My April crafting report

There are times I really do love Instagram. Have I mentioned that before? Well I do. The motivation, the inspiration, the fun challenges. When I’m feeling low a trip there to scroll through photos usually gets me up and going, especially when it comes to crafting.

While there’s a competitive undertone to lots of other endeavors, it’s just not there with crafting. I’ve never seen someone who has made something and not been helpful and willing to share a pattern or tips, or a complement someone who’s made the same object. It’s my no-fail warm and fuzzy spot on the internet.

This past month I was lucky enough to come across the hashtag April calm WIP-along. It was put together to help keep all those participating moving along on projects during these crazy times. There were so many beautiful projects and bright colors. If you were a crafter there was no way this wouldn’t motivate you. I had so much fun and made a ton of progress. Wanna see? Well here we go!

I started this postage stamp quilt for my son when he was about 8. I had started this project with so much enthusiasm. I’ve always loved postage stamp quilts. All that fabric! How could that not make you happy? I wanted it to be big enough to cover a full sized bed. Well, life happened, as it often does, and this project got put away. Then my son turned 19 last year, and I found the blocks I had done while I was cleaning. I was determined to get it done. Well, I didn’t get it finished, but I do have the top together and the quilting plan figured out. When I’m able to get to a craft store for backing fabric I’ll finally be able to truly call this one done!

Ah, my absolute favorite project from this month! I saw the trailer for Birds of Prey a few months ago, and like a true crochet nut, one of the first things I noticed was the harlequin blanket on Harley Quinn’s sofa. I had to make one. I found this pattern and got to work. I’ll be honest, I got this one done pretty quick by my standards. The pattern is easy to read, works up fast, and makes a great finished product. I’m so happy with this one I could burst. It’s proudly spread over the back of my couch as we speak.

The next two projects were more about progress than completion. I adore scrappy afghans and quilts, and I always seem to have a ridiculous amount of scraps so that works out well, lol. This hexagon blanket is so colorful! It makes my heart happy when I look at it. I still want it to be bigger, but I’m running out of scraps (which is still blowing my mind…that almost never happens!) so it sits as you see it with a number of extra centers done to help keep some continuity as I work new colors in.

Then there’s my granny square blanket. This is the first time I’ve attempted the join as you go technique with these squares, and they’ve ended up a bit off kilter. A border may remedy that, or not, but I’ve still got a way to go with this one too so I’m not sweating it yet. Besides, I kind of like the wonky look. It makes this blanket unique from all the traditional granny blankets out there.

Finally, there were some smaller projects.

These are just some of the masks I’ve made.

I made progress on this sweater only to find out that YES, dye lots are important!! 😓

And this inquisitive little fellow I made just because he’s freaking adorable.

So as you can see I made a lot of progress, and I used up a good amount of materials that I had on hand. Both of which make me feel really good!! Now I’m hoping there’s a May WIP-along because this was just too fun to not have it continue on. Even if there isn’t, I can promise you I’ve got some other things I’m working on, so be ready for more fun things soon!

Today is the day

My finish at the Hall of Fame Marathon half marathon in 2019

I should have been running a marathon today. This year’s Hall of Fame Marathon was supposed to be my return to 26.2 after 20 years. I was so excited when I signed up. I had run the half the four previous years. I know the back half of the course very well (its in my neighborhood). I was up to a 17 mile long run…then the pandemic hit.

At first I held out hope that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t going to be as bad as all the doomsday minded people who were surrounding me were saying it was going to be. But then schools closed, businesses closed, and stay at home orders were put in place. Then the announcement came. The race was cancelled. Honestly, my training hadn’t been all that great, and I probably would have went into my race a bit unprepared so I was ok with it.

I figured I would keep running at a lower intensity and just keep going. I had been furloughed from work so I had all kinds of time. It would be easy, right?

Well it wasn’t, and I didn’t.

I almost stopped running altogether. I did walk every day so I wasn’t totally inactive, but I know my fitness level has dropped. I let myself enjoy not having the pressure of a training schedule as well as not having to be at work with a general manager who makes me feel like I’m absolutely inadequate. It was what I needed.

But now what I need is to start the path to becoming the runner and athlete I want to be now.

I think my running had gotten stale, my mindset predictable and because of that I had plateaued hard and was just going through the motions. I’ve been inspired to make changes from many places. From a post here about reinventing yourself as a runner, to seeing people in my neighborhood doing their best in their own fitness goals, to a friend I met through Instagram who has shared her weight loss journey and her fitness program with honesty and an enthusiasm that has made me want to do more.

So what’s the plan? I’m getting it all together, but also being flexible so I can make changes if I need to, but so far my goals are this…

1. I’m starting the “ground zero” plan in my marathon training book. I don’t think I’m truly at ground zero, but this will let me ease back in to running and I’ll be able to judge from there my next step.

2. I’ve decided to give functional fitness workouts a try. Maybe not cross fit per se, but something similar. I’ve downloaded a WOD generator on my phone, and have tried a couple workouts. They’ve kicked my butt and left me sore, but I feel so good when I do them. I’m excited to try another, and that is something I haven’t felt about a workout in a while.

3. Speaking of downloading, I re-downloaded the My Fitness Pal app. I’m not necessarily good at logging my food everyday, and I have mixed feelings about the habit of neurotically tracking every single morsel of food that crosses your lips, but I do think having an idea of what you eat every day helps to identify where your diet falls short and why you’re not seeing changes in your body.

4. Finally, and most importantly, I’m going to remind myself every day that, even if I didn’t hit all my goals, even if my day wasn’t perfect, that I did the best I could. That this is a learning experience. That this is an ever changing journey. That I have another chance to change any time I have a new decision to make. If I’ve learned nothing else about myself it’s that if I focus on the negative that that doesn’t motivate me. That all or nothing doesn’t work. And belittling yourself doesn’t fix any problems.

They say you have to start somewhere, here’s my starting point. Where this path of my journey takes me next, I don’t know for sure. But I’ll be thankful for each step as it helps me to grow and learn more about myself.

Ch ch ch Changes

Hi there! It’s me. Same girl, different blog name. I felt it appropriate as I plan on changing my blog a bit. It only took me 46 years and a pandemic that granted me 6 weeks off of work to truly find myself.

I always used to joke, when someone at work would ask me what I needed, that I needed a million dollars and an extra week of vacation. Just before this whole Coronavirus thing went down I joked with my manager about taking a sabbatical because I needed the time off. Then came the lockdown, and little did I realize how much I really needed the time off.

All my life I’ve always pushed myself to my limit. I always had to do better, be better, work harder, prove myself over and over and over. I can’t tell you why, exactly, I always felt like I had to prove myself. Like I had to be better (or hell, the best) at everything I’ve ever attempted. Call it being a perfectionist. Call it being a “type-A”. Call it nagging self doubt. Whatever you call it, it’s been part of me since I can remember.

Now, not that learning new things and pushing your limits is bad. It’s not. But letting it get to the point I did, is. I was never good enough. Fast enough. Thin enough. Smart enough. Someone was going to come in and take everything I had worked for because I wasn’t adequate enough. I was stressed at work, home, even doing recreational activities that should have been a form of relaxation and stress reduction. It ate away at my confidence, happiness, and peace.

Back to this unexpected time off. No one could have foreseen how drastically this situation would change our lives. The first few days felt like somewhat of a regular vacation for me, but as time wore on, things changed. I changed. With not a lot of real distractions I was truly able to relax and focus on myself…something I haven’t been unable to do for a very long time.

As I walked, crocheted, quilted, baked or even cleaned my house I was becoming more mindful. I was able to let my thoughts drift to what I was doing at that moment. Not who else was doing something. How fast someone else was running. What others were cooking and eating. But the joy I was finding in running at my pace. Creating something I found pleasing with my own two hands. Eating what made me feel good and healthy and whole. I realized that the only person I really have to prove myself to is myself. It’s been salve for my weary soul that I didn’t realize how desperately I truly needed!

Now as for here, I had been writing about my running (maybe somewhere thinking that I was going to become something bigger than I am) but I’m more than that. So I’m still going to write about my running, and the mediocre yet soul satisfying direction it’s taken for me, but other stuff too. Crochet, baking, cooking, self improvement, learning new things, be prepared to see a little bit of everything if you still stop by and see me. Hell, for all I know I could just be sitting here talking to myself, but that’s ok because getting all this stuff down in writing and pictures makes me feel good. And in the end you are responsible for your own happiness…and that lesson learned is something I plan on carrying with me for the rest of my days.

So with all that said, here’s a few pictures of things I’ve been doing and the kind of things I plan on talking about (besides running) 🙂

A first attempt at homemade bagels…and the subsequent quest to perfect them.The magic that is crochet…you take some yarn, wave a hook around and make beautiful things!New recipes! The love of food is so strong for me that I made it my career 🙂Self care…time devoted to yourself is essential. It took years of not doing things for myself (then having time to do those little things) to realize how vital they are.

So there ya go! I’m excited to finally look at my little spot on the internet as a place that truly reflects me. Bring on the rest of 2020!

I volunteer as tribute

The current Covid-19 pandemic is something we’ve never seen the likes of. It’s scary. It’s showing what people’s true colors are. I’m not usually one to get political or vocal about that stuff, but I’ve been sitting here, watching, thinking, and I can’t get these thoughts out of my head…so I wrote them down. Something I think may show a little perspective….what if…

I volunteer as tribute.

The president has talked about reopening parts of the country by Easter. It’s needed to help the economy, he says. Some of his supporters have gone as far as to say the elderly would be willing to sacrifice their lives during this pandemic to maintain the health of the economy for their grandchildren. Well, I volunteer.

My children won’t miss me. I’m sure they’ll be happy to get back to life as usual. Consumed by screens, fast food, and instant gratification. Why would they choose their mother over that?

My parents won’t miss me. I’m sure they’ll go about their lives knowing I lived at least a somewhat long life, added beautiful children to this world, and made the ultimate sacrifice for my country so we could continue to be spoiled and greedy.

My husband won’t miss me. He’s a grown man, why would he choose companionship, love, and all that comes with a healthy relationship over a healthy economy?

My coworkers wouldn’t miss me. It’s not like I’ve become friends with any of them, lending a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on when I could. Why would they want that when they could get back to work?

My friends won’t miss me. I mean, I’m just one more voice in their social circle. I can only add to conversations, give my opinion, help in a tough situation. Who needs that when you can get your freedom to go shopping faster?

Now think about this…I wouldn’t be the only one. It may be your mother or father, son, daughter, niece, nephew, friend, spouse or coworker who could be the one who dies because people are more concerned about money than human life. How does this happen? What have we become?

I hope and pray that it doesn’t come to anything like this, but it’s been eating away at me that anyone would think it’s an acceptable solution. Please stay home when you can, wash your hands, and be kind to those around you. Use this time to strengthen family bonds, learn a new skill, video chat with friends, watch movies…there’s so much you can do. We will get through this! It may get worse before it gets better, but it will end, and the only way we can make it through is together❤️

Just my two cents

I come here to vent sometimes because I know it’s a very small community of people who see what I write here. I don’t even know if what I write gets read most of the time, honestly, so I tend to treat it like a journal of sorts. I can get my feelings out there, maybe connect with a person or two, and let my voice be heard just a little bit without taking it to Facebook or twitter or another social media outlet where, again, it really probably won’t make one ounce of difference.

Sometimes I just feel the need to say something. This is one of those times.

I, like everyone else, am sitting and watching this whole Coronavirus thing unfold. It’s just a crazy situation. Never in my 45 years on this planet have I seen a health crisis like this before. I turn on the news and feel like I’m watching the beginning of a movie where the zombie apocalypse is about to begin. Now the situation we’re facing most likely isn’t going to produce zombies, but it’s filling my feed all over social media with something else. It’s filling it with some of what I think is the ugliest behavior by the running community I’ve ever seen.

I know a lot of training goes into racing. Especially the full and half marathon distance. It sucks when your race, the one you’ve been training months for, is postponed or cancelled. I’m facing that same situation myself. I was (well, am still…it’s not cancelled as of yet) training for my first marathon since 2000. I’m also looking at the fact that this whole Coronavirus thing won’t reach its peak until late April/early May…precisely when my race is supposed to be. Will it be cancelled? I don’t know. Am I upset? Not really. Why? Well, I’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s finish my first thought first.

I’ve seen so many angry posts when races are cancelled. The race director of the one I’m training for shared in an e-mail that there have been threats to sue…both if the race IS cancelled and if the race IS NOT cancelled. MY GOD PEOPLE, ITS JUST A RACE!!!! Be thankful that that’s all you’re losing!! The entire country of Italy is on lockdown, for God’s sake, and you’re going to bitch because you can’t go run a race? It could be a hell of a lot worse! Do you really think the directors (who pour their heart and soul into putting the whole thing together over the entire year leading up to the race…securing sponsors, getting permits, acquiring food, swag, and goodies, making sure every last detail is the best they can make it) want to cancel? Hell NO they don’t! But they need to put he public’s safety first.

To all the runners who say, “It’s outside. We’re a healthy bunch of individuals. We aren’t the ones who are likely to get sick.” That’s all well and good, but what if (just by chance) you are one of the ones who shows no symptoms? What if you do contract the virus? What if you then visit your 90 year old grandparents and they end up getting infected and have severe complications or even die from the Coronavirus? Would that race be worth it? Personally, I say no.

People just need to calm down. We need to be thankful we can still get out to run if we choose. A lot of these races have been doing everything they can from turning them into virtuals to free registration for next year. Why don’t we all take a breath, be thankful for our health, and just readjust our plans for just a little bit. I promise that won’t kill any of us!

Ok, now on to the why I’m not that upset if my race were to get cancelled part. I have to be honest, I was thinking about taking this year and working on becoming a more rounded athlete. Less racing. More walking, lifting, yoga. Getting back into bicycling, maybe some hiking or kayaking or who knows what else. I do want to run the marathon distance one more time, too, but I’ve been feeling a bit burned out on racing and ready for a change. My training this cycle has been, um, well, I’d give it a solid B- if I were giving myself a grade. I’m kind of taking this whole thing as a sign that maybe I jumped into this whole marathon thing too quickly after returning from an injury. That maybe it wasn’t quite time yet…or maybe it was and I just have to learn to fight my self doubt better. That’s why I’m continuing to train as best I can. Personally, if my race is cancelled I plan on running it virtually, where I can run it and not have to worry about cut off times (which would be a real relief!). They’ve already told us that we will receive our medal and other swag if that outcome comes to pass. I’ll just have to wait and see which way it goes. Either way, I’m ok with it because whatever will be will be.

The biggest takeaways I’ve gotten from this whole thing is to be flexible, and that every situation is what you make of it. Life can change in an instant, and you decide whether it is going to be miserable or the best it can be under the circumstances. With that I’m going to do my best to run happy, be more kind and understanding, and be thankful for whatever comes my way. I know in the big picture it could be way different and way worse.

Riding the waves and finding myself

Oh, if only life had a rewind button. At least that’s what I think sometimes. I look back at the past and wish I could go back and relive an event, or see someone just one more time, or go back to when I thought things were perfect. But you know what? Life just doesn’t work that way. It’s going to keep moving forward. On one hand that sucks, but on the other that’s part of the beauty of life. There are ebbs and flows. Ups and downs. Wins and losses. They make us who we are, and help us to become who we are meant to be.

I’ve had such a flood of emotion looking through my phone’s photo album. (Part of some organizing I’ve been doing.) Especially seeing photos of my kids and my races. Some are sad, but mostly happy and thankful to have had those experiences. On one hand, I wish I could go back and live those moments again. Then, on the other, it makes me want to create even more new memories. And while nostalgia was (in its way) making me sad, a little voice kept reassuring me, “Oh my dear, there is so much more to come!”

Lately, with dealing with this injury and all, I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough in my way of thinking. I can’t quite explain it other than to say I’ve found a new sense of calm. Of fulfillment. Of peace. And it’s an incredible feeling I wish I could share with you all.

I’ve come to the the realization that my priorities were a bit out of whack. I was in a state of imbalance, and since working to correct that (be it by choice or by force) life has given me yet another new beginning. I’m going to focus on my running here, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I know that before my hip issue, I was most defiantly falling into the “farther, faster, more” train of thought. Comparison was draining my joy and trying to keep up with others in the race entry department was draining my bank account. I spent way too much time scrolling social media, and feeding the very voices that would ultimately push me nearly to my breaking point. Although my guy is supportive of my running, I think back now and just know it was rough on him even if he wouldn’t admit it. It was eating up so much time. Time I can never get back. Time that probably could have been a little better spent.

Now don’t get me wrong. Time spent on yourself is not necessarily a bad thing. We need to care for ourselves…but not to the neglect of others. I walked that line way too much.

I’ve come to realize several things about my relationship to running.

• I really am a runner, not a racer, at this point in my life. I enjoy running for running’s sake. If I have a good day and place, AWESOME! If I don’t place, whatever. I want to soak in the experience because I will never have that exact same experience again.

• Rest days are awesome. I loved my streak, but don’t think I would do another long term one. Since taking days off of running, I’ve been able to reconnect with my guy who loves walking. We walk together at least once a week and that has helped me to realize how much I missed spending time doing things like that with him.

• Imbalance as an athlete got me to where I am now, and although running is the love of my athletic life, there has to be room for other endeavors. I’ve been working on flexibility now and hope to add regular strength training as well.

• I will be heading in to the next year with a new perspective and new goals. I won’t be racing as much. I want to just have fun. I want to run and enjoy it with reckless abandon, no big expectations. I want to see how far I can go and just run for as long as I can…distance wise and age wise.

Moving forward I’m also changing the direction of this blog. I honestly don’t know how many people read it anyway, but I’m wanting to make it a place where I can just be me. Talk about more than running (although that will probably be a lot of the chatter here) and make this spot more balanced just like I’m trying to bring more balance to my life. It’s my blog, my life, and I have more to share than just running stuff.

So there’s an update for you. Hopefully I can get more consistent here. I do love to blabber on about stuff and I figure this is the place I can do it. So, with that, whether you are on a mountaintop or in a valley, keep moving forward and I’ll see you next time.

Life since the streak

Hi there! Long time no see. Well, maybe not that long, but it’s been about a month since my streak ended and what an interesting month it’s been. It’s true that you learn a lot about yourself when you’re streaking, but I have to say I’ve learned a lot about myself in just 4 weeks since not running every day. So, let’s see, where to begin.

Well first off, I forgot how freeing and wonderful rest days are! Don’t get me wrong, I loved running every day, I enjoyed the challenge, but it’s so nice to be able to let my body just rest if I need to.

What else? Well, my flexibility sucks! I honestly think that my inflexibility was a big contributing factor to my hip issue.

Probably the biggest thing is I’m feeling more, um, me…and I’ve learned a lot about myself. As well as remembered and rediscovered a lot of myself that I think I lost over the last 4 1/2 years or so. Like my crafting side. I put off a lot of things because I “had” to get that run in. Since not running every day I’ve gotten several projects done and reignited the fire to learn new skills.

Granted, these are all crochet, but I’ve also dusted off my knitting needles, sewing machine, and jewelry making materials to delve deeper into the creative universe that I love.

I’ve also pretty much dropped out of the running social media world for a while. While I do love running and the community surrounding it, I’m feeling more discouraged than uplifted while I’m there. I think a big part of that is because my view on my personal running goals has changed somewhat. It’s been evolving over the last couple months, and I’m far more interested in the self improvement/me-time/enjoying the outdoors part of it than the how far/how fast/how many races part. As a matter of fact I recently just couldn’t bring myself to finish listening to a podcast because it was all about race times and placing. Not that those aren’t great, legitimate goals, they just aren’t my scene right now.

Also on the running front, I forgot how much I really enjoy an analog training journal. I started keeping track of my exercise and other things in a school planner I recently bought and I love seeing the pages fill up. I may return to social media, but for now I’m focusing on me. Hopefully I’ll still have some followers when I get back, but if not…hey, such is life, right?

Now, as for my hip, it’s feeling much better. Not 100%, but I am running again. Noting fast or far, but I’m enjoying every mile. I do have a few races on the calendar which is exciting. Exciting in that they are races, but also exciting to be running with a new attitude. It should be fun!

Well, that’s where I’m at right now. Somewhere between a runner and an artist and someone who’s just ready to be their true self. Where it will lead I’m not sure, but that’s the adventure we call life! Until next time, all the best to all of you!