Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Convertible Info--For Christina

(I need a better way of contacting people who don't have Blogger blogs!)

A knitter named Christina asked whether I like the size of my Convertible wrap (which blocked out much longer than it seemed while I was knitting) in the comments on this post.

I'm basically happy with the size, although I mainly wear it as a scarf, so the exact width isn't crucial. If I was going to wear it as a stole, I don't think I'd want it to be shorter. But, if I'd had enough yarn to make it wider without making it shorter, that would have been good too.

Monday, April 27, 2009


The secret knitting, and the socks, continue apace (I'm halfway through sock #2 of pair 48, and really should take pictures!), squeezed into a weirdly busy weekend.

On Saturday, Kevin actually had to be somewhere earlier than me (during the week, he gets to "sleep in" till 6 while I get up to row), because he met up with a bunch of triathlon people for a bike ride. A very, very hilly ride--they call the route Holiday Hell, because it goes over Holiday Hill. We drove out that way on Sunday, and I can confirm that it was appropriately named--the car seemed a little tired when we got tot he top.

I meant to row, but Saturday rows aren't centrally organized, and I chickened out--there was lots of potential for being picked last in gym class (or feeling guilty because someone else felt bad for me and offered to erg, or any number of other scenarios), so I just went home and ran instead.

Then in the afternoon, Jenn and I went up to the CT Sheep and Wool festival--where I refrained from buying any more rabbits, much to Kevin's relief (speaking of which, I finally spun some of Moppet's fur--it's not very even, but it's very soft!). I bought a skein of sock yarn, and 4 oz of fiber (and some soap), but mainly it was great to see all the SnBers I haven't seen in weeks (I switched days, and now I miss everyone from my original day).

Sunday, Kevin had signed up for a duathon (except that it calls itself a biathlon) in the Bronx--that's run, bike, run again, because it's still too cold to swim in the ocean--so we trooped down there, with 3 sets of workout clothes each and the tandem (plus Kevin's tri bike), because we'd somehow scheduled back to back workouts all day.

While Kevin did his duathlon, I ran around the park, then changed into workout outfit #2 to cheer for him at the finish. It was the first hot weather workout of the year (and only his second time biking in race this year), but he was very speedy--which was good, because once he get back and slightly cleaned up, back we went to CT for race # 2 of the day.

The university's grad school crew organizes a scrimmage (does anyone else think it's funny scrimmage can be applied to rowing? I feel like it should be confined to rugby and minor military engagements) against crews from MIT's grad school and Wharton each year, and this year MIT and Wharton didn't have a men's or women's 8, so the grad school asked us if we could come up with those boats so they'd have someone to race against.

We did, but barely, and at the last minute--despite much emailing ahead of time, there was a lot of "OK, there are 6 of us here, and you said you'd talked to so-and-so, and she said she could come?" "Wait, so-and-so was just here. Where did she go?" It was especially confusing because several of the New Haven Rowing Club members are also grad students, so we'd have seen them, but it wouldn't do us any good. Then there was some discussion about what seat everyone felt like, and didn't anyone feel like being stroke? (Stroke is the one everyone follows.) Then some discussion about whether being stroke when sweeping (1 oar per person) might be like singles sculling (where you have 2 oars, and it's just you), so maybe it would be fine that stroke hadn't rowed sweep since last year?

We got ourselves sorted out, and up to the starting line (where getting to the right spot was a bit like parallel parking for the first time--but fortunately with less to bump into), and off we went.

And somehow, we won--much to our amazement, because were were all positive we were going to lose embarrassingly.

In celebration, Kevin and I went for short ride on the tandem (getting away from our house on a bike is such a pain that we feel obligated to ride every time we're already somewhere else)--we meant to bike to an ice cream shop, but one we couldn't find (Cheshire, why do you have so many streets called Main St?) and the other was closed on Sundays, so that had to wait till the drive home.

Best ice cream ever.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Best Part of a Marathon!

Wearing comfy shoes afterwards!

It went fine--but my feet were definitely the weak link (of course!). After only 10K or so (that's less than a quarter of the way), I felt like my shoes were wearing holes in the back of my feet (I skipped the blister stage entirely), so when Kevin stopped by at lunch time, I asked him to get some athletic tape, and stopped (wasting time! Whole seconds passing without forward progress!) in order to tape my heels. That helped for a whole, but they were painful again by the time I finished.

Also, the seat felt significantly harder (almost immediately) than it ever did before.

But I'm done! My name's on the Concept2 Marathon Challenge list, and I get a fancy downloadable certificate!

And maybe some special reward yarn/fiber on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


In theory, tapering (the last couple of weeks before an endurance event, when you cut back on long workouts) ought to be great. You've done the bulk of the work already (hundreds of miles of training runs vs. 26.2 race miles left to go), and (in theory, assuming you followed a reasonable training plan, and really did most of it) all that work means that you'll really be able to do it (with only a bearable amount of misery). Getting a good night's sleep counts as preparation. Hurray!

In practice, I hate it. I start feeling like it's been forever since I did a long run, how am I possibly going to run that far during the marathon? Every minor physical sensation is the sign of a massive disaster which is going to prevent me from doing the marathon (which, on the one hand, is good news because I'm sure I won't be able to run that far anyway, is also kind of too bad because then I'll have to tell people I'm not doing it, and there's no chance they'll understand the crisis that began when I noticed that I could feel my toes).

All this culminates in complete crankiness in the last hours before the race (before I ran my birthday marathon last year I was sure I had a speck of glass in my big toe, and yelled at Kevin about how we'd have to go to the emergency room in VT in the middle of the night before the race, so probably we should figure out where the Burlington hospital was now, just to be prepared...). Crankiness which magically evaporates (I think!) when I actually start to run.

The problem with the erg marathon, from this perspective, is that it's self-scheduled (at least the US version)--any time you want in the last 2 weeks of April. This allows me to combine tapering worries with a vague feeling of guilt because I could have done it already but haven't. Plus, there's the tantalizing possibility of just skipping the whole thing--without even the incentive of having paid a non-refundable registration fee.

So it turns out that it's a good thing I asked our coach (who also coaches the university crew) if I could use their team room tomorrow, and an even better thing that he checked with me today that I was still planning to use it... and that I said yes without thinking.

Apparently, I'll go a long way (42-thousand-something meters) to avoid embarrassment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Look--not socks!

(But I'm still knitting socks--I finished up the purple and teal pair on Thursday, then made a baby hat and matching socks over the weekend, then started a pair of socks for Kevin... that's pairs 45 and 46 done, and pair 47 in progress. If I keep up 1 pair a week, I'm on track to finish 53 pairs by the end of May, right on schedule.)

Aside from the socks, I'm knitting a couple of things I can't show here. So I'll distract you with spinning. I'm trying to spin up some/most of my fiber in preparation for buying more at the CT and MA sheep and wool festivals (So excited! Less excited that the CT festival is the same day I'm planning to do my erg marathon... although on the other hand, thinking about the festival will be a nice distraction from staring at the erg screen for hours.)

Anyway, this one's from Rhinebeck:

If I'm remembering correctly, it's merino plus glitz (glitz is like fine tinsel, basically). I was worried it was too shiny when it was roving, then worried that the glitz was invisible when it was a single, and now that it's a 2-ply, I like the glitz level. (Not that it really shows in this picture!) There are about 500 yards, more or less fingering weight-ish. I'm not sure what it wants to be yet.

And this one's from Woolybuns, who's in my spinning group. It's a mix of angora and alpaca, which I bought at the meeting in March, and spun up immediately (not my original plan, but I couldn't help myself!)

It needs to be a cowl or a scarf, I think--it was definitely meant to be snuggled into!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Compensating for Imaginary Inflexibility

I've been convinced for years that my legs are relatively inflexible (ever since I abandoned my doomed attempt to be a gymnast, during which time I was sure I was inflexible everywhere). I can bend over and put my palms flat on the floor with my knees straight, but I was sure that was because my back flexibility was compensating for my tight leg muscles. I've had multiple yoga teachers and 2 physical therapists (one with a terrible bed-side manner who made me feel guilty about it for months) confirm my theory. I have a post-it note right here that says "Cookie recipe! Hamstring stretches!" (The PT was especially worried about my quads, but he wasn't very impressed with my hamstrings either.)

But apparently, I was wrong. Or, at least, I'm wrong now--at practice this morning (and Monday, and last week, and sometimes in the tanks over the winter...) I was digging my oar too deep under the water--caused, apparently, by a whole series of related problems starting with reaching too far forward with my upper body. I tried not to reach so far, but I kept wondering to myself how else was I supposed to get a long stroke, what with my crazily inflexible legs and all. So I talked to him about it afterwards, with the idea of asking for stretches to fix my inflexibility problem. I tried to demonstrate how, when I try to squat down all the way without lifting my heels off the floor, I tip over backwards... and for the first time ever, got all the way to the floor without lifting up my heels or tipping over.

Huh. Nevermind. Now I just need to remember not to make up for a problem which doesn't exist.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Not Very Bright

Practice started for real this morning (we were just playing around last week evidently). The coach figured out the line-ups before hand, had the coxes really yell at/encourage us, and had us row hard by 8s (that's everyone in the boat at once--which means it's never your turn to rest/keep the boat stable). Hurray!

By the end though, one of my palms was oddly sore... I couldn't figure out why, till I got back in the car and looked at it in the light, when I was shocked to discover blisters! Who knows what I thought the problem was, but blisters hadn't occurred to me. See? Not very bright.

Sadly, one of them is in the very same spot that longer DPNs hit the base of my pinky. AND they all get squished when I shift gears (driving, I mean, not knitting).

I'm persevering though--this...

...has grown the rest of its leg and cuff--I just need to bind off.

The yarn (Colinette Jitterbug) is part of an ongoing chain of buying a new skein in order to use up a skein from stash. First, I knit a pair of socks with contrasting toes and heals, using yarn from 2 different sock clubs which happened to coordinate. Then I knit the club pattern from the contrast color, but didn't have enough of the main color to knit a full pair. So I bought this skein to strip together with it. Then I didn't have enough of this skein to make a complete pair, so I bought the turquoise yarn for contrasting toes and heels (when I went to Webs a few weeks ago--it's Shibui Sock).

And now I'm going to have a bunch of that left over instead!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Laziest Blogger Ever!

And I'm not quite sure why. Or, I am, but the reasons are kind of boring too--working from home 2 days a week has somehow convinced me to work out more (and snack more, so it's just as well that I'm working out more), but I don't think I'm knitting more than usual, and I'm definitely not taking any more pictures than usual. So all my pictures are of Baby E:

I did make the sweater, so it's semi-knitting related... what's weird is that I knit this sweater and a coordinating hat last summer, before E was born. They were from the same book and (if I'm remembering correctly), meant to fit at about the same age. But the hat fit when E was a newborn, and the sweater's just fitting now, although the sleeves are still too long. Poor E will have to push them up so she can type.

So, about all that exercising:

We started rowing outside this week, and it's no where near as cold as you'd think (it was in the 40s 2 days, and about 25 the other day). And it's gorgeous. We're supposed to get there by 5:35 (yes, that's AM... worse, it's about 30 minutes from my house and I don't want to be late, so I leave 5), and start rowing at 5:45, so it's still dark. (Don't worry, the boats all have lights, and we stay close together, and near the launch... also, there's no one else out there!).

Meanwhile, I'm erging a bunch. Concept2 runs these challenges all year through its website (like the one I did in December), and I find the promise of downloadable certificates and inclusion in online lists strangely compelling. (Really, it's very strange!) During the last 2 weeks of April, there's the Global Marathon Challenge (erg a marathon or half marathon), so I'm training for that--like a running training program, it's a matter of building up 1 long row a week, while doing shorter workouts nearly every day. And the site ran a March Madness challenge, which was erging at least 5,000 m (3.1 miles) or 10,000 m (6.2 miles) at least 25 days in March. So I did that (the 10K version, because of the marathon training). I have 1 long erg (30,000 m/18.6 miles) left, then the marathon (42,195 meters), plus all the regular daily rows till then.

And I'm running (although much, much, much less than this time last year... I'm still happy not to be training for anything particular!).

And it's finally nice enough to start biking--we went for a tiny trial ride on the tandem on Saturday, and an hour-long ride yesterday. And didn't tip over!

And I'm trying to be better about strength training. Which I hate (even though I know it would really be good for me) so it's the workout I'm most likely to skip. And feel guilty about.

See? Not as much knitting. Plus, a couple of the things I'm knitting are for publication (or at least for publication, I hope), so I can't show them anyway.

All of which makes for less knit blogging.