Juneathon days 13 and 14

I’m a bit disappointed in myself that I broke my Juneathon streak. But, as per the descriptor of the Juneathon Facebook page, it is “An annual festival of activity and excuses.”

Here come the excuses.

On Friday (the 13th! Perhaps I can blame things on that!) Bugman texted me to ask about renting a movie that evening. I was torn. We’d not watched a movie together for awhile, but how was I to get in my Juneathon exercise?

Ah well.

“Why not?” I replied. “What’s for dinner?”

“Was thinking I could make a veggie stir fry,” he responded.

Aha! Brilliant! I could go downstairs and do a workout video while Bugman cooked!

But in the process of getting home, I managed to get some dirt on my hands, and then, unthinkingly, I rubbed my allergy-itchy eye. The eye started to get very unhappy. I took my contact lenses out, figuring that would be sufficient, then put on my workout gear and headed into the basement.

I popped in a vintage workout video – Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo (on VHS!).

Billy Blanks wants YOU to have fun and get fit!

Billy Blanks wants YOU to have fun and get fit!

I despise most aerobic workout videos. There is way too much thinking with all the intricate dance steps. But punching and kicking – that I can do!

Just around the time I started to sweat, my left eye was really bothering me. Felt like I had an eyelash jammed into the corner of it or something.

I redeyepaused the video and went over to the bathroom mirror to see if I couldn’t fix the problem and get back to my workout. I was somewhat horrified to discover that there seemed to be a slightly yellow gelatinous swelling attached to the bottom portion of my eyeball. EEEK! ICK!!

I flushed my eye, wondering if I might need a trip to Urgent Care. Thankfully, by peering one-eyed at my phone screen, I was able to self-diagnose via the Interwebz (not necessarily the recommended thing to do) and determine that I had a self-limiting case of episcleritis.

I threw back an antihistamine tablet, lay down on the couch, and put a cool, damp towel over my eyes. The Billy Blanks video went to sleep downstairs, forgotten.

The following day, Saturday, I had to go into work for a little while to help document some vintage agricultural techniques being demonstrated at the museum – blocking and thinning of sugar beets.

This involves using a hoe / your hands / dust-kicking equipment to pull out weeds as well as sugar beet plants that are too close together (the plants won’t mature properly if not given enough space).

Me, blocking and thinning sugar beet using a short-handled hoe.

Me, blocking and thinning sugar beet using a short-handled hoe.

Here in western Nebraska, the soil is young and fine-grained and prone to blowing up into a dust cloud at the slightest provocation. It’s also known to be windy out here, and the weather yesterday did not disappoint in that regard. It was the kind of day where, if you open your mouth to speak, you wind up crunching grit in your teeth.

My still-irritated eyes were not real happy with this development. By the time I got back home, my allergies were kicking up again, which always makes me feel tired.

I took another antihistamine and napped on the couch for the rest of the afternoon.

Two Juneathon days shot. (Though I did at least start to work up a Tae Bo sweat on Friday, and surely the hoeing I did on Saturday could count for something.)

Today, Bugman and I are thinking about biking out to Torrington, Wyoming. (That’s about 70 miles.) I’ll post about that attempt later today!

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw

Learn to be good with discomfort

After two days driving to work, this morning’s bike commute seemed . . . annoying somehow.

Why should I expend all this energy pushing pedals when I could just hop in the car and be there in half the time?

It’s deviously attractive to take the easy way out.

But the easy way does not lead to amazing things.

I once read a study that showed that runners are viewed more positively at work as compared to their non-running colleagues.

I wonder if that positive association is actually correlated with grit – the ability to tough it out and get things done, to accomplish a goal in spite of adversity.

A friend on social media shared an article this morning that I started thinking about while some other part of my brain was whining about how difficult it was to *groan* bike uphill *moan* against the wind.

It was a Lifehacker article – “How to Decide What to Do with Your Life.” A great read for recent grads (or others facing the blank canvas of a new beginning).

There was a section that gave a lot of ammunition to the rational part of my brain that was fighting the whiny part.

Learn to Be Good with Discomfort

One of the most important skills you can develop is being okay with some discomfort. The best things in life are often hard, and if you shy away from difficulty and discomfort, you’ll miss out. You’ll live a life of safety.

Learning is hard. Building something great is hard. Writing a book is hard. A marriage is hard. Running an ultra-marathon is hard. All are amazing.

If you get good at being accustomed to a little discomfort, you can do anything. You can start a business, which you couldn’t if you’re afraid of discomfort, because starting a business is hard and uncomfortable.

How do you get good at this? Do things now that are uncomfortable and hard, on purpose. But start with small doses. Try exercising for a little bit, even if it’s hard, but just start with a few minutes of it, and increase a minute every few days or so. Try writing a blog or meditating every day. When you find yourself avoiding discomfort, push yourself just a little bit more (within limits of reason and safety of course).

Great advice for life, and a good pep talk for starting or getting back into running. Also appropriate for Juneathon. Writing something every day is hard, too.

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw

DAILY AMBULATION (dance walking)

This evening found me in a foul, low mood.

A hundred niggling things at work. A saddle sore. A wonky ankle. Mosquito bites on my legs.

“Screw it,” I thought to myself. “I’m not doing anything for Juneathon today! I’m going to sit on the couch and pout and drink a beer.”

Black IPA - perfect for when you can't decide between a stout and a pale ale.

Black IPA – perfect for when you can’t decide between a stout and a pale ale, or for when you’re pouting.

And I did!

And I read some Juneathon blogs.

One of them got to me.

DAILY AMBULATION. Take it seriously.

It’s true. I sit all day at work. Health stats show that kind of inactivity is really, really bad.

But no biking today – saddle sore. No running, either, with that ankle. With the mosquitoes out, I don’t want to walk, either.

For some reason (maybe the beer), the perfect answer popped into my head – DANCE WALKING!

dance walk guru master

(If you have not seen the dance walking bit before, go here.)

So, I popped a 70s-80s disco mix “tape” (actually a CD) into the player and dance walked around my living room until I was dripping sweat and my cats were staring at me like I’d gone completely mad.

At risk of embarrassing myself, my playlist:

  1. Blondie – Heart of Glass
  2. Wild Cherry – Play that Funky Music
  3. Gloria Gaynor – I will Survive
  4. Donna Summer – Hot Stuff
  5. Ohio Players – Love Rollercoaster
  6. Rick James – Superfreak (Thinking about Little Miss Sunshine here.)
  7. And, the dance walk anthem: Peaches & Herb – Shake Your Groove Thing

I feel much better now. And my ankle behaved.

Thank you, Nameless Dance Walk Guru Master (AKA Joe).

And thank you for the ambulation reminder, Cynthia. I hope your mom heals quickly.

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw

Bike, run (ow!), swim?

Today was a gorgeous day to be out exercising.


The temps started out around 45 when I cycled off to work this morning and maxed out at 72 on the ride home.

The ride home seemed . . . easy. I still had plenty of energy when I got home.


“I feel like going for a run,” I heard myself say.

“OK,” said Bugman.

We headed out, and about a mile from home – OW! (Except I didn’t say “ow”.)

My gol-durned ankle spiked with pain. Left side. Somewhere under the lateral malleolus.

It’s the same pain that stopped me from running last year – that I needed a chiropractor’s help to get past. It’s the same pain that stopped me from running earlier this year, and that now has me hobbling across the room.

No swelling. No bruising. No tender spots. Just pain when I move.


I decided to drown my sorrows in the bath, with a glass of wine.

A photo of the bath after my swim, with the empty wine glass still in the holder thingy.

A photo of the bath after my “swim,” with the empty wine glass still in the holder thingy.

Although my ankle still hurts, I do feel a bit more relaxed.

Running and hot baths have similar effects on me – they both open up the circulation and help me wind down.

No more running for me for awhile.

For the bulk of Juneathon, I really need to focus on that cross training to strengthen my oft-injured, weaker left side.

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw

Thanks, Juneathon

If not for Juneathon, I would not have gotten up off the couch after dinner this evening and gone for a walk.

I am still recovering from my long bike ride yesterday, and I didn’t want to do anything but loll – particularly since it’s been uncharacteristically drizzly all day.

Still, I didn’t want to miss a day without some kind of activity to report for Juneathon, so Bugman and I donned our rain jackets and paced the neighborhood, looking at the architecture and landscaping.

One home had a wispy-pink-flowering tree I had never seen before. It made me think of something from the world of Dr. Seuss.


Another home had a massive rose bush completely filling the space between the street and sidewalk, covered in pale pink blooms to an elevation of six feet.

The delicious scent of the flowers made me think of my grandma. She always had a rose in a vase on her kitchen table in the summer. She also would take frequent walks in the evening after dinner.

Evening walks – a very good habit to get into.

My legs are TIRED

For the last several weeks, Bugman and I have pushed increasingly farther south into Banner County on our tandem training rides. There are some decent hills on Highway 71, and we’re working to prepare ourselves for our upcoming Cycle Greater Yellowstone ride. We need to be able to do 76 miles with 4,293 feet of climb on day one, followed by six more days of riding.

Today, we did 67 miles with 3,074 feet of climb. (That’s 107 kilometers, 937 meters.)

My legs are TIRED!!!

The destination on today’s ride was BeeHaven Farm and Roadside Market, which is owned by a couple of lovely people – Jennifer and Rick Rutherford. Their dog, Loki, enthusiastically greeted us and would really have liked to have shared our snack of beef jerky. Sorry, buddy.

lokiOne more photo from today’s ride before I go pass out for the evening: two pronghorn antelope does in a young cornfield (the beige blobs in the center of the green).

pronghorn in cornfield

Juneathon Day 7 is done. Zzzzzzz . . . .

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw

Pointy tortilla chips get me out the door

Yesterday, I’d decided that Juneathon the 6th would be a running day.

This afternoon was warm and muggy, and I began to have second thoughts about a run. Not long before it was time for me to head home from work, a stiff breeze delivered some cool, dry air that settled into relative calm. Perfect for running!

Still, I found it hard to get my butt off the couch once I got home.

I ‘ll just read one more news story. Oh, the cat needs attention. Aren’t there any new posts in my social media stream?

I looked across the room at Bugman, who was eating tortilla chips out of the bag while watching a cooking show. (He biked to work today. Already got his exercise in.)

“If I’m going to go for a run today, I should really get going.”

“Yep,” Bugman said.

Long pause. I wasn’t moving.

“Maybe if you point at me accusingly . . .”

Bugman interrupted his chip-bag-to-mouth trajectory to aim an index finger and a stern look in my direction. The tortilla chips clutched in his remaining fingers made the gesture rather ridiculous, and I laughed.

Laughter – just the thing I needed to propel me off the couch! Thanks, dear. (He knows me so well!)

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw

Spring storm sprint

The old farmer I spoke with when I first moved to western Nebraska summed up the climate here perfectly: “It’d be paradise if not for the wind and the hail.”

I get kind of leery about biking to work in the springtime when there is a higher probability of storms. This morning, it was really humid. Eerily humid.

These two photos, of my arrival at work yesterday and today, illustrate the difference:

Perfect spring day

Perfect spring day

Eerily humid day

Eerily humid day

I probably should have paid closer attention to the weather. Instead, I took a glance at the sky around 4:30 p.m., a quick glance at the radar, and decided I needed to head home NOW!

The clouds were growing taller as I watched, and there was a green tint to a part of it - never a good sign.

The clouds were growing taller as I watched, and there was a green tint to a part of it – never a good sign.

I wound up bucking 30-mile-per-hour headwinds and thinking about where I might shelter if the storm hit mid-route.

I was very lucky that the storm passed to the north.

Here’s a photo of a hailstone that fell northwest of Bayard, which local radio station KNEB posted to their Storm Center Twitter account:

KNEB Storm Center hail

It would hurt reeeeal baaaad to get hit by that.

So today, Juneathon Day 3, I lounge on the couch after my homeward spring storm sprint, grateful and wobbly-legged.

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw, except hail photo copyright KNEB

“You don’t squirt random people!”

My workout for Juneathon Day 2 was biking to work. It’s 10.8 miles round trip, which was plenty for my bum, which was still kind of sore from yesterday’s 50-miler.

Today was a horrible day to be at work, but a great day to ride.

bike shadow

Temps never broke 80 degrees. Winds never topped 10 mph. Humidity less than 50% during the day.

Today was also apparently a great day to play in the kiddie pool in your front yard.

Again, the antics on Pacific Avenue.

I heard shouts of “No! NO!!”

I looked up to see a kiddo of about 3 or 4, large water pistol aimed in my direction.

“You don’t squirt random people!!”

I had to chuckle as I pedaled away, safe and dry.

Thanks, lady, for saving me from a soaking. 🙂

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw

Spring flowers for Juneathon

juneathon_participant_logoThanks to Red Hen – an Irish runner whose blog I started following after the Dublin Marathon – I learned about this thing called “Juneathon.” You run (or bike, or walk, or do jumping jacks – some kind of exercise) every day in June and blog about it. As simple (or fiendishly difficult) as that!

Several of my friends are doing a “40 day challenge,” which I already wimped out on, and I need to get in some more cross-training other than biking, so perfect timing with the Juneathon!

Here is my first official Juneathon post which, like redhenrun’s, will feature wildflowers.

I like biking south out of town on Highway 71. The traffic is easy to manage, and there is a good challenge getting up and over the Wildcat Hills. Last week, Bugman and I turned around at the westbound Highway 88 intersection. This week, we set a turnaround of the former Banner County Cafe.

Distance: 53 miles (85 km)    Total climb: 2,469 feet (752 m)

I just cannot get over how green the countryside is now. My eyes are drinking it up after the drab browns of winter.

One of the emerald views of the Wildcat Hills on the way up.

One of the emerald views of the Wildcat Hills on the way up.

The cloud cover came and went, but we did not get rained on this time.

The longhorns from the museum where I work are on holiday on their summer pasture in Banner County. Hellooo, ladies!

The longhorns from the museum where I work are on holiday on their summer pasture in Banner County. Hellooo, ladies (and babies)!

Some of my favorite birds were out in force: western meadowlark, western kingbird, lark bunting, mountain bluebird, loggerhead shrike.

A quick pic of the tandem at our hilltop turnaround, and then some wildflower photos. It’s Nebraska Wildflower Week, after all!

Bike resting on a "bobwore fence." It's so stinkin' beautiful here!

Bike resting on a “bobwore fence.” It’s so stinkin’ beautiful here!

Note: most of these flowers are small and unassuming. You typically have to get out into the grassland and hike if you’re not lucky enough to be able to spot them roadside from a bicycle saddle. While I saw all of these flowers today, some of the pictures were taken in other years.

western wild rose

western wild rose – it smelled so lovely next to this bush! Made me think of my grandma Rita.

shell leaf penstemon

shell leaf penstemon

wild blue flax

wild blue flax

scarlet guara

scarlet guara

scarlet globe mallow

scarlet globe mallow

lavender leaf primrose

lavender leaf primrose

And one more photo pf lavender leaf primrose in a background shot, to show how the blossoms fade from yellow to orange, and also to show off one of the cuter reptiles in western Nebraska - the horned toad (aka short-horned lizard). This photo was taken during a wildflower hike in Kimball County in 2010.

And one more photo of lavender leaf primrose, to show how the blossoms fade from yellow to orange, and also to show off one of the cuter reptiles in western Nebraska – the horned toad (aka short-horned lizard). This photo was taken during a wildflower hike in Kimball County in 2010.

Not all of my Juneathon posts will be this photogenic, but sometimes western Nebraska just can’t help it!

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw