I Can Run Faster Than I Think

running feet again

What a surprise the other morning. My training plan called for a 5 mile tempo run, at at 9:35 per mile pace. However, I’ve been running at a quicker pace than what’s been laid out in my plan. Because of that, I had mentally set a per mile pace of 9:15 as I started the run.

Yet every time I looked down at my Garmin and saw 8-something in the Pace field, I was surprised. My rate of perceived exertion did not indicate a sub 9:00 per mile pace. And so I just kept running. I slowed down when it got hard and then sped up when it got easy.

All in all, I covered the 5 miles in 43:15, which averages to an 8:39 minute per mile pace. One of the benefits of using a Garmin for the past 6 years is having historical data to compare where I am now to where I used to be. And just looking back to the past few years, this most recent effort really is the quickest 5 miler I’ve put out.

All those track workouts and tempo runs have been paying off.

Who doesn’t love seeing progress? Between pregnancy, injury shortly after having Miles, more injury and then just committing to the work – I feel like I’ve got it. I am in a really good spot concerning my running. I feel strong. I feel fast. And I don’t hurt (much).

 

Hexagon iPad Sleeve

Made: iPad Sleeve (with hexagons!)

Hexagon iPad Sleeve

This might have been the quickest project I’ve made. Ever.

Oh, and I’m kind of excited about the hexagons. (Hey, don’t make fun of me, I am celebrating the small things!) I’ve been hand stitching these things for, like, ever.

I mostly followed a tutorial I found on Sew Mama Sew. I used batting instead of the heavy interfacing that the pattern calls for, so my case is probably a lot softer then theirs. I also omitted the D-ring handle.

I machine appliqued the hexagon panel right on top of the linen, then echo quilted around it. I really like it!

The pocket holds my charging brick and cord with no problem. It is big enough to comfortably fit the bluetooth keyboard/protective cover thingie I keep with my iPad most of the time.

iPad Sleeve Pocket

It stays closed with the help of a little Velcro.

iPad Sleeve Closed

Completing this little project was so satisfying. I didn’t obsess over the fabric, and I wanted to keep it simple. I like the combo of linen + prints. I have so many other projects in varying stages of in-completeness. I just did not feel like working on any of them. I wanted something quick and useful – and it’s pretty.

Yay!

 

(Unofficial) End of Summer Camping Trip

Camping

JJ returned from a month-long Army training exercise, and what better way to celebrate his return to civilization than to go camping! Because really, after sleeping in a tent on a cot for an entire month in the Mojave Desert, coming home to a real bed is just not the same. Why not pack everything back up and sleep in another tent. For fun!

JJ is a really good sport. We’ve talked about camping for months now, and just hadn’t done it. We even bought a family-friendlier ATV to tear up the trails. I chose a campground (Iron City Campground in the San Isabel National Forest near Buena Vista, CO for those that are wondering) that was near a bunch of ATV trails and it was perfect!

Miles was still hanging out with my parents in Ohio, and truthfully, we wanted to test our own camping skills before dragging a child with us.

We rode up Tincup Pass, cooked burgers and hotdogs, heated water for noodles and coffee and oatmeal. Slept in a (rented) tent. Rode the ATV some more. Ate more noodles. Hid from a hail storm (ok, ok, we napped during it). I started and finished a book, JJ caught up on magazines… in summary it was a really great weekend for the two of us.

And so the (unofficial) start of fall is here, now being September and Miles is back and in preschool. We’re waking up to cooler mornings, and still trying to squeeze in some fun in the evenings before it gets dark.

Paramount Theater in Denver, CO

It Was A Midnight Bike Ride After A Great Show

Paramount Theater in Denver, CO

Great night. Great show.

Not such a great bike ride.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, riding our bikes downtown to see the David Gray perform at the Paramount Theater, just off the 16th Street Mall. I live a mile or two from my sister, and she lives another mile or two from the Paramount Theater.  It was a lovely evening, and parking can be a real bitch downtown, so we decided to ride our bikes.

After the show – which was amazing. I’ve probably seen David Gray live a half dozen times, and he never disappoints – we walked outside. It was damp. It had rained. Bike seat = wet butt = uncomfortably gross ride home. And my back tire was flat. Slap Slap Slap. Its what we heard riding along 16th Street turning in to 16th Avenue.

It was a warm, damp evening.
Riding through puddles makes a pleasant sound.
Squick squick of the pedals.

The sky was a deep inky indigo color.
Huge drops of water plop on my shoulders, my arms, my thighs, my head as I ride down the street.
I give the parked cars along the (haunted) park a wide wide berth. Afraid of the nothing – no people, no light – afraid of what isn’t there, but what I think is there.

But more embarrassed of the slap slap slap of my (flat) back tire as I ride past Shells and Sauce. And again when another bike goes right past me.

I fear I ruined my wheel by riding so far on such a flat tire.

By pedaling through the streets at midnight, I saw a completely different city filled with interesting characters – the guy with the fun music coming out of his speakers on his neon light trimmed bicycle I saw riding through the park, the guy walking his dog, the girl pedaling home, the couple leaving the restaurant, the dark windows in the big and small bungalows I passed.

Even though the ride was at times uncomfortable and embarrassing, being able to ride my bike is a joy. Living where we live is a joy. There really is no better way to witness the subtleties of a city than by rolling through the streets. Day or night.

Made: Sew Together Bag

sew together bag interior sew together bag

I have been hearing about the Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented for awhile now. A few of my guild members made them together at one of our retreats. My friend Heather showed me hers at a guild sew-in. And after seeing them in person, and looking at just how much stuff they can keep in this bag, I wanted to make one too.

I used fabrics entirely from my stash and scrap bin – I even had enough interfacing and the right size zippers to put it all together. I like being able to shop my supplies. I don’t have enough of a fabric stash to make full sized quilt, but I do have enough for other sewing projects.

The bag comes together so smartly! I really liked sewing this bag. Listening to my guild friends, I used the The Quilt Barn’s Sew Together Bag Sew Along for reference as I was putting this bag together. The pattern doesn’t have many photos, but the blog series does.

For the exterior, I used a ‘quilt-as-you-go’ method it turned out great. I used Craft Fuse for the interfacing – it’s what I had and I like the stiffness it adds to the pockets and side panels. I thought it was a pretty easy bag to sew, but I’m not afraid to sew zippers. I’ve heard some quilters comment that they are intimidated by this bag because of the zippers. If you are one of those quilters, I just want to encourage you to try and learn new skills. Zippers are not as bad as we make them out to be!

And it is so useful, not just for sewing supplies, but I can see using this as a travel toiletry bag or cosmetic bag or school supply bag.

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.

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