Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January's "Currently"

I always like to circle back to these every once in awhile. Last time I did a "currently" update, we were getting ready to close on our house. I feel like a whole lifetime has happened since June!

So here is my current "currently's"

Reading: "Crucial Conversations" -- it's a leadership book I've been tasked to read by my mentor at work. It's actually really interesting - and talks about how to handle the soft skill of gracefully handling difficult conversations such as "confrontation" or giving out criticism.

As much as I'd prefer some mindless reading - it is entertaining.

Thinking: About how I want to decorate our house. I need help mixing modern with SW rustic (which is the style of our home).

Feeling: Quiet. Ryan is gone. I work from home. If it weren't for my running girlfriends or my "Run Club" kids I coach on M, W, Th....I think I'd be talking to myself. I already have found myself talking to my dog more often lately ;)

Anticipating: A trip to Syracuse next weekend! We are going to spend a night in Ithaca and check out Ithaca College/Cornell University (as it's supposed to be beautiful), some local wineries (at least the tasting rooms due to the winter weather), and if there is snow on the ground do some cross country skiing! There are also some waterfalls that are open to "hike" in the winter -- so will check out the Finger Lakes, as well!

Sad: That although I have a work-from-home job that can take me anywhere....I can't be in NY with my husband. Have to be honest and admit as positive as I'm trying to be....I don't really want to be here.

Working: Hard and happy. This time of year is insanely busy in my industry -- and I've taken on quite of bit of extra responsibility over the past month. But I love my job - so it's all worth it! :)

Grateful: For all the rain we have been getting! Although it is making for so wet training runs....I will never turn down rain! Neither will my garden ;)

Listening: To a lot of classical music. I've gotten hooked on "Mozart In the Jungle" - an Amazon series - and it has put me in the mood for classical - Baroque era music, specifically.

Wishing: That I continue to stay healthy and injury free through February 25! Race day.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Marathon Training: final weeks

With just about 6 weeks to go until race day, I thought I'd check in with a marathon training update.

So be prepared to be bored with splits and details! ;)

As I've said before, this is the 5th marathon I've trained for. It will be the 3rd I actually get to complete. And I will complete it. Gosh, I hope nothing stops me this time!

How am I feeling?
Really good. I am right on track with my pace. My only problem is I've dealing with the slightest bit of plantar fasciitis. It isn't enough to bother me while I'm running - but I definitely feel it the hours after a sprint workout! But as long as I'm good, and I ice, foam roll, and stretch -- it is all good.

What kind of workouts am I doing?
I'm running about 40-45 miles/week.
Every other Tuesday, I get on the track and do 800 m repeats. On the weeks I don't get on the track, I do an 8 mile tempo run with 1-2 mile repeats.
I run about 4-5 days/week.
1 speed/tempo run, 1 aerobic run, 1 LONG run, and 1-2 normal/easy runs
My long runs are an easy conversational pace, and we try to push a little race pace at least the last 6-8 miles.

My speed/tempo runs - I keep my pace between 6:30-7:00/mile.
My aerobic runs are about 7:40-7:50/mile.
My easy and long runs are around 8:00/mile.
My goal marathon pace is 7:45/mile.

Long runs:
Have been my favorite part of training. I have felt so strong and good on my 18-20 milers. It does help having training partners. But we talk the ENTIRE run pretty much (except maybe the last 1-2 miles were we just want to finish). I also finish feeling like I could keep going. I'm religious about taking a LONG Epsom salt soak after. And I feel pretty good after the run!

Cross training:
Gentle yoga and spin class. My strength training is more "physical therapy"-like exercise that I do post-run. Body-weight lunges, stretches, core holds, hip extensions, etc

Nutrition to carry me through my long runs is pretty minimal. I just don't take much due to a very sensitive stomach. I pre-fuel with a banana and peanut butter, and take a few clif blocks along the course along with water. I really like the caffeine in Clif Blocks for a little extra kick!

But the really importance nutrition is what I'm eating between the runs! Tons of vegetables, protein-protein-protein, sweet potatoes, squash, good fats (nut betters, avocados, etc). When I put in my daily food intake into "My Fitness Pal" -- I am getting more fat than anything else. And that is what I feel my body needs during this time with how hard I'm training!

Burnt out yet?
Nope. In fact, I kind of want to keep marathoning. This is the 1st training cycle that hasn't made Ryan say "I wish you wouldn't do this..." lol!

But let's talk after February 25. My mind may change after the race.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Home Grown Eats

If you follow me on instagram, you know that since we moved into this house - we have been busy growing our own foods.

When we decided to stay in Tucson, and buy a house -- our goal was to have a house with land and privacy -- where we can grow a garden filled with vegetables and fruit trees!

This is a work-in-progress and a multi-phased approach. This year, we just did a small "bed-garden". And Ryan worked (really hard) on leveling out the land, burying drainage pipes, and we got gutters installed - so we can eventually become "RainWater Harvesters"!

This is my 1st real success in gardening in the 8 years we have been in Tucson, and I am so excited!! Here are the photos of what we have been growing and making:

Olive trees are illegal to grow in Tucson. They cause bad allergies, apparently. But when you buy a house that was built in 1952....they can't make you cut it down! And we are technically not in city limits. So when were realizes we had olive trees - we started reading up on how to process olives! 

We have about 5 trees that produced pounds of luscious olives. But just know that the tree to olive process is a LOT of work. Months of work, in fact. So next time you bite into an olive - thank about that ;)

(however, typically the olives you buy from a store are processed with lye. Which is quicker and easier. Why so much work? Olives straight off the tree are extremely bitter. Not even the birds will eat them. )

This is a picture of the various types we did. 
Top Left: "greek style" (think kalamata) - pickling salt, water - and you have to change the brine out monthly
Top Right: Sicilian style. This is a mixture of pickling salt, water, vinegar, thai peppers, and various seasonings. These are not done yet. 
Bottom left: Dry brine. This is just pickling salt and olives. Needs to be shaken daily, and changed weekly. I'm going to be honest and say this was a fail
Bottom right: A picture of our olives before we got to work!

This was our 1st official "olive feast" on Christmas Eve. We served them with a little olive oil. They were full of flavor! 

Now on to our winter garden. We have Kale, Yellow onions, broccoli, basil, oregano, rosemary, and brussel sprouts. Winter gardens in Tucson are a-mazing! We get so much rain, and the climate is perfect. 60-70's during the day. 

This is a picture of the 1st say I discovered the broccoli sprouting. Now I have giant heads on each plant! 

Yesterday I harvested some broccoli and enjoyed it as a mid-afternoon snack, as well as cut up in my eggs at lunch time! The fresh broccoli so sweet and full of flavor.

I am interested to see how the brussel sprouts work out. They are still growing. My onions aren't quite ready to be harvested yet (I think? How is one to know? #rookiegardener) 

We are definitely inspired to expand our garden! 

In addition to home-grown foods. We also have a bit of "self sourced" meat we are enjoying this year: Ryan's deer. Enough to fill our lay-down freezer! So far I have made a few venison chilis as well as a venison roast. So delicious and lean!