Winner Winner

chicken dinner

After several weekends of too many errands, too much sickness, too many obligations, too much work, this past weekend was nearly perfect.

First, although the Mister was out of town for a karate event, Things 2 and 3 and I packed up the mini for a trip to Allentown, PA to visit Thing 1 for his college’s Family Weekend. It was great to see him, meet some friends, enjoy a football game, take in two leisurely meals without…wait for it…any sibling squabbling! I think they actually have missed each other!

IMG_2935 IMG_2936

We took some selfies at the game (which his team obligingly won). Thing 3 was not enjoying the mid-day heat.

Sunday I was hellbent on testing my knee.  It had been 11 days since my last run, and I promised myself I’d turn around if there was any pain whatsoever.  And there wasn’t! Well, actually, that’s a lie. There was (because I’m an old lady and parts of me creak), but not in my knee!  Better yet, after the run I was not hobbled or limping, so I’m chalking that experiment up as a success and will proceed cautiously forward!

I’m so glad to have gotten out because looky at what I saw:

IMG_2938

Autumn in all its glory!  This year the colors have just been amazing.

To celebrate my return to running (and the additional calories it allows), I made a batch of my fail proof molasses cookies, intending to pack along some to Thing 1, however, they’re almost all gone, so he’ll have to wait.

You know it’s a good weekend when all that karma spills over into your Monday morning.  I got into work today with a pile of boxes awaiting my return.  Just look at what the first box held:

IMG_2942

Seven lucky seafarers are going to get just about the most beautiful handknit socks I’ve ever seen.

Oh, and on tonight’s menu: homemade applesauce, roasted veggies, and you guessed it: chicken!

 

Posted in family, running, travel | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mocking

Oh, there it is, every day. Just sitting there. With its plaintive digital readout, emitting a random squeak when it’s jostled to make room for placemats or newspapers or the butter dish.

IMG_2933

I’m not going to go all zen on you, but I swear, every morning when I turn on the dining room light, I instantly feel a pang of guilt; it looks so lonely and dejected sitting there all by its lonesome. (grumble grumble freaking’ knee grumble grumble)

But although the watch mocks, I’m taking a page from Run Colby Run, and resting. I’m foam rolling, and stretching and strengthening my quads (lots o’ squats). Helping me out with this rest is the wonderful not-quite-the-flu-but-equally-as-miserable thing that’s knocked me flat out for the past few days. Intense and sudden sore throat (which, and I’m still trying to decide if this is a coincidence, came upon me immediately after my 4th sip of my first ever pumpkin-flavored beer) followed by a 38 hour headache from hell (at one point I had to put my head on ice, I kid you not, and a word to the wise, don’t fall asleep with your head on an ice pack in your bed. It results in really cold and wet pillow.), crazy nausea and the most intense body aches which made sleeping nearly impossible. After two days I felt human enough to make it to work, but after two days of that, I had to head home early today (Friday) with a slight relapse.

The silver lining? A quickie (knit, that is). Another type of mock, as in mock turtleneck.  That big ball o’ yarn? It’s become this:

IMG_2905

Ah, but the neck.  Originally I had thought tall standup turtle neck. But when I finished the sweater, the neck was too wide and floppy.  I thought I’d pull and Elsa and let it go, but it bothered me (before I even had a chance to wear it), so I ripped out the neck, decreased the number of stitches and and am now conflicted: tall standup t-neck or shorter mock?

IMG_2904

Here I am at mock length.  I need to decide quickly. I have an outfit all planned out based on this sweater for Wednesday.  And I still have to block the sucker.

Posted in knitting, running | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Squeaking by

I finished Ravello today.  This is what’s left over:

IMG_2881

As a result, one sleeve is a skosh shorter than the other.  About 4 rows shorter. Nothing a good blocking can’t fix.

Here’s the end result (please don’t notice the shorter sleeve):

IMG_2889 IMG_2886

I’m happy enough with it. The body length is good and long.  I’ll make do with the wonky sleeve (it’s my right sleeve so I’ll just keep moving that arm a lot, so noone can catch the discrepancy). Not so sure about the boatneck though, my fear of guillotines and vampires notwithstanding. I will definitely need some sort of cowl to make this sweater wearable in the winter.

What I’m super-duper proud of is that I actually finished Ravello even as this was singing its siren song:

IMG_2808

I know exactly what I’m going to do with it, and (spoiler alert) it will not leave my neck exposed.

The knitting is helping me keep my mind off my knee–it’s still a bit wonky and achy when I walk.  I did 5 miles last wednesday, which felt ok during the run, but really hobbled me afterwards.  Another visit to the PT and it’s feeling better, but still achy.  My GP’s practice recently brought in a sports med doc whom I saw before Hartford.  Her diagnosis was the pes anserine bursitis, and she ordered x-rays to make sure nothing else was going on.  I got the x-rays done last week, and she’s called me in to discuss some osteoarthritis in the medial compartment.  Of course I googled that, and it’s not so promising.  But I’m not going to get worked up until after I see her (next week).  So instead of spending the next week with Dr. Google and worst case scenarios, I suspect I will have another finished sweater.

The frustrating bit to all of this is that IT’S. FINALLY. FALL. Finally. My favorite running season.  And again I’m on the sidelines.  Hopefully not for long, but even one day feels like too long.

Time to break out those needles.

Posted in knitting, running | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

H is for…

Hartford

Where I bought this Huge ball of yarn

IMG_2808

(stay tuned, the resulting project will be fabulous, I promise)

and ran the Half marathon!

I approached this race ambivalently.  After the awfulness of Jersey City and the resulting appearance of some pes anserine bursitis (ick), I wasn’t sure if I was even going to run up until Friday night.  The weather report was dreary (chilly rain all morning), but I dutifully picked up my bib, bought myself a cheap jacket and brimmed hat for the rain, and spent the rest of the afternoon at my trade show booth weighing the pros and cons of running the race. Pro: just a fun run, no pressure. Con: knee still twingy, don’t want to injure it further, bad weather. Pro: the excitement! hotel right outside of the finish line! Con: the weather. I decided to run, despite the weather, and to switch to a walk/run if the knee didn’t hold up.

That morning the rain was more drizzle-ish than downpour, and given the convenience of my hotel, I stayed inside until 7:45 for the 8am gun. And we were off! The knee warmed up about mile 2 and while it ached a bit, it wasn’t painful, so I kept going.  I was determined not to look at my watch, and just enjoy the run.  At the half-way point I was at 1:03 (9:39 pace). So far, so good.

I slowed a bit in the 2nd half, taking a bathroom break, and then a photo-op at mile 9 in Elizabeth Park, and then tackling some long, but not particularly steep, hills. The rain grew steadier at this point, and my arms and hands were cold, but nothing too major.

Around mile 11, the rain really started falling more strongly. It was hard to see (I was wearing my prescription sunglasses as I forgot my contact lenses. Yes, I came prepared.), and I was completely soaked through and ready for a warm shower.  Finally, the last downhill to the finish line appeared (mile 12-ish).  Everyone was picking up steam (it’s so great to finish on a downhill!).

And then at mile 12.5, the young woman running next to me collapsed!  I only saw this in my peripheral vision, and at first thought she had gotten sucked into one of the many potholes, so I stopped to make sure she was ok. But clearly it hadn’t been a pothole. She was scarily pale, muttering jibberish, her eyes were all rolly and she couldn’t hold up her head. Another runner stopped as well. We created a barrier around her (so she wouldn’t get trampled) and that runner went off to find an EMT or police officer.  There weren’t many spectators on our side of the road, but one made his way across the street and held up his umbrella over us (it was really raining hard at this point), and we waited. The young woman kept trying to get up and finish. She was determined to get her medal. While the spectator held the umbrella, I worked on keeping the young woman seated. Another spectator went off to find a cop. Finally, a cop and EMT got there, and I went to finish the race, after about an 18 minute delay.

Wow. It’s extremely tough to get your mind back on the .6 miles left in the race after an unplanned cool down and sorta scary event.  But I finished–2:27.

With the weather and unplanned delay, though, I didn’t linger going through the chute–I collected my medal (and one for the young woman which I left with the medical tent for when she arrived), my water bottle, and looked around for some food, but couldn’t find any, so I shivered my way across the park and back to my hotel and within an hour was at my booth in the convention center.

I might do this race again; the course was pretty great. We ran through some awesome neighborhoods and Elizabeth Park was amazing. The city did a fantastic job of finding a route that really showed off the city well.

Funny how each race has a take-away, isn’t it?  Overall, this wasn’t the greatest run (cold rain tends to put a damper on things), and it wasn’t the “fun run” I had really wanted. But I’m glad the weather and my gimpy knee made me re-think my strategy, because I would have hated to have actually debated stopping for the young woman who fell (because, let’s be honest, if I were going for time and close to my goal, this would have been a conundrum).

Onwards and upwards!

Posted in knitting, race report, running, travel | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

my inner geek

Today was a day all about channeling my inner geek.  And to play the role of the admiring friend stuck in the realm of “omg, I knew her when…”

Today was the unveiling of the Edgar Allan Poe statue in Poe Square in Boston.

For those not in the know, Poe was rather itinerant, but Baltimore lays the most claim to him. However, New York, Philly, and Sullivan’s Island (South Carolina) also have a stake. Boston, however, was his birthplace, and a city to where he traveled regularly as many of his works were published there.  The Poe statue was the result of a grad student’s asking her professor on the eve of the bicentennial of his birth why there wasn’t more of Poe in Boston, and that professor’s diligence in trying to rectify the situation.

And this is where my inner geek just went “squeeeeeee”

  • this was an amazing grass-roots, public art project. Paul Lewis (the aforementioned professor and VP of the Poe Studies Association) galvanized the city of Boston to name a square, commissioned the Poe statue and basically got this entire project to fruition. Kudos to people with vision.
  • the pre-unveiling ceremony and ceremony itself were rife with poetry and music. Poe was a writer who fell in the “art for art’s sake” camp,  and to hear his words read aloud is just always magical.
  • it is absolutely amazing to see a friend recognized for her talent.  And it’s about time the world got to see this too.
  • Robert Pinsky. Former US poet laureate. ‘Nuff said. (I’ve always been a huge fan girl of his).

Here are some photos from the day. During her presentation, Steff walked us through the (laborious) process of bringing a model statue to life-size.  Let’s just say it’s a process.

This was a good day.

Posted in family, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Poe is me

(but not really, it’s just the first title that came to mind)

Our weather this week has matched my mood–gloomy, overcast, occasional sprits of rain. Not helping matters any is my gimpy knee, and I’m not sure how that came about. Just one morning it hurt on my run and it hasn’t improved, despite an increased diligence with regards to foam rolling and stretching. But it’s October, and all that will change. Well, maybe not the weather. Or my knee. But definitely my mood. Why?

Poe!

This weekend a good friend (and fellow ice-hockey teammate) from college is having her Edgar Allan Poe statue unveiled in Boston! And I’m going!

Steff’s work is amazing. Click that link to see more. And I absolutely love that her Poe statue won the call for proposals, but that the organization was actually able to raise the money needed to make the sculpture and get it installed.

Even better that it’s Edgar Allan Poe. He’s one of my favorite poets/writers. I was an American Studies majors, and Poe is a huge part of that cannon. On Halloween, our beloved professor Bassett would read ghost stories in an unlit (save for candlelight) chapel, always saving The Tell-Tale Heart for last. Nothing is spookier than being read The Tell-Tale Heart on a cold Halloween in a dark and creaky chapel.

Until you’re a homeowner, in your new home, and you’ve hired a contractor to take down the wall between two bedrooms to expand the bathroom. And on Friday, some floorboards are pulled up, and your cat (spooked by the comings and goings of all the workers) jumps into the floor to hide, only to be closed in when the contractor nails down new floorboards at the end of the day. And then when you’re lying there in bed at night, all you hear is this scamper, scamper, scamper along the joists and these plaintive meows. All. Night. Long. To which your Mister, at some point in the middle of the night, turns to you and says, “this damn cat is just like The Tell Tale Heart.” Which it is. And the nighttime ruckus continues on Saturday and then on Sunday.

Monday morning, I greet two of the Mexican subcontractors at the door–my cat’s under the floorboards! He’s been meowing all weekend long! “Oh, dios mio,” and they quickly run upstairs, and I hear the two muttering something about a corazon. The contractor soon follows. And I tell him the same story. And his response? Oh my god! Just like The Tell Tale Heart!

Ah, the pleasures of connecting over cultural references!

Posted in family, travel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey September, don’t let that door hit you on the way out…

First, thanks all for the kind comments recently (re: both Thing 2 and 13.meh). It is heartening to feel that virtual support, and very much appreciated.

Chez Sato has been a bit subdued of late. Of course, there’s working through the Thing 2 muck, and then sadly, Thing 3 has decided she doesn’t like school. This from a child who has had perfect attendance since kindergarten. Thing 3 is a creature of habit, and is definitely in the “slow, but steady wins the race” category of student. All of sudden, though, her elementary school decided to have the 5th graders move about from classroom to classroom for their different subjects. She is at a loss. She likes to have a home base, her own desk, her own teacher. She’s got none of that this year, and it shows in her work, effort and attitude. Exactly what we need right now chez Sato, a crisis of confidence in our youngest, most enthusiastic member.

All of this has definitely put me in a bit of a funk.  The stuff I usually enjoy–blogging, sewing, knitting, running–well, I’ve been going through the motions, waiting (hoping?) for the mojo. It’s almost there. I think. And, as usual, it’s been the running that’s helped sort this out.

My BHG (big hairy goal) this year was a sub 2:00 half. Definitely do-able. I’ve put in the training, the speed work, the hills, the early mornings, the tempo runs. I got as close as 2:03 in the spring, and thought for sure everything would fall into place this fall, either in Jersey City or Hartford.

Well, Jersey City wasn’t quite the race I’d wanted. And last week when I laced up and jumped back into my training, my eyes were determined to make Hartford my b**ch. But something funny happened on the way to the forum, I realized I just want a good run. Yeah, the competitive scrabble player in me HATES abandoning this goal so late in the game, but I think it’s the right call.

September has definitely overstayed its welcome. October just can’t get here soon enough. We–the collective Satos–have all had a sucky month.  The Mister and I are learning that the airlines are right–we need to put on our oxygen masks first before we can help our littles.  And for me, that oxygen mask is a lovely romp through Hartford, sans time goal.

 

 

Posted in family, running | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

13.meh

When life throws you lemons, make lemonade? Well, only when the weather and your GI tract cooperate…

Today was the Newport Liberty Half Marathon.  I’ve got two races this fall in my effort to reach that sub 2 goal, and this was the first. I really really had hoped I’d get there with this race so that I could enjoy the Hartford half later next month.

But from the get-go, the stars were not aligning.  First, this race has a reputation for being boring and long. And in fact, when I finished, my garmin showed 13.55.  The course itself runs through Jersey City (not the historic district which is great, but rather the more sterile business area known as Newport) and then into Liberty State Park.

Liberty State Park is a fabulous park. There’s a science center and acres of paths.  Which aren’t all that wide and made for some crowded running. Apparently it’s tough to come up with 13 miles in Jersey City, so the course serpentines you through almost the entirety of the park.  And that, my friends, is tedious.  Not a lot of fan support. And aside from the Statue of Liberty (which you get a great view of prior to entering the park), there’s not much to look at.

Anyways, I’m not sure how much you’ve heard about our Northeast weather this summer, but basically it’s been beautiful.  Yeah, there’ve been some hot and sticky days, but not weeks upon weeks of heat and humidity as in years past. And September has been nearly flawless with its weather. Mornings are crisp. Daytimes are sunny and just barely warm. Nights are lovely, verging on sweater weather.  Except for today. Today I woke up for the race and realized that I didn’t give my typical “brrrr, chilly morning” shudder.  In fact, it was sorta warm.

Heading downstairs, I looked at my phone. 65F.  88% humidity. 30% chance of thunder. I stepped outside to get the paper, and immediately thought “oh god, I hope it thunders.”

Temps were about 70F at the start. The humidity hadn’t lessened at all. No thunder. There was cloud cover, though.  Miles 1-3 I was supposed to be at 28:30–I started a little fast and got through them in 27:15.  Miles 4-6 I was supposed to up my pace to 9:10/minute, and I did, coming in at the 6 mile mark at 55:15 (goal was 55:30).  Mile six was 9:10, and there it fell apart.

I took some gatorade and sports beans at mile 6, and by mile 7, my tummy was unhappy. So much so that I puked somewhere on the grass between miles 7 and 8. Not a lot, but enough to make my mouth icky for a long long time.  It’s at this point, too, that we’re just snaking through this park in an almost ridiculous fashion.  I slowed down.  A lot.

Miles 7-10: 10:13 pace.  Lots of walking here. The sun decided to make an appearance, too, and after one turn, it was like hitting a brick wall of heat and chewy air.

Miles 11-13.1: 9:50 pace. More walking. Nausea settling somewhat, though, and the end is in sight.  The course also hugged the water at this point (and the clouds made a comeback) so it felt slightly cooler.

Miles 13.1-13.55: 9:49 pace. I passed 3 people in that last 1/4 mile heading into the chute.

I HATE RACES THAT RUN SO LONG.  This is a USATF race, so it’s been measured and measured and measured, but still somehow, everyone was mentioning the length. Of course, on a race course with over 37 turns, there are bound to be tangent issues, but really, nearly a half-mile long?  In fact, there were spectators standing in a spot with balloons yelling: “Here is the real finish line” and you could hear everyone’s watches beeping in confirmation. But no, there was still .45 miles left to go.

This was a tough race, following a tough two weeks with Thing 2. My head wasn’t completely in the game, and most likely to reach that sub 2 I needed perfect running conditions. That’s not what we got. That being said, my official time was 2:11:32, which is still a decent finish considering the vomit stop and walking.

Oh, and I got a blister. My 2nd ever.

I’m looking forward to Hartford. That race has a stellar reputation for course, and being Connecticut in October, the weather should be more to my liking. And I’ve got a few weeks to get back into my game.

IMG_2684

(the statue of liberty as seen from mile 7-ish, right before the puke episode.  She is in no way responsible for that)

Posted in race report, running | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Wood

as in I clearly did not knock hard enough when I wrote my last post.

Life, courtesy of Thing 2, continues along its crazy path. But this isn’t the good and funny crazy. It’s much more serious and life-altering.  One day, fingers’ crossed, I’ll find the humor in this mess, but it’s not there right now.

Running helps.  I’m not sure where my mind will be for my goal race this coming Sunday, but I’m going to give it my best shot.  Last week I totally messed up my 7 mile tempo run with a bucket load of tears in the middle. Needless to say, I didn’t quite hit my paces. Today, I took a mulligan on that run and totally nailed it. I’m not sure if it’s smart to throw a tempo run into a taper. I guess I’ll find out Sunday.

I haven’t been able to do much knitting or sewing, but I’m lining up some projects.  I need something long and complicated.  Here’s where I’m going:

schnittmuster-jacke-eve-1 schnittmuster-jacke-eve-2 mulberrycableScreen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.25.35 PM

The jacket’s not complicated (even though I’ve never sewn a jacket), and I love the collar. The aran sweater is from Mulberry–it’s RTW, but I’m going to figure out a pattern for this somehow.  And for some reason, I’ve a hankering for a fisherman’s smock.  No idea why.

There are a lot of question marks chez Sato right now. I hate question marks. The running, the knitting, the sewing–all come with patterns (or maps). All have a beginning, middle, end. This crap with Thing 2, well, we’ve been thrust into a beginning, and without any sort of pattern or roadmap (although tons of support I must add), we’re going to have to muddle through to a middle and (hopefully) promising end.  It’s a bit nerve-wracking though.

Posted in family, knitting, running, sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

And thus begins the crazy

Ah, back to school. A bit of a let down in comparison to the excitement involved in getting a child off to college, but a milestone nonetheless.

Thing 3 started last Tuesday in grade 5:

IMG_2635

We were lucky that summer decided to stick around with some humidity over the long Labor Day weekend and into the first few days of school.

Luna did not appreciate it:

IMG_2627

Thing 2 started at her school on Thursday.

IMG_2639

No, that’s not a wig. It’s an experiment that cannot be remedied until Sept. 19.  While her summertime bravado impressed her less than stellar town friends, I gather it was less than well-received amongst her school crowd.  She told me today she’d like to go back to “regular brown.”  This will most certainly surprise her hairdresser (who was thrilled to get a teenager actually willing to do something to the left of center with her hair), but it will please her father.  Me? I just wish she’d cut it short–she’s got too cute a face to hide it behind any color of hair.

And coinciding with the start of the school year is the crazy.  Already there has been a FB battle at Thing 3’s school about the new policy to not allow students to phone home for forgotten things (lunches, sneakers, musical instruments, homework), and in a huge fashion snafu, I discovered on Friday, after spending the entire day wondering what the hell I had forgotten, that I was not wearing a bra.  How. Does. That. Happen?

There’s been all sorts of crazy on the training front as well–after not sufficiently knocking on enough wood after posting about an injury free 8 months, my hip reared its angry head and started complaining…loudly.  My magician PT guy fixed me up, and I promptly turned around and went to my coached speed workout session at the track (offered by my running club).  I felt pretty good until my last 800, and the subsequent 4 x 400s were excruciating. The pain, though, did not affect my speed: my 800s were at 3:51, 3:48, 3:51 (goal time: 3:55)and my 400s were at 1:42, 1:48, 1:48 and 1:47 (goal time: 1:50).

That I could barely walk through the Bottle King to pick up my six pack did not make me panic (ok, well only a little)–I took two rest days and foam rolled the life out of my leg.  Enough so that by Saturday I got in my easy 6.

My bigger concern was my 14 mile “fast finish” on Sunday.  I had the option of moving this run to Saturday given that I had to be in the city for a 10 o’clock service on Sunday. But Saturday’s weather was hot and humid (80F with 95% humidity), whereas Sunday was to be more pleasant. So I opted for Sunday, complete with a 4:30am wake up, strapped on the blinky vest for the first time since spring, and headed out.

What a fabulous run–the first 11 miles in 2:04 and the last 3 at 9:27 pace. Albeit, I was hoping for a 9:10 for the last 3 miles, but given how miserable my last several long runs have been, I’ll take it. I feel like I’m in good shape for my 9/21 event.

After returning from the city, I took a nice nap and woke just in time for a 4pm trial rowing class at a local spin studio. I’ve always shied away from erg machines–my arm strength is so poor, but I am constantly on the lookout for interesting cross-training, so I sucked it up and went.  And boy I’m glad I did. Because I learned that rowing isn’t really all about the arms (although having them definitely helps), it’s leg strength.  And I’ve got that. Even after 14 miles. The very hot, young lycra-clad instructor told me I was a “natural,” so of course I will sign up for more.

Apparently, even after losing a Thing, the crazy just never lets up.

Posted in family, running | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments