track workout

I’ve Been Running

track workout

This shouldn’t really be a surprise, but I’ve been running. And its been really good so far this summer. If you follow me on Instagram I really only post photos of my sewing and my feet. Really fun IG feed, huh?

But really, my running has been really good and I want you all to know that. Just kidding! Truthfully, I want to remember how good it is right now. And how grateful that I’m healthy and able to run. This time last year, I was slowly working my way back to running.

I am working towards the Denver Half Marathon on October 19th; I even have a very structured training plan that I’m following. I borrowed Run Less, Run Faster from the library and put together a training plan, complete with target paces. I won’t go too much into the meat of the book, but essentially I’m only running 3 times a week. One track workout, one tempo workout and a long run. Some cross training thrown in there rounds out my week. It really is a good schedule for me and my body right now. I’m not too tired and I’m not too sore.

I’m finding, however, that I’ve been able to run faster than the paces laid out in the plan. I’m 4 weeks into training, and I’m really surprised. I used my time from this year’s Cherry Creek Sneak, and I’m thinking that I need to run a fast 5k to recalibrate. The tempo runs are most surprising for me; I typically do not have the discipline to push myself outside of ‘easy’.

All that speedwork is working though. Lap after lap around the track on Tuesdays. Faster, longer runs on Thursdays. Long runs on Sundays. The running is getting easier. I’m moving quicker. Best of all? I’m having fun.

 

Double Z Mini Quilt

Made: Double Z Mini Quilt and My 400th Post!

Double Z Mini QuiltI am on a roll with these mini quilts, it seems. I made two in one month!

This one is a gift for my friend Heather. She moved her sewing space from an unfinished basement to a bedroom upstairs in her house. With lots of wall space for mini quilts!

The block is the Double Z from the book Vintage Quilt Revival. Despite my dislike of making half square triangles, I really do like how they look. And the different ways you can put them together to create different looks.

For Heather’s quilt, I used some squares from a mini (2 1/2″ squares) charm pack of Sunnyside by Kate Spain (my favorite fabric designer). What else can you do with these teeny squares but make mini quilts?

My favorite part of this mini is the quilting. I free motion quilted back and forth lines going in all directions and only ‘stitched in the ditch‘ on the actual block. I love how the block puffs out because the surrounding parts are so densely quilted.

Double Z Mini Quilt-2

The binding is some leftovers from my mom’s quilt. I backed it in bleached muslin; its quilted with white Gutterman thread. And, look, I even signed the back. (I really need to make some quilt labels. It is on the to-do list.)

Double Z Mini Quilt-3

This was a super quick project. I started it on Friday with the goal of giving it to her on Sunday at the very first sew in for the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild <- more on that at a later post!

Lately, I’ve just needed the satisfaction of finishing a project, using the materials on hand. I am trying to make a dent in my fabric stash – and believe me, my stash really isn’t crazy big like some peeps I know.  Mini quilts are the perfect project to try new things, practice building skills and make something.

AND holy moly. This is my 400th post. Which is just crazy when I think about it. I started this blog just a few weeks before Miles was born almost 5 years ago. I love looking through my archives and see just how much we’ve all grown – Miles as a human, me as a crafty person. It’s been fun.

WIP Geometric Star

WIP: Geometric Star Quilt + Inaugural Sew-In with the Denver Metro MQG

WIP Geometric Star

Hi friends!

I’ve been hard at work paper piecing the pieces that go into making the Geometric Star block from the book, Vintage Quilt Revival. I’ve made a few individual blocks from the book, but I’ve yet to make an entire quilt.  So far, I’ve got one complete block, and I have the pieces ready to put together for another four. (So, I’m really not even going to mention that I initially stitched this block together all kinds of wrong. If you follow me on instagram, you know this.)

The real fun, though, is that I cut these pieces a few Sundays ago at the very first Sew In with the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild! This guild meets on a weekday at a location that is on my way home from work, so it is super convenient for me to attend. I’m for sure still part of the Front Range Modern Quilt Guild – there are a few of us that are part of both – and it is nice to meet even more quilters like me.

So, Sunday morning I packed stuffed my Sewing Circle Tote and headed northwest.

denver metro mqg sew in

I shared a table with my (new) friend Erica and my friend Heather.

denver metro mqg sew in-2

And by noon, all I had accomplished was one single block (May Sugar Block). I spent most of my morning walking around chatting with folks and seeing what everyone else was working on.

2014 May Sugar Block

I was able to at least cut the pieces for the quilt I’m working on now. So it was good to at least show some tangible progress for a 6 hour sew in, just not as much as I had hoped!

denver metro mqg sew in-4

Linking up at Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesdays.

Quilting Detail Ziggy Mini

Made: Ziggy Mini

Ziggy Mini Quilt

Look what I made! It is a little 7 1/2″ x 18″ mini quit.

I made a stack of half square triangles a few months ago at a sew-in with some co-workers. They sat in a box for awhile, and after I finished the Sewing Circle Tote, I pulled them out. I wanted to sew something but didn’t have a project in mind.

I played with layouts on the design wall, and settled for this ziggy design.

Quilting Detail Ziggy Mini

I free motioned quilted a blocky design on the neutral fabric.

Binding Ziggy Mini

I had some leftover yellow binding and I pieced in some of the print squares to mix it up a little.

Hanging Sleeve Ziggy Mini

And look, I even added a hanging sleeve!

For the record, I hate half square triangles. I might have mentioned that a few times before.

This was a quick, satisfying project. That I think I’ll hang in my office at work!

tracktracktrack

Somedays I Just Need to Run Fast

tracktracktrack

The-get-out-of-my-head, don’t-think-too-much-about-anything-else, and just run.

Fast.

Rest.

Repeat.

I added in some speedwork the past few weeks. My runs have gotten easier. The weekend runs have gotten longer. And recently, I’ve added a day at the track.

There’s a high school really close to work. And they have a really nice track that is open to the public outside of school hours. Thank you, town of Niwot, for making this available.  I’ve been getting up early to run some fast repeats around the track before I start my workday. I’ll pick one of the following:

Workout#1: 8x400s

Workout#2: 4x800s

Workout#3: 3x1600s

Each with a couple laps warmup and cooldown bookending the hard intervals. There’s a whole bunch of science behind why speedwork helps to improve your running. But right now, I’m not even thinking about my next PR. I want to not think about anything except staying on pace.

I just needed to get out there and run fast. 

The challenges I’m facing at work are really starting to get out of control. I’m coping the best I can, but man. It is hard sometimes to see past the immediate. Running helps me. Working out frustration and aggression via running keeps me level headed. This works for me.

Sewing Circle Tote

Made: Sewing Circle Tote

Sewing Circle Tote

Yay! I am finished! And I love this bag! It’s huge. Lots of pockets. Very sturdy.

I started this project back in March. I barely touched it in May, so I really didn’t spend 3 months sewing it. The pattern is written very well, it is very detailed and I followed every single instruction without modification.

I wanted a stand up kind of bag so, I used the thickest canvas I could find at Fabric.com. It’s listed at 12oz Cotton Duck and isn’t the easiest stuff to work with, but I took my time and used lots of clips to hold the layers together while sewing.

Cutting all the fabric pieces took a long time, and I’m glad that I labeled everything as I went along. I also tried to group pieces together, making the construction easier as I progressed.

I also followed the pattern recommendation to zig zag the raw edges of the cotton duck after cutting all the pieces out. This stuff frays like crazy!

sct-zigzag

The cotton duck is pretty hefty, and I broke 2 needles trying to force the thick seams through my machine. The Juki is pretty strong, and I should have just let the machine do the work. Instead I tried to force it through and broke a few needles. Learned my lesson there!

The seam allowances change from 1/4″ to 5/8″ to 3/8″ depending on which part of the bag you’re working on. I used painter’s tape to help me sight the different seam allowances – the markings on my throat plate aren’t that easy to see.

Painters Tape

The weight of the bag also took some manipulation. As I was sewing the lining to the exterior, I rested parts of the bag on my head while slowly feeding the bag through the machine bit by bit.

The quilted outside pockets are nice and large – big enough for my rulers and books. The inside pockets are plenty big as well for some of the little stuff I take to sew-ins or to a friend’s house for a sewing party.

SCT Inside

 

Supplies:

Fabric Name/Designer/Collection
Solid Fabric Exterior Kaufman Essex Linen Blend Steel
Straps Quilter’s Linen Print Magenta
Lining Sunprint Text Green
Lg interior pocket lining and patchwork Sunprint Feathers Acid Green
All other pocket linings and patchwork Architextures various
Cotton Duck 12 oz. Cotton Duck
1″ Cotton Webbing (straps) Cotton Webbing 1″ Tan
Fusible interfacing, lightweight Pellon 808 Craft Fuse
Peltex
Batting Scraps
7″ zippers
12″ zippers
3/8″ elastic 3/8″ braided elastic white
Needle Schmetz Denim
Thread Gutterman Jeans

 

Work In Progress: The Sewing Circle Tote

Hi friends! May was just a crazy month. A good month. Just crazy busy.

And my poor sewing machine sat. Neglected. While I was off in Ohio, off at work, off to Vegas. Just… not at home in my sewing room.

*sigh*

I finally did get back to the Juki and I got back to work on this crazy-ass tote. The pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman and she calls it The Sewing Circle Tote. I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about this before. (Well, I know I’ve instagram’d it. Can’t keep my ‘share all my projects on social media’ things straight.)

@ the beginning

Don’t be intimidated by the bag. I mean it! You’ll do a search for reviews and all these blog posts come up with folks sharing their story. But don’t be intimidated! You should make this bag. The instructions are very clear, very detailed and easy to follow.

sewing the straps on to the tote

With as many steps as this bag takes, I broke down the tasks as I read through the pattern. And since I like stats and keeping track of progress and spreadsheets, I made a project sheet. Isn’t it great? In all its nerdy glory? By the way, I don’t make project sheets for all my sewing projects, just the ones that have a ba-jillion steps.

Nerd Alert!

So far, I’ve only broken one needle. And I’m using denim needles paired with jeans thread to stitch through all these layers. My machine is having absolutely no trouble with this – this Juki is stitching over these thick seams like a hot knife through butter. I broke my needle by pulling the fabric through, and it must of have just gotten caught on something. Oops.

I broke a needle - gasp!I’m just about finished. I’ll share a post outlining my tips for sewing this tote up when I’m done.

Vegas-3

Weekend Celebration of Sisterhood (or Trou*)

Vegas-3

It was a crazy weekend full of laughter, remembering, lounging by the pool-ing, drinking, sharing, eating (and napping when we could).

I’d do anything for these girls. Some have been friends for 19+ years, others passing acquaintances I only just got to know over those three days. My four years as a cadet at West Point were -let’s be real here -  shitty. Uniforms, inspections, Army training, classes, little sleep, marching – all of it was hard. All four years were hard. And isolating most of the time since I was usually the only girl in my engineering classes. And the only girl in my Beast and Buckner squads. I imagine it was the same for these women as well – I know they experienced similar circumstances. Which is why our bond is so strong.

The relationships and friendships that started those four years are amongst the most special and dear to me.

And it was no surprise, really, that we pulled this informal reunion off in a few short months. What started as an innocent Facebook post by my dear friend, Heather, quickly morphed into a lets-all-meet-up-in-Vegas for a long weekend. One classmate said, “I work travel as a side job, let me look into hotels.” Another said, “I’ll talk to the box office for show tickets!” Yet another offered to coordinate a large group brunch. The private Facebook group page was filled with FUN. 30-something women (no one really had a good count!) came together for a good time in Vegas. That’s more than 1/3 of the women I graduated with back in May 1999.  And of my core group of friends, only 3 weren’t able to attend.

As photos were posted to Facebook, our male classmates commented some really amazing things about us.

I’m honored to be a part of this group. I’m proud of our shared experiences and of everyone’s successes. This post seemed most appropriate for Memorial Day, as all of us have put on the Army Uniform, some of us still do. And we’ve all lost classmates, friends and loved ones in war. These women ‘get me’ unlike anyone else. They’re my tribe – and it really doesn’t matter whether we were friends at school or not. I know that I can count on any of them for anything if I needed them. It is a privilege – being part of this amazing group of women.

The official United States Military Academy Class of 1999 15-year Reunion isn’t until October. We’re not sure if we’ll attend or not. And truthfully, Vegas wore me out. Next time I’m going to vote for something a little less intense :) Until next time, ’99!

Vegas-2

*Trou –  not-so-nice cadet slang for female cadet. We’ve since embraced the term; I think older women grads take much more offense to the term. My class entered about 20 years after the first females were admitted, and even in 1995, the Corps still had a long way to go. #troupower #awesometrou 

Cherry Creek Sneak 2014

Race Report: 2014 Cherry Creek Sneak

Cherry Creek Sneak 2014

I can’t believe how great I felt throughout this entire race. All 10 miles of it. It is even more unbelievable when I tell you that it was in the mid-40s, rainy and WINDY the entire race. Total crap weather. All 10 miles of it. My hands were so frozen, I had trouble opening a water bottle handed to me at the finish line. I had trouble unlocking my bike from the bike rack after the race. So. Cold. But anyway.

This year marks the 3rd year I’ve done the 10 mile; I’ve run the 5 mile twice before that. I’ve ran this race every year since 2010. I think that’s call a ‘streak’.

The Cherry Creek Sneak Streak. Ha! <- I’m a dork.

I’ve been having trouble with my left hip and after every run longer than 6 miles, I’d hobble around in pain for days. After the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler earlier this month, I made an appointment with a physical therapist. Um, miracle worker! She noticed tightness in both periformis (right and left side) and recommended dry needling to help release the muscles. Ahhhhh. It hurts so good. So. Good. She pretty much stuck long needles into muscles knots in my butt to relieve pain. I also have been doing strengthening exercises, stretching and using a lacrosse ball and a foam roller to help with the pain.

And it all totally worked. I felt great during the race. Around mile 6, I got a few twinges in my left hip, but that when away after awhile.

I’m also really thankful that my sister and Miles made it to the mile 7ish turnaround despite the crap weather. (JJ is out of town, so don’t think he’s a terrible supporter. He sent me a good luck text!)

So I don’t forget what worked for me this year, here’s my lessons learned:

  • foam roller the night before
  • take a zyrtec-d the night before
  • wore my black lululemon capris, under armour t-shirt and arm warmers for the weather. next time wear gloves.
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with water about 45 mins before the start
  • 1 honey stinger waffle about 30 mins before the start
  • start slow – 10:30-11:00 mile pace for the first 3/4 mile
  • a gu at mile 3ish
  • a shot blok a mile 6ish

 

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