Friday, December 31, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Homemade Detergent for an Automatic Dishwasher

from Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck

Many dishwasher detergents contain chlorine, phosphorus, and antimicrobials, which are potentially dangerous, completely unnecessary, and very hard on the environment. Whether you are concerned about the health of our waterways, or are merely trying to keep your septic system working properly, it is a good idea to choose a dishwasher detergent that does not contain any of these ingredients.

Look in the health food store for environmentally friendly dishwasher detergents that utilize enzymes, washing soda (sodium carbonate), and borax.

You can make a batch of homemade dish detergent by mixing equal parts pf laundry borax and washing soda:

1 cup washing soda (Arm & Hammer)

1 cup Borax

An efficient dishwasher should only need one tablespoon of detergent. If your dishwasher has a detergent dispenser and a rinse dispenser, fill the rinse dispenser with vinegar to prevent mineral build-up on your dishes and glassware.

Do not wash aluminum or Teflon pans with this homemade detergent.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How to Clean a Washing Machine (chemical-free)

This is for a top-loading machine:

Step 1 - With your machine empty, run it full of hot water to the largest load setting. When the tub is full and begins to agitate, add:

3 to 4 cups distilled white vinegar

½ cup baking soda

Allow the machine to agitate for a few moments, then turn off the machine. Let the water sit for 30 minutes - 1 hour.

Step 2 - After allowing the vinegar/baking soda mixture to penetrate the grime in the washing machine tub, restart the machine, allowing it to complete the wash cycle. At the end of the wash cycle, as the tub begins to drain, advance the washing machine to the spin cycle. On many washing machines, this will cause the washing machine to spin as it drains, which can help to further loosen any residue. If yours doesn't do this, simply allow it to drain. Turn off the machine.

Step 3 - Wipe the inside of the washing machine tub with a wet cloth. If desired, use a cloth soaked in a solution of half hot water and half white vinegar. Be sure to wipe all inside surfaces, including the bottom and blades of the agitator and the top of the tub just under the lid. (It is sometimes helpful to use a wire toilet brush around the top rim and in hard-to-reach places.) If the washing machine has a fabric softener and/or a bleach dispenser, remove these and clean thoroughly before replacing.


If, after following these steps the odor remains, the washing machine may have build-up in some of the inner parts. If your washing machine is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer for a repairperson to check it out. If not, contact your local appliance repair shop, and they should be able to clean the machine for you.

How to prevent build-up in your washing machine

To keep your washing machine looking and smelling cleaner for longer, follow these simple steps to reduce build-up:

1. Use less detergent.

What detergent manufacturers don't tell you is that you can often get away with using half the recommended amount (or possibly even less), and your clothes will come out just as clean. The amount you need to use depends on your local water - those with hard water may need to use more detergent, while those with soft water may be able to use extremely small amounts. Experiment to find the optimal detergent amount for your washing machine.

2. Rinse clothing thoroughly after washing.

If you find that your rinse cycle produces a lot of suds, your clothes are not being rinsed thoroughly, and therefore neither is your washing machine. Run an extra rinse cycle, and in the future, try to use less detergent.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

SALVATION ARMY SANTA SHUFFLE 5K - And Concern About My Achille Tendon!

Not a training run - a fun run
5.36K @ 38:03
Avg. Pace 7:06 min /km

LOL! Where to begin with today's experience ...

Last night, I went to the local Running Room (we have one in London) to pick up my t-shirt and number. I made the mistake of heading downtown London on a Friday afternoon and paid the price by being stuck in traffic for a good hour ... but peanuts compared to Toronto and Vancouver, right? :) I was a little surprised when all I received was the l/s t-shirt that I paid an additional $15 for (it was not included in the entry fee) and my number - 5823. I was then told that when I crossed the finish line, I would be given a goodie bag, and that refreshments would be available after the run at Joe Kool's (a renowned local London restaurant/bar). Fair enough! This is when I learned that the run was also 5X around the park. I was caught off guard by this news. I had expected that the run would be similar to the Forest City Road Race 5K in which runners ran all the way around downtown. Running five times around Victoria Park did not seem too fun to me at this point. :( But hey, it's all about attitude and I signed up for a FUN RUN, not an organized race.

This morning, Wallace and I walked downtown together to Victoria Park to join the many festive people who had also signed up. This is when I have to make an observation about London runners. When I participated in the London Honda Series and the Runpiker Series (all supported by Runner's Choice), I became accustomed to seeing the same runners. There are always "new-to-me" runners, as in the locals who only come out for that particular race, but similar to me, there are a significant number of runners who are faithful and show up to virtually every race in the series. I am bringing this up because I didn't recognize a soul today! Nadda! I had to wonder if this was a reflection of the two major running stores in town - Runner's Choice and the Running Room. Or is this truly a reflection of the difference between fun runs and organized chip runs? Was it all Running Room people I was seeing today? I would have to say that by the number of people wearing the iconic Running Room jacket in a variety of colours, it was! :)

Anyway, Wallace and I enjoyed running together around the park. It was not easy because the sidewalks were covered with snow and in order to pass other people, runners had to run in the deeper snow on the side. I felt nervous about not having some spikes on the bottom of my shoes, but when I looked around, I noticed that most runners did not have them either. It was a true mix of people; some very serious runners, plenty of novice runners, and quite a few group runners (people who came together to participate in it). I applaud everyone who came out to support the Salvation Army!

However, at approximately the 3K mark, I really started to notice my achilles tendon again. It was feeling sore. And for the first time, I started to run "differently" so that I wasn't putting as much pressure on it. This has me concerned. I still finished the run because it wasn't "bad" enough for me to stop, but it was the worst it has been so far and this makes me very nervous. Apparently, this is an injury that takes a significant amount of time to heal from ... it is not one that a runner wants to mess with ... I am thinking that I need to R.I.C.E. my tendon and give myself a few days off from running. The current forecast for this week is that my area is expecting a winter storm so I may be forced off the roads for a few days anyway. This is probably a "good" thing. If there is bad winter weather heading this way, it probably is a blessing in disguise - TWO significant reasons (not excuses!) forcing me to stay put in order to rest my achilles so that it doesn't become worse. :(

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A New PR in 13K, But It Wasn't Fun! :(

Day #3, Week #4 Road Work training
13K @ 1:34:54
Avg. Pace 7:17 min / km
-1 degrees C (wind chill -8)

Did it look like I was MIA for the last few days? In a sense, I have been. :(

Yesterday (Wednesday) was one of those days when, as soon as I got out of bed, I knew it was going to be a day off from running. I have written about this before. There are times when I feel a little tired, but I still go for a run and usually feel good that I did. Then there are the days when I get up and I can feel the bone tiredness, a heaviness from a lack of sleep or from doing too much, and this is when I know that it's best to take the day off, go to bed earlier if possible, and then start fresh again the next day. Well, Wednesday was one of "these" days. Even though I hoped that, over the course of the day, I might snap out of it, I never did. The weather was not really conducive for running, which further cemented my decision to cancel my run. On top of all this, I have changed my schedule for this week so that I can participate in the Santa Shuffle 5K this Saturday, which entailed changing my Wed. 10K into my Saturday LR 13K. I have never run a 13K without stopping to walk and I was determined to run this 13K "well"; therefore, when I woke up feeling bone-tired and cranky, I knew it was not a good running day. :(

I am really glad I listened to my body because, after going to bed at an earlier time and getting a very solid night's rest, I felt much better prepared for my 13K today (the fact that I slept so solidly proved to me that I needed the extra rest!)

It was cold and lightly snowing, and given my paranoia about ice, I decided the safest place to run would be in Springbank Park, and that I would take one dog, the smallest dog with me so that if I encountered ice, I didn't have one of the 70 lb.+ boys pulling me into a dangerous situation (Note: I would rather be safe than sorry; therefore, until I gain more confidence and experience with running the winter, Angus and Kim will likely experience more walk-only days than running. Although I love running with my bigger dogs, and they are well-trained runners, they still have the ability to stop me on a dime when they have a sudden need to stop and pee, to expel, etc. This is what has me concerned).

This run ended up being tough mentally. It started out very well and although I was running with greater care, I was running strong. My first 6K of this run were very good, and I really enjoyed them. I did not look at my Garmin at all during this time. I just enjoyed my run for what it was.

However, when I was running a hillier section of the park behind Storybook Gardens, I decided to check my watch for mileage. For some reason, mentally, I was expecting it to say that I had run between 8-9K. Instead, I learned that I had just run barely 6K. This really shouldn't be a big deal, but for some reason, today, it made me feel very cranky and this funk came over me. How about that choice words, eh? Funk. Various online dictionaries give various meanings for this word, mainly "a state of depression" or a "deep state of depression" so maybe funk is too strong of a word, or perhaps I need to clarify this more by calling it, a cranky funk. I was not happy to see that I had only run 6K by that point, and knowing that I had not even reached the hump mark of this run did not bode well with me.

So for the next 7K, it was probably a good thing that I was running with just a dog because I likely would have been bitching up a storm if someone had been with me!! This turned into such a looooong run, one that seemed without end, but I just kept plugging along, doing my best to ignore the mileage on my watch and setting landmarks as short-term goals for when to check my watch since I knew I would be bitter regardless! I even started advising myself that 10K was good enough for today (the original mileage scheduled), and that I could wait until next week to run 13K.

Thankfully, by 10K, the funk-fueled snipers in my head were somewhat trampled by my dormant type-A voices, when I decided that darn it, I am running 13K today and getting this LR bloody well over with! After running past my previous PR of 11.5 km, I noticed that my pace did pick up slightly. In a very rare instance, I enjoyed the last 1.5K of this long run the most because it was similar to seeing a finish line ... I see a light at the end of a super long, dark tunnel so let's go faster so we can get there quicker!!!!!

Unfortunately, the time period after my run miserable, too! :( Wow, I can't win for trying today, can I? :( I always give myself time to walk after my runs as a cool-down. Within a short period of time, the top of my head became very cold, which was not covered because I was wearing a headband. I wore my headband during my warm-up walk and for the first few K for warmth, but once my run was well underway, I pocketed it, and was fine running without it. I always put the headband back on after my run for my cool-down walk to keep my ears warm, and usually this works well for me. However, today, the top of my head was wet from both sweat and falling snow. Within minutes of ending my running, the top of my head felt cold, and soon I was experiencing an "ice cream headache" on that part of my head. A few times I had to put my hand on top of my head just to protect it from the wind and to pass on some warmth. A good lesson for me: clearly I need to carry a hat with me to put on immediately after a run in this type of weather. I also started to cough very hard as the temperature of the air into my lungs changed once I was back inside. Truthfully, I just felt miserable until my hot shower when my body finally settled back into normalcy.

So here is my cranky funk post for the day! Not all runs can be great runs, and in the greater scheme of things, I tend to have many more good runs than cranky funk runs so I really have little to complain about. I am very proud of my new PR of 13K without walking and I am very very pleased with this training program so far. This is is what I am focusing on rather than the lack of enjoyment I derived from today! I also felt much better after Benny took me out for dinner, and I enjoyed an excellent spinach salad with grilled shrimp. :) A much-needed distraction with my sweetie to celebrate another milestone for me. :)

On a last side note, I wore my running pants and yellow jacket with running undershirt & underpants underneath. It was just a little too warm of a combination today. Instead, I could have worn spandex shorts and a l/s tech shirt underneath and felt more comfortable. I'm learning! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Running Shoe Update keeps a log of my shoe mileage for me. :) GREAT feature!

May-November 2010

Saucony ProGrid Triumph 5 Silver (Green) = 506 km ( = 20 cents per km)

Saucony ProGrid Triumph 5 Silver (Purple) = 425 km ( = 28 cents per km)

Monthly Review - NOVEMBER 2010

172.7 km TOTAL
Highest monthly total to date :)