Archive | April, 2013

Sum Up Sunday

28 Apr

Some people think of the week from Sunday-Sunday and some think of it from Monday-Sunday.  I am one of those people.  Monday is the beginning and Sunday is the end, right?  Well it is in my brain and this blog is basically an extension of my brain.  Therefore, it only makes sense to talk about how I did for the week on Sunday, instead of droning on about it every day.

DISCLAIMER:  If you have no interest in hearing my obsessive, over-analytical, self-deprecating rantings, then I suggest you abstain from SFTS on Sundays.

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But, if you are one of my lovely regular readers, you are wonderful and supportive and will visit me every Sunday to leave your own words of encouragement, right?!  🙂

Monday:  This week was a mundane Monday.  I tried to work on some miscellaneous strength training at work, but these darn people customers kept coming in and bothering me keeping us in business.

Tuesday:  I made a pretty good showing with my 2.55 mile run.  My pace was pretty good, especially considering that I hadn’t run in exactly one week.  Normally, I have a hard time if I even take a few days off.  I guess a little recovery time goes a long way!  I also worked on arm toning.

Wednesday:  Wednesday was kind of a bust.  I had intended to do some Zumba on DVD, but didn’t get home from working on the rental until around 9:30pm.  Sleep seemed so much more important at that point.  I reorganized my schedule for the week to make this my rest day instead of Friday.  I think I’m going to have to take a more realistic look on which days I schedule things to make it work for me.

Thursday:  Missed the 6:15am alarm, but luckily the 7:30am one woke me in time to get to work.  I keep score for a little league team, which kept me busy until about 7:30pm.  I pushed my run back to Friday and got my Zumba DVD in after all.  I’ve owned this Zumba for….years.  And I finally decided to give it a try.  Let me just say, I was sweating and my obliques are soooooore.  I loved it.

Friday:  Up & at it bright and early for a surprisingly fast 2 miles.  2 miles used to seem like so far to me, but the more I run the shorter the distance seems.  I guess that’s kind of the point of training!  I had intended to work on legs in the evening, but again with the working on the rental.  Did I mention that I whacked myself in one shin with a crowbar and then slammed the other one into a bucket of mud?  I’m serious.  Like all in the same day.  So I’m thinking that was enough muscular trauma for my legs.

Saturday:  Oh sweet, sweet Saturday.  Your fair weather I enjoyed from inside the laundry facility and then the rental.  Not even a Zumba DVD was touched and yet my entire body felt ravaged.

Sunday:  Shot out of bed at 8AM determined to get my mileage in for the week.  Because I just upgraded my phone, I thought I might be able to take my old phone with me and use the Map My Run app.  It was kind of working in the beginning…and then after I knew I had been running for friggin ever, I looked at the phone and it said “1 mile.”  FML.  Unsure of how far I had actually run, I just tried to zig-zag around as long as I could.  My goal was 3 miles and I ended up at 3.42 – bonus!  Then I textured walls for six hours.  Now I want to curl up in a ball and die.

The end.

Target mileage base: 8

Actual miles logged: 7.94

CSA Season 2014

27 Apr

It’s CSA season once again!!!  I’ve tried a few different options over the years and I’m excited to try something new this year.  While thumbing through Edible Allegheny this month, I noticed their CSA guide and I think its an important resource to share with you guys.

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for community-supported agriculture.  You sign up to receive a weekly share of food grown locally by people in your very own community.  These growers plant crops based on how many shares they have committed to selling.

One of our early CSA shares from last year with Clarion River Organics.

One of our early CSA shares from last year with Clarion River Organics.

How does a CSA work?

Each week, the growers drop off shares at locations around the city.  Some offer the option to pick-up on site for a lower price.  Most times, you simply show up, sign off on your share, and take your loot home!

What are the benefits of a CSA?

There are so many benefits to joining a CSA.  You will be supporting a local grower, providing jobs and commerce within your region; you will be connected with your food and not be wondering what mystery chemicals and additives are in there;  you will have the chance to truly eat seasonally; your food is fresh (as in just picked and deliveries basically to your door); you lower your carbon footprint by depending less on the fossil-fuel driven industrial food system; you pay a fixed price throughout the season for produce; do I need to keep going or have you all ready skipped ahead to see where you can sign up??!!

As with anything else, the best way to chose a CSA is to shop around.  Figure out what you’re looking for and what your price point is.  Some CSAs offer more than just veggies and fruits.  You can add on options like eggs, cheeses, honey, mushrooms, flour, and herbs.  As urban CSAs become stronger and build a bigger customer base, they gain the ability to provide more options to consumers.  Call, write an email, ask a million questions!  I promise, growers love to talk about what they do.

Get to know your grower – you’ll be surprised how much more connected you feel to your region and to your food.  Every time you reach into our fridge a grab some fresh, locally harvested produce you will feel pride knowing that you are helping your region prosper.

Below you will find a list of CSAs which provide drop-off locations in Allegheny County.

Blackberry Meadows Organic Farm  724-226-3939

Butter Hill Farm  412-221-9275

Christoff’s Greenhouse  412-874-5900

Churchview Farm  412-496-5623

Clarion River Organics 412-589-9276

Dillner Family Farm  724-444-6594

One Woman Farm, CNG  412-913-7709

Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance  412-586-7577

 

Do you belong to a CSA?  If so, which one?  If not, what’s holding you back?

Lucky Number Three

23 Apr

I had taken a week off from running since the Tuesday after my 5K.  Not intentionally, really, just my body demanding some R&R.  I spent the week eating whatever I wanted and drinking more beer than I should have.  No regrets – I needed a break.   In between doing work for Changin’ Time, participating in the Great Cloth Diaper Change, and renovating our new rental, I managed to carefully devise my 10K training plan.  Don’t worry, I’m still running with Hal.

There are several big changes that I knew I had to make based on my 5K training.

1.  Integrate strength training into my program.  Stronger legs and core can help a struggling runner keep proper form, especially when they’re at the point of fatigue.  Maintaining proper form can even keep a runner from feeling fatigued too quickly.  (I can’t find the exact article where I read this, but it was at somewhere on Runner’s World.)  With my 10K program, I am going to be doing strength training 3-4 times a week along with cross training 2 times a week.  I even played around with some basic strength moves yesterday to see where my skill level is.

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But, then it got awkward when customers started coming in and I was grunting around in the office.  I’m even a little sore today, so I guess a little bit is better than none at all!

2.  Run more.  To quote Christina, “Three days a week ain’t cuttin’ it.”  After nine weeks of training, I still struggled, and it was clear to both of us that I needed to run 4-5 days a week.  My 10K program has 3 days of running.  This first week, for example, looks like this:  2.5mi run today (Tuesday), 2 mile run on Thursday, and a long run of 3 miles on Sunday.  For the first few weeks, the only distance that increases in the long run, eventually building up to 5.5 miles the week before my 10K.  I plan on integrating some easy runs into my cross training, just so that I build a good mileage base.

Today was my first day back to running.  I took it slow and I’m happy with how I did.

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It might have had something to do with the cool temperatures and the absolute bluest sky I’ve seen in a long time.

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3.  Stop eating crap.  Every time I say that, there’s this little voice in the back of my head that says:  “Obvi,” and rolls its eyes.  But, its not always as easy to follow through with as it to say.  Processed foods are extremely tempting and easily accessible; so is grabbing a bite during the few minutes of down time we have in our hectic lives.  For the most part, the junk food is out of our house (which I hear about by someone who isn’t training for a 10K and is wondering where all the snack food is).  I’ve noticed that the rumors are true: when I have healthy food within reach, I am more likely to grab healthy food to snack on.  In fact, I even noticed that one of my old favorite snacks (tortilla chips & salsa) didn’t even taste good to me anymore.  Isn’t that weird?

As usual, I’ve been turning to Pinterest for healthy dinner ideas.  Last night, I made chicken and kale stuffed ‘bella caps.  The chicken mixture included shredded chicken, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Alouette creamed cheese pats, shredded Parmesan cheese, and kale.  I topped it with a little more shredded cheese and baked them.  She♥ did NOT like them.  At all.  Perhaps because she expected it to be spinach and upon tasting, realized it was kale and it was just all off.

I, on the other hand, wish I could eat them every day.

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So, those are the three big changes that you’ll be hearing me complain talk about over the next 8 weeks.  I’m going to try to keep up with weekly updates about my progress.  I don’t want to jinx a potential “Fitness Friday” series because obviously my “Fish Friday” series has been a total bust for the last two years!  (I can’t help it if I live a mile away from the best lenten fish fry in the entire city, Holy Angels Fish Fry!!

Earthweek Giveaway WINNER!!!!!!

22 Apr

It may be Monday, but it’s also Earth Day!!

And that means its time to announce the winner of  the Earthweek Giveaway.  Who’s going to be the lucky reader to receive the set of 3 stainless steel BPA-free containers???

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Thank you to everyone who entered into the Earthweek Giveaway and thank you to MIRA for being awesome!

By random draw, the winner of the Earthweek Giveaway is…..

# 12 MARILYN – who is going to plant some succulents for Earth Day!!

Congratulations Marilyn, please send me your mailing info by shooting an email to michelle@changintime.com to redeem your prize.

♥ God Bless Boston ♥

17 Apr

I wanted to take a few days to process the events that happened in Boston before I mentioned them on the blog.  I think that I’ve done that, and I feel that I need to get some things out of my system.

This is not a running blog, by any means.

I’m so new to this sport that sometimes I forget that I am a runner.

But, I run.  I am a runner.

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But, I completed my first 5K two days before the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.  I trained for 9 weeks leading up that 5K.  Every single day I poured some degree of blood, sweat, and tears into training.  It consumed me.  In my entire life, I had never felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride and emotions and celebrations as when I crossed that finish line and hugged my loved ones, who had been patiently cheering for me.  I know that feeling is shared by anyone who has ever completed a race.

I can’t even imagine how much people train to make it the whole way to the Boston Marathon.  I will never know what its like to hit that last mile, to see that finish line; to lock eyes with the loved ones waiting and cheering you on; to have that ripped away in chaos, smoke, and shrapnel.  That is something I can’t even imagine.  Something I don’t want to imagine.

I started running because I wanted to feel a sense of personal accomplishment while I made healthy changes in my life.  I wasn’t sure I was even qualified to be discussing the BM tragedy  because I’m so new to the sport.  But, I run.  I am a runner.  While I don’t know anyone personally who was running that day (or spectating outside of the medic tent, really), I felt connected to those people.  I felt scared for them and their families and for all runners who now have something else to overcome to get to a finish line.  I felt anxiety about the upcoming Pittsburgh Marathon, where I will be cheering from the sidelines for my mother-in-law, friends, and other family.

Over the last few days, I never faltered in my commitment to this sport.  My commitment to continue training and continue signing up for races.  On Tuesday morning, I ran two very slow miles before work.  I know this sounds lame, but it was emotional.  I thought about the hundreds, probably thousands, of people who were at the race that day and who are forever effected by what they experienced and heard and saw.  I prayed for the people who had been hurt and for their families.  I prayed that they continue to find ways to enjoy the sport that they love, that they worked so hard for.

I was on the fence about my next move with running.  There are several 5Ks that I’ve mentally committed to in the upcoming months.  I had toyed with the idea of an upcoming 10K in June.  My ultimate goal is to run a half marathon.  Its weird that when a tragedy occurs, even when its not to you or anyone you know, it touches you on an emotional level.  Sometimes you find personal clarity in all the public confusion.

The last few days have been full of invaluable lessons for everyone.  I can only speak for myself.

On Saturday, I learned that I can do whatever I want to, if I train hard enough and push myself.  I challenged what I thought were my personal limits and I exceeded them.  The bar is higher now.  On Sunday, I learned to celebrate my accomplishments and look towards future goals with new eyes.  Its true that arriving at one goal can be the starting point to another.  On Monday, I learned that life can change in the blink of an eye.

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And just like that, my 10K training starts.  You never know when everything can be taken away from you.  I have to do this now, because the future doesn’t come with a guarantee.  My feet are pounding the same pavements, but I see them through different eyes.  And for now, my heart is with the people effected by the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.

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