Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Morning Project

After wanting to for months, I planted a small container garden on our balcony. Honestly what caused me to take the plunge was an end cap at Target with organic potting soil and recyclable pots. The pots are made out of rice pods discarded after harvesting, and after using them or in the event they break, you can literally just bury them in the ground and they will decompose into the dirt. That's what the label says at least. We saw them earlier in the week, and I wanted to buy them right then and there. Jonathan suggested I make it a Saturday project, so I did a small amount of reading, convinced him it would not be a waste of money, and we headed back out this morning.

So we got a cherry tomato plant:

Note the bamboo skewer and twist tie preventing the plant from drooping over. Yes, years of reading Martha Stewart Living finally paid off.

We also got a jalapeno pepper plant:
You may be able to see two baby jalapenos already growing.

The small pots contain italian parsley, cilantro, and sweet basil. Considering that with almost every trip to the grocery store we purchase all of these ingredients (except the basil...way to expensive), I think we should get some use out of these plants. The purpose was partly just to do it. I dream of having a vegetable garden when we get a house one day, and this might help prepare me for that. We also hope it may save some money in the long run. Roma tomatoes were a dollar each at Schnuck's the other day. One dollar for a tomato!! The total cost of the set up was about $45: $25 for pots and soil at Target, $14 for the plants at a local nursery, $3.50 for gravel at Home Depot. We tried to get the gravel at the nursery and save a trip, but they only had 50 lb bags. Once we got to Home Depot and realized they also only had 50 lb bags, it was too far to drive back to the nursery. Does anyone need 48 lbs of gravel?

Hopefully in the next few months I will be able to update the blog with pictures of real tomatoes and jalapenos. I can't wait to make some yummy pico : )

Friday, May 23, 2008

The best laid plans...

Plans. Really, why do we make them?

It is Friday, and I didn't run at all this week. Put that in the "Megan is not a runner" box. Combination of being tired, working way too much, and feeling 'blah.' I have a 10k on Monday, which at this point in the best of circumstances I will hobble through at 1:40 like I did last year. Some people run marathons in that amount of time....well, almost. Maybe I will be moved to run a little on Saturday just to get the old legs used to working again.

Family is not feeling well either, so we are not having company this weekend. We are disappointed, because Jonathan and I had gotten ourselves excited about making plans of where we would go, what we would do, and (most importantly) what we would eat. This did help me relax a little bit last night when I watched the 2-hr season finale of Grey's Anatomy instead of cleaning my apartment.

Jonathan is going out of town next week with the boys from Multinational Ministries. First we thought he was going, and I emotionally prepared myself for being without him for five days. Then we thought he wasn't going, and I emotionally prepared myself for him being home despite all the plans I had made for his absence. Then we found out today that he is going, so I had to emotionally prepare myself all over again for a week alone with Sigma. Sigma is our cat who worships Jonathan and puts up with me. Hmm...maybe we will bond this week.

Whew, so life is never what we plan, but we keep making plans! We plan on having a baby in 3 years. We plan on Jonathan getting a job before he graduates. We plan on our Jeep lasting another 10 years. (no really, we do.) We plan on growing old together, and please God, take me before him! Deep thoughts for just a few little glitches in the weekend plans, huh? I suppose what this makes me think about is that I still like to control every little bit of my life, and that is a sure fire way to be disappointed in life. Having faith that my plans are secondary to God's, and that God has no 'plan B' for my life - that would make each day feel more worthwhile and peaceful.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Of course the week before the 10k is also the week I start a new position at work!! The timing couldn't be better : ) I was promoted to supervisor of foster parent training and recruiting this week, and I am very excited about the career move. In the past 4 years of working in child welfare, I have been too anxious about entering into management, but now I feel ready. Unfortunately, I have literally worked 12 hour days each day this week, thus I have not run at all!! Right now my plan is to run Thursday and Friday, stay active on Saturday, and rest on Sunday. Hopefully that will prepare me for Monday morning. : /

We have company coming this weekend, too! I love having people over, and I'm very excited : ) My mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law are coming into town for the long weekend, and it should be fun. Since we live 6 hours away from our closest family, it's always great to spend some time together.

Random blog, but I thought I needed an update...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Treadmill Run

I finally got back up to 3.1 miles today. 3.1 miles at 11:19 minute miles. That's the farthest I have ever run...farthest? furthest? I always get those confused. It is also the fastest I have run that distance. I am trying to steadily push myself to a 10 minute mile pace. I am behind in my training, as I should be at 5 miles at the end of this week, but alas I am still stuck at 3. Hopefully we'll be able to run 4 miles this Friday since both Becky and I have been doing pretty well to get our tempo runs in early in the week. I did feel pretty good driving home tonight, thinking that 3 miles isn't my long run, it's my tempo run. I needed that little boost of, 'yes, you are working your way to becoming a real runner.' I decided yesterday when I only ran 1.5 miles because I didn't feel good that I am not yet a runner. A runner would have run the whole three miles even if they felt sick. A runner would have the mental capacity to rise above tummy queasiness and keep going. That also got me thinking. Will I ever be a runner? I started my quest to become a runner a year and a half ago, and I'm still stuck at 3 miles. I had some apathetic and negative feelings about running yesterday, and when my foster parents (switching to work now) have apathetic or negative feelings, I tell them to dig down and remember their motivation for becoming foster parents. So, I had to dig down and remember my motivation for being a runner. Here it is:

1. I want to be healthy. In a county where it is so easy to be unhealthy (fast food, cars, sedentary jobs, etc.) I want to have a habit to help my heart, lungs, muscles, mind, and waistline.
2. I don't want to get abysmally fat when I, one day in the distant future, get pregnant and have a child. There is a contributor at who ran through her pregnancy, and I want to be her. Studies show that running is good for mom and baby, especially baby's heart and weight. I also don't want to get drugged up to have a baby, and anecdotally moms have said that being a runner helps with natural, drug-free child birth. (For those of you who think I'm crazy talking about this, my husband rolls his eyes when I start talking about child birth. We are no where even near even trying to have kids, and I spend waaaaay too much time thinking about it!!)
3. I want to look like a runner...or at least someone athletic. This is the purely superficial reason.

Those are my top three reasons, and hopefully they will help keep me going until I really feel like a runner and get addicted to it. If anyone else reads this and has some other reasons to run, I would love to hear them!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Before getting a manicure...

..check out your manicurist's nails. Mine yesterday apparently did not believe in cuticles, and now mine are nonexistent. I went to a spa yesterday to treat myself to a manicure. I had been to this spa previously for a mani and pedi, and loved the experience. The manicurist I had before actually inspired me to start running, because she had just finished the Memphis Marathon. I was hoping to get her again, but I couldn't remember her name. The lady who did my nails yesterday showed up late (it was a 9am appointment), chattered away the whole time about 80s movies, and made me bleed...TWICE! Although my nails do look nicer that if I had tried to manicure them, I'm not super impressed and wish I had spent $20 on something else. Sigh.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I didn't mean for this to turn into a running blog, but...

Yesterday I experienced something I have only read about in runners' magazines and blogs...leg cramps while running! I had read so much in the Boston and New York marathon sections of about leg cramps, but I couldn't imagine how you would get a cramp while running. Well, it's quite painful actually. I went to pilates again and then attempted to run two miles afterwards. The purpose of this is to train on running on tired legs. I'm attempting a 10k, and I know my legs will be tired half-way through the race, so I need to learn to just push through it to the end. During pilates, my triceps were cramping (how odd is that?), but my legs felt okay. I stretched a bit and hopped on the treadmill. Thanks to my iPod battery being charged (thank you, wonderful husband!) I was kicking along at a good 11 min/mile pace until about 3/4ths of a mile, when my calf just tightened up. I tried to 'run through it,' since I had read about other runners just 'running through the cramp.' Yeah, the cramp didn't go away, and I'm still a baby runner, so I stopped at one mile. After a bit of stretching it felt better, and it's fine this morning. I'm learning all about how important it is to 'listen to your body' and pace yourself instead of pushing too hard, too early. My question is, how do you deal with leg cramps in training? If you may very well have them during a race, shouldn't you have experience running through them? But when do you just need to stop, because isn't a cramp your body telling you that something is wrong?

If anyone reads this and has ideas, please let me know. Although, the only person that I know reads this is Becky...hmmm, but she has some running books. Maybe she can do research and help me out!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pilates kicked my butt! ...and other thoughts

I did my first pilates class ever yesterday, and I am quite sore today. When Jonathan asked what pilates was last night, I said "yoga on crack." If anyone else has a better way to describe it, please do share. The past week or so has not been all that great for my 10k training routine. My excuses were sickness (wah, wah, wah), packing the wrong kit on Monday (I packed for yoga, and then I got the the Y late, so I missed yoga, and running in yoga pants just does not me), and generally feeling blase about running. As the beginning of May loomed and with it the MLK Memorial 10k on May 26th, I felt the need to get back into the running groove. Since Wednesday is "2 mile run and strength" according to my training schedule, I decided to try pilates at the Y. The average age of the pilates participants was, ohhh...50. And they all kicked my butt...totally. The little Asian woman next to me asked me at the end if it had been too hard. A little miffed, I said, "Oh no, it felt great! Today was my first class." Another lady told me that she and her husband have come every week for two years, and she explained that yesterday's class was exceptionally difficult. Thanks 'second lady' for bringing my self esteem back up! After a quick drink and a change into running shorts, I ran two miles on the treadmill. At 11:00 minute miles - that's the fastest I have ever run two miles. I don't know if it was that my body was really loose after pilates or that my lungs and legs are now conditioned more, but it felt really good! I wasn't even super tired afterwards. I still do have trouble mentally getting through it, though. With about 10 minutes left to go, I got myself through by saying to myself in my head "10 minutes, 10 minutes.....9 minutes, 9 minutes..." etc. until I finished. At about 6 minutes left, I tried to think about what I was going to make for dinner and my to-do list for Friday, but I just couldn't do it. If any other runners are reading this, please give me advice on what to think about while running! I need to get past counting down minutes so that I can eventually run longer distances. Becky and I will attempt a 4-mile run on Friday afternoon. I have never run 4 miles before, ever. Even the 'journeys' I did as a 7th and 8th grader during track season were probably only three miles or so. I am hoping that if I can make it through 4 miles, 6 won't be too difficult. Hah! We'll see how that goes : ) I received an email from the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon today reporting that registration has officially opened - that was motivation enough to get my butt in gear so I can run 13 miles come December.

In other thoughts, today is the National Day of Prayer. My prayer life is pretty pathetic, as in short prayers throughout the day as I think of things and prayers before meals. When Jonathan and I were dating, we prayed regularly for and with one another. We asked God to pour his blessings on our relationship and to guide us daily. After we got married, we stopped praying together like that. I have been thinking that I am spending so much time planning out my running training, but I am not devoting one-tenth that much effort to my spiritual training. I'm not trying to turn this into a 'good works' thing, but rather that I know that to be spiritually healthy I need to pray and eat up God's word much like I am training my body to be physically healthy. The temple needs to be clean on the inside and out.

Those are my thoughts : ) Thanks for your time!