What a great weekend!
First, Portlandia had some SUN. And I was able to get out there and enjoy it!
Saturday, Julie and I did our long run. The schedule called for 16 miles but we didn't think it was a good idea to make a big mileage jump and risk injury so we planned to do 14 instead. Having been out sick from work for a good part of the week, that worked out very well for me.
This was a great run for me. We got a somewhat earlier start than usual, although the sun did catch up with us by the end of it. I hadn't thought the clouds would burn off until much later so I foolishly did not wear any sunscreen. My left arm got pretty crispy from a inch below my elbow to an inch above my wrist, and I'm well on my way to that fabulous running capri tan on my legs.
We did the Burnt Bridge Creek trail over in Vancouver. I ran this once before last year and except for the calf injury I came away with, I liked the trail. This year, no calf injury! I feel like my overall cardio fitness is much better than at this point last year, as well as the best it's been all year.
Unfortunately, Julie wasn't feeling the same. A suspected combination of dehydration and too-tight shoelaces left her with horrible leg cramps for the last four miles. Because I was still feeling good and I have my half marathon next weekend, I ended up running ahead in the last two miles or so. Our original aim was to finish 14 miles as close to three hours as possible; I was hoping to hit the 13.1 mile distance in that as well. We weren't able to make that, but I was able to run out the half distance at 3:14:35 so I am hoping that bodes well for a time close to -- or maybe even under! -- three hours for the Cinco de Mayo half next weekend. With a goal of getting under six hours at Vancouver, this is where I would need to be at at the halfway mark.
I worked on my form during the run and was happy to have much less fatigue in my legs, not only during the run itself but afterwards. I focused on keeping myself over my sit bones and what felt to me like slumping my shoulders forward but in actuality was my not pulling them back tensely. (Did that make sense?) I also had a bagel and a half and 20 oz of gatorade about 45 minutes before our run, and drank 20 oz of gatorade during the run. I still had a post-run headache, but nothing like what I usually have. I was able to function afterwards, which typically I have trouble doing. Today, my legs are tired and a little sore but I can move around pretty well.
It probably helped that I did several hours of yard work today. It got up to about 67 degrees today, and I took advantage of that (and of how well I was feeling) to mow what lawn I have as well as re-edge the area and then lay down bark over where the grass won't grow.
Here is a picture mid-project. The grass has been mown and I've re-edged the area.
As you can see, there are only a few clumps of grass in this area plus a whole lot of moss. What you can't see is the area up against the deck where nothing ever grows. It's basically a big mud pit all the time, and the favorite place of my dogs to dig up rocks and grubs and dirt and then eat it. In the bottom right corner is the ramp I got for my dogs to get up the stairs more easily, with the help of RR's CSN giveaway.
Here's how it looks now:
Much better! Well, except for the part where now I need to re-bark the rest of the yard so it doesn't look so dingy. I found out that you can buy broken open bags of bark at the home improvement store for 50% off. That meant that of the eight bags of bark I bought today, four of them were only $2.07 each. Score! I would have bought more but (a) I bought all the marked down bags of bark they had today and (b) more probably would not have fit into my car. Once I return those aluminum cans you can see at the top of the picture (I have about eight bags in all, plus one in my office), I'll have some more cash to put towards this project. Since I rent this doesn't add any value to the house that I'll get any benefit from so I don't want to spend too much money. At the same time, it is nice to have a nice yard. I'm hoping that Ginger will want to hang out in the newly barked area; when I put the ramp in, it went in over her favorite spot to lay in the yard. This should be a much better alternative for her.
Now I just need the grass to grow. I bought some grass seed today that is guaranteed to grow anywhere in any conditions, even on concrete. We'll see. My yard gets more sun and water now that I had the landlord trim the trees way back last year but there are parts where it never seems to take. The whole area I want to have as grass is only about 400 square feet. The whole yard isn't even 900 square feet. Not much bigger than my apartment, actually. I have a garden weasel-type tool that I'll use to aerate the bare spots then I'll lay down the seed and see what happens. It is supposed to be nice again after Monday so I can work on it in the evenings. And keep those legs limber! I also want to get lettuce going in some pots and maybe some basil and some flowers. Which reminds me -- has anyone grown broccoli before? I saw some plants and wondered what it's like when the broccoli grows. It is more like fruit on a tree or more like cucumbers on the ground?
When downloading the yard pics, I found the ones I took at my grandparents'. I didn't take very many, but I did get some cute shots of their basset hound Happy and the kitty. I'm also posting one of the CBS dog of how she splays her legs when eating a bone. No wonder she has problems with her hips!