Cold Weather Running

7 Jan

It’s very cold and snowy outside, and it has been for a couple of weeks now.  I haven’t even contemplated running outside and am grateful for my treadmill which allows me to keep up my fitness regime without having to endure windburned cheeks.  I’m getting pretty familiar with my new treadmill’s 17 programs.  I’m able to get a good sweat going, and I hope my fitness is continuing to improve.  Because I am trying to focus on speedwork – something I think a treadmill should take a lot of the thought out of compared to running outside – most of my treadmill workouts are interval based, so I’m only running at my top speed for a couple of minutes or so before I’m in recovery at a slower speed.  My worry about this is the treadmill says I am only going about 6.5 mph, and that is a fairly average pace when I’m outside, not top speed.  Somehow it feels so much faster on my treadmill.  I think tomorrow I might wear my Nike+ while on the treadmill so I can see if it (which is what records my speed/distance while running outside) shows the same pace and distance as the treadmill.  I know my last treadmill thought I was going slower/shorter than Nike+ did, but I use Nike+ during the (rare) races I have participated in and it has been accurate for those distances.  Regardless, it’s supposed to warm up some this week so I might be able to get out and see how my treadmill workouts have translated to outside running – although I think when it warms up it will be with rain, so I may have to prolong my curiosity!

Candy Pinwheels Quilt

2 Jan

Phew, what a wonderful holiday break!  I had a couple of weeks off work, so between that and being a little house bound due to snow I was able to start focusing on my next project.  I really want to get a quilt made for my daughter.  I had made made my son’s first quilt when he moved into his big boy bed, and somehow Layla is nearing that age already and I want her to have one for her first big bed, too.  I really wanted to NOT do a Fresh Lemons quilt design because even though I love Faith dearly as a friend and quilter, I have now done so many of her designs that she might expect to see a little shrine with her picture and candles and all my sewing projects inspired by her the next time she comes for a visit!  However, I had bought a copy of Quilty magazine because she had a pattern in there.  Her pattern ticked all of the boxes – large pieces to display the funner, girly prints I want to incorporate, lots of color, not too difficult, and something I had not already done.  So, color me stalker but I am going with the Candy Pinwheels from Faith in Quilty magazine.  Anna Maria Horner also had an awesome pattern for a feather quilt in the magazine which I was really tempted to do, but it had a lot of negative space which wasn’t right for what I want to do for my little girl.  I think I will be trying that in the future, though!

Beauty Is You Quilt

21 Dec

Quilt topI’ve been working on this quilt for a while.  I used the Beauty Is You line from Blend Fabrics.  I really love the line, and even after working on this quilt for a few weeks I’m still not tired of looking at it.

I am making this quilt for my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday, which has already come and gone so I am anxious to get it to her.  I made great progress on it during quilt camp, completing the top and starting and finishing the back.  I didn’t have enough batting at camp (or time) to start making the quilt sandwich, but Monday I finished work for the year and I’ve been able to get as far as finishing the quilting.  Now just need to make and attach the binding.

This was my first time making flying geese.  I really loved the process and the result.  My points weren’t always perfect, and my friend Faith likes to do hers with paper piecing to get a really accurate result, but it was good enough for me.

Newtons

19 Dec

NewtonsI hit the 300 mile mark with my first pair of running shoes (Asics) a couple of months ago and knew it was time for a new pair.  I had been having some typical running pains, particularly in my IT band.  I’d been consciously trying to neutralize my hips while running, and that was helping some but I wondered if the Newtons I had read about could also help.  I also had plantar fasciitis and a suspected stress fracture in the spring, which I attributed to striking my heel when I ran.

These shoes are designed to keep you on a midfoot strike.  They feel strange at first wear.  It’s like there is a launchpad in the middle of your foot.  This makes it nearly impossible to land on your heel when running.

I was curious to try these after reading an article in Runner’s World about them, but also a little nervous upon purchasing because they (like many running shoes) are expensive.  However, there is a 60 (or 90?) day grace period offered – try them, run as much as you want in them, and if you don’t like them return them, presumably no questions asked.  I won’t know how good that return policy is, because I am in love.  First, I LOVE the look.  The colors are so fun without being too shouty.  But much more importantly is how my body feels after 2 or 3 months using them.  My IT band issues are gone (just to be fair, I want to reemphasize that I consciously have tried to change my running gait to keep my hip from dropping as well as shortening my stride), I have no plantar fasciitis issues, no pain anywhere.

I wouldn’t have even thought to write about my shoes if I didn’t get asked about them so often.  A month or so ago I was running near my home and a neighbor caught up to me to ask me how I liked them.  She said she knows she is a heel striker and feels the effects of it so was thinking of trying them.  I ran the Drumstick Dash on Thanksgiving morning, and I had two people strike up a conversation with me about them.

In summary, in my humble opinion, I highly recommend Newtons.  They have been really great for me, and I have no reason to believe my next pair would be anything but Newtons.  (This is only my fifth or so post on this blog, so rest assured no one is paying me to say this! :-) )

Two Hobbies Collide

18 Dec

I got an email over the weekend about a second quilt camp in May, which happens to land the same weekend as my first half marathon!  I had such a great time at quilt camp the weekend before last, and I would have done everything I could to attend the next one, except sacrifice something as special as my first half marathon!  As my husband said, “two hobbies are colliding.”  It is also my husband’s birthday weekend, so I felt guilty enough carving out a morning for myself for the half marathon (although he has been 100% supportive) much less missing the whole weekend. ;-)

So, there was never any question that I will carry on with the Mini Marathon as planned – I just found it funny that two such big, fun things were happening at the same time.  Incidentally, I had planned on the Mini being my first half marathon, but since signing up I’ve been considering doing the half for the Carmel Marathon.  I wondered if I would be crazy for doing 2 only 2 weeks apart, but after talking to a more experienced runner she thought that if I was training I would already being doing at least 10 miles 2 weeks prior to the race, so it should be ok.  Still haven’t signed up for the Carmel one, but as long as my schedule holds then I expect I will at least be doing the 8K.

Turning UFOs into FOs

17 Dec

Quilt front  Ribbon starThis was a rare weekend for us of not having too much planned (particularly rare considering how close to Christmas we are!).  So I made as much use of my time as I could working through my small stack of UFO (unfinished objects) projects.

During Quilt Camp the previous weekend, I had completed the Quilt backpoinsettia star pillow for Layla.  My stepmom asked me when she was going to get a pillow, so I thought I should try to get one done for her for Christmas.  I had created a Ribbon Star block over the summer, as part of the Solstice Star Series, and I had intended to make a pillow out of it for a bench in our hallway.  However, time being what it is I never completed that project.  I loved the colors though, and thought it would be a nice compliment to the colors in my dad’s house.  So I added some sashing, an envelop closure back, and some binding, and ta-da!

I have also had that diamond baby quilt nearly finished since the summer.  I had loads of friends due to have babies this year, and I had grand intentions of making each of them a baby quilt.  Most of them did not find out ahead of time what they were having, but I figured if I just starting making girl quilt then boy quilt then girl quilt, etc, that I should be covered for a while.  About the time I was almost done with this one, the boys started coming (and I also wasn’t keeping up with my goal of presenting each baby with a quilt all that well).  We have had a good friend have a baby girl in the last week or two, so I finally pulled this out and got the binding on, so it’s ready to be shipped off soon… just as soon as I can get a better picture of it!  ****(Update – got a better picture with the help of my daughter, Layla, as well as one of the back – try not to be too distracted by those adorable eyes ;-) )****

I also got my mother-in-law’s quilt sandwich done.  Now to just quilt and bind that, and then I can start something new!  Layla knows I really want to make her a quilt, as she should be migrating to a big girl bed one of these days.  When I was working on the quilt sandwich she kept asking me if that was her quilt, bless her.

New Treadmill

13 Dec

I live in Indiana, where the winters are cold!  For some reason I decided to take up running last November, just as the mercury starts falling.  Even though it was a pretty mild winter by most standards, once December came around the idea of running into a bitter winter wind didn’t do much to motivate me to keep going with my new running hobby.

I started wondering if I should get a treadmill.  Maybe it would deprive me of an excuse not to run on cold and/or rainy days.  Maybe I would get extra motivation knowing I had paid for the darn thing and should really get to using it.  I was discussing this with someone at my company holiday party (my husband’s boss, actually, even though it was my and her husband’s company party), and she mentioned they had a treadmill they never used that we could buy for cheap.  Perfect!

So for a year I’ve been using a Pro Form 770 EKG treadmill.  It was great for what I needed it for – to keep me from giving up on running in the beginning.  Once spring came around last year I went back to running outside, and due to the exceptionally (and horrifically) dry summer we had, I never had reason to use it again until temperatures started dropping again this fall.

As I’ve progressed in my running (and learned more and more about it via my Runner’s World subscription), I use techniques such as fartleks to increase my speed.  These are easy to work through when running outside because I just need to listen to my Nike+ to tell me when I’ve reached a quarter-mile to change speed.  However, on my treadmill I found it cumbersome to have to manually adjust as needed.  So I started looking around for an upgrade – something to give me more programs to choose from, in addition to some other advancements like better shock absorption (although I had no complaints about that with my Pro Form).

My search ended recently with the purchase of the LifeSpan TR 1200i.  It has 17 programs, each with 3 levels, as well as 2 customizable programs.  It also has a USB port where you can store workout data and load onto your PC for use with the LifeSpan Fitness Club.

I’ve only used it twice so far, but I like what I’ve seen so far.  Assembly wasn’t too bad.  When the box arrived it was all torn up and shredded like it had been attacked by a puma, so I was worried about the condition.  But once we got it out of the box we could see there wasn’t any damage.  We managed to get it into the basement, and as I mentioned assembly was pretty straightforward.  I did it all myself, but there are two bolts at the bottom which just spun around as I tried to tighten them that I’ve tasked my husband with securing.

I’m excited to get some more time/mileage on it!  It’s the perfect companion to my “Daily Show” viewings! ;-)

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