February Hates Me

The last four weeks have been tough. I had the flu. That included one solid week of running a fever, chills, fatigue, headache, body aches generally having no energy. Then there was another week where I didn’t run a fever but I was still tired and achy. I now have a sinus infection that I’m taking antibiotics for (and tearing up my intestines) and I started seeing blood in my urine again. Which is to say that running has been especially challenging this month. In fact, I looked back at this month today and realized that my last really enjoyable run was February 2. 

Until Thursday.  When I headed out the front door of the YMCA yesterday morning I didn’t feel tired or particularly frazzled. It was colder by a few degrees than it has been but I wasn’t that cold. I could feel my fingers and toes. I was even running a little faster than I started out on Wednesday. It was shaping up to be a good run. 

The ice on the Centennial Trail is mostly gone at this point. Footing is sure. I powered through the first 3 miles of my run. Then out past Kendall Yards. After I turned to run home I saw another runner in the distance and watched as we approached each other. As we came close he pulled up and greeted me and I realized who he was. One of the people that I follow on Strava. We have never met in person but I started following him after we ran the same route at the same time. It was a neat moment and reminded me how much I love the community of runners. I don’t have the time to join a running or training group at this time in my life but I still get to participate in this community through social media. I am grateful for that. 

The Murano Scarf

I modified this pattern pretty heavily. The pattern calls for size 0000 needles and lace weight yarn. I don’t own needles that size and I knew I wanted to use leftover Noro Silk Garden paired with a neutral colored yarn. I decided to use size 4 needles because they worked with the yarn I chose (the Noro paired with an off white skein of Cascade 220 superwash.) changing the needle size and yarn this significantly also required that I change the number of stitches I cast on. I figured out that the pattern was worked in multiples of 10, plus the selvedge stitches, so I cast on 55 stitches. The first section of the pattern is a ruffle, then the main part of the scarf is a slip stitch pattern. Once I got to the slip stitch portion I was able to easily memorize the 8  row repeat, which made the project one of my portable projects. I worked on it a little at home, but most of the knitting happened away from home while I waited. 

One of the things that always surprises me is how much a of a commitment scarves are. I like mine long. I usually shoot for them to be about as long as I am tall– 60″. That always takes more time than I think it should. When the scarf was almost as long as I was tall, I started the second ruffle. That was easily finished. I’m pleased with the scarf. I like the color changes in the 2 leftover skeins of Noro and I think it pits well with the white. I wouldn’t mind making the pattern again with a different color combination, or even on smaller needles. 

Project Details:

Pattern: Murano Scarf, from the Winter 2008 Interweave Knits

Needles: size 4, straight

Yarn: leftover skeins of Noro Silk Garden and Cascade 220 in white

Modifications: bigger needles, bigger yarn, less stitches

Roasted Beet Bowl

I love combining vegetables and protein to make a meal. This is one of my more successful experiments. It starts with a sauce:

Garlic Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 c. Plain Greek yogurt
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 c cilantro
  • 1/4 c scallions, roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a small food processor and puree. Set aside.

For the Bowl: 

  • 3 large beets with their tops on, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tsp. Olive oil
  • Beet greens, torn, destemmed
  • Lemon wedge
  • 7 1/2 oz. of tofu cut into rectangles
  • Salt 
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir beets together with oil, salt and pepper. Place in a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes.

While the beets roast stir the beet greens with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook in a medium frying pan on medium heat. Add a squeeze of lemon and cover until greens are wilted. Place in a large bowl and cover.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Place the tofu in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let the tofu brown, then turn and allow to brown on the other side. When browned on both sides, add to the bowl with the beet greens. 

When the beets are tender, add them to the tofu and beet greens and stir together with the yogurt sauce. 

This recipe makes enough for 2 mildly hungry people or 1 really hungry person. The result is earthy and garlicky and bright. 

Running on Ice

How do I run in the snow? I get this question a lot. The most honest answer is that I just do it. The longer answer? I do it. Slower. Carefully. With a lot more clothes than when I run in temperate weather. Let’s talk about warmth first.

I hate being cold. My hands and feet are almost always cold. I have medical condition called Reynauds Syndrome that prevents my blood from flowing to my hands and feet and fingers and toes regularly. It’s particularly bad if I touch something cold– like the steering wheel of my car first thing in the morning or run my hands under cold water. The ends of my fingers turn white and get tingly. Sometimes they stay that way for the better part of an hour. It’s miserable.

So, when I run outside in the cold, my first concern is making sure I will be warm enough. Or at least as warm as I can manage without turning into Randy from A Christmas Story. Layering is the key. First, the base layer. 

I wear fleece lined running tights in the winter. My favorite pair comes from Athleta. They are ridiculously expensive but really warm. My second favorite is Zella (Nordstrom store brand.) they are only about $20 cheaper, and also warm. On top I wear long sleeved tech shirts. I have three Nike shirts that I bought on clearance and one Zella brand shirt. I have worn them each for hundreds of miles, at least, and all are holding up pretty well. My oldest Nike shirt has some pilling now but that’s it.

Next layer is a light weight pair of windbreaker type pants. I bought these at The Gap last fall. They are good for retaining some body heat around your legs, especially if it’s windy. On top I pull on a long sleeve fleecy shirt. I have two that I rotate. One has a hood and one has a head swallowing funnel neck. Both are good for retaining some of your body heat on cold days. 

Lastly, I cover my hands and my head. Did you know that you lose a significant amount of body heat through the top of your head? Wearing a hat is a good way to keep some of that heat from escaping. I have several handknit wool hats that I rotate on my runs. Taking off my hat mid run is also a good way to cool down if I get too hot. I often take my hat off and shove it into the back waistband of my tights in the middle of a run. 

Hands. My hands are the hardest thing to keep warm. I usually wear two pairs of coverings on them in the winter: a pair of either cotton or tech gloves and a pair of wool mittens over top of them. Even so, I often am a couple of miles into a run before they get warm.

Once I’m out the door I can shed some layers as I run if I get too warm. Gloves and hats can be shoved into the waist band of my tights. If I really get warm I can also pull off my fleece shirt and tie it around my waist as I run. 

The One Way Tee

I’ve been eyeing this pattern in the cover of the Spring 2013 issue of Interweave Knits ever since it arrived in my mailbox. It’s the perfect type of springy pullover that I love to layer with on chilly, but not too cold, days. The pattern is pretty but simple. The lace detail that runs up the middle and back of the body of the tee and decorates the saddle shoulders breaks up the monotony of the otherwise plain tee. 

I had no trouble with this pattern at all. It’s well written. I memorized the lace pattern quickly, making the knitting easy and relatively mindless. I modified the pattern to work the body in the round to the armholes. Then I divided the front and back and worked them separately. 

This is the first time I’ve knit a sweater that is made with saddle shoulders. It wasn’t any different than working a set in sleeve though and I really like the effect of the lace panel on the finished tee. This was a really straight forward project and I think it’s going to be perfect for layering in the spring and fall, and pretty in the summer with a camisole underneath. 

The bottom edges of the body and sleeves are worked in garter stitch. However, there is no finishing edge on the neckline so it rolls just a tiny bit. This is my only complaint about the design. 


Pattern: One Way Tee from Spring 2013 issue of Interweave Knits

Needles: size 4 circular

Yarn: Cascade Ultra Pima in Turquoise. I used just about 3 skeins

Mods: I knit the body in the round until it was time to shape the armholes.