Monday, January 14, 2013

Progress and What I'm Thinking About

To help me keep on my fitness goals, I've decided to keep a spreadsheet. Because I'm a bit of a geek for this kind of thing, rather than fill in a boring spreadsheet, I put it in Google Drive, and made it a survey. This way, I have a link on my iPad, I click the link and fill in the survey (Weight, belly measurement, mileage and "did I eat drivethru this week: Y/N). It automatically timestamps it, and adds each response to my spreadsheet. Cool, huh?

Technically, I don't have enough data to actually confirm anything (two weeks), but I'm happy to report that both weight and belly are down! I am trying to do the measurements at the same time, but I didn't, so it could just be the difference between evening and morning.


On a wildly unrelated note, I spent my downtime this weekend thinking about my Garden! Why? That and running are the two things that de-stress me. Since I don't have much to actually DO in the garden just yet, I've been planning. What to plant, when to plant it, where to plant it, what to start indoors and when, what to plant stuff in when I plant it indoors... there's lots to think about, especially because I'm still learning.

I ended up dwelling on what to plant stuff in. Last year, I used left over plastic pots, and a few coir (coconut hull) pot strips that you're supposed to plant directly in the ground. The plastic pots didn't fit together well under my lights, and wasted space, and the coir pots were a pain in the a$$ - they didn't separate easily, and they didn't break down in the ground.

My alternatives are to buy more plastic pots that would fit together better, or buy peat pots that would (in theory) break down in the ground better. Then I came across this concept:
Photo Credit: Lee Valley
It's called soil blocking, and I'd seen it in my Lee Valley catalogue before, but it looked scary. Scary as in: :that looks like it could be a lot of work, and you must have to buy special fancy soil. But wait a minute, I LIKE doing this kind of stuff! And, after a little research, I'm pretty sure the soil for this won't cost any more than I would spend on soil anyway.

The more I look into it, the more appealing it is. The first thing I like about it is that the size of the blocks fit into my trays (and thus under the lights) better. Second, it seems that it creates very healthy root systems, which is really the main goal of starting plants early. It also minimizes transplant shock, because you put the small blocks into the big blocks, and the big blocks go straight into the ground. Lastly, if I buy these instead of peat pots, the tool pays for itself by the second year (based on how much I plant).

I think I've found a good use for the loose change I've been collecting.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Crazy Timing

Sometimes, the weather cooperates and you get that break in the clouds, or the perfect soft breeze to cool you off on a run...

Last night was not one of those times.

On the schedule was 9 hills. For the past couple of days, the weather has been unseasonably warm - warm enough to melt a lot of the snow we've had. I'd heard that it was going to get a bit colder in the evening, but the forecast was for -7 (C) or so; not too bad.

When driving home, and driving to the Running Room, the roads were dry, and the outside temp on my car was showing about -5 C. Still, not bad.

When I stepped out of the car in the parking lot, I noticed a couple of stray flakes. Still, not bad.

In the 5 minutes I was in the store, the wind started to kick up, and the snow was starting to really come down, to the point that running to the hill was shockingly difficult. Not because it's a hard run, but because stinging, wet, icy snow was driving into my face. I was wishing I had my ski goggles!

By the time we got to the hill, it was a full on blizzard, driving at us from the right side going up, and the left side going down. I had several thoughts of quitting, but by the time I'd run up and down three times, I was a little more acclimated (numb), and thought I might as well finish. If you're going to start to run in something like that, you might as well do the entire run so that the suffering is worth it!

By Hill #7, I noticed my face was stuck. Frozen in a weird, drooping, wind-blasted way. I took a photo, but iphoto is acting up, so you'll just have to imagine it.

The final icing on the cake was that by the time I got home, it had warmed up, and the snow and wind had completely stopped!! As crappy as all that was, it was a bit of an ego boost - I was able to stay at the head of the pack, and even more importantly, I toughed out that storm.

And the Garmin data:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Holy Crotch!

Every single pair of running shorts or tights I've ever worn has come apart at the seams - specifically, the crotch seam. Apparently, I'm hard on stuff. And my thighs rub together when I run.

This is frustrating. I really don't want to buy new stuff every year, but it seems like I have to. The only thing worse than clothing rubbing together and wearing out is my skin rubbing together and wearing out. Trust me, not fun. It's happened so often that although I routinely forget watch, sunglasses, jacket, or miscellaneous other vital gear, I never run without Body Glide.

The thing is, I don't think this will change even if I lose the few (dozen) pounds I need to. Maybe I should get one of these: