Xylaria species

Xylaria species

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Afton Fat Ass - 2011 edition

May get around to saying a bit more about this in another post, but for now here are the pictures I took along the way. What a blast!! It is the most fun I have had running/hiking/climbing in a long time.


On the knitting front
I have been busy knitting. Finished the project I was commissioned to knit in a week (gotta love the combination of big yarn and needles). Finished the scarf I had posted about earlier and cast on a new project on the drive down to Afton (thanks Craig for driving!!) and got a row done at the post-run gathering and a bit more on the drive home before it got to dark to knit. I am resurrecting a hat pattern I designed years ago; back in the days when I taught knitting retreats on a semi-regular basis. It incorporates a bit of mosaic knitting into the band. I am using some more of the wonderful locally dyed yarn I picked up recently (Three Irish Girls Wexford Merino Silk, in two one of a kind colorways).

I have a sock project in mind as well (or two or three - they are the perfect carry along project). I am not sure why the sudden burst of knitting creativity, but am enjoying the time I am spending with yarn and needles.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Update

It has been pretty quiet around this blog of late.

Running
I ran Surf the Murph 50K on October 29th. My stomach was fine, my mind.... well, I struggled. Thanks to friends, volunteers and other runners for keeping me going and getting me back out for the second loop when I was considering a drop. Found some motivation the second time around by picking up all the litter left by runners (there is a rant brewing...). At the last aid station I went out with Marty, who would go on to win the 50 mile race. He got me moving a lot faster and I stuck with him as long as I could, though eventually couldn't keep up the pace as we hit the hills on the northern side of the park. As I caught sight of the finish line I looked at my watch: 6:59:23... could I sprint in for a sub-7 hour finish?!? You bet!! I made it with 5 seconds to spare.

Surf the Murph is about costumes. And there were some great ones out there.
50 miler, Rick Bothwell, upon receipt of his hot fudge sundae at Natchez Aid Station.

I am a bit lame about dressing up, but managed to rummage about the house and find a soccer referee uniform, complete with whistle and cards.
Emptying garbage out of my pocket at the Horse Trailer Aid Station - Loop #2

A few folks got to see the cards in use as I issued yellow cards to: Helen for misidentifying me as a football ref (she meant American Football) and Marty for lapping me. Red cards would have been shown to anyone I caught littering!!

This was a long 50K - 33.92 miles. I managed to miss a turn the first time round (that is what I get for ignoring the hints the race directors gave in the form of flagging and orange paint), so may have actually run 34 miles. The dry weather led to a very firm surface and by the end of the race my knees were letting me know they had had enough. I could have easily worn road shoes on this course and may keep that in mind for the future if it is this dry.

Surf is a great race, well organized and the finisher's "award" was inspired. A wooden plaque that we branded with our race distance. The race organizers and volunteers are awesome and I don't think I can ever say thanks enough for the time and effort they put in to making this event happen.

Looking at my running log in early November I realized I had accumulated 800 miles despite being out of commission for much of the spring. This made me think reaching 1000 miles in 2011 was feasible, so that is now my goal. In the meantime I feel like I am finally back in shape and have been running well. Now to maintain that fitness through the winter, avoid injury, and be ready to race next year.

Knitting
With the return of cooler weather, and some new yarns as inspiration, I have been knitting a lot. Amongst the recently finished objects are a hat
(donated as a prize for the Fall NMTC Series awards) and a pair of socks, finished just in time to wear at the UMTR AwardsFest. I immediately cast on a scarf with a lovely merino wool/silk blend yard. Which I then proceeded to rip out several times while I redesigned the pattern.
I finally settled on Little Arrowhead Lace, a pattern that I found in a Barbara Walker Treasury. This seemed appropriate as the yarn was dyed in Duluth. The pattern was inserted into my basic scarf recipe and, when blocked, will result in a nice open fabric.
This project has been set aside briefly while I work on a shawl commissioned for a co-worker. In the meantime I have stumbled upon another pattern that has me eager to get out the double point needles again.

Outdoors
Daylight is a limited commodity at this time of year and I am learning to adjust to spending much of my time not at work in the dark. We have had an extended mild fall season and just got our first accumulation of snow. With the advent of snow comes a whole new way to experience the natural world. Animal tracks were abundant this morning on my run at Jay Cooke State Park and it was fun to see a hint of who else was using the trail. In one section, there must have been a smammal convention, as tracks were very abundant.

Now that the temperatures are dropping it is less likely that bears or raccoons will be roaming our neighborhood. This means I can put the bird feeder up and welcome back the resident flock of chickadees. I am a bit surprised they haven't been looking in the door already - they are usually pretty adamant about their supplementary food source.

In addition to regular visits by birds our yard is, unfortunately, frequented by deer. They wreaked havoc on the garden this year and are so immune to our presence it is hard to get them to run off no matter what we do. The rabbit population seems to be down and the other night I got a hint as to why when I saw a fox run up the hill. Yeah for predators!!!