Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rubbish Running!

The last couple of weeks have been quite a challenge as my heart really hasn't been in my running at all. My training has been OK, but lacklustre. Last weekend I ran a decent 10 miler on Saturday and a 20 miler on Sunday and I should have done it again this weekend. Did I? No, no, no! My head really was not in the zone, so much so that after 10 miles today I abandoned the idea and headed for home. Now, instead of tapering (that's cutting back on my mileage) ahead of the Beachy Head marathon at the end of October I shall have to do it next weekend. Hey ho.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Changing my photo!

Today sees the launch of the latest Guinness Book of World Records so I thought it would be a good time to change my profile photo to remind me of it! I haven't received my copy yet but as soon as I do I shall be organising an auction on eBay to sell the scarf, certificate and book to raise money for the Alzheimer's Research Trust which was why I did it in the first place.

I have tried and tried but I can't get this photo into my profile. Grrrrrr. Any suggestions most welcome!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A little bit of crochet, a fingerless mitten and an abandoned project

I've been busy playing with ideas this past week and having a rummage in my stash. I came across 2 balls of Rooster aran weight yarn that I got from Laughing Hens last year. They make a lively colour combination so I thought I'd just do a few granny squares to use them up together. Here's what I've done so far. I love doing them as a break from knitting as they work up so quickly and are easy to do whilst watching TV. Here are 3 I've completed so far and I've probably got enough yarn for a couple more. They aren't blocked yet but have quite a good shape.

I was using this book, 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans for ideas. It really is a super book and I've had it for ages and not used it. If course, now I've started I want to keep on with them so I'll have to see if I've got any more aran yarn lurking.

Here's the first of Mike's fingerless mittens. The pattern is from the Rowan magazine 40 and is for the Ana Fingerless Mittens but I have altered it slightly as they were way too long. The yarn is Rowan Kid Classic and is lovely and soft to work with and will keep him toasty warm on winter walks. I like the longer length as you can wear them scrunched up around the wrist.

Barney is lying on a project I have abandoned because I just don't like it! It was a boxy cardigan full of pattern (cable, diamonds and textured bits) but it simply doesn't show up well enough in the dark chocolate colour to justify the work so I've cut my losses and undone the 2 front pieces and given the back to Barney as a blankie for my office. He doesn't seem to care that the pattern doesn't show up!

Friday, September 7, 2007

A New Project

When I got an email from The Woolly Workshop telling me there were new goodies in store it would have been rude not to go and look. Unfortunately I am unable to just look and I bought this scarf pattern and yummy yarn to knit a scarf for my friend's birthday. A couple of row markers seem to have jumped into my cart too!

I'm just about to re-visit a WIP from earlier this year - the second fingerless mitt I was knitting for Mike.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

At Last!

I've finally finished the second glove. Hallelujah! I have learnt so much doing these and the second one fits me much better than the first as I had the confidence to ignore the pattern instructions and amend them to fit my chunky little hands.

There are a couple of things I would change - the way the fingers are finished (I don't like the lumpiness of the 8 stitches drawn together and will look for another method for future use) and the severity of the thumb shaping. If you look at the right hand thumb you will see what it looked like when I followed the instructions and it looks quite pointed. On the left hand I changed the shaping and I think it looks much better. So much so that I am going to rip the right hand thumb and do it like the left. No sooner said than done I had chopped off the offending thumb ready for re-shaping. It's finished now but I won't bore you with another photo!

My tension also has changed between the 2 gloves. On the first one it was much looser whilst I got used to the 2 handed FairIsle technique. I haven't blocked them yet so they still look a bit lumpy but overall I am very pleased.

Barney was getting bored by all the typing.........

Whilst Tinker waited patiently. Bless!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Kent Coastal Marathon

Here I go again, another month, another marathon. I just don't seem able to help myself at the moment. It's only 6 weeks since I ran the 50 miler so I've still got a good level of fitness and it seemed a shame to waste it. Which is why when Sharon and Mark (who also ran the 50) from Runners World mentioned that there was a marathon over on the Isle of Thanet it seemed rude not to go along. So that's where I was today.

The event was organised by the Thanet Road Runners and was a coastal route going from Margate to Broadstairs and then back in a figure of eight loop. Mike and I haven't been to Margate for about 7 years - we used to go there each year with the Lady Taverners when we used to take disadvantaged children to Dreamland, a fun fair that was in the centre of Margate. It is also the place where Tracey Emin, the artist, grew up.

Although it is only about 55 miles from where we live, it is a slow route so I had to be up bright and early for the 9:30am start; 5:30am to be precise! I managed to park quite close to the finish line and arrived soon after 9am. The first person I saw was Mark who came over to say 'hi' then I went and said a quick hello to Sharon who was busy at the registration desk. I met Chestfield Bill briefly. It's always nice to put a face to a name that you see on-line.

I was just trying to get my camera out of my back pocket when I managed to detach the zip-pull. This meant that the contents of my pocket could fall out when I was running so I had to try to secure it with a safety pin. As the pocket was in the middle of the back of my shorts this was not easy and there wasn't time to go to the loo to sort it out so I had to contort myself to get the pin in. As I was twisting round in this rather undignified position someone tapped me on the shoulder - it was George, who I'd seen at the 50 miler. Although he had completed the full 50 miles he had never done a 26.2 mile marathon before. Moreover, he only started running last October in order to lose weight (which he most certainly has) so he has done amazingly well.

The upshot of the pocket debacle is that it was too awkward for me to take any photos en-route so the pictorial element is quite limited.

Next person I met was Cliff who was acting as the sweeper, making sure that all the runners at the back were OK. I had seen him at the 50 miler too and it was nice to meet him properly. Unfortunately he won't be able to do the 50 next year as the date has been moved to August and he will be on holiday then. The next time I saw him was towards the end of the race and he was running along with the last person, who was 4 behind me. I'm hoping to see him again at the Beachy Head marathon at the end of October.

The route for the half marathon and full marathon was the same for the first half so there were lots of people around. First of all we headed out along the coast towards Broadstairs. The sea looked amazing with the sun sparkling on the water and little boats bobbing around. The beaches are sandy and there were lots of families out there enjoying themselves. In the distance I could see large ships and there were several jet skis charging backwards and forwards. The coastline has several Bays which you can read about here. At one point someone shouted "Last time I saw you, you were wearing balloons!" and I looked round to see a man I'd seen at the South Downs marathon on my birthday when I'd been carrying my birthday balloon. Sadly, I don't know his name.

Overlooking Viking Bay, Bleak House was the home of Charles Dickens, who visited Broadstairs on many occasions. It was here that he wrote David Copperfield. Towards the 6 mile mark the route moved away from the coastline and went through a couple of the little streets in Broadstairs which was rather quaint. It actually reminded me of Rye and had a lovely feel to it and I'd like to go back and have a proper look. Here's some more information about Broadstairs.

It was very hot for the first half and I slowed my pace accordingly, reaching the halfway mark in 2:30. The route then went out past Margate, again along the coast, past multi-coloured beach huts and many tourists, along a concrete path which I found quite hard on my feet. The other thing I'd found difficult in the earlier section was running on pavements - as we live out in the sticks we don't have them and I found jumping on and off the kerb quite tiring! Then it happened, I lost my mental focus at mile 15 or thereabouts and I really didn't want to continue and I took a walk break. It's the first time I've ever seriously considered not carrying on in a marathon and I had a real struggle to keep going. I have no idea how it crept up on me but it took 3 miles before I regained control and settled back into it. Then it was just a case of keeping going until the end. The marshalls were all lovely and really encouraging. Sometimes we runners forget what an important role they play in our enjoyment of a race.

As the course was a loop I got to see all the faster runners heading for home which was nice. I called out 'well done' to everyone as they went past and most of them reiterated (with the exception of the sub 3 hour runners who made no acknowledgement whatsoever!). At one point I passed Scotty who I haven't seen at a race for several years and we shouted hello to eachother in passing.

Just to prove what a difference mental attitude makes, I'd been dragging my heels for several miles until I got to Mile 25 where there was a hill. I ran up it without hesitating! As I approached the finish line Sharon spotted me and came running over and the little crowd of die-hard supporters gave me lots of applause and cheers. Little things like that really make a difference when you're a slow runner like me and I was really grateful. I'd targetted 5:30 because of the heat and got home in 5:37 so wasn't disappointed. That was my 10th marathon and my 6th this year. Who says you should take it easy when you reach 50!!!!!!!

I really love the colour of this tee shirt. I thought this marathon was excellent value for money and was a fun event. I'm glad I did it as I usually go for off-road marathons, with the exception of London, so it made a pleasant change.

Here's the rather nice medal we received which will be joining my collection.