Monday, March 18, 2013

CTWW - Local produce all year round

This week's Change the World Wednesday, hosted by Reduce Footprints is:

Last August, CelloMom suggested that we find a way to eat local produce throughout the winter months (you can read that challenge HERE). Now that we're moving into spring, it's the perfect time to come up with a strategy to ensure that we'll have local fruits and veggies next winter. Here you go ...

This week develop a strategy which will ensure that you and your family enjoy local produce next winter. Need some suggestions? Plan a garden with preserving in mind. Consider freezing, drying, canning, etc. and start gathering the items/tools you'll need to accomplish it (don't forget to check thrift stores, Freecycle, etc. for things like canning jars, dehydrators, and other items you might need). Visit your farmer's market and learn about the items which they'll have available and when they will arrive for purchase. If you are a member of a CSA, talk to the farmer about your goals and see how he/she can help. This week is all about planning with the goal of having local produce on your plate next winter.

This is a tough one for us.   Mostly because I admit to being rather lazy.  I'm just so tired! haha!    However, we have some things in place to try and do this, things we started last spring.

I've mentioned a couple of times we have a blackberry bush.  Well, we still have a TON of frozen blackberries in our freezer!  We mostly just use them for smoothies during the winter months.  I've slacked with my smoothies but getting back in to the habit of making one every morning.  So this saved us from having to buy a lot of frozen blackberries.

We had a small garden this past summer and plan to do the same thing this year, but we can't produce enough to keep us through the winter.  We just don't have a good spot in our yard that's bigger.  Our yard isn't fenced (very few are and the neighbors kinda frown on it) so we need to stay close to our house and with the pool it's not easy to do.  Plus we have a huge deer problem so we have to build around it to keep the deer out, which can be an eye-sore and frowned upon.  So, we'll do what we can to keep us in fresh food during the summer but won't have enough for all winter.    Baby steps though, right?

What I do love, however, is that a produce store opened up very close to us.  They try to buy local as often as they can, but that's hard in the winter months.  I stopped in once, they just opened this month, and think I'll frequent it often.  They didn't have a ton of organic but said they are planning to start increasing what they do offer in terms of being organic since people keep asking.  They also said that they buy local as much as possible, so May through September I'll be able to get local items.  Fingers crossed this works out!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Quivering Quads 2013 – Race Recap

I'm in the yellow jacket. Before the race shot.
Quivering Quads is a half marathon trail race in Troy, Missouri.  This was my first year running this race and I was excited about it even though I was dealing with the stomach bug and injury. The day before the race we had rain, for 5 hours straight.   Over night we had more rain.  Before the race started we had even more rain.  This race turned into an adventure.

At the start of the race we were told the creek crossings were ankle deep.  This ended up being true for some but not others.  The longer you were out there, the higher the water rose and the deeper the creeks were.  When I went through some the water was higher than my knees.  The current was strong too.  I was lucky that I didn’t fall or get pulled under, but others had trouble.  In fact, this is proof that runners are awesome.   There was an older guy in front of me and I kept getting close and then he would get further away.  Well, as luck would have it, I was somewhat close at each creek crossing towards the end of the race.  He would get across, then walk and watch me to make sure I made it across (and talk to me while I was).  Then when I was safe he would take off again.  Now that’s an awesome runner. I couldn’t find him at the finish to thank him either.
waiting for the race to start

The entire course was mud.  And more mud.  On parts, where the trail went downhill, you were just running in a river of water.  Other times you were running through standing water on the trails. If it wasn’t water, it was just mud.   This made for some very interesting situations.  A couple parts of the trail were drop-offs to a creek and it was a long drop-off, you had to walk it due to slipping and sliding with the mud.    I LOVED it.
The first 6 miles of this race were awesome. I felt good. I was having fun.  I started out with people and then slowly I left them behind.  I would catch up to a group or an individual, pass them the first chance I had, then run by myself for awhile.  Then I would see somebody ahead and focus on catching them.  Catch up to them, pass, repeat.  Many of the times when I was by myself and couldn’t see anybody, I would just look around me. It was peaceful. It was beautiful.  I loved being out there.

Then it started to rain again.  I lost feeling in my hands and my arms were numb.  My legs were heavy.  My shoes were so heavy from the mud and water I had trouble lifting them. I had to start walking on hills.  Sure, lots of people do this, however I train with tough hills. I pride myself on being able to run hills.  So for me to realize I needed to walk them, that was hard. 

still early on
I’m not sure if this was a good thing or not but my feet were numb and I was so cold I didn’t feel the pain in my feet and I was able to finish the race. I paid for it after the race and most of this week, but at least I was able to finish the race.  Not the smartest thing, but what are you going to do?

I am somewhat disappointed with this race but at the same time I’m not.  Makes sense right?  I’m disappointed I had to walk up hills towards the end. I’m disappointed I walked A LOT and not just on hills during the last mile.  I’m disappointed that people who shouldn’t have beat me, because I had a good lead on them, ended up either catching me or getting close.   However I also feel good about this race and happy about it because I know all of this was due to the injury and not being completely over the stomach bug yet.  Not to mention the race conditions of the course itself.   So for me to pull off what I did, I think I did pretty darn good.  Plus, I had a heck of a fun time doing it.

towards the end
I walked away with a finisher’s medal and a plaque.  That’s right! I placed in my age group!    I was 100 out of 336 finishers.  I placed 8th female. I was either 2nd or 3rd in my age group. I have a plaque for third, given to me at the race, however I received an email saying I was 2nd and online it shows I was 2nd in one place but 3rd in another. Go figure.  I have emailed the company to inquire about it and to see if I need to exchange plaques.  I know the female winner was in my age group, so maybe that has something to do with it.  Not sure.

not me, obviously, but shows how high the creeks got

Here is more detail about my run, including mile splits etc.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Another Half - but also a first

This coming Sunday I will run/race my first trail half marathon.  Quivering Quads Half Marathon.

 I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm hopeful.  I have done further distance on a trail and on road. So I should be comfortable with the distance.   I've never ran at this park before though, so I have no idea what to expect.

I was also blessed with the stomach bug earlier in the week.  This is not good news for a runner. ha!  I'm still not 100% recovered but getting there.  This did mean that I had no problems with this being a taper week, as I've only worked out twice (Sunday and Tuesday).

I am also dealing with injury on both my feet.  I had hurt them a month or so ago. I took it easy, they cleared up and were fine.  However running my last race, Castlewood Cup, caused major issues.  I've been taking it easy for a couple weeks due to that as well.

Hopefully taking all this time off will mean my body is rested and ready to go on Sunday. I am worried how my feet will do. I am worried how my body will react.  However I plan to give it all I can and if I need to pull out of the race, I will.

Since I have not ran at this park before I have no idea what the trails are like or how hard the hills/course is.  I've looked at the elevation and the hills don't seem to be as bad as what I am used to.

Here is the elevation for Quivering Quads:

Here is the elevation for the Castlewood Cup course I did 2 weeks ago:

As you can see the hills aren't nearly as bad.  That doesn't mean I'm not worried. I could go all and come to a hill and it could be worse than I anticipate. I train with hills, but most are steep and not tooo terrible long.  The hills for QQ seem to be not as steep but longer, which could be worse.

So..we'll see.  Fingers crossed I do ok and don't have to pull out of this race.

Monday, March 4, 2013

CTWW – Body Soap Review

Here is the current challenge from Reduce Footprints:

This week review the body soap you are currently using. Please include such information as how the product performs, how it was packaged and the ingredients. Perhaps do a little research on the ingredients to determine if they are all environmentally and personally safe. You may include the name of the soap or not ... your choice. You may also post your review on any platform, including a comment here. The idea is for us to take an honest look at the soap we're using and share information so that we all learn

I’ll admit that I’m currently not using anything fancy or super organic for my body wash. You know why? Pure laziness.  Yup.  That’s it.  With my PPD issues and adjusting to life as a new Mom I’ve found that some things have slipped through the cracks. Taking care of my body (aside from the workouts) in terms of eating and what products I use has taken 100 steps in the wrong direction.

My current body wash/soap is Ivory with Aloe, because I think it’s a decent brand and it’s easy to buy at the store when I go for R’s formula.

Here are the current ingredients in my body wash:
Water/Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Fragrance/Parfum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Disodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer.

Now that I look at it, several of those products are on the harmful list.  Such as the Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfates.   I understand those are both for lather and I have also read we don’t need lather, we just think we do. I fall for that myself.  

I will admit that I was using bar soap but it was hard to shave with it and that’s when I switched back to body wash.   I think what I need to do is just look at the other “natural” products available where I shop and find something that is convenient for me to purchase but doesn’t contact harmful products.
I admit I do like the body wash, I think it gets me clean.  This is super important due to the running, nobody wants to smell me after that’s done! haha!  It doesn’t, however, get all the chlorine smell off my body after a pool workout.  However I think that’s the case with most body washes. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Castlewood Cup 2013 – Race Recap

The first big hill..just to show the conditions
February 24th was the day of the Castlewood Cup 15k trail run.  Leading up to Sunday the weather was forecasted to be in the 50’s.  This was even after the snow storm we had the Thursday before.

The day arrived and it was only in the 30’s.  At first I had on capri’s, a short sleeved shirt, and a jacket.  I walked outside and walked right back inside to change into shorts, compression socks, short sleeves, and arm warmers.  This ended up being the perfect outfit.
Leading up to this race I was not happy about it.  My heart was not in it.  I love this race and I love to race. I didn’t want to do this one.  There are a lot of reasons why, but I won’t get in to them.  My heart just wasn’t in it this year.  Once it snowed on Thursday I was much more interested in running it, but still not excited.  I admit that I hate cold weather and snow, but I love to run in it. Go figure.  The day arrived and I had race excitement and nerves, which was a good thing.

The group I met at the beginning
Leading up to this race I was still having issues with feeling like throwing up when I exert myself, etc.  In hopes that it was just not getting in enough food and with this being a late race time (10 am) I was able to eat two breakfasts and a snack before the race start. I think this did a lot for me. I had a ton of energy at the start of the race and through the entire race without having to refuel.

I was in wave 3, out of 6.  You are put in waves based on your projected finish time. I should have jumped into an earlier wave but didn't think I needed to.  As it was, when my wave started I was quickly the first person and I soon caught up to people from wave 2.  Within the first half mile we start on a huge hill and I continued to pass people on that hill, which always feels good when it happens.  Then it happened. I got stuck behind a runner who refused to let me pass.   It’s hard to race on trails because they are narrow and when you get behind somebody you have to wait for a spot to pass.  So I waited till there was an opening, said on your left, and surged, only to have him surge.  He did this every time. I was sooo pissed.  I had to wait until we got to an area where the trail really widened and I had more room.  Which, he still tried to speed up but I had enough room to pass him.  He got CHICKED. And it felt GOOD.

The rest of the race I would focus on catching the person/group in front of me.  Once I did that I would catch my breath, wait for a chance to pass, pass and keep up that speed until I caught the next group. Repeat.

Normally I am slower on trails because I tend to trip and fall. A LOT.  However with the snow, and with it being packed down by the other runners, I felt more comfortable and It showed. I went faster on these trails than I ever have before.  I felt good!  I never once felt tired.  Sure, going up the hills you feel exhausted but as soon as I crested them I felt fine.  My legs were never fatigued. I finished and felt like I could have kept running.  This is a great feeling, but also a disappointing feeling.  This was a race. I should not have felt like that.  However, I know that it’s just the nature of trail races to be stuck behind people.  I know I could have gone faster if I had not been stuck behind people a lot.  This is where I think next year I’ll be sure to start in wave one. If I had started in wave one I think I could have placed higher and had a better time.  However, with that being said, I did excellent at this race.  I am very happy with how I placed and how I did.  I finished this race and felt fantastic. I had a runner’s high.  I did so much better than I expected, especially since I went in to the race with my heart not in it.

I finished out the race by going out for some drinks and food with some new running friends.  This made my day. I have struggled with finding runners who want to run with me and who “get” me.  I am hoping I finally found it.  It was fun to hang out and laugh and talk and just be with like minding individuals.  Without them at the beginning of the race and the end, this race would not have been as awesome as it was. I owe them a lot.

My final results:
finish time: 1:24:16
Overall place: 69 out of 471
Female place: 10 out of 190
Division place: 4 out of 27

Here’s a breakdown on pace:
Mile 1: 9:35, big hill
Mile 2 : 9:40, stuck behind the ahole
Mile 3: 9:15, I did stop to fix my yaktrax and drink water
Mile 4: 10:05, big hill and stuck behind a lot of people going slow on this one
MIle 5: 8:26, mostly downhill and rolling
Mile 6:10:03, majority of it is uphill, worst in the park if you ask me
Mile 7: 8:55, rolling hills
Mile 8: 8:10, downhill and flat
Mile 9: 7:58, flat and a creek crossing
.3 miles to the finish: 7:32, as fast as I could sprint in the snow