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6/12/2018

21 Days and Counting

6/12/2018 0 Comments
Image result for runner injury memes
21 days. 504 hours. 30,240 minutes. All of them equal to the same thing - the day of my ACL reconstruction and meniscectomy surgery. Fun times, I tell ya.

So how did I get here? Well, it took a lot of hard work, some slightly stupid decisions, and then some not so good advice, finally I had to listen to my gut. People listen to your guts! There's a reason it's called a gut instinct.

If you follow me on Instagram or have been a follower of this blog, then you know that in mid-April I dislocated my kneecap. 10 days before I was supposed to run my 13th half marathon down in Nashville. I may have blogged about the annoyance of dealing with this injury a few some a lot.

A few days ago, I told everyone about the severity of my injury. It was a shock when I got the news. So here I am now, trying to get projects done and organize myself for some serious downtime, but first I'd like to share just what happened.

So it all started with cross-training and doing some rounds of jumping squats and high knees. These are not exercises I'm new to. I know better than to jump on the jumping squats. I usually modify. I go up onto my toes and then back down, because I know I have bad knees. Well, my enthusiasm at such a good workout was rewarded with the aforementioned kneecap dislocation. Not my first dislocation, so I knew the drill. Stay off of it. Take it easy. I talked to the orthopedist that the ER recommended and he agreed with my assessment of what I should do. He did say that the half was probably out of the question, but that the 5k was doable.

So I ran the 5k in Nashville with my sister and reinjured the knee, you can read about it {HERE}. I saw the doc the day after I got home from Nashville, and told him what had happened during the 5k. He didn't seem overly concerned, and I went back home and continued to baby, but not baby, the knee. I mention to my husband one day that the knee doesn't feel right, like the muscles aren't in the right spot or something, but figured it was probably just swelling and inflammation.

Then May 12 struck. I was 2 miles into a 3-mile easy run, coming down a hill and turning onto the road that leads back to my neighborhood, and I had to stop running. My leg came down and it felt like I had no kneecap. It felt like my thigh bone had just smacked off the top of my shin bone, and it hurt like the freaking devil. I stopped running immediately, and caught my breath and fought off tears. There may have been some yelling/grunting/snorting there too. I gingerly try to put weight on the leg, and the knee was not having any of that. I do some light stretching and test the knee a few minutes later, and still no dice. The knee was hurting a lot, and I was pissed. I was angry at myself, I was angry at my knee, and I was mostly angry that I was still dealing with this damn forsaken injury. Not to mention I was still a mile from my house. I call my friend and she comes and rescues me. So she stopped getting ready for her planned thing at her house to come rescue me. She's the best type of friend.

I call my doc and he's able to see me that Monday, and I tell him what happened this time. He says this time that no running, and to rest it. He'll see me back in a month. I tried asking him for specific exercises I should be doing, but again I get the generic answer of you should just do quad exercises, and focus on the medial quad a bit. While that is slightly more helpful than your other answer, I'm still not happy. My follow-up would be June 11. The next day after almost falling down my stairs again, I call the orthopedist office that helped my mom when she broke and dislocated her elbow. They're able to see me on May 30.

Between May 12 and May 30, my knee continues to act up. Always when moving in a downward motion, usually on the stairs or stepping down out of our house. It happened so often that Baby Girl became a pro at running and getting my brace or ice and bringing it to me. She also got really good at barking orders to her brothers, because while their shouts of, "Mom!" were cute, they're not helpful in the least. It's to the point that my knee is causing me stress and anxiety.

May 30 finally comes and I'm seen by the new doc. I'm nervous and anxious, but he's very nice and listens to my concerns. He says that he wouldn't have done anything differently than what my other doc did the first visit, but now that I'm continuing to have issues, and nothing showed up on the x-ray then he's going to write orders for an MRI. He also talks a bit about what's going to happen if what he thinks the MRI is going to show and how he'd like to move forward. So the MRI is scheduled for June 5, and my follow-up June 21. It was far out, but even my doc is allowed a vacay.

I walked away from this appointment much calmer and happy that I'd been listened to. The doc was nice, and a runner, but he also listened. Really listened to me. I was not a whiny patient who was complaining that her knee hurt. I was someone who's knee was starting to impede her life, and that was not something he wanted me to have to live with.

June 5th could not get here soon enough. I was excited. I've never had an MRI, but the opportunity to lay completely still uninterrupted seemed like heaven. I know I'm weird. I have 3 kids, even with the noise of the MRI machine, it was still more peaceful and calm than on a typical day at my house. I fully enjoyed the 30 minutes the machine took. So the tech at the MRI place told me that the report would take about 3 days and that they'd send it over to my doc. I had also requested a copy of my MRI images. I wanted to see what was going on in there, even if I didn't know what the heck I was looking at.

I got a phone call at 11:30 the same day, and its the new doc's office. The doctor would like me to come into the office tomorrow even though I have an appointment already scheduled. You know this has to be good news. The nurse tells me I have a torn ACL and meniscus. I have a what now? So we set the appointment for the next day, and I hop onto my computer to actually look at those MRI images. I managed to find my femur, tibia, and patella!

Image result for ACL injury meme

At the new doc's office the next morning, I get the fun news that my ACL is ruptured and the meniscus won't heal on its own. He opens up the MRI images and starts explaining the parts of my knee. The good parts, and the slightly deformed parts (the patella), and the not so good bits. The tibia has a good size bruise on it, there's swelling (duh), and the medial meniscus looks like its shredded on the one end. Then he gets to the PCL and he says that it looks good, and then he moves the cursor to an area kind of in the middle of the knee and moving diagonally and says this is where my ACL should be. Should be? Excuse me? Where is it? Well, that would be the rupture. You can see a little bit of the ACL at the tibia and then there's nothing. The doc needs to do a meniscectomy, and I have 3 choices for the ACL. He does tell me that PT is an option, but it really boils down to whether I want one surgery or two. I will take one surgery, thank you very much. Like any good person in this day and age, after they'd given me the news yesterday, I hopped on old Dr. Google to see what I could be dealing with, so the options the doc gave me for my options were not surprising. I ended up deciding that a hamstring allograft would be my best option for reconstructing my ACL.

Now the surgery is 3 weeks away, I got fitted for my brace today and got to bring home my ice therapy machine. I'm excited and scared. I'm excited for finally being able to move forward. I'm also worried about the giant step backward this is sending me, but I will come back, and I will resume running. My goals are just going to be different. I might never hit a 2:30 half marathon, but at this point, I'll be happy to be running a half again or even at all.

That's not to say that I don't love all the biking I've been doing, but it's just not the same. Coasting down the hills, while so much fun, just isn't the same as running down them. Not to mention, that I think getting up those hills might be worse on the bike than it is running.

I also don't want to diminish what I've still be able to do while dealing with this. I should have probably been doing some seated exercises, but hey, I've got 3 weeks, and some time to spare. Those seated exercises are going to get some run-throughs.

I'm also trying not to panic about all the rest of the projects I want to get done before surgery. I'm trying to keep the list manageable, but its been really, REALLY, REALLY, difficult. Just ask my poor husband. He's been trying to gently remind me to keep it in the pragmatic area.

So there it is. My journey is about to take a big detour and I'm going to really find out what I'm made of.  Thanks for stopping by today.

6/04/2018

Pattern Review - Simplicity 1887

6/04/2018 0 Comments

I am so excited to share this next project with you guys! Summer showed up here for a bit in VA, but it seems now we're gonna need an ark to survive. Hopefully, the warm weather returns so I can bust these super cute shorts back out.


Ok, so I'm getting ahead of myself. So I've been seeing these super cute tie-front shorts everywhere lately, and it just so happens that I have a tie-front shorts pattern, so now is as good a time as any to bust it out. I bought this pattern last year (maybe?) and then did nothing with it because I couldn't decide on fabric for the shorts. I really like the shiny olive gold color in the picture, but don't you know that I can't find fabric like that?

I am also still on that self-imposed ban on buying new fabric until I work through some of my stash. Well as luck would have it, I had 3 different types of denim - all different weights and colors - hiding in the aforementioned stash. I examined all three and figured that the mid-weight denim would be perfect for this pattern. Just enough drape and light enough to still be comfortable in those 90 degree days that we did have a for a bit, and that will be returning.

One of the bonuses of this pattern is that it doesn't take a lot of fabric. 1.25 yards is all it takes, and that's for my size. I did lengthen it 2" because the super short inseam was worrisome, but I shouldn't have worried, because they're so comfortable that I didn't need to lengthen them. I ended up cutting off the added length before I hemmed them.

The pattern goes together super easy, and the guide sheet is well written. I should have measured my elastic at a smaller size because the shorts don't sit where they should on me, but tightening the tie at the front eases that. Stupid curve at the small of my back. Makes fitting pants so dang difficult.

Like I said this pattern is a breeze. It took me an afternoon to sew them up. Threading the elastic through the waistband was the most time-consuming part. So I would definitely recommend this pattern to a beginner. Not only is it easy, but it's also stylish and looks a lot more complicated than it actually is.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

5/29/2018

French Braided Pillow V2.0

5/29/2018 0 Comments

Several years ago, I saw a pillow at Target that I knew I could replicate. The problem at the time with the pillow from Target was that it was the wrong color. So I took some fabric that matched my decor and whipped up a pillow similar to what Target had, and I did it for cheaper. The original French Braided Pillow is {HERE}, and it's still going strong 8 years later.

So I was in Target {again} and I saw the most gorgeous pillow. It was another braided number and the most gorgeous shade of magenta. It was also a velvet type of material, but it had one thing that I really disliked. You could see all of the seam allowances if you moved the sections of woven material on the front of the pillow. This is not practical for a house who has children or will use the pillow as a pillow and has children. I repeated myself, but it's doubly true.
Find this pillow at Target {HERE}
This pillow inspired me to make another, better, version of my braided pillow. One with no visible stitching lines or exposed seam allowances. Luckily, I had a trip planned to Jo-Ann's with Mom and that was a very fruitful trip. I snagged this medium-weight upholstery fabric for $7/yd! I got 2 yards just to be safe since the pillow I was going to make this time around was 16" x 24".  So let's get onto the meat of how to make the fabulous pillow!

Materials

  • 2 yds of fabric
  • 16" x 24" pillow form or stuffing
  • Cutting Mat
  • Ruler
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Writing Stick

Cut List

  • 2 - 16" x 24" rectangles
  • 2 - 16" x 7" rectangles
  • 14 - 16" x 5" rectangles
*keep a few scraps for the last little pleats at the top corners. 

Instructions

  1. Starting at one corner of one of your 16"x 24" rectangles, mark a line that is on the bias and ends about the middle of the pillow. Repeat for the adjacent corner. Measure 1.5" above those lines and make another set of lines. Continue to mark lines all the way up the pillow.

  2. Fold one 16" x 7" rectangles in half lengthwise and line up the raw edges with your first marked line. Stitch in a 1/2" seam. Repeat for opposite side, the ends should overlap in the center of the pillow.

  3. With the remaining strips, you will create the braided pattern. Starting on the first line you stitched, with right sides together, line up raw edges and stitch a 1/2" seam. The two raw edges of the rectangle should align with the first stitched line and the next line above the opposite stitched piece. Refer to the photo to see exactly what I mean. By overlapping the pieces this way there will be no exposed seam allowances.

  4. Fold the strip out with the right side showing and line up the raw edge with the next marked line above the first line you just stitched along. Stitch 1/2" seam.

  5. Repeat steps 3-4 all the way up the pillow until you come to the last two marked lines on your pillow. As you can see in the photos below, all the seams will be neatly encased under all the pleats.



  6. When you reach the very top corners of your pillow, take some of your scrap pieces to cover the seam allowances. Stitch the first line as you have previously, and then measure 1" below your stitched line and fold the scrap back over the corner. Pin and stitch within the seam allowances (5/8") of the edge.



  7. Press your pleated pillow top and then with right sides together, stitch the pillow top to the bottom. Making sure to leave an opening for your stuffing or pillow form. I used a 5/8" seam because I wanted my pillow form to be really stuffed inside. Trim seams and corners, and turn pillow right side out. Stitch the opening closed with your needle and thread. 


Doesn't that pillow look right at home with the rest of my couch? I love the pop of color! 


Thanks so much for stopping by!

5/25/2018

The Long and Short of the Nashville Rock and Roll 5K - 2018 Edition!

5/25/2018 0 Comments

Hello, friends! Dana here. How are we already three-quarters of the way through May??? I can't take it. Someone get me a TARDIS, stat! Anyhoodles, so last month, Heather and I ran the Nashville Rock and Roll 5K together. Heather was supposed to run the half marathon except... erm, yeah. That pesky kneecap dislocation. She can say more on that subject here if she wants. No, I don't want to. It's still bothering me, and it's a sore subject. Ha! You see what I did there? Yea, I'm finally to the point where I can make jokes about it..... BTW, I'll be popping in on this post to add my comments to Dana's commentary - Heather

As for my part, I'ma start with the expo, which was... underwhelming. I've been increasingly disappointed with the expo for the last few years now. The number of vendors has gone down, and I'm not certain of the reason. If these type of health events are anything like some of the trade shows I sell books at, though, the reason must be partially (if not entirely) down to the cost to have a booth, which seems to be going up each year for me, so maybe it's the same for expo vendors? Anyway, I really wanted to see Sparkly Soul Headbands there, as I buy from them every year. No dice. And I know Heather usually pops by the shoe charm place (sorry, I don't remember what it's called). No luck there either. It was pretty much the big, corporate sponsors this year, most of whom I don’t care about. Super serious competitors would probably be happy, but I want sparkly headbands and jewelry, not overpriced, packaged performance food. To be fair, I did buy a knee brace from CEP. I have had good luck with CEP's compression and Plantar Fasciitis sleeves. My knee seems to be extremely troublesome as no brace seems to be able to keep my knee cap where it should be. No brace except the huge blue one that the ER gave me and requires crutches to move around. Not really conducive to running. 


As for race day, we got at the butt crack of dawn, as per usual, and made it to Nissan Stadium with a good amount of time to spare. Once again, we hit First Baptist Church, who open up their facilities to all the runners on race day. They are really lovely, offering snacks and a stretching space, all for free. The starting line isn't far from the church, so we huddled up in our corral. It was a brisk morning, one of those for which I don't know that the perfect gear has been invented - somewhere in the 40-something degree range. I was thankful for my long sleeves while we waited for the race to start, but didn't love them later on. I was perfectly happy with my race day attire. Dana should run more races so that she accumulates as much weather-related running experience as I have. 

Good Morning Happy and Grumpy! 

I'll be honest, I baby duckling-ed Heather during a good bit of Mile 1. I wasn't super energized that morning and in a bad head-space. I'm gonna go ahead and blame stress for that. I had a new book coming out three days after the race, so, ya know, it'd been kind of a crazy time of late. Maybe next time I'll plan better. Lol, that's hilarious. Heather called after me to come on! And I had to kick myself in the butt. I still maintain that she did it to get me out of my headspace. I wasn't overly happy that I was running the 5k, but I was feeling pretty good despite myself. Damn race day vibes. They're infectious.

The volunteers, as always, were wonderful, as were all the folks who came out to cheer. Be sure to tell those people thank you as you pass by. The bands were great too, though this is Nashville, so no big surprise there. They cheered all of us too and waved, which was a much needed boost throughout. Heather and I switched jobs around the farmer's market, right around the end of Mile 1. I think her knee had begun to bother her, so I started to encourage her. If I recall this is about the time the hills started. We'd run down a slight incline along the railroad tracks, and then it'd flattened off a bit. Now that a month has gone by and I've reinjured my knee cap a few times, I will say that the downhill is what probably started my knee pain, but Dana was awesome, as she always is. We chatted, she distracted me with some touristy information about where we were running. I kept telling her to go ahead, but she refused. I really started appreciating her more around this time, because I knew the rest of the race was going to be tough on me, and I didn't really want to admit it. 


The St. Jude section almost broke me. As a survivor of childhood cancer, anything I see related to that always hits me in a really tender spot. I was fighting back tears because the hell if I'm gonna break down during this run! I don't know if Heather heard my breathing change or just what (it's weird breathing while you're running and biting your tongue to keep from crying), but she asked me if I was okay.

"Yup."   The St. Jude section gets me just like the Blue Mile at RnR DC. You can't help but tear up. 

Lie. But whatever. We kept going. Most of the rest of the course is a bit of a blur. We had to take our first walking break on a hill between Miles 2 and 3. Hills... guh. I didn't actually want to walk, but I was struggling and slowing down. Dana says she wanted to walk, but I have a feeling it was a bit for my sake as well. I hated it though. I was determined to keep an athletic pace, so even my walking wasn't that slow. Those long legs come in handy sometimes. 

Look, a hill. We did have a nice view of the Batman building. 
Heather pulled a fast one on me sometime after that, though. There's a bridge (please don't ask me which one) we cross that signals the race is almost done. Heather lied about how much further we had to go when I asked (near the end of Mile 3, which meant I got super excited when the bridge of happiness appeared around the next bend. I pulled ahead of Heather on said bridge, so excited to get my chocolate milk at the end*. I was so focused on the end that I didn't hear Heather squawk next to me when her knee slipped. Oopsie. Sorry. Apparently, she told her knee to suck it up when she saw me ahead of her, though, and stayed on my tail. As soon as we turned the corner and the finish line came into sight, I bolted for it, as I always do. It always feels amazing sprinting across. Of course, I also then wanna throw up as soon as I slow down, but tradeoffs, right? Heather came in a few seconds behind me, and I got to do my best impression of a crutch underneath her. We got our chocolate milk and medals and found a nice spot to stretch.  Just after you crest the hill it's mile 3 or 13 depending on your race, and it's literally all downhill from there. Yep, downhill. My knee tugged weird and it felt like I didn't have a knee cap for half a second. It hurt, but then Dana passed me. I couldn't let that stand. I took off after her, oblivious to the fact that my knee was hurting. I finished 4 seconds behind her, and I was pretty dang happy about that because as soon as I crossed that finish line my knee was done for a bit. Dana, thankfully, is much stronger than her small frame appears and she helped me limp to the finish area. Some medical volunteers started pushing a wheelchair towards me, asking if I needed it. I told them I'd walk it off. Once we rested a bit and stretched, my knee did feel better, but it was tender. I was very thankful that I'd done this race with Dana because 1) I wouldn't have been able to finish the half and 2) that would have been worse for me and I did finally have to admit that I'm injured and my knee needed more TLC. This, of course, didn't stop me from over-training and pushing too hard after getting back home and reinjuring it. 



She totally forgot the best pic of the day! 


In case you're curious what other fun we got up to, let me tell you it was oodles! Here are some pics!


90s Space Jams Way Late Play Date at the Adventure Science Center.


New tattoos! Sun (Heather), moon (our sister, Colie, but she doesn't have hers yet), and stars (me).

She totally forgot about our taco eating adventure and demonstrating the "cigar" hold for tacos. Its pretty dang good at keeping all the taco goodness inside the taco. 

And the sushi date after the race, as per our tradition! 

And goat yoga with Shenanigoats. Don't know what goat yoga is? It's pretty much what you see below.


Hey, wanna know more about that new book I mentioned earlier? Here's the cover...
A dark retelling of Swan Lake set in the fantasy steampunk world of Broken Gears.

...and you can click this link for more info. 

Thanks for reading!

5/23/2018

Pattern Review - Jalie LouLouxe Skort

5/23/2018 0 Comments
Hey guys! I'm back, and even though I'm injured and slightly depressed over the frailty of my body, I have accomplished other things. One of those things was finally making a pattern I bought last year. I was interested in this pattern, because not only is it a fun looking skort, but the shorts have pockets! What?! Pockets? I'm sold. Pockets make all the difference in the world.

It's from a Jalie and its the LouLouxe Skort {see it HERE}. I was a little nervous about buying the pattern in the first place, because it's not one of my usual companies, and it's a digital download. I'd have to assemble the pattern myself, which is not a big deal, but more of a lack of convenience. I know that seems like a dumb reason.

So with my knee injury and me being in a funk because of it, I have tried to pull myself out of it by accomplishing other things. I also told my sister that I'd have this new running skirt for her and I was quickly running out of time to get it done. Nothing like waiting until 4 days before you leave to start on a project! Luckily, as with most knit projects, once you get it cut out, it sews up super quick.

This one is no different and the instructions for this pattern are clearly and concisely written, which is always nice. So once I traced the pattern size I needed onto my pattern paper, no need in ruining the main copy of my pattern if I didn't need to, the cutting out of the pattern was straightforward.

I dug into my stash for some of the fabric for this project, and I also went to Jo-Ann's for some lovely jersey for the rest of it. I chose a nice mid-weight knit black jersey for the shorts and waistband for this skort. I had a fun print with some glitz for the skirt portion. So I cut out all my pieces and start the assembly.

It goes together quicker than quick. There's nothing overly difficult about this pattern, other than making sure you have all your markings transferred and you know which pieces are going where. I did have to keep reminding myself which pieces were the front and back.

So I get the piece done, and I can't wait to get down to Nashville so my sister can try it out. As it turns out we end up going for a run on Friday, before the race. She dons the skirt and super cute sports bra, and I immediately start quizzing her. How's it feel? How are the shorts? How's the waist?


She says it all fits great, but the real test will be the run. I am happy that she's happy so far, and I'm equally excited about the prospect of making me one. She does express some concern about the length of the inseam and chaffing, but we figure that'll just have to be a test for Friday.

Friday comes and it's gorgeous outside, maybe even a touch hot. She's got her super cute skirt and bra outfit on, and I've got one of my favorites on, plus that stupid knee brace.

We set off for our 5k along the greenway near her house. It's gorgeous. If I lived in Nashville, I'd run this stretch all the time. It's peaceful and is relatively flat. What a nice treat to all of the hills in and around the area. She doesn't run outside, and to be fair she has a valid reason for it. This, however, does not stop me from good-naturedly egging her on about it. That's what sisters are for after all.

So we do our out-and-back on the greenway and she beats me at the finish. She always beats me. Stupid gazelle. Once I catch up with her, I immediately start firing questions at her about the skirt, and she's got glowing reviews for it. The shorts were long enough where she didn't chafe and it's really pretty wonderful. She really likes it. Yay! I'm so happy because now I want one!

So I think this pattern is quite easily a pattern that a beginner sewer could tackle. It's well written and easily constructed. The only 'difficult' part might be that it's a knit, but as long as you pick a knit with some decent 4-way stretch, then you should be good to go.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

4/30/2018

The Long and Short of the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler

4/30/2018 0 Comments
So 3 weeks ago was the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. I know I'm way late in this review. I had the grand plan of writing this review the week after the race, but then, ya know, life got in the way. There were dentist appointments, orthodontist appointments, kneecap dislocations......wait? What? Oh yea, 10 days after running the Cherry Blossom, I dislocated my patella while doing jumping squats. I was trying to be a good runner and cross train! I was really digging the workout and figured I'd push a little harder and not modify those damn jumps. Well, that plan bit me in the ass. Then came the injury depression.

You know what I'm talking about. We've all been injured, and we all know just how frustrating that can be. The worst part, ok I don't actually know what the worst part is, because there seem to be so many fragmented "worst" parts. So the first bad thing was that my husband was at football practice with Small Fry, so my first line of help was not there. The next bad thing, but turned out to be a good thing was that Baby Girl was there and she found me on the floor, in pain.  I don't know what sound I was making, it wasn't yelling but it also wasn't shouting or quiet. It was just pain and frustration because I "knew" what I'd done. Baby Girl was a rock star though. As a parent, you always wonder if your child would know what to do in an emergency. If they would be able to do what needed to be done if you needed help. I am happy to say that my girl came through. She came upstairs and found me on the floor, cradling either side of my knee making some ungodly noise, and she asked what I needed. I swallowed the pain, tried to make my voice calm and told her to get her older brother. I needed the Big Guy. She was scared and started to cry, but I told her that I needed her to be brave. she needed to be brave and be my Wonder Woman. She left and came back up a few minutes later without said brother. She said something about why he wasn't there, but I honestly don't remember what she said. I was in pain and I was trying not to scare her, but damn if my knee didn't hurt and I told her that I needed her to get her brother up here no matter what. Mommy needed her. My girl came through in a big way. A few more minutes pass, and my Big Guy comes slowly trudging up the stairs, grumbling until he sees me on the floor. Luckily, I was in perfect view of the stairs. He immediately asks what I need and what he needs to do. My children knew what to do, they followed directions and didn't lose their cool. I am a very proud momma. I also owed my Big Guy an apology, he'd come home from school with a headache and had laid down after getting his chores done. Baby Girl was not gentle in her waking of him. The next biggest issue was if I'd be able to run Nashville, but more on that later.

So yea, there was that injury to deal with and the depression that came with it. Nashville was 10 days away. Cherry Blossom had basically been a training run for me. It hadn't gone well, and I was frustrated that I'd bought a pair of shoes and the RnR DC expo that hadn't worked out again. They will, however, make lovely walking shoes. Even that ended up working out though because while I did end up buying an expensive pair of shoes at the expo, I ended up in a better fitting pair of shoes because of the whole experience.

So back to the race and not all the dramatics that happened after it. Race day was cold but beautiful. It was the peak time for the cherry blossoms and they did not disappoint. The whole race was really beautiful, but there is only so much that beautiful scenery can make up for when you're wearing the wrong pair of shoes.

I started off in my corral, worrying that I wouldn't be able to keep pace. I really was worried about getting picked up. Between RnR DC and Cherry Blossom, the flu hit our house. Hard. I was down and out for like 10 days. I lost almost 10 pounds and didn't run for almost 2 weeks. It was bad because Cherry Blossom was 4 weeks after DC. Obviously, I knew I could run 10 miles, but I was worried about the time restrictions because I'd been very slow in my runs after the flu and before the race.  So I told the friend that I was running Cherry Blossom with that my plan was to hopefully hold a 12:45 pace and at worst not get picked up by the bus. She and I agree to a meeting place after the race.

The race starts to modest fanfare and we're off. The course is not that much different than last year and the first half the race is actually a bit boring. We pass the monuments and run underneath the Kennedy Center. The turnaround is just past the Kennedy Center so we get to run back under it, and then head back towards the monuments and over near Ohio Drive. We run along the Potomac, which does offer some nice views of the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial. I keep regulating my temp by opening up my jacket a bit and taking my gloves on and off. Oh so easy when my hands start sweating, but this method worked for RnR DC and it works here. The first five miles get done in 1:03:16 with a pace of 12:39. Not too shabby.

Unfortunately, the easy vibe of the race starts to fade, and by mile 7 I'm in agony. My feet hurt and my right hip is on fire. Not the usual hip pain I contend with, this was a lateral pain that moved across my glutes to my hip joint, and it wasn't easy up. I knew that it was my shoes. They're too soft. Too cushiony. It was the same problem I had with this model a few years ago, and those turned into excellent walking shoes. Oh well, it was probably time I retired that pair anyways. The crash pads are shot. Only 3 miles left. You can trudge through this. I don't stop running, but I do slow down. A lot. Not even the scenery is helping, but it is distracting. It's so dang pretty. The cherry trees, the water, the serenity of the point. I do love this race, but I also hate it. My 10k time is 1:19:41 and a pace of 12:51.

Those last miles were agony. I don't know how I made it through them. I was distracted by the other runners hurriedly putting back on their jackets after we rounded the point and the wind kicked back up. I was glad I never took off my jacket. I know what the point does. It lulls you into a false sense of security. It's gorgeous, but it's not always nice. The trees still look gorgeous, but there are more tourists walking down the point. Most of them are cheering on the racers. That's nice of them. A coast guard helicopter passes us pretty low. That was kind of cool to see. I'm so glad that the Hubs got me these gloves for Christmas. They're pretty amazing. We finally make it to mile 9. I'm at 1:58:16 with a pace of 13:08. Only one mile left. You can do this.

The last mile was a mixture of agony, between my feet and my hips, and frustration because of the tourists there for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Yes, please walk out in front of all the runners still running the race and yell at them for you almost getting creamed. It's our fault that we're running a race on a road that is closed for us and you stepped out in front of us. So sorry.  Runner's brain was strong this mile. I did chuckle when I saw the 1200 meter sign. Only 1200 meters left. You can do this. Oh, look! There's the 800-meter sign. The 800 meter was your event in high school. You can do this. You can pick up the pace. Oh, look! There's that last little hill before the finish. It's so nice that it's at about the 400-meter sign. I hate you. I am almost done. Thank god. I am taking off these shoes. My feet freaking hurt. I can't wait to take off my shoes. I'm almost done! Pick it up, girly. It's time to finish this as strong as you can muster.

My official time was 2:11:43 with a pace of 13:10. Not my best. It might not even by my slowest, but it was definitely my worst performance.

After the race, I found my friend. We found more members of our MRTT chapter. We laughed and we talked and then we walked back to the car. The glorious car! Where I promptly took off my shoes, and haven't regretted relegating them to be my walking shoes. The Tuesday after the race, I went to The Running Store and bought a pair of Adrenaline 18's half a size bigger than I had been wearing, and its the best thing I've done for my feet in a while.

So this will be the last time I run the Cherry Blossom. Yes, it has the views, but the early start time and frequently crappy weather help make it an unmemorable race. Not to mention the course just doesn't do it for me. It's boring.

So the next race is RnR Nashville, and with the injury, it was all up in the air which race I'd run.

Thanks so much for reading!

4/05/2018

Shibori Inspired Curtains

4/05/2018 0 Comments
Isn't it funny how one project can spawn another?

So I updated the blinds in the living room {HERE} and then I decided that there was just too much white going on with those windows, and I needed to tone that down.

But what to do?

Well, obviously, I was going to add some color, but what color? And how?

The how was actually pretty easy, because I knew I wanted something natural feeling and I spied an indigo dyed wall hanging at Target and it was instant love. That is what I wanted to emulate for my curtains. A quick google search revealed that shibori style dying would be just the ticket. For those that don't know, shibori is the Japanese method of resist dying for fabric. I wasn't going to be using a wood block in my project, cause I'm lazy like that, but I did love the geometric lines and symmetry to some of the shibori dying techniques.

So after a quick trip to Ikea (love Ikea!) to fetch some white 108" curtains, and then realizing that I bought the wrong white curtains. I had bought tab-top curtains, and I wanted traditional rod-pocket curtains. No biggie! A trip to my sewing machine and I stitched those tabs to the back of the curtain and voila! I have some rod-pocket curtains now.

Now it was time to agonize over what color to dye said curtains. After some (ha!) back and forth over colors, I decided that a pretty primrose yellow would be just the thing for the living room.

I apologize for the lack of pictures here. Hopefully, you guys can visualize what I'm talking about here.

Now in order for me to have the loosely geometric line effect, I needed to fold the curtains a specific way. I would basically fold my curtain like you would the flag. In my research, I failed to notice just how they folded the fabric on the diagonal. This would come into play later. I placed 3 rubber bands loosely around each side of my triangles.

So I mixed up my dye bath following the directions on RIT's website {Primrose Yellow}, and then put my curtains into the bath for 30 minutes or so.

I pulled out my curtains, and I was in love. Then I rinsed them, and I was not so in love anymore. While the color had been what I wanted, my folding technique had thwarted my dying process. Only the top of my curtain was really dyed, and the yellow was not a pleasant one.

Determined not to be thwarted, I hung up the curtain and it became abundantly apparent that I had screwed up. The hubs came home and was very kind in his opinion about the newly dyed curtains. I told him they looked like pee, and I was going to redo them. He did not argue with my assessment of them.

Ok, so what went wrong? First, was my color choice. The yellow was not strong enough, and after seeing the yellow curtains against the strong green of the room, it just wasn't going to work. I needed a color that would hold its own against the greens, purples, and reds in the room. Hmmm, what color would work with those colors? The color in the room is Grape Leaf by Behr, and the rest of the colors I've picked are similar to grapes......  You see where I'm going with this? I needed a nice raisin color. Clearly, my room was speaking to me. RIT's website came to the rescue again and I decided on Tawny Port. See it {HERE}.

So now that the color was decided on, I needed to examine my folding technique. When you fold a flag, you wrap it up in itself in a series of diagonal folds, and that's where my problem was. The dye couldn't penetrate all those wrapped layers. If I wanted the edges of my curtains to receive the most dye, I needed all the folded edges exposed, so rather than wrapping the diagonal folds, I needed to accordion fold them. & Then We Tried has a great post about shibori folding techniques {HERE}.

So now that I knew how I'd screwed up, it was time for take 2. I mixed up another batch of dye. This one definitely looked like a witch's brew.

I folded my curtains like the flag again, then I refolded them the way I needed to. Sometimes I'm a slow learner. Then into the bath, the curtains went. They hung out for about 45 minutes.

Note, I didn't bleach the yellow out of my curtains. I put them in the new dye bath as they were, and said a prayer that it'd all work out. I'm a crazy hippie that way.

Luckily, I was not destined to fail a 2nd time. After rinsing the curtains, I was so in love with them! They turned out exactly as I envisioned. Into the washing machine with a healthy dose of vinegar was the next step. Then into the dryer until they were mostly dry.

While the curtains were doing their thing in the laundry room, I started hanging up the new curtain hardware. I screwed up again. I only bought enough hardware for one bloody curtain. Of course! Argh!
 
Well, my one curtain looked super nice hanging up by its lonesome for about 2 weeks, before I got back out to Ikea to buy more hardware, but once I got the 2nd one hung it was totally worth the wait.


 I love my new curtains, but I now I need to attend to some touch-ups on those walls.

Thanks so much for stopping by!