Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

With ten more weeks to go until the Santa Rosa Marathon, my training plan has kicked into high gear. This past week, I laid down my highest training volume ever with 13 hours of running, spinning, and strength workouts, capped with this ride to the beach and back yesterday:

That's a personal distance record on the bike!

That’s a personal distance record on the bike!

My legs felt great after the ride but my everything else hurt! Today my shoulders and neck remind me that they held a helmet up yesterday for four hours, but no other body parts register any complaints. I am still grateful though that the plan calls for just 30 minutes of core work today.

Generally with marathon training I put in about eight hours of exercise a week, so this plan is taking me into new territory. The plan actually called for about 10 hours of exercise, but I had to bump the long run to Monday instead of Sunday and that put the total for the week at 13 hours. I’m on high alert for overtraining and/or injuries but so far so good. Putting a lot of miles on the bike allows me to increase the training time without increasing the strain on my legs.

Bike: 105 miles (25 miles on Tuesday, 20 miles on Thursday, 60 miles on Sunday)
Run: 37.75 miles (long run of 18 miles that got pushed from a week ago Sunday to Monday, plus the killer 12.25 mile ladder workout on Wednesday, plus 7.5 “easy” miles on Friday)
Strength: 30 minutes (I’ve been doing at least two strength workouts per week for an hour total but this week I traded one of the strength workout days for the long run)

Saturday was a “rest” day if you call five hours of housecleaning “rest.” I celebrated the accomplishments of the day by harvesting the apples from our trees:

These are the low-chill varieties of apples called Anna and Dorsett Golden.

These are the low-chill varieties of apples called Anna and Dorsett Golden.

Yes you can grow apples in Southern California! The Annas grew to a nice size this year and the Dorsett Goldens are tiny but tasty.

How many hours of exercise do you generally get in a week?

Read Full Post »

Running Naked

Today I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I ran naked, without my GPS watch to keep pace or an audiobook to entertain me. (How much do I love Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell on Blackstone Audiobooks? THIS MUCH. So awesome. Twenty-five hours of awesome. I’m on hour 22.5. But I resisted clipping on my iPod Shuffle and I headed out earbud-free.) I listened to my body and to the birds chattering around me. I smelled the lilacs and the orange blossoms. I only took my phone out to take this photo of the bougainvillea that are a gorgeous riot of color right now in Southern California:

I defy anyone to spell "fuchsia bougainvillea" correctly without the help of this post or Google

I defy anyone to spell “fuchsia bougainvillea” correctly without the help of this post or Google.

I ran a 10K loop from my house and enjoyed every slow-but-steady minute of it. It’s hilly where I live and I consider the hill work (456 ft. gain over three major hills) good training. It’s nice to shake things up and substitute a little uphill and downhill running for the treadmill and the gentle elevation changes on my usual routes. It wasn’t speedy and it was a little clunky (see: left groin strain) but I covered the miles and made it home in time to have a PB&H sandwich on whole wheat and get in a shower before I had to make it to preschool pick-up. I’d call that darn successful.

Read Full Post »

It’s week seven of M2B marathon training for me and thank goodness lucky number seven is a cutback week! After a 20-miler at 9:35 pace, an 18-miler at 9:20 pace and a 20-miler at 9:20, I look forward to “only” 13 miles at 8:50 this coming weekend.

I feel good but tired. Good and tired, that’s for sure. A story to illustrate: After running those 20 miles last weekend, I slept 10 hours that night. When I finally woke in the morning, I realized I could see surprisingly well without my contacts in. *blink* *blink* Wait a minute. My contacts ARE in. That’s right. I’d set aside my book, turned out the light, and gone to sleep with my contacts in. In nearly 30 years of contact lens wearing, I can say that’s never happened before. I’ve fallen asleep by accident with them in, most likely while snuggling a toddler or nursing a baby to sleep, but I have never before deliberately gone to bed and forgotten all about my contact lenses. No harm done thank goodness.

On my “recovery” day, I spent three and a half hours in the garden, clearing a 9′ x 4′ patch of ground, turning over the soil, and mixing in compost and fertilizer. Finally, I planted 18 tomato seedlings. I started the seeds in trays in mid-January, potted them up in mid-February, hardened off the seedlings in early March, and got the seedlings in the ground in mid-March.

Hello Roma! I hope we spend a wonderful, productive spring and summer together!

Hello Roma! I hope we spend a wonderful, productive spring and summer together!

That’s two months of hard work I left out there, exposed to the weather and the dangers of bunnies, gophers, snails and slugs. I remember one year I planted seedlings and my toddler followed behind me and dug up some of the plants. Another year I sprinkled bone meal in each of the holes to fertilize before I put in the tomato seedlings. I came out the next morning and the neighbor’s dogs had dug up every single one of my plants! This year, no toddler (my 4.5-year-old knows better than to mess with Mama’s plants) and no bone meal (and no dogs — the neighbor put up some lattice so the dogs can’t climb over the chain link fence). Today I went out and put little “collars” around each of the transplants in a feeble attempt to ward off the snails, slugs, and roly-poly bugs.

Do you build in cutback weeks during your training? I wouldn’t survive without them!

Read Full Post »

As we approach the first day of spring, my garden in Southern California bursts with blossoms.

These delicate blossoms cover the entire nectarine tree this year. I'm hoping for a bountiful harvest come July!

These delicate blossoms cover the entire nectarine tree this year. I’m hoping for a bountiful harvest come July!

Two years ago in January we planted a Methley Japanese Plum tree at the request of my oldest daughter and the tree finally got its first blossoms this year:

The Methley Japanese Plum tree is self-pollinating and produces dark red, medium-sized plums.

The Methley Japanese Plum tree is self-pollinating and produces dark red, medium-sized plums.

The first of our four apple varieties is in bloom as well:

The Anna apple tree is a low-chill variety that thrives in sunny Southern California.

The Anna apple tree is a low-chill variety that thrives in sunny Southern California.

Much to my chagrin we do not have any oranges (what kind of Southern Californians are we?!) but we have lemon and lime trees. The lime blossoms smell heavenly right now:

This tiny lime tree produces a ton of limes. You can see how many blossoms crowd this one offshoot!

This tiny lime tree produces a ton of limes. You can see how many blossoms crowd this one offshoot!

My girls and I planted milkweed in hopes of attracting Monarch butterfly larvae. Many varieties of milkweed are toxic to vertebrate creatures and thus offer a natural protection to the caterpillars who ingest the toxins and make them taste bad to predators. In spite of the toxins, our first caterpillar (given to us by the garden center who sold us the plant) appears to have fallen victim to a bird.

Even if our milkweed plant never supports a Monarch butterfly population, I will still love it for its tiny yellow and orange blossoms.

Even if our milkweed plant never supports a Monarch butterfly population, I will still love it for its tiny yellow and orange blossoms.

Speaking of birds, this “bird” of paradise stands tall like a statue among the palm fronds:

Majestic "bird"

Majestic “bird”

The calla lily also reminds me of art — specifically of artist Georgia O’Keeffe:

The mesmerizing white spathe and yellow spadix of the calla lily bloom.

The mesmerizing white spathe and yellow spadix of the calla lily bloom.

The grapevines don’t have any blossoms yet but they are just starting to leaf out.

grapevines and palms

Nestled below the grapevine is our outdoor cat, Camo:

"I tolerate you and your camera only because you feed me."

“I tolerate you and your camera only because you feed me.”

Currently there is one fruit variety ready for harvesting — avocado!

I pick several of these every few days throughout late winter.

I pick several of these every few days throughout late winter.

Last but not least, my organic heirloom tomato seedlings are hardening off (gradually getting used to the outdoors in preparation for transplanting) on the patio:

I hope to put these in the ground soon. They're getting a bit leggy!

I hope to put these in the ground soon. They’re getting a bit leggy!

It’s a little ambitious to think I will have time to maintain a tomato garden and train for a marathon at the same time (and keep house and raise kids and blog and and and), but I’m giving it a go anyway!

Are you a gardener? Are you planning to grow anything this year?

Read Full Post »