Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lately, it seems as though as soon as I blog about something, it turns to shit.

Take, for instance, my valiant effort at taking up some good exercise--and attempting to learn to love running in the process--with my foray into a C25K program. I posted this after running Week 2, Day 2, and I was doing well. I was getting through the workouts fairly easily. I was *gasp* actually enjoying myself a bit. I felt good.

But in the days after, I noticed that my knees were doing a little bit of screaming as I tried to do simple things. You know, like run up the stairs, squat, or... walk. I dismissed it as a bit of soreness since I've never been a runner. I decided to soldier on, but during that Week 2, Day 3 run, I was hurting pretty badly. I questioned whether I could make it through, but I did. Then I waited a few days (with still sore knees), and completed Week 3, Day 1.

My knees were not happy with me.

I reached out to some friends who are runners and asked if this was normal, if it was a sign of my poor knees being out of shape. They all pointed to my sneakers, asking if I had good ones (I don't). They also advised that I NOT run through the pain, as I would likely just make it worse.

So, I stopped. My (old, unsupportive) sneakers have been neglected for the past few weeks as I try to let my knees heal before starting back up again. I've been shopping--visited a Fleet Feet to get fitted for good sneakers, even--and found out that like a lot of people, my arch collapses under the pressure of my body weight, so I need a more supportive sneaker to help absorb the shock of running. I haven't made the commitment and bought a pair yet--I'm still gawking a little over the $100 price tags (I'm more the "find-$40-sneakers-on-clearance" type of girl).

Before I give up on running completely, I do want to give it another try--so it sounds like I'll have to bite the bullet for some good sneakers. Otherwise, I guess it'll be strictly walking for me, and we'll eventually get an elliptical machine for our basement. I have a hard time believing it is my knees, even though they have given me a few issues throughout my life. I used to do kickboxing and step aerobics (hard on your knees!) classes twice a week and my instructor was the master of jumping lunges, so it's not like my knees have never taken any abuse.

Let's hope new sneakers do the trick.

On a completely separate but equally suck-tastic note, I posted last week about my adventures in square foot gardening. I had been working hard for over a month on this venture, watering, watching, waiting, anticipating. I was so proud and happy to show off my bountiful plants, and all of my baby tomatoes and peppers.

Yeah, well, apparently rabbits and/or squirrels read my blog, because they found my bounty and they STOLE IT ALL. I'm serious, I do not have a single baby ANYTHING on my plants any longer. These rodents PICKED.IT.CLEAN.

I very nearly cried, I'm not going to lie.

So, I don't know what to do. I think the tomato plants will keep producing--they have a number of flower buds left on them at this point--and my zucchini and cucumbers have yet to produce anything yet anyway. My zucchini plants seem to have grown so tall that they are keeling over under their own weight (two of them are now lying on their sides), but I'm hoping that this is normal?

Whoever the culprit is has also been munching on my broccoli leaves, but I guess we'll see what happens there because I'm still not seeing anything resembling actual broccoli coming from them. But my red pepper plant? There is basically nothing left on that guy. He was only producing one pepper anyway, and now he has nothing. Not even any flower buds or shoots that look like they will result in buds. Nothing.

I wonder: what can be done at this point? I am contemplating replanting a few things, but it's mid-July, will they have time to produce before it's too late into the fall? Also, it's clear that I need to build some sort of fence around this thing, but I'm struggling with what exactly to use that will keep both rabbits AND squirrels out--AND give me access to the beds if I need. Until I figure that out, I've been sprinkling everything with cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and/or cayenne pepper to try to deter the little f-ers.

I also put out a pie plate full of water, which sounds ludicrous, but I read that during particularly dry weather--which we've been experiencing, we haven't even mowed our lawn in 2+ weeks!--the rabbits and squirrels will actually steal veggies not because they are hungry, but because they are thirsty. On one of the gardening forums I came across, they suggested that if you provide water, they might be so inclined to leave the veggies alone. Here's hoping. It seems to make sense, since I went so long without them bothering anything, and now they raid the garden like its their job.

So these are my two latest failures in life. I'm trying not to let them get me down! Hopefully I will emerge victorious--with both a completed 5K and a boatload of homegrown vegetables--by fall.


Anonymous,  July 12, 2012 at 5:02 PM  

I stumbled upon your blog a few months back when I was planning my wedding. I’ve never commented before but I couldn’t resist with this post. Buy the expensive running shoes! I promise you will not regret it. Last summer I started running and my shins were screaming after each run. A friend took me to Fleet Feet and they suggested a pair of mizuno sneakers. I reluctantly bought the pricey shoes but it was totally worth it. The pain was gone. Last October was my first 5k and this October I have a goal of running in a half marathon. So don’t get discouraged! I completely believe that half of running is mental and the other half is a good pair of shoes. Best of luck!

caren July 12, 2012 at 5:09 PM  

I can't comment on gardening as I have no experience but I can't stress enough how much you NEEEED good sneakers if you're going to run. Just pay the $100. It's better than paying a lot more later in doctors visits when you can't take the pain anymore. Think of this way...your sneakers are like your tires for your body. You wouldn't put crappy tires on your car, so why wouldn't you treat your body just as well. Good luck!

A reader,  July 12, 2012 at 5:53 PM  

Good luck with running and your garden! Maybe you could build a cage around your garden, like this person did? http://cmetoday.tumblr.com/post/21120253517/raised-garden-cage And there was a Groupon today for an elliptical for $399... I don't know anything about it, but a friend shared the link with me right before I read your post: http://www.groupon.com/deals/gg-proform-elliptical?c=all&p=21&fre=1.

Leanne July 12, 2012 at 6:19 PM  

That's so frustrating!! I'll say, I'm the most frugal gal out there but I buy $100 running shoes. Usually I'll get fitted, find the pair I am, and buy them for cheap at onlineshoes.com. They run some good deals. It's definitely worth it. You will notice an immediate difference!

Chelsey,  July 12, 2012 at 6:38 PM  

For sure pay the money for quality running shoes - you won't be sorry! And, look into foam rolling. It made a world of a difference for me! Good luck!

Jo July 12, 2012 at 6:54 PM  

I guess I need to slow down when I read because I swear you wrote you went to Fleet Farm to find shoes. I thought "she expects to get good running shoes there?" Lol. After re-reading I have much more faith that you will find the right pair of shoes to support your running.

Helen July 12, 2012 at 7:36 PM  

As a girl with constant knee pain - buy the expensive shoes. Also, I can't stand an elliptical, but have found the arc trainer to be my best friend for building up knee strength. I am on week 7 day 3 and would probably do well to get myself some new shoes. I was doing okay until I got to running 2.5 miles at a time again. My left knee is unhappy with me most of the time. It doesn't hurt, but just feels weak. I signed up to run my first 5k race in August, the fear of coming in last is keeping me going with the training ;)

We built a 3 foot fence around our garden boxes after something made off with our red pepper and cucumbers. We just used deer fence and so far, so good.

Anonymous,  July 12, 2012 at 7:37 PM  

Bird netting will keep the squirrels and other critters out. Blue jays like to steal veggies too.

Get the good shoes! You also need to strengthen your core and legs to prevent knee pain (think lots of squats!).

Elisha July 12, 2012 at 7:50 PM  

As a semi-experienced marathon runner, go for the correct fitted running shoes! To give you some background, I went from running my first 5K in May 2008, ran a half that same fall and a marathon the following year. The correct running shoes will make all the difference, and I learned the hard way by tearing my left gastroc muscle by wearing old shoes for a long run which left me out of commission for 4 months. 5 marathons since 2009(including a Boston marathon qualifier), I can say I love running :)

Also, we don't have fleet feet stores around here in PA, but I'd recommend going to a good mom and pop running store. You support local businesses, and I've found that they invest the most time with you to fit your feet to the right sneakers. Make sure that you bring your old sneakers with you so that they can study the treads to find out how you wear them.

I don't have any gardening advice since I've decided to start out with potted plants this year (herbs/peppers), but I can't wait to see what you learn! Good luck!!!

Heather July 12, 2012 at 9:44 PM  

Alright, you all have definitely convinced me about the shoes! I knew it, but now I REALLY know it. :) I'm anxious to get back out there, I just really hope the pain is gone after resting a few weeks!

Bethany July 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM  

I tried the Couch 2 5K thing too- blogged about it and I twisted my ankle. I still cant walk without a limp and needless to say cant run. You are not alone on that front. But youre kicking my bum on the garden, as I could probably kill a fake plant if I tried! Hope you find a good sale on shoes soon :)

Anonymous,  July 13, 2012 at 1:20 AM  

Fencing is the best way but bird netting is a lot less expensive and should work too. Garlic is also suppose to deter rabbits. That's super disheartening but you could totally get tomatoes before Sept. Keep it up!!

Morrigan July 13, 2012 at 8:48 AM  

Shoes so make the difference! Also how well you tie them. I found out looser the better actually. If you foot starts to fall asleep, they are too tight. I am starting week 3 day 1 today. heal up, get a good pair of shoes, and restart the program! Some how for me who hates running is starting to enjoy it!

dana devery July 13, 2012 at 12:20 PM  

Hi heather- I know what you mean about not wanting to spend the money on yourself for the sneakers but it really sounds like you need them! As a mother also, I am sure that if it was Nora who needed them, you wouldn't hesitate for a second to buy them for her!

Paulene July 13, 2012 at 1:28 PM  

I agree with everyone, if there's anything in running to invest in, it's shoes! Prior to getting my first running shoes, my feet ached and I had shin splits all the time. Fleet Feet is good because if you don't feel like you got the right shoes, you can take it back and get another, no problem. There is nothing like a good running shoe - I call mine my cloud because it feels airy and feels great to run in!

Sorry to hear about your garden! I had high hopes for our tulips until squirrels dug out the bulbs.

Maureen,  July 13, 2012 at 4:59 PM  

Like everyone said bite the bullet and buy the shoes. I just had knee surgery just from being careless about taking care of myself and it's not something I would ever wish on anyone. It has been 6 months and I still haven't been cleared to run again.

In addition to shoes make sure you stretch before and after your run. I agree with whomever suggested buying a foam roller it will help with the stretching. Try icing if you think you need to after running. Lastly try and protect the knees by getting your quads strong…SQUATS!

As for the garden I am of no help. I tried planting peppers for the first time ever and they all died within 7 weeks.

kylee July 13, 2012 at 7:31 PM  

I may have mentioned this before, I can't remember. I tried C25K 3 times before I could actually do it. I made it to week 3 each time before shin splints took me out hardcore. It was really disheartening. I went to a podiatrist and saw my feet were tremendously fudged up, got corrective insoles, and went to a specialized running shoe store where they watched me run and recommended shoes for me. They fitted them and everything - $100. I've never been able to even run a lap around a track and now I can do 25-30 minutes straight, even still 30-40 pounds from my goal weight.

So don't give up just yet.

Lucianna July 13, 2012 at 9:08 PM  

I'm sorry about both your problems! For our garden, we just put a metal/mesh fence around it and that keeps everything out, apparently. And we wrap the ends around some nails so we can always undo any side we are working on to get access.
Zucchini plants do tend to creep along the ground and get pretty huge - that sounds normal (they don't need to be propped up or anything), so hopefully you can get something out of it.
How disappointing!

Wishing on stars July 15, 2012 at 8:16 PM  

Looks like you've been convinced to buy the new shoes :) so I won't comment on that but I didn't notice anyone mention this. Ice your knees with a frozen bag of peas or carrots (work great) about 15 mins each 1-2 times a day. Should help with the pain.

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