Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Baltimore Running Festival

I'm horrible at writing race recaps so this is a first.  It's also coming before my next race, which is a plus.

Arriving in Baltimore on Friday and hitting the expo and Inner Harbor for dinner was pretty much the plan.  This is one of the few larger events that I have seen that actually runs on Saturday.  The expo was pretty nice, easy to navigate and get all our goods, bib, bag, shirts.  I did forget pins, though.  I mean, the pins?!?  We did end up going back later and picking up a few things we had seen earlier.

We decided to eat diner somewhere we knew.  I did not want to be sick in the morning so we decided on Uno's.  We sat outside, and it was cold.  The breeze was chilly and neither of us were really dressed for it.

Don't let the sun fool you!
Luckily Starbucks was on the way back to the hotel.  We also took an evening stroll though Camden Yard.  We'd be running this way to the finish line and wanted to get an idea of where we were going.

Looks quite different silent and empty than it did a few weeks before for the Red Sox series.

Because of the ACLS games, race times had been moved around.  So her race had moved up to 7:30 while mine held at 8:45.  I went to the start area at Camden Yard with her and it was awesome to see that they had opened Oriole Park for us to use real bathrooms! We made it out just in time for her race to start. I saw her off and then went to look for my start area.  I was starting at mile 13 of the marathon course so our corrals were over in the harbor. She made it over before my race started and hung out in my corral with me. She did awesome, getting a 5K PR, despite almost being knocked over by some lady!

This is where the part about me being horrible at recaps comes in.  I rarely remember much about the race itself.  This is no exception.  I do recall it seemed the entire race was up hill... with a head wind.  I remember running around the lake and that's about it.  There was a hill, and then another hill, and then a bridge - that also went up hill... Then we finally went down Eutaw St and into Camden to M&T Bank Stadium's parking lot.  The immediate finish line area was a little confusing, like a maze.  You had to walk to get your medal and I had to find my own space blanket. I'm used to it being right there.  We skipped the finish line festivities and headed out.  When we got back to our hotel area, the route to the finish went right in front so we decided to eat at Jimmy John's and watch the runners come down Eutaw St.

It doubles as a beer opener!
One thing that was disappointing was the spans of the course with little to no crowd support.  It really didn't matter much to me, but I felt for the marathoners as it was the back half of their race.  I'm used to the back half lacking, but that's when the full and half start together.  I would have been extremely bummed in this race.

See? Hills.
I'm not pleased with my time, but it's not my worst so there's that.  Plus I didn't train well.  All in all the race was decent.  Would I do it again?  I'm not sure, ask me next Spring, but I would definitely have be better prepared.

At least I looked strong at somewhere between miles 12-13.

This coming weekend I'm running the Across the Bay 10K, Lord help me.  I hate that thing and now I'm going to run across it.  Here's the stats on that: 10K, 4.35 miles over water, up to 185 ft in the air.
The Hot Chocolate 15K in Columbus then following weekend, then a well deserved break before I get started training for the Boston Marathon on December 15.

Tonight I have a Barre class at a local yoga studio, I'll let you know how it goes.  I think it would make great cross training in the coming months.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Beantown Bound

Ship me up to Boston, I'm running in the 2015 Boston Marathon!  I am part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Marathon Challenge team.  These two things are very important to me for many reasons.  The Boston Marathon became a key piece in a scary time in my life, and now, 18 months later Dana-Farber fits in perfectly.

You are all aware of the Marathon Bombings in 2013, but what I don't talk about much, if at all, is that less than a month before (March) I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer...at the age of 34...with two children under the age of 5.  After going through test after test, exam after exam, multiple imaging studies, we learned that my options were slim.  Read: I had none.  I was going to have a mastectomy and that was about all there was to say about it.  So after taking a few days to let it all settle, and dealing with the fear, anger, sadness and more fear that accompany those words, we were back in the office with oncology surgeon and plastic surgeon, my team - as they are often referred to, and a plan was put in place.

If you recall, or read back over the last few posts, I was training at this time to run the Pittsburgh marathon.  It was going to be my first 26.2 but I had had an injury I was dealing with and decided to run the half instead.  This lead to conversation between my surgeon and I about running and I find out she runs too.  So there's lots of running talk, comparing half PRs, and tears because no one is sure when I'll be able to start running again.  In every office, at every appointment there's running talk.  And in every office at every appointment I cry when it's brought up.  

Fast forward to April 15.  The Monday of the Boston Marathon.  I was sitting at home figuring I would just follow the race on Twitter.  Then the tweets started coming and I flipped to the TV news stations.  Who would bomb a marathon?  Without knowing anyone you suddenly felt for everyone.  That's the thing about runners, we're like an unspoken family.  It was concerning and consuming.

Nine days later I'm sitting in a hospital pre op waiting.  This wasn't my first surgery, but was the biggest, most monumental medical procedure to date.  Everyone: nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists are talking about running, the marathon, Boston.  It was all a ploy to make me think of anything but the reason I was there, I think.  Either way, it worked.

Then in September Ian and I traveled to Boston to celebrate our 10th anniversary and being cancer free.  And to relax at Fenway and watch the Red Sox sweep the Yankees in the final home stand of the season.  A love affair was born and I'm pretty sure we both left a little piece of our hearts in Boston.

So in about 28 weeks we'll back in Boston.  And I'll be running.  I will admit I'm still in a little bit of shock, I honestly didn't think I would be chosen to run for DFMC.  I had said I was afraid they wouldn't pick me, but scared that they would.  Running for DFMC is a great honor and opportunity.  You are helping raise money to fund groundbreaking cancer research.  The majority of this research is in its infancy so it doesn't get the government funding more proven studies do.  Without these funds discoveries could be pushed back years, if even occurring at all.   This will be the 26th year for DFMC, and the goal is to raise $5.2 million dollars for the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research.  You can learn more using the links at the top of the page.  You can follow this link or click the box in the sidebar to donate.  Together we can for those who cannot.

'Together, we're headed toward the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer.'

Monday, April 15, 2013


Driftwood by Veera Välimäki
madelinetosh pashmina in iceburg (discontinued)

I just finished up my Driftwood wrap by Veera Välimäki.   I knit this up using madelinetosh pashmina.  I can not tell you how much I love pashmina, it's a merino, cashmere, silk blend.  It is fabulously soft and machine washable!  Not that I have actually washed it in the machine, but I could, and it's nice to have that option.

I didn't do a swatch or anything, I just dove right in.  Gauge wasn't crucial, it just affects your finished size.  I did not block out to the 71" length in the schematic, but I think I got about 65-66" which is plenty big for my frame.  Width was spot on.  Which is usually the case, I can get spi but my row gauge is almost always off.  I had a little yarn left over so I probably could have knit another repeat, but I was afraid it would be off balance as the pattern branches out and becomes wider.

I love it and know it will be perfect for evenings when it becomes a little chilly for a tank but still to warm for sleeve.  And because nothing is better than being wrapped in cashmere and silk! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Water for the Elephants

My Ravelry project page

I finished my latest pair of socks last week and I am in love.  I used madelinetosh sock in the fawn (white) and mourning dove (blue) colorways.  I absolutely fell in love with the MD as soon as I cast on.  It has such depth and the subtle tones work well in the pattern.

The scroll work is gorgeous on its own, but the elephants sell the pattern.  The are too cute to pass up.  I think that's why I dove right into them after finishing my Rose socks.

This is the best I can do at the moment for the elephants, I am finding it a little tough to take a picture of the outside of my own leg.  

I would like to thank Rose a million and one times for this free (yes, FREE!) pattern.  She states it's more or less her notes on the socks, but it is still wonderfully put together.  It's clear and straightforward and I found it pretty easy to follow. I see more of her socks in my drawer in the future! And there are definitely a lot to choose from!

Of course, after I finish these it's 70 degrees outside...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Norwegian Rose

Norwegian Rose Socks from Wendy D. Johnson's book
My Ravelry project page

My third pair of finished socks for the year!  I originally started these socks in January 2012. I worked through one pattern repeat and stopped.  I honestly have no idea why.  Either way, I ripped the sock, wound up the yarn and started over. Planning to do two at a time, that was quickly nixed because I spent more time unwrapping yarn around itself then I did knitting.

I think this pattern is pretty well suited to beginning colorwork.  There's only two colors used.  There are a few long floats, but nothing too drastic.  I didn't really twist my colors, I just dropped what I wasn't working with and picked up what I was.  

I have a few spots on the foot, but it's on the sole, where I did the wrong row of the 2-row repeat resulting in a few stacked stitches.  No one would ever notice but me and I didn't even notice until rows later so they stayed. 

I went up a needle size from the pattern, it calls for 0s and 1s, I used size 2.  The sample in the book had 5 repeats of the rose pattern.  Once I rejoined after the heel I would try on the sock.  It started to get a little tight after the 4th repeat and was at my perfect length so I decided to stop.  After sleeping on it I went with the corrugated ribbing.  I'm not a huge fan of corrugated rib, but it was a 1x1, so I figured it wouldn't be so bad.  I also think the softness of the color helps too.

I'm really proud of these socks, I wish I had somewhere to go to show them off!  I love the colors and they look amazing after blocking.  Plus, I have enough yarn left over to probably reverse the colors and knit them again. But I won't.  I'll move on, I have plenty of stranded socks in my Rav queue.

And no knit photo shoot is complete without a Bug photobomb.  She must be able to smell the camera.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Down or Out

Yesterday I ran a 15 mile race.  I was teary eyed for the last 1.5 miles.  No runner's high here, though.  I was in intense pain.   After a 90 minute drive home and a long shower I was feeling a little better.  More or less the effects of running 15 miles of 'rolling hills'.  Today I felt even better, physically.

Mentally, not so much.  After consulting Dr. Google and info I already know I know that the pain is Iliotibial Band Syndrome, or ITBs.  I am taking the week off from training to rest, ice, stretch, roll and strengthen.  After that I will see about adding some miles back in.  I have also decided to take a break from road running and heading out to the 'trail'.  When most people in town say they ran on the trail they are referring to the rails to trails.  We have a asphalt strip that runs through town but the outskirts are crushed limestone.  The crushed lime will be softer underfoot, in theory to absorb some of the shock.

I also made a very hard decision this evening.  If you see the countdown on the right I have dropped out of the Pittsburgh Marathon in May.  I knew there were few spots left for the Half Marathon, and risking further injury to continue training for the full I dropped down to the half.  I know this is the best thing to do, but convincing myself was hard to do.  I sat on the confirmation page for a long time.  I took a shower to think it over, which involved some sobbing, and finally decided that is really is the right thing.  Now trying to get myself to not feel like a failure may take longer.  I have to believe that this isn't because I can't.  But it's hard to do, especially when you already have so much time invested in it.

With dropping down to the half, my training miles will drastically decrease, I mean, I have already run 2 training runs longer than a half marathon.  Then there's the Marine Corps Marathon in October.  Knowing what I know now, there may be a better training plan out there for me.  But I know I'll be miserable until I get back on the road.

ETA:  About 2 hours after I wrote this post the Pittsburgh Half Marathon was full.  So I will believe there was a reason I made this decision when I did.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Business Casual No.2

 I just wrapped up my second pair of Business Casual socks for the KAL last evening. Now I can truly say I understand what all the Plucky Primo fuss is about. Like buttah!  Now, if I could only have quick and nimble fingers for the next shop update... sigh

I decided to knit a pair for Ian after finishing the first pair.  They went so quick, why not?  I decided to use twisted stitches on this pair instead of the actual cabling.  So much faster, and slightly easier too.  I'm afraid of cabling without a cable needle.  I don't want to drop those tiny stitches and then have to try to drag them back to where they are supposed to be, ha!

I swear this color is impossible to capture.  It's a very nice blue-green.  Adding a slight antiqued tint to the photos helped a small bit.  The most accurate are the photos where they aren't being worn.

Also, slightly oversized as they are for a bigger foot.  It's a little harder to see the pattern due to the dark color, first morning overcast light and bagginess.  I think I am going to give them a nice steam to open up the stitches and they will be ready to go.

Head on over to Kelly's blog to see all the new finished socks from the last week, and new prizes!