Like Interests

I have been thinking a lot lately about running. This is partly because it’s spring now (officially, at least, even if the weather is still catching up one step at a time), and also because I go through periods (like now-ish) of latching onto new challenges and projects for goal-setting. This is also one of the many reasons I love knitting – it gives me projects to work on and finish. I may not know for sure what my employment situation will be in a few months, but by gar I know what knitting I’d like to work on, and I know races I’ll be running in the spring and fall. (Toronto Sportinglife 10k on May 1st, Wellington women’s half marathon in June, Edmonton half-marathon in August, and the MCM 10k in DC in October, for anyone curious. Ah-yep, that’ll be a fun year to train for). It’s also one of the best kinds of stress relief I’ve got at my disposal. It’s a lot harder to work up the energy to be stressed if you’ve just come back from an hour or more of running.

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I’ve also reached a point with my running where I can start to re-define my own version of crazy. Last year, my first half marathon was just crazy enough. This year, one is not enough, I need more crazy than that. This weekend I also started reading this book by this guy. and realized that actually, my version of crazy is is truly on my own scale. When you read about a guy who ran 50 marathons in 50 days and not only lived to tell the tale but finished #50 faster and healthier than #1, well. That’ll make you stop and think a bit about what qualifies as “too hard” or “impossible”.

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Reading him explain about his running and why challenges like running long distances is something people sign up for voluntarily actually resonates a lot with why I love knitting and challenging myself with yarnly mediums. Nobody’s forcing us to do this, we take it on ourselves because it speaks to us in a way that other hobbies or mindful pursuits don’t, and like running, it’s hard to ever see the bottom of it. There is always more of it out there to do. And i often struggle with running the same way I struggle with knitting – going through periods of reminding myself why I like it, finding new technique or new ways of balancing it into my life, reminding myself to compete only with myself instead of against others.

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And if you stick with running long enough, you realize that yes, it does get hard, but that’s OK because even when it’s hard it can still feel good. I often desperately wish I was a faster runner, but that’s the same thing that makes me feel better when I try a harder run and do a bit better than I did the week before.

So, anyhow, on the weekend I taught another class on steeking, and had an awesome time with it as usual, and found myself thinking a lot of these same things. Yes, colour-work can be a challenging technique to learn. And yes, steeking (cutting up your knitting on purpose), can be a challenging concept to wrap your brain around and can require a leap of faith that it will actually work out. But that doesn’t mean these things aren’t fun. If you ask me, they’re some of the most fun you can have with your knitting. Steeking is one of the few knitting techniques that appears impressive to both knitters and non-knitters – one of the times when you can say “SEE LOOK WHAT I DID!” and non-knitters will be just as impressed with it as you are.

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Not everyone is going to feel called to sign up for a bunch of running races and train for them (but if you do, kudos, and let’s be buds), but if you’re a knitter you can’t deny that this is a leisure pursuit that will give you as many challenges as you want, and reward you just as often as you try them. I was once a person who didn’t think she could run a half-marathon. I was once a person who was intimidated by cables and didn’t understand how they worked. I can’t say either of these things any more. I wonder what new things I’ll be able to say about my knitting in the coming year? I’m going to do my best to keep it not boring, that’s for sure.

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I hope you find some new knitting challenges this week! And I hope your yarn is waiting for you at the end of the day.

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22 Comments

Filed under real life miscellaney, running, steeks

22 responses to “Like Interests

  1. Lovely! I am afraid of steeking AND running, but this post inspires. Thanks!

  2. marilynr

    AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! Steeking looks painful to me!! You have a lot more courage than I do!

  3. I need to pick some races as training goals for this year…probably a 10k/trail race & a road half marathon. I work out more regularly if I’m training for something. (I guess, for running, I’m definitely a PROJECT runner as opposed to a PROCESS runner, hah!)

    I got to meet Dean Karnazes when he gave a talk at our local tri club. He’s absolutely adorable, modest, & friendly. (Never met his wife, but she must be amazing, too, to tolerate what he does!)

  4. Linda B.

    Yay! I noticed that you were ‘reinforced’ by Ghirardelli chocolate (for the steeking, that is).

  5. I’m currently looking for a 5K a month as a goal for my running this year. I just completed my first and found one for June. Not somewhere I ever thought I’d find myself either but BRING.IT.ON!! I also just taught myself how to knit last year, no way ready for steeking OR cables, but I’ll get there!

  6. Michele K.

    What pattern is the wonderful yellow shawlette being worn in the picture? It is lovely.

  7. I’ve added steeking to my knitting goals of 2011….and some running wouldn’t be bad either:)

  8. You live your life mindfully. I like that so much about you.

  9. I love to read your blog. You are such a great encouragement for me!
    I learned to knit lace last year, and it changed my life! Having accomplished that frightening feat, them making gifts that were lovely enough to give away has been such a life changer for me.
    I understand what you mean when you say that you once thought you could not run a half marathon, and were intimidated by cables. ME TOO!
    It is so empowering to conquer those mountains. And the experience of doing so impacts the rest of my life every day.
    Thanks for writing!

  10. That was a nice post and really nice to read. You’re so true about the running and knitting. There’s always an improvement required. I am still way away from steeking, because I am still not confident with it :D, well, rather I should say, I am afraid of doing it. Who knows? May be, I’d dare to do it and if I do, you’ll the be first one to be thanked for.

  11. Eek! A steek! I mean to try that one day soon. Do you have your students come with their swatch already knit, prepared to cut?

  12. Sarah

    I signed up for my first marathon this year. I’ve got a few half-marathons planned again, but that 26.2 is exciting. Perhaps this will be the year I try steeking, too…

  13. Michelle

    Thanks so much for your blog – I look forward to reading it all the time. I also run and knit, not at the same time. I agree with you – these are things I never thought I’d do, and now I wonder what else I’ve avoided all my life that I might be good at! And it’s good to remember, in both running and knitting, that I’m not out to compete, to be better than someone else. I’m just here to do my best, and maybe have a nice sweater afterwards to look good in. Wish I had the opportunity to take a workshop with you, but it’s highly unlikely you’re anywhere near New Jersey!

  14. Pingback: Lady February « Needles in the Hay

  15. I’m still trying to get my mind around cutting your knitting. I just can’t do it yet but I’m quite sure I will a some point as I love learning new techniques.

  16. As much as running scares me, steeking seems even scarier. :) Thanks for the great photos.

  17. I have just loved what you wrote! Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts!

  18. I am so impressed with your discipline. Keep it up & you will succeed.

    Have you read “Born to Run”? Those people are crazy…NO SHOES!

  19. Thank you SO much for teaching the Steeking class – infinitely less scary with your guidance and reassuring chocolates… :)

    Still not so sure about this running thing though… perhaps more chocolate required?

    (And to Michele K., my little yellow scarf is a Damson shawlette, by Ysolda Teague!)

  20. I applaude your running. I’m 5 feet tall and 300 lbs. I have decided that on my 40th birthday, about a week from now, I am going to buy a pair of running shoes and start the Runners World “Become a Runner” training schedule. I’m told that it will help me clear my head.

    I am also knitting a colorwork blanket for my first grandchild and will be steeking it in the end! I’m nervous and excited all at once.

    Good luck on the running, knitting and job hunt.

  21. Agreed! It makes me so happy that I’ve been knitting for 10+ years, and still get so jazzed up about trying a new type of pattern, or making my way through a complicated chart and realizing with satisfaction that it DOES look like how I was hoping it would, in my head! There will always be new things to try if you seek them out; great reminder to take your goals seriously, both professional and non-professional alike.

    P.S. I love that there is a Ghirardelli bar quietly nestled into a yarn nest in one of the above pictures.

  22. Hm, what a question to ponder. I love to run, and I love Chocolate. I found it’s possible to have the best of both worlds after years of struggling. It’s a pretty simple concept.

    Before I would either RUN and not have any sweets at all. Or I would have chocolate and not do any running. I think, Im a bit of an obsessive compulsive. I go to extremes until someone points it out to me. When they do, no matter what challenge I am facing, I do this.

    I save the best for last while barreling through the worst of it as fast as I can.

    Result. I’m a real fast runner! :)