endurance, meet speed

One more way knitting should be more like running: I wish I could be a personal trainer for knitters.

I mean, who couldn't use someone telling them exactly how long and how much to knit how fast to get them into shape to knit a Fair Isle sweater? or an Aran? or just their first sweater ever?

It reminds me of the Yarn Harlot's assertion that knitting should be respected as a sport, if for no other reason than there are more knitters in North America than there are golfers.

Today marked the official beginning of the second phase in my marathon training: Speedwork.
In the first 10 weeks, they had me running hills to build endurance. And let me tell you, I think I scouted out every hill in town for some of those long runs, doing switchbacks up and down streets in my neighborhood just to clock those extra miles. Think you're burly? Go run up and down every hill in your neighborhood – until you get to 8 miles – and then check back in here. Go ahead. I double-dog-dare ya.

And as much as I cursed in those early weeks, as many foul words as I found to spew at the publishers of Runner's World magazine for printing this training plan, I now can sit here (with an ice pack on my knees) and say: it worked. I no longer look at every hill with dread; in fact, there have been a few times when I only noticed that I had just run up a hill – while thinking of something else altogether.

So hills? No problem.
(Of course, it's especially no problem since the Chicago marathon is famously devoid of hills. Kinda makes you wonder, eh?)

But speed? That's another story.
Thinking about it now, I'm noticing that running is one of the few places where I don't pride myself on speed. I knit with a furious intensity that rivals Lily Chin; I love getting things done quickly; my handwriting is notoriously illegible because I won't take the time to make my 'a's and 'o's round … and I was practically born in the back of a stationwagon on the way to the hospital.

So why am I so stubbornly slow at running?
I do like the meditative and soothing quality of a long, slow distance run. I won't be about the sprinting, ever, I don't think – because I don't like to sprint. But something marginallly faster than 12-minute miles might be nice. Y'know, as a change.

So today I hit the middle-school track and ran some fast 800's.
And – psst – don't tell. They were fun.

Endurance, meet speed.
Just in time for me to match my running with my knitting. Again.
Spent the rest of the day working on two sleeves for a deadline.
Four sleeves and two necklines by Sept. 1?

No problem.
I'm speedy.