Lean Machine

May 19, 2013 - Leave a Response

I’ve been slowly losing weight with Weight Watchers since November and yesterday I finally hit 167.8 lbs which puts me in the ‘normal’ category on the BMI chart. The BMI chart is a bit jacked, admittedly, because it doesn’t take into account the weight of your frame, or your musculature. But, it’s still widely used as a guideline when more accurate information is unavailable, and I’m very pleased to have hit that mark. As long as I don’t go below 125 lbs, we’re good, and I’m pretty confident that’s not going to be an issue…

For health reasons I could stay here pretty happily, but as an athlete, I do have aspirations to get down, maybe to 145 or so. I can’t do anything about my height, but if I have to swing a little less thunder-thigh around while running, that can’t be bad!

Race Report for the 2013 BMO Vancouver Half-Marathon

May 17, 2013 - Leave a Response

My mother and I drove from Seattle to Vancouver, BC on Friday morning for a couple days of down-time before the race. Friday we took it easy—had a lovely and fancy dinner at the hotel on Friday night: smoked salmon scones. That’s all I’m saying. I also picked up my race packet that afternoon and walked the expo briefly. Not too much going on there. I did pick up a number belt at the Running Room’s pop-up store. I was going to buy a bright coral “Run Van” running jacket, but they were already out of my size. Saturday I tried not to walk too much but failed pretty miserably. We went to Granville Island for the first time, ate some food, drank some Caesars, and did a little bit of shopping. My feet were a bit sore afterward so we had a Thai food ‘carpet picnic’ in the hotel room for dinner. I made my best effort to go to bed at a reasonable hour and get some sleep but that didn’t really work out. I didn’t go to bed until, probably, 11pm. And then, I just couldn’t get to sleep or stay asleep. So, bad night’s sleep all around really. Wake up call was 4:30am and I popped up and started getting dressed and out the door. Grabbed a tiny coffee on the way and hopped the train to Queen Elizabeth Park with everyone else who was awake at that hour (so, only runners!)

The morning was really beautiful: mild, with a gradual dawning. There was a bit of a long walk to the start unfortunately, but it was a good warm-up I suppose.  I had been hydrating really well so first stop was the toilets while the lines were still short. Then I waited about an hour for the start and ate a few Sport Beans. Unfortunately I had to use the toilet again just before the race started but I didn’t want to hop in the gigantic line so I decided to go on the course, which, in hindsight was a BIG mistake.

The race start was beautiful and fun. I’d never run with that many people so it was a very new experience. I happened to be standing by the 2:30 pacers in the line-up so I ran with them for the first couple of miles which felt amazing and exhilarating but it soon became clear that it was way too fast a start for me. I attempted to use the toilet at mile 1, 2, and 3, but every time I got back out of line because I didn’t want to wait and waste time. But, by mile 4 it was a matter of great urgency and I was very uncomfortable, so I stood in line for 10 minutes. This really threw me off; being stationary for that long and then trying to pick up momentum again. After that I was incorporating walking into my running a lot more frequently, particularly as it was getting much warmer.

I met my mother at the halfway point and gave her my outer shirt, walked with her for a few yards and ate some Sport Beans. The clock time was 1:48. From this point on, each mile was much the same. Many of the water stops had run out of water, which was appalling, and the sun was really warming the place up all along English Bay and into Stanly Park. 

Thankfully the Half-Marathoners were routed through the shadier interior paths of Stanley Park, rather than the Seawall. About 4 or so miles till the end I noticed that I had a lot of swelling in my hands (I’m sure I was swollen in other places too, but that’s what I could see), so I tried to keep them above the level of my heart. I’m convinced this is a combination of the heat, dehydration, and possibly salt loss. I couldn’t follow my nutrition plan (to replenish my sodium) because I needed to drink water with the Sport Beans and it was coming far between at this point. The forest was the most beautiful part of the course though and we also encountered a few bands, which was encouraging.

The last couple of miles seemed to last all day. At this point I was just praying that I didn’t stop moving, that my legs didn’t fall off, and that I didn’t throw up. Running was pretty much out of the question because it made me want to heave. When I finally was within a hundred meters or so of the finish line I did start running and ran until I crossed it, arms up and smiling of course! I didn’t vomit, and I hobbled to pick up my medal, food bag, and WATER. I practically screamed ‘thank you’ to the water bottle volunteer (sorry!).

I think that right after the race I was just happy to be done even though I went a whole lot slower than I would have liked. My finish time was 3:19 and change. I went right into a Tim Horton’s for an Iced Cappuccino on the way back to the hotel and braced myself for my first ice bath. I could only bear 5 minutes of that. Also, oh my god hemorrhoids: another sign that my circulation was really struggling in that ordeal. I was slightly nauseous for two days after. But, I had hardly any muscle soreness, which I attribute to that bath. I did however have lots of blisters on the tips of my toes, but I think I’ve fixed that now by going up a half-size in shoes.

Two days ago I’d built up enough selective amnesia to sign up for another race, the Amica Seattle Half-Marathon on Dec. 1st. It will be WAY cooler and possibly sprinkling (or dumping) which would be fine by me. This time I’d really like to train consistently. I know that if I do so I could achieve a 2:30 easily, going above and beyond as time progressed and I became better conditioned.

And now, I get to call myself a “Marathoner.”

Ran Half

 

I’m a Marathoner

May 15, 2013 - Leave a Response

I’ve been pretty busy lately, either with work or church commitments, and when not doing so I’ve been frantically quilting to finish a project in time for an upcoming Show at Island Quilter on Vashon Island. But, I really do want to spend some time getting back into blogging.

I’ve never been a journaler, however many times I’ve given it a go–a pretty book isn’t quite enough incentive. I think I’m a really cool lady and that I do lots of cool activities which people should get to see. You never have every friend completely enthralled with whatever specialty hobby you have. I know not to bring knitting into some households becuase others won’t be able to participate, and explaining in detail my road race nutrition strategy will surely make many yawn. But the internet–ah, the internet–thousands of like-minded individuals seeking out your quirky skills.

Much of my brain-energy lately has been spent on  lead-up and participation in the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, my first. I made the decision when I took up running last year that I would be a marathoner, and while I downgraded my registration to the half due-to injury last year, I still get to call myself a “Marathoner,” which is wicked cool.

I know this has never been a “running blog” in the past, but you know what, it’s my frickin’ blog so I get to do whatever the heck I want with it! Even the name “Leaping Mutton” has a air of running about it.

Next-up: my BMO Vancouver Half Marathon 2013 race report–“tails of pleasure, perils, pacing, and pee”

Oh Boy

February 28, 2013 - Leave a Response

Okay, I’m not even going to attempt some kind of catch-up-post. Let’s face it, the last one was in 2010. I’ve got to stop posting so many art-related photos and updates to Facebook, so it’s really time to resurect this blog. I still love the name and it still works just fine…

I also just joined Seattle Modern Quilt Guild and was prompted to include my blog URL, so I did that. Mostly I’ve done knitting related posts, but I’ve been focusing a lot more on quilting lately so there should be more pictures and news about that upcoming.

…And, I’ve made my just-post-something-whatever-it-is-it’s-been-such-a-rediculously-long-time post, so there will be some actual content in the next one.

Cheers!

Prospective Graduate

June 7, 2010 - Leave a Response

It has, yet again been weeks since I last posted, despite all my good intentions. But, I have lots of news, not only on the knitting front, but in other areas of my life as well.

The primary thing that has been claiming my attention, is the news that I was accepted to both of the graduate schools that I applied to! I have chosen to attend St. John’s in Rome, but am now going through the deferment process and getting everything squared away.

Since I last wrote, I finished a big (well, big for me so far in my limited experience) spinning project. I started with two 2 oz. braids of roving from Capistrano Fibers, one, a merino roving in a colorway called “Crayola,” and the second, a BFL roving in a colorway called “Turquoise Trail II.” I spun each of these rovings into a bobbin of singles, which you can see here.

At this point in the process I was a bit wary of how they would spin up together. I remember that they looked good together at the festival, but I thought that plying them might be a different matter. Luckily, it turned out beautifully. Here it is all finished and skeined, with a coin for scale. I would say it ranges from laceweight to a light fingering.

This is definitely my most successful and even spinning to date and I’m quite pleased with it. My mother was even more pleased than I, and since she coveted it so, I gave it to her as a Mother’s Day gift.

Next in blogland: Posts on the LYS Tour, finished projects, and more spinning!

Workshop

May 4, 2010 - Leave a Response

I make such promises to update my blog regularly, but I guess the reality is that it might not be as often as I wish. For one thing, time spent blogging is time NOT spent knitting. So, if it comes down to the two, well, you know. I have gotten a goodly amount of knitting done in the past few weeks. Last I wrote I had maybe ten different projects going on. I’m pleased to say I’ve finished two of them. The first was an Odessa knit with Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in the colorway “Wild Flower.” This isn’t the best picture of it, the background kind of eats it up, but you get a good idea of how the silk makes it shine a little. I’m very glad I finished this project first, because I wear it to work now every morning to keep out the cold wind blowing off of the Puget Sound waterfront.

After the hat, I finished a great pair of plain-vanilla socks. These are knit out of Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in the colorway “Twilight.” I love the colors so much, and they are perfect with a pair of blue jeans if you want to dress a little more demurely.

I’ve also been meaning to post on a workshop that my mother and I went to at Wild Fibers in Mount Vernon, Washington. It was a shawl workshop taught by Stephen West and we had a lot of fun. It’s always nice to go over the basics of shawl construction so that you can really understand what your doing and why instead of just following a pattern. Also, we can now do a little designing of our own! Here is a picture of us. I’m in the black sweatshirt in the middle of the photo and my mom is behind me, wearing the ocean-colored shawl that I knit her for Christmas. I want to note that although I did not take this picture myself, I got permission from Wild Fibers to put it on my blog.

Just yesterday I finished posting my second graduate school application and can now say that I am finally finished with the whole process. I don’t know if they will want me to do interviews or when, but, I should be hearing back from them in a few weeks. Now that I’m finished I should be looking for a paying job to supplement my internship, but after that stressful ordeal I really just want to decompress for a couple of weeks. Actually, I could probably stand many weeks! I’ve been keeping myself busy with the internship, Catholic initiation classes, and lots of volunteering.

Estranged

April 3, 2010 - Leave a Response

I have been supremely lazy on the blogging front lately. First, it was exaustion after finishing the quarter, then, I had a minor case of startitis and suddenly blogging about all of my projects seemed overwhelming, but I’m going to give it a shot:

First up, I had promised pictures of my finished olympic project. I spun some yak fiber into sock yarn and knit Betty Cable. The yarn turned out very well, but, honestly, the fabric that resulted from the needles I used was extremely thick. And, in the end, the socks fit me but only barely. So, this is a charity project, and once I figure out what charity takes garments in fibers other than wool, I will send them off. I mean, a homeless person could probably wear them around as shoes. Here they are all finished.

And, since I cast off just before the closing ceremonies, I am proud to say I deserved this lovely medal.

After that project was done I went a little insane on the needles. Let me see if I can do this in chronelogical order:

First I finished, finally, the socks I was test knitting for a friend, “Onward!,” and they turned out really well. It was my first pair of sport weight socks and they are so very plush and comfy. Unfortunanelly they are so plush that they don’t fit very well into my clogs which is the only pair of shoes that I wear hand knit socks in; oh well. Here they are:

By the way, these hairy legs are not mine if you’re wondering. Since realizing that my brother can fit into my socks, I’m now using him as a sock model for photographs. It’s hard to take pictures of your own feet! Second, was new pair of socks in pattern Hydrangea, with STR Lightweight in “Eggplanted.” I love them dearly. They fit me great and they are very handsome.

After that I believe I cast on a pair of plain vanilla socks in Fleece Artist’s Merino 2/6 in the colorway “Twilight.” I think they are the longest pair of socks I have knit so far, usually preferring to keep them moderately short if not for comfort than for necessity: I have man calves and I don’t like to do the math on unplanned increases. But these are just tall enough to be long but just short enough to not need increases so I’m pretty happy about them. Also, it was my first foray into the world of short-row heels and toes and let me say that I love the toe, but not the heel. I just don’t think that the short row heel is as comfortable as the heel flap and gusset heel (I don’t know what its name really is; “Slip stitch heel” perhaps?) Also, much less reinforced. This hasn’t been a problem for me yet, since I haven’t been wearing hand knit socks long enough for my heel to bust out of one, but it’s bound to happen someday. Here is a picture of my “Twilight” socks:

Next up was a gift from a friend. She had bought some Casbah sock yarn in colorway that had more tan in it than she was hoping for (I’m thinking maybe Orchid?), so she overdyed it with some cool-aid and gave it to me. It’s so very very soft and it’s going to make the most wonderful pair of socks. I’m doing the pattern Celebrate Spring, but since I don’t have the size needle that the pattern calls for I first tried to knit with one repeat less and a larger needle size. I totally didn’t work. It was just a bit too snug, so I went with the pattern as written and it will be roomy but not too bad. I do have thick ankles anyway. Here is the leg part, almost ready to begin the heel:

With all of this sock knitting and sock wearing, I finally peaked my younger brother’s interest and had him asking me if I could knit a pair for him. I had him dig around in my stash and he pulled up this lovely Fleece Artist yarn that I had got in a ravelry trade. It’s older so I’m not sure what type it is, but it feels like 2/6 and looks like a cross between the colorway “Chocolate” and the colorway “Earth.” He also chose the pattern Nutkin, which apparently is manly enough. My problem with him is that he has little skinny ankles and legs, but his heel is huge. So, in order for the sock not to pool around his ankle it has to be snug enough that he has a problem getting it over his heel. I think the sock is stretching out a little though and it should be fine.

Next up, I have been meaning to start a large lace shawl, so I took some Misti Alpaca Lace in the colorway Straw Melange and started knitting an Adamas Shawl. So far I really like it. The pattern isn’t too tricky, but, in my usual fashion I have already made a couple of mistakes. I don’t think they are noticeable. I’ve pinned it out a little so you can see the pattern:

And speaking of shawls, my mother and I went to a Stephen West workshop last week (more on that in a later post when I can get some pictures) and we purchased a few of his patterns. Here is the beginning of an Herbivore in some lovely Koigu KPPPM. The colorway is P722 I believe.

Yesterday in another fit of startitis I began a spinning project as well. There isn’t much to say about it yet. All I know is that it will be sock yarn, the roving is a hand painted Merino from Capistrano Fibers in the colorway “Crayola,” it was purchased at the Black Sheep festival in Eugene, OR, it is striped and I split it down lengthwise for long color repeats, and the roving has a complimentary mate not pictured here with which it will be plied. So far I’m super happy with the feel of the roving.

And last but certainly not least, the great ongoing project: the Sock Yarn Blanket. Here it is in all its wee glory:

Since I have to knit a pair of socks to get the scraps to make the blanket it’s a bit slow going. The blanket was designed by Shelly Kang and you can read all about its construction on her blog: “Heathen Housewife.” I have to give credit where it’s due. I certainly didn’t come up with it myself. I’m very gracious to her for coming up with an attractive way to use up scraps. If there’s anything I hate it’s yarn scraps.

Phew, that was a lot! Now I have to update Ravelry, joy. I think I’ll spend the rest of my day working on one of my wide array of projects and watch Twilight films, or Blackadder. I know those two are just about as different as they come, but that’s what I seem to be in the mood for today. And, I shall try to be better about regular blog updates, because if the statistics on my dashboard are at all correct, people occasionally read this blog. I would love to get a comment or two, just to know that they are real people, but I have to do my part as well.

Happy Easter!

Phew!

February 28, 2010 - Leave a Response

Well, I finally finished my Olympic socks just hours before the closing ceremonies. I did take a picture (don’t worry, I’ll get it up soon), but now I need to get my life back and start doing the homework I didn’t do while I was knitting frantically! I’ll share all the juicy details a little later when I have some time. Hopefully you can contain your suspense.

Oh Canada

February 13, 2010 - Leave a Response

It’s been about a month and a half since I last posted. Honestly I’ve been so overwhelmed trying to do classes, study for the GRE (which I just took last week), and prepare college applications that I’ve barely found time for knitting let along blogging about it. I have finished a couple pairs of socks and started a sweater vest, but more on that in another post.

Today I would like to talk about my olympic project. My mother and I sat down to “cast-on” last night during the opening ceremonies (in reality, I had already spun a “swatch,” and my mother is just trying to finish a WIP). They were beautiful ceremonies. Everyone kept mentioning how hard it would be to follow the ceremonies in Beijing, but, luckily I hadn’t seen them so they didn’t have a hard time impressing me. I think the coolest part was when they projected whales on the ground and little water spurts shot up from their virtual blowholes. Awesome. The slam poetry was really cool too. I just hope they don’t spend too much time talking about the cauldron malfunction when they recount the ceremonies in talk shows and on the news. TV folks tend to concentrate on the negative when something like this happens. And, I think we all had our excitement dampened enough with the death of the Georgian Luger. What a tragic thing to happen for his country and his family.

I’m not going to spend too much time explaining my olympic project because you can read about it on my Ravelry page, or on the olympic athletes list at Yarn Harlot. But, here is a photo of the original fiber which I weighed and split into two clumps:

And, here is the product from the first night’s spinning. That is half of the roving.

Now I’m just working on the second half and then I’ll make a nice tight two-ply, soak and weight it to set the twist, and away we knit. I’m not exactly sure what my yardage is going to be so I think I’ll divide the yarn into two equal balls and knit both socks toe-up, waiting to bind off until I’m done with both so that they are even.

In other news, the day that I took the GRE, in order to reward myself, my mother and I went to the Northwest Flower and Garden show and had a lot of fun. I went to this seminar on succulent plants (plants that withstand drought by keeping water in their leaves like a camel) and afterward picked up a few of my favorites at the marketplace. There are a couple of Aloe plants, an Echeveria, an Aeonium, and the little fuzzy one is a Kalenchoe.

I also decided that I should start growing orchids again, but didn’t pick one up at the show because I wanted something afordable and forgiving to be with for a few months before I expanded. So, I picked up this sweet Phalaenopsis at Trader Joe’s for only $8.00. What a score.

After it is done blooming it desperately needs to be replanted because its roots are suffocating in their tiny pot. I’m just about to order a hydroponic system for it, where it will be living in an inert medium that is basically porous clay that will release water and nutrients to the plant while at the same time giving its roots great air circulation.

Speed Skating is tonight, and I’m super excited about our Seattle natives. Go Apolo and Celski! I love Apolo dearly but I also really hope Celski gets a medal in something; he’s such a baby!

On The Eve

December 31, 2009 - Leave a Response

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, but before I get to the good stuff, a little knitting news. I spoke with a friend last night about knitting a vest without a pattern and I feel much more confident about the process now. I also got some answers about the Onward! socks, I just need to frog one and shorten the leg and I can complete the pair (well, and finish the second one). Tonight I’m actually going to a party hosted by some knitting friends (and others), and it’s going to be a lot of fun. Now, to the resolutions. I only have a few but they are big one’s so here goes:

1) Get above 700 on the math and verbal sections of the GRE and at least a 5 in both writing sections.
2) Get at least 3.9s in all my classes this quarter.
3) Write a stunning application essay and get accepted to St. John’s Rome campus for my MA.
4) Find and earn the funding to attend St. John’s
5) Practice and improve my Italian conversation.
6) Lose 30 pounds.

Happy New Year!

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