Thursday, September 19, 2013

Two Hours and Fifty Two Minutes

First, a huge thank you to all my race sponsors.  Together we were able to raise a total of approximately $3,000 for children’s charities in the USA and UK.  I am so proud of us all for that ;0)

NSPCC in the UK GBP 712, plus 121 Gift Aid = GBP 834

The race day was incredible.  I lined up with 55,999 of my newest friends, did a half-hour mass warm-up, then set off on the trek to the start line about 20 minutes down the road we were lined up on.  Just moments after I crossed the start-line and started running, the Red Arrows flew over on their way to the Tyne Bridge.  The Red Arrows are the RAF’s aerobatic team who perform at various large events and always at the Great North Run.  That was a really fantastic and emotional start to the race.

There were large crowds running around me the whole way round the course, as you would expect with that many competitors.  The mass of runners obscured my view of the hills and inclines, and there were so many things going on at the sidelines; bands playing music, supporters shouting and clapping, and charity cheering squads, that those difficult parts hardly registered.

I ran almost the whole 13.1 miles.  I had to take a bathroom break around mile 8, then a short walk at mile 10.  I had only been walking a couple of minutes at mile 10 when I saw the Red Arrows again, performing their main display over the coast road.  That gave me the strength and inspiration to start running again.  

Around mile 12 there is a steep decline down to the coast road, then a turn onto the final road to the finish line, which lines the cliffs at South Shields.  After the decline is a final uphill which I had been dreading.  I made it though and only had that last mile to run.  I am so proud of myself for running it.  The run numbers you wear have your name printed on them and the crowd read and shout them out loud, giving massive encouragement in that final stretch.

I crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 52 minutes and 1 second.  I remember the very first Great North Run in 1981 and thought I would never be able to do something like that.  I am happy beyond belief that 32 years later I have done it and all to honour my brother, David. 

When I got back to base, I made a spreadsheet of all my knitter donations and allocated draw numbers based on when and how much was donated.  There were 186 numbers from the knitsters donations of $880 and GBP 55.  I then used this random number generator to pick the winning number:

So, our lucky winner is "Seattlesparkle" on Ravelry.  Congratulations to her.  We are in touch to arrange how she'd like me to finish the blanket and I'll post update photos as and when I progress with that.

Thank you all so much for joining me on this incredible journey, it has been a blast.  Tune in to find out what my next challenge is going to be...

Disco xoxo

Friday, September 13, 2013

Two days to go....

I indulged in a small glass of red at the airport on Tuesday night before we boarded our plane to London.  For medicinal and relaxation purposes, you see ;0)  It helped; the flight was as restful as a transatlantic flight in economy (plus) could be.  Cheers!
airport selfie!
This is the shirt I'll be wearing on Sunday, along with my race number.  NSPCC gave me the place in the Great North Run, so I wear their shirt.  I've run in it a couple of times, so know it'll be comfortable.  My last training run was yesterday, a short 30 minute trot.  I'm very nervous; anxious about traveling, arriving on time, the weather, bathroom facilities, etc, but am confident I'll be finishing the race in under 3 hours :0)

Before we left home, I laid out the Beekeeper's Quilt once more.  It really is quite large and this picture helps me see where to improve colour blends.  Wouldn't you LOVE to WIN IT?!

Fundraising has been going well; USA target is hit and UK target is at 50%.  It's not too late, there are still two days left to sponsor my run and be entered to win the Beekeeper's quilt pictured above.  Every five dollars or pounds donated to one of my charities gets one entry to win.  Click either of the links below to make a donation:

USA charity - Thompson Child & Family Focus in Charlotte, NC
UK charity - NSPCC National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Temperatures around the low 60s and rain are expected for the race on Sunday.  In all of the training I've done, I've never run in the rain (I know, right!), so I'm a little anxious about that.  I'm taking a sweatshirt to keep me warm til the race starts, when it will be discarded at the side of the road and picked up for charity, along with everyone else's.  I'm also considering the black bin liner to keep me dry - lots of online advice suggesting that.

This is IT knitsters, in 48 hours I'll be starting on my 13.1 mile journey from Newcastle to South Shields.  Wish me luck and pray for my soles!
disco xoxo

Monday, September 2, 2013

Two Weeks To Race Day

Yesterday was two weeks til race day.  It was a "long-run" training day and I got 13.75 miles under my belt.  I ran a solid nine miles, including some challenging hills, then walked/ran the remainder.  I've been reading comments on the web from runners who've completed the course previously.  They all say if you can run 8 miles, the crowds get you through to the end.  Having witnessed the Great North Run from its start in 1981, and the thousands upon thousands who turn out to cheer the runners on, I can believe it.  

Here's how the blanket is coming on.  Each of these hexis is a different colour, or combo of colours of Socks That Rock.  Most of them are piled 3 hexis high, so all those spaces should be filled in once they're laid out for finishing.  And of course, I'm still knitting more.  Whoever wins this will have the choice of how it's finished.  If they like this rainbow effect then I can finish it so, if they like a more random look, then they can have that.  If you want to incorporate them into your own BeeKeeper's Quilt, then I'll send them as is.  The choice will be yours, oh winning sponsor :0)

I have been pretty overwhelmed this weekend by all the love shown for my run and this project.  These long runs are especially exhausting and I am quite emotional afterwards.  There were a few tears yesterday as every time I looked at my email there was another sponsor or message of support.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to my charities and a huge thank you to Irishgirlieknits for her amazing promotion this past weekend.  I could not ask for a more perfect knitting bestie.  Mwah xo

Watch this space for more updates, and here are my charity pages again for anyone wanting to donate.  Remember, each five dollars or pounds donated gets an entry into the drawing to win this BeeKeeper's Quilt.

NSPCC in the UK

Love to y'all
Disco xoxo

Monday, July 22, 2013

8 Weeks til Race Day

Yesterday was 8 weeks til race day.  I completed my 9.5 mile training run in just over 2 hours.  I'm very pleased with that performance.  Last weekend's long run had left me anxious about a couple of things.  

First of all the heat, but thankfully it was a cool morning in Grand Rapids, cloudy for most of the run.  I was able to leave home at 8am.  Way better than the 6am I had anticipated.  That gave me time for a yogurt, a cup of tea and a little relax before setting off.

My second concern was hunger and thirst.  I don't usually eat before I run or carry a water bottle - too much distraction.  After the previous week's performance I knew I'd need both.  I got myself a tiny runner's water bottle that sits in the palm of my hand - if I just squeezed a few drops at a time, I was able to keep my mouth from drying up and didn't choke myself either - bonus!  I also swallowed a "gel-pack" at the halfway point.  It was like 2 tablespoons of honey with caffeine.  That really sorted me out for the rest of the run :0)

In blanket news, last week we had our trusty British photographer Bob staying with us.  An ideal time to get some quality "images" of the fundraising-blanket-in-progress.......
340-ish hexes waiting to be patched together......
I spent a good hour laying out most of the hexes for the next pic......

The hexes laid out as colour-grouped as I could manage.
So, total hexes right this minute is 350, with 55 days to go.  I should be able to add a good 150 to that total by race day.

If you'd like to sponsor my Great North Run, here are my fundraising pages.  A fiver to either charity is one entry to win the blanket.  Please email me at discoknits AT gmail DOT com (no spaces or caps) after donating, so that I have your contact details.

NSPCC in the UK

Thompson Child & Family Focus in the USA

Thanks so much for supporting me on this journey.
disco xoxo

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vacation Progress

I completed 31 hexagons on my vacation.  Not bad for 13 days away.  Here they are....
And this is what a total of 337 hexis look like.  They're starting to get squished in this 21x15 inch box.  I'll have to start a second layer soon.  The boys and I are driving back to Michigan today (and tomorrow...).  When we get there, I think it's time I laid these out and took a photograph of the full effect.  And also to see how big this is.  That shot should be better as we have an ace photographer staying with us ;0)

On vacation, I did some interesting running.  The Las Vegas strip at 5am was particularly fun.  Hot, but not too hot.  People, but not too drunk people (well, maybe one).  Some hotel workout-room running, when the heat outside was just too much.  I missed a long training run.  It was too hot outside, the air too little inside, and not enough sleep as my running-anxiety was at an all-time high.  So this weekend I face my longest run ever, of 8 miles and I MUST DO IT!

If you'd like to encourage me on my way, leave a message, or better still, make a donation using the buttons to the left of this post.  Just $5/GBP5 might win you this BeeKeeper's Quilt.

Happy Thursday y'all.
Disco xoxo

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Great North Run blanket update....

Up to 300 hexis for the blanket. That's around half the size I'd like it to be. I'll be gettin' busy with some awesome swapped STR colours in the coming weeks while we're on our West Coast summer road trip. I promise to post photos along the way ;0)

Link to my UK fundraising page for NSPCC

Link to my USA fundraising page for Thompson Child & Family Focus

Every GBP5/US$5 donated will be entered into a draw for this blanket.

Hope y'all are having a fabulous Summer!
Disco xoxo

Monday, May 13, 2013

Colour Study: Happy Go Lucky

For the Great North Run Beekeeper's Quilt I'm making, I'm trying to use as many Blue Moon colours as possible.  If I have enough of one colour, I'll make 3 hexagons with that colour.  With the leftovers, I'm trying to swap them out for other colours.  Here's a link to my destash page on Ravelry, if you're interested.

With the remaining yarn I'm mixing up some colours, knitting alternate rounds.  I thought I'd post a quick colour study when I have a few to compare.

Today, I have a group of 9 hexes, all made with the STR colour "Happy Go Lucky".  It's not the greatest quality photo, but gives you an idea of how one colour (in the centre) can change when mixed with others.

Links to my fundraising pages:
NSPCC in the UK
Every $5 donated before Sept 15th 2013 will get an entry to win the finished quilt.