Sunday, August 31, 2008

Knitting Update

Finished the Trekking socks

Not much yarn left over. Not sure if this skein would have been enough for a larger persons' foot. Jon wears a size 9 (I think). Materials: Trekking XXL color 108, lot 6728. 75% wool, 25% nylon. 100 grams = 420 m (459 yards).

Guess I can't avoid the bird mittens now ;-> What I need to figure out is how to combine the multiple charts into one so it is easier to just knit. Tape, larger magnetic board.... just not very portable. Suppose I could finish listening to that book I was in the middle of during my drive across Minnesota earlier this week.

On the other hand, it is nice out and there are so few days like this left. Much more appealing to be outdoors doing something. The wind is really picking up right now (S 17 G to 26 mph) so that affects choices of what to do. Sailed yesterday (anticipating these winds - these winds would make for a wild ride). Thought about running errands by bike, but biking into a headwind like this is not my favorite. Hiked earlier today (with Jon and Porter). Taking a day off from running as my right knee and thigh are feeling tight (dang ITB) plus it is in the low 80's here.

Off to Ashland tomorrow to watch Northland College Women's soccer.

Have a nice rest of the weekend!

Brief interlude at work and then...

it is off to Isle Royale for 9 days of 'bliss'.

Can you tell I am really looking forward to this trip?!? Last year was my first trip to the island. I spent 7 days out there, hiked around 30 odd miles, and fell in love. No phones, few humans, lots of moose all combined to outweigh the less than delightful weather we had on that trip (though I still hold that backpacking in 40 - 50 degree rainy weather is the best weight loss method I have come across ;->).

This year we are planning a bit more ambitious hike. From Rock Harbor to Windigo. Means spending most of one day on the Voyageur II ferry from Grand Portage, but will let us hike essentially the whole island. We will be in an area that sees more wolf activity. Last year I thought I heard wolves howling early one morning, hoping we hear them for sure this year.

We have planned a couple of options for our itinerary, one includes a "rest day" to coincide with a campsite near a sandy beach. that may change if the weather is cold and wet. Moving is better than sitting on a day like that. Very few campsites allow fires. Huddling around the camp stove is not the same, nor do I want to carry the extra fuel that would require.

Final preparations are in order. WE are not ultralight campers by any means, but do try to cut weight where possible. I will be packing the 4-person Eureka Alpine Meadows. Way too much if the weather is nice, but when a gale is howling off of the big lake it is nice to have the space. an added bonus is the ability to drop the tent body and leave the fly up - nice shelter on a rainy morning for packing up.

On the knitting front: didn't finish the bird mittens while out west, but did get this much (and a little more) done:

Driving through mountain passes and along interstates is - and isn't - good for knitting from a chart. Besides, there were interesting conversations to be had in those two days of driving.

Almost done with the trekking socks though. Noticed along the way that the Yarn Harlot was working on the same socks (actually socks using the same color). Just need to finish the toe decreases, kitchener those stitches together, weave in an end or two, and Jon has a new pair of socks. Then it is on to a pair for a gift. All very hush, hush right now. They may be the Isle Royale project, that is if I decide I want to mess with double points while hiking. If not, I am sure someone needs a new hat ;-> There are a few races that I could donate a hat to and some new patterns I wouldn't mind trying out.

Speaking of races....

Ran my first 5K yesterday of the fall season. Duluth-Superior Pride 5K Run, Walk and Roll. It was timed event, but only competitive if you wanted it to be. I have run in this race all 4 of it's years. The race organizers do a great job with this small event. Wonderful "goody bag", coffee, treats, lots of water. Gotta love the variety of folks that turn out. This year was a fast group! Competitive men's race, and pretty competitive women's. I ended up second woman overall, but struggled almost the whole time to maintain a under 9 minute mile pace. Lack of training shows. By the end I was wheezing so bad I think I drowned out the train passing by. Something about the Western Waterfront Trail always does me in. Toxic fumes off the bay???

Off to do a short hike along the SHT before the heat and humidity get too bad (and while the sourdough rests).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Road Trip Photos

I am back!

What fits in a Fit:

Hard to see the bike and rocket box on top. A goodly portion of our load on the way out was a 100-lb bass amp. Yes, we did make it through the mountain passes, but not very quickly. I did learn the value of shifting into D3 on the way back though.

Maud S Canyon - my first run:

This picture was taken the day after, when I went back to hike the trail I had run. We arrived in Butte on Thursday (Duluth to Billings, MT on day one, Billings to Butte on day two). Butte is at around 5400' elevation, quite a change for this flatlander from Minnesota. I decided to head out and run a trail in town as an antidote to two days of sitting in a car. The "kids" dropped me off at the trail head with the promise to come back in about an hour to pick me up (1 hour to run 5 miles seemed reasonable). It was kind of overcast, but no prediction of rain.....

I made it to the top of Maude S Canyon in about 35 minutes, with the skies getting darker and winds stronger the whole while. Made me think of what the folks at Leadville had gone through. Took a quick look around, then headed back down the trail the way I had come up. It is so much easier running down then up; though the switchbacks were tough in spots, no trees to grab on to and swing around on the way down. It started to rain as I was approaching the railroad track that bisects the hill, then it started to hail! Now I really felt close to the Leadville folks (minus 95 miles). Got to the bottom of the hill and no car, no kids. Took shelter from the wind and rain here:

Crouched behind this rock waiting for the kids to get back. There were two other cars in the lot - no one offered me shelter. Suppose I could have knocked and asked - and probably would have - if I 'd had to wait much longer.

My destination:

Off to the left are more hills and the (a) Continental Divide. Apparently, at some point in the future, this trail will connect with the Continental Divide trail (if it doesn't already).

View back down the canyon:

Despite growing up in Minnesota with it's dense greenery, I found this area beautiful. A bit barren, but I was fascinated by the plant life and the geology (Boulder Batholith, granite and who knows what else). Did get reassurance before heading out that there would be no rattlesnakes on this trail. Did see a snake though! Looked garter snake like, from what I saw of it.

I think going for a run the first day really helped me adjust to the altitude. Though I just about passed out in the first 5 minutes of the run. The trail did not look that steep, so off I went. I was walking pretty soon as the world started to look a little dark ;-> I ended up doing a mix of walking and running up the 1000 foot climb. But like I said, the run down was great! Took only 25 minutes, even with needing to slow way down to navigate the corners of the switchbacks.

On Saturday we headed to Toll Mountain (in the Highland Range) and a national forest campground. I sat in the back while Sarah drove up the very windy mountain road. Some of the highlights of that trip:

I loved the color of this lichen, so intense.

The view from atop a rock outcropping:

Got in another run on Sunday, despite the heat (mid - upper 90's). Waited until late in the evening and headed up to the "M" above the school to do a trail run. Erik and Sarah were on their mountain bikes. It was quite a few blocks of uphill running to reach the trail, then up the side of the hill to get to a trail that ran around the mountain. This was one of the first single-track rides for Sarah and it was a doozy. Tough stuff. She did well. I ended up running for about half an hour, mostly on trail with some roads as I headed back to campus. Got in at least 8 miles or so of trail running, plus another 5 or more miles of hiking all told. Think the 5 days of altitude training will show???

On the trip home I was by myself in an almost empty car. I planned on spending the night in Dickinson, ND, which is about the halfway point. It is about 30+ miles east of Medora, ND which is where the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is located. Took some time to drive a loop road in the park as I really wanted to see the badlands. What I got a really close look at was bison:

On the way back out I came upon this scene:

All the park literature essentially says: "Do not piss off the bison. Do not startle the bison"

Wish I had a photo of the bison next to my car, but I can tell you, they are bigger than my car. I parked myself on the road and waited. I did not think it a wise idea to drive into the middle of a herd of bison.

These folks (with a little encouragement from a ranger) didn't seem to have any qualms:

After they drove through the bison gathered in the middle of the road. I don't know if you can see it, but there are two motorcyclists on the other side of that herd. They are responsible for finally clearing a path. Way braver than me!

Made it home this afternoon. I am off to bed soon, then a day off tomorrow to get caught up on a weeks' worth of stuff. Back to work Thursday, Friday and next week and then off to Isle Royale!

Oh yeah, there is a knitting store in Butte. Run by a great lady in her early 80's with ties to this area. Got some yarn for a secret project....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Road Trip!!!

Leaving for Butte, Montana in the morning.

Why Butte? Montana Tech. Daughter number two is heading off to college! Why yes, that means the wildknits household will be an empty nest!

"What will you do with all my time?" is one of the most frequently asked questions (followed by "will you cry"). Hmmmmm, after 20+ years of being a parent I think I can find a few things to do ;-> And, in general, I am not a cryer....

Not saying I won't miss the girls, I will. But I think I have enough interests to fill the gaps ;->

We are driving to Butte - two days there, three days in town, then two days back. I have packed only two knitting projectsfor the trip: the bird mittens (they are intended for this child so I NEED to finish them on the trip) and the trekking socks. There will be no time for knitting on the way back as I will be the only driver.

I am hoping to hook up with the Butte running club for their Saturday morning run. No luck contacting them by email through their website though. Love the name: Piss and Moan Running Club :->

The next four to five weeks are full of vacations. I will be back from Butte one and half weeks and then I head out for nine days on Isle Royale. Ah, quiet! The highest technology at our disposal will be our stove (MSR Whisperlite), sleeping bags (Montbell Stretch Burrow), backpacks (Granite Gear), and rain gear (Red Ledge). Cell phones do not work on the island (other than the one the rangers have at their headquarters).

So, goals for the next week: Stay healthy, safe travel, get the kid moved in and semi-settled at college, enjoy my first trip to Montana and it's mountains, and explore some new running trails during my travels.

IT band is doing much better - put the orthotics back in my motion control shoes. Porter is kindof doing better, but tomorrow will be a stressful day for him as we prepare to leave. I did speak with our Vet and have a 'script on hand in case he gets too anxious. Serious conditioning will have to wait until I am back.

The fall racing season is just around the corner and I need to get back into shape! First race will be the Duluth-Superior Pride Run 5K on August 30th. Then the NMTC Fall Series starts up on September 3rd with the Brown's Point Run in Superior.

Oh yeah, and I signed up for Fall Soccer, so Sunday's will be spent on the soccer field.

Will try to remember the camera and post some pics from the trip. See you in a week or so!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Not much...

going on around the wildknits household. Been taking a lot of time off from both running and biking due to the knee pain. Hoping rest, ice and ibuprofen would settle things down.

Promised a week off of biking and promptly rode my bike for three miles (hey, when your 17 yr old asks you to go for a ride, you do!). Did stay off the bike and out of my running shoes for most of the week, though got some walks in (mood stabilizer ;->).

Ran Saturday and Sunday at Piedmont with Gene. Nice and easy. No rolled ankles, moderate amount of hills, knee behaved itself till around 25 - 30 minutes. Did throw in a fast/hard bike ride Saturday afternoon when I checked my messages and heard that Porter had gotten loose! I was 4 miles from home and worried about where Porter was - and what he was doing to the house. The message was 2 hours old.... You would think that riding across town would be pretty flat and fast, I live near the top of the ridgeline and started out at about the same elevation on the east end of town. HAH! I like to say it is "uphill both ways". Others may call it rolling. Made it home in about 20 minutes to find Porter hiding out near the front porch. Looked pretty sheepish when he came out.

So, what was up with him? Separation anxiety. He doesn't have a terrible case of it, but when it flares....! His latest trick is to get into the neighbors' crawlspace through a window, slipping out of his collar in the process. Apparently he then went from door to doorof our house trying to get in. Our front door shows some evidence of his attempts. He has done worse in the past. The hard thing is that we work on the issue, it subsides, then it will flare again out of the blue.

Triggers: not enough exercise (isn't that true for many of us?!); hot summer days; and.... not entirely sure.

Solution: reconditioning Porter that being outside is where all good things happen - treats, kongs stuffed with goodies, mealtimes; ensuring that he has some shade; exercise; making sure he spends time outdoors in his house when we are around, not just when we are leaving. It is labor intensive. What doesn't work is getting mad at him.

I have also used Bach Rescue Remedy in the past, though not sure how successful it is - but that may be due to not dosing it right ;->

I am re-reading a book on separation anxiety, but welcome any tips.

Monday the 11th I got in a bike ride from work to the downtown library and then home (big uphill). Nothing Tuesday (work, then board meeting till late). Walk on Wednesday after the 7B legislative candidate forum (perfect 1.5 hours to knit on the socks). Ran on Thursday - 50 minutes- at Piedmont on the SHT. Boy am I out of shape. The hills felt much harder than they should have. Knee held up well. Wore new shoes, though I am thinking that it may be time to put the orthotics back in. My right leg was really overpronating and that may be what is at the root of the pain.

Today was a busy day: work till 1:30+. Met Larry and Dave to weedwhip my section of trail. Today instead of carrying the gas-powered string trimmer I carried gas, raked and lopped. Lots of work when your trail runs through a tansy meadow. The tansy was 5 feet tall in some spots and was leaning over the trail. 2.5 hours later we were done, sitting in the yard snacking on sugar snap peas, and looking over the Piedmont Mountain Bike trail map and discussing trail crossing issues with the SHT. There aren't too many and improved signage on both COGGS and SHT's parts should help clear things up.

Decided to move Porter's house away from the neighbors' and into a shadier part of the yard. Had him out during all of this and he was getting pretty anxious. After dinner took Porter and met some friends for a walk on the Lakewalk. Beautiful with the almost full moon rising over the Lake. Hoping the 4 mile walk will take the edge off and allow us to leave Porter for a few hours tomorrow while we go blueberry picking, otherwise not sure what the plan is. Hoping to get 20+ pounds of berries, that should see us through the winter ;->

Leaving next week for Butte. Never did get ahold of the running club out there (Piss and Moan Running Club), my emails kept bouncing back. Oh well, maybe I can track them down and get a trail run in while I am out there with folks who know the area.

Enjoy the weekend - weather looks perfect (at least up here)!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Voyageur sock

As promised:

Materials: Trekking XXL, 75% new wool, 25% nylon; Knit Picks 6" wooden double point needles, sz 2.25 mm (US 1)

Humidity is high today and the yarn feels pretty sticky on the needles, so progress is slow.

LOVE these needles. Normally I break wooden needles fairly easily. I have had these for quite some time (ordered this past winter) and have used them for numerous socks, mittens, hats with no problems. They aren't even bent! I am very impressed with their construction. Lamination seems to be the key. They are made in India, so I am hoping not in a way that will make me regret their purchase.

[From their website: "...Knit Picks has very high standards for the International manufacturers we
choose to work with. Executives from Knit Picks have visited each of our manufacturers’ factories personally to ensure that their facilities and labor practices are in linewith both Knit Picks’ and our customers’ expectations. Specifically, Knit Picks works only with manufacturers who:
Institute management practices that respect the rights of all employees
Provide a safe and healthy work place
Promote the health and well-being of all employees
Oppose the use of child labor
Have an active role in the positive development of their local community
We are so confident of these excellent conditions that we welcome any of our customers
to visit these sites personally if ever in the area. Please contact Customer
Service to get more information."]

Took so long to post this a thunderstorm made it to Duluth and I now have a perfect excuse to get the knitting back out rather than walking the dog.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A week off of running leads to....

a sore lower back and tight hamstrings ;->

Am I the only person who finds that running keeps my lower back in shape?

I decided to take some time off from running due to pain on the lateral aspect of my right knee. Reminded me too much of iliotibial band syndrome. Instead I biked. To work, home and beyond. By Wednesday my lower back was killing me and I was unable to touch my toes. Took me till Friday to figure out the cause: riding my bike and not running.

Today I ran. My back felt much better afterwards!! I was able to handle the almost 6 hours of driving to the Twin Cities and back for a wedding. Prior to this morning I wasn't able to sit in the car for very long at all.

Did roll my left ankle pretty badly this morning. Only 5 minutes into my run and a couple of miles from home. Felt okay after a minute or so, but did bring an ice pack along for the ride and am contemplating icing it again before bed.

The week of relative rest allowed me to do one of the things I feel pretty strongly about - donate blood. I believe this was my 35th pint with Memorial Blood Centers. Unlike others I know, I really do need at least 24 - 48 hours off after donating or I end up sick. I went in to the Center half-way expecting to be deferred as my hematocrit was borderline last time I was in. Figured after a marathon and other things it would be pretty low. Not so. 40% - highest I can remember in years. Must be doing something right with my diet ;->

What did my week look like?

Monday: bike to work and back = 4-5 miles round trip ( 1 mile downhill to work, 1 mile up to home, flat in between)
Tuesday: donated blood
Wednesday: biked to work, then to the East Hillside to pick up our CSA eggs and home = 10 miles
Thursday: biked to work via the bank and home = 5+ miles
Friday: biked to work = 2+ miles (didn't ride home as had errands and grocery shopping to do that required a car)
Saturday: RUN!!! 3 miles give or take. Had to cut it short to leave for the Cities.

One benefit of long car rides and teenage drivers is knitting time. I didn't pack the bird mittens (hard to keep my eye on the chart when on the freeway with a teen driver). Instead worked on the "voyageur socks". Had stalled out on the heel flap earlier this week, got through that, turned the heel, picked up stitches and am well on my way though the gusset. Still intrigued by this yarn, will try and post a picture soon.

Anyone have suggestions for running trails in Butte, Montana? I will be out there for a few days in a couple of weeks and want to do some exploring. Why Butte? Dropping a kid off at college. By the end of this month we will be "empty nesters"! What will I do with all my free time?