Friday, October 26, 2012

Comment Replies

The other day I mentioned that I was following-up to all comments here on the blog by replying through the comments section. I use to do it via email, but have found that I do not always have  email address to respond to and I want to make sure everyone gets a reply from me.

Today, a dear friend of mine mentioned that to ensure everyone who commented on my blog would see my replies, I needed to add that "Email follow-up comments" option to my blog. When I revamped my bog awhile back I thought I had enabled that little option. After researching it today, I have been unsuccessful in locating that option.

After researching Blogger Help section, I did not find that particular option. What I did find is that when you comment on a post, you can click on the "Subscribe by email" link, as highlighted below, to receive any follow-up comments.

From what I can tell from Blogger, is that you will only receive additional comments to that particular post you subscribe to and that you will have to click that link on every post you comment on to receive the follow-ups. It is not the same as subscribing to my blog.

I hope this actually works, because I would hate for y'all not to see my replies. Since I am the blog author I automatically receive all comments, so please let me know if this does not work, or does not do what Blogger says it does. Thank you!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pile On The Miles 2012

November is almost upon us and with that the official start to the holiday season will be here. Starting with Thanksgiving, and lasting until the New Year, we start to fill our bellies with all of our favorite treats. I know I am one who has a hard time resisting home cooked meals and delicious desserts! 

With the colder weather, and dark hours before and after work, we also find more excuses to not go for an outside walk or run. I can tell you that just in the past week or so I didn't want to get my butt out of bed for my 5:30 A.M. run in the dark before work. If I didn't have my honey for support and motivation, I think my runs would have been kicked to the curb into the afternoon hours.

I think having some motivation to stay active during the holiday/winter months is important, plus it's nice to keep those holiday pounds off our bodies. So this is why I decided to join up for the Pile On The Miles event that Monica over at Run Eat Repeat is hosting again this year. 
I think she has summed this event up perfectly by saying, "Pile On The Miles is an annual event in blogland where we challenge ourselves to walk or run more during the month of November. The goal is to pile on extra miles not pounds during this food filled time of year!".

Not only is keeping off the pounds exciting, but everyone also has a chance to win some pretty cool prizes while staying active for the month. You have until October 31st to sign up. Go ahead and click on the "Pile On The Miles" link below and check out all the details for yourself.


So my friends, who's with me on this fun adventure? How many miles will you pledge to walk or run?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It Is A Craft Blog Too

I know there hasn't been much craftiness going on around here lately on the ol' blog. My life has been consumed with running and training. They say when you train for a marathon it's like a second job. I agreed with that back in 2006 and confirmed it again this year.

In a couple of weeks the marathon will be over and life will be somewhat back to normal. I'll have more time/energy to devote to my other loves. There will be more sewing and knitting happening around here (for those who come for the running, I will still be posting about that too). I have many projects that need to be finished and am working on a master plan to get them done.

So here's what's been happening in the craft department during the past few months:

1) Last winter I showcased my first ever quilt here on the blog. I mentioned it here and here. This is what the finished top looked like:
The question is, "Did I ever finish it?" By the end of the last class in December, I had the top and back layers completely sewn together and all layers had been pin basted together in anticipation of quilting. In January I did start the actual quilting process. I managed to quilt two of the blocks before I put the quilt in a timeout. Why did I do that? Because I currently live in a basement apartment with little space and terrible lighting. To accomplish what I had done, I had every light on in the apartment along with an Ott light and I still had difficulty seeing the dark fabric. My honey came home one afternoon to me practically in tears because I was so frustrated. So sadly my beautiful quilt has been put away until we move to the upstairs apartment where there are lots of windows and lighting.

2) I started a second quilt and first blogged about it here. I mentioned at the time that a co-worker commissioned me to make a baby sized quilt for her and this is what the fabric looked like:
Progress has been made on the quilt. I was given the challenge of incorporating a few personal memento's into the quilt. I decided to do a total of 9 (12x12) blocks, with 4 of them containing the personal items.

Here are what the blocks look like:
Fabric from a doggie sweater. I decided to use the fabric to make little doggie prints.
These appliques came from a leather doggie jacket. I added a couple strips of the leather for accent since I could not incorporate the whole jacket.
This is from a doggie harness. I still have the clasps and am thinking of hand sewing them on the block so the doggie will have something to chew on besides the quilt.
The doggie's name. I might embroider some elements on this block.
This is the center block of the quilt.
There are 4 of these blocks to put in each corner of the quilt.
As of right now, all blocks have been sized and I have machine appliqued all the personal item blocks, except for the one with the name. I have sewn the first two rows of blocks together and will complete the third after I finish the name block. As soon as that is done everything will really come together quickly.

3) Finally there was some knitting over the summer. I visited my sister in Myrtle Beach in early July since she was going to be moving to Georgia in August. We couldn't help ourselves from visiting one of the local knit shops one last time.

Of course I found some yarn that I loved and had the perfect project already in mind. Four skeins of Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK hopped in my arms and wanted to grow up to be "Some Cloudy Day" Legwarmers (Ravelry Link).

By the time I left my sister at the beach, I was only a few rows from finishing the first legwarmer. Within a couple days it was complete.
Legwarmer #2 is on the needles, but hasn't seen any action since casting on. If I had planned on making it to Rhinebeck this year, I would have made sure that it got done. Now that it's the perfect weather to wear them here in the city, I will be picking them back up after the marathon. I only need a week or so to finish it.

So that's all the craftiness I have been up to lately, or not. I did purchase some yummy fabric while in Myrtle Beach for a couple new quilts that I will have to share with you soon.

Until then, tell me what are on y'alls knitting needles and/or sewing machines?

*Note: I want y'all to know that I am now responding to everyone's comments within the comments section. I find it much easier to respond to everyone this way. So please make sure to check back to see my response. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I do love hearing from everyone!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Will I Run Faster Now?

While all my lovely knitting friends were off parading around the NY Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck this past weekend, I spent some time with my stylist on Saturday and with my running shoes on Sunday.

I am wondering if this new look will help me run faster?
I think it did, because on Sunday I had a 12 mile run on my schedule and believe it or not I felt great and was running some of my fastest miles on the Rockefeller trails. Even with a calf pain/cramp/pull issue at mile 6.
But seriously, what about the hair?
I decided with the cooler weather here in NYC and the Fall colors popping out everywhere, I needed to transition to a Fall/Winter color of my own. I wish I had a really good before shot to show you just how much of a drastic change this was. I am naturally a dirty blonde (like in my profile picture above) and over the summer I went to a complete white blonde. Now I am back to my second favorite color, red.

This is not the first time I have dyed my hair this color, but it is the first time I let a professional do it. I have to say that I am absolutely loving it. I feel it's a more natural color for me and matches my spicy personality that I can have at times. I didn't tell anyone I was doing it, so you can imagine the shocked faces I encountered at the office today. Everyone loves it though!

Now I am wondering if this fiery new hair color will help me run the marathon faster so I can eat some ricotta pancakes at Almond before they stop their brunch at 4pm on marathon day?!?!? I already know the answer is: Not a fat chance in h-e-doublehockysticks, but a girl can dream, right?

In regards to my calf issue during my last long run of my marathon training, after the first 6 miles I did some stretching before I headed back out to try and finish the run. While I still felt a presence in my calf muscle, I was able to successfully run the last 6 miles. I modified my course to avoid major hills, because I tweaked the calf on a tiny, but steep, incline and I didn't want to risk making it worse. I was happy I finished, but all I could think about how I only had 2 weeks until marathon day and a serious injury is the last thing I need. I have been icing the calf and took today off from running. I can still feel a presence in my calf when I go up steps, but there is no pain. I have a short run scheduled for tomorrow and I am hoping it will go well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

36 vs. 41: Keeping It Real

Sorry about the radio silence this past week. I found myself in a bit of a funk and didn't want to write post after post of blubbering about my woes.

To keep a story short, my woes began the day after, or more like the day after that, I rocked my 22 mile long run on Sunday, 10/7!

But first, I have to tell you that I was way nervous about hitting a 22 mile run during this round of marathon training. I've mentioned before that the training program I am following is only 16 weeks and caps out at a 20 mile run. With my past marathon experience, I felt it was super important, maybe even just for my mental health, to hit a 22 mile run. I was plagued with trying to figure out how/when I would be able to incorporate it without screwing myself.

So on the 7th I was scheduled for a 20 mile run. I entered it saying that if I can hit 18 again great, if I can make it to 20 then I hit my goal, if I can push it to 22 I will have money in the bank. I've been having back pain/issues for the past few weeks which I have been able to manage and still keep on running. So I was hoping for a good run that day.

As you can see below, I hit the 22:

It took me 4 hours and 43 minutes (trail running slows ya down) and it started to rain on me during the last 2 miles, but I did it! Even better, I didn't experience any back pain. Just had some normal aches associated with long runs.

The day after I had my normal aches, along with a sore/stiff lower back. The day after that I was still dealing with back issues. And actually I didn't attempt running until Thursday the 11th. My back was still giving me some issues, but I got up to attempt a run with my honey that morning. I can tell you that run SUCKED! I was in discomfort from the very beginning of the run and it didn't end until 4 miles later when I was finished. I did hit the gym for an additional 3 miles to bring my weekly mileage to 7 miles. Ugh!

At this point (so much for a short story) I was becoming very discouraged about even finishing the marathon. I was questioning whether my 41 year old body was gonna make it to the finish line.

I didn't run again until this past Sunday. I successfully ran 10 miles. However, that 10 miles felt like 20! I could tell that my terrible running mileage (barely existent mileage) from the week affected this run. So my mental state was still not that great about heading into the marathon in 3 weeks even though I rocked the 22 miles.

I took yesterday off from running. (Enter stiff/throbbing back). This morning I got up for a run (even though I wanted to say screw it and stay in my toasty warm bed) and approached it very differently. I decided that I was going to force myself to run almost 1 minute slower on my pace per mile. Guess what? I ran 5 beautiful pain free miles today. Yippee!!!!

So where is my mind now in regards to the marathon?

I have to accept that my 41 year old self is not the same as my 36 year old self. I am older, heavier and slower (which I think is a direct reflection of my current weight - I have lost 15 pounds since May, but I am still 30 pounds heavier that I was when I ran the marathon the first time at 36) than I was 6 years ago.

I have to accept that I will not finish the marathon in the same amount of time it took me in 2006.  I am going to run this marathon with a slower first half (probably around an 11:40ish per mile pace - this pace keeps me pain free and gives me the hope I can finish) and increase my speed to what my original race pace of 10:52ish per mile for the second half of the race.

I am accepting that I will finish in over 5 hours this year even though my young heart wishes it could be faster. I will be proud of myself no mater what to just cross the finish line on November 4th!

Friday, October 5, 2012

New Boots?

So my adventure into purchasing new boots for the Fall has been a total FAIL. I have spent the past week ordering boots only to return them within the same day. While I have learned to accept my ginormous muscular calves over the past few months, I am now starting to dislike them all over again. It's frustrating to say the least that I can not walk into a shoe store and purchase a pretty pair of boots.

So after carefully pondering everyone's opinion the other week on what boots I should get, I decided on the Durangos. I thought they were really adorable and were in a price range I was willing to accept. I ordered them on Thursday and received them on Friday and by Friday afternoon I already had the return shipping label attached to the box.

Let me just say that I really liked the boot in person. They even fit my calves perfectly. So why did I return them? I didn't think they were truly my style and for the cost they weren't worth keeping for only wearing them once in a while with my jeans.

So after some pondering and a text discussion later with my sister, I decided to get the Naya boots that my heart were a fluttering for from the very beginning. After researching the boot on Amazon, I found them for $30 cheaper than Zappos and also an additional $50 off as a special promotion through September. I thought SCORE! I am getting my first choice boot for cheaper than the Durangos. Double SCORE!!

Since I am a Prime Member, I purchased the boot on Friday (maybe even before I had boxed up the other boots to return) and received them on Tuesday.

My initial reaction of the boot when I pulled them out of the box and sprung one from the individual cloth bags they arrived in was OHMYGOODINESSIAMINLOVE! I completely understood why the boot came with a hefty price tag. These boots are beautiful and well made. I saw them lasting me for years. 

I immediately kicked off my left shoe and slid my foot into my new boot. I held my breathe as I pulled it up over my calf and then wanted to cry and cursed my ginormous calf, because at this point I wasn't speaking very nicely to it. The circumference was not wide enough. 

I felt like a disappointed kid at Christmas!
The sad part is that the boot fit nicely on my right leg. I curse my odd sized calves. So with great sadness I packed the boots back up today and have shipped them back to Amazon land where some other lucky lady will get to parade around in these boots.

So, am I going to give up? No. 

I know I am not going to order my third choice boot because the calf circumference is the same as the Nayas, which were half an inch smaller than the Durangos. I am already stalking Zappos for boots than are in the next circumference size up which will guarantee them fitting. I may have even already found a pair but the only downside of them is that they are an inch taller than I may want. I will probably also go to Aerosoles and see if they have the riding boot that Tawana mentioned in her comments to me. I will find something, I know. I just have to be patient. I will find them.

Anyone else have any clothing/shoe purchase that ended up in a big fail and left you feeling like the only kid in a candy store without any candy?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

5 Weeks and Once Bitten

It's hard to believe that the NYC Marathon is in less than 5 weeks! I have been training my heart out for 11 weeks now and haven't let anything stop me. I ran through the entire month of August sick as a dog with a sinus infection. I ran the past couple of weeks with lower back pain and praying that my current regiment of icing and stretching keeps it in check. This week Daily Mile congratulated me with an Epic week of training!

I hit peak training a couple of weeks ago, but since I had the back pain I had to scale back my runs during the week in hopes of hitting my long run mileage.  So far so good even though I haven't hit the 30+ total miles for the past 2 weeks.

With this past week being another modified running week, I have managed to keep my back pain in check with icing 2 times a day and lots of stretching. My long run on Sunday was only suppose to be a 10 miler, but since I was feeling so good I turned it into a 13 miler!
I really wanted, and had the energy, to hit a total of 15 miles but I stopped at 13 because I ran out of hydration. I only planned for 10 and managed to make what I brought with me to last the extra 3 miles. I came close to hitting the 31 miles total for the week, just 2 shy.

I really love completing my Sunday long runs up at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. It is such a beautiful and peaceful place to be. I've said in past posts how I have seen chipmunks, turkeys and many a deer! 

I also see a lot of dogs! I love dogs. I have never met a dog that didn't like me. Well at least until this past weekend and one bit me. Yes, you read correctly. I had a dog bite me on Sunday. I am still shocked from it because it was not my fault and I don't see how I could have done anything different. Let me just say I am fine. No skin was broken or blood drawn on my arm. I am just bruised and sore on my tricep and bicep where the dog got a hold of me.

I am really upset at the owner of the dog. She was barely concerned and acted like it was no big deal. I wanted to tell her that she shouldn't be out on the trails with 3 dogs she can't control where there are many runners and children. 

Here is what happened...

I was running along the trail and noticed this woman with her 3 dogs. There was a little white dog, a little brown dog and a big black/brown dog. As I am running towards them I notice how the little white dog and big black/brown dog are tugging her to the left of the trail and how the little brown dog is tugging her to the right of the trail. I am thinking to myself as I am running towards them that this might be a problem for me because I felt she wasn't really in control of her dogs. As I get closer I am formulating my plan of action of how best to pass them. The owner is aware of me. She has looked back at me and can hear me coming. She knows I will be passing her and her little collection of doggies. Another 2 runners come from the opposite direction and pass the dogs with no problem. Not one of them pays the runners any attention. I am thinking this is good for me and they will be like all the other dogs I have encountered in the park. 

So I am getting closer and getting ready to pass the dogs. I have moved myself to the far left of the trail to get as from away from them as possible. As I am passing the little white dog looks at me and jumps out towards my legs/feet, thus pulling the owner and the big black/brown dog towards me on the left of the trail. I react by skipping more to the left to avoid being tripped by the white dog when all of a sudden the big black/brown dog jumps over little white dog and next thing I feel is a paw on my right shoulder and a pain on my tricep.

The owner of these dogs manages to pull her dogs off of me and says she is sorry and asks if I am ok. The way she reacted was NOT one of "Oh My Gosh My Dogs Are All Over You And One Just Bit You Are You OK?". She was so nonchalant that it was like her dog had done something like this before. My reaction was to access my arm to make sure I wasn't bleeding, which I wasn't, and then to tell her "Yes I think I am ok, but your dog just bit me!" Her response was, as long as your ok!

Fortunately for me I was wearing a long sleeve shirt because it was a bit cold out at first. If I had decided to just wear my short sleeve shirt I believe the dog would have broken skin. When I got home and looked at my arm, you could see the place on my tricep and the place on my bicep where the dog had gotten me. The spots are pretty close together and that just tells me how big the dogs mouth was because it grabbed my arm from behind under the tricep. Right now I have 2 bruises that are very tender to show for the dogs loving affection for me. I'm suck a lucky girl!

Here's to another week of training!!!