Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fingerless Mittens

Now that Christmas is over and my sister has seen her gift, I can post the photos of the fingerless mittens that I made her.

These are done in Mission Falls 1824 Wool on Size 6 Double-Pointed needles.

The pattern is Fetching from

These were a lot of fun to make, and knit up quick. It took me slightly more than one skein of yarn to make them. I really like this yarn, it is very soft for a wool yarn, perhaps because it is superwash.

The second picture is how I wrapped them. I made a 3 stitch I-cord and put a tassle on each end and used it as my "ribbon". I think my sister was as fascinated with the ribbon as she was with the mittens!

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Running Playlist

In the last year I have learned the merits of running with music. I never understood before what the fascination with running with the little white headphones really was. I was a purist, it was me and the road, and music is for cheaters. But something happened while I was attempting to train for my third marathon this year. I was struggling. Running 16 miles by yourself can be really daunting, so the desperate me grabbed my IPOD and went out for a 16 mile run. By the end, I was hooked. I had a soundtrack to my running and songs to pump me up when my energy was down. I still don't listen to music while I am running with the running club, or with other people (and yes, some people do do that), but now when I run without a partner, it is me, the road and my IPOD. For those interested, here is my running playlist. It might seem like a lot of music, but I have actually run for long enough to get through the whole thing and start from the beginning again.

Baba O'Riley The Who
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (The Quiver Mix) Led Zeppelin
Brick House The Commodores
Bring Me To Life Evanescence
Bulls On Parade Rage Against The Machine
Do the Evolution Pearl Jam
Enter Sandman Metallica
Everything Zen Bush
Freedom Rage Against The Machine
Going Down/Love In An Elevator Aerosmith
Going Under Evanescence
Hail, Hail Pearl Jam
Hangnail Nickelback
Hella Good No Doubt
I Come From The Water The Toadies
Killing In The Name Rage Against The Machine
Kung Fu Fighting Carl Douglas
Leave R.E.M.
Let's Go For A Ride Cracker
Long Train Running The Doobie Brothers
New Year's Day U2
Not To Touch The Earth The Doors
One Thing Leads To Another The Fixx
Party All Night Quiet Riot
Pour Some Sugar On Me Def Leppard
Remedy The Black Crowes
Running No Doubt
Soul Man Sam & Dave
Star 69 R.E.M.
Strong Enough Cher
Super Freak Rick James
Superunknown Soundgarden
Tainted Love Soft Cell
The Distance Cake
The Fly U2
Through The Never Metallica
Vertigo U2
Wake Up Rage Against The Machine
Without Me Eminem
You Could Be Mine Guns N' Roses

Friday, December 22, 2006

More Knitting Projects

Here are a few more things I have created. Here is my first hat and mittens. They are knitted in Encore Worsted with the edge on Size 5 Needles and the body on Size 7 Needles. This is a pattern from my first knitting book, but I adapted the patterns to be knit in the round. Unfortunately, the book is lost somewhere in my apartment and I can't seem to find it, but I will update this with the name of the book if I find it.
This is a garter stitch scarf that was my first complete project. It was knit on Size 11 Needles in Rowan Wool-Cotton and Trendsetter Yarn Shadow Metal Held together. This is still one of my favorite things to wear!
I should have some more pictures soon, as I am currently working on Knitty's Trellis Baby Sweater in Rowan All-Seasons Cotton. (Yes, this is the same one I posted about back in March.) I had to take a break and knit a few other things, because as beautiful as the pattern is, sometimes you need to knit things that allow you to talk to other people or that you can work on in front of the television.

I am also working on a pair of fingerless mittens also a pattern. (I seem to use their patterns a lot!) The pattern is called Fetching and I am using Mission Falls 1824 Wool. This wool is so soft and is nice to knit with.

I am also knit a hat from Last Minute Knitted Gifts for Dave with a big B in Bengals colors. I still have to weave in the ends and make a pom-pom. I adapted this pattern to use a Bulky Yarn instead of a worsted one. I will post more details once I finish it. Posted by Picasa

Knitting Projects

I recently finished my first pair of socks. They are the Socks 101 Pattern from I like the fact that this pattern allows you to make socks for any yarn and for any size feet, but I am not a big fan of the toe, so I might play around with the pattern next time. These ones were done in Encore Worsted on Size 6 Double-Pointed Needles.

This is an IPOD Cozy I created awhile back. It was knitted with Rowan Wool-Cotton on Size 5 Double pointed needles. It is a simple Knit 2, Purl 2 rib with a 3-needle bind off. The yarn is a little slippery for a cozy and the IPOD slips out of it easily, but hey, it was leftover yarn, so at least it went to use!
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

I Like You

I recently bought the new Amy Sedaris book I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence.

Laugh out loud funny and I was reminded of my friend Adrienne while reading through it. Adrienne is a fantastic cook, and although this book wouldn't neccessarily assist her in that realm, I think she would find it humourous in the same way that I am.

Here is an example of Sedaris' suggested invitation wording: "We are having a barbeque on Saturday the 4th of Julune and would love for you to come. The charcoal will be glowing by two! Bring one of your children."

The book is brimming with dry wit, and is at points what is true about the ettiquette of hospitality, but which no one would dare say out loud! Although it is meant to be funny, much of what Amy writes has a hint of truth to it.

I highly reccommend this to anyone who appreciates the Daily Show/Colbert Report type humor.

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Engagement Photo

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New direction

I haven't posted in a while. The past year has been a whirlwind and now that I am on a stretch of nights and can't sleep, somehow I came back here. Dave and I were engaged in March, and my running, although still a part of my life, has taken a backseat to work, school and wedding planning. Everyday I am amazed at how much is happening in my life. It is both frightening and amazing. Dave is an amazing man and he treats me like a queen.

I am not sure where I will take this blog from here. Perhaps I should just start posting again and see where it leads.

Christmas is approaching again and I can't wait to spend some time with my family in Connecticut. We will be up there for a few days before its back to Philadelphia and back to work. Dave is not working right now, which has been stressful, but at least he has a few interviews lined up and some promising things on the horizon. Christmas will be a much needed break.

Monday, March 13, 2006


So I have been training vary hard over the past few months, and yesterday, I finally got to test how well my training would pay off.

Saturday night brought a Philly Runners Dinner at Marra's in South Philly. A large group attended, and Ryan kept us all amused by scheming to steal cake from 4-year-olds celebrating their birthday. I have to admit the cake did look awfully tempting. And I think we could have taken the 4-year-olds.

Sunday morning I woke up at 6 am and had my race morning meal of sweetened oatmeal. Out the door at 6:30am to pick up Andy and Bear for the ride down to Wilmington. Left Philly at about 7 am and by the time we got to Wilmington it was on and off pouring and not looking like a great race day. I was nervous and pumped for this race at the same time. I had trained very hard, and wanted the result to show it. But I haven't had many great races in the last year, so I didn't want to be dissapointed again.

The cannon went off, and we were on our way. I don't tend to run my races with other people (even other Rhilly Runners members) because I tend to get sucked into faster or slower paces than I want. Usually this ends badly. My target goal was 1:50 or 8:23 min/mile pace.
Mile 1: 8:15
Mile 2: 8:11
Mile 3: 8:19
Mile 4: 8:17 These 1st 4 miles I got into a good pace groove. A little under goal pace, and I wonder if I will pay for this later. I feel great though
Mile 5: 7:54 Bump into Marita and Erin and run with them for awhile. But their pace is a bit too fast so I slow it up going into the hills.
Mile 6: 8:41 Arg, hills. I slow down more than I had hoped but continue on.
Mile 7: 8:49 Hills continued. Somewhere near the end of this mile I see Seebo and Kevin and Ian and a few others making there way back. This pumps me up and I gain momentum.
Mile 8 & 9: 16:42 (Avg 8:21) Even though the big hill is over, a series of seemingly endless smaller hills ensues. I am running strong though and feel great. I know I am running a great race.
Mile 10: 8:19 By the end of this mile I know that I have a PR even if I slow down significantly for the remainder of the race.
Mile 11: 8:19 Pretty consistent.
Mile 12: 8:03 I think we are going downhill here, but I also was booking it, knowing I didn't have much left, and wanted to PR by as much as possible.
Mile 13 + 0.1: 9:11 The hill at the end nearly killed me. I came around the corner and felt like it was time to sprint, but could not go any faster. My body was already at it's max. I am floating when I cross the finish line....

1:49:03 Chiptime in my second half-marathon. 1 minute under my goal time of 1:50 and a PR by nearly 4.5 minutes. I can't help but wonder what I might have run without any hills!

I slept most of the way home, and I am very sore today, but as tired as I am, I feel awesome. A few days off, and an easy week, then I start in training for Broad Street.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Caesar Rodney

1:49:04 for Half-Marathon, under my goal time of 1:50
Will Post Race Report later.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

New Running Toy

I received a new running toy on Monday. The Polar RS200 with footpod. It measures speed, distance and heartrate. The best part is that all my data can be downloaded to my computer and an online training diary via the microphone on my computer. This system is much less expensive than a lot of the GPS and other systems out there at $199 (I got it for less at RRS with discounts). Has some cool features like an autolap feature that will record lap times at whatever distance you set it at, or a feature that will turn on the backlight, take a lap or do one of several other things if you bring the watch close to the heart strap. I haven't calibrated the footpod, and I think it is actually over-estimating how far I am running. One thing I was suprised by is how high my heart rate is when I feel like I am running "easy". I am not sure what I am going to do with this information yet though, as I feel like if I slow down more, I will be going impossibly slow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Clockwork Orange

I finished Clockwork Orange awhile ago, but haven't gotten around to posting about it yet. I found this book to have a similar temper to Orwell's 1984. One of the things that makes this book a classic is Burgess' use of language. The book is extremely violent, but Burgess uses a slang language based on Russian to deaden the shock of the horrific acts the characters engage in. There are some online dictionaries that will help you translate this slang called Nadsat, but I found that by using context and the repetition of the words, I was able to figure out the meaning of most of the Nadsat words. Shortly into the book, I wasn't at all focused on this new language, and it read just like English slang.

The book carries some heavy implications about where violence in society could take us in the future. What are the consequences of reforming criminals? Must one choose to renounce violence, or can we force reform on them? What are the consequences if someone is forced through conditioning to renounce their former ways?

Tempo Run

Another Tempo Run today. 1.1 mile Warmup, 3 x 1 mile c short break between. 5 minutes Warmdown. Total of 4.6 miles. Splits: 8:12,7:58,8:06. I felt very strong. I think next week I will aim to have splits 8:00-8:05.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Easy 4.2

An easy 4.2 this afternoon on Kelly Drive. 39:44 total time. This felt pretty good, but my legs are definetely tired from the last 2 days' workouts. Tommorrow is a rest day, and I am definetely looking forward to it. My sleep schedule has been totally off. I am working nights and have had trouble sleeping during the day, so I have only been getting 5 to 6 hours per night, to my usual 7-9 hours. I just feel totally exhausted and if I don't catch up soon, I think it will start to show in my running...

Marathon Fever

I have marathon fever. My training for the Caesar Rodney Marathon has included some changes and I feel that my training is much stronger than it used to be. I developed a marathon training plan based on some of these elements. Basically the key workouts at the Speed workout (every other week is a Yasso 800m workout) and the long run. I also plan in 4 days/week of running instead of the 3 I had been doing.

Week Slow Hills Speed X-Train Long
17 40 min 45 min 4 x 800m 30 min 7 20.45
16 40 min 45 min 4 mile TR 30 min 9 21.5 1.051345
15 40 min 45 min 4 x 800m 30 min 11 24.45 1.137209
14 40 min 50 min 4 mile TR 30 min 13 26 1.063395
13 40 min 50 min 6 x 800m 30 min 8 23.45 0.901923
12 40 min 50 min 5 mile TR 30 min 15 29 1.236674
11 40 min 50 min 6 x 800m 30 min 17 32.45 1.118966
10 40 min 50 min 6 mile TR 30 min 10 25 0.770416
9 40 min 50 min 8 x 800m 30 min 19 35.95 1.438
8 40 min 50 min 7 mile TR 30 min 21 37 1.029207
7 40 min 50 min 8 x 800m 30 min 10 26.95 0.728378
6 40 min 50 min 8 mile TR 30 min 23 40 1.48423
5 40 min 50 min 10 x 800m 30 min 14 32.45 0.81125
4 40 min 50 min 8 mile TR 30 min 24 41 1.263482
3 40 min 45 min 10 x 800m 30 min 10 RP 27.95 0.681707
2 40 min 45 min RP 5 mile 30 min 8 RP 21.5 0.769231
1 40 min Rest RP 4 mile 30 min 26.2 34.2 1.590698
800 m done at 3:30-3:35 pace
RP = Race Pace

Now the only other question is which Fall Marathon should I aim for? Chicago has the potential to be a PR. NYC could be amazing, but is not a PR course. And then there is Philadelphia, but I feel like that's a bit boring, as I run here already, although it is a pretty flat course.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Trellis Baby Sweater

Currently I am knitting a baby sweater. The pattern is Trellis from It is done with Rowan All Seasons Cotton that I got discounted on Ebay. Very soft and the cables really pop! Here's what I've done so far. The color is Orkney, a golden-yellow.

Meema's Marsupial Tote

I felted Meema's Marsupial tote today. It shrunk up quite a bit in the washing machine and is much sturdier. Here are the before and after photos :

I put in a pair of jeans to help the felting process. The only thing I wasn't pleased with was how much "fuzz" was on the blue section after felting. A set of scissors took care of a lot of it.


Today I did a Tempo workout. I had low expectations from this workout, as I ran 11 miles yesterday, my legs were tired, and it was seasonably cold today, in contrast to the warm weather we have been having. I was pleasantly suprised. I was aiming for a 10 min Warmup, 8:15 x 3 miles with a break between each mile of a few minutes, and a 5 minute warmdown. My splits were 8:16, 8:12, 8:03. Total miles of about 4.6. Not bad all things considered. I am rejuvanted after a dissapointing week last week. My milage for this week was 25 miles. Last week was 24 miles. Next week the plan is to do 4 workouts.
1. 40 minutes easy (M)
2. 50 minutes Hills (W)
3. Tempo Workout (R)
4. 12 miles easy (F)
Caesar Rodney is getting closer. I am feeling pretty well prepared, but I need to stay motivated in these last few weeks.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Great Track Workout

Completed another great track workout today. Jogged 1.1 miles to Franklin Field, Ran 6 800m with 400m slow (about 3 minutes) in between. Then 1.1 miles home. Here were my splits:


Not bad, my only gripe would be that they are not as consistent as I would like. I felt great though, and it was a great running day, sunny and warm.


Ran 88.6 Miles in January. Not to shabby, and only topped by my milage in peak marathon training. This week was a bit mixed with a horrible hill run on Tues night that I cut short because I was so tired and dragging my feet along. Thurs brought an easy 4.2.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Today's run was incredible.....Dave and I got in the car and drove out to Wissahickon and did just under six miles. Pace was very fast but felt great two of the miles were under 8 min miles. How did that happen? I think my training is starting to pay off. This run felt great and I was shocked by how fast of a pace I was able to keep. Just beat the rain, but I can't complain about the weather. Its the end of January and it will hit 50 degrees today, feels more like April! This warm spell has definetely made getting out to run much easier and enjoyable.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Track Workout

I woke up this morning at 10:30 am, having slept 11 hours last night and feeling like my little cold turned into a train running through my sinuses and head. After some oatmeal, tea, and a healthy dose of OTC cold medicine, I headed out for my scheduled track workout with less than stellar expectations.

I was suprised though, at how much better I felt after getting outside. Such a beautiful sunny day albeit cold and windy, but I was glad to be outside. The plan was originally run down to the Franklin Field track, run 4-6 800m lengths at 5k pace (3:40-3:45) with a slow 400m lap in between.

I ended up doing 1.1 mile warmup, 5-800m lengths with 400m slow lap between of about 3:00, and 1.1 mile warmdown. Here were my splits:
3:36 (several people randomly started cheering me on, hence the faster time)

I felt like I could have done a sixth, but since I am feeling a little under the weather, I stuck with 5.

If I can run all my splits faster than my goal pace on a day when I don't feel so hot, then I think I need to adjust my goal pace for these interval workouts. Perhaps 3:35-3:40 is more realistic, or challenging, depending on how you look at it.

Anyway, this was a great workout today, and I felt really good doing it, even though I haven't done a track workout in awhile. Total milage including my in-between slow laps was about 5.7 miles. Next week I will aim for 6- 800m at a slightly faster goal pace.

Runs over the last week.

Haven't posted much in the last week.

Here were my runs the last week.
Sat 9.25 with the group. Felt great, picked up the pace at the end.
Mon 4.2 before work (night shift) Nice and easy miles.
Wed 4.3 Hills with Dave. This run gets easier every week. Unfortunately, Dave is not in shape for hills and thus spent much of the run cursing at me. I was just glad to have a running buddy though, expletives of not! :)

I am on my way out the door for today's track workout...Haven't done one in awhile. Will post later on that.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Running and women's safety

I just got back from my weekly hill run. ~4.3 miles with a couple of rounds on Lemon Hill. Lemon Hill is pretty deserted even in better weather when more runners are out in general, but today was the first time I ever felt threatened up there running on my own. It really stinks that as a woman I have to constantly be aware of my surroundings, where and when I run. A lot of the time I either run with my running club, and I have sort of made my boyfriend into a runner as he joins me so often for safety (and health) reasons. Today though, I when in the late afternoon and Dave was at work and we have some errands to run later, so it was now or never, and no running partner.

When I got up to Lemon Hill there were two cars up there with some shady characters hanging out. I ran by and continued my run as planned, making note, but just trucking along. On one of my passes of Lemon Hill though, the one car moved out of the place it was parked and actually seemingly started to follow me. When I turned down to head back to Kelly Drive, they took off in another direction. At that point I saw a young couple heading up Lemon Hill so I tagged along and finished my run as planned.

It sucks that I have to feel like the only places I can run have no hills (Kelly Drive and Center City), and that I don't feel safe when I am out trying to be healthy and training hard.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

5 Miler With the group

Ran up to the Art Museum last night to run with PRs. About 3/4 of a mile up there. Laura, who I hadn't seen in awhile was there. Ran with Laura and her crew out to the John Kelly Statue and back with Ryan. 4.4 miles plus the 3/4 for about 5.1 miles total. Pace ended up being 9:20. Not as fast as I had hoped considering that this was supposed to be my fast run. Ryan and I definetely picked up the pace at the end though. Everytime I run with Ryan I find that we tend to push each other in a weird sort of saddistic way. My recent experiences included setting out for a 6 something mile run (originally planned as an 8.4 mile loop) when neither of us had done more than 3 since doing the Marine Corp Marathon, and a Tuesday group run 2 weeks ago where we really pushed the pace down into the 8s.

Still, I can't help but wonder where my mid to low 8 days have gone. I used to come out and run a fast pace being 8:15-8:30, a bit slower than race pace with exception of marathons. I guess I shouldn't get too discouraged though, as I was able to keep that pace as recently as my training for the Marine Corp Marathon this past fall 2005. I think that with time and the better mileage I am putting in compared to last winter, my times will come down.

For a long time I was a proponent of three days per week, but recently I have picked up a modified version of a half-marathon training plan from Her Sports. I am usually not a big fan of woman targeted fitness magazines, as they tend to be a little "soft" and very geared toward weight loss and not really toward fitness or competition. But this magazine is pretty good. I picked up a copy at the expo for MCM, and it has a good mix of novice and advanced advice and focuses mostly on running but also covers triathalons, biking, hiking and other sports.

So in this training plan I do 4 days running per week
1. Hills 45-50 min
2. 40 min easy
3. Long run 6-12 miles depending on the week 2 of these are at race pace
4. Hard day (tempo, intervals, 50 min) depending on the week

And then 1 day of cross-training 45 min

The thing I really like about this 10 week plan is that it consistently includes hills (my addition to the plan) which will help for Caesar Rodney. The original plan also included 5 days per week of running...but I scaled it to 4.

I am on the 3rd week of the plan, and so far so good.

So far this winter has been much more active than last winter, but to be fair, the weather has also been milder. But I will take what I can get.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What I am reading

Sorry for all the posts in one day. I am just excited about this new blog....
On the way home from Mugshots, I stopped at the library for some new reading material. I picked up two books. The first is A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. The second is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Both are classics I probably should have read in college but never did. I will probably start with A Clockwork Orange as it is slightly less intimidating.


Yes, I am a 20-something and I knit....What's on my needles right now? Meema's Marsupial Tote from the ever-popular Stitch 'N Bitch. Pics to follow. I picked up this project after I got frustrated with a pair of socks that I ripped out twice because they were too small. The tote knits up quick with two strands of Lambspride Worsted on Size 15 Circular needles. Pictures to follow.

I taught myself to knit about 7 months ago when I had a month off after graduating nursing school. I come from a long line of knitters. My grandmother, mother, sister and aunts all knit, but I am pretty much self taught.

I feel less lazy if I have created something crafty while watching tv....

Running Goals for the Year

So last winter I had a lot of trouble with motivation. I never wanted to run, so I never did. Having goals has always helped me to stay on track, so here are my goals for the year:

1. Run Caesar Rodney Half Marathon in a time under 1:50. My last, and only half was the Philly Distance Run in September in a time of 1:53:34. I realize that this goal may be a bit lofty as it is more than 3 minutes off my best time and on a fairly challenging course. So far setting the bar high has kept me running even in the cold. I have signed up to be part of a women's team with my running group the Philly Runners. You can see more of my race results on this website. Here is a picture at the Race for Clean Air in April 2005.

2. Complete my third marathon. My two previous marathons are Philly in 2004 and Marine Corp Marathon in 2005. I haven't decide which marathon I want to run yet but the options (so far) are Chicago, Nike Women's in San Francisco, Philly, NYC. This is, or course, a goal hinged on staying healthy and injury-free.

3. Complete Broad Street Run # 3 in a PR time.....I am hoping that by staying on top of my training it won't be a struggle to get in shape for this. Running that half in March should help :)

That's it for now. More to follow.

My first posting

Hi my name is Rachel. This whole blogging thing is new to me and this is my first posting. I don't really know what this blog is going to look like, but we will see in time. I hope that this blog will serve many purposes including a place for me to put my poetry, running, reading, and life thoughts. So here goes....