make: tassel key chain

There is this store in DC called Salt & Sundry. They carry adorable stuff. Home decorating and entertaining stuff mostly. I always go in thinking that I will be getting something. I recently went in looking for a birthday gift and did my normal, “everything is so cute”. Only then to look at the price tags and gasp. Much of it is handmade so I do understand the  time and effort that goes in to making something by hand, but I can’t bring myself to pay some of the prices.

All of that to say I saw some cute leather tassel key chains today. They were leather and had a cute little metal number attached. So when I saw they weren’t $10 but more like $75 I was determined to come home and make my own. I kind of eyeballed the whole thing so I don’t have detailed instructions. I cut a rectangle, measured off the top section and drew a line, and cut strips to the line. I used leather glue and started by rolling the leather around a folded piece to attach the tassel and then just kept rolling to the end. The glue I used stuck pretty quickly, but you might have to hold it rolled up for a few minutes.



I attached my key chain and ta-da! Fancy key ring for free! Well for free today and since I bought this leather over 5 years ago from a scrap bin, and the glue and scissors were also pretty old and well used I say it was for well under $75.



gait: training to pace

I bet you’ve been wondering what I was training for now. Sorry to keep you waiting. The truth is I don’t have a race on the calendar, but I have been training. My sister Kristen the Crafty Runner is running the Never Summer 100K in Colorado and has invited me to tag along. While I won’t be running 64.2 miles through 14,000ft of vertical gain and descent, I have agreed to help pace her for the final 14 miles of the race. These final miles will not only be on a trail in the Never Summer Mountains on the Northern border of the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Medicine Bow Mountains, but also most likely in the dark.


Here is what I’ve been doing to prepare:

Running a weekly long run on the trails of DC– Discovering some new trails have been fun. Predicting how long it will take me to run the new trails has been challenging. The trails range from wide and very runnable to rocky and rooty and from well marked to questionable. But overall DC has some great trails in the middle of the city. Certain areas of the trail are pretty empty while other areas near parking lots have a lot more people. This morning I was cautioned that there was a naked man running ahead… luckily I never found him.


Running hills– Running hill repeats and some running incline on the treadmill.

Running with a water backpack- I’ll have to carry my own supplies so I bought a Nathan’s  water backpack and have been running with it to practice. Its less annoying than I expected and there are so many pockets! Quick tip on eliminating sloshing- hold the water bag upside down and suck out all the excess air!


Running around my apartment with a headlamp on- I’m not about to try trail running in DC by myself in the dark, so I haven’t found a good way to practice running in the dark. But the headlamp seemed pretty comfortable to wear so thats a good start.

Running in humidity- We don’t have a lot of altitude in DC. Often my minimum elevation for a run is zero. But I heard that running in humidity is actually a good proxy for running at altitude and DC has a lot of humidity.  I’m not sure how much science is behind this, but I’m rolling with it.

Running trail races- Twice I’ve travelled outside DC to do a trail race. The first was 10 miles and the second a 10K. While these shorter races will be a lot different from an Ultra, they gave me a little insight on sharing a trail with others and race atmosphere.


Cross training- I’ve been doing some weights and just took my first FlyWheel class.

Talking while running or not talking- What I’ve read on pacing is that they might want you to talk to them or may want you to be quiet. So during my weekly group run I’ve been trying to read what others want… haha just kidding on this one. I’m not sure how to prepare for this.

Have you ever paced someone or ran a mountain trail race? What else should I be preparing for?