WiP - Good Stuff

  Between the sewing and the running, this turned out to be a rather good week. Lots of solid accomplishments that make me feel like my plans are actually moving in the right direction. And the household is starting to get into the fall routine, so it seems like we're all becoming a little more settled.

This is about the time I expect my husband to deploy and/or get orders.

Ahem. Anyway. So, the sewing. Mostly working out a t-shirt quilt design and cutting that out. That's pretty boring stuff, though.

So, in between the cutting out of shirts, I've been working on these two projects:

The top being the Woven Snowmen that's been my leader/ender for a couple of weeks. Only a few row seams to go, which is good because I need to clear the design wall off for the t-shirt quilt.

A close-up of the two bottom blocks - these are for the Elsa/Anna Frozen panel quilt. These are my test blocks, as the pattern calls for making the blocks with a few less seams...and a ton more wasted fabric. I haaaaaaaaate that - I could double stitch the seams and get "bonus" HSTs, but I have a few bags of bonus HSTs laying around that I never get around to making anything with. So I recalculated the design. These two came out right, so now I'm assembly-lining the rest of the blocks.

Most of which are still HSTs waiting to be trimmed. Sigh. Only 16 blocks, only 12 HSTs each one.

And then in running news, I ran my local half marathon yesterday. I didn't really taper much during the week, because I was planning on running it slow with a friend. I have been working at long, slow miles since August, trying to build up a solid base - and with real cross training {15+ mile bike rides} and strength training.

Well, apparently all that paid off, because I was feeling better than fine on all the hills - enthusiastically singing Macklemore on Doomsday Hill at mile nine. {Downtown was filmed in downtown Spokane - how could I resist?} My friend told me to ditch her and go for the PR {I think it was the singing} - so yeah. I did.

Not only was it a personal record - I felt great after because we weren't running hard in the beginning. And I still had plenty of energy left for 9-minute miles at the end. And I wasn't hurting too much at all. And Spokane is a really hilly course! Which makes me suddenly think that my training is actually working. Huh. Go figure!

So now I'm planning on keeping my runner's high for a while and getting.stuff.done!

See also: Oh ScrapBoMs Away, Design Wall Monday, Monday Making, Main Crush MondayFabric Tuesday, Scraptastic Tuesday, Rainbow Scrap Challenge, WiP on Wednesdays, WiP Wednesday

Coeur d'Alene Half Marathon

  Happy National Running Day, everyone! I'd like to say I saved this post for today on purpose...but you should know me better than that.

Anyway, over Memorial Day weekend, I ran a half marathon over in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. It's a resort town on one of the fabulous lakes in Northern Idaho - apparently it has a famous golf course. It also has the continuation of Spokane's Centennial Trail, renamed the North Idaho Centennial Trail once it crosses the border.

We started downtown in McEuen Park - a great playground outside of the resort that opened last year. We took the kids to the splash pad there last summer, so we knew the parking and bathroom situation fairly well. {And the bathroom situation was my very favorite kind - real ones with short lines! I love you, small races in real places.}

Other than the short start and finish downtown, the half ran as an out-and-back along the paved trail. Which was fantastic, until about mile four when we climbed the BIG HILL and I realized we would be turning around and doing it again. Luckily it was a slightly lower grade with a plateau halfway on the way back.

I started using Strava - an app and website - to track my runs. I'm still getting used to it {that finish marker way past the green start on the first map? That's when I forgot to turn it off and walked back to my car.} But my favorite feature? You can mark segments - or just check the ones other people marked. Then I can obsess about the grade of the hills and how I'll never be properly trained for them.

I ran the race with my friend Adina, as a girls' day out. Yes, we need to get out more if a half marathon is our fun outing away from the kids. We kept a fairly even pace, minus the BIG HILL, and enjoyed talking about everything from John Oliver to what the heck we're going to do with our kids all summer. {Not letting them watch John Oliver. Probably.}

And a nice set of swag! Although with my pet peeve - the race had twice as many half marathoners than full. Yet everything says "marathon." I understand cost saving measures...but it makes me feel like a fake when I wear something emblazoned with marathon when "I only did the half."

But it's a great shirt with good coverage on the hand warmer, so I'm only barely complaining. And some stickers, the medal with a spinning center, a pint glass, and unpictured coupons and a hand towel.

I did learn something significant - baby wipes do NOT cut it post-race. We went right from the race to brunch {with huckleberry mimosas!} with a quick bathroom change, and I felt icky for the rest of the day. I'm apparently high maintenance enough to want a post-race shower.

Time: 2:27:40 {Note: this was just a "long run" of ten miles on my training plan. I let Adina set the pace.}

Workout Wednesday - Charlotte Racefest

  While on spring break, I ran the Charlotte (NC) Racefest half marathon. You, as one does when on vacation. Actually, my mother-in-law bribed me to bring the kids for the break by helping search out a race. I'm easily bribed.

Since I knew Charlotte is hilly, I did a "hill" workout {treadmill half miles at 0/2/4/6/4/2% incline} and made sure I hit some hilly roads on my long run. By that, I mean I usually ran up and down the one hilly road twice. I live in between an airport and an air force base. It's flat.

My local route: the same hills at 2 & 8.

That still didn't prepare me for Charlotte. Honestly, I think running in Charlotte is the only thing that could have prepared me. I was moving along fine in the beginning - slightly under goal pace up and down the hills, and up and down some more, and oooh, mile five was almost completely flat and I clocked my fastest mile!

And then I reached mile seven and hit...not a wall {I don't believe in a half marathon wall} - but another hill. And with that, I was done - goal pace was gone and I was walking. I told myself I was okay with 2:20 instead of 2:15. And then when I hit the hill just before mile ten, I told myself I was okay with 2:25. And then when I hit the hill at mile eleven...

One section of the race was actually the worst I've ever run - on a teeny narrow bike path with a very uneven surface, followed by a gravel parking lot and more narrow trail. I've done trail races without complaint, but this was too narrow to even pass anyone. I heard this was a new addition, and I hope they take it back out - I heard nothing but complaints about it.

Also, I got smacked in the face several times by inchworms. Not cool, wildlife.

Other than that, the course was actually nice and scenic - lovely homes and neighborhoods, rather than city stuff.

In the end, I ran a 2:29:54. See, I beat 2:30. {In comparison, two weeks before on the above local way more flat route, I ran 2:10:43 for 12.17 miles.}

And even though it was far from my goal, 2:30 used to be my goal that I struggled for on a flat course. So I am getting faster...I just need to maybe not skip as many strength workouts in the next training section.

The stuff I actually race for! {Besides bacon and donuts.} Gotta say - not impressive. The shirt is nice, and I like the colors. The medal is nice...but the ribbon is grosgrain. Come on, grosgrain is the stuff from my RnR bonus medals {aka free stuff} not real race medals.

And then the sum total of the swag? A $10 off a $50 purchase at Dick's. A cup of water at the end {there were plenty of water stops on route with Gatorade and water} - not a bottle. And some orange slices and banana halves. Yikes. I don't necessarily run for the swag - but I do want bang for my buck. Priest Lake had nothing but a shirt/medal, but they had a kickass post-race BBQ.

And no pictures whatsoever. {Not that I ever look good in the them - but seriously. Nothing?}

So...I wouldn't run it again - but I don't need to, now that I've checked North Carolina off the list. Ten states done - 20% of the way through!

Workout Wednesday - the Plan

  So, as I mentioned, I'm working on a plan for a sub-two hour half marathon. It's slower than slow - my GOAL race will be in December, with three goal races in between.

And here it is, in all it's scary glory!

Kate's Sub-Two Half Marathon Plan

It's basically the Hal Higdon intermediate plan, with some modifications. I swapped some of the days around to things that work better for my schedule, added cross training twice a week, and a third day of strength training.

I also worked in a taper long run - the Higdon plan goes right from 12 miles to the race weekend, and I know I do better with a taper. That being said, I told one of my local running pals that she could replace any of my 10-11 mile long runs with a half marathon. {Um, hi. I'm a Half Fanatic.} I just have to remember to do it at the long run pace, not race pace!

I'm probably going to calm down on the Thursday hills after Charlotte - as someone who always lives around Air Force bases {ie, flat land}, I'm a little terrified of North Carolina's hills. Plus I want to be able to run up Bloomsday's two killer hills - Cemetery at 5% for 1/3 mile, and Doomsday topping out at 6.5% for three-quarters of a mile.

For strength, I've been using Bikini Body Mommy on YouTube, because it's free, and she only uses weights. I can't always get to the gym and I don't want to get a whole bunch of exercise equipment for home. I'm doing the first 90 day challenge, with some modifications when it's too easy. {Alternating lunges? Ha! Try alternating lunges with bicep curls. Wait, now I can't feel my arms.}

I am skipping her cardio days. I figure 16+ miles each of biking and running count for that. ;)

And finally, I'm counting calories over on My Fitness Pal as katiemaequilts. I'm pretty good at sticking to my calorie limits...not as much with the sugar limits. I will give up quite a lot to have room for a cookie!