Thursday, May 18, 2017

Boston Marathon 2017

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It's not the course that makes the Boston Marathon special. Although if it were an overcast day, about 45 degrees, with a stiff tailwind it would be the fastest course possible. But Patriot's Day rarely has that forecast in Boston. • • It's not the history. Although running with greats like Katherine Switzer, Amby Burfoot, Meb, and team Hoyt was a huge honor, and the prestige of the Boston Marathon is unparalleled, it wasn't what will bring me back. • • It's not running with a bunch of fast people. Although even in the hardest moments when I felt like we were crawling, we were actually keeping an 8:00ish pace, which is still decently fast, but that's not the best part. • • It's Boston. See this photo? There are people hanging out of a window to watch the finish line. For finishes of regular people like me. People were lined up along the 26.2 mile course for HOURS. Cheering constantly. They weren't out there to see their cousin, scanning the crowds of runners for a lone person to cheer for. They were cheering for ME and HER and HIM --Random strangers whom they'd never met and they just kept cheering. There were crowds three deep for the last few miles. I smiled and laughed so much through Wellesley my cheeks and abs hurt. I took water and wet towels from spectators and thanked a man who had his water hose out front for us to run through. There were elderly people in lawn chairs and babies - TONS of babies and kids - slapping high fives as we passed. Running through each town I thought, "There's no way it'll be like this the whole race" but it WAS. The people of Boston OWN this race - it's THEIRS and they do it RIGHT. Drivers yield to pedestrians, even when we jaywalk while sightseeing in the days leading up to the race. Drug store cashiers are over-the-top helpful, and our hotel had employees lined up with streamers and cow bells cheering for us as we arrived post-race. • • That's just the tip of the iceberg. The Boston Marathon is awesome because of the people of Boston and the towns along the course. They carry the runners through, and even though we were probably quieter than usual Monday, I can guarantee we are all grateful. • • Boston, I 💙💛 you.• •

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Race Recap: I trained to run a 7:30 pace, but planned to start at 7:45 and cut down every five miles based on feel. Even as the temps for the forecast crept up, my plan stayed the same. As per my custom, 🙄I got to the start line just a few minutes before the gun went off for our wave and ended up at the back of corral 1. That resulted in the first lucky break: I started slower than planned. From the start the heat was a factor, and I made a decision to drink water at every single stop. (2nd lucky break) As the 5 miles clicked away, I stuck to the plan and increase speed, just not as fast as my original goal. Still, up to mile 15 I was cruising and repeating my mantra: "Feeling good, looking strong, I could do this all day long."• • Then my watch died. It dropped GPS signal in Newton. Then the Newton hills hit. They were TOUGH and I had no idea how much I'd slowed. My watch would work for a bit, but it would drop again. I held on as tight as I could and knew I must be slowing, but because my watch didn't have cumulative time, I had NO IDEA where I stood. (3rd lucky break)• • So I smiled. And soaked it all in. And enjoyed the crowds. And slapped hands and thanked spectators. And encouraged other runners. And blew kisses to Wellesley girls. Not knowing my time forced me to be present in a way I'd never have been otherwise.• • I didn't know my finish time until a local running buddy texted me after the finish. It was the sweetest celebration text about my race execution, along with a photo snapped of my splits. My time was 4 minutes slower than my PR, but the 1st half was 1:45:36 and the 2nd half was 1:47:27, pretty close to an even split. • • It was a tough day, and so many people were literally doubled over and brought to their knees. My results weren't because I trained any harder or drank any more - in true marathon fashion, we can't predict when it'll be our day and when it won't. I'm grateful to have had a relatively good race.• • So, lessons learned: a) My nutrition has worked in two races, so I'll stick to it. (Gu opened at mile 7 and nursed through mile 9. Another Gu at mile 13 and nursed through mile 15. Gu at mile 18 and nursed through mile 21. cont'd👇

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Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. The most beautiful sight for marathoners lies ahead - the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Along with that image, I'll remember looking over and seeing Ryan standing on a metal barricade, leaning over and yelling "MARTINI!!!!!" and waving his free arm. 😍 So. Much. Joy in those finishing moments.💙💛 • • So, what's next? A sprint tri and some 5ks will be fun. There will be another marathon this fall and I'm saving up for another round of coaching for it with @mattebersole. But first, more rest! My quads are still tender and my middle left toe resembles raw hamburger meat. 😬• • Thank you all SO MUCH for following along and the encouragement. I'm so very grateful! ❤️• • #bostonmarathon2017 #BeBoston #womensrunningcommunity #inspiringwomenrunners #ihavearunnersbody #womenrunning #motherrunner #keepittight

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Completed: Sontag Shawl

In my fantasies, I’m a former World War II army nurse who’s on vacation with her husband in Scotland when I come across some ancient stones, fall through a worm hole, and end up in 18th century Scotland where I eventually marry and fall in love with (in that order) a devastatingly handsome, chivalrous man and live adventurously ever after.

Just kidding. That’s the plot of one of my favorite novels: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I started reading the series in college thanks to my friend Emilee and have since followed Claire (the heroine) and Jamie (the Scot) through several sequels.

Last year Outlander fans’ long-time dream came true when they made the books into a movie. It’s a STARZ mini-series and it’s OUTSTANDING. The actors are exactly how I’ve imagined the characters, and the writers stayed true to the novel’s plot.

One of the unexpected joys for me was seeing the wardrobes. Claire’s woolen shawls had me drooling on my knitting needles, and I immediately set to work creating my own version.  
(I overexposed all of the photos -- it's impossible to show the texture/color of the yarn otherwise because it's so dark!)

After an exhaustive search of Ravelry, I landed on a Sontag shawl pattern by Kay Meadors. I chose a Pure Wool Worsted (super wash) by Rowan in a beautiful brown.

The result is exactly what I wanted! I messed up the pattern (Leave it to me to mess up something so simple!), but fortunately I was able to finagle it. 

This yarn is delightful! It’s so, so warm. It’s soft, too, but would be itchy directly on my skin. When I pictured wearing it, I imagined it over a button-down shirt with a pair of jeans - just like this!

I can tie it in the back to make it snug, or I can let it go free and just wear it as a shawl. In the winter I usually skip coats and go for shawls, so this will get tons of wear.



This winter was relatively productive for knitting! I finished a few hats, this shawl, and a pair of fingerless gloves for a craft swap. I also started and re-started and re-started and re-started The Peacock Eyes Cardigan but COULD NOT get the lace pattern. I’m going to attempt a lace shawl as a starter and put the sweater on hold until I can master lace.

My Christmas present was knitting related! They’re Lykke interchangeable needles purchased through Fringe Supply Company. It’s so nice to have a complete set of circulars instead of having to dig through bags to find separate ones. I highly recommend these needles, too. They’re smooth as butter.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Completed: Megan Nielsen Reef Camisole & Shorts

(All the details are at the bottom of this post...)







Details
Pattern: Megan Nielsen Reef Camisole and Shorts, views 1 &3
Fabric: Nicole Miller stretch chiffon from JoAnn Fabrics
Size: xs shorts, medium camisole
Modifications: added 1" to top length, took in over 1" on sides
Thoughts: I LOVE THIS PATTERN! I loved it so much when I first saw it that I forked over the postage and cash for the real, paper pattern. I'm so glad I did because I'll be making it again and again!

The cross-over yoke -- perfection.

The fabric was tricky, but I prevailed. Here are the things that helped:
ironing freezer paper on which pattern had been traced directly onto the fabric then cutting the pattern pieces out
block fusing interfacing as Megan's instructions suggest
stay stitching

It would've been even better if I'd had the appropriate needle, but mine was just a tad too thick.

The shorts are waaaaay too low rise for me. You can see in one of the photos above just where they hit -- I mean loooow. I'll add a full 2 inches to the rise. This view is super short, too, without the cuff. But I love them for pajamas.

This fabric is delightful. I LOVE the colors and the texture and drape is gorgeous. I wish I'd bought more!

The only complaint I have is that I abhor facings, but I can live with them in this top.

All in all, I'm super pleased with this project!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Completed: Carolyn Shorts/Self-Drafted Tank


This'll be a quick post - just a review of the Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Files. I've sewn them before and tested the pattern but don't think I ever shared about them here. (They're pajamas, but I wear them out of the house, fyi.)

The top is self-drafted - copied from a top handed down from my sister. I'm still working on it, but this version turned out wearable at least. The bodice top is fully lined, and the skirt piece isn't. I like the style and have gotten the fit right, but it still needs tweaking.





Details
Pattern: Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas, view C.
Fabric: quilting cotton purchased at Let's Sew in Evansville, IN. This fabric is so pretty!
Fit: I've got another pair of these shorts that I wear ALL THE TIME, so I knew they had a low rise. However, with the wide waist band, I don't mind the lower rise. There are some drag lines on the back that I didn't notice until looking at these photos, so I'll have to do some work on that before I cut into the Liberty I bought last year for another pair.
Modifications: None. I used piping around the leg cuffs and wish I'd done it on the pocket seams, too.
Pros:
Pockets!
The fit is excellent and as usual, the instructions are superb.
Cons:
I don't really have any cons. I love these shorts.

We're doing a "soft start" of school next week, which means trying to ease out of summer and into routine. It'll be. . . interesting. Either I'll get absolutely no sewing done or my sewing room will be my hiding place at the end of the week and I'll sew up a storm. We'll see. . . 

Have you seen a top pattern for knits similar to this? I hate drafting my own, but I really want this specific style.

SaveSave

Completed: Sophie/Jalie Swimsuit



The absolute BEST part of learning how to sew my own clothes has been solving The Great Bathing Suit Dilemma. The Dilemma: in my 38 years on this earth, I've owned one store-bought bathing suit that fit. One. 

The Bombshell happened, so my drawer had two bathing suits that fit. Unfortunately the store-bought one is 9 years old and has started to show wear in *ahem* inconvenient places. Plus it shows a lot of skin, and I go back and forth about how much skin I want to show in a suit. (I'll show copious skin while running. Because running = sweat = least amount of fabric possible.) 

A girl's got to have two bathing suits.

Just my luck! Heather of Closet Case Patterns sent out the Sophie Swimsuit for testing! I knew the top wouldn't work for me. It's adorable - a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. - but I simply can't wear formed cups. Still, I tried it, and it sewed up beautifully with her instructions. Alas, it didn't suit my frame. Specifically, it was like trying to put a AAA battery into a spot designed for a C battery (except we're talking boobs here, in case that was too vague). But I LOVED the Sophie bottoms!

I hunted around and found Jalie 2446, "Mix n Match Bikini" - it's the style of my store-bought and is the best style I've found to work for The Ladies with Tiny Ladies.

(Oh. I got my hair dyed. Permanently. It took a full year to work up the nerve. It's close to my natural color, but not. I both regret it and love it. It's a whole other post.)



Review:
Patterns: Sophie Swimsuit (bottoms) by Closet Case Patterns and Jalie 2446, view A.
Fabric: swimsuit fabric purchased at Let's Sew in Evansville, IN.
Fit: 
The Sophie bottoms are snug, but I like them that way because they don't fall down even though they're high rise. I am VERY long waisted, and the bottoms hit right at my natural waist. I like where they hit around the legs - there's modesty, and I don't feel like they're going anywhere they shouldn't.

The Jalie top fits perfectly. I've started going up to a Medium in tops, and it makes a world of difference.
Modifications:
I didn't make any mods to the Sophie bottoms.

For the Jalie top, I doubled the width of the underbust band. It was just too narrow. That whole band would've risen right up to my neck without anything to hold it down. Plus it looked out of proportion. Also, I don't do back hook closures on my bathing suits. One failed on me one time, and it only takes once. I sew that puppy closed and slip it on over my head. I accidentally swapped the direction of the cups, so the centers and sides are reversed, but it's no big deal. Lastly, I gathered the bottoms of the cups to add a little volume.
Pros:
Sophie:
I like the high-waisted style. It's modest but still cool, in my opinion. The side panels give lots of visual interest and opportunities to play around with fabric. I've seen some gorgeous fabric combos floating around the Internets.

And Heather's drafting/instructions are always spot on. She's gone to great trouble to make this suit available in tons of sizes, so it's a PDF, but it's so well done and it's not much to print. *disclaimer: I'm a fan-girl.

Jalie 2446:
I'm "meh" on Jalie patterns. This is the third one I've sewn, and. . . "meh." This will be my TNT bathing suit top, but I still feel "meh." The halter ties aren't long enough, the underbust band was too narrow, the cups had no visual interest once attached to the band. . . I mean. . . "meh."

Overall I'm pleased, and this baby will see plenty of action in August! Have a great week everyone.

What's your favorite swimsuit pattern? Do you like one-pieces or two?

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