In-Depth Post 2: Run Forest, Run!

Updates and Changes

A lot has changed with my in-depth project over the past two weeks. After pursuing a few options for mentors that turned out to be dead ends, I came to re-think my approach to in-depth this year. Last year I did a project that was out of my comfort zone, something that was a big challenge. Though I did challenge myself this year; I do already know some basics of sewing and have already done a craft-based in-depth. I saw my failure to find a mentor in sewing as an opportunity to re-direct my project and challenge myself in a different way instead. I have decided to train—ideally—for a full marathon. I finally decided to change my project after, Pam, a potential mentor, said that she could not mentor me at this time. I was very disappointed at first; but being a mentor is a big commitment that takes a lot of time and I understand that it is difficult. At this point, I thought that maybe this was a blessing in disguise and decided to begin pursuing marathon training for my in-depth.

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This idea for in-depth came up after coming back from Everest basecamp. My mum and I were talking one day about what our next physical challenge should be, and we decided to try do a marathon together. Since I would already be training, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to also make it my in-depth project. Making training for a marathon my in-depth would help the process as I would have the chance to reflect in blog posts, have a mentor to help me along the way, and help to keep myself accountable for training.

I want to do a full marathon because I really want to push myself physically. I have experience with running, but I have never ran with a goal in mind, and have never jogged more than 10 or 12 km at a time. I have done long hikes however, and I believe that from my experience, I do have the potential to do a full marathon. I wanted to train with my family because during the year, we are all very busy; this is an opportunity to spend time together and achieve a shared goal.

Progress Report

Since last week, I have begun researching possible mentors, training programs, and marathons. There are a lot of training programs in the community, and I thought that I could find a mentor with in a training program. Some places that offer marathon training programs include: The Running Room, USA FIT Vancouver, Peak Center Vancouver, Forerunners, and Kinetic. They are all close by and follow a similar regimen: train at home two to three times a week and one to two times a week with a group led by instructors. Additionally, some programs offer extras like nutritional advice and educational talks. Most of the programs do not cost a lot, with the most expensive running clinic at $150 for a 16-week program. If I cannot find a program suited to me (which may be the case for reasons I will go into more detail below) than I can join a running club in the community and train more independently with a mentor. I have also been looking into marathons that I can register for; many are reasonable priced and sound very exciting. However, I may not qualify for most marathons as I am under 18.

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Ideally I wanted to do the BMO marathon, but I am too young… image sourced from: http://www.insidevancouver.ca/2013/04/28/vancouver-prepares-for-canadas-biggest-marathon-bmo-vancouver-marathon-may-5/

Difficulties

Age is the biggest difficulty I have run into so far. Many running clinics will not accept people under 18 to train, however, they do sometimes accept people over 16 to train with a parent. Many marathons also do not allow people under 18 to participate. Not qualifying due to my age is a very difficult challenge because it is out of my control. However, I do plan on contacting training facilities to find out if they can make an exception as I will soon turn 16. I have found one marathon done by MEC, for a very low cost, that seems to not have any age-restrictions from what I have read on the website, but I will have to double check. The only issue with the MEC marathon is that it is at the end of April, which does not leave a lot of time for training. If I do not find a marathon in the area, then I will do the Greenriver marathon in Washington as it has a very low cost and has no age restrictions; however, it is far away. Another challenge I have faced is simply starting in-depth from scratch; I am considering re-doing certain parts of the learning contract to more clearly set goals for my new focus. In-depth is definitely time sensitive and if I do not start training properly and registering for a marathon soon, I could loose out on this season and run out of time to train and complete a marathon. I think that the most obvious difficulty I will face is the physical and mental aspect of long distance running at a young age. This is the type of project that requires a lot of time and effort over a long period of time. It will definitely be a challenge, but I am up for it.

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Hopes

I hope that I will train three to four times a week in total and train with my mentor for one to two of the training sessions per week. I ideally want to do a full marathon, however, if I find through training that I am not able to do that, then I will re-focus and aim to do a half-marathon. Through in-depth this year, I hope to become healthier and more aware of my physical abilities. I hope to learn how to train, take care of and acclimatize my body for marathon training and for future endeavours. I think that knowledge of how to take care of my body is applicable in many other aspects of my life and would be a great help to me. I have a lot of hope for this project, it is a very big endeavour, but I believe that with the right training and the right mentor, it is within my capabilities.

A Beautiful Mind

Though I don’t have a mentor yet, I still really enjoyed the communication strategies talked about in A Beautiful Mind and see their applications relative to me. I know that I personally tend to agree a lot with the people around me as I struggle to differ and disagree as to not cause any kinds of conflicts. Reading about ways to differ and disagree in a healthy way challenged me this week to use some of the strategies when talking to other people. I liked that emphasis was placed on communicating ideas wholly and truthfully to challenge and help each other. This idea helped me see the importance in talking about differences and disagreements in a respectful way, and the good things that can come from them. One strategy that I really liked was #8: “You may want to disagree to show a different personal experience.” I thought that this type of advice would have also been helpful last year during in-depth. I was often too shy to speak out about differences of opinion in shoe design, and that hindered the design of my shoes as the seams were not all located where I would have liked them to be. Speaking out about the difference would have helped better the final product. I think that A Beautiful Mind will be very helpful in developing the relationship with my future mentor, and I look forward to continuing to read it.

Conclusion

I am very happy to have changed my in-depth project and think that it is better suited to me and that I will get more out of this experience. I know that it will be a difficult journey, and that I will not have a lot of time to achieve my goal, but I have a lot of hope that I will run a full marathon. I think that I have the determination and potential to achieve my goal. I am very excited to begin this journey again and get to see everyone around me also develop new passions and skills.

To-Do List for the Next Two Weeks

  • Continue to search for running clinics and programs.
  • Contact the Running Room and Kinetics (most flexible with ages) call and e-mail.
  • Contact friends and family who have ran marathons for advice and possible mentorship hook-ups.
  • Ask for extension for the criminal record check if mentor is not found very soon!
  • Continue to run regularly and begin to make more serious goals.
  • Re-do the goals chart and time chart from the learner’s contract to make sure that I keep myself accountable.
  • Other?

In-Depth: Sew Far Sew Good

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This is the latest dress I have been fascinated by. Image from: http://www.marieclaire.com/fashion/news/a24624/lily-collins-golden-globes-red-carpet-2017/

For my in-depth project, I have decided to study sewing. I have wanted to learn to sew for a long time and thought that this would be a great opportunity. After ending up taking a fashion merchandising class last year, I have been very fascinated with the way clothing is produced, sold, and recycled. This interest has led to a chronic case of online shopping (here are some websites) which opened the door to some realizations. I first realized that I really liked looking at pretty things. Secondly, I realized that I could not afford anything on the sites I was looking at. It simply was not feasible to buy a $2,000 blouse or a dress that costs as much as a year of university. Thirdly, I realized that most of the garments I admired from afar, were very simple; and then I came to my fourth realization. The realization that if I cannot buy it, maybe I can make it. Maybe I could make it better, with my own designs, with the perfect sizing, with the perfect materials, colours, prints and trims. I realized that I could really make something; something that could make me very happy.

This type of mentality (if I can’t find it, I will make it) is a part of my DNA. It is part of the reason why I chose to learn to make shoes for in-depth last year. It is the reason why my dad makes bags for a hobby, and why my grandmother sews. Through this type of mentality, I have learned that if you really want something, you have to work for it. However, it is nearly impossible to do anything alone.

I have begun to look for my mentor, and after a very good recommendation, I found Pam. She has been teaching sewing for over 30 years and is a very well-versed sewer. I have begun to pursue her as my mentor and I hope that it works out well. I know that last year, finding a mentor was one of the most difficult parts of in-depth. However, I have begun to search for other people that could possibly be my mentor if Pam cannot be. I have not contacted anyone as of yet, but will do so next week if I do not have a more solid response from Pam. I have looked at sewing teachers in Port Coquitlam, and Coquitlam as well as at local classes at sewing shops like Fabricana. If all else fails, I kind neighbour has offered to help me in this endeavour after hearing about my search for a sewing mentor. However, I would prefer to step further outside of my comfort zone and work with someone new, and someone who is a professional in the field. I hope to cultivate a strong relationship with my mentor, as I have maintained with my mentor from last year. I strive to talk openly about feedback, maintain not only a good working relationship but a friendly relationship with my mentor, and to work together to make the best plan for my learning.

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Its a time to sew! Image sourced from: http://cherishedbycheryl.com/what-is-sewing/

I have made some rather ambitious goals for my learning. I am aiming to make a mini-collection of three different looks that each show the sewing techniques I have learned. Ideally I would make one dress, one skirt, one pair of pants, a blouse, and a simple jacket (maybe cape style). All of the garments would be very simple in silhouette as to not complicate myself. This is a rather difficult goal for the allotted time but I feel very passionately about this endeavour and will work hard to achieve it. Some specific sewing skills I would like to learn are: sewing with different stitches, patching old clothing, hemming clothing, installing buttons, zippers, elastics waists, and pockets, as well installing zippers, and adding details like embroidery, piping, and applique. I would also ideally like to learn how to change fabrics by ruching, pleating, and layering. Learning some good pre-sewing techniques like: designing with practicality in mind, choosing appropriate materials as well as treating them, and patterning clothing are also all very important to me.

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Ideas for a possible final product…

For the final presentation, I would ideally like to have a mini-fashion show to showcase the clothes I have made. For this presentation style to work, I would need time on the stage to present, models to wear the clothing, music to go with the catwalk portion of the presentation, and a speech to go with the rest of the presentation. To add to the presentation, Ms. Mulder has suggested that I create a few small pieces for the MC’s of the in-depth night, and I really like the sound of that idea. However, if my sewing skills are not at that level yet, or if I have not finished enough pieces at that time than I will make a small station with a poster board showing the steps I took in learning to sew and in creating the garments; showing physical evidence like patterns, designs, and fabric swatches to illustrate the complexity of the project. I would still also continue to display my final products in this scenario. However, I hope that the first option works out.

I have not done a lot so far for in-depth besides contacting a possible mentor, learning some basic sewing terms (enough to make more specific goals), making my learner’s contract, and researching for my in-depth research essay. However, everything has been going very well so far and I am very excited thinking about the final products.

I am very happy with my choice of in-depth project this year; I think that picking something like sewing is good because it is a very good life skill to have. I believe that in the future if I ever have to modify clothes for a job interview and such I would have the ability to. It would also be a great skill because I can then make clothes for myself to save money, trust in the quality, trust in the ethics of the garment, and have clothes that best suit me. I am excited to hear that Emily is also studying sewing this year and I hope that we get the chance to connect and collaborate. In-depth is off to a great start this year and I hope this positivity carries over into May and beyond.

I am looking forward to seeing the in-depth projects of all the Talons this year develop over the course of the next five months. I know that seeing everyone develop all of this new knowledge and skills will be quite the sight to see. Good luck to everyone!

Update: In case you were wondering, I am still working on my in-depth project from last year. I have just finished lasting my shoes and will soon start to put on the soling. I am going in to the shop tomorrow and will upload some pictures for a progress update then. The shoes, obviously, took a lot longer than expected. However, I am very happy that I have stuck with this project; it has brought a lot of great things into my life including a job and a few new friends. I hope to finish the shoes in time for this years in-depth; I hope to wear them on the day of, but am afraid that my feet will have out-grown the shoes by the time they are finished. It is looking like I will finish in March, so I have some extra time before May if anything goes wrong.