And I think it doesn’t really look that hard. Which to be honest, is really tv’s fault. Why would they edit the show to make it look so easy and quick? Doesn’t seem like I’m to blame at all. Stupid tv liars.

So after watching the Top Chef Finale (yes, a little late but why I love my DVR), I thought I would make my specialty. Now I’m sure you’ve heard from many sources that I make a mean macaroni and cheese straight from the Kraft box. And while that is correct, sometimes I make something with more than two ingredients. Ooooh. What could this fantastic (and ethnic) cuisine be? That’s right…tacos!!!

Well, now that you have been sufficiently impressed, let’s get down to the details. I defrosted some ground turkey, found a bag of taco seasoning (with 30% less sodium), and browned the meat! I did better than the last time because I normally forget that with turkey meat, it’s too dry to create its own grease, so you have to spray the bottom of the pan. But I didn’t forget! So I didn’t burn the meat and pan immediately! Powered by my newly-developed cooking confidence of not completely messing up in the first 30 seconds, I decided to skip the step of seeing if I had the other ingredients.

I ended up just making taco meat.

No shells, no taco sauce, no extra condiments or sides. I sometimes have a hard time with complicated tasks like going to the grocery store. But still, it was still pretty good. I cut some cheese (that was probably still good) and smothered my fantastically made taco meat with lettuce (my favorite). After a couple plates of taco meat, I felt like the Top Chef of my apartment. I basically strutted around saying “Nadia, you ARE Top Chef!” Big pat on the back.

Also, this was at about 11pm after I had gotten back from my run and showered (see previous post about my inability to get in my run at a normal hour). After another hour or so of reading and calming down (and reflecting on my new found skill set), I laid down in bed feeling pretty darn content. One minute later I realized my Crohn’s did not like my taco meat.

I spent the next 35 minutes hating my life in my favorite my place in the world-the bathroom. I hate you taco meat! I hate you 30% less sodium seasoning—maybe that 30% sodium would have saved me! I hate you bad cheese that looked ok! I hate you Top Chef for inspiring me to be stupid enough to think I could cook! I hate you Crohn’s disease for making me hate everything!

It went on like that for awhile….until my stomach calmed down enough to know to keep quiet.

Needless to say, I felt like I should final put something in writing about what exactly makes it a bad crohn’s day. Now you know- I bet you wish you didn’t.

Update: I really have no excuse for why I ate the leftover taco meat the next day except for maybe my laziness and thinking that this time, the exact same situation would yield a different result….

Friday, September 24, 2010

Marathon Weather is f*cking with me. This is the weather it says MIGHT be happening on Sunday, October 3, the day I’m running (maybe crawling) the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon. A possible low of 27 degrees and a possible high of 86? THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE FANTASTIC AND VERY HELPFUL GUIDANCE. Stupid Wisconsin weather…..Guess I’m going to have to wear a swimsuit, followed by many layers, ending in snow-pants. Going to be a great run.

Okay, it is sort of lost in translation, but this is a cut and paste.
Hi 66°F
Lo 48°F

Hi 86°F
Lo 27°F

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'd rather be running...

Life gets in the way of my running. Let's be honest. Work sucks. I sit on my butt all day thinking about how non-productive my body is being. We’ve all thought that at some point or not. And if you haven’t, please email me and subsequently hire me immediately.  And really, isn't work being a little selfish saying that just because they pay me, they expect me to work?  Knowing that I COULD be working out during that time. uh-huh. I agree. 

So needless to say, a frustration of mine has been finding the time and motivation during the day to get my run in.

I WISH I was a morning person. And I am....after I have sufficiently woken up either with a shower and/or some type of caffeine and about 2 hours....which pretty much means the morning is gone. So basically after I am ready for work and on my 30 seconds to 1 minute walk to my car... I think, wow, it would be great to go for a run right now. Especially on those mornings when the air is crisp, the sun is just starting to come out (and, lets face it, it sounds a lot more appealing than what’s waiting for you in the office). But no...I most definitely hit snooze at my 5:00am alarm and laughed at my optimistic me the night before who set the alarm envisioning a run, yoga, and ab workout all before getting ready. Oh silly optimistic Nadia, so naive.

On to the next opportunity!

Next is the mid-day workout. Now this is something I am actual partial to, it is just a matter if you can operationally pull this off. First, you have to have the time. Second, you need a gym, trail, or some sort of workout place geographically nearby. The closer, the better (see point one). And finally, after you get in a nice quick’re pretty much going to smell really bad and probably be sweating. This leads to some sort of clean-up area, so even a trail isn’t sufficient. And trying to clean yourself in work bathrooms gets a lot of weird looks (so I’ve been told). It is also hard to come down after an intense lunchtime workout. My body has the inability to stop sweating. I also tend to stay red for the rest of the afternoon, which minimizes my clean-up time since attempting to put on make-up is an effort in futility.

I used to lift over the lunch hour and run after work and that was fantastic, but then you have two get-ready/clean-up transitions (again, point one of limited time).

So, like me, you probably didn’t have the time/facility/opportunity to workout during the day...moving on.

I break up after-work runs into two kinds. Those immediately following work, and the late-evening workouts. Immediately after work is pretty much a horrible idea at a lot of gyms unless you want to watch other people workout. Also, since I’m basically revved up and raring to run at either 10:00am or 2:00pm.... I’m pretty much half-asleep and drooling at my desk come 4pm (j/k work if you’re reading this). Okay, but I’m not kidding.

If I can get my workout in immediately after work, I’m pretty darn proud of myself. A more likely occurrence: I am tired, crabby, and hungry so I end up going home, eating a “snack”....which turns into a 5-course meal...then I sit there and feel guilty and get mad at myself. Then I have to “wait for my food to digest”, which usually means napping, watching tv, messing around on the computer, maybe a bit more snacking (to aid the digestion)..all around general laziness. And now it’s really late. Oh shoot, I was going to go to bed at 10pm (after my workout, preparation of healthy meal, and a decent portion of War and Peace comprehended-maybe work on my about to be published article regarding same).....but anyway, now it’s 10:30 and I haven’t run yet.

Now is when I get motivated! (Way to go body-it only took you over 16 hours to get motivated to run 3 miles!). *run* This run might feel good because I finally got to it...or it might feel kind of crappy since I have a bunch of food sitting in my gut (hint-it’s often the latter). Back from my run lets say around 11:30...sit around some more (snack, because I was obviously waiting to workout to eat), shower...and have started to come down from the excitement of achieving my very modest goal by midnight.

So overall, a pretty typical successful running day!

Time for bed to start the process all over again the next day....sweet dreams.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to Almost Die While Running a Half Marathon

This past weekend (again, update-2 weekends ago-the 90 degrees and sunny day) I ran a Half Marathon, and I almost died. Yes, died! Running can be fatal. Here is the play-by-play:

First, I had a coffee. Now I have never had coffee before a run. I see other people do it and I think it looks cool, but I normally stick with water and get my caffeine through other mediums. So why, on the morning of a half marathon, would I decide to completely change my schedule? Great question!! I don’t know! It probably has something to do, in part, with my inability to think before 10:30am (see previous post on burning myself with hot water while attempting to complete the complicated task of making tea).

Second, I ate part of a muffin. This one wasn’t entirely my fault. I wanted a banana, but there was only one old green/weird looking banana. I think it had E.Coli or something. So I really am blaming the banana on this one.

Third, I was not mentally prepared for the run. I wasn’t feeling great that morning and drove there and signed up for the race approximately 2 minutes before the start time. As I was filling out the form, the woman was nice enough to say: “Wow, you’re really cutting it close.” Yeah, thanks lady…I am aware of that-now fill out my card! I then watched a 134 year old man write my information down on my bib…and I know he was that old because someone dead could have written it down faster. The great part about it is that no one took my bib at the end of the race, so there was absolutely no need to write down my name and age unless, of course, they were anticipating me dying on the course and wanting to identify me. Which, ironically, did almost happen.

So after I finally got my race bib, I safety-pinned it to my shirt while walking to the start. I managed to do this off-center and crooked, so I looked pretty darn impressive I’m sure.

Fourth, I was also smart enough to not check the weather for embarking on my run. I thought “well, it’s only 13 miles, I’ll be done so quick it won’t matter what I’m wearing.” Um, yeah…it really does. And 13 miles is a lot when you’re wearing a t-shirt that feels like it is suffocating you from the inside.

Right about at the halfway point, and I think 58 minutes, I took a shot block (energy bite thingy), which was supposed to give me all this energy for the second half. For the entire rest of the race, my stomach kept teasing me that my tropical punch shot block might be coming back up for a visit. I was anticipating picking up the pace the second half and coasting in…yet it felt like a struggle.

When I saw the 10-mile marker, I was happy with only 3 miles left. I now imagine those 3 miles like the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz…it’s some sort of optical illusion where you think you’re getting closer to the finish line, but you’re really just on a treadmill and not going anywhere.

Honestly my motivation for picking it up came when a chick wearing all neon pink tried to pass me. “Oh no you didn’t!” I am not getting passed by a girl in pink shoes, pink shorts, and a pink shirt. And yes, it was a nice tank-top that probably allowed her to breathe, but regardless, you aren’t passing me!

So I made it to the finish line for my “sprint” finish…which felt like a sprint, but I imagine looked to spectators like a rhino storming the mud pool. People were cheering at the finish line, but I was focusing all my energy onto not passing out or puking in front of them so I couldn’t look around.

Immediately after I crossed the finish line, I got really dizzy. I tried to drink some lukewarm water and Gatorade, but it was hard to force it down. I walked to my car to get my bag and phone and then walked back to eat some oranges, etc. I took one bite of a pretzel and almost threw up in front of everyone. I went and “hung out” in the grass for awhile pretending to contemplate the Lake, but I was really just contemplating whether I was going to give the people a nice show and story for them to tell their friends by puking all over the wildflowers.

This is how I imagine that conversation went:

Participant: I saw this girl puking so hard at the end of the race!
Friend: Oh awesome! I bet that was hilarious!
Participant: It was really funny, she got some puke on the grass, flowers, and on this thick t-shirt she was wearing.
Friend: Why was she wearing a t-shirt, it was 90 degrees out?
Participant: I don’t know, but it was probably related to why she had a burn on her hand. I don’t think she’s that bright.
Friend: Well she must have been really fast to get sick. What place did she get?  Was she wearing a freakin' huge medal around her neck with a big #1?!?
Participant: I don’t know…I had been done for like 30 minutes, so I wasn’t really keeping track.
Friend: Oh….that’s pretty sad.
Participant: Yeah, but funny too. I can’t wait to tell everyone else! Also I took this picture and video on my phone-lets put this on Youtube and send it to everyone we know!!

Now is when you leave this post to go on Youtube and search for "weird woman who puked on wildflowers in Wisconsin wearing inappropriate clothes"....

I don't think anyone did film so I hope you got some good results from that search!

Then I ran into my “running buddy”, who is this awesome women who finished in 1:51 and got second place in her division. She rocks. I said I wasn’t feeling that well and thought I might be dehydrated. That’s when they said “Oh my….you aren’t sweating.”

Now I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure after running 13.1 miles in 90 degree heat with no freakin’ breeze, you should be sweating. You know that feeling where you’re not feeling so great but you are kind of in denial and then someone goes “Oh, you don’t look so good”, and then you feel waaay worse because your brain is like: “I told you. You are sick!”. Well, that’s kind of how I felt. Picture sad face here….

So, in conclusion,…I pretty much almost died. But I didn’t! (Hence this post exists). And I live to run another day!!

Burn Victim

My middle name should be Grace.  Maybe I will have it legally changed.  I was trying to make myself some tea about 5 days ago (since I am sort of delayed on publishing this-the good update is that this was a couple of weeks ago and my hand has not been amputated) and managed to pour the boiling hot water onto my hand (I guess my hand was jealous of my mug—no! give me some hot water too!)  Well, stupid left hand…you got what you asked for.  Are you happy now?  I didn’t think so.  Ooooh, and now you’re going to be all: “owwwww, I’m in pain and I’m burning.”  Yeah, well you should have that of that before you were half asleep and asked me to pour hot water on you.