TAPER Time!

A week today and I will have finished the London Marathon (fingers crossed). It will leave a big empty hole in my life. 16 + weeks of build up, the culmination and then ……The running will obviously continue (as long as no injury occurs) but hopefully there will be a bit more time left for crafting. In reality however I suspect work will quickly fill any gap left.

The journey so far has been amazing. I have ‘met’ and conversed with a lot of amazing people on social media. I am already a completely different person (better obviously ;)). I have also learnt an awful lot more about running than I would have ever believed possible. I suspect I will learn an awful lot more about me next week!

As for this week: TAPER Time.

 

 

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To be precise I have really been on taper for the last couple of weeks. This means that my running mileage reduces right down having been ridiculously high (nearly 40 miles Easter week). The longest runs were 12 and 10 miles during the last couple of weeks.  It is a bit of shock to think that 12 miles is now considered to be a short run! For this last week I have only a couple of gentle runs to do. Nothing long. Nothing fast. The idea behind this is to allow your body to recover and replenish all the stores of glycogen so that you get to the start line in tip-top condition (well as best as is humanly possible!)

All the training is done. Nothing more can be done on the running side (eeek!). I can however rest and eat well. This week I shall be going to bed early (for me that will probably mean 8 O’clock!), trying to drink more than normal (water obviously) and eat well. Towards the end of the week I will be increasing my carbs.

I have prepared well:

Chocolate and carrot cake!

Chocolate and carrot cake!

The only problem is trying to stop everyone else eating these before I can get to them!

The down side to this tapering is the side effects:

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We are used to running. Not being able to run is hard on the mind. You are aware of any minute aches and pains, convincing yourself that you have an injury or illness that will completely scupper your marathon plans. Add nerves to this and well….lets just say it will probably not be very pleasant for my poor family.

At least it is short-lived! In case you are wondering I have booked a few races for after the marathon just to give me something to aim for.

 

Thanks for reading. Sorry for babbling on about running, AGAIN!

Just look how far I have come!

Have I told you that I am running the London Marathon? I thought so ;) It is now approaching very fast. In fact 2 weeks today. (eek!)

This is it. The medal that I shall be getting. How awesome is that?

Today has been one of those days where I have realised how amazing the journey has been and just how far I have come. I would go so far as to say that Sunday the 25th April will (hopefully) be the end of a journey of at least 7 years and probably more. I knew it would be emotional but that doesn’t really cover it. I would go so far as to say that I am a completely different person.

I have been very lucky for many reasons:

1.Initially I was very lucky to find the people who helped me overcome the worst of post natal depression  (maybe they found me!) My health visitor was amazing, supporting me and finding the help that I needed. One of these people was a former sufferer herself who gave me a lot of her time. Again a truly amazing individual who without, I would not be where I am today. This lovely lady also encouraged me to take up knitting again which has truly been a life line.

2. I was lucky enough to get a ballet place for the London Marathon on my first ever attempt. I decided that if I was going to do this then I wanted to use the opportunity to raise some money. My decision was pivotal in so many ways . It gave me the opportunity to share my experiences about my post natal depression to a wider audience and hopefully help other people to remove to seek help .

3. I wasn’t well enough to run the marathon last year so had to defer, which may not appear to be good at first. It was very hard at the time but a year later and I can see the benefits of this:

a) I have been able to ‘socialize’ with an amazing group of people through Facebook. These people are truly amazing. They are all running for MIND and have their own stories to tell. They have made me laugh and cry but above all have been amazingly inspirational. I am going to miss these people.

 

 

 

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b) Through this group I have found the strength to come off my medication. It is early days but their stories and experiences have convinced me that I have got the strength and can do it.

4. I am happy with who I am and I no longer worry what other people think. This is a truly amazing feeling for me who spent a lot of my life being sorry and trying to conform to what I thought other people were like.

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The journey has been hard. There have been times, even this year when I thought I wouldn’t be able to run the marathon due to health reasons (asthma). I do know that I am going to find the 26.2 miles really, really, really tough going. I will however do it whether I have to walk, shuffle or crawl around. When the times get hard I will remember why I am doing it and where it has allowed me to get to. I am and will always be very grateful for the opportunities the whole experience that I have been lucky enough to have.

Should you wish to donate then this is the link. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Knitnrun4sanity

I also have a competition going. For minimum donation of £4 if I have to post, £2 if not to go towards Mind. Guess how long it will take me to run the London marathon. The winner will receive a bespoke bracelet like the one below in any colour you choose. Times range from 3 hours to 6 hours and 22 mins (each hour has .12, .24, .36 and .48). Simply donate on my page http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Knitnrun4sanity and let me know the time you would like. 

bracelet

 

 

 

Leggings

I have been so busy crafting there has been very little time for blogging! I do now have a lot to share with you now. :) The first thing that I am going to share with you is the first item of clothing that I have made recently (ie the last 20 odd years!):

The 'finished' leggings.

The ‘finished’ leggings.

I have put finished in inverted commas because they are not finished (the ends are not sewn in etc).

To be honest I struggled with these. The leggings above are actually the second pair I attempted as the first were even worse!

I am not going to share the pattern that I used with you because I don’t want to mislead you. I am absolutely sure that there is nothing wrong with the pattern and everything wrong with me. I know this because I have since successfully made another pattern from the same source!

Although I have said that the fault lays with me I have got some excuses. The first, (and probably the main) is the material that I have used. Being meant for working out it needs to be stretchy – in 4 different ways. This in itself comes with its own problems:

Can you see the puckering just behind the side seem?

Can you see the puckering just behind the side seam?

This (so I believe) is a result of me over stretching the material as I sewed it.

Having since made another exercise piece I now think that the material I used for this project was not as good quality as I would ideally have liked. I bought this over the internet which meant that I couldn’t actually feel it before I bought it. It seems quite thin. Maybe I am clutching at straws and simply making excuses?

I also think that I was maybe a bit ambitious with this project as my first one for many, many years. Sewing with stretchy material is not quite as easy as using something like cotton that will not move as you sew it. Before you ask, yes I did tack all the seams to minimise the movement as much as I can.

I will however, be making this project again as I will not be beaten ;) I just need to find the right material.

A summer top

I promised something other than running…..here it is:

A top I made myself.

A top I made myself.

I can honestly say that it is unique. I got the material from a website called spoonflower. It is an amazing site that allows you to make up your own material by uploading your own patterns onto it. I chose this fabric because….well because it is turquoise.

I chose the jersey option (there are many). I did make a few adjustments to the pattern:

I took the sides in to make it a more fitted top.

I took the sides in to make it a more fitted top.

I know get me! I enjoyed playing with my new machine (borrowed) using a stretch stitch that prevents the material from fraying and joins all in one go.

I then cut the excess off.

I then cut the excess off.

The only thing that I would change is to add some interfacing to the hem to prevent the slight stretch that has occurred. I don’t think that it is that noticeable though.

I have to say that I really like the longer length!

I have to say that I really like the longer length!

I am hoping that spring is on its way so that I can wear this soon. :)

 

 

 

 

 

Running For You

My husband writes, performs and records songs. Not something that I have shared with you before but he has done something pretty amazing; he has written a song to help raise funds for MIND (the charity that I have chosen to support. For reasons why see here and here). I am so grateful to him because I have been rubbish at raising any money at all this year.

We decided to ask other people who are running for MIND to submit photographs of themselves to make a video as this way it would give them an opportunity to ask people for sponsorship in a different way and therefore hopefully raise more money.

I am lucky. I chose to raise money for mind despite getting a place through the ballot. This means that I haven’t pledged to raise a huge amount of money in return for my place. The flip side to this is that I raised money last year but this year I have not done nearly as well. I am just not comfortable asking the same people for money again, especially when I didn’t actually do anything last year.

Anyway – enough of my  words:

Here it is:

Did you spot the panel I made last year?

Next time I promise to not write about running. I have 2 things that I have sewed to share.

Have fun. x

Downs and ups.

I have been hiding, again. Stupid I know but there are times when hiding is the only way I can cope. Fortunately I have come out the other side and am now able to explain all. …..

 

 

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2 weeks ago was the Cambridge half marathon. It is fair to say that this is my least favourite race for many reasons:

1. The first year I ran it I fell over and cut my knees.

2. The next year it snowed and I had an asthma attack.

3. The following year I had not recovered sufficiently from a chest infection and hated every step.

I have finished every year but for a race that is in my local city and a beautiful scenic one at that  it is far from top of my list. This year would be different though, wouldn’t it?

NO!

On the Wednesday before I got a sore throat! I increased my intake of vitamin c, had early nights and tried to be sensible. By Saturday my asthma was beginning to play up but I convinced myself it was only asthma therefore the below the neck rule was not applicable. (The general rule when running is that if you have symptoms above the neck you are OK to run. Below then not.) I woke up Saturday to a lovely sunny morning. Deep down I knew that I probably shouldn’t be running but I needed to get the miles in.

The first half was fine. I kept to 10 minute miles and was happy to plod along. The atmosphere was good, the weather was good and I was going to take it easy. All was great until about half way. I took my inhaler, once, twice and a few more times. I eventually had to walk a bit, and then a bit more. By now I was not feeling so great. The crowds were lovely and encouraging, as were the marshalls but there was no escaping that I was feeling rough.

As I looped back through the city centre for the second time I began to look forward to the next fuel stop – water and gels. Unfortunately there were no more gels….OK I can live without those but the killer was the water. They had run out of water and so were offering runners discarded bottles with the lids taken off. Ummm thanks but no thanks!

By this time I knew that even if I walked I would get round and so I kept plodding on. A puff of the blue inhaler every other step or so!

I did complete it, in 2 hours and 20 mins which is OK but my slowest ever time. The worst bit was that I felt no elation at the end at all. I literally had nothing left. I felt no elation, no achievement or even relief.

The medal however, never fails to impress.

The medal however, never fails to impress.

I got home and slept. The next couple of days were horrible. My asthma was bad and my mood rock bottom. I honestly thought that all dreams of the marathon were over. I saw a doctor who, much to my relief did say that it was only asthma and not an infection and there was nothing else I could do. I plodded on. Disrupted sleep, lots of coughing and generally feeling low.

A week later I went back to the doctor, a different one this time. He was very sympathetic and gave me some steroids. He also said that I could run although it would not be very pleasant for me. I would do no harm. Thank goodness for that. (Deep down I think that I had blamed myself for being stupid and running when I shouldn’t have.)

The difference the steroids have made is amazing. I can breathe! As I can breathe I have energy. I can smile, laugh and am actually living rather than existing. On day 2 of the steroids I went to running club. I felt so much better than I had dared hope! The next day I managed to run 16 miles in 3 blocks. (It was the only way I could fit it in.) 6 miles at 6am, 7 miles in the pm after work and before pick up and then 3 after pick up. The boost to my confidence that this gave me was immense.

It seems that my marathon journey is still on! I have come out of hiding. I can now participate in Facebook and twitter discussions about running without wanting to curl up and cry. There is still plenty of time for injury and illness to strike again but for now, my dream is alive.

Thank you for reading my moans. xxx

A different way of cutting

Did I tell that I have recently had a birthday? Birthdays means treats and this year it meant that I finally got my hands on:

A rotary cutter

A rotary cutter

I first heard about this about a year ago. I was not convinced until I tried to cut out lycra. It was not easy as the material is so stretchy and slippery.

As you can see I have finally managed to get around to having a play.

Lets just say I love it. It is so sharp, it cuts through the 2 layers of lycra with ease. I am able to cut accurately as the material stays flat on the table, you just run the blade around the edge of the pattern. No lifting, stretching or moving.

The only slight issue that I had was not meeting up at the corners quite, leaving the piece joined to the main material.

IMG_1254Can you see on the top right? This is easy enough to rectify – you just chop it but it is a bit annoying!

When done properly this is all you are left with - a clear hole in the shape of the peice.

When done properly this is all you are left with – a clear hole in the shape of the piece.

Oh and you can see how it also cuts through the paper pattern a bit too! ;)

As to what I am making …..more on that another time. I simply didn’t get enough done to show you today.