Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Version of "Training" for a 10K

If there's one thing I've learned about myself it's that I like to do research before doing *anything*. I study park maps, read up on planned activities, view places on Google street view before I go there. I like to know what I'm in for.

Training for a 10K is no different, it turns out. I've read about what shoes to buy, what route the course will (should) take, what clothes I should wear, and of course what training programs to consider. How to tackle going from a couch potato to a 10K runner in just over 6 months. I've tried out different apps, downloaded PDFs, plugged in dates and mileage. I've even crunched the numbers to figure out, if I invest in a proper pair of sneakers now (and ditch the $15 Payless cross-trainers), will they last until race day in 6 months? (Answer: yes)

Truth be told, that's all my "training" has been to date. I've decided on a costume (Mini!), searched online for cute accessories for said costume (people are CRAY about their costumes for these Disney running events!). I've bought a bunch of dry-core wicking mesh-lined something or other clothes, and am awaiting their arrival so I can have a little fashion show. These things are important when considering a 10K.

I've plugged in my treadmill. I put my sneakers on, and went out for a 2 k jog a few mornings ago. More walking than jogging. Okay it was a walk.

This isn't the typical training program most people undertake. Baby steps! Plus shopping online is just way more fun than running. I'm starting to think that's half of the appeal of starting a running program in the first place -- the retail opportunities. It's certainly isn't for the RUNNING.

Anyway I've found an actual training program (via runDisney, tailored for the actual event) that will get me to the finish line without dying, so I'm going with it. Since I'm still 6 months out, and the training program is 18 weeks, I still have a couple of months to procrastinate shop research.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs: A Freaking 10K?

Anyone who knows me knows I am NOT a runner, or an exerciser. Not by choice anyway (if a wasp crosses my path, watch out, I'm a runnin!)... But I've always said I hate running. I don't know why anyone would want to run. Ever. I have never had a "runner's high", and the whole idea just seemed stupid to me. Like, you just put on sneakers and... run away and back again? WHY?

Until the Spring of this year, when a challenge was laid down by my younger (more athletic) sister to the rest of my family: participate in the Bluenose Marathon weekend in Halifax.

After laughing my head off for a good 2 minutes, I decided... maybe I would consider doing the 5K event. After all, it wasn't a REAL race. I could certainly walk the entire thing if I wanted to, and maybe if I actually trained (hahahah) I could run some of it? Maybe? It might give me a reason to get off my butt and do something other than sit on the couch and avoid eye contact with the treadmill in the corner... Plus it would mean I could participate in my sister's "Pasta Village" event, which included wine. I decided... I was IN.

I'm not going to lie: in the weeks leading up to the event, I tried to come up with reasons I would not be able to participate. Hamstrings? Torn... something? Um... Sick kids? I couldn't come up with anything that would fly... so I bit the bullet, and got my butt on the treadmill a few times. It wasn't horrible. Again... I am NOT a runner, and never have been. But, I gave it a go, and It.Wasn't.Horrible. Truth be told, I kind of loved the feeling of accomplishment I'd get on the days where I'd be heading to work, already having been on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes that morning. "Oh, no big deal, I already worked out today." Yeah, that's pretty cool.

Now, I never did get to the point where I could run a full 5K. By the time the event weekend came around, I was able to do about 5 minutes running and 1-2 walking. I'm not winning any road races here, but not terrible. I did keep telling myself if it came down to it, I could just walk the whole 5K and nobody would care. Plus I was doing this with my 64-year-old mother who, while one of the toughest cookies I know, is also not what you'd call a 'runner'. However, she got it in her head that she wanted to better her previous 5K time (that's right -- after never exercising basically a day in her life she'd suddenly up and decided to do the occasional 5K - you GO girl!!), and so what I thought would be a fairly leisurely pace turned into my own mother yelling, "What's our time??" and then pushing my sister and I to GIV'ER! Amazing! And, honestly... IT WASN'T HORRIBLE! Dare I say it... it was actually *gulp* FUN.

In the end, my time was 43:31... and even though I was thrilled with that, it wasn't the best part. The best part was: I completed a 5K event, people. The energy and excitement around the event and the weekend was electric. I finally "got it": I finally understood why anyone would put sneakers on and just... go run. Despite my own pessimism and steadfast refusal to admit it... I was feeling this running thing.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when a group of online friends were talking about the Disney Princess Marathon weekend in February. Again... I laughed. First of all, it's in Florida, and I am far away from Florida. Also, refer back to sentence #1: I'm not a runner. (I have not been on the treadmill or any other form of running since the Bluenose... oopsie.) But... Maybe...?

I hummed and hawed, and then registration day came around. Like a giddy teenager scoring concert tickets for their favourite band, I furiously refreshed my browser 400 times and then felt a rush of excitement as I got through, and was suddenly registered for a 10K.


So... there you have it. Now I actually have to train, because this isn't just a 5K walk in my home town... we are taking a family vacation to Florida so I can put on a ridiculous costume (Oh yes! That's the best part, you race in costumes!!) and run 10K. And for some insane reason... I am actually excited about this.

Here we go.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Today you are EIGHT

Well kiddo, eight short years ago your arrival made me a mommy, and for that I will be eternally grateful. You've brought me more joy, laughter, aggravation, fun, intrigue and love than I ever could have imagined.

You are goofy, funny, caring, inquisitive. The love you show for your family makes my heart burst. The questions you ask make my head explode (sometimes!) -- both because of how smart they are, and how dumb they make me feel. You keep me on my toes, that's for sure.

I can see you starting to compare yourself to your peers. Remember that there will always be someone faster than you, and there will always be someone slower. None of that matters -- what matters is that you are kind, and that you try your very best every day. Don't ever stop being you. You are a great kid -- never forget that.

You are growing up. You've mastered the art of snapping, and you've almost learned how to whistle. You can whiz down the street on your scooter like a pro (even past the second driveway where you're supposed to stop). You've surpassed my video gaming abilities but you show patience when I don't get it. You can call your friends on the phone now, and when you are with them, you have deep conversations about things that I don't know much about, like Pokemon and Skylanders and Stampy Longnose.

I saw you roll your eyes a little yesterday. That's okay -- it's part of growing up. I see you maturing before my very eyes, especially when you take care of your little sisters. I miss my baby boy, but I love watching you grow and seeing who you are becoming.

When I look at you, I see me. I see your anxiety, your fears, your creativity, your joy, and your head-in-the-cloudsness. It's all good -- they're all a part of what makes you YOU, and you are really pretty awesome. You'll find a way to make it all work for you; hopefully I can help along the way.

Happy 8th Birthday to my big boy. I love you to the moon and back.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

LONG Overdue Garden Update

Okay! I suck! I know!

Now that I've got that straightened out... I'm here to bring you the most overdue garden post ever. But hey... I'm here.

Back at the end of April, when I really wasn't sure if we'd ever see the ground for all the snow we still had, I started planting seeds in trays under lights, hoping beyond hope that we might get the chance to plant them outside someday. Never mind the fact that I was a good MONTH behind in starting the tomatoes and peppers, and two months behind starting the leeks. Just you never mind all that. 

Anyway I started my seeds as I always do, but this year I scaled way back. Turns out, I don't need 30 tomato plants. Nobody needs 30 tomato plants! Besides all the extra effort it was to take care of a bunch of plants I really couldn't use, it was a little heartbreaking to have to toss a bunch of them after babying them in the furnace room for months last year. I couldn't even give them all away (though I tried!).

SO -- this year I kept it fairly simple, starting:
- tomatoes (Tiny Tim, Scotia, and Sungold)
- peppers (Early Cali Wonder and Yum Yums)
- green onions
- leeks -- only two leek plants survived a particularly forgetful few days of no water, so I'm bailing on these
- Romaine, spinach, kale -- which I didn't label and had to wait a few weeks before I was able to identify it. Kids let this be a lesson: don't drink & garden!
- cucumbers (lemon cukes and burpless something or other)
- a few annuals (zinnia, marigold, coleus)

There's something so awesome about getting all the seed trays out, filling them with fresh dirt, and plunking little seeds in them, willing them to grow. It's like I CAN CONTROL NATURE. Well, it's a great fresh start to the season anyway.

Ahh another season of dirt manicures has begun.
A week or two later, lo and behold, the little green things had emerged! Confession time: I love planting cucumber seeds, because they grow so darn quickly. :)
Boldly go, buddies.
WTH spinach?? Too good to sprout?
These smell so good!
Since those photos (taken April 30) I've planted more spinach - because what the hell? They refused to sprout the first time - and transplanted a lot of the tomato plants to bigger containers. I've also moved the romaine, spinach, green onions to the garden (under a hoop tunnel with light fabric), and planted peas and more lettuce seeds.

And I was also reminded that gardening comes with a little bit of tragedy - life imitating art, or whatever - when I had to thin the seedlings. For some reason, every year, this makes me a little sad.

It's for the greater good, guys.

Veggie Garden 2015 is officially (finally) underway!