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Black and Gold Plant Markers

22 Apr

This past fall Nate sold his house (with a yard and a garden) and bought a downtown condo. While I miss being able to use his yard for my gardening purposes, he’s really loving the downtown life and the fact that he doesn’t have a yard to mow.

My apartment doesn’t have any outdoor space, so I’ve decided to make the most of his 5′ x 10′ balcony. I’ll post more on the balcony garden later. Today I’m excited about the plant markers I finished this past weekend.

I’m always pinning cute markers that I think I could make myself, but never get around to making them.





I usually draw a few pictures to remind myself where things are planted, and by the time things start coming up I can usually tell what’s what. Since this garden is on a balcony rather than tucked in the back corner of a yard I’m trying to keep things looking clean and organized. I’m probably a ways from the balcony being magazine worthy or anything like that, but the markers really help to unify everything.

While some of the example I pinned are pretty fantastic I decided to keep my investment low and the style simple. Here are the ones I made and how I made them.

Black and Gold Homemade Garden Markers

Black and Gold Homemade Garden Markers

Supplies:

Craft sticks from Dollar Tree (I used wide ones)
Black paint (I already had some cheap chalkboard paint from Michael’s on hand)
Foam brush (also had on hand)
Gold (or whatever color you’d like) permanent marker (I found mine in the dollar section at Target a while back, but I think a sharpie style marker would be great)

Instructions:

Paint two coats of paint on each side of the craft stick also paint the edges. When they’re dry go crazy labeling them for all your plants. One note about your permanent marker. I tried several different paint pens and even a white grease pencil, but finally settled on my gold pen because it wasn’t too liquidy (which caused the paint to run in the groves of the wood) and had a fine enough point to look nice (I’d read some good things about the grease pencil, but decided against it in the end because the point was unreliable).

Now there’s no telling how well these will hold up outside, but I’m ok with that considering I spent $1 (even if I’d had to buy everything I still would’ve been under $5). I’ll report back at the end of the summer, but I also suspect someone in a traditional garden may experience more wear and tear on their markers than I will on a balcony.

 

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Goal of Doing a Triathlon – Complete!

10 Oct

A few Sunday’s ago Nate and I headed to Norman to do our first triathlon. There are some things in my life that I look back on like my first 5K race. I’m glad I did it, but I have a lot more negative than good feelings for it. Thankfully this tri was not like that.

Saturday I gathered up all my gear and laid it out. I was pretty nervous so it was nice to plan out what was going on my person when I left in the morning, and how I would set up my transition area. I tried to go to bed early that night, but that didn’t go so well and I ended up laying in bed for a couple of hours just thinking of things to remember to do while I raced.

TriPrep

The next day we arrived in Norman around 5:45 a.m., checked our bikes into the transition area (where you change your gear from swim/bike and bike/run) and then checked ourselves in, got our timing bands, and got our numbers and age marked on our bodies. Everyone I talked to and asked for tips from the entire morning was super nice. I stopped a couple of people who looked like seasoned triathletes and asked if people wore their flip-flops to the pool or just went barefoot. (No one wears their flip-flops to the pool.)

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They offered a swim warm up from 6-7 a.m. before the pre-race meeting at 7:15. I originally didn’t plan to warm up because I don’t do a big swim warm up and I didn’t want to be wet and cold. But one of the lifeguards made a comment, “Aren’t you going to warm up?”, and I decided why not. However when I had to hop out and wait 45 minutes to start my race in a cold gym I wished I’d skipped the warm up. I’ll remember for next time.

swim

This race included a snake swim in a pool (up and down the lane, cross under the rope, up and down the lane, etc.), and they’d start a racer every 15 seconds. When you register they ask for your expected swim time so they can line you up accordingly and hopefully minimize passing. I had been wondering all along how they’d get us all in line according to our swim time. Turns out your race number is what number you are in line to start! Number 87 worked out just fine for me (Nate was 111). I was pretty nervous at my start, and on the recommendation of a lady in line next to me tried to make a shallow entry into the water so time wasn’t wasted swimming back up to the surface, but I ended up nearly belly flopping. I swam pretty smoothly though passing two people (nearly passed a third on the last lap), and no one passed me. The timing mat  you had to cross to stop your swim time was down the hall and out the door, so my swim time was longer on paper, but pretty spot on for what I hoped.

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My first transition (taking off cap and goggles, putting on race number, shoes, gloves, helmet, and hopping on my bike) I was a little slow on. I see why people practice changing between things! Thankfully I didn’t forget anything and headed out.

The bike course aside from a few hills, one GIANT hill, and some wind was great. They had lots of volunteers directing you which way to go, and they were even smiling and cheering participants on which always motivates me. When the wind was at my back (or anyway other than straight on really) I felt awesome and pedaled hard. Nate and I crossed paths when he was probably 1/2 a mile from the turn around and I was 1/2 a mile past it. I just gave him a thumbs up. I had a few people pass me on the bike, but thanks to the age markings on their calves I know they were all old (40-60), so I was OK with that and impressed with them! The other part I remember best from the bike was going back up the GIANT hill. It was awesome coming down, and I even tried to make myself aerodynamic like the pros do to gain a little, but going up was rough. When I was nearly to the top there were a few spectators and one goes, “You’re almost to the top, and it’s flat when you get there!” Thanks guy that was some good motivation!bike3

Coming back into the transition from the bike is an insane feeling on your legs. I’d heard that it was, so several times after a bike workout at the gym I’d hop on the treadmill and run a mile or so. At the gym it was never a big deal, so I know I was pushing harder on the bike that day. When I got off and tried to jog my legs were like jello, and I decided walking for a bit was probably a good idea. I changed shoes, abandoned my bike gear, and jogged out of the transition as Nate wheeled his bike in.bike5The weather was absolutely fantastic that day and I really hoped the adrenaline and everything would push me to a slightly faster run time than I’d been pounding out at the gym every week. But it was not to be. I’m much better at running than I was 4 months ago, but I’ve still got plenty of room to improve. The run was tough. Nate caught up to me 1/2 a K in, and I ran with him for a bit, but slowed down to a walk again pretty quickly. People of all ages passed me, and I let them and just focused on getting myself to the finish. I walked a whole lot more than I’d hoped to, but in the end my run split was right on with my training times, so I can’t be too upset. The best part was coming around that last corner. I looked up and saw the finish line and just knew that I had to give it everything I had left. There were some volunteers that saw me pick up my pace and cheered at me to pass the guy I was gaining on. I passed him and cheered him on. Right after I passed him I got a little concerned that I couldn’t hold my pace to the finish line, but I somehow managed to and crossed the line. I even remembered to give a little smile for the camera!

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And that was that! I finished in just under an hour and 39 minutes (Nate finished in 1:23:25). I was happy and really tired. Surprisingly my muscles only felt tired and never got sore in the days following. I still feel incredibly proud of myself for being prepared enough to finish a triathlon! It’s been a goal for a while, but I didn’t seriously know if I’d ever be able to check it off the list. Now I’m looking forward to doing another one. I’ll definitely consider the Tie-Dye Tri again because it was very well-organized (zero complaints) and a great tri for a first timer.

NateSommer
Finished in 1:38:52
57th out of 96 women
15th out of 22 in women age 25-29

Total: 1:38:52
Swim: 9:47 Swim place: 21
T1: 3:27 T1 place: 84
Bike: 48:18 Bike place: 53
T2: 2:11 T2 place: 78
Run: 35:08 Run place: 65

Tips if you’re going to do a tri:

  • Practice the going under the ropes part of the snake swim.
  • Invest in a tri suit or something that you can swim, bike and run in without changing. I found one for $25 on steepandcheap.com. Some people wore their swim suits the whole time, but I’ve run in mine before and knew that wouldn’t be comfortable for me. Once you get your race outfit try it out before the race to make sure it’s comfortable to compete in.
  • Have a good pair of running shoes.
  • Practice at least doing the full bike and run distances all in one go before the race. If you’re not a strong swimmer you might go ahead and practice all three.
  • Time your swim, so you have an accurate time for the registration. I worried that people would fib and I’d get stuck behind people who exaggerated their swim time, but at least for this race the people around me did a good job.
  • I was also worried about passing people on the swim, but it wasn’t too crowded, and I didn’t have a problem. I’d tap them on the foot as we got close to the wall, and then flip turn off the wall ahead of the person I was passing.
  • If you have concerns or questions do some research. There are tons of tips for beginning triathletes lists and forums where someone has probably already asked your question. My big awkward question was, do I wear underwear? People in forums overwhelmingly say no.
  • A smaller tri might be a good fit for your first. The Tie-Dye Tri was capped at 300 participants. It wasn’t too crowded, and I didn’t have to worry about things like having trouble finding my bike in the transition.

Things for me to remember for next time:

  • Bring a throw away water bottle to have before the swim.
  • Race number belt. They make a belt that holds your race number so you can clip it to your body after the swim rather than trying to pin your number on with shaking hands.
  • Take it easy on the gummy energy. They’re probably entirely unnecessary for a sprint tri, but the ones I had tasted good. However you’re supposed to drink a lot of water while eating them, and by the end of the race I’d had a couple too many gummies and not enough water which caused a bit of a tummy ache.
  • Skip the swim warmup.

OGE Night Sprints 2013

8 Oct

RowersatPractice

The corporate rowing team I’m on wrapped up their fall season in October. The Night Sprints regatta is my favorite of the two races, and this year didn’t disappoint. The weather people had been predicting severe weather for that Friday night so I think a lot of people were worried about that and maybe some spectators didn’t come because of it, but it turned out just right. It was a tad windy, but the temperature was perfect and the rain held off until a couple hours after the racing was over!

Typically we race in the co-ed category (no more than 4 men in your boat), but this season we put together an all women’s team. I know I had a ton of fun and hopefully they all did too!

We only had one other boat in our race which was great because it meant no qualifying heat just the final race. They had a time trial of 2:03 and ours was 2:23, so we were at a 20 second disadvantage.

We all put everything we had into the race on the small chance that we might pull off a win. I know we were falling behind for a portion of the race because our cox (the girl in the boat yelling at us to go faster) at one point stopped updating us on where we were compared to the other boat. The whole race goes by so fast, but the main thing was we all pushed hard until the end and none of us caught a crab, lost our seat or messed up.

It was all so close at the end though that our cox had us row until the buzzer for both teams sounded, and I really thought we might have come in second. People were cheering and we finally yelled to some spectators on shore who they thought had won. They said you did!!

Winning our Race

The other team is the boat with white shirts in photos 2-4.

Turns out at the very very end of the race the other team caught a huge crab and died, and we pulled off the win.

trophy

Gold medals and a trophy for the team!

FallRowingTeam

fireworks

Rowing Season #10

1 Jul

This past Saturday was the Stars and Stripes River Festival. My team did really awesome. We took 2nd in our heat (time of 1:56.07) moving us on to the finals which is pretty exciting. Sadly we were ranked 4th going in and we stayed that way (1:56.64), so no medals this season.

Rowing2013Spring

There were more people out to watch and participate in the spring corporate regatta festivities than I’d ever seen. It was a great atmosphere and turned out to be pretty fantastic weather as the sun went down. They’ve just installed permanent stadium lighting along the course, and at sunset they held a little ceremony and turned the lights on for racing for the first time.

BoathousewRedWhiteBlue

Nate and I rode the Downtown Discovery bus over from downtown to avoid the parking mess, and while we were waiting for the ride back to the car at 10 p.m. there were STILL people arriving to catch the fireworks show. OKC is pretty awesome.

Supermoon

23 Jun

Did you check out the supermoon last night? Nate has a telescope that’s really good for looking at the moon with, so he set it up and we took a look. He grabbed this awesome shot with his iPhone through the telescope eyepiece.

Roman Nose State Park

14 May

RomanNose

The first weekend in May I joined some friends for an outdoor adventure at Roman Nose. I love camping, so I took full advantage of the opportunities to cook on a camp stove, build a fire, cook over a fire, hike, fish, and help set up a tent. It was a windy chilly day, but we still all had a lot of fun.

RNPancakes

RomanNoseHike

RNFlowers

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RNSommerNate

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RNMikeNate

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