Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WWU - 6 Miles, Plus STRANGER DANGER

We had a repeat of our 6 mile route on Saturday - hey, if it worked once, why not do it again, right?  The weather was pretty crummy - in the low 70s with heavy fog...seriously, my hair was so wet after the run that I had to squeeze out the water!  We really should have classified that run as more of a swim through the fog.  Except for the trying conditions, the run went well.  Diane and I ran with Cary - this was her first long run after having Logan and she ran 6 miles at 6 weeks postpartum!  I wasn't a runner when I had my babies, but I don't think I would have been there so soon, regardless.  We had a great time chatting about all kinds of things as we powered through the thick, damp air; and honestly, before I knew it, we had made our last turn and were headed toward the clubhouse, so the power of distraction by both talking and playing music worked really well.

Afterward, we sat around for a while, cooling down and watching our latest form of entertainment - baby Logan and all of his adorable facial expressions.  Ah babies...they are so fun!  Eventually we all changed into dry clothes and went to Blue Baker, where for the first time in forever, there wasn't a loaf of ciabatta bread or any other treats waiting for us!  What the heck?!  We laughed at ourselves - they can give us free food 99% of the time, but as soon as they don't, we immediately forget about all the treats and then feign indignation.  No worries, we still love Blue Baker - it's our version of Cheers.  And we'll keep going back, free food or not.

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Stranger danger really happened on our run last week.  Jeff, Diane, and I were doing one of our standard weekday runs in our neighborhood, when Diane suddenly looked beyond me and Jeff and yelled out very forcefully "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!" and I turned to see a man crouched down running full on across his lawn right toward us!  It was frightening - and then I saw a puff of fur and realized that he was chasing his small dog, who I guess had seen us running by and took off after us.  My heart rate went from about a million beats per minute back down to a more normal rate once I understood that we weren't in imminent danger of being attacked, but that was quite scary in the moment.

I was really impressed with how Diane instantly went into her self-defense mode.  We all took a self-defense class three years ago; I came across my booklet from the class recently and looked through it, and wondered if I'd remember to do what is recommended in situations like that.  Diane did exactly what she should have, which is to confront the attacker.  Luckily, he really wasn't an attacker, but he certainly looked like it in the split-second that we saw him running at us, and while you'd think someone would be crazy to try and attack three people, in this day and age?  You never can be too sure, unfortunately.

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This week I took a rest day on Monday, because I ran 6 miles on Saturday and then did a 5K fun run on Sunday and my legs were pretty tired.  Sure, I could have powered through my usual 4 mile walk with Cary, but at that point I don't think I would have gotten any benefit from it (other than the mental benefit that comes with chatting with a friend).  There comes a time when you have to know your body and give it what it needs, and sometimes, it just needs a little break.  I was back to running yesterday and thanks to a beautiful crisp, cool morning, my run felt fantastic.  Ahhh fall weather - please stick around?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Moron

I feel like a total moron when I can't get things to work, or work in the way that I think they are supposed to work.  Now most of this is about electronics and computery things, and I battle between trying to cut myself some slack because this isn't second nature to me since I didn't grow up with it, and slamming myself because geez Louise, a freaking 8-year-old can figure this out 100 times faster than me.  And also, I swear that even if I do figure it out, I either can't remember what I did the next time I need to do it, or it's been updated and improved (HA) and I have to learn a new way to work something.  Here are just a few of my current frustrations:

My iPod shuffle:  I've had this for years but only recently started using it again for my longer runs.  So sure, I can accept that I have to relearn how to add songs to a playlist, which I did...but then I couldn't reorder the songs, nor could I delete any from the playlist.  And it seems that I can only have one playlist on the shuffle now?  I know I used to have a short run playlist and a long run playlist.

Google Play - music:  Sam has a family subscription to Google Play, and very nicely shared it with us.  I haven't used it much until recently, but love how you can add pretty much any song or album to your playlist.  I wanted to add those songs to my iTunes account so I could put them on my shuffle(!) but after getting partway through that process, I realized that I didn't own the songs, so I couldn't download them without purchasing them.  OK, I get that.  So in reality, I'm not that frustrated with Google Play, I just wish I had a million dollars to buy all the music I'm listening to (and for real, if I already own the album from the olden days, I'm not paying for the music AGAIN).

Sirius XM:  I love having satellite radio in my car.  I got a one year subscription for free when I bought the Duchess, and after that expired, I was able to get a 5 month deal for $25.  OK, sure - I get that much enjoyment out of listening to all kinds of music while I drive, as it's one big sing-a-long in my car, even if it's just me in there.  But god forbid I forget to get back with Sirius before that 5 month deal is up, because they automatically will charge my credit card for a very expensive one year subscription, and then I have to call them and go through a huge rigamarole to get the charge reversed and get the dang 5 month deal again.  So last week when this happened - AGAIN - I just canceled my subscription.  I'm tired of playing their games.

Which leads me back to Google Play - music:  Hey, I thought, since I have this, and I have a super new phone with all kinds of memory, why don't I just make up a car playlist and...wait for it...listen to that in my car, using the Bluetooth connection.  You know where this is going, don't you?  After a full 24 hours of messing with it, I randomly stumbled onto getting it to connect.  And it is pretty awesome.  My only complaint is that I can't use the controls on my steering wheel to skip a song, and we are finally a "hands-free" cell phone state (which is a good thing), so sometimes I have to suffer through a poor choice of songs on my part...not everything translates into good driving music!

And speaking of my car, which I love love love, don't get me wrong - I have to also say that I feel like a moron whenever I need to do something with the onboard computer system.  Because it's not speaking my language, and trying to do something simple like change the color of the interior lights (YES I LIKE TO DO THIS, I'M REALLY TWELVE) ends up being much harder than it should be.  And, in the computer-related complaints, each key fob is different.  So, say, if Jeff and I shared the car, my key fob would have the car settings to my liking (including the radio)(and the interior light colors), while his key fob would be different.  BUT.  Both are mine, and I have one in my regular purse, and one in my running/gym bag.  Do you think I've managed to make them both match?  Of course not.  Sidenote:  why am I driving a computer?

Getting back to that whole iPod shuffle/Google Play music thing - you might be wondering why don't I simply run with my phone, since it has all the music I like on it plus I can have as many playlists as I want.  Well, because I generally don't run with my phone.  I could, especially now that I'm back to wearing my Orange Mud Hydraquiver backpack - it would be easy enough to slip the phone in the zippered compartment - but I like the lightweight tiny shuffle.  If I were a hashtagger, I'd hashtag myself DINOSAUR.  Change is hard for my brain.

#stegosaurusout

Friday, October 13, 2017

FMM - Nice, Nicer

Nice:  I won a Starbucks gift card from blogger Kim recently, to celebrate the first day of fall (thanks, Kim!).  Even nicer:  I went to use it at the Starbucks inside our Target and their register crashed, so they gave me my drink for free!  It's a magical gift card.

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Nice:  I was knitting an item and was on a slog of just knitting round and round and round for a lot of inches (not nice:  I can't tell you what it is because it's a Christmas present), and while that kind of knitting is easy, it can get a little tedious.  Even nicer:  I picked it up while Jeff and I watched the Chicago marathon on Sunday morning and I knitted faster and faster during the exciting finishes of the women's wheelchair race and the elite men's race - and I ended up knocking out the rest of the item!  In case you were wondering, knitting fast in Texas helped racers go fast in Chicago.  #fact

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Nice:  Seeing a product at the running store that has your initials on it.  Even nicer:  Getting a sticker for free - now I have a monogram for my sticker board!

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Nice:  Finally, FINALLY, having the first cool front of fall blow in, on Tuesday.  Even nicer:  Opening the windows for the first time since April!  The cooler weather (it was 65 degrees, with a north wind and humidity in the 50s, AHHHHHHHHH) confused the cats - they wanted to go outside when I opened the windows, but then they had to sit and stare at me.  And meow.  Not-so-nice is seeing how dirty the windows are, but now that we probably aren't facing 90+ degree days, maybe we'll be more inclined to get out and clean them.

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Nice:  The prospect of good running weather this weekend.  Even nicer:  Getting to go shop at several running stores in Austin - it's always fun to see what's new and exciting!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

WWU - 6 Miles, No Whammies!

There really is no reason why my 6 mile run on Saturday went so well.  Or, should I say, there really was no reason why my 5 mile run the previous Saturday felt so rough?  Running.  It's a conundrum, that's for sure - so hard to predict how it will be on any given day.  The weather was darn near the same, so that wasn't a factor - still quite warm and very humid - and I actually had worked out more leading up to it, so I can't even say I was better rested and ready to run, but whatever.  It was a good run!

Diane and I met up with Cary about 30 minutes before the rest of the group, so Cary could do part of her run with us before heading back to switch baby duties with Brian.  We did our usual intervals and before we knew it, we'd hit about 1.5 miles, which meant it was time for Cary to turn around.  Diane and I kept going, stopping once to adjust her fuel belt and leaping around another time when we ran into a massive spider web...yes, the spider web dance happened big time!  We reached our turnaround point and kept expecting to see the rest of the Renegades, but we didn't, for quite a long time.  Finally, we saw a blinking light in the distance, but realized it was on the ground - oops, it belonged to Diane, and had gotten knocked off when we fixed her fuel belt.  Good thing it was still blinking so we found it on the way back!

Eventually we started to see our Renegades.  I heard later that they were all just hanging around, chatting, and finally realized they needed to get running - ha!  They started about 10 minutes late.  Right after we passed everyone, Diane and I made the turn into the fancy neighborhood.  I like this area to run in, but the entrance, which is about half a mile long, is a gradual slope that doesn't look bad on paper, or even in person, but it's a challenge to run and elicits many curse words from me as we run it.  And lest you think I'm just being a baby, Diane and Karen cussed it out, too.  At the suggestion of Diane after last week's rough run, I had my music set and ready to go if I felt like the run was getting hard, and I turned it on when we started down that road, which was at mile 4.  Not gonna lie, that part still was hard to get through, but after that the rest of the run felt surprisingly good, with the last 2 miles being the fastest of the entire run!  So maybe there is something to using music when the going gets rough.  I don't put a lot of emphasis on my pace, especially on my long runs - to me, it's mostly getting the miles on my legs - but it was nice to see negative splits for a change!

You can order official In Training t-shirts from Houston for their race; everyone's shirt arrived before Saturday so naturally we all had to wear them.  I love the color and it's super soft, just the perfect thing to change into after a long run.

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Yesterday morning, a cool front started blowing in when Jeff, Diane, and I went for our early-morning run.  It felt so nice, and even though I was a little tired from my long walk the day before, plus some extra exercise, not slogging through 100% humidity was wonderful.  This morning, I'll be going for another long walk with Cary and I think I may actually need to start off with a light jacket!  I wouldn't need that if I were running because you do warm up pretty quickly, but walking is a different matter.  I'm sure our humid mornings will return soon because Texas likes to tease when it comes to cool weather; in the meantime, I'm getting out and enjoying it these lovely cool mornings!

Monday, October 9, 2017

More Baby Knits!

Along with knitting all the things for baby Logan, I also put together a little gift set for running friends Sarah and Phillip, who are expecting their first baby next month.  As always, it's so fun to knit tiny baby things, and this go-round was no exception, plus I got to knit for a girl, so that was different and fun.  Here's what I ended up sending them:
Pattern is Golden Pear, yarn is Madelinetosh DK in Carnation and Antler colorways.

This hat is the same pattern that I made for Logan and it employs stranded knitting.  You need to have a loose hold on the yarn so that it doesn't pucker in between the colors, and I'm improving with that, although I can see a few spots where it's a little tight on this hat.  Still, it's pretty darn cute, and having just seen Logan wearing his, I know it'll look sweet on the new baby.

A couple of years ago I knitted a baby sweater that I thought was so cute - I had the yarn for it, and even though I didn't have a baby in mind, I knew it would be a sweet gift someday, so I tucked it away.  Well, I pulled it out and decided that I could build an outfit around the sweater, so first, I found a bonnet pattern that went with the sweater and knitted that up:
Pattern is Super Quick Baby Bonnet, yarn is Berroco Touche, colorway is Aqua.  The only modification I made to the pattern was to knit it in the round once I was done with the front ribbing and lace part - this way I didn't have to seam up the back.

And here's the bonnet with the matching sweater:
This color is so hard to photograph - it changes with the light!  Trust me, it's so pretty.  Anyway, the sweater's pattern is Miss Daisy, using the same yarn as the bonnet.  I loved how it turned out, but holy moly, all of that 1x1 ribbing got tiresome and as cute as this is, I probably won't make it again.  I do love how the bonnet's ribbing makes it look like a matched set, when they were done by two different designers.

So then I needed a little dress to complete the outfit.  I shopped at our Carter's/Osh Kosh store and could have bought about a million things - everything was so freaking adorable!  I found a little dress that looked super cute with the sweater, and bought it plus a two-pack of leggings in navy and pink - I guess leggings are the new tights?  I saw a mom with a girl baby in the store and checked with her that it was a thing to pair leggings with a dress when it was cold and she said she does that all the time, so I went for it.

Here's the dress with the sweater - front:
Ack!  Dying of cuteness.

Back:
The back of the sweater is why I knitted it - I loved the two different sections of ribbing starting at the waist.

About another month and the baby will be born - I'm sad that I won't get to cuddle her like I get to with our local Renegade babies, but I'm sure there will be plenty of pictures to ooh and ahh over, and I can't wait to see her!

Friday, October 6, 2017

FMM - Mishmashier Than Usual

It's random picture post day, yay!  Please to enjoy.

First up, 10 house points to whoever can identify this:
(seen as I walked down our driveway to the mailbox)

Next, here's my latest coffee table display, with some new-to-me items:
My mom sent me a box with some treasures that she was willing to part with - the Trojan horse is something that my Grandmother paper machied and painted a hundred years ago.  OK, maybe not a hundred, but probably at least 40 years ago.  I've seen it at my parent's house for most of my life; now it lives with me!  And the glass bottle behind it is a hand-blown jug that once held rum - one of several that my Grandmother brought back from Puerto Rico - say it with me - a hundred years ago.  Anyway, I just plunked everything in the metal tray and I liked how it looks, so there you go.

I'm constantly moving the stuff on display in my living room cabinets - here's the latest:
I find that grouping things with similar colors makes for a cohesive display.

The top shelf is holding two small prints I bought at an arts and crafts fair while we were in Santa Fe - here's a closer look at them:
 
Everything about these prints makes me happy!

Back outside.  This Blue Daze that we bought for super cheap has spread out so nicely and continues to bloom:
All we do is water and occasionally pull out some weeds.

Here's what it looked like when we planted it nearly four months ago:
You can see how much it's filled in!  This one is a winner and we'll plant more next spring, for sure.

One more outdoors picture:
This plant has not stopped blooming all summer!  It's some sort of portulaca and I'm so pleased with how pretty it's made my yard look.

Finally, just to make you laugh:
Hey guess what?  Halloween accessories are in at the gift shop!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

WWU - Training Begins Again!

Saturday marked the official start of our training season, which was exciting - don't ask me why, because we've been running all along - but having a schedule to follow, along with an impending goal race, somehow makes it different.  And of course, because I've been running all along, and getting in some extra exercise with walking and whatnot, I figured that my 5 mile run would be amazing.

It was not.

Sigh.  Just goes to show you how unpredictable a run can be.  All I know is that my legs felt stupid right around mile 2.5, which in turn made my brain feel stupid and tell me that I can't run and shouldn't do another half marathon and I just need to stop this nonsense.  I hate it when I go down that mental road.  But, I recovered and felt better and I'm just hoping that it was simply a sucky run in hot and humid weather, and soon I'll be running like a gazelle in crisp cool weather and everything will be awesome.  ONE CAN HOPE, CAN'T ONE?!

Anyway, this was our Run For Icee route, where we ended at the nearby gas station and everyone got an Icee or cold beverage of their choice, which made the end of a crummy run much better.  We took a group picture before making the half mile cool down walk back to the clubhouse:
Stroller selfie!  Baby Logan is already helping out the Renegades with taking our picture.

And once CC and Loretta finished their runs, we took a group picture with the Renegade babies:
Back:  Jeff holding Mason, Diane, Karen, Andi, Cary holding Logan, Brian, me, Loretta
Front:  CC and Julia

I do believe this is the worst picture of Jeff I've ever seen - I showed it to him later and asked why he was standing like a pregnant woman, and he said that's how he stands to hold a baby.  I think he needs more practice, because it isn't that hard, LOL.

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File this under:  If you really want to, you'll make it happen.  I wanted to tell you about how the new moms in our group are managing to get their running done.  CC is training for her first marathon and had 13 miles on tap for Saturday.  She started early, running with baby Mason in the stroller while Loretta kept her company, riding her bike up and down the sidewalk for five miles.  They made a pit stop at the Clubhouse, where Loretta parked her bike, and CC handed the stroller over to Loretta, who then ran her five miles, while CC continued on to complete a half marathon - yes, she ran that extra .1 to hit the distance...of course!  We all would have done that. 

Meanwhile, Cary left Logan at home with Brian and set out for her first post-baby run, getting two miles in before the rest of our group showed up.  Then Brian left for his run, while Cary put baby Logan in the stroller and walked with Jimmymeow for 2.5+ miles.  While I know that none of this is easy, and it definitely takes some extra planning and coordination, the new parents in our group are great examples of how to get their running in, and I'm impressed.  I wasn't a runner back when I had my babies, but I doubt that I would have been as dedicated as our Renegade parents are when it comes to exercising, and I give them kudos for the extra effort they are making.

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On Monday morning I had a nice long walk with Cary, and then had a decent run on Tuesday morning with Jeff and Diane, which was good - I wondered if walking so far might affect my running, but it didn't seem to, so that was nice.  It was still hot and humid, so I can't even say the weather was a factor in that - maybe I'm building a little extra endurance?  That would be nice; I need all the endurance I can get!