Category Archives: My life

100-Mile Bike Ride to End Cancer, and I Need Your Support

OneGoalEndCancer-Moundbuilders-General-DentistryI am happy to announce that I have committed myself to participate in Pelotonia this year to raise money for cancer research at OSUCCC-The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, and I am asking for your support.

I will be riding my bike for 100 miles from Columbus to Gambier, OH in August with the objective of funding much-needed, life-saving cancer research and personalized medicine. In little over six years, Pelotonia has raised $82 million dollars. Its operating expenses are generously covered through funding partners so that every dollar raised goes to research.

UntitledAs I embark on this rather ambitious journey, I will be thinking of every cancer patient and riding for those who are fighting, those who fought, and the many survivors out there. My research in breast cancer have taught me that cancer cells are notorious, competitive, and relentless; but so are researchers and physicians. Every day, investigators around the world – and at OSUCCC specifically – are discovering new proteins, mechanisms, and targets to put an end to cancer growth and metastasis. We have gone so far since The Jimmy Fund in the 1940s thanks to donations from people like you over the years. But we have more work to do.

I need your help to reach my fundraising goal of $1,800.  I am counting on the support of my family, friends, and coworkers to help me not only finish those 100 miles, but also to help patients the world over.

You can visit my online fundraising page that is secure and easy to use to donate today:

To make a donation by check, select “check” from the “I will be paying by” line on the donation page. After submitting your donation, print the invoice that automatically appears on your screen. Please mail your invoice and check made out to Pelotonia with the address exactly as:

Columbus, Ohio 43260-3454

Or, you can mail out a check made out to Pelotonia directly to the above address.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of millions of patients here in the US and abroad. Once again thank you for your continued support. I may not beat Armstrong’s PR, but either way I believe I am in a winning situation biking for OSUCCC. DSCN0419

Marathon, Checked!

That’s right, people! I ran my very first marathon this past Sunday in Cleveland. It was incredible! Some minor problems happened like body giving out at mile 20, not having breakfast the morning of the race, and some serious chafing. But I crossed that finish line!

Crossing the finish line was emotional, exhilarating, and all out beautiful.

Crossing the finish line was emotional, exhilarating, and all out beautiful.


Although my time was not necessarily that good, the experience was! Weather was perfect except for the sun decided to come out and keep us dehydrated around noon. There was some rain in the beginning which ended up being like mist and some drizzle.

I signed up for another marathon later this year 🙂

Marathon in Training: Week 1 Summary

One down, sixteen more weeks to go. First week went great: no shin splints, no stress fractures, and no major back issues. Maybe I will see them soon but why bother; in the meantime I will keep running. Group run yesterday attracted more people than last time since the weather was warmer (relatively speaking haha, it was still freezing temperatures.) Since last week, I ran in knee and calf sleeves on separate occasions, zoned in on a pace range, and revamped my strength and cross-training workout schedule.

Compression Sleeves

I purchased knee sleeves to aid in lifting when I started working on 1RM squats and deadlifts. From what I read, there is a general consensus that those sleeves make you stronger and lift heavier weights, at best, and do not do anything, at worse. I found that they do actually aid in the recovery process as I’m not as sore the following day. One down side, or up depending on how you look at it, is that because I’m wearing those sleeves, I tend to lift heavier weights and thus taxing my knees more. So between moderate-heavy weight lifting and modestly shorter recovery time I will probably opt to wear them next time I have a serious leg day.

As for calf compressions, I love those. They definitely do help in recovery as they increase blood flow to muscles and keep them nourished while you pound them running. However, when I wore yesterday for my 6-mile run it felt a little restrictive. Maybe because my body is not used to it? Maybe I need to wear it more often to get used to it? At any rate, I found myself taking it on/off periodically. I ran with them on for about two-and-a-half miles then off for about a mile. That progression seemed to keep my legs a little happy. I did have to alternate between walking and running though – something I’m trying to wean myself off of doing. At one point I felt there was incredible pressure on my Achilles tendon that I realllly wanted to just cut the sleeves.

So, all in all, knee sleeves did not help me while running; calf compressions might, I have yet to decide. Knee sleeves are restrictive, if anything. While knees were happy and compressed, my anterior tibialis and gastros were getting killed. So much pressure that ultimately slowed me down. I wore it for last Monday’s easy run and I finished with a 11.4 min/mile pace. Sadly. As for calf compression sleeves, while they definitely helped after the run, I will need to give them another try on Monday before deciding if I should stick to them or not while running. At any rate, it was a good investment and I’m happy with them.


This was a bit challenging for I do not usually shoot for a pace when running. There are many reasons as to why I run, keeping a five-min pace is not one of them. Ok maybe that was dramatic but you get the point. Previously, I averaged somewhere 10.5 and 11.5 min/mile pace. 8.2min/mile could very much be my PR and I almost threw up towards the end. So zoning in on a pace range was challenging for me.

One of my goals is discontinue run-walk-run and complete my runs just that, running. This past week I have been experimenting with my body as far as running straight without walking. I have been successful with average time walking of 8-10 seconds max per mile. I’m teaching myself to jog as opposed to walk when my muscles are cramped or tired. Since I’m running ~65-80% of my heart rate, I do not have problems with my breathing. So there is room for pace improvement one I get all the capillaries built in my system. Physiologically speaking, it is better to go slow to give adequate time for the body and circulatory system to adapt than to shock your body with say 8-min-miles.

My goal is to finish anywhere between 4 and 4:30 hours.

My ultimate goal is to finish under 4 hours.

I’m happy with my current pace and I will definitely work on improving it. Super ideally, though, I would like to go on less than 9 minutes pace so that I finish the race under four hours. Go Mustafa, go haha. Not-so-ideal-yet-a-great-goal would be to finish under five hours, aka ~-10-min-pace.

Strength Workout

I revamped my workout schedule because my goals are different this year, at least until end of race. My previous workout focused on gaining strength and building muscle, primarily. Starting next week, I will be doing workouts that target my weak spots in running such as tight hamstrings, sore calves, and tired lower back. The program also is expected to increase strength and endurance in core, legs and back. The workout (I will dedicate a post to it later) will include two days for legs and one day for chest/back and shoulder/arms each; also, there will be three days dedicated for cross-training (somewhere between 25-35 minutes of steady-state cardio workout.) I will be resting on Sunday. I’m stocked.

Busy week ahead of me.

Busy week ahead of me.

Week 1 Running Stats

Monday 1/12 3 miles= 34.15 minutes, pace= 11.4min/mile
Wednesday 1/14 3 miles= 32.04 minutes, pace=10.7min/mile
Saturday 1/17 6 miles= 65.67 minutes, pace=10.9min/mile

Week 1 average pace= 10.99min/mile


To-do List for Next Week

  • Run with calf compression sleeves one more time before deeming it useless while running
  • Allow two hours before run for food to be digested. (I experimented with my body yesterday by allowing only one hour for my stomach to process what I ate – ~ 3 tbs peanut butter and a banana. I got an upset stomach and shooting pain in my stomach for ~10 minutes after running a couple miles.)
  • Have a weekly average pace of 10.50min/mile
  • Decrease walking time while running

Running My First Marathon

Run like a turtle!

I decided to run a marathon….yep…a full one which equals to 26.2 miles (or 42.2km for those who can’t do miles.)! Specifically, I’m signing up for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Sunday May 17th, 2015. If you are running it, see ya at 7am with bells on!!

I recognize that this is a challenge I should not take lightly. I’m also mindful of the potential injuries I might incur upon myself. However, I’m doing this because I would like to push myself to the limits. I will stop when I feel like I’m going to hurt myself. So here’s to a new year of love, peace and fitness.

I’m blogging about this because I’m secretly freaking out. Now that some people are following me I’d be embarrassed to quit. The plan is, I tell myself, this blog will incentivize me to run and propel those feet to bounce…

Kitty thinks I'm weird

Kitty thinks I’m weird

So those of you who know me know that I’m into fitness and healthy eating. I strive to maintain a balanced lifestyle between working out and indulging in worldly things. (Trust me, I eat chocolate, ice cream and cheesy burgers on a regular basis. I mean if you bring me chocolate you pretty much own my soul.) I maintain a healthy fat% by simply following basic fitness/nutrition rules as in working out often and watching my portions. That’s it. I leave the rest to my body to deal with it. I digress.


I started running for the first time last year February 2014. It was because I started a new job that had a FitClub. Since I was a newbie I wanted to blend in…I signed up for The Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital 5K. I reached out to my friend, Andrea, a former cross country runner, to see if she would run it! I was scared so I really hoped Andrea would say yes. She did!! And we finished 31-something minutes.

Ross Hearth Hospital 5k. I was very excited.

Ross Hearth Hospital 5k. I was very excited.

After that I did 10k with Columbus Running Company (1:07h) and the Hot Chocolate 15k (1:42h). I did plenty of 5k’s on the side. My 5k PR = 25:16m. Although it isn’t very good, I run for fun. I never really consciously think of going fast.

I get excited when I see cameras. This was probably my 7th mile in.

Hot Chocolate 15k; finished 1:42h

I registered with Columbus Running Company for a 17-week training plan. They are graciously offering the plan for free, supplementing it with coach lectures about form and nutrition and peppering it with help from physical therapists to talk about injury prevention and crosstraining. In addition, they offer this wonderful thing on Saturdays at 8am where people go on group runs from CRC stores throughout Columbus. I think the plan is doable; I may need to alter my lifting schedule to accommodate this new program. But I can do it.

I already got an email from the lead couch detailing the training program and services provided to help us succeed accomplishing this big goal.. I’m pumped for this week’s Meet the Couch night! I get to meet my new running buddies and talk about…

“Why does everything hurt?” and “what the heck are strides?”


I’m incredibly excited. Salam.

Some stats:
Weight: 152.3lbs
Height: 170cm
%Fat (last checked December 28, 2014): 7.6%
5k PR: 25:16 minutes

I’m debating whether or not I should add a body picture…

The fruit of this passionate discussion about the Zimmerman case?

It is poignant. Or, rather, sad to see America goes feverishly preoccupied with a trial. It is sad because it will most probably subside in a week or less, and Trayvon Martin will be transformed to a mere story that is evoked sporadically just like Oscar Grant or Rodney King, for example.

I sincerely hope that this passionate discussion is fruitful. I really hope that this is more than a Facebook rant. If you to see change, people, then create it!

On a somewhat relevant note, it is rather sickening to see how media dictates public opinion, channels your attention, and sort of tells you how to think. Zimmerman was sentenced by people was before the verdict came out by the jury. Why, you might ask? Because of media- just like Casey Anthony’s case. Also, CNN closed its office in Baghdad so it can cover the Zimmerman case. Who cares about what is happening in the world anyways?

Ok, rant is over.

Story of Love, Reconciliation, and Healing – Preemptive Love Coalition

I “liked” Preemptive Love Facebook page after I watched its founder’s – Jeremy Courtney’s – heartwarming, optimistic TED talk at TEDxBaghdad2011. Every now and then PLC Facebook page would post personalized photo-stories about their patients with blogs entries talking about things range from meeting the patient to after-surgery celebration. I came across a photo-story today about love, hope, and kindness in their finest and purest forms (pictures below, or can be viewed here.) Because we hear about suffering, disasters, misery all the time, it aches me to say that sometimes people’s pain becomes mere background noise. Not for the Courtneys.

Beautiful Nivar

Jeremy walked the extra mile to change the sad, sick, helpless realities of Iraqi kids. “Dissatisfied with mere sympathy, Jeremy started looking for solutions,” to alleviate some of the suffering in Iraq. After their visit to Iraq in 2006, the Courtneys decided to “love and serve the poor” and starting PLC. (Here’s a little bit of a bio about them here.)

Nivar’s echocardiogram

Anyways, today as I was going through my usual, religious duty of Facebook-ing, I came across a touching photo-story about Nivar – the girl with congenital heart defect. Iraqi Nivar was transported to Istanbul for a much-needed heart surgery to fix her Tetralogy of Fallot that is most debilitating and potentially life-threatening, thanks to Preemptive Love Coalition staff and surgeons. I initially had a gut-wrenching feeling about Nivar but as I read her story, and scrolled through her photos, I was filled with feelings of optimism, love, and hope. Why PLCers do it? It’s because “we work because we love, and we hope that love can be shared with everyone who donates to a child.”

Nivar Prepped & Ready For Surgery

Read one of PLC’s staffs experiences in Nivar’s home before she was given surgery.

Nivar made it through surgery!

I strongly urge you to donate to help PLC taking on more cases. Or simply, talk about PLC’s work. Bring to people’s attention the plight of Iraqi kids.

Click to go to [PLC] blog and read about our excitement when Nivar made it out of surgery with total correction!

More pictures and short photo-stories can be found PLC Facebook page.

PLC twitter page: @preemptivelove
Looking for summer internships with PLC click here.

Video: Four Iraqi Children Arrive in Istanbul for Lifesaving Heart Surgery

Taken from Preemptive Love Coalition website:

Please donate, help, or simply share/talk about PLC. You might be the cause of saving some kid’s life.

Fuss Over Section 4 Overruling?

So, I’m genuinely confused about the fuss over Section 4 overruling by the Supreme Court. I’d like to know how would this piece of legislation disproportionately disfranchise some? I’m well aware that there are clear as the sun cases where people are still fighting for their right to vote (which can be addressed on the state level, I suppose); but in the grand scheme of things I feel like we are segregating, tailoring laws to address challenges faced in the last century and abused today by politicians.

The important question, I think, is will the repercussions be as dramatic as those portrayed in the media? While I understand why we may be hesitant and distrustful of talking about race, identity, and privilege, but I think we need to be more comfortable addressing these questions and thinking about them critically.

Regardless, I did my homework about the topic and I concluded the following:

1) The legislation was introduced in 1965 for obvious reasons and was one of great many achievements brought by the civil rights movement;
2) The law – Sec. 4 and 5 specifically – does not reflect contemporary data and trends. Our demographics, etc. have considerably changed;
3) It is imperative that republicans and Tea Party-ers predominately support the legislation (and argue for smaller government intervention), while Democrats are divided between actively opposing it vs. remaining quite;
4) I still do not understand what prompted this law to be re-examined after it was ratified by the House, the Senate, the President, and ultimately the people. Maybe the recent election? Polarization of the political system?

Comments are free! I’m always eager to learn something new.