Sunday, April 24, 2022

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 20

Hi everyone! I can't believe that I've been working on this piece for OVER A YEAR NOW, and there's still so much left to go. But I do love it, and I love seeing it grow. Remind me in several months when I'm trying to decide what project to work on next that it might be nice to take on something SMALLER. 

Here's where I was last time:  

And here's where I am now:

I finished two columns, which means you can see Mount Fuji in the background! 

And of course, stitching Mount Fuji gives me the excuse to post this picture of me and Wil just below the summit of Mount Fuji back in 2019 -- one of our last big trips:

By the time of our next check in I hope to have the next column stitched, which would be a page finish and set me at 75% of the way done... minus all the backstitching, of course. 

Until then, why not check out the projects my fellow stitchers are working on: Avis, Claire, Gun, Constanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Cindy, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Renee, Sharon, DaisyAnne, AJCathie, Linda, and Helen.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

D. L. F. -- Camp Wannarun Half Marathon Race Report

There’s a saying amongst the RunDisney / Disney Running gang:

D. L. F. > D. N. F. > D. N. S. 

(Dead last finish is better than did not finish is better than did not start.)

We flew to Minneapolis yesterday to run a half marathon in Minnesota: my 38th state. A few weeks ago I did something — I seriously don’t know what — to my right knee. I thought it would go away if I just took it easy, but it didn’t. Three weeks later and it still hurts, is swollen, and I can’t bend it. The slightest twist sends shooting pains up my leg. I finally decided I should see my doc, then discovered that the first in-person appointment is 31 May. Yep, 5+ weeks out. 

And, of course, I had this race trip planned. 
So we flew out, picked up a car, and drove out to adorable White Bear Lake. 
Well, first we made two stops in MSP:

1. Mary Tyler Moore statue. 

Yeah, I brought a hat SO I COULD THROW IT NEXT TO THE STATUE. #loveisallaround

(We're vegetarian, not vegan, but we bought sandwiches for a late lunch, as well as a lot of their stuff to bring home!)

Then White Bear Lake, where we checked in to our hotel, went for a little walk, got ourselves organized for the next morning, went for a swim, and were asleep by 10am. 

Saturday morning we drove the two miles to the Bald Eagle Recreation Area for the start of the Camp Wannarun Half Marathon. 

First and foremost -- Judi Fluger and her team at Midwest Multisport put on a really nice race. A small company, they somehow put on more than 20 races a year -- everything from 5K fun runs to a 70.3 triathlon. Their branding is clean and consistent, their registration and pre-race communications are great, and the swag is great quality. I had emailed Judi to ask a question and mentioned that I was working on a 50-state project and this would be my 38th state. So I was thrilled to open my packet and see bib 38. Maybe it was a coincidence, but I assume Judi was just being super thoughtful. We also got cute shirts and custom metal medals -- really nice!

Judi gave a quick pre-race talk about the course and the markings ("Sunny, you won't get lost!"), we lined up at the back, and the small crowd set off. I knew from looking at previous years' results that we would be at the back of the pack, especially given my knee. But I hadn't realized that after the first major turn, about 2 miles in, we wouldn't see another runner. 

But the course was well marked, mostly on small rural roads, and essentially flat. So we walked. Relatively quickly, mind you, with a good 15:06/mile pace, and chatted and smiled and enjoyed the day. 

Before we looked at weather reports -- the temperature would be in the low 70s, with afternoon thunderstorms starting at 4pm. We were maybe 5 miles in when we heard a long rumble. Wil asked what the noise was, and I said, "Maybe gunfire? People hunt around here...." (I realize that spring probably isn't hunting season...). We heard it again, and I said, "Maybe it's planes taking off? We're not super far from the airport...". And then, when we kept hearing it, realized it was thunder. Lots of thunder. 

Where there's thunder there's lightning, and intermittent downpours. But really it wasn't too bad. We did the old "count the seconds" trick and decided that the lightning was never closer than 12 miles away (please don't tell me that counting the seconds doesn't work, okay?). We're from Seattle, we've walked and run and just generally spent time outdoors in the rain. Besides, it was pretty warm out. 

Every so often we would interact with someone -- a police officer at a road crossing, a volunteer at a water stop, but other than that we were on our own. Well, us, large squirrels, birds, and some excellent lawn art. And it was pretty. 

Oh, and did I mention that one of the lakes we ran past was called Otter Lake? 

Finally we were in the home stretch, both feeling remarkably good if happy to be done. Judi and a couple of other folks welcomed us like conquering heroes -- all the more remarkable when I looked at the final results I noticed that we were some 45 minutes behind the previous finishers. 

We had some water, some pancakes, and took the requisite post-race pic:

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at a big grocery store (Wil wanted to find more Wisconsin Brick Cheese for Detroit pizzas). We snacked, had a dip in the pool, and went out for another walk to the local record store (it was Record Store Day!), quilt store (seriously, why do I do this???), brewpub, and cocktail lounge before heading in for the evening. 

Great things about Camp Wannarun:
- I loved the option to mail in a registration form
- Excellent communication before the race
- Nice shirt
- Pretty course mostly along quiet roads, nice lake views
- Plenty of signage, mile markers every mile
- Handsome custom medal -- not just a "sticker" medal, pretty rare at a small event
- Post-race pancakes!

Thanks Minnesota, and hooray for State 38!

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 19

Hi everyone! I'm really happy to say that I managed to make the time to get some stitching done. I'm always so happy when I take the time to stitch, and I love seeing this piece grow. I need to remember that more when I feel like I am too stressed, too worried to sit and "meditate with floss". (Or maybe "stab something with a needle, over and over"!)

Here's where I was last time:  

And here's where I am now:

I finally finished that column! This is a section where the backstitching will make a huge difference, but that's still a long way out. But you can see, at the left edge of the stitched column, the start of the triangular shape of Mount Fuji!

By the time of our next check in I hope to have the next column stitched, with a stretch of stitching the next two so that I can finish stitching Mount Fuji. But we'll see. 

Our little stitch-a-long had some sad news recently, one of our members, Carmela, passed away. Though I never met her -- in fact, I don't know that I'll ever meet any of my fellow stitchers in person -- I will always remember her beautiful, careful, colorful stitching, and the beautiful pictures of flowers from her garden that she used to post. 

I'm thinking about my fellow stitchers and sending them my love, and hope they are well: Avis, Claire, Gun, Constanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Cindy, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Renee, Sharon, DaisyAnne, AJCathie, Linda, and Helen.

Friday, April 1, 2022

15 years ago...

I keep an Alexa Show on my desk when I work. Ostensibly to use as a speaker when I listen to music, but really because I enjoy the random photos it shows me. Sometimes it's a bittersweet memory, like lovely pictures of Bubble. And other times -- especially the "this day in 20XX" pictures -- it feels amazing how much time has passed. 

Today I was reminded about my first multisport event: the No Foolin' Duathlon, run waaaaay back in 2007, before I launched this blog. Not many photos of the day, but I thought I'd type up my notes and put the random pics in, just for fun. And, no, this isn't an April Fool's Day joke. :)

Rebecca, Barbara, and I all registered for our first multisport event: the No Foolin' Duathlon. It was held at Millersylvania State Park down near Olympia. The weather was strange -- it was actually snowing lightly about 20 minutes before the start -- but it cleared up in time. 

Barbara and I -- and the rest of the runners -- heading out.

There were very few people registered for the event, as it turned out. I was really nervous, and didn't know what to expect. I just stood at the starting line and then, suddenly, we were supposed to be running. I took off too fast -- as usual -- running through the park to the entrance, then turning around. Of course, I was way at the back of the pack, and got to watch most people head out on their bike leg before I was anywhere near done with my run. 

blurred by speed, I'm sure...

Got on my bike -- nearly forgetting to take off my run gloves -- and rode off. The ride was okay, though because it was a small race and because I was toward the back of the pack, I was alone the majority of the time, which meant that I got distracted. 

Pedal pedal pedal pedal oooh... look... a horse... what a pretty horse... I like horses... oh! Pedal pedal pedal...

Saw a man carrying a bike back; he'd gotten a flat and was just calling it a race. Also saw a woman at the turnaround who had a flat and was trying to fix it without a patch or tools. She ended up riding in on a flat tire, very slowly. 

Got back to the transition area after the winners were long finished, and then had to go out for the last mile run. I had a cramp in my right hamstring, but plodded along. After 1:10 I finally made it to the finish line. Hooray!

"C'mon, it's cold, finish up so we can go home."

But in the end I got a medal... my first ever running medal. And, of course it wouldn't be the last!

It's amazing to think that it was 15 years ago... in both the "how has it been that long??" and the "how has it only been that long??" sorts of ways. 

I only ran two other multisport races, both sprint triathlons. There just seemed to be a lot of faff. But if you asked me on that date whether I thought I would run a marathon, I would have said no.