Monday, July 28, 2008

Chips n Salsa training

My new running goal is to run the Chips n Salsa 10k on September 7 in under an hour. In May, I did the Zoo 10k, so I know the distance isn't a challenge. It'll be all about the time.

From About: Running, I have this new running schedule - but I changed the days. This training program has two speed workouts every week to help me with my time goal (interval and tempo workouts). Running five days a week is more than I am used to doing, but I just finished the first two weeks and have stuck to the schedule. I really like doing 10k's. It's enough of a challenge, that I have to train for it, but not impossible.

10K Training Schedule for Intermediate Runners

Week Saturday Tuesday Sunday Thursday Wednesday Friday Monday
CT or Rest 4 x 400 IW 3 m run 30 min tempo Rest 4 m run 30 min EZ
CT or Rest 5 x 400 IW 3.5 m run 35 min tempo Rest 5 m run 35 min EZ
CT or Rest 6 x 400 IW 3.5 m run 35 min tempo Rest 6 m run 35 min EZ
CT or Rest 7 x 400 IW 4 m run 40 min tempo Rest 6 m run 40 min EZ
CT or Rest 8 x 400 IW 4.5 m run 40 min tempo Rest 7 m run 40 min EZ
CT or Rest 8 x 400 IW 4.5 m run 40 min tempo Rest 7.5 m run 45 min EZ
CT or Rest 6 x 400 IW 4 m run 40 min tempo Rest 8 m run 45 min EZ
8/31 CT or Rest 3 m run 40 min tempo run 3 m run Rest Rest 10K Race!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Update: we have an Albuquerque Ravelympics team. You have until August 7 to sign up.

Do any of you knitters or crocheters know about the Ravelympics? I just saw this on SaunShine's blog today and it's really the first time I've been excited about a knit-a-long. But first, let me mention that I went to high school with SaunShine and just recently got somewhat in touch with her again thanks to the wackiness of the Web. It turns out that she has been knitting for six years or so... and has many of her own designs. She's truly a knitting prodigy!

Back to the Ravelympics. Basically you cast on a new item during the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics and finish the project before the Olympic flame goes out 17 days later. Or you can do the WIPs wrestling, rather than starting something new. We could start our own team and enter whichever events we like. The WIPs Wrestling event is particularly inspiring to me as I just uncovered lots of unfinished projects recently, however none are knitting projects. So I may do my own unofficial WIPs Wrestling, and also a Scarf Stroke event. Who wants to make a team?

I'll end with a photo of the knitting needle roll-up, from my todo list, that I made this week. Since taking the photo, I have added a velcro closure.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The fallen giant

This is the best garden I've ever had. Look at the great vegetables I'm getting! Those are orange blossom tomatoes, roma tomatoes and a jalapeno. I also have plenty of herbs.

However, on Monday my sunflower fell over in during a thunderstorm. This is not a plant with a single giant flower at the top like those that Kansas is famous for. Instead, it is a 10-ft tall, 6-ft diameter bush full of 4-inch flowers. I trimmed it back recently because it was towering over the cherry tree and crowding it. When it fell, it landed on a prairie zinnia, lavender, yucca and a few tomatoes. Fortunately, the most resilient plants took the brunt of the impact. I pulled it out of the garden and let it dry out in the yard while the birds salvage the seeds.

The leaves a gaping hole in the garden... but that solves my overcrowding problem. I just need to move a few things around and it seems like things have a way of working themselves out.

Monday, July 21, 2008

More photos and stuff

About 2/3rds of the photos from Ireland are up on Flickr. I hit my monthly upload limit, so you'll have to wait until August 1 to see the rest.

I did not manage to get my todo list done over the weekend. Most of the first item (organizing) is done, but I can't figure out where to put all the new yarn. The third item (felting) was done by hand in the sink, so that I would not need the zippered pillow case (item 2) which I failed to even start making. Maybe tonight I'll do some sewing.

Here's a list of unfinished projects that I found while attempting organization:
  1. Several pants to be hemmed.
  2. Several buttons to be re-attached.
  3. Felt ornament kits from Christmas clearance.
  4. Tye-die shirt kit from last Christmas.
  5. Souvenir quilt kit from Hawaii last summer.
  6. Souvenir salmon cross-stitch from Victoria, BC which I bought 2 years ago - and just started working on it last January.
  7. Souvenir troll cross-stitch from Norway in 2001 - hey, it's half done!
But I'm not making any promises to work on these things... I'm just listing them for entertainment purposes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vacation Yarn

I have been trying to post vacation stuff in bite-size chunks. So, the yarn gets it's own post. Actually, it may be more of a rant, but it ends on a positive note, as all good blog rants should :)

First let me share the projects that have made progress since the vacation. The sock that I was making for Hubbers, doesn't actually fit him. In fact it barely fits me. So I shortened up the toe, and now I have one new sock. The other half of the pair just got started yesterday.
On the airplane, I started a new project and pretty much finished it on the flight back. I'm not posting pictures here, because it's a gift, but you can see it on Ravelry if you're a member. If you're a knitter and not a member of Ravelry, you should sign up, really.

Despite spending two weeks on an island that very well may have more sheep than people... it was difficult to find yarn. In Dublin, the sweaters for sale in July were clearly for tourists. Quite pricey, and limited selection. It was recommended that Dublin is not the best place to buy sweaters, so I decided to wait until I got to Killarney to look for wool. When we got to Killarney, it was a lot easier to find nice sweaters, but tough to find yarn. I did find some, and bought a kilo of the classic Aran yarn by Tivoli made in Cork. I have no idea what I'll make with it, but I'm sure it will include cables.

In the small town of Cahersiveen, I found a little sewing/alterations/knitting shop. The owner said that the only "local" yarn she had were these hanks of 100% wool from Kerry Woolen Mills. She had natural, dark green and berry. I bought 400 grams of berry, it is much darker than the photo shows (sorry about the terrible picture, my usual camera is on vacation with Hubbers). I plan to make a sweater out of it, but first I have to learn how to make sweaters.
Here's the rant: there were only two brands of wool yarn that I found in a land full of sheep. The guy at the Killarney store informed me that most of the Tivoli yarn is actually manufactured outside of Ireland. The stuff made locally was discontinued, and so it was on sale. Most stores seemed far happier to sell you wool in the form of sweaters and the people working there knew nothing about knitting. I don't know where the Irish knitters buy their yarn. Apparently I missed out on a great store just outside of Dublin, but otherwise, the internet showed that other knitters have had similar difficulty in buying Irish yarn.

Additionally, I would have like to actually see the people who spin wool. I visited Avoca which is famous for weaving. There, they had a large store with very expensive woven articles, but no sign of weavers. The tourist experience was definitely geared more towards buying stuff than experiencing where the stuff comes from.

I now realize how fanatic New Mexico knitters and spinners really are. I knew they were fanatic, but all the hand-dyed yarns and such that we have available here is really impressive. It felt that in Ireland the crafts-people who make the yarn and sweaters were hidden away, while here I know that even a tourist could find demonstrations of people working their craft which is far more interesting than just the finished product.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Todo list

I have the next two days to accomplish some stuff at home that simply needs to get done. I re-organized my paperwork at work recently, and now it's time get some organizing done at home. So here's the list of stuff to do this weekend:

- Dig up sewing machine... this will require quite a bit of organizing of craft stuff, as it all gets thrown on top of the sewing machine. This will probably take most of a day.

- Sew a zippered "pillow case" for felting. I don't have a zippered pillow case for felting things in the washer, instead I've been closing a pillow case with safety pins, but that is rather annoying to open and close to check on the felting process. In the end, I don't check on the felted item often enough, and things turn out bad. But I have plenty of fabric leftover from a toga, and plenty of zippers (I think those must have come from Aunt Ginny).

- Felt the latest project.

- Sew a knitting needle rollup, as inspired by Pam. The needles are getting out of control, and I have plenty of fabric scraps that could be made into a roll-up. I'm terrible at sewing, but I think I can handle this.

- Figure out what project to do next.

There's also stuff to be done in the garden and yard, but it's small enough that it doesn't require a list.


As promised, here is the second half of the Ireland trip report. From Dublin, on July 5, we took the train to Killarney, in County Kerry on the southwestern end of the island. It's a peninsula with a lot of small towns hugging the coastline and the island's tallest mountains in the middle.

Killarney is a very touristy town next to a national park which contains a few lakes, including Lough Leane, where I'm standing below. We also explored the ruins of Muckross Abbey that evening. It's nice having such long days to see things. It didn't get dark until well after 10pm.

After a night camping in Killarney, we head out on the Kerry Way, a walking path that circles the peninsula.

We stopped briefly at the Muckross mansion gardens, then hiked on up to Torc Waterfall (pictured below). All of the streams here are a funny brownish color, not unlike Guinness. This is due to the extreme acidity of the peat and heather lands on the tops of the hills and mountains.
The next photo is Black Valley, where we spent the night after enjoying some hot soup at a nearby tearoom. According to the trail guide, we walked 22km that day.

You asked for sheep... you get sheep... A lot of the hike was through sheep grazing territory. They seemed to prefer the cold, wet weather. When it was sunny, they'd all huddle close to their stone walls to get a piece of shade.

Hiking out of the Black Valley was rather miserable and wet at we went up and over two separate ridges. Then, fortunately we had a sunny afternoon (pictured below) as we trotted on down to Glencar. Glencar isn't much of a town, it simply has a few very scattered bed and breakfasts, and the Climber's Inn (a hostel). We enjoyed toasted sandwiches at the Climber's Inn, played a game of cards, and then headed out to pitch the tent in a nearby woods. A 20km day.
The third day of walking was great... a mere 15km with lovely weather. We took the shortcut through Windy Gap which took us over a low saddle. Looking back, we had this view:

Looking forward through the gap, we could see the fields outside of Glenbeigh, a bit of the ocean, and Dingle peninsula in the distance.
We spent an extra day at Glenbeigh, so that we could enjoy the beach at nearby Rossbeigh. The strand at Rossbeigh is quite long, but naturally, rather chilly to jump in the water. We sat on the beach, ate sandwiches, and read books until it started raining.

On Thursday, we took the long walk (28km) to Cahersiveen. This area was a bit more populated than the last few stretches. The day started nicely, and we left plenty early so that we could take some long breaks.
The photo below is looking back at the beach at Rossbeigh, it's the long strand of sand sticking out into the water.

After a while, the day got a bit long. Then it also started to rain, which made it a bit unpleasant. As we went through more and more pastures, we had to climb up and over these ladders (pictured below) to get across fences. I can't even count how many of these we did... in addition to all the miles walked, this really tired out the legs. By the time we got to Cahersiveen, we were so tired, wet and smelly that we decided to stay at the hostel rather than put up the tent. After freshening up, we had some excellent seafood chowder and crab at a pub. We toured the town a bit the next morning before hopping on a bus to get back to Killarney.Below is a quiet street in Killarney, which is not easy to find. The town is really crowded with shops, pubs and people.
On Saturday, in Killarney, we toured Ross Castle, walked along the lake, and then hopped on a train back to Dublin. And then flew home the next day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I just got back from cooling off in the summer weather of Ireland. It really is a beautiful place, and even if it rains often, it doesn't rain hard. Also, the people are friendlier there than I'm used to when traveling. Here are some highlights of the first week:

I arrived in Dublin on Sunday, June 29. But due to jet lag, I hardly remember that day. Troy arrived the day before and settled into the hotel near the University College Dublin where his archaeological conference was being held.

On Monday, I walked into the City Centre to see the sites... pictured below is the Dublin Castle, which is now a government building.

On Tuesday, I took the DART train up to Malahide to tour a castle (photo below) that had been inhabited by the same family from 1189 until the 1970's. The castle itself was not so impressive, but the idea of a family keeping their residence for 800 years blew my mind. The little town was more of a suburb than a town, so I hopped back on the Dart and went to the next town...
This is Howth, a fishing village on the north end of Dublin. I took a great hike out to the far point of the peninsula where I'm told you can see right back to Dublin when it isn't so foggy.

On Wednesday, the archaeological conference took us both on a tour of some ancient sites to the north of Dublin. We first went to some burial mounds at Knowth (next 2 photos). These mounds are 5000 years old and are constructed with a long passageway that is aligned with the sun only on the winter solstice. During that day, we also saw the site of the Battle of the Boyne and a monastery/abbey with the counrty's tallest high cross (a carved stone cross). We ended the day at Newgrange, a very large passage tomb.
On Thursday, Troy still had the camera with him, which was somewhat useless at a conference. So I went into Dublin and only visited places where photography was forbidden. The Trinity College library has a great collection of medieval books all handmade on vellum and intricately decorated. I also went to the Dublin City Gallery of contemporary art with a great collection of impressionist paintings. It seemed that I also spent a good deal of time doing mundane things like checking train and bus schedules.

By Thursday, it was time to get out of Dublin for the day, so I took a bus tour to Wicklow with it's nice wilderness scenery. Pictured below is a bunch of land owned by the Guinness estate.
The next two photos are also from Wicklow. These are the ruins of a monastery at Glendalough.

Of course, not pictured is all the food and drink enjoyed during the week. The Irish in Dublin really do drink Guinness all the time. We enjoyed a full Irish breakfast (take a look at the photo in the link!) at our hotel each morning - fried eggs, fried ham, black and white pudding, sausages, tomatoes, beans, toast and coffee. Okay, I never ate the FULL breakfast... after trying the black and white the first day, I stayed away from the meat, and opted for yogurt, meusli and fruit.

After Dublin, we went to another side of the island, but I'll save that for another post.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Headlines only - full stories later

Just returned from Ireland at 1am today. I love how traveling 7 timezones west makes me wake up easily at the crack of dawn... but I could use some more sleep.

Upon my return home, I found it absolutely necessary to first tend the garden which had become overrun with weeds and basil. If anybody wants a basil plant, come and get one. I'll bring a bunch in plastic pots to SnB tomorrow. Sorry, I already threw away the weeds, but if you want weeds, stop by anytime :)

Related to Ireland and the garden... immediately upon arriving in Ireland, I realized that nearly every meal included tomatoes (cooked for breakfast, sliced on sandwiches, in side salads...), and I realized just how much I missed eating tomatoes since the salmonella scare. While pulling weeds out of the garden this morning, I discovered 3 ripe roma tomatoes and 4 jalapenos. I'm so excited!

It's only 8 weeks 'til the Chips n Salsa 10k run. I'm going for time, so I have an Intermediate runner's training schedule which I start tomorrow... at the crack of dawn.

I'll write more later about Ireland, especially after I have photos available. The quick summary: It's green, but rocky. It rained everyday. The stores sell cute summer dresses, but people wear sweaters and scarves in July. I walked and walked and walked... and ate lots of fish and chips (probably the only meal that does NOT include tomatoes).

There are many sheep in Ireland, and I bought wool yarn by the kilo. Okay, only 1.4 kilos. Most stores prefer to sell their wool in the form of sweaters, not yarn. But where's the fun in that? I also managed to nearly-finish another project during the trip. Just some finishing touches to do now that I'm at home with the rest of my knitting tools.

Enough for now, I'll fill in more details on stuff later.