Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Tale of Two Races

After I completed the Disney TOT 10 miler, I figured why not just do a half marathon? I only needed to go three more miles, right? Little did I know that the holidays and cold weather would put a wrench in my training. One would think that training in cooler and dryer weather would be preferable to the heat and humidity. I guess I just had too many distractions. I let every excuse keep me from training. In the end, I felt totally unprepared for the Best Damn Race half marathon. 

It was NOT my Best Damn Race. I messed everything up. I had it in my head that the race was in a different location and a different time. I'm surprised we made it at all.  On top of it all, it was cold. Not, oh I should wear pants cold. More like, I need to wear 10 layers and just hibernate cold. I didn't want to get out of the car to go to the start line. Then we turned off the engine and the car got cold, too.  So I put on my big girl panties and high tailed it to the start line. I decided to just do my best and enjoy it while focusing on not biting my tongue off as my teeth were chattering.

Things started off well. People were energized and excited. It's hard for it not to rub off when you are surrounded by that.  We (hubby ran this one with me - bless his heart) placed ourselves by the 2:30 (2 hours, 30 minutes) pacer and hoped we could keep up. And we did! We even passed that group. The cold weather kept me from overheating and I didn't need to take walk breaks. I started getting excited at this potential. Then we come upon signs like this:
My race packet mentioned there were rolling hills, but they were "more like speed bumps". I've never seen a speed bump with a steep grade warning. Going down wouldn't be so bad, but for each down there was an up. And not just one or two. Florida is supposed to be flat, dammit! I was ready to cry, but I think I was too dehydrated to get any tears out.  I forced myself to keep moving and just took several walk breaks to get my asthma under control. When I could finally see the finish line, I just wanted to stop. I was ready to sit down and give up. Stupid, since I could see the finish, but I was just overwhelmed. My knees were fine, my hips were good (I usually feel pain here first) and my feet were only partly sore. I was just done.  Hubby encouraged me to keep moving and I even ran across that finish line in under 3 hours. Just barely, but hey, now I have room for improvement. Hubby said he is never doing a half marathon again, lol. 

Best part about BDR - the water stops. Lots of them. With great volunteers.  Worst part of BDR - no direction at finish line. No one pointed out the water or, more importantly, the food. My feet were too sore to go looking, so I settled for a beer and promptly threw it up. I'm sure people thought I was just drinking too much, ha! I've seen lots of posts about how much runners loved this race, so I purposely didn't post about it for awhile. I think my experience was unusual and I didn't want to post while I was feeling so negative about it.
I love my medal, but you won't see me running BDR again. I can't do the hills. I might, however, attempt a half marathon again. Maybe in a year - or most of the year. I am glad I completed a half marathon, regardless of the time or troubles.
Time to pick myself up and dust off. Gasparilla Distance Classic was just around the corner in just a few weeks. We signed up for the 8k, mostly because it's a distance I haven't done in a race and also because K2 was running with the Florida Blue Kids group on that day.  Gasparilla is big, fun, and has the best health fair, hands down. We had a blast last year running the Gasparilla 5k.
K2 ran 2 miles with the kids after cheering in all the half marathoners. They had so much fun. She was a little disappointed in the medal (it was plastic) but they also gave the kids free Nike running shoes, so that made up for it. She thinks she wants to do the 8k next year. We will see, kiddo.
Getting ready to run!
Hot, tired, and ...done. Flat, but lots of heat. 
Can't win 'em all, but I did PR.
Isn't this an awesome medal?

So what's next? I think I'll stick to 5k races for awhile and then consider longer races towards the end of the year. That Florida sun is here to stay for awhile, so I think I'll just take it easy on the distance running. 

Besides, the Legoland 5k is coming up. Fun!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Traces

Our season of Broadway at the Straz Center continues...with Traces
This show was a nice change from the typical Broadway musical. It was like "Rent" meets "Cirque du Soleil" and was full of action.

The only disappointment was that it was a short show compared to the musicals. We were definitely left wanting to see more, but as much as they were moving I'm sure it would have been difficult.

Interestingly enough, they introduced themselves during the show. They were able to be themselves and not a character. I'm not sure how much of it was truth, but it did personalize it for the audience. And the one woman in the show had no problem keeping up with the boys.
We loved it.

Another shared mother/daughter moment. Getting K1 season tickets has been the best thing for us to spend some quality time together. We're already looking forward to doing it again next season.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Texting Gloves and Head Band

Here is another variation on the gloves and ear warmer that I posted earlier this week. You can see the patterns here. The head band is exactly the same, but with a different flower. Oh, and the same yarn (Deborah Norville's Anti-Pill Everyday Yarn), but with a different color. See how easy it is to make the same gift unique? It's one of the reasons why I like crochet. The gloves are the same pattern with just a few modifications. The stitches are closer together without the lacy look. Still feminine, but not as frilly. I just love turquoise and brown together, don't you?

Texting Gloves

Hook - G
1 sk of Deborah Norville's Anti-Pill Everyday Yarn
(there will be enough for 2 gloves and head band)


Pattern
Ch 10.
Note: For rows 1 through 22 in wrist ribbing, sc in back loop only.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across, ch 1, turn. 9 sc.

Rows 2 - 22: Sc in each sc across, ch 1, turn.

Row 23: Bring row 1 to meet row 22, matching stitches. Sl st row 1 and row 22 together. 11 ridges made.
Do not break yarn. Turn cuff inside out (so sl st edge is inside) and turn cuff so the ridges are running vertically. Now you're ready to start working into the edge of the cuff.

Note: you can change the textured look of the gloves by working on the outside or the inside. It's easy to turn either way at this point, so try both and see which you like. I prefer the texture of working the inside. This means that you are always viewing the inside of the cuff as you work around. Both are fine, I just like to change things up.

Row 1: ch 2 and work 21 dc into edge of cuff, evenly around. Join each row with a slst into top of chain 2.
Row 2-4: ch 2, dc around.
Row 5-7: I don't like to stress my seams (your hand IS bigger than your wrist, trust me) so I crochet 2 dc in the first and last stitch in these rounds.

Thumb hole
To keep the seam on the palm side for both hands, you will work each one opposite of the other.

Right hand
Row 8: ch 2, dc in same stitch as ch 2, dc around until you have 7 stitches left to end. Ch 4, sk 4 stitches, dc to end. Join with slst to 1st dc (not ch 2) for stability.
Row 9: ch 2, dc around including into the 4 chains.
Row 10-11: ch 2, dc around, fasten off.


Left hand
Row 8: ch 2, dc in same stitch as ch 2, dc in next 2 st, ch 4, sk 4 stitches, dc in 5th st to end. Join with slst to 1st dc (not ch 2) for stability.
Row 9: ch 2, dc around including into the 4 chains.
Row 10-11: ch 2, dc around, fasten off.


Pretty simple, huh? You can also finish off with a round of sc for extra strength, but I've found that this yarn doesn't stretch out of shape like some others, so it isn't necessary.

If you try this pattern, let me know how it goes. I totally made it up as I went along and I would love to hear what you think. Happy Crocheting!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lacy Fingerless Gloves and Head Band



This was my go-to project this year. These gloves work up quickly and I found a yarn that I just love for this! It's Deborah Norville's Anti-Pill Everyday Yarn. It's so soft and stays looking new even after lots of wear. The gloves take no time at all to work up, so if you need a quick gift, this is perfect. I can make one set of gloves AND the ear warmer head band with one skein of yarn, so this is a thrifty project, too.


Lacy Gloves
Hook - G

One size fits all. If you need to make smaller or larger, you can crochet 4 fewer or 4 more rows on the wrist ribbing. 

(4 rows = 2 rows of  rib =  1 shell and 1 dc.)  

You'll need to adjust your shell/dc count accordingly in the body of the pattern.

Beginning shell = Ch3, dc, ch1 , 2 dc in same space.
Shell = 2 dc, ch1, 2 dc in same space.
Gauge - 3 shells/3 dc (in pattern) = 4"   7 rows of shells = 4"

Pattern:
Ch 10.
Note: For rows 1 through 22 in wrist ribbing, sc in back loop only.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across, ch 1, turn. 9 sc.

Rows 2 - 22: Sc in each sc across, ch 1, turn.

Row 23: Bring row 1 to meet row 22, matching stitches. Sl st row 1 and row 22 together. 11 ridges made.
Do not break yarn. Turn cuff inside out (so sl st edge is inside) and turn cuff so the ridges are running vertically.

Lacy portion:
Row 1:  Ch 3, (dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same space (beginning shell made), *sk next sc row on cuff, dc in side of 1st sc in next row, sk next sc row on cuff, shell in side of sc in next row,* repeat between *'s 4 times more. Sk next row end, dc in side of next sc side, sl st in top of beg. ch 3. You may or may not have a complete sc row to put your last dc in. If you can't skip a row, just put it in the next row. You now have 6 shell/dc combos around.

Shell rows 2 - 7: Sl st in next dc and ch sp, beg shell, (dc in next dc, shell in next shell) around, ending with dc in dc, sl st in beg. ch 3.

Row 8: (Creating thumb space) Sl st in next 7 stitches, sl st in ch 1 of shell, beg shell, *dc in next dc, shell in next shell* 4 times, ch 1, sl st in to of beg ch. 3. (You have skipped one shell and 2 dcs to make the thumb opening.)

Row 9: Sl st in next dc & ch 1 space, beg shell, (dc in next dc, shell in next shell) around, ending dc in ch 1 between shells, sl st in top of beginning ch 3. (You've added one dc back into your row.)

Rows 10 - 11: Sl st in next dc and ch 1 space, beg shell, (dc in next dc, shell in next shell) around, ending with sl st in top of beginning ch 3.

Fasten off and weave in ends.




Head Band Ear Warmer

Hook -H (5.00mm) hook
1 button

Pattern:
Row 1. Ch 6. In second st from hook, begin hdc. Hdc 4. Ch 2, then turn.

Row 2. In second st of the ch 2, hdc 1. Hdc 3, hdc 2 in last st. Ch 2, turn.

Row 3. Hdc 6. Ch 2, turn.

Row 4. In second st of the ch 2, hdc 1. Hdc 5, then hdc 2 in last st. Ch 2, turn.

Row 5.  Hdc 8. Ch 2, turn.

Row 6. In second st. of ch 2, hdc 1. Hdc 7, then hdc 2 in last st. Ch 2, turn.

Row 7. Hdc 10. Ch 2, turn.

Row 8. In second st of the ch 2, hdc 1. Hdc 9, then hdc 2 in last st. Ch 2, turn.

Row 9. Hdc 12. Ch 2, turn.

Row 10. In second st of the ch 2, hdc 1. Hdc 11, then hdc 2 in last st. Ch 2, turn.

Rows 11-30. Hdc 14. Ch. 2, turn. 

Row 31. Hdc 2 tog. Hdc  10, then hdc 2 tog the last two st. Ch 2, turn.

Row 32. Hdc 12. Ch 2, turn.

Row 33. Hdc 2 tog. Hdc 8, then hdc 2 tog the last two st. Ch 2, turn.

Row 34. Hdc 10. Ch 2, turn.

Row 35. Hdc 2 tog. Hdc 6, then hdc 2 tog the last two st. Ch 2, turn.

Row 36. Hdc 8. Ch 2 turn.

Row 37. Hdc 2 tog. Hdc 4, then hdc 2 tog the last two st. Ch 2, turn.

Row 38. Hdc 6. Ch 2, turn.

Row 39. Hdc 2 tog. Hdc 2, then hdc 2 tog the last two st.

Row 40. Ch 4, sl st to join into a loop at the end of your headband. This will be the button hole. Turn.

Row 41. Sc 4 in your ch 4. Sl st at the end, cut and weave in yarn.  Add your favorite crocheted flower. I used this one:

Loopy Flower


Pattern:
1. In magic ring, sc 10. Sl st to join.

2. Ch 2, then hdc 2 in back loop only (blo) in next st.  Repeat 2 sc in blo in every set until circle is completed.  Sl st to join (total of 20 hdc including initial ch 2).

3. Ch 10, sl st in blo of next st, repeat 19 times.

4. Ch 8, sl st into first front loop (towards inside of the flower).  Ch 8, sl st in next front loop, repeat 19 times.

5. Ch 6, sl st end into front loops of your initial dc.  Ch 6, sl st in next st, repeat until finished.  For the end, chain 6 and put the end of the chain inside the hole in the center, tie off.


Super fun, Super Easy, Super cute!


Friday, February 08, 2013

Valentine's Day Wreath

Ok, I am simply in love with this one. Not only did K2 help me make all theses pom-poms, but I was able to use up a ton of scrap yarn that I couldn't use for anything else. I really am happy with the way it turned out.

I had purchased a wire wreath form many months ago when it was on sale. You can get them at your local craft store. Use a coupon and pick one up for less than $5. I couldn't decide on what I wanted to make, but I knew I wanted more than just the wreath I hang at Christmas time.
It didn't take long to wrap up a bunch of pom-poms with K2 using this handy little contraption from Clover:
I had some red felt left over from another project, so I  cut out a heart shape and crocheted an edging around it in white. Then I tied the poms to the wire frame, secured the heart and finished it with a leftover ribbon from a Christmas present. I was afraid to commit to it until it was done, so nothing is permanent  I can easily untie the poms for storage or to update for another holiday. However, I really love it, so I may just keep it as it. Super cheap and fun project.

LOVE!



Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Shower and Tub Cleaner

Image from Joyful Homemaking
Keeping with my semi-addiction to Pinterest, I came across a pin that looked promising. I hate cleaning my bathroom and apparently so does everyone else in my house. But, it has to be done. In particular, I hate scrubbing the tub because with our hard water, soap scum is an every day thing. 

Margo, over at Joyful Homemaking posted this little concoction that has turned out pretty well in my tub. I purchased one of those sponge scrubbers and used the dish detergent and vinegar I had on hand. Pretty cheap to try this one out - yes! You simply fill half and half with each (vinegar and dish soap) and then scrub away. It actually gets the soap scum off pretty good, especially off the tiled walls which I can never seem to clean well enough. I hear it works equally well on glass shower doors.

I keep the scrubber in the shower and then use it a few times a week while I'm in the shower. Silly? Maybe, but when I'm letting conditioner sit on my hair, it makes me feel like I'm not wasting water. Plus, it only takes a few seconds to run the scrubber over the tub or walls (I alternate). Now I don't have to wait take a bath because the tub isn't clean. 

Thanks for the helpful suggestion, Margo!