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.

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.

8K Happiness

I ran my first race of the year! A stellar 8k in which I placed 7th in my class and 57th out of 292 women!  With a time of 43:28 I left the race feeling fantastic!  I taped up my foot for the race and all was fine, it was a little sore yesterday and almost no soreness today, which is great – especially since I’ve not run for pretty much all of April.  (You may have noticed a lack of my posting…)

Slowly but surely its coming back and I’m getting excited!  The race was fun and reminded me to break out of a rut – my rut has been doing a lot of things on my own.  I’m looking forward to going on some fun runs, joining a running group, and doing a midnight “summit” of old rag with some folks in a month.  I also keep looking at adorable doggies that I may foster or adopt.  Although that might be hard with the schedule I keep.  Not sure how they’ll do with an owner who is nocturnal every 2 weeks!  I’m not quite sure how I even do it!

April went by quickly, there were some ups, downs, and neutrals.  I let some things get in the way of posting and doing what is best for me, but sometimes you need to be a little over-come to get back on the right path to happiness.

What I always remember and remind myself of is that being outdoors and active will always bring happiness in my life.  A few times last month I was just feeling “blah” and took a walk outside and sat by the Potamac, looking at the Capitol building, watching the planes take off and land; before I knew it, I was in a better mood.

Just remember folks, a breath of fresh of air, really can be a breath of fresh air!

Stay Safe and happy trails.

Caribou out.

Its April what already?!?

Whoa. Where on earth did the time go??  I owe some major postings!!  So as they come out, here are some tid-bits to catch you up.

April 12:  Changed my rear-wheel tire all by myself!! Super excited, a small accomplishment I know, but I feel a lot more self sufficient now.  Time to read more about bike maintenance to learn about the derailleur and brake centering 🙂

April 10:  Finished “Demon in the Freezer” can’t wait to read “Hot Zone”

April 9:  Ran TO work (took lots of advil before hand) and high-fived the runner I see at 0445 each day.

April 4:  Possible stress-fracture in my right foot, 5th metatarsal.  Booh.

April 1:  Finished night shifts coming off vacay. Ran HOME!!  Slept for 2 days straight.

March 18-26:  Traveling!! Paris, France followed by Northern and Central Portugal.  Many tasty foods (and tummy aches – not even I can pass up freshly baked croissant, but so worth it!), minor dental emergency, one missed flight, lots of garmin lady being “douchey” (her words, not mine), and a little bit of french spoken.  Even had time for a Parisian and Portugese run.  Fantastic trip.  Photos to come.

That’s it in a nut shell – seriously though, updates to come!!

My Quasi “Cleanse”

I do not believe in fad diets or these bizarre cleanses where you drink water with lemons, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup.  Maybe its because both of my parents have food science/nutrition backgrounds, or simply because the body needs things like nutrients and calories to preform well.  As part of my “ok, lets get serious” mind-set (applicable to finally getting my home o-r-g-a-n-i-z-e-d and re-committing to cycling, running, swimming, and yoga) I wanted to jump start my eat healthy, feel healthy, be healthy mindset.

Why Quasi Cleanse?  I won’t lie.  My diet in January and February…varied from great to atrocious [and everything in between].  **Mom/Dad – shield your eyes for this part** There were days where ice cream became dinner…rice and corn became the base of my diet…and veggies…well, we were growing apart.  One benefit of eliminating gluten from my diet, it limits a lot of junk food, but there is a ton of naturally gluten-free crap out there too.  Lent helped kicked me in the bum a little – it put an end to junk food and impulsive decisions.  I wanted Lent to be more than a craving struggle, so I gave up making impulsive decisions – I highly recommend it…..Where was I? Oh yes, veggies and I were growing distant.  I didn’t return their calls, they stopped texting.  It was getting bad.  I didn’t care who started the argument, it was time to make up and get our mojo back.

The Prep:  To start, I put the cereal in the top shelves of my kitchen, threw out any remaining ice cream, and gave the kitchen a super clean.  I always find doing a deep clean helps to literally wipe the slate clean –  when you finish, I feel great and think to myself, “Ok, I can do this. Lets get started!” I broke out my Christmas present (thank you Mom and Dad) – the Vitamix blender and Costco card.  Next stop:  whole food smoothies.

The Plan:  For 10 Days – No Grains, No Meat, No Processed Food.  Limited Dairy. All Fruit and Veg.  The plan was to increase my fruit and vegetable intake by … oh … 90% or so.  The plan is pretty simple, eat tons of fresh/frozen fruit and veggies, sprinkle in some nuts and a little dairy.  The end.  Since its hard to eat a ton of fruit and veggies, I started making whole-food smoothies.  No juicing – just blending the whole food.

The Execution:  This is where Costco and Vitamixer come in.  The Vitamix (and I’m sure other strong blenders) come in handy, I can toss in carrots, spinach, oranges, whole frozen strawberries, hit blend – and I have drinkable fruit and veggies!  Its smooth and easy, fits in my Nalgene and off to work I go.  For the fruit, I have a ton of frozen fruit in my freezer – why? Its cheaper, lasts longer, and has more nutrition since frozen fruit can be picked at the height of ripeness, they generally have more nutrients in them and tastiness.  For fresh things, I have oranges, spinach, baby carrots, apples, and tomatoes on hand.  Another part of my arsenal:  pistachios, greek yogurt (beware of those with lots of added sugar), and kefir.  With running and cycling, I want to keep up with some good fat and protein.

Smoothie Happiness:  I’m including some photos of the smoothies I am making.  Some are from recipes, others I’m tossing in what might be good.  Mostly its been successful – one non-recipe experiment was a teeny bitter, but nothing some orange juice and agave syrup couldn’t fix!  Overall, I feel so much better and its been about 5 days.  Drinking whole foods, and not just juice, keep me full and happy.  My tummy feels good, my energy is up (not sure if its the diet, the kicking my bum to go running, spring weather…I guess all of the above?) and I don’t miss my old habits! (well, when my coworkers get fries, they still smell damn good).  I’m not counting the days until I’m done, and although I’m not going to eat like this for the next 365, I will definitely be keeping these smoothies as a main part of my diet in the months to come.

Photos: 

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 More to come as I make new smoothies 🙂

Here is to being happy, healthy, and energized!

Happy Trails – Caribou out.

Awesome Possum

Today = Awesomeness.

Well, save for Daylight Savings.  I do not know why, but Daylight Savings and I are not friends – I never seem to get the timing right.  I changed my clocks before going to bed, not wanting to be late for work, got up, packed, and before scooting out the door I checked my phone – and I thought I was going to be late! So I bike my little bum as fast as I can to work – and it was a glorious ride – only to find out I am ONE HOUR EARLY. Sigh. At least it was a great ride!

So, why was my day so awesome possum?

  • Morning Commute:  Crisp air (35 degrees!), complete serenity, no one else on the trail, and I was flying.  The bike and I melded into one.  The river was calm, I was hauling tail, and it felt awesome.
  • Dark Chocolate Raspberry Godiva coffee.
  • Spinach-Almond Milk-Strawberry-Banana smoothie.
  • Stellar work day.
  • Evening Run:  Post work, it was 65 degrees, super sunny (thank you Daylight Savings), and almost a bit too warm.  Hit the pavement with a smile and ran 4 miles around the Washington, WWII, Lincoln,  Korean, MLK, Jefferson, and Tidal Basin.  Some of the cherry blossoms were starting to peak through.  Run, although not super fast, was just good. It felt good to run.
  • Evening Commute:  It was waaaay too gorgeous out to take the metro, and although I was a little tired, I knew it would be faster.  Slapped on my cycle shoes, clipped in, and 7 miles were gone before I knew it.  The sun was setting as I biked home, and it was just a great ride.  People had decent trail manners, and the best part, my legs were on auto-pilot.  Shoulder blades down, back flat, elbows tucked – I was gliding. Fantastic.

Today was awesome.  17 miles of fantastic biking, 4 miles of fun running, and hours of countless happiness.  I have also been doing a bit of a diet “cleanse” if you will, which has been great.  Nothing crazy – don’t worry – I’ll post about it soon – so check back later.

Have a blessed start to the week!  I’m looking forward to yoga and pilates tomorrow, and another run by the Potomac on Tuesday.  Pre-pollen spring is fabulous!

Happy trails.  Caribou out.