Saturday, June 9, 2012

Creating a garden

At the beginning of this year, I decided to try and start eating healthier, for myself and my family.  Not only increasing consumption of fruits and veggies, but increasing organic products.  I started buying organic milk, carrots, frozen berries, and a few other misc items.  I'd like to buy more organic stuff, but I can't find it at my local Meijer.  Every few months I can find organic strawberries, but I love strawberries so much, that I end up eating the 'regular' ones.  Jillian Michaels had said that if we started eating organic berries, we could reduce the pesticides that we eat by 80% (this was in one of her podcasts - Jillian Michaels' podcasts).  So, we decided to start a garden!

My husband has a Lowe's How To book and we found a picture of a simple garden set up.

My husband bought the boards (at Lowe's of course!), stained them, and joined them together.  We pulled up the grass underneath and poured in a TON of soil (Miracle Grow).  It's 8' x 4'.
I had some cucumbers growing inside, so I planted them the day we got the garden set up.  The deer ate them that night.  The next day we bought 10' PVC pipe and bird netting.  The 10' PVC pipe is connected to a larger PVC pipe connected to the board.

The netting is secured at all 4 corners with large screw hooks.  At first we though this was enough.  The deer still walked right through it!  So we added smaller screw hooks to the sides (2 on each side).

This held down the side of the netting.  I also added pinwheels to each of the corners hoping that helps scare the deer away.  The only thing we would have done differently is add grating (wire) at the bottom (underneath the soil) so the moles won't dine on the roots.

I've got cucumbers, carrots and green beans growing this year.   If the animals don't dine and we get to eat them, I may expand next year!

It's not a very technical post, so if you have any questions about sizing of any of the products, let me know (and I'll ask my husband :).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

10 week marathon training program

I had committed to running a marathon in October.  We (three friends and I) decided that timing and distance made the Bayshore marathon the perfect one.  I was having some knee issues at the time and was a little worried about spending the $90 before I could 100% commit.  I had to make a quick decision because the Bayshore marathon sells out in about a week.  I went to Optimal Performance Specialists ( in Jackson, MI and they told me they could fix my knee.  I signed right up for the marathon!
My friends (this was their first marathon, my second) did some research and decided that a run/walk ratio would be good.  We tweaked it after a few runs and came up with 4 minutes running followed by 1 minute walking.
I spent 2 days a week doing strength workouts for my knee and upper body (we also did some running analysis).  After my final session (I did 12 total), my knee was feeling a ton better!  I was ready to start increasing my training (I had kept a 6 mile long run in December).
In January, I ran:

  1. 2 miles, 3 miles, and 6 miles
  2. 2, 3
  3. 2, 3, 6
  4. 4, 1, 7
Then disaster hit.  I came down with the flu.  Right after I recovered, I was playing volleyball and sprained my ankle.  I started physical therapy right away.  They weren't certain if I would be healed up enough to get in enough training by end of May.  I was pretty determined.  

  1. flu
  2. ankle
After a few weeks on crutches, I got the go ahead to try a mile.  If a mile felt good, then to try two.  I spent some time researching 10 week marathon training schedules, and I learned that they don't recommend it, or they started the training (week 1) at 10 miles.  I didn't have the 10 mile distance, so I just started increasing.  Worst case scenario, I would run as far as I could marathon morning and then catch a ride back.

  1. 1 mile
  2. 2, 3, 2
  3. 2, 4, 2
  4. 2, 6, 
  5. 2, 3, 8
I should mention that I'm an experienced runner.  I have been running for over 15 years, with the most time off is a year (and that was usually around the time I had my babies).

  1. 3 miles, 10 miles
  2. 2, 2, 4, 12
  3. 3, 4, 14
  4. 6, 4, 10
With a month before the marathon, I had only a 14 mile max distance under my belt.  My friends were running a half marathon in Kalamazoo, so I decided to join them.  Running with people would be much better than trying to run 16 miles by myself.  I was hoping to run a little before the race and a little after to get in 16 miles.  I got in 2 miles before the half marathon (@8:30 pace).  I wasn't sure of my race strategy, but when the gun went off, I took off.  I ended up completing the half marathon in 1:58 (9:02/mile) and there was NO way I could take another step after finishing the Finish line.  There was no time for any more long runs.  It was time to start tapering the miles.  Could I run a marathon with only a 15 mile long run?
Yes I could!  I never doubted I could finish after getting in the 12 miler.  I just wasn't sure how I would feel afterwards.  The half marathon was the only run I was sore after (I ran the whole thing, only walking through water stations).   We finished the marathon around 5:10.  I got 4 blisters on my toes towards the end of the race (I started feeling them around mile 21), so I wore flip flops for the rest of the weekend.  My quads were sore after sitting for awhile the day of and the next 2 days, but that was it.  I had completed a marathon with a 10 week make-it-up-as-you-go training program and with only a 15 mile long run.

  1. 4, 4, 15 - 1/2 marathon
  2. 3, 4, 8 - OUCH - very sore from 1/2
  3. 3, 5, 6
  4. 3, 4, 26.2
I feel like an experienced runner now :)