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: 

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!!

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.

Step One: Lace Up Sneakers

I compromised with The Snooze Button today – I traded my cycling shoes for running shoes.  You may have noticed, but my running stats are pretty dismal for a runner, and one who is training for a marathon.  I find it very hard to psyche myself back into running, but once I’m out and moving – I love it and I don’t remember why I was so afraid to go.  Which brings me to the title.  I kept putting off the running, focusing on pilates, yoga, cycling, cleaning, reading…basically anything but running!  Having a runner partner definitely helps get your running mojo back, but that is more because you have someone holding you accountable.  To get into running, or back into running, you have to hold yourself accountable.  Not as easy as it sounds…

I won’t lie, its been hard keeping myself accountable, even with nice weather!  I’ll find a million excuses because I fear getting back on the road and not being as fast as I was, or hurting, or just having a bad run.  Well guess what self. You are going to have good runs and bad runs.  The longer you delay hitting the pavement, the slower you are going to be.  The more your feet may potentially hurt.  As much as I can channel my marine corps colleagues and friends, there is a limit to how much I can tell myself to “suck it up.”  [As an aside – tired, cold, and hungry on a glacier at 15,000 I can suck it up like a champ, convincing myself to get off the couch to run…not so much, granted you don’t have many options up so high!]

So, how do I do it?  Step One:  Put the running shoes on.  Just that one simple act of getting the shoes on and laced, it sends a message to my brain, “well, you’ve come this far, might as well run.”  Making the intention the night before and the compromise with my car this morning also helped.  And guess what!  My run was fantastic!  It was a lot slower than I ran a year ago, but I ran, no music, no chatter, just me, the monuments, sunset, and my shoes.  It was awesome.

I am going running again tomorrow after work.  I am excited to go running.

Just get those shoes on folks.  Your body will do the rest.

Happy trails!  Caribou out.

MCM March Training


MCM March 2012 Training:

  •  Sunday 4 Mar:  4 mile run, 2 mile walk
  • Monday 5 Mar: 1.5 mile run
  • Saturday 10 Mar:  3 mile run
  • Sunday 11 Mar:  4 mile run
  • Saturday 17 Mar: 4 mile run, 2 mile jog, 2 mile walk.
  • Monday 19 Mar: 5 mile run…in Paris!
  • Thursday 22 Mar:  3.2 mile (5k)…hill workout in Portugal.