Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Container Garden

After much inspiration from friends like Jessi and sites like My Square Foot Garden, I decided to start a vegetable garden this year. I drooled over Jessi's homegrown veggies all last summer and I was determined to have my own. 

Since Josh and I live in a rent house, starting a real garden is out of the question. Thats why we are trying to grow all of our vegetables in containers, aka-leftover flower pots and Lowes 5 gallon buckets. But first, Josh decided that I needed something to sit my containers on, so he built me a pretty table.
Then we stained it. This was the first thing Josh ever built on his own. I'm quite proud.

At the moment, I am trying to grow a few things indoors. If all of these seeds make it, I'm going to have a ton of extra plants to go around.

On the left: Mixed Lettuce
On the right: Mixed Basil


Only one little cilantro has sprouted on the bottom left. The others are still quietly sleeping.

Now for the big-boy plants: 

Orange Bell Pepper

Red Bell Pepper









And some Marigolds and Alyssums for color and pest control

When I'm home, I check these babies about every 3 hours to see if there are any new developments. Alas, no harvest yet. But hopefully in a few months I'll be out here every day to find something new. 

Make sure you come back to see how my container garden grows!

Monday, March 26, 2012

On A Boat

Josh and I spent last week on a boat. We ate, drank, and relaxed each day. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, so instead of boring you with an essay, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Lots of amazing food
Fresh guacamole
Steamed veggies at every meal
Two desserts at every meal

We actually worked out every day.
This was one of my favorite parts! 
Up by 8 every morning and headed straight to the treadmill. 
If I only had time to do this in my real life.

 A few drinks
Okay, more than a few.
And our bill at the end of the trip reflected that.

Plenty of fun in the sun
SPF 50 all around for these two white bodies.
I swear we were the two palest people on the boat.

 And of course some formal pictures
Thank you honey, for taking these beautiful pictures so seriously.
I don't think the photographer appreciated it much.

We had a wonderfully relaxing time and we were dragging our feet to get back to the real world. After a week of being waited on, it was quite an adjustment to actually fix our own food and make our bed. Woe is me.  

Did you get an spring break? Or where you an adult and work all week?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bon Voyage!

Josh and I are about to head out on the high seas for the week! My brother won a cruise and graciously gave it to his favorite sister and brother-in-law, saying "You need to relax." Oh yes I do Big Brother.

See you guys in a week!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Confusing Equations

Well, since I last checked in from my awesome, yet challenging, half marathon I have been quite busy. Immediately after I crossed the finish line 70 seconds late, I vowed to kick some butt and be ready to tackle my next 13.1 by the end of spring. Now that I've had a few days to let things settle, I'm not quite sure if I'm wanting to jump back into training so quickly. 

So instead I've decided to take a completely radical approach- I'm going to just let the cards fall where they may. What, relaxed Alex? Non-planning Alex? Are pigs flying? No, no. I'm just taking a breather, I think.

I am going to continue my speed work during the week and long runs during the weekend, but not put myself on any schedule. If by late April I feel prepared, I'm going to dominate a half. Like, I'm going to make it beg for me to never come back...cry that my Asics ever stepped foot on it's asphalt. 

Speaking of Asics, my new pair came in this week! And yes, they are the exact same pair...why fix it if  it isn't broken?! I trained plum through my last pair.
And speaking of getting in some good runs, I had a easy and slow recovery run on Saturday, tackling 8 miles around my neighborhood. 

Then yesterday I picked it up for a 4 mile tempo run. We are having incredibly beautiful weather here in northwest Arkansas so it was the perfect day to take the dogs to the dog park. I had the inventive idea of running to the park (plus a few detours) to meet Josh with the pups. Two birds, one stone. Only thing was the entire run was uphill, with ridiculous head wind. Yuck! I hate hills, and I only tolerate them because you always get the reward of running down them...except if you are only running one way. Despite the mountains and life threatening wind (over dramatic, never...), I still managed an average 9:48 pace.
And the reward? Getting to see my furr-balls have a blast. They wear themselves out!
So, the new plan? No plan...except what my running coach Nora recommends I do. Yea, that's right. I have a running coach. She is pretty awesome and excepts payments of BBQ and KrispieTreats. 
This may seem counter productive: No plan + running "coach"= confusing. Look, I don't make the rules people. I'm just running. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Orleans Rock N Roll Half Marathon Recap

I don't know what has been my problem, but it has been so hard to get motivated to write this post. First, I was all whiney: "Boo hoo, I didn't meet my goal time." Then I was in denial: "If I don't write the recap, then it didn't happen." And then I just got busy: "I have no time for blogging! I've got to spend every waking hour training for the next one!"

But I forced myself to do it tonight. Let the story begin... 

On Saturday, Josh, my mom, stepdad, and I woke up bright and early to travel the 6.5 hours to New Orleans (yes, that is a really fast time from Little Rock...but that is because my stepdad can't go under 90 miles per hour). We made it to the Expo in plenty of time to spare before it closed; Josh bought himself a Spibelt and I got a cute new running headband. Priorities people.
Josh and I at the NOLA RNR Expo
My mom is amazing, but a good photo taker she is not.
Love ya mom!

We then made our way to our cute hotel. Seriously, I am love with the New Orleans architecture! We stayed at the Frenchman Hotel, which was a short walk from the French Quarter and our starting line. 

We ended the night walking around and eating our way through New Orleans- when we weren't running, this was basically what we did the entire 3 days. Fabulous!
Sunday Josh and I woke up bright and early, and dragged our support crew along with us.
Mom and me at the start line. 
Oh yes, those are my ROCKING new arm warmers.

Josh and I quickly split from my mom and step-dad to hit the port-a-potties then find our corral. I was really excited to be with Josh during his first big race. (Because lets be honest, he doesn't even count his first attempt at 13.1 miles). I hadn't given much thought to my own personal goals for this race. Setting a personal record has always been my goal at any race, but at the last minute I decided I not only wanted to run negative splits but also finish by 2:15. 
Once the gun went off, it took us over 30 minutes to reach the start.
Over 20,000 runners! 
I knew the first few miles were an out-and-back, but I didn't realize it was 7.5- mentally exhausting! But luckily, it was along the beautiful street of St. Charles Ave which is lined with trolly cars and beautiful, historic homes.

The scenery made the 7.5 miles totally worth it. A little before the 7 mile mark, I began playing some pretty serious mind games. I kept trying to calculate the pace I needed to keep if I wanted to reach the finish by 2:15. I found myself re-playing the 10K from the previous weekend and knew I could push myself further than I thought. But the moment I started to think confidently, I began to sabotage myself.

The mental games kinda went like this: "Alex, you can totally do this! You've got over 6 miles. Ha! You think you can keep that pace all by yourself!? Your legs are already shot and there really is no way you can do it."

Here I am, trying to be all confident because my arm warmers are awesome. Seriously. Arm warmers are awesome. Saucony, I expect to hear from you soon. Yes I am willing to be a sponsor.
Can you find Josh?

See, I'm so fast in my arm-warmers my mom couldn't even catch a photo of me. Vroom!
So, if mind-games were bad at 6.5 miles, then they were purely demonic at mile 10. The mental bashing went something like this: "Why the heck are you even doing this race?! You don't deserve these awesome arm warmers. You already backed out of the full marathon because you're such a loser! You are so dumb!"

Now if that doesn't knock you down, I don't know what will. At the pace I was going, I needed to keep a 10:00 pace for the next 3.1 miles to make it to the finish in 2:15. I told myself I couldn't do it. I convinced myself I couldn't do it. And I didn't do it.

Mile 1-10:31
Mile 2-10:28
Mile 3-10:29
Mile 4-10:34
Mile 5-10:35
Mile 6-10:37 <--The mind games are working
Mile 7-10:26
Mile 8-10:09
Mile 9-10:28
Mile 10-10:10
Mile 11-10:03 <--"See Alex, you can't do it." 
Mile 12-10:35<-- Officially gave up.
Mile 13-10:19
Total-13.21, average pace- 10:23

A new personal record, but 70 seconds short of my true goal. Curse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sort of had some negative splits, but should I have kicked it up a little more toward the beginning? I definitely shouldn't have walked those few water stops....and the mind game continues.

But despite my blah performance, this seriously was one of the best races I've ever ran. The weather was amazing, the course was perfect, and support was wonderful. I want to run New Orleans again, and again, and again. 
And the fact that Josh had a successful race made it that much better! He rocked it! So proud of him.
While I didn't reach my ultimate goal, I sucked it up because this race was amazing!! The race itself couldn't have been more perfect, I set an new PR, and my hubby dominated.