Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I left my legs in San Francisco (sing it with me)

At least it felt that way last night when Pam and I started running. We ran our new short route, about 3.5 miles, and at least at the beginning I was just dragging. Nothing hurt, nothing sore, just low energy. Even though I took it relatively easy on Sunday apparently the 13.1 hilly miles had an effect on my legs. Go figure!

I did a little bit of knitting this weekend on my Cider Moon scarf but decided that I needed to get back to finishing some other things too. I decided that my multidirectional diagonal scarf was long enough and I should just complete the last triangle. I did that, and after one little mistake that caused me to unknit several rows I finished the thing, wove in the ends, done! For the record, I used almost 4 complete skeins of Noro Silk Garden, color 243. I had bought a close-out bag of 10 skeins at Stitches in February since it was darn cheap; I think I'll make a hat out of another skein and see if Anita still wants to buy the rest. I knit the scarf on size 8 wooden needles, actually dpn's that I stuck point protectors on one end. It was handy when I put the project aside to take the protector off one needle and stick it on the working needle to keep the stitches in place.

I love Noro yarn, but I hate Noro yarn. The colors are unbelievably wonderful but I get very annoyed with the whole just-started-a-skein and then I find-a-knot-in-the-yarn and there's the-same-color-repeating-over-and-over business. I usually just shrug and say that's part of the whole Noro mystique, but c'mon now, 3 knots and color repeats in a small skein is overdoing it. No, it won't stop me from using Noro again. Another problem is my skin gets really irritated by the rough yarn and no, I won't be giving this scarf away because of it. I'll just make sure when I wear it that it doesn't touch much skin.

The Cider Moon scarf is coming along beautifully. Inch by little inch, and I love it more every time I work on it. I'm glad I got the second skein in the same color since I'll need it. I think I'll do what they suggest and toward the end of the first skein I'll work in the second skein for a couple of inches in case there's some color variation. It doesn't look like there is, but I don't need to take chances. If you haven't bought any Cider Moon yarn yet, rush over there and do it. The yarn is just that nice!

Monday, July 30, 2007

San Francisco Marathon Second Half

The weekend was full of getting up early and running and friends and family. I'm tired, more because of the getting up early part than the running. And because it's Monday, of course!

Friday night as I was driving home from work I got a call from my bro inviting me to meet them for dinner and a movie. Hmmm, I had tons of stuff to do so I finished driving home, started some laundry and turned right around and drove back to Walnut Creek. I decided I had time for dinner, not for the movie. I met them at Huynh, a newish Vietnamese restaurant. The place was completely empty but most of the tables had reserved signs. I asked for a table for 5 (my nephew had a friend with him) and was given a table way in the back. Good idea.

We ordered drinks. I had a longan berry martini; the longan is related to the lychee and tastes similar (at least in a cocktail). It was good but for my second drink I had a ginger limeade which was fabulous. What? Yeah, I had two, have a problem with that?? The food was good but not meant for not-quite-10 year boys who like to eat only plain white rice. All of the dishes we ordered were at least somewhat spicy and a couple were very spicy. The boys didn't even like the rice because it was yellow. I think they just wanted to save their appetites for movie junk food. I thought the food was very good although overpriced. Hey, it's Walnut Creek; if you want cheap food go somewhere else.

It will be interesting when Le Cheval opens a couple of blocks away. They already have quite a following from the Oakland restaurant. I'm not sure Walnut Creek will support two upscale Vietnamese restaurants and it's my guess that Huynh will suffer. The third Vietnamese restaurant in the downtown area, Da Lat, probably won't be a direct competitor because it's not trying to be fancy.

Saturday morning I met Sandy, Anita and Bree at the Rockridge BART station and we transited over to San Francisco to pick up our race packets and go to the expo. The location is perfect, just steps from the BART station. We picked up our numbers and chips and walked across the street to the real expo. There were several booths set up outside the expo, one with Starbucks handing out samples of their new raspberry mocha frappuccino. Oh yummm. I'm sorry to say I had to go back and get a second sample. Since I always get my drinks without any whip and sugar free and fat free, this little half ounce taste was positively sinful.

After wallowing in the raspberry striped whip cream we went into the expo tent to get our shirts and see what trouble we could get into. Lots, as it turns out. At the Rock n Roll booth Sandy met up with the daughter of a coworker and stopped to chat. The daughter (who was working at the booth) told us about the race registration specials they were having and Sandy and Bree thought they'd probably sign up for the San Jose Half. I hadn't wanted to do that race since Portland is two weeks earlier, Nike is the week before and New York is two weeks later. Several minutes of peer pressure later we all registered. Yep, all four of us plunked down our credit cards, saving $15 off the regular registration price and getting a free race tee shirt. Like we needed another tee shirt. Oh man, I'm worn out just thinking about all those races. At least San Jose and Nike don't require any travel, just getting up early in the morning. Very early.

I also bought some gu since the price was very good and they were willing to mix flavors in a box. I asked for half vanilla bean and half espresso love and the young guy mixed them and took my money. I had been counting when he put the flavors together and it didn't seem right; I recounted and found that for the box of 24 he had only given me ten of each flavor. Whoops. I pointed out the mistake and he gave me six gels to make up for it. Nice!

We tried all the different samples of all the foods and drinks and gels you're not supposed to try the day before a race, bought some shorts, looked at brochures for races and got lots of free stuff (water bottles, pens, etc., etc.). We picked up our shirts and again I was disappointed in it, although I know lots of people were very happy. They've done a tech shirt the past several years, short sleeved in different styles for men and women. The women's shirt is light weight, v-necked, fitted and on the small size and isn't really my cup of tea since I like loose shirts. This year it was white which is my absolutely unfavorite color although again, many people prefer it. It'll go in my treadmill shirts pile. Maybe.

We finally decided we had spent enough money and it was time for lunch. We walked across the street to the Ferry Building and decided to eat outside at the MarketBar. I had a wonderful BLT (and a beer) (my type of carbo loading!) and was happy and ready for a nap. We BARTed back, finalized our plans for the next morning and drove off.

I did my weekly grocery shopping on the way home and got enough fruit and veggies and frozen dinners to last for a while. Yum, twofer watermelons. I know what I'll be eating for the next several days. I spent the remainder of the day resting, knitting, reading and doing stuff around the house.

Sunday morning started horribly early when my first alarm went off at 4:05 am. Oy. I turned off the second alarm that was set for 4:10 am and got up. I hadn't slept at all the night before, afraid I'd oversleep. Typical pre-race sleep pattern.

I did all the morning things, ate my oatmeal, got in my car and blearily drove back to Rockridge BART where we were meeting. Funny thing, there's no traffic at 5 am on a Sunday. Although I was about 15 minutes early Bree was already there. Anita showed up next, also early. Sandy showed up last, about 10 minutes early. We had said that the last person to arrive had to drive so I guess that's why were were all so promptly. Bree said she'd drive anyway so we piled in her car and took off. Since there was still no traffic we arrived in San Francisco way earlier than we'd anticipated.

With all that time we decided to drive around and find a perfect parking spot. Most of the early spots were taken by people running the full race, the first half or the 5k. We snagged a perfect spot that people had ignored since the sign said no parking from 12pm to 6pm on Sunday. Hey, if they had meant midnight they should have put the correct time. We were right at the bus line for the second half so we just sat in the warm car until we decided we had to get going.

The bus was a posh liner, not a school bus like they've used in the past. The driver took a scenic tour of SF, probably to avoid the race that was already in progress. We weren't in too much of a hurry because our wave wasn't going to start until 8:25 am and we were looking at over an hour wait outside. We finally arrived and decided to start with the porto potty line which would only get worse once everyone arrived.

It was perfect race weather but awful stand-around-and-wait weather. It was very cool, drizzly, breezy. I was happy I had a disposable poncho and gloves and a jacket I would check before the start. We stood around, stood around, stood around some more. Waiting waiting waiting. Yawn. Back to the (now exceeding long) potty lines. Check our sweats. Wait some more. Finally the first wave left, the second wave, then it was our turn. Yay, finally we'll warm up.

Sandy and Anita went ahead since they were looking at finishing in about 2:30. Bree and I wanted to take it slower with a finish time of 2:45 (her idea) to 2:55 (my idea). We had decided to do a 4:1 run:walk, also walking any steep hills. That ended up working perfectly. Our running was faster than normal but with the frequent recovery walks it didn't feel that way.

The route for the second half is great, probably the reason I signed up to do it for the fifth time (six including the year I ran the full). I love running through Golden Gate Park, I'm always amazed that such a beautiful place is so close to where I live. The weather is usually perfect running weather and yesterday was no exception. While the rest of the Bay Area is dry and golden, the Park is green and lush.

We ran on, chatting and gabbing and having a great time. We ran up the inclines and smaller hills, ran down all the down hills, took our walk breaks, didn't notice the miles passing by. Well, that was mostly because of the bizarre way the race marks the second half. There are mile markers for the first couple of miles, but when we join up with the full marathon the markers are for them and the half markers are coincidental. Like 4.9 miles. Then 5.9 miles. Meanwhile, there was one short mile and at the end there's a .2 mile. It's the only thing I really dislike about this race but obviously doesn't bother me enough to make me not run it. I imagine that anyone racing the second half could get peeved because their splits would be screwy, but for recreational runners like us it isn't a huge deal.

We ran out of the park and through the Haight. This is the fun part, goofy spectators, running downhill. Assisting the SF Police in keeping the intersections open are the Harley riders, stereotypically gnarly looking dudes (and dudettes) who keep the angry residents in check. They're all friendly and supportive and a wonderful help. Drivers in SF feel it's their god-given right to drive wherever and whenever they want and the closed streets are personal affronts to them. BFD, it's just a few hours one morning of the year when they have to wait a little to get their Sunday newspaper or cappuccino.

There are several alternative routes so they can open and close streets to keep traffic moving, at least at a slow crawl. They say that the length and grade are the same on all of them but I swear we ended up with all the uphills and none of the downhills. The only drawback to the alternate routes is they only put up mile markers on one of the routes so if you miss one, tough. Again, not a big deal to us but it could be a problem to someone who wants to mark their splits.

More running, more neighborhoods. Through some commercial areas, around and back towards Telephone Company Park. Normally if there's a Giants Game the same day there will be a few people wandering around beforehand staring at all the weird runners. Yesterday there was not only a game, it was a(nother) day they hoped that the homerun record would be broken so there was extra media and lines and lines of early arrivals. We ran across the Third Street Bridge, around the back of the ballpark, passing lots of exhausted runners.

We got to the finishing stretch on the Embarcadero which is longer than it seems it should be. That last mile drags even if you're still feeling good. We sped up at that point because we wanted to finish. When we got to the final part Bree took off. I followed, figuring I wasn't going to let her sprint out-pace me. She sped up. I sped up. We were really racing that final bit while I called her every nasty name I could think of. So she went faster, I went faster. We finally crossed the line at 2:50:16. Not bad, right between our guessed finish times.

I had my chip removed (Bree had left hers at home - whoops), got a bottle of fancy water, got our medals. They were out of space blankets which wasn't too nice for the full marathoners finishing after us. We met up with Anita and Sandy at that point and decided to get our pictures taken together. We left that secure area and walked over to the next area where the finishing food was. I was impressed, they were very strict about letting in only runners.

The food wasn't terribly exciting but it was definitely adequate. There was yogurt, lots of different kinds of juices, fruit, and wonderful little cheese rolls from Acme Bread. I could have eaten a bag of those but it looked like they would run out soon so I didn't. In fact, they were pretty low on most of the foods and the final marathon finishers would probably have to do without.

We picked up our bags and walked to our car with 15 minutes left until it became a tow-away zone. Great timing! We motored back to Oakland and went to CrepeVine for lunch. My Greek omelet was just what I needed, although I think I enjoyed the bread and butter as much as the rest of the meal. We finished up, tiredly walked back to our cars and all drove home.

By the time I took a long hot shower and started some laundry it was already after 2pm. I set a clock for a couple of hours later and crawled back in bed. I read for a few minutes then actually slept for a while.

I'm happy with the race, happy with my pacing and energy expenditure and effort. I was just a teensy bit slower than I'd have liked but I can work on that in Chicago. I like most things about the San Francisco Marathon and I was glad to see that this year they've increased attendance for all the races. Maybe next year I'll have to try the first half and run the bridge. We wouldn't have to get up much earlier and we'd at least finish a couple hours sooner.

Tomorrow I'll talk about the weekend's knitting. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 27, 2007

The ususal; running, knitting, whining and a bear

Oh yippie yahoo, it's almost the weekend. Probably because I stayed out late on Tuesday I've been tired and draggy the rest of the week. I may not sleep well but I still do better when I'm resting and trying to sleep, instead of out and about. I can't believe I can't even stay out one little night during the week without consequences.

Last night Pam and I met again at the Park & Ride for our run. Traffic was abysmal and I was thrilled we didn't have to fight it going to the lot behind the train. We had planned to run the hill route again but I begged off. I've been switching around my orthotics lately and I think running so hard on Wednesday in my back-up pair wasn't a good idea. My shins and knees were feeling just a bit achy so I thought we could get our miles in on a flat route instead. I had forgotten about the little hills on the route but it was still better than running the big hill. I guess that'll teach me about how long and how far I can wear the second pair of orthotics.

We ran about 3.7 miles. That's not according to Mr. Garmin though. For some reason when I restarted it after our stretch it didn't go on. I heard the loud beep and figured it was going, but apparently not. I kept looking at it and wondering why the miles weren't ticking away when I finally realized the timer wasn't changing either. D'oh! After looking at an online map I measured the distance we missed at about a half mile. Yes, it took me 5-6 minutes to figure out that Garmin hadn't restarted. Yes, my brain was going as slowly as my legs. Although my legs seemed to be in some big hurry last night since I felt it in my lungs that I wasn't pacing well. Still.

I'm happy to rest my legs today and tomorrow in preparation for the San Francisco Marathon second half. I've run that several times and know the route and know it's challenging. Partly because of getting up at some unholy early hour, partly because of the uphills, partly because of the steep downhill on the route. I'm looking forward to running it easy as a training run.

I got another couple of inches done on my Cider Moon scarf. I'm glad I bought two skeins of the Cherry Bomb since one won't be enough. I'm hoping that two will be. The scarf is wider than it needed to be and maybe I should have made it narrower so it would be longer. It definitely won't be one of my 6-7 feet long scarves.

Today's Gratuitous Bear of the Day is a marathon bear that I bought at the expo of the Portland Marathon. This ended up being one of my least favorite race routes. I thought it was ugly and dirty and yucky. I know so many people who feel it's their favorite and it's hard for me to see what they liked so much. I didn't like the industrial and semi-industrial areas, didn't like the gloom and greyness of everything, didn't like the freshly black-topped steep hill leading to the bridge, didn't like that the most scenic part, running over the bridge, was blocked by construction drapes, really didn't like the reek of urine along the last couple of miles. The strangest thing is I'm going to run it again this October as a training run for New York. Go figure. I named the bear after the St. John's Bridge and I'm hoping that this year I'll get to see it in all its glory. This little panda bear is Johnny.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Is this accurate?

I heard something on the morning news on the radio this morning that I'm having trouble believing. Partly because I can't find that bit of news anywhere else, but partly because it's ridiculous. Apparently the White House has instituted a dress code for visitors. For tourists, those just coming by for a tour, not those meeting with the President or staff. They can't wear this, can't wear that, no flip-flops, no miniskirts, no jeans. No jeans??? For most of my life the only thing I've worn is jeans. Jeesh, I got kicked out of high school one day because I was wearing jeans! [Aside to younger women who don't like "feminists" and think things have always been the way they are now: we had to fight to be able to wear any type of pants in school, then fight to be able to wear jeans. Which the boys were wearing all along. And no, I'm not a hundred years old!] There are jeans and there are jeans, and I can't believe that in the interest of beautification (?) or more likely misdirection of attention, our illustrious administration has proclaimed that it's back to the '50's in style and dress. Time to start looking like the Beav's mom again! Where did I put my pearls?

Anyway, last night Olivia and I ran together again. We're up to 4 miles (actually 4.05, thank you Mr. Garmin). We were looking for trail alternatives because of the closure of the trail where we normally run. We decided to stage further north, run south to the closure, then return with the grade and wind at our benefit. That worked out pretty well, and again we kicked butt. Our own, actually. I averaged 11:41/mile which is way too darn fast for this 12:30 miler. Yeah, I was huffing and puffing, especially on the first half where we had a strong headwind and an upgrade. I purposely slowed down the other direction but since the grade was down and the wind was behind us I went as fast with less effort. It was pretty warm too. I can already tell that it's getting later in the year, the sun was much lower by the end of our run.

I promised pictures from Tuesday's Stitch n Pitch and here they are. The first shows the view from our seats. We had a great angle but were way too high. Our seats were right under the speakers, and right under all the team flags that were cracking in the wind. It was very noisy up there.
The next picture is of the loot in the goodie bag, and the bag itself. I have doubles of a couple of things since not everyone with us is a knitter and passed along some of their stuff. We all got a set of huge needles, size 17 I think. Almost like bats. We got a super long crochet hook and superlong size 1 needles. I don't know what you'd want to knit on those. There were several different patterns, ranging from blankets to scarfs to sweaters, most using the 17 needles. There was a little cross stitch Giant's emblem, complete with embroidery floss. The last thing was a measuring tape/level with the Giants Stitch n Pitch emblem. It's pretty cute, but I'm not sure why we need a level for knitting. Or crochet. Or any fiber related work. Maybe to see if a needle is warped? To check and see if you've blocked something straight? I dunno, but it's still cute!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Stitch n Pitch night at the Giants

Yawn! I'm not used to getting home after 11 pm on a work night. And then not getting to bed until midnight. I don't think this is approved training for a marathon, even without mention of the beer.

A bunch of us in our runner/knitter group met up, BARTed over to the City, MUNI'd to the ballpark and went to an early dinner at Primo Patio. We started with a pitcher of Buli-Buli – a cool refreshing Cuban cocktail of beer, fresh lime juice, sugar & ice (yeah, that's a direct quote). I had a catfish sandwich which was wonderful, and the fries disappeared as if someone else was snatching them from my plate. After this great meal we wandered back to Current Telephone Company's Name Park.

I'll have pictures of the SnP goodie bag tomorrow, after I have a chance to load them on the computer. Too late last night! The game was disappointing. Slugger Bonds is closing in on an all-time record, it was his birthday, and the team is playing really poorly. We left around the 8th inning since we had to trudge back to the East Bay and apparently missed an entire game's worth of action. In the ninth the Giants caught up, the game went into extra innings, and there was hope they'd actually pull one through. Too bad, they didn't. Meanwhile we were packed like sardines on MUNI and waiting for our BART train.

That's it for today, I'm too tired to say anything else interesting!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Typical summer weather

There's a high layer of fog, burning off as I look out my window. Yesterday got hot in the afternoon, and hardly cooled off by the time we ran. When I drove home from work it was about 92 degrees in Danville, but the wind had it cooled to only about 86 where I live. I figured the fog was moving in already and dressed for my run accordingly. I was wrong, it was still pretty warm in Danville when we met. In fact, it was about 82 degrees when we started running at 6:30 pm. Toasty for an evening run!

Pam and I ran our modified short short run, now clocking in at 3.5 miles. I was happy that my legs haven't felt any pain from the long run on Saturday, but I was a bit tired. We made good time, chatting the whole way, and finished our run before we ran out of conversation. Hmmm, does that mean we'll have to increase our run length so we can complete our talking?

Tonight is the Giants' Stitch n Pitch game that we've been planning for since April. There's a big group of us going again, many of us meeting for dinner before the game. I couldn't decide what to wear; I hate freezing in the City in the evening but I was pretty warm in my house this morning and I know my office gets warm, plus I was afraid that the fog would burn off early and it'd be hot in the WC. I finally put on a sleeveless top, with a long sleeved sweater, and threw a jacket in the car to take with me. I have my hat that I knit for the game last year, and my knitting, so I'm all set! I wonder if I should have brought gloves too. And maybe closed shoes instead of sandals. Oh well, if I'm that freezing tonight I'll just have to leave early.

The Gratuitous Bear of the Day is another twofer, and guest bears at that. I bought Pinkerton for my mom back when I bought my own Red Bear. I thought she really needed a bear. Of course, I think everyone needs a bear. Or many. In a case of not seeing the same thing in the same way, she thinks the bear is pink, I think he's red. Thus our difference in naming. In this picture he looks more orange than he really is. I bought Patches for her when she was in the hospital after a hip replacement. She was alone in San Diego, even though my bro and I flew in to see her, and I wanted her to know I was thinking of her. She's been very happy with her bears and I'm happy to see them when I visit her.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Busy reading weekend

Now for my full review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Just kidding, I won't say anything because I'm sure most people didn't spend all Saturday evening and Sunday morning (and part of Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon) reading the book. Like I did. I actually finished it about 4pm-ish yesterday, and only stayed up until about midnight on Saturday. Like most of the books in the series it was a fast read. I'm not even going to say if I enjoyed it or thought it was good or worth reading because I'm not a spoil sport. Read it yourself and we can talk about it then.

That wasn't all I did this weekend, I managed to get in a 15+ mile run on Saturday morning. I met up with Sandy, Bree and Anita at the Lafayette staging area of the Lafayette-Moraga Trail nice and early. In the interest of keeping it slow and easy we decided to run:walk a 4:1. Ok, that may slow the total down but we tend to run the run parts faster since there's more recovery time. At the 5 mile mark Bree turned around since she didn't need the full mileage. Neither did Anita but she kept running with us anyway.

I had thought that the trail from end to end was at least 7.5 miles, easily giving us 15 on the round trip. Nope, it's more like 7.25 which wouldn't be enough. We needed at least 15 and 16 would have been better. So we had to keep running past the start, keep running past the parking lot, around the corner, and finally we hit 15 miles (thank you Mr. Garmin for giving us the correct mileage). After getting in our 15 we decided to walk at least another half mile or so as a cool down and also to get in just a little more time on our feet.

The weather was ok during the run. When we started it was overcast and about 60 degrees, with a pretty strong headwind. I kept saying that hopefully that would mean we'd have a tailwind on our return, and that actually happened. The overcast lasted until our return trip at about Moraga Commons so it was sunny, but still breezy, for five miles. It was close to 75 degrees when we left, pretty warm for long mileage but good training.

After the run I headed straight for Target to buy the book. I was worried that everywhere would be sold out but they had a gazillion copies. Sandy went to a different store, just in case either was sold out, but the books were apparently everywhere. I did a bunch of stuff around the house, then settled in with my book.

I was determined to get something done on Sunday in addition to reading the book and I was pretty productive. I cleaned house, did loads of laundry, started my filing, backed up my computer and read the Sunday paper.

I also got in some knitting on my Cider Moon scarf. It's coming along beautifully, although slowly. Very very slowly. I love how it looks and I'm not even sick of the pattern. A little more purling than I like but I'm managing. At the rate I'm going it'll be quite a while until I finish. Good thing I love the yarn!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Changed my name

All new!

Not so much, really. You'll still show up here typing in the old address, www.mynextsteps.blogspot.com and you'll show up here if you type in runnergirlknits.com and I know this because I've tried it myself. A couple of times! Over and over!

The new name better reflects the blog content. Also, now I get to refer to myself in the third person and be really annoying. Some more. Still.

So don't be a stranger, keep coming here to see Runner Girl!

But that's a hill

During the summer it gets very crowded in Danville on Thursday nights. There's the regular farmers market, which in comparison to most other markets is pretty sparse. Still, the parking lot and streets are fuller than normal. Something like every other Thursday they have a Hot Summer Night celebration which started as a car show and became a place where apparently every resident of the town shows up to see and be seen. The streets near the downtown area are a mess, tempers are flaring, it's hard to get there and risky to run. Pam and I decided to move our summer staging area to the Park and Ride. Much better. Of course, we had to tweak our course too. I mapped out a route that included more of our older route, but which didn't include the closed part of the trail or the downtown area at all.

We met at our usual time and trotted out onto the street. We found that we can use the school grounds for stretching so we're not just stopping on someone's lawn. We made a left instead of a right, another left, got back to Sycamore and, oh yeah, I remember that hill! We haven't run it in quite a while. As we started up I told Pam to go ahead, I was going to go slowly and walk if I had to. That was the plan, but except for the last block I was right behind her, gasping away. I ran the whole thing, got to the top, and we turned around and started running right back down. No breaks. I decided to take a break at the bottom instead. Then we forgot to take a break.

We ended up with a little over 4 miles, run at about a 12:00 pace. I was very very tired. For a week when I intended to take it a bit easy, because of the long run tomorrow, I didn't do a very good job. I'm going to have to try to start slowly tomorrow. Good luck with that!

There was an earthquake in Oakland very early this morning but I don't think I felt it. I remember waking a couple times in the night, one time having to jump out of bed to put pressure on my cramping foot, but I never looked at the clock and miracles of miracles I fell back asleep each time. Hopefully this is a one timer and it won't have bunches of aftershocks.

No knitting last night, I never even picked up the needles. My right hand has been bothering me a little, kinda sore and crampy and dropping things. I decided that since I was exhausted from the run too I may as well take a night off. If it had eyes I could imagine my Cider Moon scarf looking sadly at me as I neglected it.

I thought I'd throw in a picture of my pretty yard before summer happened. It's very sad that the only time my yard is very pretty is late winter and early spring. My gardeners have continued their destruction mode. They took a hedge trimmer to my jasmine, before it had stopped blooming, and now it looks like some mad animal chewed its way through the leaves. One of these days I have to start another search for a new gardener but I had no luck last year when I tried.

In preparation for Potter I decided to read the last 50 pages of the last book, just to jog my memory of what happened. Oh yeah, I remember all that! I'm ready now, ready to spend my weekend after the run reading away. Hmm, I wonder if I can read the whole thing this weekend. I also wonder if I'll take time to sleep. I'll let you know!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Countdown to Potter

Who out there is going to be spending their weekend reading the new Harry Potter book? Because I read so much, and buy so many books, my rule is that I wait to buy a book until it comes out in paperback. I have the first five HP books in paper, but I was given a copy of the sixth in hard cover. Since the set is broken I think that gives me the allowance to buy the Deathly Hallows the moment it comes out. Of course, that means cruising around at midnight tomorrow to make sure I get a copy. Which could be a problem since I'm planning a long run Saturday morning and sleep is essential. Maybe I'll take my chances and wait until after the run to buy the book. I really want to read it before everyone is talking about what happened to who when and where. I read the first couple before the series was popular and managed to avoid spoilers in the later books but I think the plot will be everywhere by Saturday.

Olivia and I had a great run last night. We had to slightly change our normal route because of the trail closure. We ran on the neighborhood streets and looked at all the cute houses. We ran fast on the streets, then fast on the trail, then turned around to return and were tuckered out. We finished with 3.5 miles, all run quickly. We're thinking of running from the other end of the trail so that we miss the construction zone and so that the downhill is on our return. That way we can speed along the first half and feel better on the second.

Claudia didn't run with us again; she's injured. What an incredible drag having to worry about training and worry about not training and worry about not getting in the miles. She'll be ok, I know she's going to be smart enough to not push her healing and make certain her injuries are healed before heading out. Right? Right? She has plenty of time to train for New York.

Today's Gratuitous Bear of the Day is Cody. Several years ago I had some surgery and my sister sent me a get well bear. He's a Vermont Teddy Bear and I think he's just adorable. He's another bear who got his name from the pain meds, this time Tylenol with Codeine. He's such a cutie in his flannel robe with fuzzy slippers. It was actually payback from sis since I had sent an identical bear to her when she was sick. Such a wonderful excuse to get a cuddly bear.

As I mentioned before there will be some changes around here - big changes. Like changing the name and address of the blog. I'm hoping I can figure out how to do it without destroying all my history and links and stuff. If I disappear I'll try to send notices to everyone where I've moved. The new name is Runner Girl Knits, but I don't know whether the address will still be blogspot or not; I'm a brand new domain owner! And a technodummy! This could mean trouble!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Strange weather

Rain? In July in the Bay Area? Hmmph. Just enough to make the dirt on the cars run in streaks and to cause accidents in the morning commute. Probably not enough to water the yard.

Yesterday I broke my streak of cross-training on Tuesday mornings. It was going so well, but yesterday I was entirely too pooped to get out of bed early. I figured I needed the little bit of extra sleep more than I needed to stress my legs. I didn't do the workout after work either. I got caught up on several things around the house instead. Changes coming here soon.

My Cider Moon scarf is coming along beautifully, if slowly. I swear, I'm the slowest knitter around. Plus, I only do about 3-4 repeats each night so I could be quite a while before I'm done. And I'll be posting the pictures here every couple of inches as I make my slow way to the end of it. I can't even tell yet if I'll need the second skein of yarn. I'm surely not making this a seven foot scarf, after the last ginormous effort I just don't want to go that far!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Knitting away the weekend

Before I get into all the knitterly goodness, I'll talk about last night's run. Pam and I had to slightly revise our regular short short route since part of the trail we return on is closed. That added a couple of tenths and more street running, but it's mostly the same route. We were both tired from the half on Sunday, a little sore. For some strange reason my shoulder was hurting all day so I think I must have been tensed up while I ran that dirt road.

I wore new shoes last night, another pair has finally bit the dust. Literally. I decided to try my second pair of orthotics since the main pair is showing lots of wear and I'm too lazy to go see a doctor and get a new pair. The second pair were cut down and don't have as much support as the regular pair; I haven't really worn them since they were modified because when I first tried them my legs hurt. So I'm not sure if my legs hurt last night because of the race, the shoes or the orthotics. I guess it was dumb to try the new things at once. Live and learn!

Saturday morning I felted the Temescal Bag and it turned out very well. I had to wash it twice to get rid of stitch definition and then tried to stretch it out a bit to get more size. I hung it up to dry so that the straps would stay straight and that worked very well. The finished pictures don't show the colors as well as I'd like; they're much more distinct than they look here. It's still not completely dry on the bottom, probably because of the way I had it hung. I'm looking forward to making another one, probably in reds/black/gray so that I'll use it more. This one may end up being a gift for someone. Taking requests now!

I also had my first adventure in blocking. It was finally time to block the enormous neverending superlong wrap. I may now refer to it as the superlong wrap since it's done done done! I had no idea what I was doing with blocking so I played around a bit. I had the lace blocking wires from Knit Picks and was ready to go. Well, first I had to decide what to block upon and decided on a couple of beach sized blue towels. Then, I soaked the wrap with water. I didn't wash it, just got it wet, and there were little alpaca hairs all over the place. I laid it out on the towels, stretched it out, put in a couple of pins and wires and then became concerned in case the towel colors bled onto my light carpet. So I undid everything and found an old white checked sheet and put that on the floor. Much better.

I started with the bottom top edge. Oh, that doesn't make much sense, does it? I started from the first end knit, the long edge first. I put the wire through every other hole and pinned it about every 4 holes. I did two wires then switched to the top long edge and put in a couple of wires. For no particular reason I decided to wire through every hole, still pinning about every four holes. I stretched and pulled and made sure that all the holes were open and sort of lined up. I went back and forth between the sides, then got to the finished end and realized I had a problem. I had apparently bound off way too tightly and the finished end was much shorter than the start end. Damn. I wet and I stretched and it didn't really fix it, it was just too short. Lesson learned, bind off looser on -- well, on everything!

I found an old hand steamer that I was about to give away (since I'd never used it) and decided to see if steaming would loosen the yarn enough to stretch. I spent time steaming and it loosened a bit, not enough though. By the time I finished I realized I'd been crawling around on the floor for several hours, trying to get it perfect(ish). Then I started to measure, just for my amusement.

Superlong indeed; the top edge is 101", the bottom edge is 95". Hey, I told you I bound off too tight! The starting edge on the slant it 19.5", the finishing is 16", and that's with stretching the bejeebers out of it. The width isn't too different away from the slanted ends; it's 16.25" at the start and 15" at the end.

I was afraid to unpin it, afraid that it would spring right back into the original shape. Finally last night I couldn't wait any longer, the suspense was too much. I removed the wires, removed the pins (and damn, those things are sharp, I have holes in my hand from holding them wrong!). I carefully picked it up and put it around my shoulders and wow! I'm really happy with it, it turned out so well. Yippee and hurray, I'm done done done.

Just for the record, I used Village Spinning & Weaving's Prime Alpaca, 3 ply Natural Colored Alpaca. I bought it at a show, I think the yarn show in Oakland last year. Or maybe it was Stitches Mid-West last year. I've had it a while. I used a double strand, 48 stitches across. My needles were #10 Options and I just love those needles. If I did this pattern again I'd use a much heavier weight yarn and make it shorter. Nine feet is a little excessive, although I'm happy with the length here. I wasn't able to get a great picture of me wearing it, but this will give you an idea of how it looks:

Monday, July 16, 2007

Don't run the Jungle Run

That's what I told myself after I finished last year's Jungle Run Half Marathon. I also told myself that after finishing the race in 2005 but somehow managed to ignore it when it came time to register again. I liked the race well enough after the inaugural year (2002) to run it the next year, although I didn't run it in 2004 because I was busy trying to run 5 marathons and 5 half marathons in one year for the first time. So I've run the race four out of five years since it was offered.

You'd think that after last year, when they ran out of medals and shirts, that they'd plan better this year. You'd think wrong. When I dragged myself across that finish line at the sad finishing time of 2:53 they approached me with a list, not a medal. They wrote down my bib number and name and said they'd mail the medal to me (again). Oh big whoop, another medal arriving weeks after the race is finished and done, what a marvelous treat. To me the medal is only good for the afternoon and evening of the day of the race, otherwise it becomes just another piece of history.

Even up until yesterday the organizers were trumpeting on their website that there was still room in the race:

100 Spots Still Available! We still have places for a few more runners for Sunday’s race. You can register during packet pick-up on Saturday at the Runner’s Factory or before the race Sunday morning – but register as soon as you can. We only have 100 spots left, and when they’re gone, they’re gone!

This morning before the race began they announced to latecomers that sorry, the race was full but thanks for coming out! So how did they manage to not order enough medals? It's not like this race is full of amenities for the $50+ entry fee. There were 3 water stops, one of which we approached twice. They had water and some electrolyte drink. The tee shirt is cheap white cotton with a blue and black picture on the front and sponsors names on the back. The goodie bag had a donated chapstick, sample of Propel mix, a gel and a small energy bar. It was supposed to be handed out with the bibs but nobody informed the volunteers of that and most people got theirs when they got the shirt when they finished. After the race they had iced water and some food.

Since a good part of this race is on a trail they didn't even have to hire tons of off-duty officers for traffic control. This year at the last minute they excitedly announced they would have chip timing. Not quite; the only timing mat was at the end, so all they did was save themselves or the timing company some work in collecting and posting tear tags from the bibs. There wasn't even a volunteer or timing mat at the end of a long out-and-back section and I'm certain a few people, later in the race, just turned around early.

I wasn't the last finisher either. On my way back I counted at least 30 people behind me. That was 30 other finishers who wouldn't get a medal for their hard efforts - and I saw how hard they were working when I passed them going the other direction.

So where'd all the money go? Obviously not towards getting the correct number of medals! Nor in differentiating between the half and the 10k on the shirt or medal. Once again I'm left saying to myself (and all my friends): Don't Run the Jungle Run Again!

[Deep breath] I didn't get much sleep last night and it might have made me just a little bit cranky since I had to get up at 4:00 am to get to the race on time. My race went ok, not great, not awful. It was pretty warm (hot) by the time I finished, mid-70's with full sun. That out-and-back section is my nemesis. Oops, was my nemesis, since I won't be facing it again. From about mile 10 to mile 12.5 is a dirt/gravel road, almost completely lacking in shade. It's uphill or upgrade almost the entire way to the turnaround. Located right next to a freeway soundwall, with a ditch creek on the other side, it might be vaguely scenic if not for the great clouds of dust being raised by all the cyclists speeding past. Despite the sign specifying "race in progress." I'm not good on rocky roads and the long uphill at that point of the race is very tiring and discouraging.

I'm having trouble with my pacing. I used to run a 12:30 mile, consistently. And that's "consistent" in the true meaning of reliable, steady, able to be reproduced. As opposed to our team's definition as "slow." Although it's that too. I could throw out 12:30's in my sleep. When I got faster I was running about a 12 even but the walk would give me a mile of about 12:15. I was pretty consistent there too.

After last year, the year I'm dubbing the great asthma debacle, I'm no longer able to pace myself. My legs would be happy running 11 minute miles all day long but my lungs and heart want something more like a 12:30-45. My pace is all over the place; here's a 11:15, there's a 12:50, there's a 12:00, here's a 13:00. Huh? The more I try to even that out the worse it gets. The result has been that I start a run (or race) too fast and then I'm gasping after a few miles. I think I'll have to work harder on pacing, maybe even getting on a treadmill (eww) or going to a track (double eww) to straighten it out. Because right now I'm not going to enjoy those three marathons I have scheduled in the fall!

I ran with Mr. Garmin on my left wrist and my regular running watch on my right wrist. Yes as a matter of fact it was dumb looking. And uncomfortable. But I wanted my countdown timers for run/walk and I wasn't sure if I trusted the GPS in the areas that were woody. I'm glad since there was a period in the woods where Garmin missed about a quarter mile. And made it up later, since my final mileage was 13:05, pretty darn close. But I didn't know for the last few miles just how far I was (the race didn't post a 13 mile marker) because I didn't think it was reliable. And I was too focused on watching my current speed, average, etc. on the Garmin. I'll definitely continue using it in training but for any race that will have either big buildings or lots of trees (which I think is most of them) I'll just wear my regular watch.

Stupid race.

Note: I wrote all that Sunday afternoon, after my nap. I'm surprised how much that race took out of me. I ran it harder than expected and the results of pushing the run were soreness and lethargy the rest of the day. Today I'm just tired and my shoulders/neck and arms are sore. Huh? Not sure why, although it could have been tension running that dirt road.

I got lots of knitting/knit related work done this weekend and I'll report on it, with pictures, tomorrow.

Friday, July 13, 2007


That's what I call it when I cruise onto my email in the morning and find a missive from Cider Moon, my new favoritest yarn provider, and hear they're having a sale starting tomorrow. La la la la la I can't hearrrrr you. I need to cover my eyes and ears and pretend that I didn't get this. It's severely weakening my resolve to not buy any yarn at all until Stitches next month. Maybe I should just delete that email. Or maybe I should just check their website tomorrow, to look around and window shop. Yeah, that's it! Window shop! I don't need to buy anything, just look at pretty pictures.

Speaking of next month: so here we are, going to Chicago. The whole weekend was planned out, very little spare time. We'd get in Friday night, go to the open house at the LYS. Saturday we'd go to the race expo first thing in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast. Train over to Stitches and spend the rest of the day there. Sunday I'd get up early early and run the Chicago Distance Classic while Petra hangs out and plays with all her new yarn. Sunday afternoon we'd -- well actually we hadn't planned Sunday afternoon yet but we'd probably tour the city, maybe go shopping. So I get an email that Saturday night is the local Stitch n Pitch game! Chicago White Sox vs. Mariners, tickets still available. It doesn't seem like they're doing a goody bag, but hey, a Stitch n Pitch in another city! During our knitting weekend! I'll be ordering tix very soon. Sunday race start at 6:30 am is going to feel very very early. After carbo loading on beer.

I mentioned that the Iron Horse Trail where we run was closing the parts in Danville for a month for reconstruction. Pam and I normally just run about a mile of our regular run on the trail, but last night it was shut down. Our run went well, we ran on the street instead of the trail, adding a little distance. The pain in the neck part was just getting to our staging area. Danville has this Summer Nights celebration on Thursday nights (maybe every other Thursday?) throughout the summer. Every jackass person with a loud motorcycle or a "hot" car, and apparently the entire citizenry of Danville zooms over to the downtown area to look at -- I dunno, cars? Other Danvillians? I haven't seen such bad and rude driving in a very long time.

We decided for the next couple of months we'll stage in another area. That meant going home and mapping out a route to make sure we get enough mileage in. We'll be back to running the hill that was in our long-ago route, only this time we'll run up and down and go back the way we came so that we avoid the entire downtown area. It'll be a good workout too, hills are our friends. Keep repeating that!

My Garmin actually worked last night, whatdaya know! I turned it on when I left my house so apparently it found a satellite while I was stuck in traffic on the freeway. I was also able to get the information onto my computer after I got home. It was lovely not cussing and hollering all night. I need to decide whether I'm using it during the race on Sunday. I may just wear it with my regular watch on my other wrist so that I can have my countdown timers. Looks dumb, but whatever.

I'm planning on being very busy tomorrow since I'll be getting up on Sunday at about 4:30 am. Yow! Add in a challenging half marathon and we all know what I'll be doing Sunday afternoon. Uh huh, napping. Or reading. Or knitting. Or all of those. So tomorrow I need to get all my regular chores done.

Have a happy Friday the 13th and a great weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Technology stinks, part 2. Or is it part 3?

It wasn't easy getting out of bed this morning and after I finally did I had to convince myself I couldn't go directly back again. Ever had one of those mornings where everything is just not *right*? Everything just feels a little off, a little wrong, a little different. Just enough to ruin how you feel. Hi, welcome to my crankyland. Enjoy your visit, hope I'm not here for a long stay.

After work yesterday I ran with Olivia. I was having major Garmin issues. Enough that I'm not even going to link to them because the damn thing drove me crazy. Our staging area in Danville is kind of a dead zone. I have cell phone issues there and wasn't surprised that the Garmin can't locate a satellite. After all, cell towers and satellites are the same thing, right? Uh huh. We ran on the trail and the device slipped in and out of reception range. Funny, for part of the time Olivia's had reception while mine didn't. And we were running side by side.

We only ran about 2.7 miles (or, 1 .3 miles according to my Garmin) but we each seemed to be in a hurry about it. As if we were racing. My legs have got to learn that the rest of my body can't catch up when I'm going that fast. I was tired when we finished. After 2.7 miles. Yikes.

We saw a guy I knew after our run and he asked how far we'd run; here we are looking exhausted and drippy as if we'd been running for hours. This is the speedy guy who actually wins races asking. So I told him we'd run about 3 miles. He couldn't believe we'd had such a short run, that we'd even bothered. I just said that when you're running 12 minute miles that 3 miles isn't that short.

They've erected barriers at the trails for construction work they're going to be doing for the next month. We're going to have to find another place for our runs, maybe the route Pam and I use, maybe the street route, maybe just along the main street until we get to the open part of the trail. We'll worry about that next week.

After I got home I decided to download (or is it upload) the Garmin misinformation to my computer. It didn't recognize my device. Tried again. Again. Againagainagainagain. Cripes! I had recently installed an upgraded version of their software, so I uninstalled it, re-downloaded it and reinstalled it. Still didn't recognize it. Downloaded new device software. Still didn't etc. Rebooted my computer. Again. And again. Finally it worked, magically. For no special reason I could ascertain. Updated the device, everything is working. We'll see if tonight it works. I'm not bothering to cross my fingers.

Ok, time to stop, smell the flowers, start the morning over without all the crankiness. How can I be grumpy looking at such peony loveliness? They finished blooming early last month but at least we can still look at them and feel better.

I knit a couple more repeats on my Cider Moon scarf last night. Still lovin it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Finishing, or almost finishing, another item

Another closer to being finished object! Although the neverending superlong wrap has been off the needles for a couple of weeks I never did the weaving or the blocking. Last night I decided to get out a needle and weave in all the dangling ends. There were lots of them, double strands. It was hard only because I was weaving double stranded black into black with a pattern and I didn't want to mess up the pattern. And I couldn't see the pattern; the light wasn't good enough. Or maybe my vision wasn't good enough. Now it's all ready for blocking. I have the wires and pins, I just need the time. Maybe Saturday?

I was going to felt the Temescal Bag last night but decided to use my washer to get my clothes clean instead. Imagine! I'll probably felt it this weekend. My, aren't I just piling up the projects. I have to keep reminding myself I'm running a half marathon on Sunday that will involve getting up very early. Which means that Sunday afternoon I'm going to be as useful as a fruit basket. Although not as decorative.

Yesterday morning before work I got up and did one of my exercise tapes. Yawn. I really don't like working out before work because I drag all day long. I do, however, very much like not having to exercise after work and I have all that extra time to nap knit.

I knit a couple of sections of the new Cider Moon chevron scarf. It's a four row repeat with just one row having a pattern, so it's pretty easy. Especially since I'm only using one skein of yarn. It's looking better and better as I knit, I'm just loving it.

We're having a weird weather pattern now. Normally it's dry as a bone here during the entire summer, especially drought-ish years like this one. Today there's a leftover storm front moving through from the south. It's overcast and humid and there's a possibility of rain, thunder and lightning. Cool! I love lightning, except when I'm running. Hopefully this will clear up before tonight's run.

I got my windshield replaced yesterday. They were supposed to fix it on Monday but forgot to schedule me. D'oh! So they rearranged their schedule to fit me in a day later. Very easy, the guy came out to the office and presto chango it's brand new. I was told to keep a window cracked (so to speak) for 24 hours; wouldn't you know it that this is the only day there's a possibility of rain? I'm keeping an eye on the weather because I might have to dash out and close it up.

Today's Gratuitous Bear of the Day is Monty. He's another Vermont Teddy Bear, a free one this time. VTB offers a credit card and the biggest benefit is that after one purchase anywhere using the card, they send you a bear. Sweet! Unlike their other bears this one comes naked, without even a bow tie. I had a bunch of beads around the house and they dressed him up very nicely. I've thought of knitting him a sweater but first I'll have to learn how to knit a sweater!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Over the (Cider) Moon

Move over Malabrigo, I have a new favorite yarn. [That doesn't mean I won't, some day, knit up the bazillion skeins of Malabrigo that I have, so don't ask me to give it to you!] During her trip to the Knitter's Connection in Columbus last month Petra discovered Cider Moon, a small mid-west company with incredible hand dyed yarn. Petra let me know last week that they were having a sale on their Glacier yarn; 100% superwash merino wool. She told me their Cherry Bomb colorway was made just for me. Reds and blacks, yep, that's my yarn. I decided I'd buy one skein and see how I liked it.

One skein, five skeins; who's counting? I bought 2 of the Cherry Bomb, 1 Cayenne, 1 Siberia and 1 Jackie O. When they're out of a yarn that colorway disappears from the website. The yarn arrived within a couple of days of the order. Fast fast fast and what yummy yarn. Soft, non-itchy, and beautiful colors, even better than on the website. I couldn't wait to get home and start knitting it up.

Here I was with about 3 inches of knitting and the finishing left on the Temescal Bag and what did I do? Wound a skein of the Cherry Bomb and started knitting the chevron scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (which happens to be on sale right now at that link). I've never done that, rushed right home and started a new project the minute I got the yarn. The pattern calls for 2 different skeins, and the other chevron scarf I'm in the middle of using KPPPM actually has 3 skeins, but this time I'm using only the Cherry Bomb. I love this stuff and it's going to look great when I finish it.

Ok, last night I put aside the new scarf and finished the work on the Temescal Bag. This thing is huge! All I need to do now is felt it and it's ready to go. For me this was a quick project. I like how the colors have turned out, even the straps which used up way more yarn than I'd thought.

Pam and I had a good run last night. It was cool, probably low 70's, with a light breeze. Funny, a couple of months ago we would have said low 70's was hot. A week of 100+ degrees will change perspective so quickly! We did our short short route. My legs were tired and my heart rate was pretty high, not sure what's up with that. The trail right where we run is supposed to be closing soon for some work so we'll have to decide whether to run the old route that we used to run (and which is longer and has a hill) or whether to run somewhere else. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 9, 2007

It's hot and I'm wearing it

Owie. As I got out of my car this morning I managed to spill my stillveryhot latte down my front. That's down my front from my face, neck, onto my new (luckily black) shirt. A couple of ounces worth. Ouch.

Saturday morning we (Sandy, Anita, Bree and I) ran at Inspiration Point. After the sizzling heat of last week I had put out a tank top and shorts the night before. When I grabbed my newspaper at 6:00 am I realized it was overcast and cool out, but it looked like it was clearing. I'm glad I decided to change and I put on a short sleeved top. Good thing, it was cool, windy, foggy, drizzly up at IP. Did I mention windy? Oy. Everyone who has run there knows that the trail is uphill both directions. I know, that sounds impossible but give it a try, it really is. Well, we also had a head wind both directions. And cows. Right on the trail, popping out of the fog right into our faces. Look, is that a cow? Uh, no, that's a bush. No, a cow. Like that. There was one tree down across Wildcat Canyon going up to IP and another tree down across the trail. I hope the cyclists had their eyes open because otherwise they'd end up flying.

We managed the entire 8 miles even though there was some walking involved at the 4 mile hill and a couple of heavily windy spots on the way back. I was soaking wet, mostly because of the heavy fog and dripping trees. Very strange to get in my car and turn on the seat heater after I've been blasting the air conditioner for the past week. I was very happy to get home and take a hot shower.

Claudia's and Rocky's wedding celebration was Saturday night. What a fabulous party! It was a Hawaiian theme, complete with hula dancers and roast pig. Entire pig, with pretty little ribbons in it's ears. Betsy was pretty cute and very tasty. I tend to not eat anything that cute that I've nicknamed, but I made an exception. Yum. Also yum were the beautifully decorated carrot cake cupcakes, complete with white chocolate shells on top. I could have eaten several of those but I restrained myself and only had one.

After everyone stuffed themselves like pigs (sorry Betsy) Jeanette's band played. East Bay Mudd is a great dance band and so we all danced. Seriously, you have to go hear this band, they're that good. They played for a couple of hours and then it was time to go home to bed. For some of us, hmmm??? I hear rumors that some people went out and did a little more partying. I just don't have that type of energy any more, especially when I've gotten up at 5:30 am to run.

Sunday I met Petra at the Oakland Coliseum (whatever brand it's called now) for a A's game. It was a promo day, listed as Build-A-Bear day. Of course I couldn't miss that! Turned out the give-away was a stuffed Stomper. Very cute stuffie (even if it isn't a bear; I just HAVE to find a local pro team with a bear for a mascot). Depending on where you sat at the game it was either broiling hot or chilly cool. We were in the hot spot, fabulous seats, seven rows back from the field. As close as we were, we were on the wrong side of the field to see the fight. Yeah, there was a bump and a push and a shove and a look and they all ran out and sheesh. Grow up. Anyway, it didn't do the A's any good as they ended up losing. We left during the 7th inning stretch because we were broiled and feeling as roasted as Betsy. The nice thing was that we missed the crush going to BART and I was able to get my own seat.

Lots of knitting happened this weekend, mostly involving my incredibly gorgeous new Cider Moon yarn. I'll write more about that tomorrow.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Feeling hot hot hot

Yesterday the mercury hit about as high as it ever does, the low 100's. Whew hot. Hot enough that Pam and I canceled our run for last night. No sense in trying to run while it's still 100 degrees and sunny outside, we'd have ended up distressed and walking. So I ran on my treadmill did no exercise because my house was too warm, even with the a/c on. I don't like having a gazillion dollar PG&E bill so I don't cool it lower than mid-80's. My exercise room is usually several degrees warmer than the rest of the house. So I bagged the workout.

I knit instead. I'm almost done with the straps on the Temescal Bag. I used up the last of one of the colors and the second strap may end up being three colors instead of the two on the other strap. It's ok, I'm liking how the colors all go together. Maybe I'll finish knitting it this weekend.

Remember my car got hit by a rock which cracked the windshield? I had decided that since the hole/crack was above my line of sight I could just ignore it for a bit until I had more time. Ended up being a baaaaaaaad decision. After work yesterday I went out and got in my car and was astounded that the small, quarter-sized cracks had extended from one side of the windshield to the other! All the freaking way across! Dang! Unknown to me, great heat (and great cold) will do that. Since it was about 103 in our parking lot crrrrr-aaaaackkk! Luckily I did not raise my deductible on the comprehensive like I thought I had, so it will only cost me $50. The glass company will come out to my office next week and fix it "just like new." It had better be, since the surrounding car is "just like new."

Big busy weekend ahead. Hopefully it'll cool down some here in the valley, otherwise I'll just want to spend the whole time in a cold shower. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Oh say can you see

The idiot neighbors were at it again last night. Is it so wrong of me to secretly (well, not so secretly now) wish that one of them would blow off a finger or two while exploding illegal fireworks late into the night? All fireworks, of any kind whatsoever, are illegal in Contra Costa County where I live. It's for good reason, everything is dry and incredibly flammable. The next county over, Alameda, allows what they call "safe and sane" fireworks which are neither. The county sells licenses to non-profit organizations to sell these fireworks and it's a huge source of income for everyone involved. Of course Alameda County is, I believe, just about the last county in the Bay Area that allows even these incendiary devices. And most of the people buying them are planning on using them where they're illegal.

I've lived in my house for many Fourths of July and each year the asshole neighbors across the street blow up more bigger louder things than the year before. This year they managed to get their hands on professional ooh-ahh fireworks that go way up and explode into pretty blossoms. And then rain down hot ash onto all the surrounding houses. They were blowing up bombs that set off car alarms. I was *this* close to calling the overworked San Ramon police when they finally scattered and stopped. This morning the street in front of my house was littered with leftover crap. Nice.

Each year the City of San Ramon has a Spectacular Fourth thing with music and fireworks. I used to walk or drive over there but then discovered I could see the fireworks just fine and dandy from my front lawn. This year a huge bunch of neighbors (not just the asshole neighbors across the street) were out on my corner to get the good views. Fireworks are directional so we don't really get the full effect of them blowing up overhead, but they're still pretty cool with lots of ooohing and ahhhing from the crowd. The only problem is that they don't start until after full dark, at 9:30 pm this year, and so it's late by the time it's over. At least I now just have to walk a few feet and I'm home.

I ran the local 5k yesterday morning. I arrived not knowing whether I intended to run it as a 3 mile run, or a 5k race. I was leaning toward running it easy since it was pretty warm already at 8:30 am. My feet made the decision for me by going faster than my brain had intended. I ended up running it faster than I've run a race in the past couple of years. Still way the hell slower than my 5k PR but I don't think I'll be doing that again any time soon (my 5k PR is 29:something). My Garmin told me I ran 3.18 miles so either the course was mis-marked (noo, San Ramon mis-marking a course??) (yes, I'm being totally sarcastic) or I ran around so many people that I added extra mileage. Probably a bit of both.

The rest of the day I caught up on some stuff I didn't get done over the weekend, but I didn't do everything I intended. Oh well, maybe next weekend!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Short week, long days

I haven't gotten used to it being light out until 9pm and now the days are already getting shorter. Last night Pam and I ran our short short route and stood around chatting afterward. We got a late start but didn't realize what time it was when we finished. I got in my car and was shocked that it was well after 8pm. The sun was still up, it was still warm out. I didn't get around to fixing dinner until 9-ish. No wonder I don't sleep at night.

I used my Garmin again last night. It has trouble finding a satellite in Danville which will be a pain in the neck once winter comes. I don't mind standing around waiting for it when it's warm and pleasant, but when it gets cold and wet (assuming this drought doesn't last) I'm sure not going to be hanging around for 10 minutes just to get my training tool going. Not worth it. I was happy to know that the route I'd been calling 3.2 miles was, in fact, 3.21 miles according to Garmin.

I enjoyed my knitting class on Saturday, despite getting the rock into my windshield on the way over. Petra taught us how to knit the straps on the Temescal Bag. She showed us 3 strap options, from stockinette to i-cord. I decided on the first option, a stockinette that was flared at the base. I didn't really get too much knit in the 2 hour class but I know how to do it and now just need some knitting time. I realized I didn't have enough of the last color to do both straps so they'll be two-color straps. I was very surprised at the lack of knitting skills from some of the other people in the class. Petra was wonderfully patient while she showed them how to knit. I'll have to give these women credit for tackling a hard project when they're such beginners.

Today's Gratuitous Bear of the Day is another medal bear. The first marathon that I did without TnT support was the Silicon Valley Marathon in San Jose. This was my fourth full marathon. Although I was on the team and mentoring at the time, this wasn't a team event. I trained with my friend Heather who was also on the team and running that race. We'd arrive at team trainings a couple of hours early to get in our extra miles, then finish our runs with the team. There were lots of very early mornings that season. My sis sent me a good luck bear for my first solo performance. She's a Vermont Teddy Bear with attitude. Her shirt had a personalized message for me.

The race went very well. At that time I was still striving for a personal best at every marathon and I ran it hard. I didn't expect the couple of hills and I certainly didn't expect to almost get lost on the route. There were so few people that at one point I couldn't see another runner. I wasn't sure which way to go and took a wild guess which happily turned out correct. Heather and I passed each other a couple of times throughout the race and I finished a bit before she did. I managed a huge PR, more than 12 minutes. At the time the medals from this race were the biggest ones around, and also had a silicon chip embedded on them. I know that I didn't like having such a heavy weight around my neck after I had run so hard. Sili has to sit because the weight is too heavy for her.

I probably won't post tomorrow since it's the Fourth of July. I'm running a local 5k in the morning then I plan on doing everything that didn't get done this past weekend. Have a happy Independence Day!