Apparently I am still on a bit of a mitten knitting jag:
|Back of the Lobster Mittens|
|Palm side of mittens|
|"live long and prosper" (RIP Leonard Nimoy)|
My new job came with a much longer commute and I have essentially said goodbye to "Tuesday's and Thursdays are for running to work". I tried it one day and didn't especially like how early I had to leave and all the time on pavement. I am planning on switching to bike commuting as soon as the weather warms a bit and the salt and sand isn't being laid down on the roads on a regular basis. These mittens, while not windproof, should help on cooler commuting days.
My next project is a baby sweater: Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Sweater on Two Needles, Practically Seamless. Once again I will be using the Juniper Moon yarn, this time in a lovely green. I have already cast on, but am beginning to doubt my needle choice so may be ripping back soon. I also forgot to add in the buttonholes that are to be worked every 8th ridge.
"The Plan" called for 16 miles this week. I talked Marcus into joining me for the run and, because the trails had been softening up a lot in the past few days and I wasn't in the mood for a 4 hour slog, we decided to head north of town to Fox Farm Road, a nice section of gravel that is lightly traveled by motor vehicles. The hope was that the previous sunny days would have softened the road a bit. Unfortunately that was not true; the road was frozen, snow covered, and in some spots quite icy. The skies clouded as we headed north and by the time we started running there were occasional snow flakes being tossed about in the strong northwest winds.
The run went well overall and it was nice to have company. One great thing about this route is that the last 1.7 miles are downhill. Combine that with a tail wind and I ran an average 8:09 over the last mile, and even dipped under 8 for the last quarter mile or so.
Today's plan called for 8 miles. Sarah and I run together on Sunday's and her plan called for 6. My legs were tired and a bit achy starting out and I wasn't sure, initially, that I was going to tack on the extra 2 miles. As we headed back towards the car, my legs started loosening up and the lingering aches went away. I decided I would run the additional 2 miles, and lucky for me the trail head is exactly that far from Sarah's house.
I headed out, sticking to the gravel(mud) shoulder of the main road as much as possible. About a quarter mile in I glanced down and noticed I was running in the low 8's so I decided to see how fast I could run these last two miles. It was easy enough at first as the road descends for the first mile, but once the road flattened out, and especially on the little hill on one of the side streets, things got to be a bit more of an effort. I finished up the two miles in just under 16 minutes.
While not classic speed training, it is something, and I am a bit more hopeful that my first race of the season (road 8K, team race = expected to actually, you know, RACE) will actually go fairly decently.
Pine siskins are hanging out at the feeder and in the yard in big flocks; mixed in are a few Redpolls. The Black-capped chickadees bide their time in the lilac waiting for a turn at the feeder. Downy and Hairy woodpeckers are regulars on the bear fat in the suet feeder (as are the chickadees). Juncos are seen from time to time, but since they are mostly ground feeders it is hard to catch sight of them unless they are scavenging for seed on the front porch.
Raccoons showed up for the first time tonight. They too like to scavenge for bird seed on the front porch. While cute from a distance, they are rather mean and I try to discourage them from hanging around.
With the warm temperatures and strong sunlight we are starting to lose significant amounts of snow pack in the yard. There are a lot of bare areas appearing and I have even spotted some green things on the south facing slope adjacent to our stairs. I know it is too early to get excited for spring, but it is nice to see signs of the end of winter.