Monday, 9 June 2008


here's what you've all been waiting for - the prize winners!! i chose the winners by listing all the donors in a table in excel, each with a number assigned to them, and repeating the name as many times as they had entered (for example, if you were the first person i listed, and you had donated £20, you would have numbers 1, 2, 3, & 4). that gave me a list of 151 names. i then used the random integer generator (from to get a list of 16 random numbers, one for each of the 16 prizes. & here are the winners, and what they've won...

the winner of the amazing prize of 500 grams of emily, a 4ply (sock weight) yarn made from 80% lambswool, 10% angora, 10% cashmere, with 360 yards per 100g, in their choice of colour from posh yarn is...

jane, aka fourweekids on ravelry!!!

posh yarn

the winner of the gorgeous kit for "waverley" featuring habu yarns (includes the pattern & all the yarn you'll need to knit it (habu shosensi (linen paper yarn) & habu stainless steel/silk blend yarn), with a value of roughly £70!!!) donated by katharine at K1 Yarns is...

ellie, aka ellielabelle on ravelry!!!


anne at knitspot has donated three separate prizes, each for a gift certificate to her pattern shop worth $10, so there are three winners who are going to have their choice of loads of gorgeous patterns...

terasa p. ; evelyn f. ; & margaret aka gilraen on ravelry!!!


the winner of the $20 gift certificate from renee at goddess knits is...

kathryn m. !!!

goddess knits

the winner of the amazing £50 voucher from jen at fyberspates, who will have their choice of some truly beautiful yarns, is...

juli, aka juliblue on ravelry!!!

fyberspates scrumptious

the winner of the month's "sock club plus" membership from natalie at the yarn yard is...

yvette, aka andsewtoknit on ravelry!!!

yarn yard sock

the winner of the custom-made knitter's messenger bag from val at actual size creations on etsy is...

katrin, aka katho on ravelry!!!

messenger bag

the winner of the so-cute stitch markers from kat at paper & yarn on etsy is...

sue c. !!!

stitch markers

the winner of the set of three go knits pouches from jennifer at know knits is...

anne from knitspot!!

go knits pouch

molly at nerdclub2000 on etsy has donated two separate prizes, each for a set of gorgeous stitch markers, that she will custom make for these two winners...

jenny b. aka northernlights on ravelry, & jan aka maverick on ravelry!!

nerdclub2000 stitch markers

and from my own stash:
the winner of the luscious skein of handmaiden sea silk in colourway "midnight" is...

my baby sis catriona!! (not rigged, i swear - she's not a knitter, & really wanted to win the silk/cashmere shawl, so i'll probably end up getting conned into making another one for her out of this!!)

lace - handmaiden sea silk

& the winner of the precious skein of the elusive wollmeise sockenwolle, in colourway "dani" is...

tracing !!!

wollmeise dani

& last, but by no means least, is the swallowtail shawl, knitted by me in my own old maiden aunt 2-ply silk/cashmere hand-dyed in a one-off colourway, & decorated with sparkling beads; and the winner is...

elaine, aka socherry on ravelry!!! (& seriously, now this totally looks rigged - she's a real-life friend, so this may seem a bit suspicious - but you'll just have to trust me that it was all, truly, totally random!!!)

swallowtail shawl detail

thank you all so very, very, very much. i really wish i had prizes for each & every person who donated - i blew past my target of £1000 and raised a whopping £1500 for cancer reserach UK, plus i got so many great messages of support, many of them from people that i've never even met. i've loved every minute of this (ok, i may not have loved the hard, gruelling training!) & it's all thanks to you.
i have emailed all the winners, so if you see your name here & you haven't heard from me, check your spam filter!! thank you all again so much....

hooray for us!!

well, it's over - we ran the race for life yesterday, & now we're recovering! i'm recovering not only from the actual race itself (my legs hurt a little - & i have a huge blister on my instep - yuck!!) but from the shock of raising £1500 in sponsorship!! you're amazing - i can't believe it.
the race day was completely overwhelming - we didn't know it in the lead-up, but glasgow's event turned out to be the biggest one in the UK, with over 13000 people running/walking/whatever gets you through 5k. seeing so many people, with all their signs about the people they were doing it for, was a pretty emotional experience (whoever was taking pictures at the end got a really nice shot of me bursting into sobbing, gasping tears as i crossed the finish line - i'm impressed that i managed to hold it in till the end, but when it finally came out, it wasn't pretty!!).
& amazingly, i managed to run the whole way - it took 40 minutes, and we ran the whole time, without stopping to walk or rest at all!! in fact, i'm pretty sure we actually ran about 5.5k - the start was a little disorganised & we ended up behind a bunch of walkers, so we had to keep weaving in & out as we ran, and did the whole route in a sort of zig-zag pattern (which is probably why it took us 40 minutes instead of our usual 30-35). & the RSA was fantastic - not only did she manage to keep me calm(ish) before hand (i was pretty nervous, worried about not being able to finish, & freaked out at the huge crowds of people), but she kept me at a good pace through the 5k & didn't lose me in the crowds or let me get carried away by the faster runners.
all in all, i think we deserve this...

race for life reward!!
(don't worry, this is a post-race picture!)

i'll be drawing winners for all the prizes today, & contacting winners by email either this evening or tomorrow (as well as posting a winner's list here). thank you all so much for donating, & helping me make such a huge contribution to cancer research!!!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

the race is run

race for life

4 months of training, £1400, 40 minutes of running = 5k
(hi dad)

Thursday, 5 June 2008

last chance

well, yesterday was my last chance for a training run - & i'm happy to report that it went pretty well! i've now worked my way up to running for 30-35 minutes each time i run, which works out to roughly 5k, so hopefully everything will be ok for sunday, and i'll be able to run the whole thing. it's not fast, & it's definitely not pretty - but it's definitely a run, not a walk, & that's all that matters!
& it's your last chance as well - if you want to be entered in the prize draw, it's your last chance to donate & win! the donation page stays open until 22nd june 2008, & will keep accepting donations up until that date, so if you just want to make a donation without being entered into the draw then there's no rush. but if you want a chance to win one of these amazing prizes, you have to donate before the end of the day on sunday 8th june 2008 - and make sure you email me at thepenguinruns AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk after you've donated, or i won't know to put your name in the draw! i'll be drawing prize winners on monday 9th june so check back then to see if you've won.
so, keep your fingers crossed for sunday - i'll let you know how it goes!!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

new prizes!!

there's been some more, very exciting, prizes added to the prize pool...

jennifer at know knits, home of the go knits pouch, has donated a fab prize of a set of three go knits pouches (one in each size - small 8"x6", medium 11"x8", large 13"x11").

go knits pouch

& molly at nerdclub2000 on etsy has donated two separate prizes, each for a set of gorgeous stitch markers that she will cutsom make for the winners! here's a pic of a sample set, & you can see more of her work in her shop.

nerdclub2000 stitch markers

i'll add these prizes to the growing list here - keep your donations coming for more chances to win some of this amazing stuff!!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

yay you!!!

a great big cheer for all of you.... my fundraising has now reached


thank you all so much - i'm speechless.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

team turtle


for those of you who know me (& even, probably, for those of you who don't!) it will come as no surprise to find out that i don't find running fun - i definitely feel good at what i'm achieving, but i'm not enjoying the act of running. in fact, i don't enjoy exercise in any form - i'm naturally fairly lethargic (which is just a nicer-sounding way of saying i'm lazy) & i absolutely loathe sweating. i might even go so far to compare running to hitting myself in the head with a hammer - because it feels so good when i stop!! maybe, someday, it'll be fun, but that day seems very far off.
one of the effects this has on my training is that i tend to run much faster than i should; i think that my subconscious is thinking "the faster i go, the sooner this will be over!", which, alas, isn't the case. & the faster i run, the more tired i get, which means that i'm not able to run for as long as i'll need to in order to finish the whole 5k. so on yesterday's run, the RSA (normally the Resident Sock Appreciator, but in this instance, also the Running Speed Advisor) was tasked with setting a slower pace.
and it's true what they say about "slow & steady". thanks to the frequent shouts of "slow down!!!" coming from my immediate left, you'll never guess what happened...

i ran for 30 minutes.

& it didn't end there - i stopped & stretched, & walked for a couple of minutes, then ran the rest of the way home (5 more minutes)...

for a total distance of 5k!!!!!!!!!!! (holy crap, eh? - go team turtle!!)

Sunday, 18 May 2008

battling on

it's been a struggle lately, & to be honest, i'm getting discouraged. it's not the fundraising - check out the total donations in the sidebar, it's amazing, & i'm absolutely astounded at just how generous everyone is being (& check out the prizes!)!! it's the running that's getting me down.
when i first started planning this whole thing, i had two goals - to raise as much money as i could for Cancer Research UK, and to complete the whole 5k of the Race for Life running (i'm using the loosest possible definition of the word "running", by the way!). at the time, i thought i knew just how big a challenge this would be. i'm not, & never have been, athletic in the slightest - i don't even run for a bus! - but i thought that if i built up to it gradually, i could manage to run the whole 5k by race day (8th june). but suddenly, i've only got three weeks to go, and i'm stuck.
for about the past three weeks, i've been stuck at twenty minutes. no matter what i try, or how determined i am, i can't seem to run for any longer than twenty minutes - and it's starting to get me down. every time i head out for a run, i'm convinced that this time, i'm going to make it - but every time i come back, it's after only being able to run for twenty minutes (or sometimes, even less) before having to stop. with the pace that i'm doing, twenty minutes works out to about 3k, so i'll probably need to be able to run for at least ten more minutes in order to finish the whole 5k - and at at the moment, it's looking impossible.
on one hand, i'm still impressed with my progress. just over three months ago, i was struggling to run for sixty seconds at a time, and now, most days, i can run for twenty minutes! it's a huge achievement for me, and sure, i should be proud of myself. but on the other hand, i'm really worried that i'm not going to meet my goal of running the whole 5k. and because i'm doing this whole thing in memory of my dad, there's a lot more invested in this than just trying to get fit - it's an emotional battle as much as a physical one some days. i remember how brave he was throughout his illness, and the incredible strength he showed - and i feel like i'm letting him down by not showing the same kind of strength, by not pushing myself harder to reach the goal that i've set.
i guess i need to think positive - after all, i still have three weeks to go. so i'll keep battling on, & i'll let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


there have been some changes & additions to the prize pool - here's the revised prize list, with some truly amazing things to be won!! i'll keep taking sponsorship donations up until the end of the day on 8th june 2008 (run day!!) & will draw the prize winners on 9th june - for each £5 of sponsorship money you donate, you get one entry to the prize draw.

dee at posh yarn has donated a whopping 500 grams of emily, a 4ply (sock weight) yarn made from 80% lambswool, 10% angora, 10% cashmere, with 360 yards per 100g. the yarn will be dyed to whatever colour the winner chooses - have it all dyed up in one batch & knit a beautiful sweater, or choose five different colours & knit yourself a drawer full of new socks!

posh yarn

katharine at K1 Yarns has donated a prize so gorgeous that i'm tempted to sneak my own name into the prize draw - a kit for one of her new K1 designs, "waverley" featuring habu yarns. this kit includes not only the pattern (size options from 34"-44" bust) for katharine's beautiful sweater, but also all the yarn you'll need to knit it (habu shosensi (linen paper yarn) & habu stainless steel/silk blend yarn). this prize has a value of roughly £70!!!


anne at knitspot has donated three separate prizes, each for a gift certificate to her pattern shop worth $10. she's got so many gorgeous designs, you'll have a hard time choosing just one pattern - from amazingly intricate lace shawls & stoles to quicker projects like fingerless gloves & stunning socks, anne's shop has everything! i'm a self-confessed knitspot fan & have already knitted three of anne's shawl patterns, so i can vouch for how great the patterns are - & my birthday's in july, so you could always spend your gift voucher on me!


renee at goddess knits has donated at $20 gift voucher to her online pattern shop - there are some truly stunning patterns there!!

goddess knits

jen at fyberspates has donated an amazing £50 gift voucher to her online shop, so you can pick whatever you like from her yarns! my favourite is her dk weight "scrumptious", a blend of BFL & silk which she dyes up in gorgeous colourways:

fyberspates scrumptious

natalie at the yarn yard has donated a month's membership to her "sock club plus" - this gets you 100 grams of her variegated sock yarn, plus 100 grams of her solid sock yarn, in exclusive club colourways - look at her beautiful colours!

yarn yard sock

val at actual size creations on etsy is donating a super-cool knitter's messenger bag, custom-made just for this prize draw in the race for life colours (blue & pink). you can check her site for other views of her messenger bags, but here's a sample pic of one of her bags, with room for all your needles & tools:

messenger bag

kat at paper & yarn on etsy has donated a set of her cute stitch markers, which will be custom-made for the winner with whatever words they want. you can check out her etsy site to see some of her work, but here's a sample pic of some of her markers:

stitch markers

jennifer at know knits, home of the go knits pouch, has donated a fab prize of a set of three go knits pouches (one in each size - small 8"x6", medium 11"x8", large 13"x11").

go knits pouch

& molly at nerdclub2000 on etsy has donated two separate prizes, each for a set of gorgeous stitch markers, that she will custom make for the winners! here's a pic of a sample set, & you can see more of her work in her shop.

nerdclub2000 stitch markers

plus, i've dug deep into my own precious yarn stash & come up with a couple of tempting prizes as well! first, a skein of handmaiden sea silk in colourway "midnight":

lace - handmaiden sea silk

handmaiden sea silk is a 2-ply weight yarn with 100 grams & 400 metres per skein, & is a blend of silk & seacell (a fibre made from seaweed!).

and, to get you hard-core sock knitters drooling, i've convinced myself that this is a good enough cause for me to give up a precious skein of the elusive wollmeise sockenwolle, in colourway "dani":

wollmeise dani

wollmeise sockenwolle is 100% superwash merino - and once you've knitted with it, you'll never want to knit with anything else!! the skein has a whopping 150 grams & 575 yards (i've made two pairs of socks out of one skein before).

& last, but by no means least, is this beauty:

swallowtail shawl detail

it's a swallowtail shawl, knitted by me in my own old maiden aunt 2-ply silk/cashmere hand-dyed in a one-off colourway, & decorated with sparkling beads. it's a small-ish shoulder shawl, perfect for wearing over a summer dress, and the silk/cashmere fibre blend is just luscious.

so how do you get a chance to win one of these amazing prizes? simple - follow the links in the sidebar to donate on my race for life sponsorship page, or send me your sponsorship donation via paypal to tigerlilith AT hellokitty DOT com. then, email me at thepenguinruns AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk to let me know that you've sponsored me and that you want to be entered into the prize draw (this step is very important!!). each £5 donation gets you one entry to the prize draw - so the more you donate, the better your chances. please donate before the end of the day on 8th june 2008 - i'll be drawing prize winners on 9th june!!

Friday, 25 April 2008

pure muscle

i've been having some problems lately with muscle pain & cramps, mainly in my calves. & it's been getting quite frustrating - a lot of the runs that i've been doing, i've felt that i could have kept going for a bit longer, if it weren't for my calves cramping up. i'm pretty sure that this has to do with not stretching properly, combined with the fact that my calves & hamstrings are shorter than normal (i was a toe-walker for a while when i was little, which may have something to do with it!). what would be a normal range of motion for most people has always been a stretch for me (literally!) - i've never even been able to touch my toes. & although i knew this was most likely the cause of the cramping, i thought it might be a good idea to get some professional help - i've read some books & website about proper stretching exercises, but i'm not that great at following static pictured instructions, & find it much easier to learn something if i can see someone else do it.
so, i went to see emma, the lovely physiotherapist at achilles heel in glasgow, for some stretching advice. & i knew the situation was grim right from the start of the appointment - no matter what you've gone in for, it's never good when the professional takes one look at the offending body part & exclaims "oh my GOD!!!!". so it's confirmed - my calves, hamstrings, and hips are incredibly tight & tense, and a strict & extensive stretching regime was prescribed & demonstrated (& then i was tested on it to make sure i was doing them all properly). then, the session was topped off with a quick sports massage on my tight & crampy calves, which is when i was given the good news - although they're far too tight, which needs sorting, my calves have officially been proclaimed as "pure, solid muscle"!!!
now, i've always been a bit self-conscious about my calves - they're pretty chunky, compared to most people's. i can't buy boots higher than ankle-length unless they lace up - anything that pulls on or zips up simply won't go over my enormous calves (not even wellies, which are usually pretty wide at the top!). but now, i know the reason for my larger-than-life legs - an excess of muscle.
too bad then same can't be said of the rest of me - but at least i know now that from the knees down, i'm doing ok.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

eight minutes baby!!

yes, it's true - although i don't blame you for being sceptical. i was actually there, and even i don't believe it...

yesterday, i ran for eight minutes. (i'll allow a little pause for your shocked gasps, & even, possibly, some fainting from surprise).

& it didn't end there - after i did that, i walked for five minutes, and ran for eight minutes again.

seriously, can you believe it? i can't, and i saw it happen! i'm so impressed with myself i can't even tell you. & tomorrow, i'm going to do it again!!

next week, i conquer a ten-minute run....

Monday, 7 April 2008

(just like) starting over

well, that chest infection sure kicked my butt. i'm back into the running now, at long last, but my lungs still aren't quite back to normal, so i've had to take a few steps back in the training. i'm a bit discouraged, as i had made it all the way up to running for five whole minutes (!!!!), and now, even a couple of minutes at a time is a struggle. but i'm plodding on nonetheless, hoping that i'll get back on track soon...

Sunday, 16 March 2008


it's been a difficult week, what with one thing & another. i did manage to complete the first workout of the week (run 5 minutes, walk 2.5 minutes, repeat twice more), although it was a bit of a slog. but the next day i was struck down with a cold, which quickly turned into a heinous chest infection (& what with the aforementioned asthma, chest-related illnesses become very serious very quickly with me). after a friday night trip to the emergency on-call doctor, i came away with various prescriptions for large doses of inhalers, steroids, and antibiotics, and am now feeling a tiny bit better.
it probably goes without saying, but since the simple act of breathing is currently occupying most of my time & energy, all running plans have gone right out the window. i'm on a week-long course of high-dosage drugs, so hopefully it'll be resolved fairly soon, but i'm bummed out by the effect this is going to have on my training - i'm not in good enough shape yet that i can take a week or two off and bounce back to where i was before, which means that i'll probably have to take a step or two back in the training program and have a couple of weeks of do-overs. sigh...

Monday, 3 March 2008


i've been quite neglectful in posting to this blog, partially because i'm feeling a bit repetitive. i don't want it to become just an endless string of posts along the lines of "this week, i ran. it hurt. i kept going anyways." - that, i'm sure, would be even more boring to read than it would be to write! but part of the reason that i didn't post is that last week was by far the hardest yet, and i was feeling pretty down about it - not just because the running itself was difficult, but because the whole week pretty much sucked.
march 1st was the annversary of my dad's death, and it seems that no matter how much time passes (seven years, now), that day, and in fact just about the entire week leading up to it, is just awful. i was pretty emotionally fragile all week (as an example, i had a customer at work who was so mean to me that i actually burst into tears - luckily, i managed to wait until i was on my own!). and the running (or, more accurately, plodding along wheezing) didn't help.
i'm now at the stage of the training program (week four) where i have to do the following: run 3 minutes, walk 1.5 minutes, run 5 minutes (?!?!?), walk 2.5 minutes, then repeat the whole thing once more. and for someone who, four weeks ago, was struggling to run for 1 minute, it seemed a challenge too far. sure enough, i didn't quite make it - on the second run of the week, i had to add in some extra walking time, and what with the aforementioned emotional fragility, had a mini-meltdown during the run (note to self - crying while running does not help, especially if you're already out of breath!). luckily, it was dark & rainy, so there were no witnesses apart from the RSA & the pup (both of whom have seen this kind of thing before).
i've pulled myself together, and am taking another crack at week four - it's a nine week program, and since it's still only march, i've got some extra time to play around with, and have decided that if a week is simply too hard, i'll do it again the next week, and the week after that if need be, until i feel that i'm ready to push myself into the next week of training. so this week, i'll be repeating last week - hopefully with less crying!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

a little more, a little less

well, this has been the second week of my "couch to 5k" training program, which called upon me to run for 90 seconds then walk for two minutes, repeated for twenty minutes. since i'd been having such a hard time with week one (running for 60 seconds, which doesn't sound like a lot!) i was pretty discouraged going into this week.
but surprise, surprise - it didn't hurt as much as the first week! this isn't to say that it has been easy - definitely not! i'm still out of shape (or, at least, the wrong shape for successful running - that is to say, penguin-shaped!) and it was still painful, but it didn't hurt as much as the first week did, which leads me to live in hope that it can only get better from here (that's logical, right?).
the fundraising has been going pretty well - but there's still room for more! there's some fab prizes to be won, and only a few people in the draw so far, so donate, get in touch, and get your name down for some great knitty stuff!!

Sunday, 10 February 2008


well, that about sums up the first week of training - i don't think i'd realised just how out of shape i am. i love that phrase, by the way - "out of shape" - like i was "in shape" before & i've just stepped out for a minute. alas, that phrase is completely misleading - i've never been "in shape". or at least, i've always been in just this shape - that is, a little lazy & a little overweight, & definitely more brain than brawn.
the first week of the training program consists of three workouts, each with a five-minute warmup walk, followed by repeating 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. & seriously - 60 seconds of running, when you haven't run since - well - ever, is pretty painful! i'm already feeling a little down about the whole thing, and am starting to worry that i've taken on too much.
it can only get better, right?

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

prizes, prizes, prizes!!

sponsor me to run 5k - every penny you pledge will go straight to Cancer Research UK. for every £5 you give, i'll give you one entry into the prize raffle (so, if you donated £20, you'd get four chances to win!!). i'll keep adding to the list as i get more prize donors, but here's how it looks so far..

anne at knitspot has donated three prizes, each for a $10 gift voucher to her pattern shop! i've knitted a few of her patterns myself, and they're all absolutely beautiful.

dee at posh yarn has donated a HUGE prize - 500 grams of "lucia", a 4-ply merino/cashmere blend yarn, to be custom-dyed to any colour the winner chooses! get it all dyed in one batch & knit a luscious sweater, or get five different colours for five pairs of cozy socks... yum.

natalie at the yarn yard has donated one month of her sock club plus, which gets you two 100 gram skeins of sock yarn in exclusive club colourways, one variegated & one solid.

jeni at fyberspates has donated a generous £50 gift voucher for her online shop, which is chock-full of beautiful handdyed silks, wools, & cashmeres - go drool, and plan how you'll spend all that money.

kat has donated a set of too-cute stitch markers from her etsy shop.

val has offered an amazing knitting bag from her etsy shop, made especially for the prize draw!

keep checking back to see the latest prizes - the list is growing all the time!!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

like a penguin, but slower

i'll be participating in the race for life on 8th june 2008, in memory of my lovely dad, who died from lung cancer on 1st march 2001. & although running comes as naturally to me as flying does to a penguin, i'm determined not just to participate, but to run the whole 5k.
you can help!! sponsor me to do the run & raise money for Cancer Research UK by following the link in the sidebar. and if you need more incentive than the thought of me running for 5k, here it is:
i'll also be running a prize draw to boost my fundraising - for every £5 you donate to sponsor my epic run, you get one entry into the draw (so if you donate more, you get more chances to win!!). make sure you email me (thepenguinruns AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk) to let me know that you've donated, and how much, or else i won't know to add you to the prize draw! i'll be approaching folk that i know to ask them to donate to the prize pool, and so far, there are already some truly gorgeous prizes on offer from some truly generous people....
i'll be keeping track of the prize pool here, as well as letting you know how my training is going, so keep checking back for the latest news! and if you'd like to donate a prize, or know someone who would, please feel free to email me(thepenguinruns AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk) !!