Joanne to the rescue

For those of you who know that we have half term here you may well be wondering why I haven’t written more posts. The simple answer is that I did but I am struggling with WordPress. It seems to not save everything. Anyone else having these issues?

Anyway back to the point of this post. My lovely friend Joanne came to my rescue this week. I had really lost all mojo when it came to yarn related projects. Luckily I knew she was just THE person to sort me out. After Christmas I had picked up this lovely yarn in the sale:

It is Rowan Sock yarn.

It is Rowan Sock yarn.

The first obvious place to start is with socks. We logged onto Ravelry and started searching. I really liked the look of these:

beauty shot Skew by Lana Holden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really like these and will probably make them one day. We then saw these:

beauty shot

Wraptor 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The thing about these socks that really appeal is the unusual way the stripes go across the socks. Definitely on the to-do list but not quite right for now.

We then went onto shawls and found the one.

It is Miss Winkle by Martina Behlm. This is a lovely pattern that is easy but the hoops along the edge add that bit of interest. Perfect for those evenings where I am really tired and need something to take my mind off the events of the day.

Joanne being Joanne bought the pattern right there and then. She then popped home to get her winder so I could wind the skein and get going straight away. How lucky am I? I am very, very grateful and look forward to the next couple of weeks. Thank you lovely.

Stop Running and Stop Panicking!

This post is for all those of you out there suffering from running related injuries. I know that there are a lot of you. I also understand how you are feeling but this post will hopefully make you feel a lot better and slightly more optimistic about any events coming up.

Source

On Christmas eve I agreed to doing a run that I shouldn’t have done. As you all know, the run up to Christmas is a busy time so runs had become the barest minimum. With a 10k race coming up on New Years eve I was keen to try to build my confidence.

On Sunday I ran a 10k

6..21 mi

Distance

8:57 min/mi

Avg Pace

55:35

Time

I was more than happy with that. My downfall really came when I agreed to run a paced run on Christmas eve with a friend.
6.21 mi
Distance
8:57 min/mi
Avg Pace

55:35
Time

I had pain from the beginning but I pushed through…….BIG mistake. From that day on it hurt when I walked. The next few days were horrid as I came to terms with what I had stupidly done. I knew that rest was a good idea. I tried anti inflammatories. I googled it (never to be advised). Finally I consulted a physio. I wanted answers now and I wanted to do it properly as I have a marathon to train for! If you haven’t read the diagnosis then you can here.

It was three weeks before I put on my trainers again. I did do swimming, rowing and biking as I need to get those endorphins from somewhere but nothing is quite like running. :(

On the 14th January I took the executive decision that I could run/walk a couple of miles. I was very careful as I had not had the official go ahead from the physio so definitely did more walking than running but all felt good.

Source

The next day I got the all clear to go ahead and walk/run :) This is what I did:

3.08 mi
Distance
9:53 min/mi
Avg Pace

30:28
Time

All still felt fine. I then did some more run/walks until finally on the 21st January I finally ran 3 miles, 5 weeks after my final run.
3.00 mi
Distance
9:10 min/mi
Avg Pace

27:31
Time

Look at the pace – not too shabby at all. I have now run 40 miles since then, gradually increasing the miles each week. (With a week off running due to a cold I might add!)

Last week I ran 8 miles in one go which is the furthest that I have run this year BUT and the best bit is that I did it in an average pace of 9.50 which I don’t think is too bad at all. The last time that I ran 8 miles pre injury was December the 8th and the average pace was 9.38.

So my purpose in writing this is that despite having had a total of 4 weeks out of 7 off running, my overall pace has not dropped anywhere as near as much as I expected. If anything I feel stronger than before. My body has had a bit of a rest, the pressure has been taken off me and I am enjoying running more than ever. Everytime I go out I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to go for a run.

lucky running

Original picture from here.

So if you have an injury my advice would be to cross train and to give it the rest it needs to repair itself. Your body will not go back to being a beginner runner overnight. All those miles and training really do count. So stop panicking and give your body the time it needs. Your body will definitely thank you for it.

Source

As for me I am continuing to add-on the miles as I build up for the London Marathon which I am running for Mind. To read my story click here. To donate click here.

Nothing to see here

Unfortunately the title says it all. As I said in the last post I was a bit unwell last week which meant normal activities was enough for me. That, along with a family birthday this weekend has left very little time for sewing or knitting. :(

The time that I had to sew has been spent trying to get a twin needle to work. I was left with this:

As you can see, I wasn't successful.

As you can see, I wasn’t successful.

The knitting has not been going well either as I needed to be able to concentrate. The illness has meant no running has taken place either.

With a busy week ahead at work I doubt that I will have much to report on. I fear I may be a bit quiet this week. The only upside is that my breathing is returning to normal so I may just be able to get back running again which is just as well as the marathon is getting closer and closer.

I hope you all have a happy week and that I have something to report soon :)

My up and down running week

I am pleased to report that my new trainers have been getting a few outings. My ankle / Achilles has, so far been OK. I managed to complete 4 runs last week YAY. The pace was one that I am more than happy with considering the 3 weeks or so enforced rest I had.

And then…..this week I have managed to get a cold :( I am so worried about getting another chest infection ( as last year) that I am being very cautious. Early bed-times, limiting the amount of work completed (I have the type of job where the work is never, ever completed), taking in plenty of fruit and veg as well as doing a bit of socializing etc. Unfortunately life does continue; children need ferrying, work continues and the house needs to be ‘kept under-control’. Add into the mix a husband with ‘man flu’ and a child poorly an easy week is not that easy. Fingers crossed that I have done enough.

source

On the plus side:

A visit to the physio resulted in me being allowed more running miles (when I get well) and 2 weeks before my next visit. It was also slightly less painful than the previous week.

 

 

 

Source

I was able to share my love for running with children. There is a cross-country event coming up soon and I volunteered to take them out for a ‘trial’ run. It was great. We did a little warm up, a few laps – with some top tips obviously, and a cool down. It was lovely to see them achieve more than they believed they could. One more outing before the event next week. I feel myself volunteering to run a club before long!

Swatching

I have written about the amazing effect of blocking knitting and crochet before as it opens itself out, giving the stitches the definition that they deserve. I have also written about how important swatching is. Both of these were again underlined to me this week.

This is a swatch I did - before blocking.

This is a swatch I did – before blocking.

During blocking.

During blocking.

The swatch after blocking.

The swatch after blocking.

Looking at the tape measure, you can see that the swatch grew by 2 cm. This was not enough as the swatch was meant to be 13cm square according to the pattern.  I had already gone up a needle size as I know that I knit tightly……

The photographs show that the pattern really opens out post blocking, and the measurements show how important the swatching process is. I have gone up a couple more needle sizes and started again. Imagine how small the top would have been had I not bothered with swatching and blocking!

Progress on the leggings has been a bit slow this week. Too many mistakes and a bit more playing about. When it came to adding the pocket the pattern suggested using a twin needle, something I just couldn’t resist. Not that I know what I am doing. I didn’t even know that they existed before I started playing with the new machines.

The big news is that I still don’t really know what I am doing and have yet to complete this part of the pattern. I have lots of bits of sewing on the oddments of material that I have but nothing on the actual leggings. I did try to but it just wouldn’t work right. I shall have to do some more playing and a bit more research :).

I do now have the ‘back’ to the leggings now:

IMG_1209To go with the front from last week:

IMG_1204(Just proving that they are different!)

As my lovely sister-in-law said – a bit blowy to wear yet! Lets hope that this week is slightly less busy and I get more done!

I did learn some lessons however:

1. Don’t rush – I sewed the pieces together the wrong way around (Shhhh I know!)

2. Don’t sew when tired (see above!)

3. Unpick in daylight (SO much easier and you are less likely to put little holes in the material ;))

So there you have it. Do you have any advice when it comes to using twin needles?

PS: It would appear that I didn’t break the other machine – it must have been the dust that went up in smoke! (Phew!)

The annual pilgramage

On the first Friday of this year I took my ‘annual’ pilgrimage to buy new trainers.  I have put annual in inverted commas because with the miles that I run you should change them more often than that and so always enter the shop knowing that I will get a bit of teasing about the state of the trainers I am wearing.

This year, due to my injury the jokes had started even before I went to the shop. The physio took one look at them and, politely (at first) suggested that I should invest in a new pair.  I can see his point. The soles are worn bare so there is next to no grip. Obviously they were dirty but the worse thing was that any support is probably almost non-existent, hence possibly the injury?

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

These are them when they were new! A bit different don't you think?

These are them when they were new! A bit different don’t you think?

So how often should you change your shoes?

The man in the shop said 300-500 miles which also seems to be the consensus having done a google search.  (ooops I did more like 700!) They do make it clear that it depends on you as an individual. We are all different shapes, sizes and run with our own individual style. One thing to be sure, worn out shoes will probably mean that your body starts to give you niggles.

On my search I did find this handy little shoe tracker to help you keep an eye on how many miles you are running.

How many pairs of running shoes should you have?

Apparently more than one and by this I don’t mean 1 pair for the road and 1 for trail, but 2 pairs that you can rotate between. My husband thinks that I am having him on but there are good reasons for this. There are the obvious ones such as there will always be plenty of time to allow shoes to dry out between wet runs. The gel and foam within your shoes also needs time to recover after a run. If you don’t do this then they will lose their bounce more quickly. It will also mean that you will not find yourself in the situation that I find myself, having a pair that is fit for the bin with another pair that needs breaking in gently. Normally the idea of doing a few short runs is painful for me (it will obviously not be a problem for me as I shall only be doing short distances when I start running again!)

Having two pairs does not mean spending more money than otherwise as they will last the same amount of time or even longer.

Where should you buy your shoes?

I am a great believer in going to proper running shops. Yes they are more expensive but the service I had was excellent. I was filmed on a treadmill wearing neutral shoes and then ones with progressively more support. You might think that once they found a pair that suited me they would sell me those  but no. They found 3. I was then sent outside to run around to see which ones I really liked. The whole experience was lovely. I also got to spend an hour or so talking with someone who really got running and what it means to me.

My shiny new trainers.

My shiny new trainers.

I wonder how long these will look like this? They certainly scream NEW SHOES!