Virtual Race Running – My New Favorite Thing

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Virtual Race RunningIn 2015, I ran my first virtual race.

I joined last years virtual race to give myself motivation for running a bit faster and to have a purpose (other than the general exercise of course) to hit a five-kilometer (5K) or 3.11 mile distance.  I got my very first medal, and there was a small portion of my entry fee that went toward a charity called “Girls on the Run.” My first Medal 112115

That virtual race was through an organization called Run the Edge.

After that virtual race, I found out about online running communities, virtual challenges, virtual running partners – you name it; if you don’t want to get to know someone but want to have a committed running partner, he or she is out there for you!  You just have to find that special person….

Anyway, as I write this post, I am training to run my body for 13.1 miles, or what is better known as a half-marathon.  I have never run one before, and I’m doing it to cross it off my bucket list.

You can see my general training plan here: January 2016 Run Goal Update.

I’m getting all the wonderful health benefits that comes with a complete and total lifestyle change, and I hope to keep it up well into the years of when my growing children leave the house.

Virtual races have become an important part of my “not getting bored” with racing plan.

I have chosen a 12-week preparation plan, which includes running four times a week, for a minimum distance of 3 miles, and other mileage ranging from 5 miles, 6 miles to the eventual 11 miles.  I’ve enjoyed the plan immensely and it appears to be working, but the chance to earn a medal for all these times I’m running for “training purposes” has been an extra bonus that has motivated me in a way I can’t explain – it’s just that much more fun.

This past month, this was a popular topic in a Facebook running group I’m in, and I’m writing this post primarily for my future self, and anyone else that stumbles upon it looking up places and links for Virtual Races.

Here are the sites I have verified (as of the date of this blog post) that have virtual races one can sign up for, pay the entry fee and get options sent to he or she, such as shirts, medals, or miscellaneous race bling.

Run the Edge: This is the virtual site that started it all for me.  In November of 2015, I paid for my first medal for the “Hug a Runner” challenge and some of the fee went toward a program called Girls on the Run.  This year, I joined the 2016 miles in 2016 virtual race, as a husband and wife team with the love of my life.  I’m looking forward to doing their “Selfie Challenge” in the summer, as I’m one of those runners that loves to takes selfies on my runs.

Fit Fam: I signed up for the PI day 5K challenge.  Some of the fees benefit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education and I’m hoping to eat a slice of pie the same day I do this run.  On purpose, of course.

Make Yes Happen: Available Virtual Races include the Race to Oz, Escape the Shire-Journey through Middle Earth and Black Friday Half.

Running on the Wall: They have a Virtual Race part of their website, but they also sell a significant amount of runner swag and bling, and great gifts for runners.

Piece by Piece Virtual Run Medal

This is the medal for the Virtual Strides website “Piece by Piece” race, benefiting the Autism Speaks organization.

Virtual Strides: Like the “Make Yes Happen” website above, this site gives money to charity with the fees collected.  There is a “Piece by Piece” virtual run in early February with a chance to win a $50 gift card to the site, and the charity benefited is Autism Speaks.

US Road Running: This site has a “Boston Strong” medal that I’m interested in getting for a 5K, 10K or a half.

Gone for a Run: This is where I signed up for my “I Love 2 Run” virtual race in February.

Hogwarts Running Club: If you love the Harry Potter Series, like REALLY, REALLY LOVE the series, this is the club for you.  The virtual races and the medals are all associated with Harry Potter themes, and I may sign up for a race just to say I’ve done one.

Will Run for Bling: And Charity….  This site currently has a couple races that are available, and has past events that I hope they do again this year, especially the Galaxy Run and the Run Now, Wine Later Race.  Both of those are right up my alley!

Here’s a ton more that I verified the links for, but didn’t even scratch the surface on checking out the medals/bling/charities.  I guess that’ll be for a later date….

Love 2 Run Swag 2016My next virtual race is for Valentine’s Day, called the “I Love 2 Run” race, and it’s only 2.14 miles.  I plan on incorporating the distance into one of my scheduled runs for the week.

You don’t have to run with other people to get medals.  This was a great start for me.  I didn’t feel the pressure of running with other people in a race that I wasn’t sure if I was even going to finish.  With virtual races, I feel all the joy of finishing purpose-filled runs, with some of the fee going to various charities, and I have something to show for all the running time I’m investing in my life.

I hope this post encourages you to get started on any sort of exercising. Even walking counts for many of these challenges.  Just getting the time/mileage in is the important part.

Blessings to you this week!


Heart Wreath with Felt Flowers

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Heart WreathValentine’s Day is around the corner!

My children and I have been busy getting ready for the holiday to make it both special – and cool.

This first project for Valentines Day is all for me, and it’s been sitting in my craft stash for at least two years….

My latest creation is once again, not by my own idea, but utilizing a crochet pattern and flower patterns I found off of Ravelry.  The wreath pattern I fell in love with is called Ruffle Wreath, by Kit’s Crafts Blog.  Thank you for your links and inspiration!

Materials Used

1Heart WreathIn an effort to use things I’ve already had in my home, I didn’t spend an extra dime on this project.  <BONUS!>

So – The pattern to create the first round for the wreath is the most difficult.

You can find the pattern here: Simple Statement Wreath by Good Knits.

I used TWO STRANDS of yarn for this and the first part of her pattern is what is really used to get around the heart.

3Heart WreathYou can see that the point on the bottom of the heart really doesn’t get covered up, until I purposely glued yarn to it after I was done crocheting.

The ruffle part of the pattern comes from here:

Ruffle Wreath by Kit’s Crafts

There are three rounds to this pattern, and I have a photo for each finished round below.

This is the end of the initial row, of getting the yarn around the heart wreath.

This is the end of the single crochet row, the first round of the ruffle pattern.

This is the end of the first round (Round 1) of the "Ruffle Pattern" by Kit's Crafts.

This is the end of the second round (Round 2) of the “Ruffle Pattern” by Kit’s Crafts.

This is the end of the third round of the pattern, the ruffle row.

This is the end of the third round of the pattern, the ruffle row.

After the crocheting is complete, I made some felt flowers to accent the wreath.

The rosettes were made from Little Things Bring Smiles blog.

Using a CD, I cut a circle from the piece of felt, and then cut a spiral into it. Starting from the center of a spiral with a bit of glue, I wound the felt up to make a rosette.

Using a CD, I cut a circle from the piece of felt, and then cut a spiral into it. Starting from the center of a spiral with a bit of glue, I wound the felt up to make a rosette.

Flowers2a Rosette

My first rosette.

Flowers 3 Small Rosett

This is a smaller rosette made with the outside ring left from the original felt circle.

Flowers - Rosettes together

Here are all three rosettes together.

The next flower I made is called the “S flower”and it had directions from The Fickle Pickle Blog.

I traced six circles from the bottom of a mug with about a 2″ diameter circle onto the felt.

S Flower Circles2Each circle gets glued as shown below, by first folding in half, adding glue and folding in about a third, turn the piece over as shown in step 4, and adding more glue before folding the last third of the felt “S” as shown in step 6.

Making an "S Flower." I ended up only using five of the “S” shapes to create my flower, gluing the pieces to a seventh circle and adding a pink button to the center of the flower at the end.

S-Flower Glue S Flower TogetherThe final type of flower I used on this piece had directions on the Kit’s Craft’s Blog.  She calls it an 8-petal flower.

8-petal flowerEssentially, I took eight (8) felt circles and sewed the folded tips of them together.  If I were to do it again, I would sew the button onto the flower PRIOR to gluing the felt circle on the bottom.

8-petal flower-buttonThe glue obviously (but not at the time) made it difficult to sew the button through all the layers of the flower and the circle on the bottom.

I could have easily just glued the button to the felt flower I suppose, but oh well!  So many ways to do it.

I struggled with the “leaves.” I really wanted to use existing materials, so I tried various colors of pink and grey yarn to make the small pom poms and nothing looked good.

I looked at the original post on Kit’s Crafts blog and she had a beautiful color of olive green for her felt leaves.  I wanted to use pom poms, so I made olive green pom poms and as soon as I made one, I knew I had to make the five I wanted to place on the wreath.

My mother in law helped arrange the flowers and the pom poms on the wreath and I was finally able to glue all the pieces down.

Here is the arrangement of flowers before the pom poms were glued down.

Here is the arrangement of flowers before the pom poms were glued down.

10Heart WreathAnother project done!  Here’s the link on Ravelry.  Let’s be friends there too!  Thanks for reading this.

Tune in for the Valentines I did with and for the kiddos!


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What’s on My Hook – Accidental Spiral Slouch Pattern Hat

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Accidental Spiral Slouch Hat with Pom PomIt’s Wednesday.

One of the ways I plan on tackling my goal of posting twelve blog posts a month, AND sharing what I have completed or will complete for crocheting projects throughout the year is on Wednesday’s, I hope to post “What’s on My Hook” posts.

Much like the “Hookin’ on Hump Day” trend that Moogly and Petals to Picots started, I hope to highlight my crocheted projects, whether completed or not, on a regular basis – primarily on Wednesday’s!  (Hence the catchy title….)

This week I’m showing off my latest hat using the Accidental Spiral Slouch Pattern.  (The link takes you to Ravelry.)

My pattern notes/changes:

  • Overall, the pattern is written very well.
  • I know I didn’t follow the pattern she wrote exactly, and I modified the body of the hat by doing a fptc working on the row below, not on two rows below as described in her pattern.
  • I didn’t make the hat as slouchy as described in her pattern.
  • I also did six rows of hdc’s (half double crochet’s) for the brim.
  • I used an acrylic yarn I had in my stash, and oh do I think I’ll be doing this pattern again. yarn used for my accidental spiral hat
  • It probably took me about 4 hours to complete this hat, and as you can see, I added a pom pom to brighten up the top of the hat.

Thanks for checking this crocheted item out! Accidental Spiral Hat with Pom pom

I found the link itself on Ravelry, after searching for things with the word ‘spiral’ in them.

Please feel free to follow me on Pinterest for more crocheted projects and things I do/want to accomplish with my crafting!

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