A Purpose

So that title sounds dramatic considering the content of this post.

I decided to start a vegetable garden.

I have been feeling a bit like I don’t have a purpose, lately.  I go to work, I take care of Nolan, I spend time with my husband, I occasionally clean parts of my house (very occasionally, and only parts).  But, I haven’t really had something all mine to get excited about.

And then one day (Monday to be exact) I fell into some homesteading blogs.  Now, while Josh may want to, I don’t see us picking up and moving to the mountains of WV (we do own land there) any time soon.  BUT, we do have plenty of room for a vegetable garden.

I ordered three raised 48″ x 48″ beds at Home Depot for pick up at the store Monday evening.  After dinner Josh, Nolan and I went to pick them up and get some other supplies, including the vegetables.

I did some Googling and figured out what could be planted this late in the season and decided on:

  • corn
  • zucchini
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • beans
  • carrots
  • bell peppers
  • watermelon
  • cucumber

At the store they had plants for tomatoes, edamame, peppers, cucumbers, and watermelon. For the corn, zucchini, lettuce and carrots I bought seeds.

When we got home we put together the beds (crazy easy) and Josh used the tractor to dump some composted leaves/dirt in the beds.  Awesome! I thought we were going to have to buy dirt.

I spent an hour or so removing rocks, roots, sticks, etc. from the dirt before going to bed.

The next day I started planning out the beds.  I tried to do it in my head/paper at first and then turned to SmartGardener.com.  Their website will recommend plants and spacing based on where you live and how much space you have.  Awesome!

This is what we have:

6-11-2015 10-25-40 AM

If you’ll recall, I only bought three beds.  As it turns out we need two more for proper spacing of the vegetables.  So, as of right now, and maybe for good, we only have the top three beds.

You’ll also notice no corn.  As it turns out, to grow corn you need at least 4 rows, spaced 2-3′ apart.  Not enough room in the beds for that.  What I may end up doing with the corn and extra watermelon is just planting some down the hill outside the fence and see what happens.  Or…I may buy two more beds for the watermelon and zucchini and just grow the corn down the hill.

Who knows?  Either, way, I’m super stoked to about it.  It was pretty darn easy with those raised beds, and now it’s mostly a matter of watering them and seeing what happens. Then start Googling when necessary.

I’m guessing the rabbits are going to be an issue at some point. Maybe the moles, too. Yes, our house is a zoo.

I basically have no idea what I’m doing, but am still hoping for the best.

So, here’s what we’re starting with…

Bed #3
Tomatoes in the back, carrots and lettuce (seeds so you can’t see them) and then one lone watermelon up front.
Bed #2
In the back are green and red bell peppers, then lettuce and two cucumber plants up front.
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In the last one are tomatoes in the back, then edamame are those long limbed ones, then carrot seeds next to them and in front are cucumbers.

Maybe my favorite part about putting in the vegetable garden was discovering a huge blackberry bush growing behind the garage.  I am beyond excited!!!  I can’t wait until they’re ready.  I’m going to save so much $$. :)

20150610_200022Oh, and…6 years ago, soon after we moved in, I planted a blueberry bush in the front yard. This is the first year where there are blueberries on it!!  Give it another 5 years and we’ll be giving them away by the basketful.

20150611_200312 20150611_200337While we’re not exactly homesteading, we are definitely making an effort to live off the land a little.  And there are pretty concrete plans to add a chicken coop soon.

The best part, I’m feeling a bit…purposeful…about it.

Dismal Swamp Stomp 2015

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I’m sure you’ve guessed by the slow posting of the recap that my half-marathon didn’t go the way I wanted it to.  I finished.  But my goal was 2:30:00 and I finished in 2:43.  Pretty far off.

I started out feeling good.  Like I’d fueled and hydrated properly.

IMG_20150411_074119The course is an out and back.  Soon after I started I realized I was right there with the 2:30 pacer (a volunteer who is experienced and will lead those with him/her to a 2:30 time).  I knew I wanted to grab water/gels along the way and might have to use the porta-potty so I thought it would be a good idea to get out ahead of the pace group for a while (I was wrong).

At the turn around (about 6.5 miles), I used the porta-potty (ew ew ew ew) and grabbed two gels (honey – ew ew ew ew ew).  I drank a little water at almost every water station, but not a lot, just a few sips.  I had one gel at the halfway point and saved the other for around 9 miles.

As I hit the turn around and was headed in the other direction I passed the pace group still headed the other way.  I think I might have had 2-3 minutes on them.

I was still feeling okay and just kept at it.  It was warm, but not too hot and not a lot of wind.  It was cloudy so I didn’t feel overheated.  I wore shorts, which I never do, but I’m glad I did, instead of tight black capris.  I did test the shorts on a 12 mile run because I hate shorts that ride up (which is all of them because I have big thighs).

I started to hit the wall at mile 10 and began doing walk/run intervals.  My left IT band was killing me.  Not my calf this, time, but a new bothersome issue.  And it just got worse and worse and worse.

Walking was a bad idea.  Once you’ve run that far, when you stop everything cramps up, so by mile 12 I was just walking.  I think the pace group passed me somewhere between mile 11 and 12.  SO disheartening.  I walked all of mile 12-13 until I could see the crowd and didn’t want to be put to shame.

I felt horrendous afterward. Actually, I felt terrible around the 12.5 mile mark.  Like I didn’t even know if I was going to walk to the finish.

Afterwards, Josh was there with Nolan and he brought me a coke and tried to get me to eat something, but all I could stomach was water for a good 30 minutes or so.  Nolan was super excited about the ambulance, but all I could think was, “Mommy’s going to be IN that ambulance if she can’t pull it together.”

I think it probably think it took me 45 minutes of water, a little coke, a few bites of pizza and some gummy bears before I could consider walking to my car, which seemed to far away.  Luckily Josh was parked closer and drove me there. ha.

results

I don’t know exactly what went wrong.  But here are my thoughts:

  • I knew I was coming down with a cold for most of the week leading up to the race.  I had swollen glands and a slightly sore throat.  As I predicted to friends and family, I became full blown sick the day after the race (and have now been sick for a good 8-9 days and am just now feeling better – now that Nolan is sick, ugh).
  • Based on all the leg cramping and how awful I felt afterwards, I think didn’t not hydrate properly.  Drink enough water is something I struggle with on a daily basis and this was no exception.  I did buy a hydration belt a few weeks prior, but it leaked everywhere, so I didn’t want to use it for the race.
  • Strength training- I didn’t do it. It’s hard to fit in 3-4 runs and strength training with Josh’s schedule, my work and a 2.5 year old.  But, I think it would have really made a difference in the IT band and calf issues I started having.

So, my plan for a future half marathon…

If you’d have asked me within a few days of the race I would have said, “Never!”  But, now I want a redemption race.  I want to put that 13.1 sticker on my car, but right now I don’t feel worthy.

My plan is to spend the summer focused on losing some weight and strength training.  I want to keep up a 6-8 mile endurance, running those distances every other weekend when Josh is off and then one shorter run during the week.  The weekends that Josh isn’t off I’ll try to do 3-4 miles with Nolan in the stroller if we can get out first thing in the morning before it gets too hot.

Then, come September I’ll start training for the Harbor Lights Half-Marathon which is in late November.  If I’m starting off with a 6-8 mile endurance it should give me some wiggle room for getting in my long runs and strength training, as well.

In conclusion…I finished. :) Thank for all the well wishes and support over the last few months.

Cooper River Bridge Run 10K (2015)

I figured I better get this post up before my next race (tomorrow!).

Josh and I did the Cooper River Bridge Run 10k two weeks ago on March 28th.  I was supposed to run it with his sister, but her husband got orders (Air Force) and they had to leave the morning of the race.  Josh decided he’d take her bib so I wouldn’t be out there running by myself.

This is the Cooper River Bridge.

Beautiful, right!?

The race started at 8AM, but because they expected 40,000 people (only 33k ran this year) it’s got shuttle buses to the start meaning we were up at 4:45 (big thanks to Josh’ parents for watching Nolan) to drive to downtown Charleston, park, get in line for the bus, drive to the start and get in our corral.

I think we made it to our corral around 7AM leaving us an hour to wait.  My only complaint about this whole process was the length of lines at the porta potties.  I may or may not have ended up going down a side street and finding a little alley hidden by bushes. I’ll never tell.

Josh hadn’t run since our 5k in November, so my plan was just to stick with him.  Also, I don’t have many hills to train on at home, so I didn’t know how I’d do on the bridge.  The course is about 2 miles before the bridge, 2 miles of bridge, and 2 miles into downtown.

There were so many corrals that we didn’t cross the start until 8:30.  Actually, at the last second I was able to duck into the now abandoned porta potties for a second before our corral crossed the start.

The first two miles were no problem and we enjoyed the bands they had playing at pretty frequent intervals.  Especially the 80’s inspired hair band who were rocking out in fringe vests, no shirts in 45 degree weather.

I myself had 3 layers on top, one of which I abandoned in the corrals. (I believe they donate everything left behind.)

I was really gearing up mentally for the bridge.  My goal was not to walk it, which I achieved.  The incline isn’t all that steep and didn’t last every long so I never felt like I wasn’t going to make it.  All the people and the music really helped, too!  From there it’s downhill for maybe a mile and then into downtown.  There weren’t as many bands after that point, but there were a lot of supportive spectators, which was really nice.

4-10-2015 9-02-16 AM  4-10-2015 9-02-33 AM

Josh and I decided to cross the finish holding hands.

4-10-2015 9-02-00 AM It wasn’t my fastest 10K, but it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed running with someone else for once (especially Josh).

Here’s my stats:

carolyn_results

And Josh (remember he was using his sister’s bib):

josh_results

Overall I thought it was a really fun race.  It’s a little pricey for a 10K at $70, but there was a nice expo, a lot of bands, and good party afterwards.  My biggest complaint was there was no medal.  For $70 I expect a medal.  We did get a t-shirt and a towel, but I’d much rather have a medal.

So, that’s it!  Next up…my half-marathon!!

Not What You Think

I bet you think I’ve been slacking off on posting because I don’t want to admit to not training for the half-marathon.

Nope.  Still going strong.

activities

I did my 11 mile run on Sunday.

11Miles

I barely survived it.  I truly hope the race goes a lot better. I stopped like 4 times for potty breaks and my achilles/calf is bothering me.  My lack of strength training lately is coming back to bite me,  I feel like my body is rebelling.  When I did my 9 miles run a few weeks ago it went great!  I didn’t think 2 miles would make such a difference.  I think a lot of it on this run was bad fueling and when I ran (afternoon).

I’m very  concerned about the lack of porta potties on the trail (this is where the race is located) and am praying to all that is holy they will have porta potties for the race.  I may even email the race directors to ask so I can prepare myself mentally.

This Saturday I am running the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K, which means if I want to get another long run in and have enough time to taper, I’ll have to do it in the middle of the week next week.

Josh’s sister was supposed to do the race with me Saturday, but her husband just got orders (Air Force) and they have to leave before the race. :(  So…Josh decided (totally unprompted by me) to run it with me.  I am really appreciative because this is a HUGE race (40k + people) and I really didn’t want to do it by myself.

So, anyway…that’s my running update! Only 2.5 more weeks to go until the race!  Fingers crossed my body can make it.

Half Marathon Training: Weeks 5 & 6

Week 5

  • Monday: Yoga at home
  • Tuesday: 3 mile run
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thurs-Saturday: Out of town
  • Sunday: 6 mile run

I told myself I was going to run twice when in South Carolina for a work retreat.  But, plans got interrupted, and I made choices to do things like hunt, fish and explore Charleston (again) rather than run.  And I don’t regret it.

A friend (Shout out, Kim!) offered to let Nolan hang out with her kids for a little while so I could get my 6 miler in.  It was much appreciated and I finished my run at a 10:55 pace with a few breaks for stretching and to use the porta potty.

Week 6

  • Monday: Nothing
  • Tuesday: 3 mile run
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: 5 mile run (at a 10:13 pace!)
  • Friday: 20 min. of yoga for runners
  • Saturday: 7 miles (at a 10:41 pace)

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This was probably one of my best weeks, yet.  I have definitely learned that training in winter means being flexible.  Thursday I had a doctor’s appt and afterwards I went home and did my 5 miles before going to pick Nolan up.  it was around 45 degrees when I left and the last mile was sleet the entire way. :/  It made me finish the mile pretty darn fast, though! 😉

I purposely skipped Friday’s run because weather was supposed to be bad on Sunday so I needed to do my long run on Saturday.  Josh took Nolan out for some man time and I ran 7 miles around the neighborhood at a 10:41 pace.


As you can see in the pictures above, I finally bought another GPS watch (Forerunner 10).  However, it didn’t work they way I wanted it to.  The GPS worked fine, it was just too hard to upload and look at stats. so I’ve returned it and swapped it for a Fitbit Surge.
I haven’t gotten a chance to use the GPS function…IMG_20150217_072714

but when I do I’ll make sure to review it.

My Mom

As most of you know, my mom passed away Thursday, January 15th at 9AM in Pensacola, Florida at Sacred Heart Hospital.

She had fought cancer for nearly 15 years.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, the Spring if I recall correctly. I remember her crying and saying she was sorry when she told me.  She was mad at her self for skipping her yearly mammogram.

I remember asking her if she wanted me to stay home from a college trip to France.  She, of course, wouldn’t entertain the thought. My uncle (who, himself,  died a couple years later from cancer) came down to help her through the double mastecomy and initial radiation and chemo treatments.  Thinking back on it, I was so damn self-involved.  It’s my biggest fault.  I should have stayed.  I should have been there.  Another fault of mine is terrible long-term memory (hence the blog) so maybe I wasn’t as absent as it seems in my own head. I hope not.

After the initial surgery and treatment she was in remission for a few years, taking tamoxifen, a maintenance drug.  Unfortunately, her body built up a tolerance and the cancer came back.  I don’t remember all the details, but I remember it being on a rib, on her spine, etc.  She fought it over and over again.  Times without treatments became fewer and farther between.  The last few years there was little to no respite between treatments.  Eventually, it was the chemo that killed her, not the cancer.  In fact, just two weeks before she died she said her most recent PET scan was great and the cancer was much reduced.  But, her body just couldn’t take it anymore.  She started retaining water and we later learned it was a sign of her kidneys and liver beginning to shut down.

Two weeks ago my mom’s boyfriend texted to say he had to take her to the hospital for dehydration.  The next day he told me her kidneys were failing, but they were trying to get her kidney function back up.  If they couldn’t she’d need dialysis.  Either way, she couldn’t tolerate anymore chemo so it would just be a matter of riding out the cancer.  The next morning he said she had only days so I booked a flight the following day.  A few hours later he called back and said she had only hours and asked if I wanted to talk to her.

There’s nothing like saying goodbye to your mom in the hallway at work and trying to figure out how to convey 34 years of appreciation and love.  She was pretty well doped up on pain meds, but I could understand her a couple of times as she said “I love you.”

After that I went to my desk and re-booked my flight.  Delta re-booked it for free and I was on the plane in an hour. Josh met me at the airport with a bag.

I arrived at the airport around 6pm.  My brother was already there with his wife and my nephew.  I was shocked by my mom’s appearance.  She pretty much looked like every dying cancer patient you’ve ever seen on TV.  They tried to dial down her dose of pain meds to see if she would become coherent at all, but it never made a difference.  She was basically sleeping the whole time, which I am somewhat thankful for, I certainly didn’t want her to be in pain.  We stayed with her until around 10 and then went to a hotel.  Back in the hospital by 7:30 and she died right at 9AM.  I won’t go into details, but it was pretty peaceful.

She wanted to be cremated and have her ashes spread at a mountain in Arkansas.  In the end, it made more sense to not have an immediate service.  Instead, I will be planning one for the first weekend of May right before her birthday.  We will have the service at the base of the mountain and then those who are able will climb it for the spreading of the ashes.

Having no service, yet, has been hard.  Funerals really are for the living.  Her old co-workers and he boyfriend’s co-workers had a service for her last Thursday evening at the chapel in the nursing home where she used to work.  I did the program, which helped a little.  I wish I could have been there.

(click to enlarge)

mom_friends_funeralProgram_Page_1 mom_friends_funeralProgram_Page_2

Music:

Stand By Me – Playing for Change

I Hope You Dance – LeeAnn Womack

For the moment, we’re left with a ton of paperwork to distract us, a rental house in Florida that’s now my responsibility, a memorial service to plan and many a sleepless night wondering if I told her enough that I loved her.  Wondering if I made her proud (not if she was proud of me…I know she was, she always told me that), but if I was who she always wanted me to be.

It helps to know that she’s in a better, pain-free place.  As we keep telling Nolan…

“Bebe’s in heaven.  She’s an angel now.”

 

Little Bites

Nolan: I want candy!

Josh: Do you have any money?

Nolan: Yes! Downstairs!

Me: Downstairs? Where downstairs?

Nolan: In mommy’s bag!

LOL…

I’ve put Nolan to bed already…

Nolan: Mommy! Mom! Mama!

Me: What, Nolan?

Nolan: I need to go potty!

Me: ::takes him potty, he does nothing, put him back in bed, kiss him and leave::

Nolan: Mommy! Mom! Mama!

Me: What, Nolan?

Nolan: I need noise.

Me: :: turns on noise machine::

Nolan: Not too much! (while shaking his finger at me)

Me: ::turns down noise machine, kiss him, and leave::

Nolan: Mommy! Mom! Mama!

Me: What, Nolan?

Nolan: I need lotion!

Me: ::puts lotion on his face and hands (he refused lotion before bed), kiss him and leave::

Nolan: Mommy! Mom! Mama!

Me: What, Nolan?

Nolan: Cover me up!

Me: Put his covers on him, kiss him, say I love you and head towards the door::

Nolan: I love you! Get out now!

brat

 

Half-Marathon Training: Week 1

Half marathon training has officially begun!!  I’ve added a page at the top where I will link to all the weekly posts and keep my training schedule.

Monday: NOPE! I had a hard time getting motivated and missed Day 1’s 3 mile run.  Not really the best way to start off.

Tuesday: 60 minutes Elliptical

Wednesday: This was a reminder that Wednesdays are really hard to work out.  I have two lunch time meetings that are weekly so I can’t go at lunch.  I didn’t complete the scheduled 2 mile run and altered my training plan so my long run is Sundays and Wednesdays are rest days.

Thursday: 3 mile run (this was one of the coldest days of the year so I did it on the treadmill)

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 60 minute yoga class at the Y

Sunday: 4 mile run

I’m going to have to figure out how to be flexible without losing sight of the plan.  I think there will be many weeks with 3 runs/week rather than 4.

I’m also not sure how I’m going to get all my longer runs in.  When Josh is working the weekend on night shift I’ll either have to go during nap time, or when the runs get longer than that towards the end, I’ll have to do it after Josh gets up, which sucks because that means I lose the time with him.

Interestingly, day shift might actually be harder because he won’t be home until 7:30 at night.  I guess we’ll work it out and I might not hit my goal of running 13 miles a couple of times before the race.  I might only work up to 12, which is fine, I guess…that’s how a lot of training plans were.  I just feel better when I’ve done the entire distance.

 

Little Bites

One day last week we were driving home from daycare and Nolan was a bit grumpy (getting two molars).

Nolan: “Leave me alone!” (I guess he wanted me to STFU.)

Me: “Okay. I’ll leave you alone.”

Nolan: “Hold my hand!” “No leave me!”

Gladly, my Nolan bear.


 

Nolan leans in and gives me a kiss.

Me: “Awwww! Thanks!”

Nolan: “Booger kisses!!” (Cackles with laughter)

Ew.


 

I’m using the voice search on my phone, prompted with “Ok, Google…”

Nolan: Whatcha doin’, mommy?

Me: Using my phone.

Nolan: You talkin’ to Google?

Ha. Yes, I guess I am.

 

 

Photo Dump

This is mostly a photo dump so don’t get too excited. ;)

These first pictures are from Hunt Club Farm back at the end of October (yes, again!).  An organization at work has started doing Hunt Club’s Harvest Festival as an event.  The first 50 kiddos even get their own pumpkin.

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IMG_20141026_131705Heyyyy….chicken, chicken, chicken!

IMG_20141026_131917And this…this is just a picture of a cute sleeping baby (even, though he now tells me he’s not a baby, he’s a big boy…then 5 minutes later he tells me to rock him like a baby…ha).

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In other news… I was hanging on to a couple of gift cards from his birthday and I finally caved (I made it soooo close to Christmas) and bought him more Legos.  Up to now he’s been playing with Josh’s Legos from the 80’s, which includes, “80’s something spaceship-man.”  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about you need to watch the Lego Movie)

I bought just a bin of bricks that had a few special pieces to make animals.

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We’re Lego building fools. Actually, we mostly build, and he mostly takes apart.

IMG_20141124_185911(that’s a runway, airplane, and air traffic control tower above in case you were wondering.)

For Thanksgiving we drove down to my in-laws near Charleston, SC.  It was a fantastic visit, which we really needed because when we went at Easter it was a disaster with everyone getting sick and us leaving early.

I let Nolan forward face in his carseat for the first time on the trip.  I thought he’d make a big deal out of it, but he made no mention of it.  Didn’t seem to notice.  I’ve still got him rear facing in my car since I drive him around the most, but when we put this seat back in Josh’s car when we got back we forward faced it.

IMG_20141126_111216Goliath stole Nolan’s lap for a little while.  Nolan was unimpressed at first, yelling, “Get off!”

IMG_20141127_133036The head of the table had the highest chair so Nolan got to be the big man for Thanksgiving dinner.

One night, Josh and his dad put together the miniature steam engine Josh got his dad last year for Christmas.  Nolan was fascinated. It was actually pretty cool to see it work.

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IMG_20141129_164833IMG_20141129_164954Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend Josh and I left Nolan with the in-laws and we went out to dinner in downtown Charleston.  Man, I love Charleston.

First we had drinks at The Blind Tiger.  Then we had dinner at Blossom and it was fantastic!!

Our night ended on a sour note at Carmella’s, though.  I was super excited to try out a dessert bar, but the service was iffy and my dessert was “meh.”  I did find out there’s another dessert bar in Charleston called Kaminsky’s, so we’ll have to check that out next time.

Overall it was a wonderful night and I can’t wait to do it again.

On Sunday we drove back.  Hit some traffic on 95 and took the scenic route instead.  It was actually really nice.  The Nolan bear took a long nap which was nice, though he did wake up crying a few times when we had to slow down or stop.  Thankfully he was able to go back to sleep.

IMG_20141130_132748So, that’s about it for my photo dump.  We’ve got a ton of stuff going on over the holidays and are visiting my family over Christmas so there will be plenty more where that came from.

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!