Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another one bites the dust

Today, as the day dawned over Melbourne, I started a half marathon.
I started running a few years ago, running as far and fast as I could in one direction for 11 minutes, then trying to come back in 9.  Recently, I was running 5 km, 6 days a week, and on seeing the 'Run Melbourne Half Marathon' advertised, I thought I'd give it ago.

This morning, the crowd waited in semi-darkness for the start.  It was gorgeous running through the streets as the sun came up.

At the 2km mark, I thought that the people who were already walking weren't putting in a huge effort.
At 4kms, I thought that the mix tape I'd put on my Ipod was awesome, I was running well but I'd never catch the older lady in hot pink 50m ahead of me (she had great pace).
At the half way mark, I passed the older lady and had really found my legs, making excellent time.  The event had lots of little music groups playing as you passed, a violinist, jazz band, and some djs.  The dj playing 'Another One Bites the Dust' was spectacularly uncool.
At the 13km mark, I realised I was now on track to finish in under 2 hrs - I would never have thought that was possible.

Things looked rosy, UNTIL the 14km mark, when my knee started to go.  I stopped to rub it and it felt better for a while, but by 18kms it was a mess. I had to walk or run with small steps. I lost time but I was finishing no matter what.  

As I came through to the last 100m I saw my folks and my family cheering me on - a big plus and then came across the line and stopped running, and almost started crying.  But then remembered it was all over and instantly felt better and started feeling fantastic again.  The person I came across the line with also started limping as they finished - there were probably lots of people with the same problems as myself.

Earlier this week, my kids and I were struck with the horrible fever/flu/bug thing that everyone seemed to have, and on Wednesday, I really thought that I wouldn't be able to do the event, but everything cleared up and I was able to try.

If you want to have a go at running, I highly recommend it.  Aside from the muscle soreness setting in, I feel incredible and really chuffed with myself.  It was a huge amount of work but the Run Melbourne event was a great goal to have.  A month ago, I ran 18kms as fast as I could, finishing in 2hrs 18mins, so even since then, I've seen a huge improvement.

To train, I've run 5km on Tuesdays and Thursdays (half hour duration, up and down the hills of Moonee Ponds/Brunswick), and a longer run, 12-18km on Saturday mornings (up to Carlton or down to the Maribynong, 1-2hrs).  I have done these runs by myself but running with a pram is great exercise too.  In my experience, the child along for the ride either sleeps or pretends they are flying.  Anyway, once you have a modicum of fitness, the time required isn't huge, and like most people, I enjoyed listening to my Ipod as I went along, spending sometime inside my own head.

In the garden this week:

  • More coffee grinds have been scattered to stop the onslaught of snails and improve flowering.
  • We have plans to trial an idea from Anthony Bourdain's show 'No Reservations' from Spain, where salad onions were cut and put under soil, growing leek like tops - will keep you posted regarding any success.
  • We have capsicum plants growing from composted material throughout the garden - growing fruit even in this cold weather.

Monday, July 4, 2011


This week, in the garden:
While buying the large quantities of chocolate and coffee at our local cafe/sweet shop, my husband has set up a deal with the shop owner, where he gets all the used coffee grinds from their busy coffee machine for our garden.
He is collecting two large bags twice a week, so that now our veggie patch has about an inch covering of coffee grinds over the surface.  Any snail problems have ceased instantly.  And the broccoli is sprouting hugely, so that we have 3 big servings a week, and there is a risk of stuff remaining going to seed.  I noticed when planting out some seedlings that the the soil seems to be improving a lot too.

Also harvested this week:

  • Beetroot leaves for a salad, along side spinach and lettuce, nice for the colour.
  • Coriander, mint, parsley
  • Radish
One school holiday activity will be to set up a structure around the broadbeans to allow them to keep growing upwards.

In the kitchen this week:
When my parents were over for an impromptu dinner, I had roasted brussel sprouts as in this recipe.
My dad was delighted.  My husband and mother were horrified.  Apparently, Mum had never made me eat them, and was shocked that I'd dish them up for her.  The dissenters politely tried them, but clearly were forcing them down, being watched by an amused five yo, exempt from the experiment.  Dad thought the brussel sprouts were lovely.  Everyone else declined to comment.  I thought they were great, and I've never even liked them.  The outer leaves blackened and went crispy like thin chips, so there was a mix of soft vegetable and crunchiness that was fantastic.
I tried cooking them again on Sunday night, again with my folks over, this time adding bacon to the mix.  The diners were far happier with this, with the bacon flavour infusing with the vegetable even appreciated by my semi-vego husband, but all the fabulous crispiness was lost, so I wasn't a huge fan anymore.  Everyone is a critic.  

I think that I'll revert to the original recipe and just make them when my dad is coming over.