Sunday, July 30, 2023

BBFR 5K Race Report

 I'm "publishing" this race report on the day of the race, though this report wasn't written until early 2024. 

Sitting by the pond in the filtered sunshine, I took a deep breath and decided it was time. I was about 10 feet from my closest neighbor, and no one seemed to be paying me any attention. I took off my t-shirt, then my bra, and then, finally, my shorts. I busied myself putting my running shoes back on, and sneaking glances to see if anyone was looking at me as I sat there wearing a hat, socks, running shoes, and a lot of sunblock. Nope. No one batted an eye. Of course, they were all already naked. 

I don't know the first time I heard about the Bare Buns Fun Run, but I feel like it was some time before 2012. It seemed so crazy, so bold. Running 5K buck naked? Could I do such a thing?

Apparently there are nude 5Ks in many places. The Pacific Northwest had three (three!) for years, with this race, one in Issaquah, and one in Vancouver, BC forming a "buns across the border" series. (No, I am not making this up.) But Kaniksu Ranch is home of the original BBFR, and they've been hosting it since 1984, pausing only in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When I first heard of the race I put it on a "someday??" mental list. I even registered for it a few times. The first time I chickened out, plain and simple, and didn't go. The second time the race was cancelled due to COVID. The third time, in 2022, I tore my meniscus and had surgery 3 days before race day. In pre-op I looked at my doctor and said, "So, in theory I'm driving to Spokane on Saturday and running a 5K trail run on Sunday." He looked at me and said, "Nope. That's not going to happen."

So I decided that 2023 was the year. I booked a motel in nearby Loon Lake, booked a night across from the Grand Coulee Dam for the Friday night, and blocked out my calendar. 

Wil had said from the beginning that he wasn't interested in doing it, but he did decide to come along for the weekend. We headed out of town early on Friday, getting to Coulee Dam in time for dinner and then watching the laser show after dark. 

laser show on the dam!

Saturday we slowly made our way to Loon Lake. We didn't like the town much, but I think we expected a public beach somewhere, like at Medical Lake. Nope. 

Sunday morning I got up and headed to Kaniksu Ranch. It was weird to not put on running clothes. 

I drove and drove and drove, occasionally glimpsing signs. 

tiny sign... but I was on the right track

that's better

I got to an outer gate, noticing that someone was setting up a water station with dozens of cups of water. The car ahead of me turned left up a road, and I drove up to the man in the hi-viz vest. It was only then I noticed that the vest and a large sun hat were the only things he was wearing...and then noticed that the man putting out cups of water was buck naked. 

not my photo -- cameras and phones aren't allowed in the park, for obvious reasons!

I was told to just keep driving until I was told to park. I joined the line of cars driving up up up the hill, past dozens of campsites, past the central gathering space, with the clubhouse, the pool, the great lawn covered in tents. 

Eventually I was motioned to park off the side of the road in a little group of 4 cars. I turned off the engine and tried to decide what to do next. 

I watched a woman get out of the front car. She was wearing a coverup and carrying a bag, and set off down the hill. The couple in the car behind me seemed to be deciding what to do. The gentleman stepped out of the car and out of his clothes, but his lady was deciding if she wanted to keep wearing her coverup and whether or not she wanted to put something on underneath. And the young man directly in front of me stepped out of his car naked, grabbed a cooler and lawn chair, and started to head down the hill. 

Fretting that I would get lost, I got out of my car dressed, grabbed my bag with a town, some water, sunblock, and a book, and hustled after him. 

As we walked downhill, he stopped, looking a little lost. Some of the roads were roped off to cars, but we figured that we could walk down. I nervously chatted with him -- he wasn't there for the race, had been to the park before but it was never busy like this, he was feeling a bit turned around.

On the "main road" we met a woman who said she knew where I could pick up my timing chip. She said this was her second time doing the race, that she was a walker ("I'm too big to run!") and that I would have a blast. My parking buddy stopped at the pool, and my other companion went up to the clubhouse while I picked up my chip. 

When it was almost race time, I sprayed on more sunblock and headed up to the walker start area, because I figured I would walk more than I would run. Cue nervous chatter... luckily cut short by the sound of the cannon. (A cannon!) A man next to me ran off and, without thinking, I decided to follow. 

The race ran past the pool and clubhouse, then down the hill to the gate. A little farther along to a turnaround, and then back up the hill. I moved along pretty quickly, passing runners and walkers. 

Honestly, I soon forgot I was naked and surrounded by naked folks. The handful of people wearing clothes were the ones who looked strangely out of place. Two women were in flesh-colored shapewear and (eye)masks. (Masks?!?) When I was on my way back up the hill I met some people sauntering down with a water sprayer, and another person playing a guitar. 

Back in the main part of camp, we had to make another loop up and around the clubhouse. I was feeling good, so picked up speed for the downhill finish. The home stretch was lined with cheering people, and I passed a few runners before crossing the finish line. I was handed a coveted "nude finisher" shirt. Yes, I still think this is weird. 

I decided to take a glance at the results... I was in 2nd place in my age group! The timer noticed and said, "Looks like you get a medal!"  A medal? A MEDAL???

no, I don't expect I'll ever wear it...

I had to wait around quite a while, sans phone, for ceremony. So I took a shower, had a very nice dip in the pool, shopped for souvenirs, and chatted with other runners. 

Someone told me I was FAST down the home stretch, which made me laugh. 

When my name was called I went up to get my medal amidst cheers. After the end of the ceremony I hiked back up to the car, put on my shirt, and drove back to Loon Lake. 

I picked up Wil and we drove to Soap Lake where we stayed for a night and took a couple of dips in the lake -- another dream completed!

After the race I had a little buzz going. Second in my age group? (Out of 10!) Maybe it could be an annual event! But then I realized, nope, I don't need to repeat it. I had been brave and done the run. And got a medal!!!

Bare Buns Fun Run 5K


13:08 pace

Lily Pad Frog stitch-a-long

Hi everyone! I've decided to make a switch in the hopes that I will finish my new project in time for Kaffe Fassett's lecture in October. But before that, I decided to get my Christmas Holly piece past the halfway point. 

Here's where that was last time: 

There wasn't much stitching needed to get through half of the pattern. 

I'm going to set this aside until mid-October, which probably means not finishing it in time for Christmas. But Christmas happens every year, right? 

As I mentioned last time, my new project is this lovely Lily Pad Frog, an Ehrman kit. 

I started working on it a couple of weeks ago, and the stitching is GLORIOUS. It's 10-count fabric, which is huge... and it's just one stitch rather than cross stitch. The wool is lovely, too. Sure, identifying the different greens will be challenging, but so far I'm really enjoying it. 

By our next check in, I hope to have finished the pale yellow stitching, and the next darkest green as well. I also want think about what stitch to do on the background... I love the idea of adding texture and not just a sea of tent stitch... but I don't want it to overwhelm the frog. We shall see.

In the meantime, don't forget to check out the amazing projects my fellow stitchers are working on -- I love seeing what they're up to! Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaHelenCindy, and Mary Margaret.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

13x13, July Edition

June's project was to revisit a project I started back in 2021. I ice-dyed some Aida and then stitched two of these lovely motifs from a set called Dark Shadows. And then, well, nothing. 

This year I decided to stitch another of the motifs -- the crows on a candelabra -- and make all three of them up into ornaments. I didn't really know how I would finish them... little pillows? Mounted in tiny frames? In the end, I mounted them on and old cereal box and then on some black felt. I added some fancy trims from "the weird box of fancy trims" and, well, here they are. 

Of course, I look at them now and think how uneven they look, but I actually like them. I still have one more piece of purple Aida that I might use to stitch a fourth, but these were my three favorite motifs so I might stop there. 

For next month, I'm going back to my beloved Mill Hill Beads kits. These are so compact and so satisfying, and I always enjoy stitching them. I like how playful and bright Eyeball Martini looks!

As usual, I'll check back in on August 13 to share my finished ornaments, as well as my next project. I'm really pleased with all the projects I have completed so far this year... I'm already thinking I could extend this project into next year, too. Heaven knows I have plenty more things to work on, and I love making them!

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Christmas Holly Stitch-a-Long, part 5

Hi everyone! Summer gets so busy it feels like I don't make the time to stitch. But I've had a good couple of evenings at home, stitching, so I'm happy with my progress. 

Here's where I was last time: 

I love these berries!

And here's where I am now: 

I still didn't finish the berries in the lower left -- I ran out of floss and only just got more. But I really like the greeny colors of the new sets of leaves. I'm missing a couple of berries and a little bit of the leaves toward the bottom, but other than that, this piece is halfway done!

Now, normally that would mean that I would feel pretty positive that I could get the top finished before Christmas. 

But I've found a distraction. 

I've been a fan of Kaffe Fassett for years and years. I've never actually made any of his quilts or any of his needlepoint pieces (let alone knit anything...), but I have acquired books and tried to decide what to do FIRST. This resulted in not doing anything. Ah, the paralysis of choice!

I didn't let myself buy any of the needlepoint kits because, well, I had a lot of kits to get through. But you all know that I have diligently been stitching them up ... since 2018 when I joined this SAL I've completed (and made up!) Fox, Swans, Acanthus, and Tiger

But it turns out that Kaffe Fassett is coming to do some classes and give a lecture at the giant amazing overwhelming (and aptly named) Quilting Mayhem. I decided against taking a day off and going to a quilt class (one pattern felt really simple, the other really complicated), but I think I'm going to attend the lecture in October. The event info says "stay after and get Kaffe's autograph" which seemed sweet and silly. 

So I decided that I am going to ask him to autograph a piece of fusible interfacing, that I will then use as a pattern to embroider it on the back of something. But what?

Well, what could I do but decide to add to the green-tinged menagerie in my living room? I have loved this fellow for years, and he seems like he'll fit right in: 

Amusingly, it's 10-count fabric. TEN COUNT. I think my eyes are doing their own happy dance at the prospect of 10-count rather than 18-count. 

I've decided to go full-on fangirl and attempt to complete the stitching before the lecture on October 8. At least to complete the frog and his lilypad. I don't know why I think he'll find it amusing, a stitcher showing him a project at a lecture hall full of quilters. But I am hopeful. 

So I'm going to spend a few days getting to halfway on the holly piece, and then set it aside to stitch Mr. Frog. I haven't stitched tapestry since... February of 2021! I think it will make a nice change. I'll report back in three weeks with my progress!

In the meantime, don't forget to check out the amazing projects my fellow stitchers are working on -- I love seeing what they're up to! Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaHelenCindy, and Mary Margaret.