Saturday, July 7, 2012

Down and dirty

I didn't have high hopes.

We got a late start. Indiana soil is practically all clay. I have never planted from seed. And then there's the weather - hot, dry and stupid.

However, I am happy to say that things in Garden du Moi are looking good. Quite good, if you ask me.

My zucchini plant - well, one of them - is enormous and I see little buds ready to open.

My yellow squash plant is getting there. The leaves seemed to grow exponentially after last weekend's crazy storm. Their next-door neighbors, some cucumber plants, are doing alright though not as impressive in size.

And my tomatoes? Well, I couldn't be happier.

I have a couple plants with young fruit and a couple more with flowers.

I have a few varieties, though I'm not sure which as a co-worker gave me a mixed "bag" of plants that she had started from seed.

While I had luck with my tomatoes for the first part of last summer, I am doing things a bit differently this year. I finally "invested" in cages (77 cents at Menards this week!) and I'm only watering every other day or every three days, opting for a good soak when I do.

I also planted (not that bush - it was just pretty) some small-sized carrots and bibb lettuce. I see some carrot tops poking through and there's baby lettuce leaves. However, with everything going on, I have to say that the lettuce is the most intimidating. I am not sure when to harvest it and whether it will grow back when I do.

How does your garden grow? Any tips on the lettuce?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Food Friday: I tried it - Arctic Zero

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned.

Cardinal Sin No. 1: I went grocery shopping without a list.

Cardinal Sin No. 2: I went grocery shopping hungry.

Cardinal Sin No. 3: I went grocery shopping while Miles was at daycare thus giving me the freedom to cruise up and down the aisles at the slowest pace possible, looking at anything and everything my heart desired.

While I'm proud to say that I did manage to stick within the budget (sort of) and I passed up the Diet Coke (Fanta Orange Zero and Diet Barq's instead), I failed to resist the temptation of something new to my Kroger and old in the blog world.

Arctic Zero product review

Arctic Zero "ice cream"

Called a "protein shake in ice cream form,"  the company website says, "Arctic Zero is a high quality frozen dessert that is all natural, gluten free, suitable for lactose intolerants, and low glycemic. Like 'super foods,' we like to call it a 'super dessert' since it feeds the muscle and starves the fat due to the high quality whey protein concentrate and low calorie/low carb formula."

Of course, that's not what they put on the label. The packaging touts that its a frozen dessert with 150 calories per pint. Yes, the entire carton has the same amount of calories that one serving of low-fat ice cream does.

Coming off my "I'm on vacation" sugar buzz, I found myself reaching for a container of Mint Chocolate Cookie and putting it in the cart - despite its $5+ price tag.

Arctic Zero product review
I got home, excited to try my new find, but waited until after dinner. I pulled out the pint and grabbed a spoon, ready to dig in. And I dug. And dug some more. After what seemed like quite a bit of effort, I finally got a bite.

"Hmm," I thought. "Not very creamy. More icy than anything but it does taste minty."

Arctic Zero product review

I struggled to get several more bites to put on a graham cracker, which turned out to be an epic fail. Arctic Zero is not meant to be the middle of an ice cream sandwich. I sort of just ate the graham crackers and licked the zero. It was a "meh" experience.

Arctic Zero product review

The next day I decided to try Arctic Zero the way it was meant to be enjoyed - pint in one hand, spoon in the other. I did defrost it a bit in the microwave to make it more scoopable. First bite, OK. Second bite, ick - whey. Third bite, I guess I can keep eating it. I ate about half - or 75 calories worth - before offering Mark a taste.

He sat there for a moment. Then wrinkled his nose. Then he stuck out his tongue as if to spit out the taste.

"What do you think?" I asked.

"It tastes like (insert very crude statement about bodily functions)," he replied.

Final verdict: OK but not worth the price. If you need a frozen treat lower in calories, pick up a box of sugar free fudge pops. If you feel the need to eat an entire pint of ice cream, it's possible that you might have portion-control issues that need more than just Arctic Zero. (Note: Previous comment made with all sincerity.)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

At the top: A Vita winner

I hope one of you folks is hungry because we have a VitaTop winner.

Congrats, mama! Email me your shipping info + email addy + phone number (I promise not to call at 2 a.m.), and I'll get this going.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Be brave, be Boulder

I'd like to think I've been a lot of places but the truth is that I haven't. I've just been very lucky to pick very great cities when I do get to venture outside of Indiana.

However, even in my limited travels, I feel confident saying that Boulder is by far one of the most active cities in the country. Everywhere we went, there were people on the move. Cyclists clad in team jerseys pedaled up gargantuan hills, and incredible runners navigated the trails at swift paces with coaches trailing behind. (I'm pretty sure I saw an actual Kenyan running during my 11-miler with Jess.)

And while that run definitely took a toll on me, I couldn't help but be filled with a sense of Boulderness and the urge to stay active my entire trip.

On Sunday, after waking up early, Mark and I commandeered a BOB and went for a family run on the nearby Davidson Mesa Trail.

The trails were amazing - a fine gravel - that wound through a field with the mountains in the background. 

We took our time over the course of the three miles, catching our breath when necessary and grabbing every photo we could. It just felt like a run to remember, and I didn't want to squander it by obsessing about pace or mileage.

It was by far my slowest run in MONTHS but I couldn't help but smile. I was in (my) paradise.

After our run, I took a shower and got ready for my second workout of the day.

When planning our trip to Boulder to visit my sister-in-law and her new baby, I made it my mission to make sure Mom got her own time. 

I didn't know what she would want it to be - eating breakfast with two hands, a home-cooked meal or pedicures - but I was glad she agreed to get her downward dog on at one of the places I had only heard about - lululemon!

The free community class at the Boulder storefront was taught by the folks behind a new studio in Boulder, Radiance Power Yoga. It was a Baptiste style class and although I don't really know what that means, I do know I did plenty of chatarungas and poses that awakened this runner's tight hips.

The class was the first one I've taken since I was about 20 weeks pregnant, and I was very much reminded of the challenge and benefits that yoga provides. It can be pricey but I'm hoping that I can try to squeeze in a session here and there as my BODYPUMP instructor training winds down and marathon training ramps up. 

While we were flipping our dog, the dads pushed around the strollers and drank Starbucks.

Miles enjoyed his taste of the Strawberries & Creme but I think he enjoyed the idea of being a yogi even more :) 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Marathon Monday: Week 3

This week, in running:

Monday - 3.04 miles, easy
Tuesday - 5.43 miles, easy
Thursday - 6.18 miles, tempo
Saturday - 11 miles, long run
Sunday - 3 miles, easy

I'm going to cut to the chase: I came up short on my miles this week. The schedule said 12 miles with 6 at goal pace, and I ran 11 slow, slow miles.

But I have a good reason.

I was running there.

And where is there? There is a place with an elevation of 5,000 feet. There is a place with flat trails and no shade. There is Boulder, Colorado. There is a place I got to explore with the fantastic Jess.

Mark, Miles and I headed west this weekend to visit our new niece and as fun as it is to cuddle a 6-week-old, I was antsy to explore the state in the best way I know how - running. It's good thing, too, as I still had a marathon schedule to keep.

I had emailed Jess a few weeks before my trip to see if she would be up for accompanying (aka motivating) me for at least part of my long run. Thankfully, she didn't think I was a total creep and instead obliged, picking out a gorgeous trail just east of Boulder near the creek and reservoir.

We met at 7 a.m. to try to beat the heat, stashed our supplies in her car and got ready to run. I warned her that I might slow her down, unsure of how the altitude and extreme sleep deprivation of traveling with a toddler on DST would affect me, as we waited for satellites on our respective GPS devices. Once found, we took off at what seemed like a swift pace. I was sure we were running at an 8:30 and looked down to see we were running at nothing.

Can you guess what I did? I forgot to start the MOTOACTV. Go me! Well, as luck would have it, Jess forgot to start her Garmin, too. We were made to be running partners :)

We "officially" got started and wound along the trail, through fields and next to Boulder Creek as the Flat Irons stood majestically in the distance. It was fantastic and even more fantastic was talking to Jess. We found each other in the blogosphere when we were both pregnant, bonding over the same due date and running with a baby on board.  Now, our little ones are on the brink of turning one! It's amazing how time flies.

We periodically took breaks for water and for me to catch my breath. Sometimes it was because I was startled (like a big baby) by prairie dogs and other times it was the elevation. I didn't feel like I was having a hard time breathing, per se; I just felt very out of shape.  I managed fairly well until the last two miles or so when our pace dropped considerably. I was just done and making it even a half-mile seemed mean. However, you sort of have to get back to the car.

Friends, that's the beauty of out and backs.

We got back to the trailhead strong and began to stretch. We relayed data and both realized we were so close to 11 miles - I had 10.92 - and we both liked even numbers, mileage-wise. So we did what any tired runners would do. We clicked start again, sprinting down the trail as if we were fresh until we hit 11.

And then we walked. You know, to stretch out the legs. We did some more stretching and snapped a few photos before parting ways.

Thanks, Jess, for being such an awesome running partner. I wouldn't have made it those miles without you!