Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Front Room Update: April 2014

Here's what our front room looks like at the moment. It's the same colors as the backroom and the entry/hall. Grey is the new neutral, you guys.

And here's what the room looked like when we moved in.

The mattress were put there to get them out of the way when we moved Grandpa and Grandma but the rest of the furniture really did live in that room. It was quite full. It's amazing how much bigger it looks now.

We haven't done as much with this room as we have with some of the others. We took down the window treatments and painted every. single. surface. But there wasn't any wall paper or decrative elements to worry about. In fact on the day of the auction this room was completely empty!

It became a holding room of sorts for a few months while we painted the back room and stored some furniture for my brother-in-law. But now it's painted and put to rights. Once again this room needs ART. So many empty walls, so many ideas.

Here's the after photo again. See how much better it looks? This room makes me a very happy girl :-)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bathroom Update: April 2014

Yay! Our bathroom is looking awesome!

And what it used to look like:

Ah the bathroom. Our poor, poor bathroom. It has moisture problems because the bathroom exhaust fan isn't vented. We've know this was a problem for a while. But you can't peel up shingles and cut holes in the roof when it's cold and wet outside. So we painted the bathroom and waited on the fan. And now our lovely ceiling is starting to flake again. So I get to do the scraping and sanding again after we replace and vent the fan! Lucky me!

On the bright side, our bathroom is currently gorgeous! Well, except for those lights but they'll go away someday!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Run 2014: Week 5

Tuesday, April 8th: 2.04 miles in 17:51, average pace 8:45
      This was the fastest I have run in a long, long time, I think maybe ever. And it felt really good. It wasn't any harder than my last four mile run despite being more than a minute faster. The weather was beautiful. 55F, the sun was shining, and it was very still. My ankle did quite well. It didn't begin to ache until around mile 1.8 and even then it was very mild. The pain didn't linger after I stretched either. So a definite improvement.

Thursday, April 10th: 2.05 miles in 17:32, average pace 8:34
     This run was a little faster than Tuesday's and that is crazy insane! It was hard. My legs felt really tired and heavy and I felt like I was breathing hard. I had added some more ankle exercises to my stretches and I think that made a difference. My ankle did well again. Some aching at the very end but not until even closer to the 2 mile mark. We also had beautiful weather. 68 and winds of 12mph or so. It was my first shorts/sports bra run of the year :-)

Still though. I can't get over my time. I didn't feel like I was running as fast as Tuesday at all. I actually thought I was going quite a bit slower so that was a very happy surprise when I looked at my phone. I didn't believe it until I compared mine to Justin's. I'm excited though! Now to keep it up.

Saturday, April 12th: 2.05 miles in 17:53, average pace 8:42
     This was definitely my hardest run all week. I was having a had time steadying my breathing and was feeling pretty nauseated. I'm not sure whether to contribute that to being overheated or that we left for our run immediately after breakfast. I was definitely over dressed though. It was sunny and 58 when we were heading out. That definitely doesn't call for a tank top or arm warmers.

I started feeling my ankle a little earlier on this run, around 1.5 miles instead of 1.8. It didn't really hurt though. It was more just that I was aware of it being a little off. But it settled right in after I stretched it out some. Things are looking good though.

Overall thoughts:
      I made a couple of changes this week. I began some intensive stretching and exercises targeting my posterior tibial tendons. I am going ahead and doing all the stretches and exercises on both ankles since my right ankle hurt in 2012 and my left ankle hurts now. I figure that they both need it. So far it does seem to be helping quite a bit. The pain has been getting less during runs and is still completely disappearing the rest of the time.

This week I also switched from my winter shoes (Merrell Barefoot Lithes) to my summer shoes (Merrell Barefoot Pace Gloves). To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the Lithes. They're more of a soft shell shoe so they're warmer and more wind/rain resistant than the Pace Gloves but they're not anywhere near as comfortable. The Pace Gloves are a more flexible shoe, both in the sole and the uppers. I have fallen several times while wearing the Lithes and, the past couple of weeks, I found that I was occasionally scuffing my toes on the ground while I was running in the Lithes. I've been wearing the Pace Gloves on this week's runs and I haven't had any problems like that so far. I'm hoping that having a lighter and more flexible shoe will be easier on my ankle as well since there won't have so much resistance from the shoe.

All together though, I am pleased with our runs this week and particularly with our pace. I know it'll drop some as we increase the distance but it's very nice to know that I am capable of this much speed. I'm hoping to maintain as much speed as possible as we ramp up the miles. Ideally I'd like to speed train to get myself to a place where I'm consistently running a 8-8:30 minute mile for my long runs. But that'll take just a tad bit of work and for now I'm just going to focus on distance. One thing at a time.

Fort4Fitness: 24 weeks
Huff: 36 weeks

Friday, April 11, 2014

Run 2014: Plans & Goals

The history of my running career is short, choppy, and looks something like this:

January: Begin training for Huff 50K
April: Run Winona Lake 10 mile and love it.
August: Tendonitis begins.
September: Run Fort4Fitness half marathon and, wow! So much fun!
October: Take a month long break to go to New Zealand.
November: Pick running back up and immediately get hit by the tendonitis again.
December: Admit that there's no way I can run a 50K in two weeks and drop out. Sad day.

March to October: Struggle to get into the groove again and only run 13 times.
December: Realize that I really, really, really want to try for the Huff 50K again. 

January: Decide with Justin to commit to the training for the Huff 50K.
March: The snow finally melts enough to start training! Here we go!

When you look at all this it makes us seem kind of crazy. In 2011 we decided that we wanted to run both the Fort4Fitness and the Huff 50K. We weren't currently training and we had never been true runners. In fact the farthest that I had ever run was 2 miles just for fun. 

Crazy we might be but we're back at it again. This time I'm smarter and more determined than ever. We started our training on March 15th which gave us 41 weeks until the Huff and 29 until the Fort4Fitness half. It should be doable. And I'm super duper excited to get back to running!

Because it had been five months since we last ran, we started at 3 mile runs this March. That was a very comfortable length for me. Our runs were hit and miss for the few three weeks because it was still snowing occasionally so we've only built up to 4 mile runs.

To build up to the first 9miles or so, we're using Hal Higdon's 15K plan. This was the plan we used in the spring of 2012 to train for the Winona Lake 10 mile and we felt like it gave us a nice strong base to build off of. It's a ten week plan and we're currently running week four.

We'll be done with this plan on May 24th (Memorial Day Weekend) and will evaluate what we want to do next. There are lots of options out there for half and full marathon training and most of them would probably work just fine. 31 miles isn't that much more than 26.2 to really make a huge difference in training strategies.

The main challenge is that we'll have 18 weeks until the half marathon and 30 until the 50K. That leaves us in a bit of no mans land since most plans run around 16 weeks. What we'll probably end up doing is adapting/combining two plans to gradually build us from 9 miles up to marathon length. I have no idea what that'll look like but we have a good six weeks or so to figure it out.

So there you have it. We're training for two races this year, a half and a 50K. We've picked a training strategy that will take us through Memorial Day/9 miles and after that we'll just see what happens!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Week in My Kitchen: 4/10/14

Joining up with Heather from Beauty That Moves to share photos from my kitchen this week.

A sampling of photos celebrating real foods and all the work, and fun, that happens in the kitchen everyday. 

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kitchen Update: April 2014

In all seriousness, our kitchen is my favourite room of the house. I spend a lot of time and do some of my best work there. It's looking much better than when we moved in but the changes haven't been quite as dramatic as some of the other rooms in the house like the bathroom or the front room.

Here's what it used to look like.

The kitchen's not too different although we did do this:

I have taken down the wall paper and that light by the back door, and although we still have the original counters and that awesome stove/microwave combo, somehow the room just looks completely different to me. It feels like the most 'done' despite that huge empty wall. Maybe it's Mr. Rabbit that makes me feel that way or maybe it's that I have the cabinets and drawers situated precisely how I want them. I'm not sure what makes this room feel so homey but I'm a fan of whatever it is.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Run 2014: Week 4

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After a 17 month break (early December 2012), we picked things up a couple of weeks ago and we're back to running and training. I have a post planned for later this week to talk more specifics about our running plans and goals for this year but it's more than I want to write at the moment. For now, let just jump into a run down of the past week, week four. 

* * * * *

Tuesday, April 1st: 3.13 miles in 31:11
         First run experimenting with the compression sleeves and felt awesome. Great run but crazy weather! 53F but sustained winds of 18 with gusts of more. I had pain in my left ankle starting at mile 1 that continued for the rest of the run. Afterwards no pain.

Thursday, April 3rd: No run
         It poured all day and set a record of 1.81 inches of rain so we did not go out for a run. Rest day for us!

Saturday, April 5th: 4.06 miles in 40:08
        A really nice run. Good weather. Still chilly, I wore my tights and long sleeves but didn't actually need my jacket. I was happy with my pace and that's including the walking period where I redid my hair. I'm still having ankle pain around the 1 mile mark.

Overall thoughts:
       So far the runs are going quite well. My cardiovascular strength is coming back much more quickly than I thought it might after our long break. My muscles have been doing well with the runs. They're not excessively tired or sore. I've been having some reoccurrence of the ankle pain that plagued me in the fall of 2012 although it seems to have changed ankles. In 2012 I thought that it was tendonitis and after researching it some more this past week I'm positive that that is still my problem. I've also been researching stretches and exercises and started a few in the last couple of days. We'll see how much these help. We have a light week on tap for next week and beautiful weather predicted so if everything goes well I should be feeling fine next week!

Fort4Fitness Half: 25 weeks
Huff: 37 weeks

Friday, April 4, 2014

Backroom Update: April 2014

Hey! We made some progress in the backroom and on the rest of the house too!

Here's what the backroom looks like at the moment:

(I took all these photos on a dark, foggy day so the first photo looks dark. The third 
photo is the most accurate representation of the color of the walls.)


And here's what it looked like when we moved in:


All in all, I'd say it's a vast improvement. Here's what we've accomplished so far in the room:
  • Dismantled decorative window frames and curtains
  • Removed chandelier and track above dining table
  • Removed wall paper behind the buffet
  • Skim coated and sanded and coated and sanded that wall
  • Painted ceiling, walls, windows, and trim
  • Removed folding doors

There's still a list of things that we'd like to do in the near future:
  • Put up curtains
  • Pick a new light for above the table
  • Install a ceiling fan
  • And, most importantly, HANG ART.

Lots of progress but still plenty to do! I'm feeling like we need some color in the room. Our walls are "Cement Gray" by Benjamin Moore matched in Baer paint and the trim is "Ultra Pure White" from Baer. I love how it looks but it's very neutral. I know that getting art on the walls will help but what else can I do? Leave me suggestions for things that I can do to liven up the place!