Marathon Motivation

I’m finally getting serious about my marathon training – especially as my foot is more or less cooperating.  But I won’t lie, it is hard business, especially with my work schedule.  It is not only finding the time to run, but the motivation not to crawl into bed.  Instead of finding excuses of why I won’t run, I remind myself of why I am running and that, yes, indeed I can run.  It is sobering to remember that there are so many service members who should not be physical able to run after the trauma they have been through, yet through sheer determination (and some great prosthetic technology) they are not only walking, but running marathons, climbing mountains, and competing in the para-olympics.  So what if I’m tired, I CAN run.

The constant switching between nights and days is hard, but when you are working nights, when do you actually run?  For me, its nearly impossible to do it before work, I just can get up at the equivalent of 2:30am (reality 2:30pm) and then bike at 4:00 and then work 12 hours.  Although trying to run after working and a bike ride home is also seemingly impossible.  But I did it.  After finishing my 2nd night shift for this cycle, I got home, dropped off my backpack, changed out of my bike shorts and shoes into my jogging clothes.  I was tired. I yawned. I didn’t want to do it.  Going to bed was so incredibly tempting, but I thought of those who cannot run, those who should not be able to run and do, and I reminded myself that I was capable and just needed to push my brain a little harder.

Well…I did it.  I got out on the trail and the battle of wills began.  My legs were sluggish, my yawns were intensifying, and my body wanted to curl up and sleep.  I knew I had to push through, it didn’t matter if I ran a 9 minute mile or an 11 minute one, I knew I could do 3 miles.  One foot after another, time stood still and my legs slogged through.  One mile down.  I started to cave. I stopped, stretched, walked.  I looked out at the Washington Monument and the Capital building.  It was a beautiful morning.  I remembered how pretty the sunrise was when I biked in.  Then it was time.  I was hopeful the caboose would restart faster, with more energy than before.  Sadly mistaken.

But like Thomas, I kept moving, steeling my mind against my fatigue.  And then, like out of no-where I finished.  I made the three miles.  I knew I needed win my stumbling block, so I pushed on another quarter mile.  It may have only been 3 miles, but the mental challenge was one of the hardest runs I’ve done.  I’m glad. It made me remember that I can run and I am running so that others will able to do run again too.

Want to help? Check out Team Fisher House:  https://www.active.com/donate/FisherHouse2012MCM/jheller27 

Stay safe,

Caribou Out.

New Tire – Hearting REI

I wasn’t expecting my new tire until Monday, but REI in true awesome form got the order in early!  Got a new (well two…) new tubes for my 25 x 700 puncture resistant tire….we shall see how it holds up!  LBS recommended against tire liners here, as we don’t have those nasty goathead thorns.  They also recommended a normal tube, which is nice since my rear wheel is slightly heavier with the new tire.  Front tire and tube is still going strong!

Hopefully I’ll get a good ride in this weekend, in spite of the heat – sadly I’m working next weekend when the temperatures are supposed to be a balmy 80!  Here’s to a break in the heat wave, maybe turning off my AC, and a flat free summer, fall, winter…… 😉

Stay cool.

Caribou out.

Seriously Bike?!

Guess what happened going to work last night…you’ll never guess…I got a flat. Rear tire. >sigh<  Cannot wait for my new tire to get here!  My rear tire is seriously cursed.  I’m too annoyed to even investigate the flat at this point, another slow leaker…these pin prick flats are killing me!!!!  Tomorrow I’ll fill it up, go to my local bike store…invest in more tubes and see if they have any more thoughts on what to do.  I’m contemplating tire liners, although they worry me, since they can actually cause pinch flats if not put in correctly.  With my luck, even with good installation they would cause me flats!

Oh bike, why do you hate me so much??

On a positive note, I have started cooking again and playing my harp.  Slowly but surely I’m coming out of my shell and back to life.  Its hard to get started, but once you get going you just need to have faith in gravity and give yourself little reminders and pushes.  A great visit with the family really helped to get me going again!

On the cooking side, nothing too crazy, just some good old quinoa pasta with cheese pasta sauce and a little bit of broccoli.  Keeping it simple and getting the training wheels back on.

For the harp, I replaced the two strings that popped, courtesy of the humidity, re-tuned, and started playing songs I knew so many years ago…rather than look at where I should be if I didn’t take breaks, I’m focusing on the skill I still have and where I want to go in the future!  It may not be a stage, but its never too late… 🙂

Here’s to dreaming, no more flats, and finding the strength and inspiration to live life to the fullest!

Caribou out.

Its too hot to hike.

After chatting with my mom, I’ve realized part of why I’ve not been so active in posting is…well…I was a little bummed out with some things in life.  But the good news is, recognizing the bummer and then doing something about it.  In addition to my biking, sad attempts at running, and swimming, I enjoy – no – LOVE hiking.  Hiking is simply awesome.

So what do you do when its 95 degrees, sunny, humid, and really really really unpleasant outside?  Treadmill hike.  It is something I learned to do in my Baghdad days.   In the summer temperatures would sore to the 120s and would reach a “chilly” 100 in the evening with lots of crap in the air.  Temperature aside, it was Baghdad.  We lived in a concrete campus and even if there was a place to hike you probably wouldn’t want to go there.  (Maybe Kurdistan, but I never made it out there…)  Anyway, the gist of it is, walk at a reasonable pace and then jack up the incline of the treadmill, change it up throughout the workout and do it for at least an hour but preferably two.  For added “fun” throw on a backpack with weights or weight vest.

In Baghdad, I would put on my weight vest and watch the Biggest Loser for two hours.  I would aim for a 16 minute pace – but varied it so I wouldn’t get bored or burned out – and aimed to stay above a “6” grade incline on the treadmill.  The hardest part was hitting the highest incline and not holding onto the sides!  Dang that brings back some pain 🙂

The last two nights I’ve enjoyed some quality TLC, Bravo, and OWN programming whilst cranking up the ‘mill and donning my weight vest.  Even though I’m a bit tired and my legs are saying, whaaaat?  it is really quite excellent.  Tonight I threw in a little challenge and did .25 mile “sprints” 4 times.  My mom also reminded me that when dad trained for his marathon he found the intervals and speed work to be really helpful.  Thanks mom for the good advice and good reminders 🙂

One day at time getting myself back on track.  But its feeling good.

I also ordered a new tire – hoping to alleviate my curse of the flats.  I’ll be trying out the Serfas Seca Survivor Tire in a 25 x 700 variety.  Fingers crossed the extra 3mm and “puncture resistant” tire will work.  I’ll give updates to let everyone know.  In the mean time, I’ll be using the time tested dollar bill tire patch and a new inner tube, anxiously awaiting my new tire!!

Stay safe on the trails!

Caribou out.

Is it really July?

Wow. I’ve kinda fallen off the earth for a little bit there, huh?  Well… my plague of flats continues…I think it has been 4 or 5 flats in the same tire (ahem *tyre*) now (rear tire)…the good news is I’m getting to be quite proficient in finding leaks and fixing flats.  The bad news is, I keep getting flats!  I thought I was done with flats after I relented and went to the bike shop and had them fix the last one, they replaced my rim tape, although they didn’t think that was the problem, but just in case, gave me a thicker tube, and triple checked my tire.  Tire was fine.  Well, as least I knew it wasn’t something I didn’t spot or did wrong!  1 week after the tire change, bam! another slow leaker.  I likely ran over some glass.  I checked and checked my tire and tube, and only after 2 water submersions did I find the leak in the tube.  Tire still looks great but by comparing the leak in the tube to the tire I found a point of weakness that makes a very teeny part of tire vulnerable to anything rough.  So I’m going to get something to patch my tire and then get some new ones.

For those who are not familiar with the Sheldon Brown bike website, it is amazing.  Seriously. Upon investigating and reading about the pros and cons, I’m considering replacing just my back tire with a slightly wider tire, so it will be a little *hopefully* less vulnerable to flats.  My front tire has been flat free since 2009.  I use a Fuji road bike and have 23 x 700 tires with 120 psi.  I try to get as close to the 120 before each ride/commute to avoid the ever hated pinch or snake-bite flats.  Riding over train tracks doesn’t help my cause too much, which is why I’m thinking of getting a 25 or 26 x 700 tire to give a little added protection to my caboose.

Once I fix my tire and then ultimately replace the tire I’m hopeful my days of flats will be over!  I promise to keep you all more updated and not be so lax in my blogging.  Onwards and upwards!

Stay safe and happy trails.

Caribou out.