Participating in a CSA: Intro Post

by Megan Outlaw

This summer/early fall, we are participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with Driftless Organics, which was one of the many farms we could choose from in Wisconsin's FairShare CSA Coalition.  I was mulling over doing a CSA this year, but a few things convinced me in the end; one, reading the book Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble, which I found interesting, funny, and thought-provoking, and two, learning that through our insurance, we can receive money back from participating in a CSA through their Wellness Rewards program.

A CSA, for those who may not be familiar with the term, consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. (United States Department of Agriculture).  

The program we are participating in has two options for their CSA; a weekly box and an every other week box.  Since it's just the two of us, and we're fairly new to CSAs (we've done one before, but it wasn't the best experience), we opted for the every other week box.

We picked up our first box on Saturday morning at the farmers market, and I've been spending time on the internet ever since to find recipes for the large variety of produce in this week's box. I thought I would start a bi-monthly post that shares the produce we receive in each box, and what we make with it.   This way, I'm keeping myself accountable for using the produce, and hopefully we can all learn some new ways for cooking fresh produce.  

Here's what we received this week.

Look for a post next week or so, descrbing how we used it (we've already used at least 7 different items so far!).

While out on Saturday, I also picked up this Madison, Wisconsin market bag that I had had my eye on for the past year to tote my produce.  It's humungous, well-made with a waterproof lining, and is made by Saidpur Enterprises, which provides fair wages for Bangladeshi women, as well as other social and educational projects in the community.


It should also double as a beach/lake bag, so this was a perfect time of year to buy one.

Tell me some ideas for cooking with basil or scallions!


Friday Faves {Fridays Off, Lake Shirts, Tomatoes, and Hummus!}

by Megan Outlaw

Happy Friday!!! I haven't done a Friday Faves type post in a while, so I figured I'd share some of my favorites lately.

Every Other Friday Off

Ok, this isn't really a "thing", but in the summer, my team participates in a compressed work schedule, where we work 9-hour days and then are off every other Friday.  I didn't do it the last few summers, but I wanted to give it a try this summer.  So far, I'm super happy that I did.  More time for daytime bike rides, trips to the terrace, and lazy lunches.  I'm off today, which is why you're seeing this mid-day post from me. :)

"Go Jump in the Lake" {Shirt}

If you've been following along, you know I absolutely LOVE #lakelife, as I tend to call it on Instagram.  I was searching for a sign that said "Go Jump in the Lake" to hang near our balcony (still in search!), when I came across this awesome shirt from This is My Year Gear's Etsy shop. I immediately bought it, because gray/teal, arrows, and lakes are kind of my favorite things.  The shirt will be a summer staple. 


I have a Tomato!

Last night I realized that my patio tomato plant has not died yet, and in fact, I have two {green} tomatoes!   This is my first attempt at growing tomatoes, so I'm pretty excited.  Hopefully they ripen, and more will grow.  (I've killed my basil, but still have cilantro and mint, so there's some hope for me yet.)

Sabra Lemon Twist Hummus

 I am kind of obsessed with this Sabra Lemon Twist hummus.  I think I've bought 3 or 4 containers of it so far.  Right now I'me eating it with carrots, but I've also polished off many a mini pretzel.  It's slightly refreshing, which is perfect for summer.

Off to try out a new place for lunch!  

Your hummus favorites?


Madison Aquathon #2 {Race Recap}

by Megan Outlaw

 On Thursday evening, Victor and I participated in the second race of the Madison Aquathon series, held five times a year (mid-may through mid-August) at Warner Park here in Madison. (We had also done one of the races as a relay last summer.)

What is an aquathon?

An aquathon race consists of a swim and run. (kind of like a duathlon, but swimming replaces biking.)  The Madison Aquathon consists of a 1,000 meter swim and 5K run.

I was a little worried about the weather for the race, because it had already rained earlier in the day and it was predicted to storm again that night, but luckily the storms held off for the most part until after the race, with an occasional light raining falling.  The race starts at 7pm, which is great for those of us (my husband) who doesn't get off work at the usual 5pm.  

We arrived right in time to register and then I quickly headed over to transition to get wet suited up, before heading down to the beach.


At 7pm, the race announcer counted us down and we were off!  

This was my third time swimming in open water this year, and I'm still working my way back up distance-wise in the pool, so I was not expecting a super fast swim.  The swim was pretty tough for me, especially the swim to the first buoy, as it was kind of crowded where I started, and I had trouble sighting (foggy goggles - going to try another pair).  

After I finally made it around the first buoy, I found more of a rhythm and was able to better find my way to the second buoy, before making the turn to shore.  Here I finally decided to turn on some speed and start passing people.  I finished stronger and more confident than I started, which is great, but overall, I definitely need some more practice!

Time: 19:56

Since we were doing the relay, as I came out of the water I tagged my husband, and he made his way through transition and out onto the course.  

He had a much better run than last year; in part because he was more prepared for a pretty serious hill near the beginning and end of the out and back course.  


Time:  23:13

Overall, I really enjoyed the aquathon and think a midweek race is a great idea.  I think there were around 100 participants on Thursday, ranging from the super competitive (there were lots of people from area triathlon teams participating), to the more casual athletes like my husband and myself.  I hope we can sign up for at least one of the remaining three races in the series!  

Cost for individual race: $20 or $25 on race day; cost for relay: $30 or $35 on race day (series is $80 for individual; $100 for relay)

Ever participated in an aquathon?




Easing Back into Swimming {Plus a Swim Workout}

by Megan Outlaw

I've started swimming again, and am taking it pretty slowly so as not to aggravate my back (or myriad of other issues).  There seem to be a lot of posts out there on how to ease back into running, but perhaps not too many on swimming, so here's my two cents for you today.

1.  Swim for time, not distance

Instead of setting out to do a particular distance, I've been swimming for time.  I'm currently at 20 minutes, and that seems to be going pretty well so far.  Going for time versus distance helps to avoid comparing yourself with what you could do in a non-recovery state, which can quickly make you feel not so great about the time you just spent in the water.   It may be discouraging to jump in the pool for 10 to 20 minutes, but I promise, it's worth it!  All workouts count to rebuilding post-injury.  

2.  And stick to that time limit

It may be really tempting to go past my set 20-minute timeframe, but I learned the hard way to stick with what I'm (fairly) confident my body can handle.  This may mean doing a 18 or 19-minute swim to avoid going over my time limit by doing one more 100 (the pool I use the majority of the time is a 50-meter pool).  Didn't get to do that second 100 pull buoy? Oh well, try again next time.  Also, increase the time slowly and decide on a time limit  prior to starting the swim. 

3.  Use this building opportunity to focus on weaknesses

 I've been using my swim time to focus on improving my form, which will definitely help me in the long run to avoid injury and get stronger and faster.  Two things I've been working on are breathing on both sides and engaging my core while swimming.  I've been adding in laps of breathing on both sides, and also thinking about my core while swimming, which is something I haven't actively done in the past. 

4. Know when to back off, but expect a little discomfort

I've had a few instances where in the middle of a swim, my back has started to hurt like it did when it was injured.  The smart thing to do here is to stop, and try again another day, even if you've only been swimming a few minutes.  However, when coming back to any sport after some time off, some soreness is to be expected.  

5.  Implement a good post-workout routine

To combat some of the above-mentioned soreness, I've tried to get into a better habit of foam rolling and then stretching after a swim.  It's definitely easy to get out this habit as your workouts get longer and take up more of your time, but it's definitely important in order to avoid re-injury!

And now, for a workout!  Like I mentioned, I've been swimming for about 20 minutes each time.  For me, that's about 1,000 meters.  I vary the type of laps, but try to incorporate the below drills each time.