blk: (house)
Sometime last year, Xuth and I agreed that we wanted to create a pathway next to our driveway that would serve as a way to reach the house when the driveway was in use that did not involve walking over the yard (or through snow, in the winter). After pondering a variety of options, including browsing paver patterns online and in hardware stores, and not finding anything that caught both our eyes and seemed doable and durable, we came across the idea of getting plain, cheap, concrete pavers, and coloring them ourselves. With that idea in mind, a bit more searching let me discover Patio Paint, and a plan emerged.

So! In September, after a couple months of browsing Google images for interesting, paintable geometric patterns, ordering all the materials, and getting a ton(1) of concrete and rock delivered to our driveway, I started work.

steps and pics )
blk: (blades)
... or build my own. Instead of spankings, I gave myself pull-ups.

Today I have reached average normal human body temperature (in °C).
blk: (running)
I celebrated the end of the longest night by doing something ridiculous, difficult and exhausting - running the Filthy Four again.

The day dawned... oh wait, no, this was all pre-dawn. My day started cold but dry, and stayed just below freezing the entire time. Fortunately, I've spent the last month+ learning how to run in cold, and I managed to layer appropriately so that I was a comfortable temp the entire time. Well, except for my hands towards the end, because I don't have good running gloves that don't get my fingers cold when I sweat. But it wasn't awful.

I found the group easily, and once again I didn't know anybody except the organizer, as I had sadly failed to convince any of my friends to run it with me (despite trying!). There were more runners overall, including more women runners, but a worse ratio (1:8 down from 1:7). The more runners overall meant a larger differential between the fastest and the slowest of the group, which tended to cluster in a large pelaton up front and a very few trailing behind. Over the first 3 miles to the first hill I ended up falling somewhere between the two, which is an extremely unfortunate place to be when it's dark out (even with streetlights) and very difficult to make out people just a block away. After the second hill and a few times of almost losing the group and getting stressed about it I fell back to jog with the rear guard. We arrived several minutes later for the last hill but at least I had people to run with and didn't worry about getting lost.

My goals were to 1) finish, 2) without injuring myself. Well, I successfully made it up all the hills, albeit (relatively) slowly and painfully. My suspect foot was feeling pretty tender by the end, so I walked home carefully after the requisite group photo (fb), but it didn't bother me at all for the rest of the day, so I guess it's OK. The rest of my legs (muscles and joints) were pretty sore, but I think mostly in normal ways. Still hurting today, but in pretty manageable levels. Afterwards I had the best shower to warm up, and caught another hourish of lovely sleep so that the shortest day didn't inadvertently turn into my longest day (of being awake), as I had more things planned later.

But now I can stop my focus training and take a nice lovely break... ahhh, who am I kidding, I'll probably be back out on the trail by next week at the latest.

and i'm feeling good )
blk: (running)
My nitty gritty race report (part 2) of the Pittsburgh Half Marathon from Sunday, which I ran while dressed as Supergirl.

Running can be boring. Running with friends is kinda fun. Running races is pretty fun. Running races among thousands of other runners, with thousands of spectators, all cheering you on, is a lot of fun. Running races with thousands of other people around while dressed in fun ways to stand out, look interesting, and be entertaining in some way is just awesome. In past races I've just worn bright stripey socks and put in colorful braids. This time I decided to go as a costumed character.

In picking out who I wanted to dress up as, I pondered a lot of possibilities. I wanted a (preferably female) character whose basic costume 1) was easily recognizeable at a glance to the average spectator, 2) was suitable for running and sweating in (no skimpy lingerie, no leather, no facemask or headgear, no big dresses or accessories), and 3) was one that I, with my meager and beginner sewing skills, could re-create reasonably authentically on my own (if I'm gonna do something, I'm gonna do it as right as possible).

With those requirements, the list of reasonable possibilities that I came up with was rather depressingly small. Supergirl hit everything pretty well (specifically, the 1984 Helen Slater movie version), so I went with that.

the making of

Materials (cost is rough estimate):
- bright blue long-sleeved compression shirt ($10, target)
- red circle mini skirt ($5, ebay)
- red running mini shorts ($5, ebay)
- plain red knee-high athletic socks ($10, amazon)
- red and yellow tech "performance" fabric and matching thread ($20, jo-ann)
- white bracelet watch ($1, ebay)

Steps:
- google everything to death, figure out what to buy and what to create
- attach yellow belt/border to red skirt
- attach shaped yellow border (with red fabric to even it out) to socks1
- create front 'S' shield from yellow and red fabrics and glue
- attach shield to shirt
- cut and shape cape (I made a small one, so it wouldn't get in the way of running, and also made it detachable, in case of jet engines)
- cut and sew yellow 'S' shield to cape
- attach cape to shirt

I used a basic google image search for the general look, and got some inspiration from this tutorial. I did all the sewing, with Xuth playing the very important role of Expert Advisor and taught me a lot of things. I tried to do test versions of almost all the parts, and still ended up spending seemingly just as many hours with a seam ripper undoing mistakes and things that didn't work. But I learned a lot more, and the finished product was something I was pretty happy with.

the running of


proof of questionable legality

The practicality of the outfit was fantastic. I was perfectly comfortable for the entire race - The socks and shorts wicked well, the shirt was not too warm or too cold, and I barely even noticed the cape or the skirt while running. I had attached the cape to the shirt with stick-on velcro in case of jet engines or if it ended up interfering with running, but neither were a problem. In the future I may just go ahead and sew it directly on. The tech fabric made all the parts that touched me similarly comfortable. Of course, by race end I had sweated through everything fairly well, so it was also important to be all machine-washable. We'll see how it holds up after that happens. The "Kryptonian bracelet" aka cheap white silicone watch was a silly addition that was lightweight and not annoying and helped me greatly in letting me keep approximate track of my race time.

The reaction from other people was awesome. Other runners were very positive and polite, with several "I like your costume!" comments and one mid-race fist bump. The spectators, however, mostly went wild. For the first half I ran near the side and occasionally would hold up my hand offering high fives, and got about a zillion of them. I got so many "Go Supergirl!"s2 I lost count. I also got several even more enthusiastic reactions, like "OMG IT'S SUPERGIRL!!!!" and one "Supergirl, you just made my day!" Amusingly, most of my best reactions were from adults rather than from kids.

One memorable moment happened on the short Alexander St downhill just after mile 7, turning left onto Main St, where the majority of the runners were hugging the inside corner, but all the spectators were on the right side, with a wide space between. Right at the corner I saw a group of teens who were clearly performing something, but at the moment were all just standing at the sideline, so instead of curving in with the rest of the pack, I charged straight down towards them and stretched out my hand at the bottom. About halfway down the hill a nearby announcer interrupted his chattering and yelled "It's Supergirl!" and the teens all started jumping and cheering and about 50 hands reached out for my highest density of high-fives in the entire race.

By midway through the race I was pretty tired3, and the last several miles I was really pushing myself hard, which left no more energy for enthusiastic high-fiving and posing and such, which was sad. At some point it would definitely be fun to race without a new PR goal, ideally with other costumed people. I spotted a variety of other runners in fun attire, but sadly nobody else in full costume (I know some existed; I suspect many were behind me). And I unfortunately was feeling worn out enough at the finish line that I didn't think to stop and intentionally get some pictures of me. And despite the dozens of cameras I'm sure I saw pointed at me, I haven't been able to find any other public photo evidence. Fortunately, the costume is totally re-wearable so I'm sure I will have other opportunities.

other pictures )

1 I actually fully expected to be able to buy approximately lookalike socks, but amazingly, these didn't seem to exist at all (costume-marketed socks all had 'S' shield, and most with little capes). Mine aren't perfect (especially since I was optimizing for running) but they turned out decent. They were also by far the most fiddly part of the thing, and took me a couple days of trial and error before getting something that worked.

2 also several "Superwoman!" calls (fine), a couple "Wonder Woman!"s (not exactly) and a few "Superman!"s (well, I suppose just because -I've- never seen him in a miniskirt doesn't make it impossible).

3 That left picture is me breathing really hard, not making ducklips, I swear.
blk: (running)

I've been spending a lot of time running recently in training for the upcoming Pittsburgh half-marathon (in 6 weeks). While my speedwork is good, I've been feeling dubious about my stamina, as my solo "long run" is only up to about 8 slower miles, despite various training blogs claiming that's right on schedule. So on somewhat of a whim (with encouragement from [livejournal.com profile] chrisamaphone) I signed up for the Just A Short Run (JASR) race, 8.1 mile version, since that's about the distance I'd planned to go this weekend anyways. For bonus points, see if I can do it at my planned race pace (about 9 min/mile).

The day start auspiciously, with chilly rain forecasted, calves still sore from speedwork earlier in the week, getting a bit lost finding the registration table and almost being late to the start line, and losing my car keys just before the race. But we made the start line (and I found the right pacer) with plenty of seconds to spare, the rain held off entirely until post-race, keys did not remain lost (and I successfully returned keys another runner almost lost), legs felt fine once i was warmed up, and the race ended up going splendidly. Also I got some pretty swank new running shorts and socks out of it.

I started off with the pacer, then pulled slightly ahead on the first big downhill. I tried to slow myself down a little, but figured as long as I was feeling good I could just keep going. I remembered to breathe on the uphills and float on the downhills and generally could tell I was running strong. I probably could have even gone a little further had I not opted to go all out for the last half mile, but overall I finished at 1:10:33, under my goal with minutes to spare. Overall 99/516, 7/81 in my age/gender division.

I'm feeling a whole lot more confident about the half now!

My legs sure are tired now, though.

blk: (running)
This morning I ran a faux mini-triathlon, my first tri ever. It was part of the "spring fitness challenge" put on by the CMU athletics dept, and I figured I'd try it out as it was convenient and (almost) free. It involved a 5k run, an hour spinning group exercise class, and a 500 yd swim in the pool. The faux part is mostly because the events were out of order (due to timing constraints), spinning is not cycling, and transition times were not counted (there were large breaks between "events"). There only ended up being about 5 participants, so there wasn't much in terms of competition.

The run event was actually the 5k "Campus Challenge" race put on by the Steel City Road Runners. Some 50+ crazy people showed up in the park at 8am. Fortunately, it was sunny and significantly less cold than previous days have been, but it was still well below freezing for the entire race, which I'm pretty sure makes it the coldest temps I've so far ever run in. Since it was the first event, and I would have recovery time, and I didn't care much about my times for the other two pieces, I decided to run all out.

I started off at a good speed, not too fast this time (unlike my last 5k), and was content with people passing me early on. Then we hit the first hill, and I was able to keep my pace, and started passing several of them back. I paced comfortably with a couple other women for the next several km, successfully breathed through a minor stitch, and was doing pretty well until we came across a section of trail which apparently never sees sun, as it was still completely covered with ice, and I had to slow down for several minutes to avoid slipping. I gave a slight push at the end with the last energy I had when I saw the clock, but didn't manage to beat my PR (4 seconds slow!). If it hadn't been for the ice I probably would have beaten it. Total time 25:16.

Most of the rest of the runners were done after that, and the SCRR nutritionist had prepared breakfast burritos. I didn't want to eat much, so as not to have a full stomach, but figured a little was OK, as I hadn't had breakfast. They were DELICIOUS, and when I went over to Nick to express that opinion, he enthusiastically offered for me to take some home, as he'd made too much, and when I didn't say no, went over and started packing up a foil container of the stuff. And that is why I have a gallon of yummy breakfast burrito filling in my freezer now, which will probably last me the rest of the month.

The cycle event was not actually cycling, but spinning, which I had never done before. Yes, it's called indoor cycling, but it's really not (hello, flywheel). It was.... interesting. The vastly different cadences which most people seemed to be doing went against my instinct for actual bicycling, and the activity of just spinning my legs to music and not going anywhere was really pretty boring (although it was definitely a workout). Not something I would elect to do again.

The swim event was just 20 laps down 25 yard lanes of the pool. I started off fine, but by the second lap my body went "hey, you're exhausted" and decided to give up, so then I just swam to finish and not to swallow too much water. Final time for that was 11:30. Unfortunately the hot tub was closed down for the weekend, so then it was just shower and leave. I headed off to do errands/shopping, as we needed supplies for french toast tomorrow (and I don't plan to leave the house tomorrow). Finally got home mid-afternoon and did pretty much nothing but stare at a wall or nap on the couch. I feel pretty good physically but definitely will have sore legs tomorrow.

My final thoughts after doing that are mostly.... that I don't think I want to do a triathlon anymore. I enjoyed what I did today for the sake of the experience, but I don't think I'd get anything more out of a real one. I don't enjoy swimming that much and am not good at it for any significant distance, and I think I would enjoy open water swimming even less (and don't even talk to me about kayaking). I do like bicycling, but race-cycling is an entirely different thing from what I do for fun/transportation. I would also need to acquire (or borrow) a different bike, which really doesn't excite me at all. I do enjoy running, and I'm getting pretty good at it, and there are more than enough running events to keep me as saturated in them as I want to be, so I think sticking to just the one sport is a better idea for me.
blk: (cathat)
Look! I made a Thing!



Pretty sure this is my first real sewing project ever. I used [livejournal.com profile] xuth's sewing machine and everything. (Well, technically I guess it's my second, as the rough draft hat isn't pictured.)

I chose this project because winter hats are a ridiculous annoyance for me. It is difficult for me to find ones that work for me (fits around my head right, doesn't slide up off my slippery hair, completely covers my ears without squeezing them, has space to tuck my hair into, and is of appropriately soft/non-itchy material), and I am just absentminded enough that I lose them at about the rate I find ones I like. Well, no more worries about that!

From past hats I decided I liked the pillbox form, and found this option and was about to order, like, three of them, before realizing that that sort of thing -should- be rather easy and cheap to make, particularly if I wasn't really picky about the details being totally precise. Having decided that, I then had to actually do it before winter was over and I didn't need a hat anymore. So yesterday I timed my trip to teh local big box cheap fabric store with superb luck, while they had a good sale on fleece and remnants, and get a few colors. Then today Xuth patiently talked me through making measurements and a pattern and how to use a sewing machine and I made my first one!

It ended up just a tad bigger than I wanted, and I didn't quite get the back seam hidden properly, but it was still a hat! I was going to just stop there, but Justin came down then and tried it on, and decided he liked it, so I gave that one to him and set out to make myself another. The second one I sized down slightly, but then messed up twice in getting the seams to be properly hidden and had to cut off about a half inch or so of mistake. So it ended up just slightly smaller than intended, but it still fits. And the seams are a little crooked in places, but mostly it's exactly what I was trying for. AND I figured out the correct topology all by myself that time.

It's cozy and soft and warm and covers my ears without squeezing them and I can tuck my hair into it and it's pretty and I MADE IT. And if I lose it or decide I don't like it, I can make more. Bwahaha.

*squee*
blk: (icicles)
So there was this con a couple weeks ago. In past years I've been to this con as a Spicy Braider (or as reg staff), but this year that wasn't to be. Since I suddenly had a bunch of free time and energy, I decided to try A Project.

The Costume )

The Con )
blk: (braids)
Well, I made an idle comment elsewhere that my hair is currently blue and pictures were demanded. I suppose technically I don't really have blue hair and I more have blueish "hair."

I used to do minibraids in my hair on a somewhat regular basis, because it's a lot of fun to wear. I mostly stopped after college as my hair was simply too thin and long to do a reasonable-looking job, and instead turned to doing smaller numbers of braids with things braided in. About a month ago I saw pictures from a woman on reddit who had done yarn braids, and I realized I could do this thing!

So after a recent minor trim, I went and looked for a pretty color of cheap acrylic yarn. I wanted something that was vaguely close to my actual hair color with a bit of color, and I ended up with Red Heart's Earth and Sky, which is a variegated brown with some light blue streaks through it.

Oh, but you just want pictures, don't you. Well fine.

I whip my hair back and forth )

It took me a total of about 5.5 hours to put in, although the first hour of that was a lot of trying things out, so I suspect some of that could be lessened. I used about 200 yds of yarn, although that's only about 4 oz of yarn so it's not much heavier, but definitely bulkier. Sleeping the first night was a little awkward but I think I'm used to it now. Not sure how long I will leave them in. I figure 2-4 weeks would be sufficient for me to get plenty of enjoyment out of it. It's been 4 days now and it still looks about the same condition as when I started.

Quite happy with them so far.
blk: (running)
I just ran 10k faster than I ever thought I could!

Goal time was hard to decide, since of the last three years of Great Races, I had an injured knee for one, was slighty sick on another, and ran last year as a three legged race. So the best time I had to compare to was actually my first ever race, 4 years ago, where I ran it in just under 59 minutes. But I -know- I've improved since then! My Pittsburgh Half this spring as well as many of my recent practice runs have been close to exactly 10 min/mile. Since the GR is heavily downhill, I was sure I could do better than 10 min/mile, but how much? Charlie's suggestion of my best Pretty Good time * 2 - :30 yielded 57:40, and that pace was similar to what I had done recently in Seattle where I ran on a nice flat trail. So I decided that 57:30 (9:15/mile) would be a satisfactory finish and 56 (9:00/mile) would be awesome.

What did I end up with? 53:13. OMG HOLY CRAP HOW CAN THAT EVEN HAPPEN I DON'T EVEN

And the even more awesome thing about all that is that my knees didn't hurt AT ALL afterwards. Not swollen. Not tender. Not even going up or down stairs. SO MUCH SUCCESS. The only part in the race that twinged them was the big downhill on the parkway entrance, but slowing down and stepping carefully took care of it.

My hamstrings are sore but in mostly good ways. After coming home I had a lovely shower and a dozing nap until I forced some more calories in me. Tonight I should sleep well.

Some things I've learned this season:

  • Minimal shoes are good. I'm liking this "minimalist" shoe trend, as it's really fun to run where I can't feel any weight on my feet. I have no desire to do barefoot or toed shoes, as I want some kind of cushion, but the minimal shoes I've tried have all been really comfortable for me. I currently run in Nike Free Runs, and love how lightweight they are. I don't love the tremendous amount of debris and rocks that get caught in the tread, so when I replace them I will go with a different brand. I tried on some Altra Intuitions at the GR Expo and those might be my next ones.
  • Hills are good. I didn't do much specific training this year, sticking almost exclusively to "work on good running form when tired" and "run hard." This translated to a bunch of shorter runs (all under 10k) on various routes through Frick, trying for at least one good steep hill per run to properly wear me out. For the Race, I took it one hill at a time, rested on the downhills, and was able to keep up pace the whole way.
  • Good running form is good. I figured something out a couple months ago about my running form that I think may be the Big Change that I've been looking for for the past year. My hips have somewhat of a tendency to rotate in when I step, instead of staying mostly stable and instead swinging my legs more. This has the effect that my steps are closer to along the same line instead of in two parallel lines and I think that is enough to put just a tiny amount of pressure per step on my knees as I would have to push them minutely outward to stay aligned while I was stepping inward. The more I play with this the more I'm positive this misalignment is what particularly killed my knee while running three-legged last year.

    Changing up this part of my form so that my legs swing more while my core stays more solid has the effect that my leg naturally is more aligned from foot to knee, meaning no tiny adjustments need to be made just to keep my feet under me. Additionally, I discovered that this means that I can pretty effectively "rest" my legs while the slant is easy, while still keeping them moving.

    Once I worked out the physics of it, it seems like a completely obvious thing, and indeed, now I can look at a variety of running advice columns and see hints of this mentioned in them. But I haven't found anything that specifically addresses it the way I understand it, and the trainers who have watched me run (admittedly only very briefly) never mentioned it. I don't know if this issue is actually uncommon, or that it is usually more minor, or just that it took me time to really incorporate how it specifically applied to me, but it took almost a year after really "looking at form" for me to figure out that this was something going on with me. I do know it's more likely with women, and i theorize it's related to past weight gain and also weak hip flexors, as it feels very similar to the "pregnancy waddle" that happens with some women's gait later in term (including mine).

    Regardless, I think continuing to make this a priority will let me branch out into actually doing specific speed or distance training if that's something I decide I want in the coming year. I'm excited.
blk: (running)
Today was my first ever half marathon race. It went great!

training )

race )

post-race )

The results page still doesn't have my official time, but they do give my clock start time as being 0:20:20, which means my final time is probably something close to 2:10 (Edit: adjusted this time since I can't read web pages). I'm happy with that. I think I'd like to do this again, but with more careful training put in, with a goal of finishing without my knees being unhappy, which I think is totally doable with time. Getting under 2 hours would be pretty cool, too.

Next up: what's next!
blk: (running)

pic via alanv

This year's Great Race challenges came about in a few different stages. The first one was last spring, when yet another family dinner conversation went the way of how I wanted the boys to get more exercise. So I said that I was signing them up for the Great Race 5k in the fall, which gave them about 4 months to train up to it. I planned to run with them for encouragement. But then I wanted to do more for myself, so I signed up for the 10k race in addition. 15k was a new daily record for me! So I had something to train for.

Then about a month ago at the Pretty Good Race, [livejournal.com profile] bubblingbeebles came up to me and proposed running a three-legged race. I agreed on the condition that we could make it work in practice runs. So after a series of practice runs and various attempts to tie our ankles without causing too much discomfort we figured it was possible.

So today was race day! All of the boys ran a fantastic 5k, finishing in 34-37 minutes. And after complaining all summer about it, both [livejournal.com profile] jboys spoke sentences this evening that started with the words "next year I want to run...." Bwahaha, I've infected them!

After the 5k I met up with my other race half, braided his hair to match mine, tied our legs together, and we were off. We got a lot of encouragement and amazement on the course from other runners, which was incredibly goofy and fun. Practice paid off and we didn't fall down or hurt ourselves. My earlier 5k caught up with me and by about mile 5 of the 10k I was running off of mostly desperation and inertia and not wanting to let my partner down, but we successfully managed to finish running, in 1:08:21, which is just fine.

Now my knees and toes are sore from normal running, and my right thigh feels pretty painfully stretched from the leg tie, but nothing is broken and I think it was overall a pretty successful morning, and hopefully there exist some interesting pictures somewhere.

The afternoon [livejournal.com profile] xuth and I went to the Pittsburgh RenFaire for a few hours, which was cold and rainy until it turned nice and sunny, and I ate an entire turkey leg because I deserved it. Yum.
blk: (running)
This morning was the Pittsburgh Marathon 5K event, and [livejournal.com profile] xuth and I both ran in it. Last year I was part of a relay team, but I didn't register early enough this year and all the Marathon events except for the 5K sold out before I remembered that I wanted to run. So the 5K it was!

I hadn't planned on doing anything spectacular here, as it had already been a pretty leg-intensive week for me on the bike, having done not just the regular commute to work, but a couple days of biking to appointments, another to a friend's house in Morningside, and then another to downtown (and home again) just yesterday to pick up race packets. But hey, the fun was in the doing and the getting better, so I figured that I could just pretend it was a fast training run with 1320 of my closest friends.

Xuth and I got up stupid early (after a poor night's sleep, ugh) and biked downtown (in a bit of a hurry, since we left the house later than I wanted, but fortunately I had planned in plenty of buffer time). Parking a block from the start and finish lines was a cinch (compared to all those poor people in cars), so we could just change into running gear and join the pack for an 8am start. Weather was nice, if slightly humid (and warm, good thing it was early in the morning).

Xuth jumped ahead of me from the start, so I ran by myself, but I set myself a good pace and kept it up successfully the entire time, bumping it up on the last big downhill, and then pushing into a desperate sprint for the last couple blocks, as the announcer was just saying "here's your chance to break a 10 minute mile, if you finish in the next 45 seconds!" And since I'd started towards the middle of the starting pack, and my chip time was a minute off the clock, that meant my final chip time was 29:41, which is by far the fastest I've ever run a 5k. Woo, go me! I'm quite happy with that.

We had plans to go out for lunch afterwards, except my intended lunch place didn't open (I thought) until 11am, and even after wandering around, cooling off, recovering my jelly legs, chatting with a couple friends, and getting our picture taken, we still had another 2 hours to kill. So we hopped back on the bikes and explored some of the recently updated bike trails along the South Side, wandered through REI to browse their clearance racks, and finally ended up at Local Bar + Kitchen, where I had a humongous, delicious burger and fried donuts.

Then there was more biking home, including up All The Hills In The World (at least it felt like it). Total distances for today: Run - 3.1 miles. Bike - 23.8 miles. Ow my legs. Now I am home and get to sit on my butt and not move for the rest of the day.

Oh, who am I kidding, the gardens need planting and mulching and the grass needs mowing and the weather is so beautiful I couldn't sit still if I tried. But no more running or riding! Definitely none of that. And some part of today will involve a hammock and a cold beer.

4:30pm - Edited to add: I have determined that I am lightly sunburned from all the biking around today, so I'm going to do the responsible thing and retire from outdoor chores early. Guess that leaves me no choice but to sit around on the couch with a beer.
blk: (running)

angels pre-race - pic by jeaton
Yesterday I ran in the Pittsburgh Marathon, as one-fifth of a relay team. We are all awesome CMU peeps, so we were team Andy's Angels. Our goal was to run!

I'd gotten about 2.5 months warning, so plenty of time to train back up from nothing! Well, I thought it was nothing, since I had done almost no running since before my knee got cracked open, but I still had some of the endurance from the previous year; I just needed to get my knee into a reasonable shape. So I spent two months working out in a variety of ways, trying not to break anything.

race day )
blk: (running)
This is a post about how awesome I am, because I'm so terribly happy about it. I ran the Great Race Sunday morning and totally rocked it!

some leadup to my running )

My goals going into the race were to
a) finish.
b) run the entire thing (or at least statistically close to all of it)
and, if I actually managed the first two, and a tailwind of grace shone down on me, maybe possibly
c) finish in under an hour.

The morning was cool and damp. I joined 7000 other runners at Frick and waited around in the Pittsburgh mist. Race energy is amazing. It started drizzling lightly soon after race start, and didn't really stop for very long at a time, which meant we were all pretty wet by the time we finished. I woke up late and didn't get a good breakfast in, and was nervous as heck. And yet somehow, the conditions worked for me to go. And? I did it. All of it.

damp, exhausted, and very happy blk )
blk: (spicy)
The awesome thing I did this past weekend: I went to the Ohio Renaissance Festival and braided hair.

some background on why this was so awesome for me )
blk: (climbing)
This is how much Karl @ The Climbing Wall likes me:

cut for pic )
blk: (justin)
My second big accomplishment for this past weekend:

After the huge success of the previous Portal party I did, Justin wanted one as well. Except this time I got to make it harder. So with some help from [livejournal.com profile] qiika, I threw together a puzzle hunt with the goal of keeping four 10-ish year olds entertained for two hours. The puzzles can be found here (if you want to test your wit against theirs).

Due to running out of time and printer paper, I didn't do as good as job as I had been hoping; a couple of my clues were unclear (or wrong), and I didn't get to space out the puzzles to fit inside the nice pretty portal pictures, but they did a good job anyways. They were allowed any reference except the internet (which meant my bookshelf and my phone were in use), and they got almost all of the puzzles solved on their own (they needed a couple hints here and there, and the answers for a couple of the Tolkien ones; Gandalf's initial introduction only lists 11). They skipped over puzzle 5 entirely because the lead-in text was too obvious, and I still managed to keep them busy for 1 hour and 10 minutes before they found the cupcakes (topped with cinnamon candy to look like the Portal cake).

The party was then followed by a small exodus to see HP6. Good movie.

It was a lot of fun. But boy am I glad it's over.
blk: (grin)
My first big accomplishment this weekend:

cut for pic )
blk: (tree)
This past weekend, I went out to NJ to help [livejournal.com profile] shayde out with registration for UberCon. Besides the actual job part, I also got convinced into a few games of DDR, Karaoke Revolution, and a whole bunch of Joust.

But that's not what this post is about.

I've peed upon my mountaintop )

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