Friday, October 29, 2010

We now return to our regularly scheduled broadcast..... ....whereupon I get back to my knitting (and running.)

After I finished the interminable Kiama and my July 2009 STR socks, I dug into the stash for something new. I started and quickly abandoned the sweater that I told my niece I would make her (last summer, as in 2009, since 2010 cannot by ANY stretch of the imagination, be called a summer). I was having gauge issues - and I knit (and ripped) a total of 5 squares before I packed it in. Then I pulled out a gorgeous bundle of Fleece Artist fibres that came bundled to make the Garter Stitch Sweater. It is in deep blues and greens and has two threads held together - but it is a garter stitch jacket. Easy to knit, no stress required - but I kind of just finished one of those and I need something with brain food.

So I dug deeper and found some Tahki Donegal Tweed in a deep red, with lovely flecks colour throughout. I have envisioned this in many sweaters, but in an attempt to reduce my Ravelry queue (I mean, I know it's not taking up anything but digital space, but it is a list of things I want to knit) I decided on a lovely cabled sweater from Twist Collective Winter 2008, Vivian. This has lots of cables and a pattern that can be sort of memorized, but that requires some charts as well. So I started it before Long Beach, ripped it out once (when will I learn that stitch markers really are quite handy, especially when you are changing patterns) and started again, this time with markers. It is coming along and because I am knitting it on 5 mm needles, it is moving quicker (certainly quicker than the previous two sweaters I knit).

As for socks - the lovely Lynn-at-work forwarded me the Socktober Mystery Sock by Kirsten Kapur. It was only when I printed off the pattern that the bells went off and I realized that this is the self-same Through the Loops blogger that I occasionally steal glances at. And in a moment of madness last spring, I joined the Mean Girls Sock Club. The first shipment was some lovely variegated blue in a blend - of some sort (but I can't find the label). Kirsten had suggested something not variegated for this pattern - but as usual, I just dove right in - and I think it is going to be OK.

I also had a revelation (but really? - when you read this and if you knit, you are going to think that I am a few light bulbs short) - usually my socks start off fitting well, but by the end of the day they are very baggy. So I decided to knit them in a smaller size - less stitches and I think they will fit much snugger, meaning that by the end of the day, they should be only slightly baggy. I think I thought I always needed a large - because my feet are large (size 10.5 on a good day, 11 on a day when all the shoes I see only come in size 10). But really? My feet are narrow - meaning that less stitches around will give me a snugger fit. I sort of am embarrassed to admit that I just figured THAT out......

So there's October's (and likely November's) knitting - Christmas knitting usually waits until December when in a fit of madness, I start several things for people in my life. Of course, in the sanity of October, I promise not to do this - but December rolls around and here we go again - late nights and frantic knitting to get things done. And apparently, there is a whole tribe of us out there.

As for running? I apparently developed some IT band issues in my marathon - mostly tightness. I have been seeing a deep tissue guy, who hurts me deeply for 15 minutes - and then it feels good for several days, until it doesn't anymore - and then I go back. It is getting better - and I ran (30 minutes) on Sunday and am going to try 60 tomorrow morning. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

So you want to know what a marathon is?*

So I ran my marathon on Sunday. I still have not completely processed the whole experience. I have processed it enough to know that I want to run another one - and I am already planning what to work on.

I told my daughter that the first 20 miles were pleasant - and really - they were as pleasant as a 20 mile run can be. The last 6.2 miles were tough, not that I expected them to be easy. But you are in such a state of pain that even your brain hurts (which used to be my brother's comment if someone had a particularly ... stupid moment. And I was having a few of them). My hip started to hurt at about mile 6 and even after 2 ibuprofen, it was on fire. I hadn't had any injuries leading up to the day (I have been remarkably injury-free through 30 years of running). And even now, 3 days late, it still hurts (yes, mom, I am going to the doctor on Friday). But I couldn't separate the pain in my hip from the pain everywhere else - my feet hurt every time they hit the pavement, my lower back was killing me - and if I stopped to list all the parts of my body where it hurt…well, I would have sat down on the curb and just stopped right then and there.

But seeing what your body and mind will do to reach a goal - our bodies are so strong and we really do not appreciate them until they carry us through moments like this. This helps me remember that deep down, (where, in many ways things really count) I am resilient. The only other thing I can compare it to is child-birth - and I did say out loud, if I could get through that, I could get through this. And it is true to a certain extent. But in childbirth you are labouring for someone to give them life - and a marathon is pretty self-indulgent (OK - that's a weird statement - but I am doing it mostly for me, as opposed to anyone else).

One of the things that was cool? All three of my kids told me they were proud of me. CW (the 15 year old) was the first of my entourage to greet me. He gave me a great big hug and told me how proud he was of me. Then my 11 year old found me and said he was really, really proud (of course, then he told me that I didn't stink as much as I did in Calgary after my long runs there - sigh). And my daughter posted her pride on Facebook. As a parent, you rarely do anything that your kids are proud of - at least anything that they will say out loud, in person and to your face. So those comments really made my day.

And my time? Not impressive - in under 6 hours (5:54) - which is about 30 minutes more than I wanted. So this is one of the things I want to work on - the others are strength, core and stride.

Finally - the title of this post refers to a comment a guy yelled at me at about 24.5 miles (when I was SURE that I passed the 24 mile signpost 3 miles ago and WHERE THE HELL WAS THE @% 25 MILE SIGNPOST) - apparently a marathon is a 26.2 mile mind****!!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hunting for a mantra

So I am running a marathon this weekend - it's my first one. All the experienced marathoners have been suggesting that it would be useful to have a saying to get me through the last few miles. I am having trouble coming up with one. (This is an unusual problem for me - I can generally always think of something to say)

My husband suggested "Pain is just weakness leaving the body" - catchy - but I am not sure it has enough rhythm or pizzazz to really inspire me on the last stretch.

Someone suggested "Suck it up, princess" - but I am likely the last person one could really call a princess. I'm pretty self-sufficient and I usually don't make a big fuss about me. And again? No rhythm.

I was talking to someone I work with last night and I told her that in absence of all other suggestions, I was going to go with "I think I can, I think I can". If you are a parent - or were raised in the 60s, you likely recognize this from" The little engine that could" by Watty Piper. It's about the little blue engine that has to make it over the mountain to take toys and food to little girls and boys. It's kind of sappy - but it's got a beat that I can run to.

Bless Linda's heart - she scoured three stores last night until she found a copy of the book - and then she had my co-workers suggest some mantras. So here are their suggestions:

"A job once begun - is half done" (like it, but I keep saying "A job half done is just begun" - which, if you think about it, is rather self-defeating.

"One foot, one step" - my co-worker uses this with her kids.

"Knit two, purl two" - which is likely all I will be good for at the end of the race.

One co-worker didn't have a mantra - but she gave me children's' book titles to get me through each part of the race
At the start: I am not sleepy (Lauren Child)
Beware of storybook wolves (Lauren Child)
Run far, run fast (Timothy Decker)

At the middle: Fly away home (Eve Bunting)
Trouble coming (Christine Harris)
Boogie bones (Elizabeth Loredo)

At the end Race of the century (Barry Downard)
I stink!! (Kate McMullan)
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! (Candace Fleming)

Thanks guys - I really appreciate your support - and I will be thinking of these as I run - but still not sure about the mantra - if anyone out there is reading this - feel free to give me your suggestions!!!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Under the heading "THIS drives me crazy!" or Why can't kids today do math?"

This afternoon, my youngest had a bass lesson. Before his lesson, we dropped into a local store for a drink and snack (he's pre-teen boy and is ALWAYS hungry). The total came to $7.68.

I gave the young man behind the till $10.00.

He asked if I had any change "because, like, we can always use change" (Okay, that's another thing that drives me crazy - why is like being used in this manner - ALL THE TIME???) But I digress (as I often do).

So I dug into my wallet and gave him 68 cents.

He handed me a toonie. (Okay, at first, he didn't give me anything - until I said "I gave you ten dollars.")

I politely said "Actually, you owe me another dollar."

He said "No, if you do the math, it's only 2 dollars."

So I did the math in my head - $10.68 subtract $7.68 equals $3.00. 10 minus 3 is 7, 68 - 68 is zero. Therefore he owes me $3.00.

And I said "You owe me another dollar".

I could mentally see him using his fingers and toes to figure it out. He reluctantly gave me the extra dollar….but I think he was convinced that I had somehow conned an extra dollar out of him.

I blame all the gadgets that automatically do the work - digital watches, calculators, cash registers that calculate the change and don't make us use our brains. It's a math literacy problem - and you can see it every day. (Okay now I sound like my mother's generation) - The part that drives me nuts isn't that he couldn't do the math - well that does drive me nuts, but the OTHER thing that drove me nuts was that he had me doubting my ability to do math - which is reasonably good and has helped one child through to university, with 2 more in the wings.

I don't have any problem with people who cannot do math - math can be a challenge for some people (usually, it's the calculus and trig that does people in, not addition and subtraction, but if people find that a challenge as well, I can work with that) - it's when they argue with me over something that is easily proveable (is that even a word?) with pen and paper (or I suppose they could use a calculator - but really? 1068-768 - shouldn't be that tough). Give it up fella - you are not going to win this one - and I wasn't trying to pull the wool over your eyes, either (see, I knew I could get a yarn reference in here somehow!!)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why is Mom running?

I know I explained that I was training for a marathon (I won’t even bother adding a link to that post – it wasn’t that long ago – if you just scroll down several times, it is in my very first post). And that I am not sure why, as I never really felt like I had to run a marathon in order to prove myself as a runner. New challenges are always good – and this one is a little scary. But I know that I can do it – it is just a matter of how much pain will I have to endure in order to get it done?

I decided to enroll in a class to do this. I am pretty good about running on a regular basis – and I am even pretty good at doing longer runs - but I felt I needed a structure to work with if I was going to be successful at it. Besides, there is something pretty final about:
a) putting your money where your mouth is
b) signing up for a program that has a 99% success rate at getting runners to the finish line. I REALLY don’t want to be the runner that causes that percentage to decrease (and in my usual paranoid fashion, I would know that they were talking about me to all the classes that followed….)

The class has been great – and for the most part it has given me the conviction that I can finish 26.2 miles and still be walking. It is apparently inadvisable to have a goal time in mind for your first marathon – but you do need to have a goal. In fact, you need an A, B and C goal. In the words of the Psychology Prof that spoke to us – “you need to plan – and then you need to plan again”.

So here is Goal A: I am going to finish the course running - and not vomit.
And here is Goal B: I am going to finish the course running.
And Goal C? I am going to finish the course – even if I have to crawl across the finish line.

Sounds simple – but I felt so gross after the 4 hour run, that with 12 kilometres to go (I ran 30 K in 4 hours) I was feeling a little freaked out about the whole thing. But then I remembered that I have felt that way about a number of the BIG things that I have done in life.

Leaving the nest of home for life in the west was a little scary (although now that I am a mom, I realize that it was likely scarier for my mom – especially when I took off in a car that burnt more oil than gas and was driving all the way west to Calgary by myself. And this was pre-cell phone/internet days). But I landed in Calgary safe and sound (despite an 18 hour drive from Winnipeg to Calgary because I didn’t think I could stand another day of driving) and have made a successful life for myself and my family.

Getting married was kind of a freak out - not the man, but the institution – but here we are, 25 years later and I can’t imagine my life without him.

Having children and childbirth – well, it must have been OK (the childbirth and early years are all kind of fuzzy – likely lack of sleep) because I did it not once, but three times. And the results are pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.

So I think I just need to take a big breath and get on with it. My youngest has been my biggest supporter – he told me the other day that I “lived on the edge” because none of his friends had moms who were running marathons in their 50s – so I can’t let him down.

Actually, when I think about it – I can’t let myself down either. So as I taper toward the big day, I need to keep him in mind and “live on the edge” – and visualize myself running across the finish line and not vomiting!