August Recap

I know I’ve said this before, but the past month has been extraordinarily crazy.  I’ve started posts so many times – on scratch pieces of paper, napkins, sitting here at the computer – and they all just get pushed aside for something else.  I don’t know the last time I was as mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted as I’ve been this month.  This is a LONG post, and it starts out a little heavy, but it lightens up.

I started out this month in Boston.  I had a weekend trip up to spend one more weekend with BFF before she moved to Germany for her PhD.  I cannot even begin to express how wonderful that weekend was, but it was also incredibly difficult.  I’m not sure how you get to the point where you’re okay with your best friend moving halfway around the world, but I am not okay with it yet.  She’s been gone for a couple weeks now, and I already miss her in the worst way.  Most of the time it’s totally fine, but sometimes I feel like someone cut out my heart and a lung, and then had a go for a kidney while they were in there.  We’ve been friends for five years, and of those, four have been long distance.  Nothing horrible has ever happened to make it necessary, but it was always possible to jump in the car or onto a plane and fly to Boston if she needed me, and the other way around.  It came close one year though.  It was New Years Eve 2012 into 2013.  M and I had left the bar we’d all gone out to early to go back to his place, make some pizza, watch the ball drop in our pjs, and then go to bed.  I have no idea what time it was, but we were sound asleep and my phone rang.  I sat straight up in bed, knew it was her without looking at it, and answered “what’s wrong?”  She was on the other end bawling her eyes out, and it was all I could do to calm her down and tell me what had happened.  I came incredibly close to getting on the first flight to Boston the next morning, but she promised it would be okay, and it was.  Getting to Germany in the case of something like that is not anywhere close to that simple.  And it would be a big fat lie if I said I wasn’t worried about that.

On a happier note, I did send her off with a metric ton of bags and travel things.  She doesn’t do organization well (I swear we’re the same person), so I wanted to make sure that she had, at the very least, cute tools to maintain some semblance of order while she’s traveling.  I didn’t get everything on that to-sew list done, but that’s what Christmas is for!  She did get a lot of it though, and then promptly tested a bunch of it out on her trip to PA with her mom.  So, without further ado, here’s what she got!

  • A Weekender Bag (Amy Butler)
  • 1 Large Open Wide Pouch (Noodlehead)
  • 1 Small Open Wide Pouch (Noodlehead)
  • 1 Wherever You Go Travel Wallet (Fishstick Designs)
  • 1 Manicure Wallet (Noodlehead/Robert Kaufman)
  • 2 Tiny Neat n Tidy Zippered Pouches (Erin Erickson)
  • 1 Jane Market Bag (Alicia Paulson)
  • 1 Large Wet Bag
  • 1 Travel Document Wallet (Thimble)

Most of the stuff I sent to Germany with BFF. She’s got a fantastic Christmas coming too!

I went for a palette of teals, aquas, corals, and purples.  Bright colors, a lot of her, a little of me, and where I could get away with it, some fabrics that reminded me of our time at Roanoke together.  We went from pretty much not being able to stand each other to best friends on a May Term trip to Mexico after junior year of college.  We were both biology majors, and the class was a Tropical Marine Biology thing.  After that class, we ended up having vertebrate biology and our senior seminar together, which means we had a lot of very interesting times in classes together!  I used some florals (we also had the same advisor, and she mostly works with plants,) the coral reef on her weekender bag was because Mexico, same with the Cuzco plume on the wallet.  Inside her weekender, there are a couple of zippered pockets.  One of them got a fish print, the other one got a print that has always reminded me of kelp.  The Jane Market Bag was a different beast.  I’d been hoarding that fabric for a WHILE.  Two years, maybe?  I picked it up off of one of the first destashes that Quilt Barn did, and I never really had a use for it.  It’s a home dec fabric, and there isn’t anything in my home that I wanted in those colors.  I was considering destashing it, and then I started pulling fabrics for this project and they insisted I use them for the Market Bag.  I was happy to oblige, and amazing happened.

Sometimes, the projects design themselves.

In any case, I showed up in Boston with a pile of stuff for her, and she was thrilled.  I still had to finish a few things (like, um, sewing in the lining of the weekender.  Oops.), but for the most part, we used them to transport her stuff from work home, and then as we started cleaning up her bedroom to take back to her parents’ or over to Germany.  I did get this really awesome snapshot of her while I was working on sewing in the lining…

We had a fun weekend in Boston, with lots of good food and some pretty unintentional BFF things happening.  I got to see the sights, we did a lot of walking, I skipped my runs.  All in all, it was a solid weekend.

I got home late Sunday night, M and I had a lovely few hours together before bed, and then he woke me up at 5AM Monday to drive him to the airport.  He spent a week in Dallas for training, came home Thursday night, and we had a bunch of errands to run, family stuff to do that weekend.  I got not a whole lot done, but I did get my Broadway and Hogwarts swaps shipped out mostly on time!


Broadway Mini Quilt!


This doesn’t need much introduction! This was the Hogwarts Swap Mini I sent out!

M flew back out to TX for more training the following Tuesday, and I peaced out on Friday for the DCMQG Quilt Retreat.  It was SUCH a fun time.  I honestly could not ask for a better guild.  Everyone is so supportive and inspirational.  I had a super productive two days at retreat, and managed to get a bunch of swap work done, plus a little tiny bit of selfish sewing.

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Unfortunately, I had to leave retreat early on Sunday to get to the airport to head to the National Meeting for work.  I spent Sunday-Wednesday in Boston, and I was so tired by the time it was over.  It was a great experience to be able to go to the meeting, and I’m really hoping I’ll be able to keep going!  I did manage to get a little bit of work done, and I spent some time in our booth on Tuesday (the last day) working on my (drumroll please…) Epic Chemistry Quilt.  I’m not spilling the details on the full design, but it’s going to be pretty sweet.  More than one member was super excited to see me working on it, which was pretty exciting for me!


I ended up spending most of Wednesday sitting in the airport.  I got the call at 12:30 that my 3pm flight was cancelled, so I hustled it over to sit on standby and hope to get a flight.  I managed to get a little something finished for my Zodiac Mini Swap, and also finished up the embroidery piece of the Best Birthday Ever package I shipped out at the end of the month.

IMG_5127 IMG_5163

When I finally got home (on a 6pm flight that was delayed until 7pm,) I was pretty much ready to sleep for a week.  The last week of August was mostly just a cluster of exhaustion, but I finally got my life together and finished up that Best Birthday Ever swap, and got back on the Marathon Training bus.


So, it’s now September 2.  My next post is going to be a run down of the swaps that I’ve finished/received starting with Alison Glass, as well as the DCMQG Bee update that I’ve been slacking on.

Weekly Running Recap

I know we basically just did this, but I’m trying to get back on track with blogging.  Since this particular blog is still so new, I’m still figuring out an actual post format.  The overall goal is still to keep this blog as a mostly quilting/sewing/fabric-porn blog, but running is a humongous part of my life, and if I’m only going to talk about it once per week, I’m going to cram as much into it as possible.  Which brings me to my next point, I’m going to try and delve into the technical as well as the fun for these posts.  I want to talk about how much I love running and why I run and all that jazz, but there’s really only so much I can do with that before you’re all like “shut up already, we get it.”  So, I’m going to try something else.  I’m going to try this thing where I do some data analysis and don’t just tell you what I ran this week.  Which means you need some background.  And then we can talk about the running and I promise there are pretty rainbow graphs.

I run with a Garmin Forerunner 620.  No, they didn’t give it to me for free, and no, they don’t pay me.  My Garmin has a chest strap to monitor my heart rate, as well as eight million other fantastic awesome things.  I go for a run, and then it spits out fantastic interactive graphs for me to look at.  It gives me three standard graphs that are basic, straight data.  Elevation over time, pace over time, heart rate over time.  The other three are percentile-based, which makes them a little harder to read but a lot more fun to look at!

The graphing behind cadence, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time is done the same way.  Each point is ranked individually based on data that Garmin has amassed and determined percentiles based on the rest of everyone.  So, purple points put you above the 95th percentile, blue 70th-95th percentile, green 30-69th percentile, orange 5-29th percentile, and red is below the 5th percentile.  Vertical Oscillation and ground contact time both want low numbers – the less you move up and down, and the less time your feet spend touching the ground before you take your next step, the more efficient you are.  Cadence wants higher numbers, since the faster you move your feet, the faster you run.

One last note before we dive into this week.  I love data, and I do have some experience with data analysis.  I do not, however, have any real qualifications as far as analyzing this data.  If you do, and I’m wrong on anything regarding this data, let me know.  I’d love to get it right!

Monday, June 15: 
Planned: 3 Miles
Actual: 2.83 Miles
Pace: 9:19/mile
I was a little short on Monday, but it was hot.  We ran our 5 States route, and by the time we got back up to 15th St, I was not at all interested in running up Rhode Island to 14th to get back to the store.  But hey, I’m good with it.

Capture ALL the data!!!

Capture ALL the data!!!


Data Overview

So, what does this data mean?  Well, for starters, it means that I didn’t have the BEST run on Monday, at least technically.  I felt pretty good, which has to be worth something, right?  My cadence was pretty solid, as it looks like I’m tracking mostly green.  The red spots match up with breaks in pace, which is where we hit traffic lights.  My ground contact time looks even better, although there are those red spots again, but they seem to line up with the breaks in pace as well, which makes sense.  I need to improve my vertical oscillation, which is tracking orange.  So, no more bouncing, I guess?

The summary data tells us that based on my heart rate, I had a fantastic run and that I’m seriously improving.  This information is probably the most interesting for me.  I’m on stimulants to deal with a sleep disorder, which increases my heart rate.  Without meds, I have seriously low blood pressure and my resting heart rate is something like 58.  It’s fun to watch it skyrocket, and I’ve been enjoying watching the changes.  My average cadence was 167.  The overall target is 180, so I’m doing well there.  Vertical oscillation is high, which is really interesting.  Higher vertical oscillation is connected to shorter ground contact time and faster pace, but it’s theoretically less economical.  So, run fast but not too fast?  As far as ground contact time goes, I’m actually really happy with 237 milliseconds.  Elites track at under 200 ms, which means I’m really not too far off there.

Tuesday, June 16
Planned: 6 Miles
Actual: 5.83 Miles
Pace: 11:15/mile
Hm, I’m seeing a pattern here.  I was a little short on Tuesday, and WAY slower than normal, but I had good reasons.  To start with, I’ve never run this route all the way through before.  I’ve never been fast enough to run this route before.  You see, we start off essentially racing the clock if we’re not careful about leaving basically right at 7PM.  We ran from the store to the Zoo.  It’s about 3.5 miles to the Zoo, and they close somewhere between 7:45 and 8:00.  When you add in traffic and the heat and the hills (oh god the hills), it can run late.  I did opt to walk the hills, but Garmin says it was 93* outside, and it was way too hot and humid.

Graphs June 16

June 16 Graphs

Overview June 16

June 16 Overview

So, clearly my watch and my run were off a little.  I love that as soon as we were walking up the hill, it looks like I was floating.  That’s right guys, I can fly!  But otherwise, I look good except for the two hills we walked up.  I can live with it, I think.  As far as summary data, it’s interesting that the training effect is “overtraining.”  I don’t feel overtrained, although I did wake up out of a dead sleep screaming later that night with a charley horse (cramp in my calf) that’s left a very sore knot.  I’m really okay with this route looking so freaking terrible, as far as data goes.  Or at least, I’m trying to be.  We’ll run the route again either later this summer or in the fall, and I’m hoping there will be significant improvement.

Thursday, June 18:
Planned: 1 mile to track, 400m sprint, 200m rest, 800m sprint-ish, 200m rest, 400m sprint, 200m rest, 200m all out sprint, 1 mile back to store.
Actual: 0.5 miles to office, 1.5 miles to track, 200m sprint, 200m rest, 400m sprint, 200m rest, 800m sprint-ish, 200m rest, 400m sprint, 1 mile back to store.

HA. Last night was just off.  My normal routine is to change at work, walk to the store dressed like a normal person, drop my shirt in bag before we run, run, get dressed, metro home.  Well, last night, I got all the way to the store and then realized I forgot my watch in my office.  So, I dropped my shirt in my bag, told the group I’d meet them at the track, and then ran back to the office to grab my watch.  And ran in to my boss.  Awk.ward.  Fortunately, it seems that he’s not going to make it a thing.  So, I got up to the track and missed the first 400m sprint and the first 600 of the first 800m.  I jumped in and started there.  It did feel good to be on the track, and I did feel fairly in control of my pace and my legs and my body.  That was nice.  I ran my 800 in 4:00, which is an 8:00 mile, and then seemed to be holding on to a 7:30-7:15 pace for the 400s.

Track Workout June 18

Track Workout June 18

Overview: June 18

Overview: June 18

I’m still working on figuring out the best way to work this data, so I’m going to leave it at “ooooh, pretty colors!” for now.

Weekly Running Recap

Mmmm, Friday.  I have the hardest time getting it together to go to work on Friday, but there’s so much to do.

Fridays around here are going to be mostly dedicated to running posts.  Right now, I’m running 3-4 days per week, usually M/T/Th/S.

This week’s running was not the best.  I missed my Monday run, which was actually the most ridiculous part of my week.  We finally had cooler weather, although it was pouring.  I went to get my clothes on, and boom, no shorts.

Tuesday was better than expected – we did 5.5 miles from Logan Circle up to the Memorial Bridge.  I pushed a little too hard at the beginning, which ended up screwing me at the hill up to the top of the bridge to get to the turnaround.  But, it was kind of worth it?  I was talking to a couple guys in our group about FIFA and Blatter’s resigning, and getting out my feelings.  Unfortunately, those guys run an easy 8:30, which is NOT my pace.  That being said, Tuesday was also my first time ever running in shorts and a sports bra!!!  I lost about 40 lbs between August and December, and I finally feel mostly confident enough to do the shorts and bra thing.  It’s been a really hard mindset for me, because the women in our group who do run in shorts/skirts and sports bras are tiny tiny, and I am not.  But, they’ve been really encouraging, and H promised me I didn’t look like a beached whale.

Thursdays are track nights.  We do speedwork as a group, because most of us are trying to get faster, and quite a few of our group have grabbed their Boston Qualifying times, and some of us are trying to eventually get there.  I’m on the 5 year plan for my BQ.  This Thursday was relay night, which means that we were broken up into teams and we raced each other.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been at a track workout in quite some time.  We started out with a 1600m time trial, and halfway through, I got some bad cramps and pulled off.  Instead of running the relays, I opted for cheer squad.  So, my workout last night should have been 1 mile warm-up (to the track), 1600m, 200m, 200m, 400m, 1 mile cool-down (back to the store) and I got…1 mile warm-up, 800m fast, 400m easy, 1 mile walk back to the store (a good friend of mine was struggling, so I walked with him.)

It’s okay.  There are good days and bad days and sometimes you have to remind yourself not to come back to track workouts on race days.  Seriously, I’m full of poor life choices.

Marathon training officially starts on July 20, so I have some time before I need to be in really perfect shape for this.  So, for now, I’m going to get back to running M/T/T/S, and then as I get closer, I’m going to need to add in a second weekend run.  My Saturday runs are going to be marathon pace, and since I’m shooting for sub-5:00:00, I’m going to need to run those at about a 10:00-11:00 per mile pace.  My last 10 miler paced out at 9:48, and my half PR is sitting at a 9:59 pace, so I’m thinking that’s pretty doable.  And hey, if it turns out that I can run a full at a 9:59 pace, that gives me a 4:21:45 finish!

If you’d like to follow my marathon training plan, you can do so by clicking the pink menu button at the top of the page, and then clicking on the Training Plan/Running Calendar page.  I’m working on getting everything set up in that calendar, but it takes some time.