Sunday, August 30, 2009

What I'm reading (The Farewell to Reading Rainbow Edition)

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

As it has been widely reported and blogged about that after 26 years Reading Rainbow is no longer going to be making new episodes! I can't say that it had a profound effect on me, but I appreciate a show that promotes reading for fun. It is something that I want to encourage in my own daughter, so to see an ally fall is sad. Thankfully she is a reader and is just getting old enough to start the Harry Potter books. That should keep her busy for a few years.

Speaking of reading for enjoyment, my reading list just increased by one book. Beloved has been set aside for now, hopefully to be picked up later. Gina suggested a new book to read in conjunction with my entering the medical field and working toward nursing school. This afternoon I started reading Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande.

I read the Introduction this afternoon and I'm hooked.

Medicine is, I have found, a strange and in many ways disturbing business. The stakes are high, the liberties taken tremendous. We drug people, put needles and tubes into them, manipulate their chemistry, biology, and physics, lay them unconscious and open their bodies up to the world. We do so out of abiding confidence in our know-how as a professional. What you find when you get in close, how messy, uncertain, and also surprising medicine turns out to be.
See what I'm saying? I've got to go. I've got reading to do and report back on later.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


File this under running and reading and possibly nerd I think. So, I was doing a tough run earlier today when, as usual, my mind started to wander. I was having a tough run and started to think about other things to possible forget about the pain and stiffness in my legs.  I snapped back realizing I was slowing down. I needed something to focus my mind. I needed something to get over the pain. I needed a mantra. I've used several in my runs. Usually it's just something I come up with in the moment. Something specific to the situation. So here is what I came up with today.

I've been listening to The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King on my way to work. This seems unrelated, but I'll get there.  Having spent many years with this series reading each one eagerly as they were released It's fun to be able revisit them as audio while driving. It makes the commute much more enjoyable. The readers they've chosen are also excellent. Anyway, in the third book the gunslingers have a creed, a mantra, that they use to clear their minds, to focus.  It is...

I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I aim with my eye.

I do not shoot with my gun; he who shoots with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.
I shoot with my mind.

I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.
I kill with my heart.

-Gunslinger's Creed

 Today I was thinking about that and adapted it to use while I was running...

I do not run with with my legs. I run with my body. (check your form)

I do not pace with my legs. I pace with my mind. (pain is all in the mind, deal with it)

I do not win with my legs. I win with my heart. (gut it out)

It helped as a reminder that there is much more to running than those two pumping legs below me. Even though they may be tired, sore, stiff or in pain that is a small part of what makes up the run. I can overcome that. Take stock of what's going on down there, but don't let it dictate how you feel about the run. There is much more. 

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bohlke 5K Race Report

There are 'A' races and there are 'B' races. The 'A' races are the ones you plan for specifically, sometimes for months in advance. Currently the 'A' race in my sites is the State to State Half Marathon at the end of September. That race has my full attention and a 3 month training plan that is in full swing. Along the way I'll pick up some test races, tune up races and the like to get ready: 'B' races. The Bohlke 5K falls under the second category. My only real expectations for the race were to maintain under 7 minute/miles, and hopefully place well in my division and overall.

It was a tough course. The course started with a short downhill stretch which can only encourage sprinting out too fast from the start. If I were to let that happen it would be all over but the cryin' on the way back as the last half of the race was a series of hills with varying degrees of difficulty.

I started at the front of the pack, but let the likes of Chris Reis and the fools that were going to sprint out with him go. I've been drawn into that little game far to many times. I wasn't feeling super awesome at the start anyway. After a week of working nights, a day of play in the sun, and a night of play and drink I wasn't prepared for a sprint start and a climb back to the finish. I would start easy. The fast runners could fight it out. I'd see the pretenders before the finish.

I can't say that I ever felt great. The morning was heating up quickly. As I passed the first water stop I missed getting any water because an overly eager kid volunteer fumbled the hand off spilling the water all over the ground. I cursed his father for having such a clumsy son. Not really, but I thought about it.

Before the halfway point we started climbing back toward the finish. Despite being tired, and thirsty (stupid kid), I was encouraged as I began catching up to the early sprinters. Ha! Suckers. I could have been you sucking wind right now while I caught up with me (you). Instead, I'm me catching up with you as you fade. Enjoy the hills! In my mind I was passing up Summit Country Day soccer players that regularly pummeled us in high school soccer tournaments. That explains the confused looks I got when I would yell "This one's for the Bulldogs!" as I ran by them.

The final mile was a matter of survival as we continued the climb back to SCD school. I had enough energy to muster up a respectable sprint to the finish line on the football field to the sounds of the Rocky Theme over the PA. Not a bad way to finish the race.

After the race I hung around for the awards ceremony. Anna Bohlke, the race marshall and wife of Marc Bohlke, for whom the race was named gave a touching speech and thanked everyone who came out. From the flyer...

Help support The Bohlke Scholarship Fund in memory of Mr. Marc Bohlke and his dedication to the entire MVC family. A portion of this money will also go to the Miami Valley Conference and its mission to provide a quality athletic experience for all its student athletes.

The results:

 14 ADAM IKER           35 M CINCINNATI      OH   20:43  6:41    11/129  M

Monday, August 17, 2009

Take Me Out To The Bobblehead Night

Reds Stadium Panorama

Which is more of an outrageous statement? We only went to the Reds game Saturday night because it was Brandon Phillips Bobblehead Night? or...This is the first bobblehead night I've attended, ever. Crazy right? It seems like they have a bobblehead night every other week, and I've never been to a single one. Face it, only the die hard fans are going to the games to see the Reds these days. The rest of us go for bobblehead night. They got crushed by the Washington Nationals. Let's Go Redlegs.

Which one of these statements was overheard at the ballpark this weekend?

A) He never was very good at ball sports.
B) Second Base!
C) The Washington logo looks like the Walgreens logo.

The correct answer is....

C! While we were enjoying our slices, or possibly the nachos, the lady sitting behind us pointed out to her husband that The Washington logo looks exactly like the Walgreens logo. Haha! Suck it Washington. You may have beat us, but your logo sucks. Let's go Redlegs.

Major League baseball team/The Pharmacy America Trusts (according to their website)

The other two statements were, in fact, said this weekend. Neither one of them had to do with baseball.

That's a little slice of an awesome weekend. The events in order:

sea doos, nap, bar, sleep, race, tubing, ball game, camp, run, sea doos

It began and ended with sea doos, as every weekend should begin and end. I'll post a blog about the race a bit later, but for now, let's all bask in the glow of Brandon Phillips Bobblehead...

BP Bobblehead

Let's Go Redlegs!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Culinary Adventures: Artichoke Edition

Maybe not so much adventures as a need to stretch our culinary wings a bit. Gina and I were discussing our diets the other day. She came to the conclusion that we eat approximately 4 different meals: chicken and salad, chicken and au gratin potatoes, chicken (mcnuggets) and french fries, and taco night. This is actually made with hamburger to throw something different in the mix. This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not far off. It's easy to get stuck in a dietary rut.

Today I decided we need to break out of the rut and get a little something different. While I was wandering around Fresh Market this morning after work I happened upon some really good looking artichokes. I haven't had artichokes in ages. Steamed artichokes and a simple dipping sauce is the best. I whipped out the handy iPhone with my Epicurious app. and found this recipe for grilled artichokes with sesame dipping sauce. Perfect.

I left the main course up to Fresh Market by picking up some of their delicious bbq chicken kabobs to grill along with the artichokes that I would prepare.

If you're playing along go to the recipe and start cooking now.... and voila!

The photo doesn't really do it justice. It was really good. I wasn't as big a fan of the dipping sauce as Gina, but it was not bad. Here's looking forward to more culinary adventures.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Reading List

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

It occurred to me today that I've been wanting to write about some books I've been reading while I was scanning through NPR's Audience Picks: 100 Best Beach Books. I've read some of these books on the list, but I've never actually read any of them on a beach. I read one of them, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy on a plane going to and returning from a beach. Does that count? Finished the entire book in those two sittings. Great road trip book.

I don't know how I've gone so long without writing about books. I'm a constant reader, but I guess I don't feel particularly smart enough to comment, write about, or critique books. The huge hole in my reading education I'm about to reveal will clue you in on why I feel this way.

After a conversation with Gina which resulted in surprise and disgust on her part she decided that I needed a reading list. I needed to be educated on good books. Come on! I've read Into The Wild. Does that count? More looks of disgust. It's been fun to have a reading list. To have a guide through the good stuff. Here's what I've read so far, and what I'm reading now. This is no book review or explanation of the plot just a little rumination.

The Catcher In The Rye - J.D. Salinger

There was a lot of pressure on the first book of the reading list. If I didn't like it I was warned it could be a relationship deal breaker. This is one of, if not her all time favorite book. I liked it, but didn't love it. It was a close call, but I think I have a pretty good reason for feeling this way. I think she identified with the main character much more strongly reading it when she was younger. Maybe I'm wrong, it's just a theory. I have to say it did stick with me. I look forward to revisiting it sometime soon. Maybe when Aiden is a little older I will share it with her.

Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs - Chuck Klosterman

Something a little lighter. This is somebody I can totally identify with: a dude that is just as self obsessed as he is obsessed with music and popular culture. His books are like having a conversation with the funniest person you know. I devoured this book and took a little detour off the reading list to read his book Killing Yourself To Live. In my opinion it's even better, since it's the same self obsession and wit wrapped in some semblance of a narrative.

One Flew Over The Kuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey

Startling, Trippy, funny, scary and heartbreaking. Despite the physical differences of the character in the book and the fact that I've never seen the movie Jack Nicholson is R.P. McMurphy in my mind. If you haven't read it go read it right now. If you have read it check out the audio book read by Ken Kesey.

But Enough About Me - Jancee Dunn

This is my pick as "best beach book". She is the female equivalent of Cameron Crowe. The book is autobiographical, self depricating, hilarious and gives great insight in to some huge celebrities she has interviewed.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers

Another autobiographical work. I didn't realize how many of these I had read. He has a wonderfully distinct style that makes for a wonderful read. He's also gone on to do some great things with the fame and money he earned from this and his other works. Look him up.

Beloved - Toni Morrison

What I'm reading right now...errr..what I started reading a month ago, put down and haven't picked up again. I have to say the book didn't grab me immediately. Gina warned me at the outset that I'd have to give it some time. I just don't know if I want to invest the time to get in to it. Maybe I'll set it aside and come back to it at a later date. Maybe while I'm adjusting to a new schedule with work and all I need something a little easier to digest.