We are fortunate.

I suspect that most folks watching the news in the US is aware of the big Angora Fire burning up in Lake Tahoe. It's been a nasty little bugger - jumping the occasional fire break and generally doing quite a bit of damage.

I heard today that good friends of ours have lost their cabin. It's gone. Burned.

Recognizing that most people are happy to have one home, and that the ability to have a "vacation home" up in a beautiful area is a luxury, it's still absolutely heart-wrenching to hear this news.

We (hubby and me) are also fortunate enough to have a place to get away to on the weekends and I often complain bitterly about having to "throw away" a weekend by spending it raking, hauling and otherwise disposing of deadfall and needles around the property. It's really quite a lot of work and I'm glad to see the back of it when we're done. Let's just say I'll likely complain a bit less when we do the deed next year.

This week has been a really pisser. The death of one of my husband's employees about 7000 miles from home, the death of a colleague's beloved puppy, the loss of dear friend's home - I'm sure hoping that the old saw, "everything comes in threes" is indeed true so that I can be DONE with this mess.

So, all things being equal, I realize that my life is pretty darned good. I'm quite fiercely in love with the man I married, my job is interesting and pays well, I have a group of friends that would give me the shirt off their backs if I needed it and I'm healthy enough to run a marathon. I've traveled, gone to University (twice) and live in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

I won't say that I'll no longer complain or feel "put upon" at times. I will, however, promise that I will step back and realize how lucky I am on a semi-regular basis. Right now, I'm gonna go buy some yarn for a pair of socks and give them to Shawna. I think she needs some cheering-up.

By the way .. I DID IT!

I mentioned in my post last Friday (marking the onslaught of the weekend without knitting - which was true, by the way) that I was about to embark upon an amazing journey. Obviously, based on the title of this post, I was successful. However, I'll go one step farther and say that I learned a lot not only about how to be an Instructor, but also about myself - as a person.

The class was really exhausting, but way more so mentally than physically. We spend the weekend doing impromptu presentations (3 minutes Saturday morning, 6 minutes Saturday afternoon and then 25 minutes on Sunday morning) covering the Laws. I consider myself to be a pretty good speaker, and also an "ok" instructor, so I'm confident that bringing those skills to the class put me on a very firm footing. What I wasn't prepared for was realizing that I am *not* like everyone else.

(Treading carefully, here - they don't call it an ego trip for nothing)

Growing up, I was the smart kid. Yeah, I got 100% on all the tests, blew the curves for the rest of the class, and genuinely ENJOYED learning. School (the academic part, anyway) was really wonderful for me. This was true all the way through high school and even in to the first few years of college. I got a bit dose of reality when I took subjects I really had to study for (this was even more true when I went for my Master's Degree and realized I'd forgot Calculus) but I still knew that book-learnin' just isn't that hard for me.

I just never realized that the same is true for teaching. There were a few people in the class that just clearly didn't get it. Even worse, one of those people had a background that would lead you to believe he should have excelled at this stuff. But honestly, folks just weren't getting it. For me, however, I just was able to sit down and DO this stuff (or stand up, as the case may be). I was confident, smiling, and able to deliver just the message I wanted to deliver - and made people WANT to listen to me. I'd been told before that I'm good at this, I'd just never SEEN it before. Wow.

So, where does this leave me? I'll say that I now feel I have a duty to share this - and also to do more of this. When I was up in front of the class, I was JUICED. It took a lot out of me (amazingly, I'm actually a rather shy person) but it really was fun! Better still, the instructors (one was stellar, the other also needs work) were genuinely excited to get me up in front of students. And, the best part of all - I get to replace some folks that I just KNOW are not very good.

Finally, I'm going to have a real impact on this stuff. Refereeing is such a wonderful thing for me and has given me so much joy (as well as heartbreak, BTW); I'm just tickled to know that I'll have the opportunity to do for some other person what my instructors have done for me.

God - I hope I'm up to it. Actually, I am up to it. Go, me. GO!

O. My. God.

I've been doing it wrong. Wrong! This explains everything. This makes frogging back the whole darned Bella Blouse and the Clapotis ok. I had a feeling that things weren't right, but I didn't understand.

This showed me what the problem was.

I'm a "continental" knitter and it took me a long time to figure out the right way to knit. Turns out that for a long time I was knitting into the back of the loop (ktbl) which made me very confused the first time I hit a "twisted rib". Huh? What do you mean, "back loop". Wierd.

I also did almost everything circularly and with yarn that didn't really let me see the fabric. On this blouse, and with the cotton yarn, it's OBVIOUS that one stitch was twisted. Then again, the same was true with the scarf, but I was in denial (did I mention I'm half way through?!). Then I stumbled on this wonderful blog with a PICTURE!

I'm crushed now that I know I'm wrong. Then again, maybe this is all for the best - but it's certain that I'll be ... slower. Geez. That's not really the kind of help I needed. :-)

I'm gonna rip out the Bella Blouse and the Clapotis. It's the right thing to do - and I'm also probably going to do something else with the Sea Silk anyway. Not everything is a disaster ... right?

Bless you Techknitter. Really.

Bizz Johnson Week 4

Last week was not a banner week. I've got some making up to do but I think that's doable. I'll run after work tonight and tomorrow is guaranteed (running club + shopping - what could be better?) I've also got a 1/2 marathon on the calendar for Saturday, so I should be in good shape overall. Stay tuned.

Monday - Cross Training actual: 7

Lordy, it's still hot out here. Then again, because I live on the Peninsula, I get to reap the benefits of "microclimates". The in-dash thermometer said 86 when I left Cupertino, was up to 91 by the time I hit Los Altos (and The Dish was on fire!!!) but was back down to a civilized 72 when I got to Crystal Springs Reservoir. Tonight's run was penance for yesterday. I even turned a respectable time.

Tuesday - Run 3 miles actual: 0

Hubby needed me more yesterday than Bizz. He's still mopping up the mess from the weekend and dealing with co-workers that are absolutely devastated. The company is doing some things right, but it's also doing a lot of things WRONG (IMO, of course). So, we went for a nice walk around the neighborhood and ended up at a local sushi place for dinner. Heck, I probably saved us in excess of $200 by not going to the run. ;-)

Wednesday - Run 6 miles actual: 6

If this dish is open, that's where I go. If not, then it's likely Rancho. Regardless, I'm running tonight. The dish was specifically *NOT* open, and it's "closed until further notice" per the Stanford web page. Bummer. My run today was around the neighborhood and on one of my favorite, mindless loops. Regardless, it got done.

Thursday - Run 3 miles actual: 0

Farmer's Market, good bread, 'nuff said.

Friday - Rest actual: 3.5

Quick jaunt around the work place before heading over to pick up Chris at work. It was somewhere between 3 and 4 miles, so I'll just mark it down as 3.5. Man - it's HUMID today!

Saturday - Pace Run 6 miles actual: 6.2

Did some exploring about the cabin today - found out that the GPS isn't as good as I'd like it to be in terms of keeping signal, but that there are BEAUTIFUL fire roads and stuff where I hadn't ventured before. We're rarely up long enough for me to really run around, but today was that day. Did what I needed to do to keep on the regimen, but I was a bit worried setting up for Sunday ...

Sunday - Run 11 miles actual: 13

Today was the annual Hernia Hill 1/2 Marathon in beautiful Murphys, CA. The run has one KILLER hill (hence the "hernia bit") and is also always quite hot. The temp was around 70 when we started and was definitely above 80 by the time we finished. Regardless, it was beautiful (as always) and hubby ran the 10K, so it was a true family event. Two beers and an age-group 3rd place finish later, I was passed out on the couch for a ~2h nap. That time of 1:56:andchange is a keeper. And I'm glad to have that one behind me for the year.

Total Scheduled Mileage: 29
Actual Mileage: 35.7

A weekend without knitting

Can it be true? Can it be done? Unfortunately, I have NO CHOICE.

This weekend is dedicated to my other (third?) all-consuming hobby - Soccer Referee. I've been addicted to this since the World Cup back in 2002. I enjoy telling the story of late nights (drifting off only to re-awaken, bleary-eyed, to the image of Bruce Arena in the press booth), early mornings (stop yelling or you'll wake the baby!) and the loss of one *very good* bottle of wine all combining to make me think, "Huh. Maybe this is the way I get in to a referee outfit." I sent an email to my local AYSO Region and the rest is history.

I've got a three goals this season - all of which, I think, are achievable. After 5 full seasons running around with teams from U-little all the way up to amateur men's, it's time for me to get serious and really test myself. While two of my three goals have to wait until the Fall season to get started (more on that in August, or so), my first one gets underway tonight.

I want to be a USSF Referee Instructor.

Yup, I want to make more of me. I want more WOMEN referees. After two Mechanical Engineering degrees and more than 15 years in the "real world", I can hold my own with pretty much any group of guys. However, the fact that I'm looking around the conference room table and I'm the only one in a skirt (Utilikilts are more prevalent at Apple than at my current place of employ) is a wee bit disheartening. I get that same "darn" feeling looking around the referee shack/tent/tree as well. There are not enough of us - and whether I want to be or not, I'm a role model for the youngers coming up. If they see me, maybe they'll be more confident. Also, with an Instructor Certificate, my opportunity to mentor and guide young women expands.

So - I'm heading off to a weekend of Laws, presentations, techniques and assessments that will (hopefully) turn me into an Associate Referee Instructor. And, given that classes run from 9a -6p every day, with a ~40 minute commute, and homework to prepare presentations and the like, I don't think I'll get to knit. Heck I'm hoping to have time to run!

Tonight is the State Referee Exam (this also helps meet goal #2) - and I need a score of 85% to pass. Wish me luck, everyone!

Restlessness ...

Apparently I'm not the only one that needs to have "something new" on a regular basis. One of my favorite knitbloggers, Grumperina, writes here that even though she's got a wealth of interesting things on the needles, she's searching for something more. As you can see from my sidebar, I've also got quite a few things on the needles (though I secretly started another thing yesterday!) and I do go back and forth on all of them.

There are two projects that I haven't looked at for MONTHS - specifically the two sweaters. I blame that on season (it's getting hotter, not cooler) and also shifting interests. Small, ~1w projects have become more interesting since I have a hard time finding large blocks of time to knit. That means I need to be able to see regular progress in order to stay interested - so smaller is better. The Under Cover Club blanket has been perfect for this since a square knits up in a few hours and then I'm done for the month. The sock KALs are also nice - like a salad bar. I can knit the pattern of the month or wait for the next one without feeling too guilty.

I'm going to be more mindful of why it is that I have the semi-regular need to cast on something new before finishing the old. I suspect the new project resulted from the bit of "tentativeness" I'm currently feeling about the Bella Blouse and whether I'll need to frog that baby back. I'm not sure I'm happy with the size, and I'm also not sure that knitting it in the round was the smartest idea. There's some wierd stuff going on with my purling that I can't figure out (am I purling WRONG!?!?) and the fear of the unknown is a bit ... well ... paralyzing. I suspect that's it. Discouragement due to a mistake.

Huh. Maybe this will get me to swatch.

Or maybe not. ;-)

Bella - or maybe, Bell-ish ...

Brief update on my work on the Bella Blouse from this month's Interweave Knits web-only pattern. I made good use of driving and lunch hours to finish all of non-body embellishments: specifically the bottom band, both sides of the v-neck and both sleeve caps. Overall, once I'd get started in the pattern, it was very simple to leave the chart behind and just knit away. That allowed me to finish this stuff in record time. Everything got blocked yesterday.

Some interesting things to note, however, that have made the pattern more challenging than I expected.

1. Very poor directions for blocking these pieces.

In almost all cases, I've had to infer the sizes of these pieces. Other than the sleeve caps, no dimensions are given to block these parts in to shape. By looking at the drawings and reading the pattern, I've decided that the bottom band should be 3" x 40" (relatively straightforward) but I've had to totally guess at the v-neck inserts. I settled on 4" x 12 3/4" - here's hoping that's ok.

2. The k3tog stitch is ridiculous.

Given this weight of yarn, and also the size of the needles, there's no way that this stitch would work. I happily settled on the s2k1psso alternative that gives me a centered decrease (thanks Jane Sowerby!) but to even imagine that this would work is amazing to me! I'd love to hear from the pattern editors how easy it was for them to complete this stitch - and what needles they were using.

3. There's no right and left sleeve cap.

The patters for the v-neck are different depending on which side you're knitting. Makes perfect sense. However, this reversal wasn't executed for the sleeve caps - and I wonder why. Is it because they're deemed less visible? It'll clearly have the leaves running the same way in on both sides as opposed to running opposite directions like the neck. There's enough yarn leftover so that I could knit another insert after trying to flip the pattern (the neck pattern would serve as an excellent guide) but I don't know if I want to go to the trouble yet.

Anyway, I'm currently knitting away on the body of the sweater and doing it in the round rather than as a front and back piece. Again, the recommended construction method just seems odd given that the bottom border is knit all in one piece ... that'd make for *really* wierd seaming. I'm going through the yarn for the body like no body's business - though I'm sure I'll have enough as gauge is right on and the requirements for the embellishments was also accurate. I don't think I like the body yarn as much (might be scratchy) but the colors are gorgeous. Pix later today when I have time.

Bizz Johnson Week 3

Ah, Week 3. This is technically a "step down" week, but I'll use it for maintenance. Lots of easy runs with something a bit longer over the weekend. Next weekend is the 1/2 Marathon in Murphy's and I've got Referee Instructor Training all weekend, so the shortened distance is actually a good thing. I'll need to be "nose to the grindstone" on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday if I have a hope of pulling this off, tho. This weekend will be a lost cause otherwise ...

Monday - Cross Training

Maybe I should change this to "cross stitching". Another Monday by the wayside ...

Tuesday - Run 3 miles actual: 5

Ran a nice 5 miles around the neighborhood. A hill (or three) and a beautiful afternoon powered me through. Definitely a triumph of will-power as I almost napped on the couch instead!

Wednesday - Run 5 miles actual: 6.5

Stanford! Hooray! It was a beautiful day on campus and up at the dish. This run was a standard for years (before my running partner had a baby and dropped me like a bad habit *smile*). Now that it's back on my drive home, it's nice to know it's available. We used to do this run in ~50 minutes, which is pretty good given the profile. I am not wearing a watch yet since I really don't want to know about times. Right now, it's all about mileage.

Thursday - Run 3 miles actual: 0

total failure. I didn't run. :-(

Friday - Rest actual: 3.5

Nice 3.5 mile run in my work environs (got hassled by a cranky fat man who has way too much time on his hands) - a little longer than planned 'cause I got lost!

Saturday - Pace Run 5 miles actual:

Nada. Didnt' get home from class until 10p. That, plus essentially no lunch makes running hard. Did I mention I was up at 6a the next day?

Sunday - Run 6 miles actual: 0

Nothing. Spent the afternoon helping my husband deal with a subordinate that died on a business trip to India. He needed me more than my marathon did ...

Total Scheduled Mileage: 22
Actual Mileage: 15 (that's not great ...)

It's here! IT'S HERE!!!!!

On what has easily been the hottest day of the year, my wonderful Coffee Swap package arrived! I've been waiting ever so patiently (NOT) for this to arrive ... dreaming of yarn and coffee and other wonderful treats. Who knew that my swap partner Jenni would do such a wonderful job! Ok, start at the beginning.

I arrived home from work to find this on the doorstep - albeit out of the sun, but definitely languishing in the heat. Doesn't it look innocent? I'm terribly impressed by the detailed blow-by-blow list of the contents (no no ... no peeking for you!). Let's just say that I wasn't quite as detailed. Not like I was worried about customs or anything ... no, no. Not me. Ok - rather than heading in to the steaming house, let's head over to the backyard (better light!) where there's a little bit of a breeze to open the package.

Wow. A gift box! For those that headed over to Jenni's blog, you'll see that I was not quite so together. I recycled a box from a previous escapade and just crammed it full of goodies. "Enjoy!" Check. I'll have a good time with this one. Coffee colored ribbon ... beautiful paper ... gee!

Oh my goodness! Look at all this stuff! Yarn and coffee and balm and chocolate (uh, oh - remember I said it was really hot today?) and an espresso tumbler and a cool pen (that's going straight in to the project bag) as well as notes about the coffee and even a little "coffee and cream" coaster for the espresso cup. Amazing! Ok, let's have a look at some of this a bit more closely ...

The most important bit - the coffee. One each of a Kenya Peaberry (a single berry variety with a fruity flavor and mild acidity) and Granite City Blend (since Aberdeen is, after all, the Granite City!) If only it weren't so warm, there'd be a shot of this in the espresso maker already - and straight into the beautiful espresso tumbler she included!

Badger Sore Muscle Rub ... I think she's been reading about my turned ankle and marathon training! It says right on the label "rub it in ... you deserve it!" I sure do! Nestled right there in the background is a skein of Colinette Jitterbug yarn in the "Monet" colourway! I absolutely *adore* this yarn. One skein is enough for a pair of socks - now the only question is what to knit?

This is amazing. A ball of a wool/cashmere/silk yarn that is both undyed and unbleached. The farm from which this hails raises only rare-breed sheep in an effort to preserve them. The pamphlet says that there's a "crimp" in this yarn - I'm not sure what I'll do with this, perhaps the ladies at the knitting club will have some suggestions! It knits as a DK, so there might be enough for mitts ... particularly if I combine it with another yarn. So many possibilities!

Remember how I mentioned that it was hot? Like, 94F hot? The MacBeans are currently in the refrigerator - hopefully they'll regenerate into something more than just a mass of chocolate ... but then again, I'll enjoy it anyway! It'll be a nice treat after cooking dinner tonight.

Finally, there's also a pen as well as a wonderful recipe for Vietnamese Coffee Cupcakes to go with everything. My goodness! My cup and stash overfloweth! Thanks, Jenni, for such a wonderful gift box.

To cook this week ...

Found on Slashfood, this amazing vegetable gratin. Tonight, we're making burritos with this as a filling, from Epicurious, of course.

I also need to make up a batch of my famous Oatmeal Cookies (follow the tags on the right nav bar to find the recipe) to help the team here dream up wonderful solutions for new products.

Oh, and a big bowl of egg salad for sandwiches this week would also be smart. Hrm. I should buy more eggs.

Bizz Johnson - Week 2

Week 2 for me is often a "week of denial". I'll be a bit tired from getting serious about running and thinking that since it's still early in the cycle, maybe those weekday runs aren't so important. :-) Let's see how it goes. It's also supposed to be hotHotHOT by the middle of the week - that means creativity in timing and location. Under the trees and early morning might be required. *sigh* I hate morning runs.

Monday - Cross Training

remember friends - cross training is not just for the legs! Great progress on the Clapotis. :-)

Tuesday - Run 3 miles actual: 4.5

Finished up work early so I took a spin down by the bay. Bank thermometer was reading 80 degress at 7:10p - yep, it was a hot one today and tomorrow's supposed to be even worse. It'll be a night under the trees for sure!

Wednesday - Run 5 miles actual: 0

Woof. WOOF! I should have run in the morning because it was 94F when I got home and it didn't get below 80 until about 8p. Nope, that's too hot for me. Made up another round of the yummy Couscous/Feta/Tomato/Spices salad (upon hubby's request - it MUST be good!) and had a glass of rose'. Tomorrow ... really ...

Thursday - Run 3 miles actual: 6

Yup, I got up early and ran. Good thing too - it's supposed to be HOTTER today! It was up to 80F by 8a and on the way to the 90's. My little Forecastfox applet tells me that it's 95F at home .. and 80F at the cabin! Interestingly enough - I'm starting to feel better on these runs. Heck, I think I'm getting back in to shape!

Friday - Rest actual: 0

We decided to leave ASAP for the mountains on Friday - that meant zero miles on the day. It was still about 90F when we left!

Saturday - Run 5 miles actual: 10 hiking

We'll be up hiking this weekend, so I'm not sure that I'll actually get to run on Saturday. I may do it on Friday (as per usual) so that there's no pressure to pull on the running shoes after walking all day. We'll see.

Update: We hiked for a good 6 hours on Saturday, so I'm going to give myself mental credit for a 5 mile pace run. 2000' of elevation gain has to be good for something! Now if only my ankle would cooperate and *get better*, I'd be happier.

Sunday - Run 9 miles actual: 9

Ran a gorgeous 9 miles on the Crystal Springs Trail. It was still pretty warm so the bubbler at mile 3.5 was just the ticket. Nice long drink and a chance to soak my head to stay cool. I was pretty whooped by the end - probably because breakfast/lunch got combined into a small cheese sandwich given the hurry-up-and-get-down-the-hill mentality we adopted. Regardless, not a stellar week, but I got it done (mostly).

Total Scheduled Mileage: 25
Actual Mileage: 24.5

Bella progress

I started the bottom band for the Bella blouse yesterday. Did so with some trepidation as reviews of the Berocco cotton yarn made lots of noise about splitting. The needles I had handy were a pair of Clover 16" circs - the point is rather blunt on these and the wire is also a bit on the stiff side. Regardless, I figured that for this part, it'd be ok to start with a very short needle. Anyway, here's the yarn:

There are actually two different versions of the Berocco cotton - one is a the "Touche" standard cotton/rayon blend (that's the one on the right) and the other, "Cotton Twist" has a twist of rayon that adds a shine to the yarn. The colors for this pattern are Nectar (in Touche') for the bottom, neck and arm bands and Sensei (in Twist) for the body of the tank.

The border is a simple lace pattern with modified faggoting on either side of a leaf stitch. The leaf is formed by adding stitches in the first row, then doing two k3tog's to decrease back to a single stitch. However, with the thickness of this yarn and the small needle size, I knew I was going to have big trouble (read: splitting!) trying to execute that stitch. Look closely at the picture and see if you can tell what I did ...

Ok, I'll spoil. Since I picked up a copy of Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby, I knew there was an alternative to the k3tog. There's a centered decrease that's a combination of k1p2sso that yields a stitch in the middle and also only requires the equivalent of k2tog. I gave it a shot and it yielded a result that I'm actually quite happy with. The original stitch would have the leaf leaning to the right, but the centered stitch works for me - and I'm not splitting the yarn. All in all, a good compromise. Three out of 26 repeats done. Oh, and I'll be doing the entire tank in the round - it seems silly to knit the back and front separately since the bottom band is done in one piece and stitches are picked up to start the front and back. Wierd. Any thoughts as to why they'd piece it together like this?

Done with June Squares

I said it in my post yesterday on the Under Cover Club Blog - thanks to the Yarn Grove folks for sending me just the right thing. Both patterns were so fun and quick that once I started I just couldn't stop. The squares are on the blocking board drying out and here are my pictures for you:

First is the bamboo stitch. It also took me a little bit of thought before starting - I kept reading the stitch as a decrease. Then I just did it and it all makes sense. I think I have a sock pattern somewhere that uses this stitch to give a "scale" effect on the sock. Pretty cool. No problem with blocking the pattern to size - it even opened up nicely to show the wrapped stitches.

Next is the basket stitch - this one came out wonderfully but it's really stretchy! I had to "nudge" the edges back in to the 12" square. I may end up reblocking this square at some point, but I suspect it'll be fine in the end. I've got a few ounces of the yarn leftover and am thinking about what I'll do at the end with all the remnants ... maybe some kind of scarf or a pair of fingerless mitts. Any suggestions?

Ok, that's it! Time to figure out what's next and enjoy the hiatus until next month.


... but I love grasshoppers

Unfortunately, they don't love me. :-(

I followed the pattern. I had enough of that great yarn leftover so that I could make some matching fingerless mitts or something! I had PLANS!

Then came the bind-off. The pattern calls for a sewn bind off. I've never done this before so I'll trust the pattern. "Cut yarn leaving a 16" tail." Check. Oh, I'm doing both socks so I better cut both. Get out the handy tape measure (thanks Yarn Grove folks!) and measure 16". Add one extra for good measure. *snip* *snip*

La de dum da ... sewing away ... first half of first sock done ... (hrm, this looks a little close, hope it's ok) ... doo de doo ... first half of second sock (little gyrating with extra loops) ... hey - this looks *close* ... this looks *REALLY* close!


Oh. No. No. I have just a *THREAD* left and the end of the first sock and it's bound so tightly that I can't get it over my calf! The sock is saggy and ridiculous.


The other yarn end is also already cut which means I am screwed on BOTH of these!


Fine. They're getting frogged and the yarn will be something else. Don't know what, but it will be something else. Here's my pathetic little sock:

The new kit is coming in a few weeks. I'll focus on my Clapotis and my June Undercover Squares. Maybe it's time for a "sock break".

Bizz Johnson - Week 1

Week 1 of training is relatively easy, assuming I've been running as much as I normally do. The week is somewhat wacky with soccer and such, but I'm certainly confident that I can get in the miles I need without too much trouble. Three miles doesn't make a lot of sense to me - but then again, with a "rehabbing ankle", maybe it's a good idea! So, with that in mind, here's the plan.

Monday - Cross Training

Update: Cross training this week is for my fingers only. That means knitting. I'll scout out the pool tomorrow when I run over lunch and see if it looks interesting. I think it's kinda small ... but then again, it's free.

Tuesday - Run 3 miles actual: 5 miles

Hooray - I managed to run over lunch at work. Today's route is described here. It's pretty similar to a route I used to run while working at Apple so I had a good idea of where I was going. The shortcut through McClellan Park was a happy accident - there's a hash in there some day. The showers at the pool are great. It sure looked inviting.

Wednesday - Run 5 miles actual: ~5 miles

Wednesday is soccer day! Tonight is a U14G game (that means 35m halves) that should be pretty interesting. I don't usually get 5 miles of work out of an AR slot, but we'll see how it goes. The GPS is in my running bag, and NOT my referee bag, but I'll focus on running harder and side-stepping as opposed to my usual "conservation of energy" idea. I suspect this will count as my "cross training" for this week. Tomorrow will be a challenge since I've got meetings scattered throughout the day and therefore finding a good block of time to run will be challenging. If I get to bed early enough tonight, I can run in the morning and still get to work. Just need to pull my butt out of bed.

Update: The referee who was supposed to be in the middle graciously traded with me so I got to spend a LOT more time running than standing. Once I told him that I'm working on upgrading this season, he immediately put me in the middle and said, "Have a great time!" And I did. 70 minutes of running, rather than back and forth, certainly counts for a workout.

Thursday - Run 3 miles actual: 0 miles

Update: Thursday is a day of rest. Knitting and a glass of wine does an ankle good. Run tomorrow instead.

Friday - Rest actual: 4.5 miles

Went for a loop in one of my favorite parks, Pulgas Ridge Open Space. There's a trail that's been "under construction" for about 18 months (ok, so I've been hopping the fence and running on it anyway) that I've not been on for a while. Given that it was such a beautiful day, I had to spend a little time on the dirt and in the hills. Much to my delight, the trail is now officially open! Then again, it's kinda fun to be naughty. >:) Regardless,

Saturday - Pace Run 5 miles actual: ~6 miles

Another full day of soccer - this time rather than two lines, I got one big center on a hugeHugeHUGE field! Spent lots of time making sure I covered the whole field so I definitely was up in the 6ish range. Lots of fun ... maybe I should start posting the money earned versus yarn bought total! :-) Looking forward to tomorrow for a nice, relaxing long run.

Sunday - Run 8 miles actual: 8 miles

Wow - what a beautiful day. I took advantage of a very late soccer game to sleep in a bit and then go for a run on the trails along the Bay. It's easy access from the house and always quiet, scenic and very relaxing. I did a simple 8 mile out-and-back paying close attention to landmarks so that I can use this for runs later. When I've done this loop in the past, I've gone to the end of the trail and thought it was 4.5 miles to the turnaround - I now believe it's closer to 5. Whatever. So, a solid 8 miles in the morning at a roughly 8:30 pace. Good.

Later on, I had a soccer game and boy, did I ever run for that one. Still a little soreness in the ankle, but overall, it was ok. A good friend/mentor was running one of the lines and suggested I try a "Wide-S" style of positioning rather than a more standard diagonal. The downside is that it take a LOT more running. While I wasn't wearing my GPS, I'd say that I easily ran another 6 miles here. That would bring me to 14 on the day .. but I'll only take credit for the 8 in the morning.

Regardless, it's been a good week.
Total Scheduled Mileage: 24
Actual Mileage: 28.5

I'll go ahead and put up the post on Mondays and just update it as the week goes by. Saves me from posting every day on this topic and (hopefully) keeps down the clutter. I don't think I'll add a sidebar tag either ... just too many. In general, follow the "Bizz Johnson" tag and you'll find all these posts.

Back in the Saddle

After over a year of stalling, I've signed up for another marathon. Amazingly, I actually feel really good about this one. This'll be the first time that I'm training and running "solo". In the past, I've always had at least one other person out on the course with me so it'll be a new challenge for me not only to finish the race, but also to get and stay on the training bandwagon. With all the knitting I've been doing, I sure hope I have time to run! It just means getting my life back on a schedule and sticking to it. There's always time to do what's important.

For those interested, the friend that officiated at our wedding turned me on to this race. It's the Bizz Johnson trail marathon up in beautiful Susanville, CA. The race is A - B and is essentially downhill! Better still, it utilizes an old railway right of way and is therefore ALL DIRT. My aging knees will certainly appreciate this more "forgiving" surface and who knows - this might be the year I qualify for Boston! I was only 4 minutes off last year and that included some hills. I expect this to be beautiful - and certainly a great way for me to spend an October weekend.

Training starts this week on the normal 18 week program. Once again, it's the Hal Higdon Intermediate I program that's worked so well for me in the past. The weather is perfect for training and summer is the "off season" for soccer so I'll have my Sundays to get in the miles I need.

Like I said, I'm actually excited about this. Here's hoping I'm singing the same tune three months from now! Training updates as I have them ...

Hoppin through the pattern!

I'm back to the grasshoppers and boy am I making progress! I cast them on on Wednesday night and am not ready to start the gussets. I'm also doing the 2 on 2 version so that when one is done they're both done.

The down side is that, as expected, I'm not getting the pooling I got the first time around. I have to admit that while the socks are now fitting "right", I really miss the interplay of the colors that I got when they were too big. Actually - here's what I mean:

If you notice, there's a pool of browns, greens and fuscias that go together nicely. And the two socks are opposites of each other. Where one has that nice tan pool, the other has one in dark brown/fuscia.

Here's a picture of the front of the socks. Again, you can see that the same pooling effect carries over to the lace part of the pattern as well.

Yeah, I'm bummed. Now it's back to stripes for me. The light/tan color you see in the pools is the dominant color of the stripes on both socks with interesting gradations of green, fuscia, dark brown in between. I'll take some pictures after I turn the heel because I'm pretty confident that I'm "satisfied" with them this time.

Regardless - it's nice to see that progress bar move. The April UCC pattern should hit 100% tomorrow since it's currently on the blocking table. Gosh. Aren't I productive?