Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our very own garden patch!

A few weeks ago we finally planted all of our newly acquired seedlings in our garden out back. I'm so excited! I've never grown my own vegetables, so this is a new experience for me. We planted a few different tomato plants; red, green, and a few kinds of hot peppers; lettuce; snow peas; zucchini, yellow, and acorn squash; an herb garden; and garlic. I also planted a few rows of "fancy" lettuce that is miraculously sprouting. So basically in two months we are going to be FLUSH with produce and it shall be fabulous. I may even have to explore the world of pickling and canning!

We've even already started to pick up some good gardening tips and tricks during our short time horticulturing. First of all, Washington has some crazy-ass slugs. They are especially bad in the spring, when it's cool and damp. They are EVERYWHERE in the morning, at night, or when it's rainy out. If you didn't know, slugs really like to eat plants, specifically baby plants. Now, I know the old world slug remedy is to bury a bowl of beer flush with the ground and they will drown..... but I wasn't sure of efficacy of that so I went ahead and purchased good ol' Slug Death. It's a pesticide you sprinkle on the ground - and it WORKS! Not a slug in sight after I applied it. However, out of guilt I may try the beer trick. I'll keep you updated.

Additionally, there are a few neighborhood cats 'round these parts, and apparently they decided our garden would make an excellent play area/litter box. I respect their natural desires, however digging up my precious plants is NOT permitted. So I set up a few deterrents where they liked to dig, which seem to be effective. First, I shoved a bunch of sticks into the ground, about 6" tall and 6" apart. The reasoning behind this is it discourages them from digging and/or sitting down in that area. Furthermore, I sprinkled a bunch of homemade chili powder over all of the soil, since I guess they don't like the smell. Cats won't intentionally dig up plants, just the dirt around them, but if you have seeds or bulbs in the ground it could obviously become a problem.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Long runs for beginning runners!

I don't know how many beginning runners there are out there working on half or full marathons, but there certainly doesn't seem to be a wealth of information for us out there. Sure, there are training plans for "beginning" runners, if by that you mean you can already run at least 12 miles a week and run 9 or 10 minute miles. As you can imagine, that's a little intimidating for some of us.

My recommendation for those setting your sights on a longer race (which ANYONE can do, seriously) is to first commit to a 5K. There are a ton of training options available for free online. I'd say three months is a reasonable amount of time for someone to go from not running at all to running a 5K. Not RUNNING, per se, but a nice jog. We're talk between 10 and 12 minute miles, maybe longer, nothing totally insane. When I say running, I mean just being able to keep going without walking. Once you can comfortably run three miles, its much easier to get settled in a long-term training plan.

Now, let's say you're like me, and want to do a 10K, and then move on to a half marathon. My method has kind of been a three-month rule: allow yourself three months of training every time you double your goal distance. So, once you can run a 5K, give yourself three months to train for a 10K. Same thing going from a 10K to half marathon. Sure, you could definitely do it faster - but for those of us that aren't naturally talented or lifetime runners, that allows for a week or so of recovery after a race and some tapering, then building back up for the next race. This also helps keep me from getting burnt out - I only run three days per week.

I'm currently a month and a half away from my first half marathon, with my goal time of 2:30 (5.25mph pace basically). Here is my tentative running schedule up to the race, starting on Mondays and keeping in mind a few day will get swapped around:
Week of May 11: run 3 mi @ 5.4mph, 1 hr strength training, run 3.67mi @5.3mph, 1 hr strength training, spin class, 8 mi long run @ 5mph-ish, rest
Week of May 18: run 3 mi @ 5.4mph, 1 hr strength training, run 3.67 mi @5.3mph, 1 hr strength training, spin class, 9 mi long run @ 5mph-ish, rest
Week of May 25: run 3.5 mi @ 5.4mph, 1 hr strength training, run 3.75 mi @5.3mph, 1 hr strength training, spin class, 10 mi long run @ 5mph-ish, rest
Week of June 1: run 3.5 mi @ 5.4mph, 1 hr strength training, run 3.75 mi @5.3mph, 1 hr strength training, spin class, 10 mi long run @ 5mph-ish, rest
Week of June 8: run 3.75 mi @ 5.4mph, 1 hr strength training, run 4 mi @5.3mph, 1 hr strength training, spin class, 11 mi long run @ 5mph-ish, rest
Week of June 15: run 4 mi @ 5.4mph, 1 hr strength training, run 4 mi @5.3mph, 1 hr strength training, spin class, 8 mi long run @ 5mph-ish, rest
Week of June 22: run 4 mi @ 5.4mph, 1 hr strength training, run 3.75 mi @5.3mph, 1 hr strength training, rest, RACE DAY, rest!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Bizzarrely Happy Monday!

I've been productive at work and the day has just flown by - why can't every Monday be like this?!?!

It was probably helped along by my f'ing awesome lunch - Jerk Seitan from Vegan With a Vengeance! The batch of seitan I made Saturday turned out REALLY good; usually I slack on the kneading and/or don't start with ice cold broth, so my seitan is too soft. This time it was perfectly firm and fabulous. Furthermore, Jerk Seitan is probably on my top 5 list of VWAV recipes. This is an old picture of a dinner I made with it last year, but that's better than my lame plastic container of it that I lunched on.

Additionally, this weekend we finally began our garden out back, and now I am pumped for our vegetables to come in! I planted some lettuce and zucchini seeds, and we'll be purchasing tomato and pepper plants in a few weeks. In about 20 minutes my friend and I are bustin' out of work to hit a local greenhouse, too! I plan to get my paws on some fresh herbs. Yum yum yum!

3.5 mile "fast" (equal to or slightly faster than my half marathon goal pace) fun tonight! I did Jillian's 30 Day Shred level 1 yesterday just to DO something the day after that monster run, and I'm still a little sore today :( We'll see how it goes!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

7 mile long run, omg

Yesterday my fellow fat kid Alissa (she's running the Rock n' Roll half with me) and I set off on our long run for the week - seven miles. I thought the Lake Youngs Trail, near my house, sounded like a good run. Of course, I did not look at a topo map before we went. It was constant rolling hills, the entire way. And they were not small hills. We were both DYING at the end - we probably only did about 6.5 miles running, but I'm pretty sure a flat 7 would have been WAY easier so I'm happy. It was a good, but painful, training experience. I'm sure consuming a few of these last weekend (and ALOT of other stuff) and not running didn't help:

Yes, that is a pitcher of Long Island with a straw....because I drank it myself. Then had 1.5 more. At $6.75 each, it's pretty hard to pass up. Behind it you can see Houghton's famous lift bridge.

Next week I'll be in Michigan for a friend's wedding, so the plan is to do a flat 7 there and then the next week Alissa and I will hit up Green Lake for a solid 8 mile run. Less than two months to go!