Caught the Bug

Admittedly, I’ve been off knitting lately. I’ve had zero desire to pick up the needles in the last few months, and even less to cast on for something new. No longer were skeins of soft merino calling out to me. I don’t know what it was, but my brain had checked out of knitting.

Until last week that is. Frankly I’m not sure what happened. I logged on to Ravelry for the first time in months and was immediately hooked. Within the first 5 minutes I had found a pattern the I HAD TO KNIT. My reaction was not, ‘hmm, that looks nice. Let’s queue it up’. No, no. This was an urgent need. That pattern had to be mine. There would be no waiting around.

Sure enough, before I turned in for the night I had the beginnings of the project on my needles.

What was the pattern that had me so enamoured? None other than Viajante. That’s right, a plain stockinette pattern. Me. Interested in that? There’s hardly a YO or cable to be found. Sure, there’s a bit of lace at the end, but that’s assuming I’ll make it that far without caving into the monotony.

Something has changed. Yes I’ve caught the knitting bug, but it’s a whole new entity. Before my hiatus, I used knitting as a way to occupy and challenge myself. Give me a project with cables or mind-numbing lace and I was all over it.

Now, I’m seeking out simplicity in my projects. I feel pretty fulfilled in my current pursuits (riding, running, anything that starts with an ‘r’ apparently), which means that knitting doesn’t have to serve as entertainment as well. Instead, I want it to soothe. I need it to be something I can come home and relax to. Something that takes little brain power, and for that, I couldn’t have found a better pattern.

Early progress on my Viajante

No matter how long you stay away, knitting will always welcome you back, in whatever capacity you can handle at the moment.

Run, Run

New Kicks

Earlier this year I posted that this was going to be my year of seizing life by the horns and doing this that I enjoy. I’m pleased to report that so far, so good! I’m still riding regularly and will be in my first ever horse show!! However, I’ve also learned that you can buy happiness, and if you are having too much fun, it starts to get expensive. This realization has forced me to make a choice between some of extra curriculars, as it’s just not feasible to afford them all.

Sadly the first thing to go was my regular bootcamp class. It was not a decision I made lightly, because the year I’ve been doing the program has been so fantastic. The regular workout routine had such a positive effect: I felt more energetic, was less irritable, and I felt fabulous. It definitely trimmed and toned me up. Despite all these positive benefits, when it came down to it, exercise is something I felt I could do on my own: horse back riding, not so much. And so, riding lessons won out for now.

Just because I’m not paying for an exercise routine doesn’t mean I’m not eager to maintain an active lifestyle. Yes I took a month or so off, not really doing much, but as the weather gets nicer I’m eager to get back into the swing of things. My solution: running.

Running seems like the perfect answer. It’s cheap, I can do it anywhere with little equipment, and it’s a great workout. Motivation is my problem. But in the age of smartphones a solution is rarely more than an app away.

Activities that are measurable and track-able are what I’m drawn to, so naturally I sought out running apps that would allow me to do just that. Here are three that I’m giving a trial run.

MapMyRun (MMR)
This was the first app I downloaded. I’m already part of the ‘ecosystem’ if you will, as I’ve occasionally used MapMyRide for cycling trips.

Love the voice pace/time tracking. Much better than having to reach into my pocket to check the time on my phone. It’s fairly easy to use. The interface is not overly attractive, but functional. I paid the $3 to get rid of the ads. I didn’t think I’d like the sharing feature, but found that it keeps me a bit more accountable.

RunKeeper
Had I approached this right, I would have searched for popular running apps before buying one, but that’s just not my style. After using MMR, I decided to see what others were using, and RunKeeper ranked top of the list on many review sites. As an added bonus, it’s free unless you’re a true die hard and want advanced analytics.

Zombies, Run!
And just for fun, why not add a few Zombies to the mix. The premise is you’re in a city overrun by zombies and it’s up to you to rebuild. The app contains multiple missions which you must complete. As you go for your run you collect supplies and avoid zombies, whereby your only option is to run faster. After giving this one a go, I found it a little too distracting on my run. I couldn’t get into that “run zone” you find after a few minutes.

After a few runs using each app, I’ve settled on using Run Keeper. I find the interface the most simple, and it offers training plans without an extra fee.