I have been thinking a lot lately about running. This is partly because it’s spring now (officially, at least, even if the weather is still catching up one step at a time), and also because I go through periods (like now-ish) of latching onto new challenges and projects for goal-setting. This is also one of the many reasons I love knitting – it gives me projects to work on and finish. I may not know for sure what my employment situation will be in a few months, but by gar I know what knitting I’d like to work on, and I know races I’ll be running in the spring and fall. (Toronto Sportinglife 10k on May 1st, Wellington women’s half marathon in June, Edmonton half-marathon in August, and the MCM 10k in DC in October, for anyone curious. Ah-yep, that’ll be a fun year to train for). It’s also one of the best kinds of stress relief I’ve got at my disposal. It’s a lot harder to work up the energy to be stressed if you’ve just come back from an hour or more of running.
I’ve also reached a point with my running where I can start to re-define my own version of crazy. Last year, my first half marathon was just crazy enough. This year, one is not enough, I need more crazy than that. This weekend I also started reading this book by this guy. and realized that actually, my version of crazy is is truly on my own scale. When you read about a guy who ran 50 marathons in 50 days and not only lived to tell the tale but finished #50 faster and healthier than #1, well. That’ll make you stop and think a bit about what qualifies as “too hard” or “impossible”.
Reading him explain about his running and why challenges like running long distances is something people sign up for voluntarily actually resonates a lot with why I love knitting and challenging myself with yarnly mediums. Nobody’s forcing us to do this, we take it on ourselves because it speaks to us in a way that other hobbies or mindful pursuits don’t, and like running, it’s hard to ever see the bottom of it. There is always more of it out there to do. And i often struggle with running the same way I struggle with knitting – going through periods of reminding myself why I like it, finding new technique or new ways of balancing it into my life, reminding myself to compete only with myself instead of against others.
And if you stick with running long enough, you realize that yes, it does get hard, but that’s OK because even when it’s hard it can still feel good. I often desperately wish I was a faster runner, but that’s the same thing that makes me feel better when I try a harder run and do a bit better than I did the week before.
So, anyhow, on the weekend I taught another class on steeking, and had an awesome time with it as usual, and found myself thinking a lot of these same things. Yes, colour-work can be a challenging technique to learn. And yes, steeking (cutting up your knitting on purpose), can be a challenging concept to wrap your brain around and can require a leap of faith that it will actually work out. But that doesn’t mean these things aren’t fun. If you ask me, they’re some of the most fun you can have with your knitting. Steeking is one of the few knitting techniques that appears impressive to both knitters and non-knitters – one of the times when you can say “SEE LOOK WHAT I DID!” and non-knitters will be just as impressed with it as you are.
Not everyone is going to feel called to sign up for a bunch of running races and train for them (but if you do, kudos, and let’s be buds), but if you’re a knitter you can’t deny that this is a leisure pursuit that will give you as many challenges as you want, and reward you just as often as you try them. I was once a person who didn’t think she could run a half-marathon. I was once a person who was intimidated by cables and didn’t understand how they worked. I can’t say either of these things any more. I wonder what new things I’ll be able to say about my knitting in the coming year? I’m going to do my best to keep it not boring, that’s for sure.
I hope you find some new knitting challenges this week! And I hope your yarn is waiting for you at the end of the day.