Thursday, June 20, 2013

Half Marathon Training

Last month's article on my running a half marathon was wildly popular, so to follow-up I'd like to share a little bit of what I did to train for it.

As you may know, August of 2011 was my... err... biggest time. I weighed 220lbs, had little to no endurance (You want me to run ALL THE WAY to the end of the block???) and I had little to no interest in exercise. My knees were driving me crazy (arthritis) and I suffered from acid reflux every time I bent over. In May of 2013, I ran a half marathon. (Oh, and I weighed in at 173lbs).

So how did I do it? How did I get from the big girl who couldn't run to the the new me, who ran 21K without stopping (or walking?)

Quite frankly, I did it with the support of my husband, and my friend Lisa.

My husband mentioned (none-too-gently) that I was done planning the wedding, I didn't have anything major to stress over anymore, it was time to start working on losing the weight. Although it hurt at the time, that push was necessary to get me going.

Lisa showed me that every little bit matters. She convinced me to try running. First it was a couple of laps, at a slow enough pace that someone walking likely could have kept up. She cheered (literally) at my ability to do that. Every little victory - another lap, another kilometre, a slightly faster pace... she was there cheering for me. It made a big difference.

We ran our first 10K May of 2012. (This was actually my second 10K but my first one was several years before, and outside of being able to run it with my mom, it wasn't the greatest experience.) I ran the whole thing. I wasn't fast, but I ran it.

We ran our second in September of 2012. Soon, we were running 10K at a time as a practice run. Eventually Lisa set her sights on being able to accomplish a half marathon. I wanted to be able to do the same, but didn't feel that I was ready yet. At this point we were running three times per week together - twice during the week and then a long run on the weekend. I decided that I wanted to up my game to try to get 'half marathon ready'. I downloaded an app (21K Runner) and started following its schedule to attempt to get ready.

So now I was running 4x/week. I did this for the first few weeks. I felt good about it, but then felt like I needed something more. I began to do arms and abs on my days in between runs. I was feeling good.

I followed the apps running advice up to the last three weeks before the race. At this point I extended the length of my long run, and cut back on running during the week. I also stopped running altogether the week before the race, to let my legs rest and heal.

I finished the race in 2h38 minutes. I wasn't going to win any records, but I had finished it, and I hadn't walked.

I'll call that a win.

I intend to do another half marathon in September, but am taking a vastly different approach. My physical activities are not focused on running - I am biking, swimming, roller blading, etc... anything to get my moving but not necessarily running. I will be heading to Iceland in August and it will be a very physical (re: lots of exercise) trip. So essentially I will be very heavy for cross-training for my second half-marathon. I am interested to see how they compare.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Garden Update

Here's where my garden is now (not inclusive):

Beautiful rose. I have been struggling to keep my roses alive. The plant for the pink roses appears to be healthier than the plant for the red roses - the red rose plant had yellow leaves at the bottom and has some brown tipped leaves near the top. I dusted it and it appears to be perking up though. The red rose is blooming a lot more heavily than the pink roses, although they have the same number (roughly) of buds. The pink roses seem to get eaten before they can come to full bloom.

The other bulbs in my flower bed are - for the most part - in plant form. No buds yet. We decided over this last weekend that as a part of our renovation project, we will be moving all of the flowers from the front flower bed into the backyard - I will replant them into the flower bed along the north fence. Hopefully the stress isn't too much for the rose bushes, they really are beautiful.

In the back flower bed I have an orange lily blooming (2 flowers right now, with one done and two yet unopened). I also have an iris with a bud and many more lilies and irises that I am waiting to see bud.

Beautiful rose.
 I put up my pea fence last week on Tuesday, so I am very happy to see the peas already grabbing on and stretching themselves up. This is the first place that I saw them grabbing on, but looking over my fence it was doing this all over the place, sometimes already growing past where it grabbed! I expect to see blossoms starting to form soon.

Peas reaching for sunlight

My pumpkins are very healthy - I will have my work cut out for me to keep them out of the pea patch long enough to actually harvest my peas! This plant doubled in size in the last week, and the other one isn't far behind it. I am excited to see if I get large enough pumpkins to puree for pumpkin pie!

Quick-growing pumpkin plant
 My cucumbers are also doing quite well, although admittedly one of them was slowed down significantly by the number of weeds and quack grass surrounding it until quite recently (oops!) They seem to be holding their own though.
Cucumbers :)
 I was annoyed to find mushrooms growing in my garden in several places after a recent rainfall. These didn't last long after the picture was taken.
Not so happy with these.
 My lettuce is quite large - and continues to grow at a rapid pace. I will cut my first lettuce for supper tonight, along with some radishes for garnish. I also hope to plant a new strip of lettuce and radishes tonight.
My lettuce is already larger than this.

My beets are doing quite well - I finally thinned them on Monday, they needed it quite desperately. My mouth waters just thinking about the beets I will get out of here later in the summer.
That's not a weed, that's... uh... a different kind of leaf?
 I have already picked many radishes, this being my most recent crop. They are loving the vast amount of water that we are getting, and the sun that shines for a day or so between each rain spell.
I have picked many radishes already, this being my most recent crop.
Some surprise plants in my lawn...I have a birdfeeder hanging in the poplar tree behind the house, and I was surprised when I went out to fill the feeder and found many sunflowers starting underneath! I don't expect that I will allow them to grow much larger (I need to cut the lawn), but they were a pleasant and amusing surprise. I may transplant a couple of the larger ones into the flower bed (a couple feet away) just to see what happens.

I have several plants that I did not include in these pictures, but will photograph for you at a later time. These include my tomatoes (two varieties), peppers (two varieties), spaghetti squash, rutabagas, spanish onions, carrots, herbs (rosemary, catnip, lemon basil and thyme, I think?) and several varieties of flowers including the wild mix and the morning glories growing in planters on my back deck.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Spring Gardening

This spring has been a busy one, with my rarely being home and Gilles' being in school. Somehow I have still managed to get my garden in (I may have had a little family/friends help) and it is flourishing - I ate my first radishes from the garden last night!

Here is a quick, non-inclusive tour of my garden and flower beds :) The photos are all quite old at this point and my plants are quite a bit bigger, so I will provide updated photos soon...

Bulb bags while setting up the front flower beds

Planning out the flowers for the front

After several hours of fighting for the rototiller to start, the garden is finally tilled.

First flower bud peaking through the ground in the front flower beds.

Some surprise tulips - I didn't realize there was a flower bed along this fence!

Some surprise rhubarb :)

Pumpkin plant

First day sprouted pea plants

First day sprouted bean plant

Fresh lettuce

Baby radishes

Beets :)


Rosebush in front flower bed starting to bloom

First bloom from Lily along back fence