Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Don't ignore the buzzer

Last night I was multi-tasking. Stuffing envelopes for my fundraising, talking with my mom and felting my hat. La la la la la, merrily stuffing away. Half an hour later I heard, in the background, the washer spinning. Holy crap batman! What about my HAT??? Turns out I caught it just in time, before it became a teeny teddy bear hat. It came out cute. I used the Fiber Trends felted hat pattern.

After rescuing my hat and finishing the envelope stuffing, I settled in to finish the hat for my sis before their cold snap goes away. I was using Malabrigo in Golden Ochre. Somehow it came out smaller and lighter weight than the other Brangelinas that I've knitted, so I think the others must have been double stranded. I've knit so many of them, you'd think I'd remember how they were done. Maybe the lighter weight of the single strand will work out better, except for the one or two nights that are sub-15 degrees. Sis will probably be better able to tolerate the wool of the single strand too. Or maybe I'm just fooling myself and I should rip it out and start over with doubles. Umm, no, I think I'll get it in the mail today!

I kinda skipped my workout last night, to get the stuffing/felting/knitting done. Gee, I wonder what excuse I'll use tonight?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Air improving, speed not so much

Last night Pam and I ran our normal Monday night route, the short short short version. It's about 3.2 miles on the streets and the trail. The weather was pretty good; warmer than it's been (about 50), very little wind and air that had only "moderate" pollution. Pretty sad when only moderate pollution is a good sign. I felt good, which surprised me after Sunday's long run. My legs were only a little stiff at the start, otherwise they felt normal. Wow, what a difference from last week.

There's a section of the trail that runs under 680 where there's construction work making the freeway wider. That part of the trail has been closed off for several months, with a detour out to the street. They just opened it up again and removed the little detour. It's even darker and creepier than it was, now that it's longer. It's our new spot for speed work, just trying to get through there as quickly as possible.

I added a few inches to the hat I'm knitting for my sis. It's a standard Brangelina, my absolutely favorite knitting project. I'll knit those for any of my friends who want one, but for my sis it's special since she's a knitter herself. I'm using Malabrigo, my favorite yarn to knit with (but not wear, since it's wool and starts itching after a while). I should have it done by the weekend but hopefully the cold spell in Nashville will be over by then and she won't need it!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Oh Rats!

A lovely way to start a Monday. I was walking out of Safeway with my latte this morning and saw a crow eating his breakfast: flattened gooey rat ala asphalt. You could just tell the bird was saving the long skinny tail for dessert. A mental picture I'm sure I'll carry with me all day. Eww.

I had a great run yesterday, again at my favorite long-run spot, Alameda Creek Trail. This week the weather actually cooperated with my plans. When I heard rain in the middle of the night I was worried but it stopped before we started running. It was warmer, partly overcast, humid and not as windy as last week. I met up with a few of my buds and when all was said and done, managed 17 miles. I ran at least 6 of those alone and I think that helped. Damn I'm slow! My breathing was fine, as long as I stayed at over a 13 minute mile. Cripes, that's gotta change.

It was just about a year ago, at the Austin Marathon, that asthma really reared it's ugly head. I've spent the last year trying to figure out why, and getting slower and slower when I run. I'm hoping this year the trend will reverse and I'll start breathing better and getting faster. Uh, yeah. Hope's a great thing, huh? Nevertheless, I see a bunch of 6+ hour marathons in my future. That I run, not walk. Seems funny to be wishing for the good ol' days when I ran sub-12 minute miles. Ooooh, speedy girl!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Like a cult, without the kool-ade

Go Team! I'll be saying those words many many many times in the next few months. Saturday was kick-off for Spring 2007 season of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training at the Parc 55 in San Francisco. It was a full house of excited, apprehensive, thrilled, scared shitless, information overloaded new participants. It's amazing how many alumni there are too - we even have our own shirts now. The speakers were incredible; heart warming stories from the honorees had many of us with tears in our eyes. Of course, I'm a soft touch and when that darn Go the Distance video starts ups the tears spring forth immediately. I mean, c'mon, I've seen that thing about ten times!! Sheesh, I can NOT be teary to a Michael Bolton song! But it's heart breaking and heart warming to see all the very sick kids, the sick adults, and those fighting and searching for a cure. Even for the tenth time.

I was 2 people: myself, which is pretty easy to do, and substitute mentor for a mentor who was out of town. During our breakout session I'm afraid that, while I did go through all the info we were supposed to cover, I did a bit o' babbling. Sorry guys, and yes, I did see about 4 pairs of eyes glazing over. I'm really not much good as a public speaker, even if the audience is only about 6 peeps. I didn't have a chance to get to know the people in my own group (all 4 of us) but I'm sure that fabulous Mentor Marcie will plan a social so we can all bond together. After all, that's a really big part of TnT (well, after the whole fund-raising, training for a marathon thing). I don't know what I would be doing now without the bonding I did in my years there.

I'm really looking forward to this season! Go Team! No Wimps! East Bay Rocks! Team Flame! Send me money!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

We breathe this stuff?

I finally got in a run last night. Pam and I ran our normal short short route in Danville. It was another Spare the Air Night and the air was truly foul. I don't remember there ever being such a polluted winter; normally it's the hot summer days where you can't inhale. It seems like at least 4 nights each week since November have been bad. Running is such a challenge when there's so much crap in the air. It's the worst part about running at night now. At least in the morning people don't (usually) have fires burning. Too bad I have to work and can't run in the morning during the week.

After a run like that I want hot soup and hot brandy. Guess which I had?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Easing back to the Team

It's been over 2 years since I was with Team in Training, and I'm slowly working my way back to that mindset. Cheerful: check. Positive: check. Perky: check. Go Team: check. East Bay Rocks: check and double check. Grumpy runner questioning my sanity: leave it at the door this time!

Again this time I'm being a participant with privileges. Monica, our former team manager, is calling me a Mentor, Sorta. That fits. I'll be leading a buddy run, backing up the real mentors and captains, helping with water stops (maybe) and yoyo runs (probably), but I'll be a participant, have my own mentor and raise 100% of the funds.

Saturday was the mentor/captain meeting with Mama Lisa. Last night was the combined East Bay and SF/Marin mentor/captain Leadership Training at the LLS's office. Things are a lot more structured than the last time I was around. I think some of it has to do with litigious former participants, some of it with the fact that the coaches and the program have been around for years and this makes it easier for them. From Mama Lisa we got a booklet of things to do, things not to do, and things to absolutely positively never do! From the Managers we had pizza, training, information, warnings, more information, more pizza!

We're not allowed to give any medical advice or medication. I can see the conversations now:
Mentee: "My hip hurts in this area, what is it?"
Mentor (sorta) Me: [to self: looks like an IT band problem] "Talk with the Coach!"
Mentee: "My shin hurts in exactly this spot, what should I do?"
Mentor (sorta) Me: [to self: looks just like a stress fracture] "Talk with the Coach!"
Mentee: "My legs hurt from my hip to my ankles, what's causing that?"
Mentor (sorta) Me: [to self: your shoes aren't right] "Talk with the Coach!"
Mentee: "My stomach hurts during every run, how do I fix that?"
Mentor (sorta) Me: [to self: stop eating bacon and eggs before the run!] "Talk with the Coach!"
Mentee: "Owie owie. Do you have any aspirin?"
Mentor (sorta) Me: [to self: never leave home without it!] "Sorry, bring your own next time!"
Mentee: "Is there anything you can tell me about anything?"
Mentor (sorta) Me: Go Team!

Yeah, that'll work!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Better than rat piss

I'm sore from my Sunday run. What's up with that? I was going to cross train last night, since my normal Monday night running buddy Pam was out of town. I changed my mind and just stretched and did abs work (about time for that, my back needs it). My IT bands, quads, knees, ankles, shins, oh hell, everything below the waist is tight and sore. I thought since I ran 14 miles a couple of weeks ago I'd be fine. I'll blame it on the headwind. I certainly don't want to blame it on not running for 10 days!

After my run on Sunday I decided I needed to take a short nap. The key here was "short" since I'd be taking a nap no matter what. I went to set the timer on my microwave, like I always do, and noticed something dripping down the front of it. Wha??? The cutting board on top of the microwave had a puddle of something yellowish. The package of tortillas on top of the cutting board on top of the microwave had another yellow puddle. The bottom of the cabinet above the microwave had something yellow dripping. Now remember, I was wiped out from the run and very sleepy. My first thought was that this was rodent piss and I'd have a furry surprise when I opened the cabinet. Yeah, eww and double ick. My heart started double timing. I opened the cabinet and slowly took everything out of the first 2 shelves, which is a lot of stuff. I have a habit of buying canned goods when they're on sale. Then I get tired of whatever's in the can, push it to the back of the cabinet, pile stuff on top, and forget it's there. It turns out a can of mandarin oranges at the very back of the second shelf had expanded and burst. I was very happy I didn't have any ratty visitors, although the juicy syrup was a pain to clean off of everything.

While I was at it I decided to discard cans with expiration dates more than a couple of years past (several of those), cans with faded labels, cans that looked somewhat odd shaped or dented, etc. Why do I have so many cans of black olives? I mean, it's not like I'll be using them in martinis or anything. At least now the cabinet, microwave, cutting board and counter are nice and clean now.

I never did get my nap.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Losing My Mind

There 's a lot of evidence to prove that I'm apparently not thinking as straight as I should be.

Evidence numero uno: I ran 16 miles yesterday. Yeah, a few days after I got over a horrible cold I decided to go out and run in the polluted/pollinated/dry-cold-windy air for three and a half hours. Good move smarty! Sandy and Anita joined me, and made me feel much better afterward when they said they didn't feel wonderful either. We ran on the Alameda Creek Trail from the Beard staging area, and this is actually one of my favorite trails for a long run. We did the 10 miles out-and-back going east to the hills first, and it went pretty well. Then we did 6 out-and-back to the west and the bay, and ran into a lovely bazillion mph head wind. Thanks for the challenge!

Evidence numero two-o: I got the confirmation of my registration for the Shamrock Half Marathon and 8k races. Unfortunately, I wanted to register for the FULL marathon! And I thought I did! The combo races are called the Whale Challenge or Dolphin Challenge, for the full and the half respectively. Somehow I managed to send in my registration and check for the Dolphin. Doh! This was easily fixed; I've already gotten a reply from the race director telling me to just send in another application and a check for the difference in price and they'd take care of it. Whew! Note to self: whales are bigger than dolphins, thus the longer race would be the whale! Who cares if dolphins are cuter.

Evidence numero three-o: This is the best. I went to bed early last night and slept really well for most of the night. This morning I had a very intricate dream, most of the details of which I won't go into. Towards the end I absolutely positively had to make an emergency phone call on my cell phone. Y'know, those dream emergencies where your heart starts pounding even in your sleep. So I opened the phone and the buttons had all turned into little pieces of garlic bread. C'MON NOW! Whose cell phones have buttons anymore?? Every time I tried to push a button garlic butter would squeeze out. Yeah, I woke up. That'll teach me to -- actually, I'm not sure at all what that'll teach me!

I decided a dream like that warranted a yummy latte this morning. Thanks *bucks! So much for that "caffeine only once a week" thing ...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Running Again. Whew!

Last night Pam and I went for our regularly scheduled run. That we hadn't done for 2 weeks, because of travel and my cold. It was in the mid-40's outside, and the air was pretty foul. C'mon guys, "spare the air night" means quit burning wood in your fireplaces, there's too much schmootz in the air already. I used to think that summer days with brown skies were bad, but this is worse.

It felt good to get out there but it also showed me that I really need to get back to this on a regular basis. Of course, that's one reason I'm rejoining the Team. I figure I'll run on Monday with Pam, Tuesday with my buddy group, Thursday with Pam, Saturday with the Team and Sunday with my group. Some weeks my group will join me for the Team runs, so Sundays and Wednesdays I'll cross train. Stop laughing. I really will. No, I mean it.

When I chatted with my mom on the way home from the run, she worried about my coughing and told me I shouldn't run at night if it was going to make me sick. Yeah. That's gonna happen. It's even colder in the early morning, so I think I'll keep with my current schedule. Besides, everyone coughs after running in the polluted cold air, don't they??

Thursday, January 18, 2007

SnB a great success

We all had a good time at our Stitch 'n' Bitch at my house last night. As usual, there was lots of wine, lots of great food, plenty of conversation and, to top it all off, we even knitted! I was left with two open bottles of wine; guess what I'll be drinking this weekend!

I added a meager inch to my new hat, but Petra managed to put the finishing touches on hers and walk out the door wearing it. Lots of scarfing going on and cables are everywhere. This weather is great for knitting; thinking about it, planning it, preparing it, playing with yarn, completing it, then wearing it!

I also had the opportunity to pick Claudia's brain about decorating this blog, so Thank You Claudia! There may be some changes in the first week or so as I decide what looks best to me.

Last night was another icy night. This morning the neighbors cars all looked like they were covered with snow, but it was only a very thick layer of frost. Again, this is California?? Tonight's run will be chilly indeed!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Knit night, and a lesson

I'm learning how to post pix. This works!

Snow? Isn't this California?

It snowed last night. What's up with that?? The roads were icy and Mt. Diablo was wearing a beautiful white hat. I got a warning call that the entrance to our office complex was slippery so I drove in like a little old lady in my 3 week old car. I still skid. I'm so not looking forward to doing a long run in this weather!

Speaking of running, I haven't done any since last week. Having a bad cold, frigid weather and travel is not totally conducive to exercise, especially when you throw on a hefty topping of lazy. Ok, I know that most of my travel involves running, but this was visiting my sis at her new digs in Nashville. I took running gear but was able to unpack it in the exact same condition that it was packed. Saved on washing time. I will be running tomorrow night. Guaranteed!

I finished knitting my soon to be felted gray hat last night. The one that I mis-read the instructions and so had to rip out and re-do the entire decrease section. Yes, it was 7 inches but measured from the wrong spot. Never knit when you're on cold medicine. At least don't cut the yarn! I thought it looked a little small for felting. I started a new hat (see the bit about cold, above) out of Malabrigo Azul Profundo. If this cold snap doesn't break soon I'll have hats and hand warmers in every color that Malabrigo makes. And yes, I'm sitting at my office desk wearing the Fetching Fingerless Gloves (they work wonderfully except when you drop your coffee - oops).

Tonight is Stitch 'n' Bitch at my house. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hey there! Look who's bloggin' now!

Everybody needs a new blog. Don't they???

I'm hoping this (brand spanking new) blog (my very first, welcome to the 21st century Amy) will track my life as I move from marathon to marathon, and from hat to scarf to other knitted projects. I'll write about my training with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, about running with my gal pals, about how I ripped out 5 inches of my latest hat, about how I didn't sleep last night and other wonderful parts of my life I care to share with the world at large. Or at least the one or two of you out there reading. When I get bored with the present I'll throw in tales of the past. Which will probably also be boring, but since nobody is reading this yet it doesn't matter at all!

I'm hoping I also learn a little about beautifying this with graphics or photos or something other than my musings, so stick around and it just may become interesting!