Jingle Bell 5k race recap!

So, guess what I did on Saturday?

That's right, I ran a sub-30 minute 5k!!! I ran the Jingle Bell 5k here in Portsmouth and crossed the finish line at 29:27, beating my previous PR by 40 seconds. Awesome.

I'm not sure what else to say about this race, except that it was small, about 160 people total, and the start wasn't timed. Besides that, this race wasn't anything out of the ordinary. I've run this same route around Portsmouth for a few other 5ks - this may seem boring, but honestly? I love the familarity of it.

I'm pretty happy I finally broke the 30 minute mark. I knew I could do it.

(I know. Shortest entry ever. I need to get back on track with writing here again.)

Autumn sewing

I love to sew.

Bag I sewed
Bags are the best.

I've dabbled in sewing here and there, but I've never spent quality time with it. I'll set up my machine, make a little bag or quilt something small, and I'll put the machine away for another 7-8 months. Knitting will always be my first love, of course, and spinning my second, but I've learned you can't have too many loves. So, sewing, you will now be third in my list of crafts I love.

Inside of bag
Inside sneak peek!

I kind of winged it with this pattern, finding a picture of the shape I wanted, then figuring out measurements and such on my own. I originally made this bag with two straps, but I changed it to one when I got home from my sewing day with my friends. I'm also pretty happy to have used up some fat quarters I bought in Kentucky waaaaaaaay back in 2007! Louisville has great quilt shops.

Blue socks

See that awesome knitting project in the bag? I'm knitting a pair of socks for Ted, also a pattern I'm making up as I go. It's a version of the Charade socks, only I cast on 72 stitches to make it fit a man's foot. I'm not sure what I'll do for the heel yet, but I have a few more inches left on the leg before I get there, so I'm sure I'll think of something. So far, I'm digging the striping pattern so far, and I think Ted will like them too.

I love making things.

(Also, side note: happiest of birthdays to my awesome sister, who turns 30 today! And, to my kickass friend Linda, who is one of the best people ever! All the birthdays!)

Endpaper mitts

Hey, look! A post that's not about running!

These are the best mitts ever.
These are the best mitts ever.

I've wanted to knit my own pair of Endpaper Mitts for years. In 2011, I finally figured out a color combination when I received a skein of rainbow Mini Mochi fingering weight yarn during a yankee swap. Add a skein of white yarn to really show off the rainbow-ness of the Mochi? Yes. I was sold.

I knit these bad boys faster than anything else I've ever knit. Seriously. I went from none to done in two weeks. For me, the slowest knitter ever, finishing anything in two weeks is an exercise in futility. I think I just liked the pretty rainbow color changes as I knit.

Look at me!
Look at me!

This project forced me to learn a new cast on method - the Italian tubular cast-on. As a left-hander who also knits left-handed, new techniques can be a little... hard to learn. Thankfully I came across a video showing how to do this cast on as a left hander, and I'm eternally grateful because there is NO WAY I could have done this without a video. Yikes.

The left mitt.
The left mitt.

Also, one mitt ended up larger than the other because I switched up my stranding method after finishing the first one. Since the difference isn't really noticable, I won't redo them. I'm too happy with them to ever want to frog them, anyway! Now, I just need to block them...

Great Bay 5k race recap

I recall thinking, after running the Great Island 5k two weeks ago, that I'd need to postpone my dreams of a sub-30 minute 5k to 2014, as no way could I run a fast (for me) 5k so soon after my ankle healing.

After yesterday's race, that goal is alive and well.

I awoke yesterday morning to below freezing temperatures. 28 degrees? Really? I pulled on a pair of tights I haven't worn since the early spring and added a long sleeved shirt, and brought along my brand new Great Island 5k hat to keep myself warm before the race.

Great Bay 5k!
Ready for some fall racing!

The race started just after 9am, and while I felt cold when I started, I didn't feel terrible. I didn't feel terrible during the entire race, honestly. I kept at a steady pace of about 9:50 for the first two miles, and picked it up to about a 9:20 pace for the last mile. I couldn't believe how good I felt during the race, especially since I haven't been training and I sure haven't been running very consistently the last month and a half.

As I rounded the corner to the finish, I noticed my time and realized I could possibly finish the 5k in under 30 minutes. With the last .1 of a mile to go, I sped up, hoping to reach my goal. Even though I felt tired, I seriously hauled toward the finish.

I finished the race, and I glanced at my watch.


It wasn't sub 30, but it was a new PR. I looked again in disbelief. After my 34 minute 5k just two weeks ago, I finish this one in 30? I couldn't believe it.

Great Bay 5k splits
My splits.

I'm signed up for two more 5ks before the end of the year. I am so close to a sub-30 5k. I can do this.

Great Island 5k race recap

Great Island 5k
I love running in the fall.

First 5k since July? Check. First 5k since my injury? Double check. First time I've run more than 2 miles since September 17th? Yes. Triple check.

Today I ran the Great Island 5k in New Castle, NH. Some of my training runs take place on the road from Portsmouth to New Castle, so I'm familiar with some of the roads through this tiny town.

Great Island 5k - Portsmouth
Portsmouth scenery.

I stressed out about this race today, because I only started running again last Sunday. I ran only twice this past week - Sunday and Tuesday, and I only ran about 20 minutes each day to ease back into running. So, yeah. Wasn't sure how today would go.

Of course, I was fine. I got to the race 10 minutes before start time, lined up, ran, finished. Enjoyed the beautiful ocean views and inhaled sweet salt air. I ran a very slow 34:22, my slowest 5k time this year, but my ankle didn't bother me. That's what counts, and that's what rocked.

What wasn't so great? The walk to and from the race itself! I walked from my apartment to the start, and, well, it's a 3 mile walk. So, yeah. 3 mile walk to the race, the 3.1 mile race, then another 3 mile walk back home. 9 miles may not be much for some people, but I, not having trained to travel 9 miles by foot, am feeling it now. Beer and knitting? To the rescue!

Great Island 5k - fall colors
Bright fall leaves!

Though I wasn't exactly a speed demon today, I enjoyed this race so much. This is my first time running a race in the fall, before the leaves fall off the trees, so I appreciated the beauty as I ran. Plus, I always love seeing families running together! This race didn't feel super competitive, and I enjoyed taking it easy.

I'm happy about today.

Hot Chocolate Run 2012 Race Recap!

So, I've had a pretty exciting past few days - I finish NaNoWriMo, then I run a 5k, and not only any 5k, but a 5k with hot chocolate at the end!

Hot Chocolate Run 2012 mug art

This past autumn, my sister told me about the Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage, an annual run in Northampton, Massachusetts, to benefit Safe Passage, an organization addressing domestic violence in the county in which I grew up. The run sounded attractive to me - who doesn't like hot chcoolate? - but I wasn't sure how well I'd be running, especially in December. My sister kept on talking about it, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it, so last month, I signed up! (To ready myself, I also signed up for a Turkey Trot here in New Hampshire to practice, and I did pretty well there, too. Surprise, I ran another 5k a week and a half ago!)

I'm going to be honest. I haven't been running as much as I should. After my 5k in May, I majorly slacked on running multiple times a day. I enjoy running, but I haven't become committed enough to it that I'm doing it on a regular basis. I want this to change, and running more often will be a huge goal of mine in 2013. I'm working on putting my goals / resolutions together, and running will be a major part of them.

However, I still did fine on race day. Ted came to cheer me on, of course, as did my mother, sister, brother in law, and niece! It wasn't too chilly, maybe in the mid to upper 30s, but I felt warm enough in a short sleeved shirt, warm long sleeved shirt, and waterproof jacket. I DO need to buy better pants, as the ones I wore I bought maybe 7 years ago to go to the gym back in the day. I so need a running pants upgrade.

I started waaaaay in the back, around the 11:45 minute mile pace cards. I hope one day I can line up closer to the start! I couldn't really hear the race begin from where I stood, but my family stood right at the start / finish and took great pictures.

Hot Chocolate Run 2012 - runners

Ted took the above picture of the start. The guy in the red with the insect looking helmet (someone tells me this guy's dressed up like Deadmaus - yeah, I'm officially old...) came in second place!

I finally got to the start four minutes after the race began. Then, I ran! I was amazed at all the people lining the streets. I hit a huge hill right at the start but it wasn't an issue. At the top of the hill a high school band played, cheering us on! the amount of people floored me. 5,500 people raced that day, far more than in either of the other races I ran.

I ran and ran and ran, and hit mile 1 without having to stop to walk! I've been able to run the entire first mile in every race I've participated in, but can't ever do it when I'm training on my own. I conk out after four minutes. Must be adrenaline.

Hot Chocolate Run 2012 - view from the run

The stretch between mile 1 and mile 2 felt the longest, but I still pressed onward. I didn't stop to walk for long at all, maybe about 30-45 seconds, and started booking it again. We were running through a residential neighborhood and a house played the Rocky theme song to pump us up. It worked, and I kept on going!

Mile 2 brought us through Smith College and a few big hills! I ran them for the most part, only stopping to walk for about 15 seconds each time. A few people around me started telling others around them that "after the hills, it's all downhill from here", which made me giggle. Running's the only time when saying things are all downhill from here is a good thing!

Hot Chocolate Run 2012 - costumes

My family saw so many people wearing cool costumes while watching people finish. They saw this couple wearing full on polar bear and penguin suits! They must have been so hot!

Hot Chocolate Run 2012 - Tuba

They also spotted this guy running with a tuba around him. I can't even imagine. Looks like he was actually playing it, too, which is even more impressive. (And yes, all these people finished before me...)

Hot Chocolate Run 2012 - Tuba close up

He was having so much fun!

Sure enough, the last part of the course was ALL downhill. I loved it. As we drew closer to the end, more people lined the streets and music played! Feeling confident and happy, I picked up my pace a little bit as I rounded the corner to the finish.

Hot Chocolate Run 2012 - finishing

I saw my family waiting for me right before I crossed the finish line, so I smiled and waved to them before I booked it to the end! In previous races I haven't felt so hot when I got to the end, but I felt GREAT this day. I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face. Crossing the finish line's the best. feeling. ever.

I made my way through the massive crowds to get my hot chocolate. Once I procured the sweet, delicious liquid, I made my way back to my family. I checked the race results while I finished my hot chocolate, and I did about as well as I had done in my two previous 5ks: I finished in 35:35 with a pace of 11:28. I've finished all three of the 5ks I've run in about 35 minutes, so I'm really hoping to improve on that time once I start running more often. Still, I'm proud of myself for still doing a decent job, even without really training much.

I loved this race and hope to go out to western MA next year and do it again!

NaNoWriMo 2012!!!

So, guess who's doing NaNoWriMo this year after taking a three year break?

Nanowrimo 2012!

That's right! I've broken out one of my two NaNoWriMo shirts, found a rockin' text editor (I'm LOVING byword for writing!), and banged out my 2000+ words for the day! I'm pretty pumped! Exclamation points!!!

I've been doing NaNoWriMo since 2002, and I've finished in 2003, 2006, and 2008. I've written and finished in Bloomington and South Bend, Indiana, and this time I'm looking to finish a novel in New Hampshire! As you can tell, I'm very excited about the prospect!

I am hoping to keep either this blog or my twitter updated with my progress, but I may be too busy writing to keep up with things.

For any of my fellow NaNo-ers, good luck! You can do it!

Runner's Alley / Red Hook 5K!

So, I ran a 5K yesterday!

My first 5k!

Words can't describe how great I feel after the race yesterday. Crossing that finish line was one of the best feelings ever, and I'm proud of myself for being able to run 3.1 miles without giving up. Seriously, today's race has me PUMPED and ready for more!

I discovered I LOVE LOVE LOVE running with so many people on the road at the same time. LOVE it. I love reading people's funny shirts, hearing bits of music from other's headphones, and listening to others encourage each other to keep it up and keep on going! I also kind of loved people cheering for us on the sidelines. Talk about motivation!

I loved it so much that I didn't even compare myself to the other runners around me (Am I running too slow? How's my breathing? OH NO that stroller is going faster than me!), so I rocked the first mile and didn't have to stop to walk until after the first mile marker. This made me happy. I felt strong the next two miles, too, though I had to stop to walk for 15 second intervals a few times. I started getting tired at the end, but I made sure to reserve some energy to run to the finish!

Oh, the finish. As soon as I rounded the corner, people cheered me on! I started feeling very nauseous as I was finishing, but I focused on the line in front of me and running to the finish. I felt SO proud of myself as I crossed the finish line. SO PROUD. Ted finished a few seconds after me; he rocked his, as well!

Place: 1525/2038
Division: 283/398
Time: 35:04 (YAY!!)
Pace: 11:17

So, not the fastest run ever, but still. It's MY fastest run ever. A few months ago I couldn't run ONE mile, much less 3.1, so I'm proud of myself.

After we finished, we partook in the goodness that is free beer (after pounding a whole lot of water, of course). Oh, yes. We definitely earned this beer today.

Beer after my first 5k

I am SO EXCITED about running. I want to go and sign up for ALL THE RACES now. Seriously. I'm looking forward to running many more 5Ks this summer and hopefully sign up for a 10K this fall! I'm very happy with how I did and look forward to doing even better in the future!


Dad and I at my graduation

My father passed away late at night on March 19th, 2012, due to complications from his quadriplegia. It's still pretty surreal, writing this post, as I figured he had much more time after his accident two years ago than he had

. . . . . .

I remember the last six months before his accident, the first six months I spent back in New England after moving from Indiana, as some of the best months with him I can remember. I drove out to western MA for cookouts with the family, went whitewater rafting for the first time and spent so much time laughing, and spent New Year's Eve with my family going to the movies and eating finger foods as the ball dropped.

White water rafting

My dad was positive, worked hard, and loved his job. He instilled in me a passion to find a job I love and to enjoy my life every day. He never minded taking phone calls on vacation, or helping people when he was off work. He made friends wherever he went, and he helped me get my first full time job as a web developer by striking up a conversation on the golf course with my eventual boss.

Dad at the Cape

He loved golf more than he loved his job. He spent all his free time either at the course or perfecting his swing at home. He subscribed to multiple golfing magazines and watched golf on television as much as he could. He constantly bought and sold his clubs on Ebay, wanting to try the next big thing.

My father lived a life full of passion and hard work. He moved up in his career from a bagger at a grocery store to a district director in the same chain. (He was actually MY district director for a little bit of time when I worked at the grocery store in high school and college!) He understood the value of hard work, determination, and being personable. I always felt proud to tell him about my jobs and the people I met there.

Dad on Lieutenant Island

Dad loved the Cape. He'd take us boogie boarding on the Atlantic side of the island and we'd take walks to the bridge with our dog, Chewy. He loved going to the flea market and seeing movies at the drive-in. He loved the time he spent with us

. . . . . .

He would have liked his funeral. My brother stood up and said a few words and shared a few stories about my father in a ceremony remembering and celebrating his life. We played a few songs by some of his favorite artists; a song by Chicago, "I'll Remember" by Madonna, "Shower the People" by James Taylor, and, the ultimate tearjerker, "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin. (That song makes me cry when I'm NOT at a funeral.) So many people came to the ceremony and so many tears were shed. My family and I were touched by all the people choosing to celebrate his life with us.

Dad and I at IU

I'll miss my father. I still can't believe he's gone.