Thursday, October 18, 2007

Whistlestop Half-Marathon

Last weekend I ran in the Whistlestop half-marathon. Training had been going very well, I had been running some speedy (for me) trail races and the weather cleared and seemed perfect for setting a PR. I had a goal to finish under 2 hours. I knew that I could do that as I have run every other half-marathon in 2 hours or less.

I am a 1:58 half-marathoner. Four half-marathons. All run in 1:58. Amazingly consistent.

Actually I started out running closer to a 8:30 min/mile pace (1:51 half) and kept that up for 9 - 10 miles when my legs started tightening up in back and the blisters I had been ignoring since mile 3 conspired to slow me down. If I were to do a half again I think I would ignore the advice and do longer training runs. I topped out at 10 miles and think I need to do longer runs.

Most of my training was done on the Superior Hiking Trail in Duluth with one foray up the North Shore to run a (turned out to be steep as heck) nine mile section. I figured the hilly trail running was good for strength and the weekly 90 minute soccer games were my speed work.

Oh yeah, soccer. So after running 13.1 miles Saturday I did go ahead and play 90 minutes of soccer on Sunday. It actually was a good way to work out some of the stiffness. Bandaid makes a blister pad that worked really well to protect the 1.5 cm blood blister on my left foot.

After all of that I have felt pretty justified in taking the rest of the week off from running. That and the rain helped my decision making.

So all this extra time on my hands now that I am not training has been pretty good for my knitting. Finishing up some socks. Finished hats for the Mitten Tree at work. Started a scarf for work but ran into an allergy issue with it (donater has cats) and have set it aside for now. I've been asked to contribute something for the Silent Auction at church so need to look throught my stash and see what wants to be knit up in two weeks ;->

Any suggestion??
Still here despite the rain.

The house is still perched on the hillside, the road was graded just the other day - in time for more rain. I am afraid to go into the basement and see exactly how much water is running down there. Luckily we aren't in a flood zone - well until we get a flood of biblical proportions at least :->

Remember way back in May when I listed a whole mess of wildflowers and promised pictures someday? (Wish I knew how to link to old posts). Anway, as we head into fall and winter, just a little reminder of spring:

Yellow lady slippers


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Knitting in use on Isle Royale:

You may note with a close look the handknit silkywool mittens (worn over a pair of polypropelene liners) and the bobble cable hat (featured in a previous post). What is not shown in any photo from this trip are the handknit socks I wore the whole trip. They were great whether used along or in combination with liner socks (or in combination with thick socks and a pile coat on the coldest night out there - mid 30's F).

It had been raining, misty, windy on much of our trip. The knitting I took along was not worked on very often as I could not keep my hands warm enough. Though at the Island Mine campsite - where we could build a fire - I did get significant work done on the hat I had cast-on during the ferry trip to the island. I opted for soemthing circularly knit to reduce the chance of loosing a needle on the trip - or puncturing a water bladder! I recently finished the hat. I knit it using just over a skein of wildfoote handpainted yarn - though why it took more than a skein I am not entirely sure. Let's just say that this hat will become a gift for someone as it is a tad large on me!

Originally I had meant the hat (which I have no picture of) to go with a pair of socks I am working on. Oh well. Christmas knitting done :->

I have been working on a few hats for the "Mitten Tree" at work. The yarn has been donated (there is also fleece for those that sew), so I work with what is available. I may be trolling through my stash soon to see what I have that can be knitted up for donation. Otherwise knitting time has been slim around here. I am thinking about another baby surprise, need to go looking to see what yarns I have that would be suitable. As you can guess I am not big on pastels for babies - or for anyone for that matter!

On another front, besides the weekly soccer games I have been training for a half-marathon since mid summer. The race is this Saturday and I am pleased to see that the forecast is somewhat improved over what the last few days have brought us. Today is the first day that feels like Fall up here - high in the low 40's, rain (some had snow), winds gusting up to the 30's. It was pretty easy to decide against a run today (I have been dealing with a mild case of shinsplits also). Tomorrow is a trail run/race, then two days of rest and then 13.1 miles! If you are awake and alert on Saturday, Oct. 13th think speedy thoughts towards Ashland, Wi around 9:00 am. If the running gods/goddesses are with me I hope to be done with my race by 10:45 - 11:00 am. Then I will be off to watch Gilah's soccer team play (she is in college in the same town) and - if I can stay awake - head home to awake the next morning and play in my own soccer game.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Wireless has arrived in the house and now I am willing to try blogging again (with pictures).

Long awaited photos of the knitting:

Instead of flowers (promised back in June in my last post) I could include a few pictures of my recent trip to Isle Royale. I spent seven days out there. Six of them backpacking 30+ miles, one hanging out at Windigo after having given up our spots on the ferry.

Not much in the way of flowers in September, but we did see on orchid (not in bloom, but with the seed pods and very distinctive leaves) - Rattlesnake plantain.

Didn't see any wolves, may have heard them howling one morning, early. Did see moose. Three on one day, two males in rut, one immature male doing his best to stay out-of-the-way and unnoticed. Two on the next day, a female and her yearling calf. The males were across the lake (thankfully), the cow and calf were about two hundred feet away on the beach. A little close for comfort when they started moving in my direction :->