Tuesday, October 9, 2012

And she's off!

Updates. Warning, long post ahead. 

On April 15th I did the Tough Mudder in Amherst, Oh. It was 12 miles of mud and pain. Where the Warrior Dash is fun, the Mudder is just, well, not. It was hard and I'm sure I will never do that again. Pics here.

The following Saturday, I ran the Portage Lakes Run to the Beach Half Marathon. According to my GPS, the race was 13.68 miles, not 13.1. So as far as I'm concerned, it was a PR.  It was cold - about 40F and raining off and on during the race. I felt strong for the first 7 miles, then my knee went *pop*! and that's all she wrote. The last 6.5 miles were spent doing a combo walk/run/limp/try-not-to-cry. I finished in 2:37:xx. Like I said, though, the course was long - so if I discount that extra .58 mile, then I finished just under 2:30:xx. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon - 05.19.12

The word of the day: HOT!

It was 77 in the shade at 10am. I had finished the race by then, but I would venture to say that for the majority of the race it was at least that hot even from the get-go. I understand that the red flag came out for the marathoners shortly after I finished the half.

My report:

Having not really trained for this race, I lined up behind the 4:55/11:17m/m/ pace group. I knew I didn't want to push this race and I thought I could (hopefully) keep up with that group. The course is, for the most part, flat, but the first 3 miles are rolling (mostly up-hill, since the race starts at the shoreline then goes UP to the city). The miles FLEW by for me. The water stops were very poorly managed this year. They were laid out right, just not managed well. At least one stop was out of cups pretty early in the race and none of them were prepared for the amount of runners. Each one was crowded to the point of having to actually stop and wait in line to get water. One good thing was that there was at least three points where they had the hose spraying people down at the stops. I was very thankful for that (even though it made my sweat drip into my eyes - ugh).

Aside from the water stations, I ran fully through to mile 10. I started incorporating walk breaks in there at that point - the heat was catching up to me.

Highlights for me: My hubby and daughter were waiting for me around the halfway point. She was giving out high-fives to the runners (she's four and super-enthusiastic) and she had a bottle of water for me! They also were right at the finish line so I was able to give her a high-five right at the end of the race. That was super sweet.

All in all, I'm happy about how I did. Leading up to this run, I hadn't trained at all (seriously - I ran a half marathon a month ago and have only run three times between them, less than 10 miles total in the month), and am not really feeling the running love right now. Oh well.

Warrior Dash - 08.25.12

A few pics from my latest adventure:




It's elemental!

Actual race report:

My friend and I were schedule for the 4pm wave. Seeing as how it was going to be stupid hot and they don't actually check, we opted to go early and get in the 1030am wave. It was still stupid hot, but not as bad as it was later that afternoon.

There were hills, mud, water crossings - but nothing even remotely difficult. The obstacles included wading through chest high water and going over logs that were floating on the surface (options included being in a group and pushing the log down to go over, or jumping/rolling over the top dive - I ended up at the back of the pack and had to do the log myself, so I did option b: and sustained my only injury of the day - a scraped knee. Boo-hoo.), a swim(7' deep water) that included climbing up and over a flotilla of what looked like cases tied together, more running, traversing a horizontal cargo net, climbing a 12' high 2x4 wall that had a ladder-like step on the way up, but nothing on the way down at the 8' mark (yay for upper body strength training - I didn't have to drop too far!), climbing over a barn-skeleton (10' high at the top, maybe?), more running, climbing the 17' cargo net wall up and over, jumping fire, crawling under barbed wire in rocky trenches, crawling under barbed wire in the mud and my favorite, the horizontal rock wall.

I don't know what else to call that one - it was a wall with a 2" ledge to walk on with hand holds spaced 6'-8' apart over a water pit, It wasn't too difficult, but I surely was knock-kneed shaking by the time I got across it. It was, I'm guessing, about 20' long.

I don't know if I'm remembering all the obstacles, but that seems about right.

It was fun. I'd do it again. Not like the Tough Mudder. That one hurt. 

Akron Half Marathon - 09.29.12

Fourth time participating in the Akron race, first time solo. I've usually been on relay teams, but this year I decided to tackle it myself. The initial plan was to run the full as my first full mary, but I ended up with a stress fracture right after the Cleveland Half marathon in May that knocked me out of training for six weeks. So much for the full, eh? I knew I could pull off a half with minimal training, so I changed my entry and went on my way.

The day started out chilly - as to be expected for late September in Ohio. It was 41F at the start. Warmed up to maybe 60F by the time I finished. Maybe. I'm not really sure.

The miles went pretty fast - I was pacing around 11:18 for the first 7 miles... then my phone died. So I have no idea what I paced from there on out. I walked mile 10 - stupid me. I should've just pushed through, as I missed my PR by 02:15. Seriously. If I had just pushed through mile 10 running, I could've PRd. Oh well. Heck, I probably could've PRd if I hadn't stopped to use a volunteer's phone to text my hubby to let him know where I was (mile 11.5 - I wanted him to be ready to shoot pics when I got into the stadium!).

Mid-Run - a mere second before my phone died.
Taken mere seconds before my phone died.

Final time: 02:37:37. Missed my PR by 00:02:15. Grrr and harrumph.

Post race:

P, pointing to my name on the pace car.

... and I don't even like to run. (The smile at the finish line? Yeah, that's because it's OVER!)

Saturday 10.06.12 I ran the YMCA Jack-O-Lantern Jog through historic Glendale Cemetery

It was overcast, 40-ish degrees. Brrr chilly cold I believe was the actual temperature.
So yeah, I'm a week out from running a half marathon. This race is super hilly. It's all up and down through the cemetery, part road, part dirt path. My entire goal was to not kill myself or get injured. I completed it in :35:13. Not great, not bad... considering I was recovering from a half marathon.

The next day, however, I did something really stupid! I ran another half marathon!

Towpath Trail Half Marathon - 10.07.12
It was cold. The rain held out until the half marathoners were finished. Not so fortunate for the full marathoners, though.

Towpath Half starts at a ski resort, runs down the road a few miles, then turns on to a trail that is three people wide. Oh, and it's an out and back once you hit the trail.

Miles 1-3 were on the road and I ran very conservatively - trying to assess whether I would be able to even finish 13.1 miles on tired legs. I stuck to my fuel strategy - GU 15:00 before the start, then at miles 3, 6 & 10. They had water and Gatorade on the course, but I'm used to Powerade, so I carried that on my belt.

Once we hit the trail, it was on. I ran (well, jogged as is my pace) steadily, passing people when I could (mainly because I hate running on someone's heels - this plays a very important role in my time at this race). I did many short bursts of speed over the 10 miles of trail. Around mile 6 the lead pack started passing by headed back to the finish, so passing got dodgy and even faster at places. Keep in mind the trail is 3, max 4 people wide! As in last week's half, my phone died at mile 7 or so (stupid phone), but this time I remembered to wear my Garmin so I knew I was keeping a good pace.

Miles 8-10 were just plodding along - I've run this trail quite a few times, so I knew how much further I had to go with every step. Which can be both exciting and daunting.

Miles 11-12.5 I had some serious pain in my toe. Toenails are overrated, right? At this point I knew I would PR... just keep running.

Mile 12.5 - 13.1. Longest. Freaking. Run. I was ready for it to be over. But I kept going. I looked at my Garmin and thought, just maybe, I could possibly not only PR, but finally break 2:30:00. As I rounded the corner and saw the clock at the finish line showing 2:30:09, I knew I had broken 2:30:00! Holy crap. Official time:  2:29:37. Exactly 8 minutes faster than last week.

Now... to do it all over again on October 28th.
(with 2 more 5ks between now and then, too!)

Did I mention I hate running? Ugh.

Oh yeah.... and I celebrated by having strawberry french toast. It was delicious!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Sewing Machine / Working Out HARD.

First things first: Let's get the new machine out of the way. I succumbed to a love of new and shiny object and made my first ever purchase from the Home Shopping Network. Yes, I bought a sewing machine without test-driving it first. I based my purchase on the fact that it was a) pretty, b) Singer and c) pretty. Since I had test-driven one of the new Singers back in April, I was pretty confident that it would be a good machine. And it was pretty. Presenting the new black beauty:

The 160th Anniversary Edition Singer. With optional cat attachment:

(Hi, Jack!)

The first project I made with it was lightweight wool coat for Miss P.

After a shopping trip to JoAnn's to find supplies for a work project, Miss P found a pattern for felt fruit that she decided she HAD TO HAVE RIGHT NOW! So yeah, I broke down and made some of those, too.

Still Life in Fruit

Now on to the fun stuff: A few weeks ago I went to visit my friend Becki's craft show. (By her craft show, I mean she's the one who actually puts the whole thing on - she's amazing). When we first walked in the door we were greeted by a couple of other friends that I know from Stewart's Caring Place that were there to give out information about SCP and to drum up interest in people jumping in a Polar Bear jump to benefit SCP. Now you know me, I'm a sucker for a good cause. Plus, flattery will get you every where with me. One of the girls said "This is totally something you'd do, right?" and so I said I would. Seriously. A polar bear jump. In Ohio. In the winter. I must be crazy, right? (Don't answer that!)

So I posted on a very male-related music forum (I think there's maybe three other women beside me that participate on that board) that I would be doing this jump to raise money for SCP and I promised them that if I raised $300, I would post a pic of me in a bikini. Well, they managed to raise over $400! :eek: I was now on the hook for not only jumping, but posting a pic of me online in a bikini. ('cause I'm so shy, right?) Oh well.

The day was chilly, but not frozen. About 40F, windchill took it to upper 20s. The lake wasn't frozen, just really freakin' cold. Walking the plank:

Yes, I am insane!

And she's off! (in more ways than one)

----------------- And on to the workouts.
Just a few pics of the things I've been working on:

There's a double dutch bus comin' down the street....


Oh, and I've registered for the Tough Mudder. I am insane.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sewing Accidents Redux!

Time to get back in the sewing room! Miss P has finally outgrown the winter coats that I sewed for her two years ago (yes, I made them big. What about it?). We went to JoAnn's to find fabric to make a new one. P wanted another dalmation coat, but unfortunately JoAnn's finally stopped carrying that particular fabric. Instead, P picked out princess fabric. Shocked, I know. Pink, pink, and more pink. *sigh* And for the lining she picked out a lovely pink flannel with fairies on it because "princesses are in fairy tales, mom!".

We used the same pattern as the dalmation coat - Duffel coat, from Sew Hip Magazine (issue 21). I had to trace and cut the next size up. Easy peasy. The entire piece only has 7 pattern pieces!

Stop. Rewind.

Before I even got to that stage, I had to clean up the sewing room. It was still a disaster from wrapping Christmas presents, making the elf costume, etc. I'm pretty messy and sometimes I just don't bother cleaning up right away. Anyway - I was down on the floor, sitting on my knees, picking up assorted small pieces of detritus and when I went to stand up, a needle or something went into the tip of my big toe. Yeow! I don't think I cursed or anything. Actually at the time I didn't really think anything of it other than "Damn - a puncture wound. Better make sure I let that sucker bleed for a bit before putting a band-aid on it." So I did just that. Forced some blood out, then put an antibacterial band-aid on it and went on my merry way. Well, it wasn't that merry, my toe hurt like a mo-fo. But I'm a trouper, so I soldiered on.

Two days later, the toe was swollen, red and a lovely red streak started up my toe so I thought it would be best if I went to the Dr and got some antibiotics or something. One tetanus shot and an antibiotic shot later and I was on my way out the door with a prescription for more antibiotics and instructions to soak the toe.

Another two days go by and I'm now traveling to Southern California to spend two days walking around a trade show. On a gimpy foot. Thank goodness for percocet.

Okay, now it's two weeks later. I've finished the antibiotics, haven't run at all and the toe is still sore. And now it's turning purple. This can't possibly be good. So yesterday I called Dr Andy's office and told them the tale of woe - the purple toe - and they pretty much said "Can you get here now?" Off to the Dr's. Dr Andy poked it, and said "I'm sending you to a Doctor." I get to the new Dr's office, explain what happened and asked him not to amputate - seeing that I have a couple of half-marathons coming up! They xray the foot and lo and behold, there's a piece of metal in my toe! So much for the TSA and their super-mega-scanners! Guess who gets to have surgery? That's right, me. Right then and there! Well, okay it wasn't so much surgery as a scalpel and tweezer operation. There were stitches. Okay, just one, but still! Wanna see pics? No? You sure?

Okay, I'll just link to them, not embed them. That way you don't have to look unless you have a morbid fascination.

Two days post-puncture.
Two weeks post puncture.
Look at the pretty metal piece. Great bones!
'Tis only a stitch.

Cool, eh? So much for this weekend's race.

Okay... now back to the coat. Where were we? Oh yeah, pink princess fabric.




Miss P's babysitter asked if I would make a Buzz Lightyear version for her son. V is turning three soon, so it's a good bday present. Luckily I still had the pattern pieces from the dalmation coat - so I didn't have to retrace any pieces! From start to finish (not including shopping time), I managed to get the coat done in just over three hours! I guess it's true, the more you make a pattern, the quicker it goes together!




As you can see, P was none too happy to be modeling the coat. Oh well.

Next up, a new Cinderella dress for P. The one I made for her 2nd birthday is finally too small and too beat up to use anymore.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NYE and then some...

New Year's Eve found me and the family running the SARC - Great New Year's Eve 5k. I ran this last year and must've completely blocked out the big hills in my head because I mentioned the race to my MIL and suggested that she should come do the race with me. Oh, and make my hubby do it it, too!

Much to my surprise, MIL said she would. So I registered her and my hubby so we could do this as a family. Miss P joined us in the race, too. Not in a stroller (no strollers allowed), but on hubby's back! Yes, he did the 5k while wearing a 40lb 4-year old. I would've worn her, but seeing as how I was actually running for time and they weren't it just made more sense!

It was relatively warm considering it was NYE in Northeast Ohio. Normal temps are in the 20Fs - it was 40F and wet. The race was at 4pm - which to me is just an awful time to run as I prefer morning running - so we had a whole day to contemplate our strategy. Heh. Our strategy was to let me run ahead and run my race, then circle back and bring hubby & MIL in. The course was an out-and-back, so I passed them on my way in just shy of the 1 mile mark (on their side). I finished the race and beat last year's time by 3 minutes or so (but still not a great time - stupid hills), then ran back out (stupid hills) and met up with them around the 2.25 mile mark. They were bringing up the rear of the race, police escort and all.

They finished the race shortly after the course closed. Of course they still got to cross the finish line and the timing was still active, so they do have official times and did not get a DNF! Oh, and to make it even better? MIL not only finished DEAD LAST in the race, she also placed THIRD in her age group! Bwah! Her first race and she places. Go figure!

She's hooked! I've signed her up to "run" a race the first weekend in February. She said she'd do races with me and my FIL can watch Miss P. Finding someone to watch P while I race has been an issue, so this is perfect! I wonder if I can talk her into doing a triathlon with me... hrmm...

In other news, my working out with a personal trainer is interesting. Interesting in that the first session we worked together he asked me "How much weight do you want to lose?" Now, if you know me, you know that's not really a good question to ask. I don't particularly pay attention to the scale (as the last post indicated) and am more about how I feel, how my clothes fit, etc. I threw out a number (15lbs), but in the same breath told him I didn't really think that would be a reasonable number. Why? Because I know my body. I know what happens when I strength train - I gain weight! Muscles weigh more, stupid.

Anyway, last night I went into our session and I told him that I had gained three pounds over the last couple of days (which I'm sure was water weight or something - couldn't have been food, right?). So he got out the tools and we took new measurements of where I am. So yes, I gained three pounds. His scale said the same thing. Grrrrr.... BUT - according the little biometric thingy, I've lost 3% body fat (4lbs of fat!) - which translates into a 7lb GAIN of muscle. You should've seen his face when the light went off in his head. He FINALLY got what I tried to tell him our first session!

Other measurements - I've lost .75" off my waist, 1" off my thigh, gained .25" on bicep and lost .25" hips. So yeah, I'm (slightly) smaller, but heavier! Nice!

And now, for some random pics:

I got crazy eyes~!

Most recent sewing project: Elf on the Shelf

Yeah, she wasn't too happy. Lucky for her, she was only modeling it as it was a commissioned piece!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas to me?

So, how to quantify if what you're doing is working? The scale? Pictures? Compliments from people?

I haven't really been paying attention to much of anything. I really never thought I was fat. Yeah, sure, like everyone else, I thought I could stand to lose a few pounds, tone up a bit, whatever, but I never thought I was fat. Even though the scale said I was, I didn't believe it. When this picture was taken, I think I was pushing 190lbs or so:


But yeah, I didn't think I was fat. Just a little overweight.

That picture was taken about two years ago. In March of the following year, the hubby was put on the South Beach Diet by his doctor. I decided I should do it with him for moral support. No, not because I felt I was fat, but because I thought I should support him.

In the ensuing months he lost about 50lbs. I lost around 40lbs. He stopped the diet. I continued with phase 3 (maintenance) and took up running. I ran a 5K in 39 minutes and change. And was utterly defeated by that. So I really decided to start running for real. Since then I've run many more 5Ks (PR: 29:31), a 10K and a Half Marathon. I also started working out with a personal trainer last month.

I don't normally talk about my weight, but I'll throw this out there. As of today, I weigh 154lbs. When that picture above was taken, I was wearing a size 16 and I didn't care. Today, I'm wearing a 6. And I still don't care. Vanity sizing taken into account, I probably really wear a 10. But that's neither here nor there.

I just wanted to put this out there. Merry Christmas.

Hard work pays off?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We'll get to the costumes in a minute. First, let's get caught up on the running since August.

I didn't do enough training (to say the least) in preparation for the Road Runner Akron Marathon on Sept 24th. I figured I was only running 7.9 miles - I'd be fine. And surprisingly enough, I was! Yay! I didn't beat any records to be sure, but I managed to finish in a respectable amount of time (for me - 01:28:28 - 11:20 pace) and I wasn't in too much pain at the end. I even ended up walking part of the way home from the stadium after the run. Nice, eh?

I love this picture:

That was taken at about mile 7.5 (of the 7.9). I was feeling pretty good and look - both of my feet are off the ground at the same time! I finally have a pic where I look like I'm actually running! Woot!

After the race:
Finish line!
(L to R: Sara, me, TK & Brandi - not shown, Jesse)

I felt so good after the race that I added a few more races to my schedule. The next one was the YMCA Jack O Lantern Jog on Oct 8th. A simple jog through Glendale Cemetery. Ugh - HILLS! I really wasn't prepared for it and my time showed as much. :34:43 - 11:19 pace. On the upside, Miss P won the costume contest!

JackOLantern Jog 10.08.11

Miss P won a trophy!

See me in my stupid costume?
Yeah, I ditched the hat pretty quickly into the race. I suck.

The very next day I ran the Towpath 10K. My first 10K. My first time running two races in one weekend. Surprisingly enough, I did much better with my time on that. My goal was to finish in under 1:10:00 - and I did! I hit 1:04:59 - 10:29 pace. How's that work? Woot! Got some good pictures, too!

It was still dark when we started:

Serious runner:

Still going strong at the finish:

The next run was the following weekend. Another 5K. I hoped to at least beat my pathetic time of the previous week. I was running with Sara (from the RRAM Relay team). Just like last year, she passed me at mile 1 and managed to beat me again. This year, however, it was only by a little bit. (Not like last year, where she beat me by 8 minutes). I was determined not to let this one get away, so I hauled tushie to bring it in at a PR. And I did! :31:28 - 9:56 pace. Woot! Finally over the 10:00 pace hump!

(Don't let the pic fool you - it was at :31:28 when my chip crossed! Honest!)

And just because I'm a glutton for punishment, I decided to run another 5K the following weekend. Now I really have a goal to chase - a sub-:30 5K. Do you think I can do it?

Oh hell yeah. Bring it on...

No pics from this race (the Knights of Columbus / St Sebastian Running in the Park 5K 10/21/11), but I ran it down in :29:31 - 9:33 pace! Woot!

Next races on the schedule: Gennesaret Home Run for the Homeless on Thanksgiving (4-miler through Glendale Cemetery) and the Reindeer Run 5K in Lakewood on Dec 3rd.


And now, what you've been waiting for, Halloween Costumes!

Miss P decided that she wanted to be Jessie from Toy Story this year. Why not something fun - oh no, she decided to do something mainstream. Oh well. I modified a pair of her jeans, drafted the shirt, hat and belt, and spent way too much time braiding yarn for the hair.

She's happy with it, though.


I'm pretty proud of the belt:

... and since the hubby is going to be home for the first time (ever) on Halloween, I had to make him a costume. He's a film camera buff. Loves older cameras and was pretty sad when Kodak finally gave up the ghost and stopped making Kodachrome. He hoarded that film. And then the last facility that processed it finally stopped. So over the course of a year, I think he shot over 100 rolls of Kodachrome (give you the nice bright colors...).

I decided that to pay homage to his love of Kodachrome I would make him a costume that would be a good tribute. Of course, I had no idea how I was going to do it (there was math involved!)...

The neck base is a hula hoop. I took a piece of foam core and cut it to be the same size as the hula hoop, taped it to hoop and cut a hole for the head (hula hoop side up). That sits freely on his shoulders. The fabric is a separate piece that drapes over it. I cut the white to be bigger than the hula hoop (to account for seaming), cut a hole for the head and then made a neck piece (film spindle) out of jersey. (everything else is fleece).


The rest is just a simple rectangle. The black was cut just a little too big so I could pleat it to attach the "film" (which is just a piece of super-stiff interfacing covered with beige faux suede / black acetate lining).



Everything was done to scale. It's a 30:1 scale of a vintage Kodachrome II canister. The letters were all done on graph paper, drawn by hand then I used a tracing wheel to copy them to the fleece. My hands were pretty cramped after cutting them all out. (And that's why there's not ALL the detail on there that there should be).

The bottom has boning to keep it's shape. (I would've preferred to use another hula hoop, but I don't know where it wandered off to...)

I haven't made a costume for me. *wah-wah*

I might try to whip something up tonight...