The feeling of accomplishment, I feel …

… Can only mean one thing: My C25K challenge is completed!

It was the one that I was most hesitant to even start, because anybody that knows me, knows that I am just not made for long distance running. And yes, I am aware that I am using the term “long distance” quite loosely for 5km.

I have to admit, there might have been a few training sessions in the first 30 days of this, that I skipped, because it was much more appealing to stay on the couch, than to get up, get changed and get running. There was a point though, around the time, when the intervals became longer, that I knew I would not get away with skipping sessions anymore (apart from maybe possibly one, that I replaced with a long dog walk over some hills the next day but pshhht don’t tell anybody).

Then yesterday, the big day had come (way too soon), time to run 5km without stopping, no matter what. Luckily I had support in the form of my marathon-running friend who ran next to me the entire time and kept my mind busy by chatting away. There was that wonderful moment, at around 4.2km, when I had officially been running longer, than I had ever managed in one session. A little moment, that had to be celebrated … with running some more :).

 

 

My 5km run for C25K

A tiny bit slower than I had hoped, but I suppose I should be happy I finished, right?

 

For the first time I deviated from the training plan that C25k give you, in so far, as that I did not do a 5 minute brisk walk as warm up, but instead used a youTube video my fried suggested. It was so funny doing the exercises at home, because Liana decided, that she should be doing everything I did. So when I was hopping on the spot, so was she. And when I was standing on one leg, kicking the other back an forth, she was trying to do the same. Only lucky that the dogs were hiding at that moment, I am sure somebody would otherwise have gotten a random kick with all the legs flying through the air.

 

So now I am giving my body a few days to relax, in preparation to my next 30 Day challenge, which starts on Sunday. This time, I will be re-tackling the 30 Day Shred and am definitely planning to make it further than the first time I attempted the program. Back then, I made it to 4 days, and then decided that I did not want to be fit. That seems to be a thought I have a lot at the moment, particularly in the middle of a run, when my whole body is aching, but this time I am smarter and know that I feel great after the workout.

Slow Progress is still progress

I am making progress (albeit slow) with my 30 projects for this month. So today is a picture post for your enjoyment of the status of the projects that I am currently working on. If you click on the pictures, the link will take you to my the Ravelry project page for each item. (And while you’re there, how about you add me as a friend? My profile is here)

I have fallen victim to a knitting block! Everything I start, feels silly and gets frogged within a few rows. I just cannot decide, what to do for the rest of my 30 projects. Quite frustrating, especially because I usually have way too many projects in my head and in my queue.

 

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Challenge No. 5

As you may, or may not know, I am starting my fifth challenge of 2014 today. This one is going to be a big different than the other challenges I have done so far, because instead of starting something new, that I haven’t done before, this time I am picking something up that I love doing, but commit to actually finish it. I am talking about my bad case of knitting startitis. I have gone through all the UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) in my storage and have compiled a list of of all that I want to finish. There are one or two that I will not finish, because they are waiting to be frogged.

Even though I have the startitis quite bad, I am not able to make up 30 projects to finish, not even close. So to make it a round number, and to make it properly challenging, in addition to the 10 projects that need finishing up, I will have 20 that I will start new and finish during the next 30 days.

The best way to follow my progress, apart from what I post on here of course, is through Ravelry. All 30 pieces will have their own project page, once they are cast on, and they are all tagged with “30fos-30days”. I will of course post picture updates of everything I finish.

For the moment, I will focus on doing some more knitting, as I need to go out and buy a few buttons for most of the items that need finishing. I cast on my first ever sock during the last week and I am looking forward to finishing the pair as part of this challenge. It is my first time knitting with yarn that thin, so my hands definitely need to get used to it.

I will leave you for today with a glimpse of some of the items that will be finished in the next 30 days, you will see them again with better pictures:

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The big 20 minutes later

As you all know, Fridaywas the first of my big days coming up with my C25K. 20 minutes continuous running, I know I have talked about it before and how much of a challenge that is/was for me and to be quite honest I had very little faith that I would actually be able to finish it. But …

… I DID IT!  And I am more than a little proud of myself! I have to admit, I would probably not have made it anywhere near the finishing line, had it not been for my wonderful friend, who ran with me and kept talking away. For her it was a walk in the park, I doubt that she even broke a sweat! For the next continuous run bit, I will definitely see if she can run with me again.

This is what my stats look like when I run non stop for 20 minutes

This is what my stats look like when I run non stop for 20 minutes

Since it has been a little bit since I updated, I can even show off the next day as well. Tomorrow I am going out for day 39 of my C25K, you can see here exactly what I still have left to do.

The next day, back to intervals

Day 37, back to intervals

Is there anybody else doing the C25K at the moment? How are you all getting on?

Into the second half of my C25K

I am getting serious now about my C25K Challenge. So far, I can’t say that I am really enjoying it, but I always kind of knew that running/jogging would not be my favorite pass-time, since I have hated it ever since I can remember. When I was younger (and fitter) I liked to play sports and as part of them, I accepted that I had to run every now and then. During a match for example, it was fine, but as soon as we got to track running during training I lost my interest, and as such my motivation was severely lacking.

For the C25K Challenge for me it is all about running 5km in one go. The program seems to assume that those 5km should be run in 30 minutes, but I know that is as far out of my reach as fitting into a size 14 in 30 days. It should be in the realm of possibility, but I would really need to torture myself/my body to reach that goal, and that is not worth it to me. So, my goal will not include to run the 5km in any specific set time, but just to be able to complete them on April 22nd.

Yesterday I properly started the second 30 days of my challenge. As you can see here, I had to jog 8 minutes, walk 5 minutes, jog 8 minutes. If you are interested in my progress, and you are a member of Runtastic.  let me know, and I can add you as a friend. I have been quite impressed with the Runtastic Pro app, which I was lucky to be able to download on a day when it was free. I must admit though that while I am running, I frequently feel like punching the woman who keeps telling me “Your target pace it too low, please try to speed up” followed 5 seconds later by a “Your target pace is too high. Slow down!”. Not her fault, I seem to run too close to the water, which can easily interfere with the GPS signal.

 

This is what it looks like when I run too close to the water and keep confusing the GPS.

This is what it looks like when I run too close to the water and keep confusing the GPS.

 

As I mentioned in my last post, I am slightly terrified of the prospect of running for 20 minutes non-stop on Friday. That is pretty much 12 minutes more than I have run continuously in at least 8 years and probably even before then it was only on rare occasions. I am sure I will be very thankful for the encouragement that I will be getting from my friend, I just have to make sure to tell her that she is not allowed to let me give up, no matter how much I whine. In return I will try to keep the whining to a minimum.

Does anybody have any tips on how I will be able to make it through this challenge? The next one is starting on April 7th and I will keep you updated with details on the challenge in the coming days.

 

 

“Update Weekly”, She Said…

So much for my lovely Saturday posts, about my works in progress…Life doesn’t seem to want to play that way. But at the same time, I don’t really have any excuse why I didn’t post the last two Saturdays. I was not really busy as such, but I got sucked into the world of designing a knitted piece.  I am not anywhere near being able to show anything off for it, because I still have so much to figure out myself, but I have an idea and that is already a big step further than I have come before.

 

Our household for some reason cannot shake the sickness these last few weeks. While we are all better than the week before last, it seems that Liana just picks the most inconvenient moment, to decide that she is in fact still sick. Most of the time, this happens in the middle of the night, preferably just at a time that doesn’t allow me to fall back asleep before getting up at the ungodly hour that my alarms rings at the moment. Then I can only look on with jealousy how Stephen and Liana cuddle back into bed, and I have to go out into the cold morning, with the rest of our town likely only waking up 3 hours later.

Because I work for an international company, as part of a US based team, my work schedule depends on the time in our US office, rather than the local time here. Unfortunately in Spring, the clocks are turned backwards 3 weeks earlier in the US than they are in Ireland. (I am saying “the US” but have to admit I’m not even sure if the entire country switches the same day. Maybe there is parts that don’t change time at all?) That in itself would not be a problem, if it weren’t for the fact, that my normal working hours start at 6am. With the new time difference between the offices, until the end of March, I have to start my shift at 5am, which means I get out of my bed at 4am.

For the 10 years, before Liana was born, I was overwhelmingly more likely to see 4am by staying up, instead of getting out of bed at that time. And I am pretty sure that there have been a lot of times that I stayed awake that late. Through my teenage years, I was definitely a nightowl, sleeping as much of the day as I could and then staying up as long as I could. Even once I started my work life during college, i had a job working nights, where I’d finish around 6-7am.

Somebody needs to invent time travel, just so I could see my own face when I tell my younger self the hours I work now and how much I actually enjoy them. Nothing beats coming home early and having free time to spend playing with Liana or whatever other tasks are accumulating at home. To be quite honest as well, I sometimes feel like I am still half asleep the first few hours at work, and once my brain fully wakes up, a good portion of the day is already over.

 

For good news I can announce that I am finished with the first half of my C25K Challenge. You can always follow up on my current status here. There have been some injury delays, and there were days when I couldn’t face running due to being sick, but I made up those days and I am now all caught up. The next big challenge is going to be Friday, I have to run 20 minutes, without any walking in between. Right now I feel like there is no way I am ever going to be able to do that, but I am getting support from my friend, who trains for her marathon. She will run with me and try her best to motivate me.

Today I’m pretending it’s Saturday

The last week has just raced past. My whole family caught a nasty stomach bug, Liana was the first to go down on Sunday and both Stephen and myself fell ill on Monday. Only today (Sunday, but my pretend Saturday) we are all feeling back to normal again. So far I have not figured out, who gave us this bug, but I promise, if I do, that person will not be happy. On the other hand, if they had the bug as well, they were probably punished enough.

I was so sick, that I didn’t even feel like doing any knitting, which is very unusual for me. So this week, I only managed to do a little bit, on Friday evening and Saturday during the day. And because I still did not feel great yesterday, I didn’t write a blog post. And that is the reason why right now, I am pretending it is still Saturday, so that I don’t have  to face the fact that I already missed out on the second week in my weekly post.

 

At the moment I am working up a load of these booties. These are still in an unfinished state and need sewing up, but I have a whole bunch of these at home. I am not quite sure yet, what exactly what I am going to do with them when I am finished, but for some reason I find it quite relaxing to knit these. It is instant gratification as well, because these bad boys knit up in just over 30 minutes.

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This is what they look like before sewing up:

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To go with the booties, I have been playing a bit with designing some mittens. It is hard to get the dimensions right, because I don’t have any babies around me at the moment. I have been thinking about maybe giving a set as a gift to a colleague, who recently had a baby, just to find out if they are the right size at all.

 

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These are some more booties, these are actually sown up as well, just missing a little button to make them complete:

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And of course I can’t leave you without a current update on my lovely shrug from last week. I have made a good bit of a dent into the work, but unfortunately I can’t work any further on it at the moment, because I completely and entirely got the yarn requirements wrong, and ran out halfway through. I now need to buy more, which I had kind of planned to avoid until I had used up a good bit more of my stash.

 

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Look at this great pattern though, I never knew I could fancy a stitch pattern as much as the brioche stitch. I will definitely have to knit something else soon using this stitch.

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My knitting in progress

My Zero to Hero Blogging Challenge has come to an end. It feels like an end of a mini era, like I know have to start facing the blogging world on my own.

The last challenge that I found really interesting was to create a recurring post, where I would regularly write about a particular topic. I was thinking about this feature for quite a while, and I decided that I would do a weekly post, always on a Saturday, about projects that I am working on, at that time or have been working on in the past week. It will be anything that I have on my knitting needles, to go into my sewing machine or am working on with any other craft.

A lot of bloggers post these kind of updates as a “work in progress Wednesday” (followed up by a Finished Objects Friday)  and you’d be surprised how much time I was able to waste today trying to come up with something equally as eloquent to describe my new Saturday posts. In my mind, I was playing around with something as simple as “Sandra’s Saturdays” or going “fancy” with “Super Saturday Stitches”. After much time spent scribbling S-words on a notepad, I have not quite been able to settle on anything that I really like. For now, I will leave these weekly posts nameless, and when inspiration hits me (or I get a suggestion from a follower *hint hint*), they will be christened officially.

In the past week, I have started a new project, and I already know it will take me a small eternity to finish. The pattern is the F477 Women’s Shrug and Hat (the link will bring you to the Ravelry pattern page) and it is the first time I have ever knitted in Brioche stitch. Quite honestly, if I had known the slow speed at which this pattern knits, I might not have started this project. After 3 evenings spent on it, I am roughly 3” into the 45” Brioche stitch part of this pattern.

first progess

I am using a yarn that I had lying around at home, begging for my attention, it is Stylecraft Special DK which gives me the correct stitch gauge asked for in the pattern, the row gauge is not as important, as the pattern provides length measurements instead of row counts, for how long the pattern should be repeated. I am using my 6mm circular needles, part of my Lana Grossa Interchangeable set.

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And luckily I have a job where I spend my Saturdays mostly monitoring and am there in case something goes wrong, to coordinate efforts. Most Saturdays are kind of quiet, so I was able to work on this a good bit more today. This is how far I have come by now:

newest progress

I have created a bad habit of starting projects and not finishing. Then, after they have spent month on the needles I decide that I actually need the needles for another project, pull them out and then frog the project. Stephen was teasing me last night, that he already knew that this shrug would never get finished and that he would find it lying around somewhere, once I lose interest. Just that statement alone is making me stubborn, to prove him wrong.

If you are on Ravelry, you can find my project here, and this is my profile page. Even though I have been a member of Ravelry for a while, I have not been very active apart from using it as a pattern library. I think it is time to dig a bit deeper into the community.

Blogs that Inspire me

As part of Zero to Hero day 23, we were supposed to write a roundup, and I wrote it and thought I scheduled it, but for some reason it did not publish. I’ll have to have another look into the art of scheduling posts ;)

But since I don’t want you all to miss out on the post I have written, I am now publishing it manually :)

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Today I am writing all about posts/bloggers that have inspired my crafty side, since I started this blog. It is amazing the different projects and people you can find out there in the blogosphere.

A blog I love to follow is the Mad Knitter.  It is hard for me to pick just one post that is inspiring me, because in general, every time I read the blog I feel like picking up my needles.  I feel like Liz knits things that I would enjoy knitting and I am amazed at how many projects she seems to be able to finish. One post in particular that I have gone back to a few times is this one, an overview over what she had on her “sticks” at that moment. It would be a great goal to achieve her level of knitting and to be able to maybe make some money with knitting. At the moment I am a far way off, but I suppose you won’t get anywhere in life unless you “shoot for the stars…” ;-) .

Another blog I have in my WordPress reader and that I keep stopping on is Marissa Made it. Another fabulous crafter, she has the most gorgeous photos of her projects. They really make me realize how much more I have to improve on, but at the same time as well how much I envy knitters who have easy access to amazing yarns, since the only shops that we have locally stock predominantly Acrylic, with a few mixed fibers thrown in. I am very much looking forward to seeing what she is going to make with the Star Wars fabric in this post, because I am not sure if I can keep myself from buying whatever it is going to be.

Already from the title, the Snail of Happiness had me chuckling. This blog is very much in a different direction as the other two (no less talented though), and while she writes quite a bit about her crafting (mainly her masterpiece - and it is quite impressive!) she also has posts about sustainability, which is something that I would love to be able to bring more into my life. The snail also live geographically quite close to me, so while I was posting pictures of our storm, so was she.

And Life gets in the way (again)

By now, I should be way further through my challenges, than I am. Zero to Hero suffered, because I had a long weekend and did not feel like looking at my laptop, as it reminded me of work. On the upside, this meant I got plenty of knitting done in this time, and will write my first craft related post soon,

My C25K came to a screeching halt on Thursday evening, as I was cycling home after my Power Yoga class. I cycle everywhere in our little town, and thought I had gotten used to the erratic Irish driving by now. Irish drivers in general seem to lack experience with cyclists, so much so that the Road Safety Authority Ireland has placed ads on tv, to inform them of the basic rules of the road and common courtesy when sharing the road with cyclist.

Funnily enough, the very first rule that is mentioned is “On left turns, do not overtake a cyclist as you approach a junction. He might be continuing straight ahead”. To my misfortune, the driver that I encountered on Thursday, must have been skipping through this very basic part of driver’s education. He overtook me (so was clearly aware that I was there) and then cut of my way as he turned left. To avoid crashing into him, I braked heavily (with new brakes just checked in the shop a week before). I lost control of the bike and went over the handlebars. My left hand and knee took the brunt of the impact, but I still have bruises on both my legs, which are by now turning an interesting shade of green/yellow. I’m looking forward to the looks I’ll get when I walk into the pool at Aqua Aerobics tonight!

I was fuming when I got up, because the driver did not even stop to see if I was injured in any way. Completely oblivious to what he had just caused. Thankfully my bike was not damaged, the seat only turned slightly, which forced me to stand in the pedals the rest of the way home.

Overall, I am thankful that I am not more seriously injured, because it could definitely have been worse. Apart from the bruises on my legs and my two palms, I lost a few layers of skin on my left knee, due to which I have not been running again. Today is the first day that I am not limping when I am walking, so I will go to my Aqua Aerobics and see that as a sort of trial run to see how much pressure I can put on it. When I was a teenager, I injured the same knee (fell off a climbing wall and hit a few stones on the way down) and I remember it taking weeks before I was able to do any sort of sport again, and I was on crutches for a good month. I know that this time is by far not as bad, but I think there is a hesitation in my sub conscience, that remembers the pain only all to clearly.