How to Change a Flat (on a car)

My tires. Kind of a saga. I spent the morning at Les Schwab yesterday getting my tires looked over. They won’t hold air. And by that I mean the pressure slowly decreases and I have to drive on a low pressure tire every other week. Yesterday I was told the tires were fine but they needed to be replaced within a month because the wear bars were showing. Oxymoron, I know. But the wear bars showing is a different issue than the low pressure.

I planned to switch tires this weekend when I had more time but this morning when I went to leave, a different tire had a flat. Like a legit flat, not a low tire.


Easy peasy. Or not. Les Schwab charges $48 to change a flat. Apparently I don’t have roadside assistance through GEICO, even though I saved 15% or more by switching (all lies; I’ve been with GEICO since well before Cave Men discovered them). I called two other tire centers and one never called back, and the other lost connection in the middle of my conversation. So that was that.

It was elbow grease time.

Here’s my manual for changing a flat.

1. Be sure you’re in a safe place, even if you have to drive on the flat just a little bit. You need secure ground beneath the car, and you yourself need to be safe.

2. Get the spare and jack, plus wrench and other tools out of your trunk. Make sure the spare is in working order. It should be. I suggest adding a can of WD40 to your spare “kit” because that’s the only way I could get my lug nuts loose. And gloves. Because it was cold and dirty. Like really dirty. And only a little cold. I’m a Vermonter. My blood is as thick as maple syrup.

3. Loosen the lug nuts before engaging the jack. Just loosen. Don’t take them off. Once the car is jacked, the wheel is loose and free moving; this makes loosening tight lug nuts impossible. Otherwise it’s just difficult.


4. Spray the lug nuts with WD40 and then apply the lug wrench to the lug, parallel to the ground. Brace yourself and stand on the wrench and slightly bounce to loosen. Repeat this on all lugs, keeping them on, but loose.

5. Jack up the car. Use instructions on the jack where to place it safely. And jack slowly at first until you know you have a solid grip on the car frame and the ground. Jack until wheel moves freely. My flat today caused my tire to no longer be round, so it took more jacking.


6. Once the car is jacked, remove all lugs. If you used WD40, be sure to wipe off excess before replacing.

7. The wheel should easily come right off.

8. Just kidding.

9. Stop trying to call for help. You have every tool you need. A foot that can kick; use it. I was wasting time trying to wiggle the tire loose with no luck. Finally I got pissed, kicked the tire and yelled, “[insert F bomb]! I have somewhere to be!” And it came loose.

10. Now, celebrate.


11. Put the spare in place, and put the lugs on, loosely at first. Once all are on, tighten them down.

12. Slowly release jack until car is safely back on the ground.


13. Plan to have your tire changed over to an appropriately sized one as soon as possible. The little donut isn’t meant to be a long term solution.

14. Celebrate. It feels really good to be independent!

Everything Holds Meaning

I just discovered the “why” behind “I am a marathoner”. The “I” meaning me, Katy Murray. I don’t come from a family of runners. No one in my family is a health nut but me. So where did this running gene come from? And why did I carry it to the marathon level?

I’m in the process of tamping down the details of my fundraising initiative for the National Kidney Foundation. Dates, goals, teammates, etc. My goal all along was to run the fundraiser from January 26, 2015 through October 15, 2015. That’s my dad’s birthday through to mine. I’m doing this in his honor, and it also kept the initiative from overlapping the big holiday season.

Today I learned that there are 262 days between my dad’s birthday and mine. Cool number. If you’re a marathoner, I don’t have to explain it. If you’re still perplexed, the distance of a marathon is 26.2 miles. How cool is that? So Cool.

And so that answers it.. I was born to be a marathoner for this purpose, to run and race to raise money & awareness for this great cause, in my dad’s honor. What’s more? I learned that I was most likely conceived on my dad’s birthday the year he turned 35. And guess how old I will be on October 15, 2015? You guessed it: 35.

Everything holds meaning.

Pretty soon my fundraising page will start to come together. Money won’t be collected till Jan 26th, but I’m working out details. I could use feedback.

Suggested donations:

$13.10 supports the Bend Half Marathon (13.1 miles running)

$26.20 supports the Eugene Marathon (26.2 miles running with a goal to break 4:00)

$70.30 supports the Pacific Crest Long Course Triathlon (70.3 miles total of swim, bike, run)

$109.60 is a triple whammy – all three race distances combined.

Any donation amount, big or small, would be greatly appreciated and 97% of your donation will go directly to National Kidney Foundation. 3% keeps CrowdRise (my fundraising page) functioning & safe to collect money.

I wish I could offer incentives for large donations, but the truth is I am dedicating a lot of my time and resources to the training and I need to keep my focus there. I am also working full time, and I do have a puppy to care for (she is helping me train!). So as of now, no incentives. Just the goodness of your own heart.

So, I need a donation goal. Well, I don’t “need” one, but I want one. I don’t want it to be too lofty and I don’t want it to be too lame, either.

Everything holds meaning.

$2,260? That’s an average of $10/day.
$22,600? That’s an average of $100/day.

How big is my reach? How many will join my cause?

Lots to think about, but for some reason I can’t help but think that I was conceived on my father’s 35th birthday for the sole purpose of racing to save his life before my 35th birthday. OK, I have other purposes in life (someone has to take out the trash), and this fundraiser won’t “save” his life, but it sure holds a lot of meaning. The more I dig in, the more I learn. It’s pretty cool.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned.. It’s about to get awesome in here.

New Balance 880v4|50-mile Review

Nothing spells relief from nagging overuse injuries quite like a new pair of running shoes. I won a pair of New Balance running shoes through my local Fleet Feet Store (Fleet Feet Bend), and they could not have come at a better time. There are a few rules most runners follow with their shoe mileage. The most basic is that running shoes have about a 250-300 mile lifespan. Some of the higher mileage runners will rotate their shoes, switching out pairs every other day or every other workout to give the shoes a chance to rest (yes, apparently running shoes need to take a break, too). If you look at the bottom of your running shoes and you can visibly see signs of wear, there’s a chance they’re nearing their expiration. Worse—if you have holes in your running shoes, or the insides are poking out anywhere, toss ‘em and head on out to your local running store. Risking injury is much more financially damaging than the $125 you’ll drop on new kicks. Trust me.

I say all this because, when I bought these New Balance 880v4s, I was in desperate need of new running shoes. Maybe not as desperate as the guy who has holes in his soles, but I was desperate enough and dealing with IT band syndrome and otherwise tired, worn out legs. I looked at the soles, having no idea how many miles I had put on them, and could visibly see how worn they were. I bought them sometime in the early spring, and while I hadn’t really been running a whole lot over the summer, chances are they were past their 300-mile mark. Regardless, I was feeling the effects of broken down footwear and it was time for an upgrade.

I normally would not have chosen New Balance shoes. I haven’t worn New Balance since my freshman year of college, and I do not like deviating from what I know to be comfortable and true. I am a Mizuno or Brooks runner with a neutral footbed, and generally easy on my shoes. I wear them only for running, and I never store them in a hot or a cold car. I sometimes run without socks, but most of the time protect the shoe by wearing a sock that absorbs and wicks the moisture (yes, running barefoot in your shoes can break them down sooner, not to mention make them stink to high heaven).

New Balance 880v4 Women's

The shoes are PINK. Not my first choice but I knew they’d grow on me. New Balance wasn’t my first choice either, but hey—free shoes.

Being the leery person I am of switching shoes (don’t fix what’s not broken), I was a little hesitant to run with these. But the first time I wore them—literally the first time I had put them on my feet outside the store—was for the Thanksgiving 10K Classic. I had been dealing with pretty severe IT band syndrome (not sure what that is? Read my post about it here). I had taken a few days off to give it a rest, and when I showed up the morning of the race, it was raining sideways with strong gusts of wind. No amount of warm up was actually warming me up, but I toed the line with the best of hopes. I knew that if I had worn my old, worn out (well-loved) Brooks Ghosts, I would have ITB pain. It was a chance in my new pink NB shoes that I might. So I gambled.

Wow, am I glad I did. I struggled in the first mile with ITB pain but I was able to push through it, and in the second half of the race I ran 2 minutes faster than in the first. I ran a season PR for the 10K, finally feeling like a runner again. Never once did I think about my shoes. Never once did a single step feel awkward or new to me, as is often the case in a new shoe.

Nike Running App Shoe Data

I decided to keep track of my shoe mileage, since the Nike Running App has that feature anyway. So I know for certain that this review is officially a 50-mile review. I almost wrote the review when I had reached 49.5 miles, but last night I add three to the books, to make it the real deal.

Here’s my official review:

These shoes are very lightweight. They don’t fit my foot like a glove, as I am used to. The upper feels a little baggy, if I am allowed to use that term so loosely (pun intended). But I don’t notice it when I am running. There is no sloshing around. My heel does not slip despite the opening for my foot to seem a little larger than I am used to. I am not in love with the appearance of these shoes, I guess is what I am saying, but the function, form, and efficiency is top-notch. They are very comfortable. I have been able to increase my mileage as I build a stronger base before I begin my spring marathon training in January. My weekly mileage went from anywhere between 0-10 miles to 22 miles without a problem. My long runs went from 3 to 8 miles, without a hitch. I do feel confident that these shoes will carry me through the high-mileage of marathon training with ease and comfort.

These are a road shoe, and I have run on the treadmill with them, comfortably (which says a lot because the treadmill is where I normally experience a lot of oddball aches & pains in my lower legs). I have run on trails with them, comfortably. In fact, at least 17.9 of my 52.5 miles were on trail. I have run on ice without a problem. I have run on snow without snow getting impacted in the soul (something Mizuno is known for, in my opinion).

Would I recommend these shoes to a friend? I’d at least recommend trying them out. We’re all different.

Would I buy these shoes again? Probably. They’ve been a great shoe, and at least now I know I don’t need to skip over the New Balance display all together.

I’ll write another review at 150 miles to see how things are holding up! By then, my long run should be dipping into double-digits.

Thanks for reading!

New Balance 880v4 Shoe Review

That’s a Wrap!

What a weekend! Productive and fruitful!

On Saturday I ran 5.7 miles on the Phil’s trails in Bend with Winter Warriors at Fleet Feet Bend. I am so happy that 5+ miles has once again returned into my realm of possibility without walk breaks or extreme mental games. It was a challenging run and I’m so glad I got it done!

This morning I met Tracy, one of the winter warriors for an 8 mile run. Our plan was to run slowly and just get it done. And we did. No walk breaks. Conversation the whole time. And it was a really great 8 miles! To boot, in our first mile Scott, the owner of Fleet Feet (and the Warrior-est of the Warriors) drove by and cheered us on. That was awesome.

After the run, I gathered a few tools and Andi and I hit the road in search of the perfect Christmas tree.


The snowshoes were merely a precaution but definitely not needed. No snow to be found. But after a few stops and some difficult walks through the woods on tired legs, and a guilt-stricken melt down, we decided to cut down a beautiful tree. And we were on our way.


Got it home and set up, and decorated! With limited resources, I thought it came out great. Very excited that it’s set up in my bedroom where not only will I be able to enjoy it, I will enjoy the smell of it. Love Christmas trees!


Now, to finish a few presents & get them wrapped!

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

You’ve known me long enough to know that I am not a materialistic person. I don’t normally ask for things, and I would never expect it. But, in the spirit of Christmas and the magic of believing, here is my triathlon wish list. Please forgive me for its length. I’m feeling particularly “wishy” this year!

1. Entry into Pacific Crest 70.3 Triathlon. This race is expensive and it is high on my priority list for 2015.

2. New bike shoes & pedals. Mine make my feet fall asleep, and they are actually mtn bike shoes. Not sure I’ll want to race 56 miles and then get off & run 13.1 with numb feet.

3. New hydration system for my bike. Again, 56 miles is a long way to race without a good hydration system! My bike can’t carry much water right now.

4. A new tri suit. Well, let’s just say that my tri suit from last season better be loose on me by the time I toe the line of Pac Crest. But also, racing 70.3 miles in a one-piece suit sounds a tad miserable considering I couldn’t make it through an Olympic without a pit stop!

5. Polarized prescription sunglasses (this may actually be covered by my insurance, so only pencil this one in!)

6. A Garmin 920XT (now there’s a dream!)

7. A power meter for my bike!

8. Altra 3-Sum Tri Shoes

9. A year’s supply of Nuun. I seriously can’t keep that stuff stocked.

10. Zipp wheels (hey, why not?)

Now that I feel incredibly needy, it felt good to get some of those things out on “paper”!

If you are a triathlete and you are reading this, do you have any suggestions for any of the more open-ended requests I made? Pedals, shoes, hydration, etc. Let me know!

Merry Christmas!


A Million Other Things

I love this time of year because there’s a lot going on. I’m pretty good at managing my time, and frankly enjoy the rush of the holiday season. This year as I look back on last year, I wonder why I am so much busier, but it’s easy to figure out. Last year I was not running. I was living in Sunriver and my social life was nonexistent. I had a lot of free time because there was nothing to share my time with.

This year, I’m training for a marathon, I’m running with Winter Warriors, I’m volunteering at Juniper Swim & Fitness, and I have been putting in an effort to find Mr. Right. That in and of itself is time consuming, and since it hasn’t been fun, it’s going on the back burner for a while.

There’s a lot on my mind. I want to be doing everything at once. And since I can’t, I won’t even try, and instead focus on the task at hand and give whatever it is my all.

Today I got a couple books in the mail. I purchased both from (used) for less than $3 with about $3 in shipping. Both books came today and both are brand spanking new (one has one small damaged spot, but I can tell that’s the only reason it was marked ‘used’.) They were valued at $16 and $29.95. I am just excited about my savings, and I didn’t even need to stand in line on Black Friday.

The first is a copy of A Tale for the Time Being, a book selected by Deschutes Public Library for the Novel Idea program. I will be making a quilt for QuiltWorks’ quilt gallery for this particular book. It’s pretty cool to make a quilt based on inspiration from a book. I did it last year, and it was really fun to participate & see what everyone else comes up with. Bonus, I ended up sending that quilt to my dad this week, who has been in the hospital more than 2 weeks now.


I plan to make my quilt for A Tale for the Time Being big enough to be used as at least a throw (I don’t really like wall hangings), so that when the need arises, I can gift it.


The book is brand new. I can tell the previous owner bought it at Costco because of the sticker but I can’t even tell if it has been read. Pretty excited to dig in, and I wish I could tonight but I have a million other things on my to-do list.

Like, this quilt I’ve been working on. I made such quick progress. Well, it wasn’t that complicated of a quilt, so it worked out, but I planned, designed, shopped, cut, and pieced everything you see here between Sunday of last week till today. The top is 98% done. Just have a little piecing to do to make it a tad bigger. It’s a throw. And I can’t say much more about it because Shhhh! dont you know? Christmas is coming!


I also got a triathlon-related book in the mail that I am super excited about!! I want to devour it, hit the pool and test my fitness based on the tests in the beginning. But I can’t. I have a million other things to do tonight!


This book is awesome and I can’t wait to use it. It’s spiral bound with waterproof, stiff pages and the design allows it to stand up like a place holder so I can use it on the pool deck. Swim workouts have wracked my brain, and since this one is designed specifically for triathletes, I feel confident in using the workouts inside. My biggest goal in triathlon swim is to gain confidence, and to get out of the water not in a panic. It’s hard to focus on the rest of the race with a positive outlook when you’ve just spent the last so many minutes panicking, calming, and panicking again.

Today was the first day in the last two weeks that I didn’t talk to my dad or one of his nurses. He should be getting transferred to a rehab facility tomorrow and then I hope he can get the attention he needs to start improving. And I hope he feels a bit more relaxed and “at home”. He’ll at least have my quilt.

Tomorrow is another winter warriors trail run. Very much looking forward to it! My fitness is finally improving! I know Andi is going to want to come with me, but I decided to leave her home so I can focus on myself, not her. We will go to the dog park afterward and she can have fun with other dogs. Andi ran 8 miles in the last two days. I am very impressed.

I have a list of quilts that I need to finish before I make any new commitments. The fly fishing quilt (king-sized) needs to be at the top of my list since the beautiful machine I own is thanks to the promise of that quilt (and one other King-sized, which has been in use more than a year now). Two Cape Cod t-shirt quilts, which have also been paid for. I finished one, and have almost everything I need for the 2nd. Just need to sit down and do it.

Which brings my thoughts back to Christmas. I was fortunate to have a stack of random quilts in my closet from this past year. So I have been divvying them up and out. I hope to have the same inventory (if not better) next year. It was great to have that stock pile to dig through!

My dad got a quilt, my sister is getting a quilted table topper, my doctor is getting a “toddler” quilt for her first born daughter (this doctor did volunteer surgery on me, and she is the reason I am no longer doubling over in pain. She is the reason I am able to run again), and my closet is regaining space!

I decided to allow myself till Jan 1 before I need to get serious about my weekly bike and swim workouts. So another thing I want to do is work on some playlists and workouts for the bike trainer, and of course to read through that handy little swim book. But of course, there are a million other things standing between now & Jan 1.

Last but not least, I get to wrap all these glorious presents I’ve been collecting. Can’t wait to send them all out!! Oh, and my Christmas cards.. Last year’s were pretty good but this year, I have plans too. Just a million other things!

Anyway, I had to get all that off my chest. Maybe now I can sleep. While there are a million other things to do, I like to keep my focus on the task at hand, and right now it’s sleep!

Good night!

It Happened Again

But first, a roast. Tonight I roasted in the convection oven a butternut squash, whole garlic (skins on), onion, cranberries and chicken broth. Holy yum. Especially the garlic, squash, onions and cranberries. Filled the house with the most delicious aroma.

I am still tired. Drained. Worried about my dad. Lonely. I feel far from where I want to be right now. Distracted.

So thankfully I have friends here. And Fleet Feet. And Winter Warriors. Because tonight I joined them for a run. I brought Andi kind of because I knew she’d slow me down and she might even cut my run short. I was looking for a way out.

But. Sure enough, Andi did amazingly well. She even ran a PR. 3.8 miles at 10:05 pace. Andi usually slows me down. She often trips me and stops dead in her tracks because she’s hot. But tonight she led the way like Rudolph and she did incredibly well. I am so proud of her and happy about my own accomplishment. I felt like I was running slowly. Slow as in 11/12 min miles. So when I saw 10:05, I was very happy. My fitness is building!

Thanks, Andi.
Thanks, Fleet Feet.
Thanks, Winter Warriors.
Thanks, friends.

Please continue to pray for my dad. It means a lot to the whole family. He really needs encouragement right now. While hemodialysis is good for his body, it is really tough on him at the same time. It hurts me to hear his spirit so broken.

Today he received a quilt I sent him. He was too tired to talk when I called (recovering from dialysis) but I know he appreciated it. I just wanted him to have a little something of me to wrap up in and know that I love him.