Groceries and More Taper Whining

Two more tempo runs.
One more track workout.
One more long run. (Although I hardly consider 8 long anymore.)

That’s it. Then I run a marathon. 26.2 miles. Woah.

In other news, grocery shopping just got a little more fun around the Neon Runner house.

Here’s the aside… I love grocery shopping. I know lots of you out there dread it. But I LOVE it. Unless I have to take both of the boys with me, and then I’d rather go to the dentist. Sometimes I meal plan and make beautiful lists. Other times I just wing in and throw stuff in the cart that inspires me to cook yummy things. I’m a bit of a foodie, a bit of a picky foodie. I love to read labels and find new foods to try.

We frequent several grocery stores. I get most of our food at Dillons, our local Kroger affiliated mega store. I also get a few things at Target and Walmart. We tend to do a weekly Costco trip for “protein, carbs, and veggies in large quantities.” Mr. Neon’s words as he loads the trunk. Chicken boobs, ground beef, bagels, and spinach…every week. And then there’s Whole Foods and Green Acres, our two favorite organic stops.

But we made a new discovery last week. Amazon Prime Pantry. I found it because I was looking for these.

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I love the regular green packaged ones and the dark chocolate ones, but Nature Valley won me over with apple. I did a search for them and they popped up on Amazon and then I discovered Prime Pantry.

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Wait…I can load up a box of canned and boxed goodies and Amazon will ship it to me? YES! It took me a bit to fill my box to 100% with things that were priced well, things we would actually use, and things that we actually needed. I got some good deals on harder to find things. It’s a BIG box too. Here’s Tiny Boy (a tiny 37lbs six-year-old) sitting on our box that arrived yesterday afternoon. It was packaged well, except one bag of our animal crackers was popped. We ate it while we were unpacking the box, so no harm done there!

I should have taken a picture of it all unloaded. We got eight boxes of pasta (Tiny Boy was thrilled that we found mezza rigatoni and large shells! He’s a pasta snob!), several boxes of cereal (hello, Cascadian Farms!), a couple boxes of the above mentioned granola bars, paper towels, kitchen sponges, some new animal crackers to try, Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal at a STEAL, BBQ sauce (It was on the list!), a GIANT tub of cocoa powder (also on the list), taco shells for a buck (dinner tonight!), and several other things I can’t think of right now. Oh…the big snack size things of Pringles (a post race treat…restock the body’s sodium fast!) and some vegan ramen noodle cups. (Mr. Neon said “ew.”)

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How cute is he?! He loves to help unload groceries and loves to help cook as well. Ladies…take note. He already knows how to make my famous enchiladas.

So let me know…have you tried Amazon Prime Pantry yet? There’s a flat rate shipping fee of 5.99, but they are almost always running a deal to get free shipping depending on what you throw in your cart.

The Tribeca Salad

When we visited NYC, we took a day to explore the city just the four of us. It was thrilling to ride the train into Grand Central, to navigate the subway system (without getting lost!), and to walk the streets just me and my boys.

We headed first to 34th Street to see the Empire State Building up close (Tiny Boy’s request) and to hit up a few shops around Macy’s. On a whim, we decided to head down to the WTC memorial. We didn’t think the boys were quite ready for the museum, but both Mr. Neon and I wanted to see the pools. It was a very humbling experience. The city is so loud, so busy, so full of constant motion. But at the WTC memorial, it’s quiet, peaceful, respectful.

The boys walked the perimeter, reading names, taking it all in. But then they got hungry. And you know what happens when 6 and 8 year old boys get hungry…they get cranky…FAST. It was Labor Day, so everything down in the financial district was closed. We decided to head back north on foot and see what we came across. Google Maps on my phone showed that a Whole Foods was just a couple of blocks away, and we needed a potty break in addition to food.

We walked into the Whole Foods, and Mr. Neon took a deep breath and declared it “home.” It smelled right. The Neon Runner family loves a good organic grocery store! The bathroom happened to be right next to the food court. It smelled good and our tummies were growling, so we decided to hunt and gather for something yummy. Mr. Neon and I each loaded up a salad box, and we found chicken strips and made a fruit salad for the boys. My salad was perfect…spinach, roast chicken, roasted corn, broccoli slaw, quinoa, and honey mustard dressing. Ever since we got back from New York, I have been craving that salad, but I haven’t wanted to take the time to make all the elements.

Last night I made it happen. We decided to call it the Tribeca Salad, since it was first eaten at the Tribeca Whole Foods. I just wish I had one of the vegan putter butter brownies that we bought for dessert.

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I LOVE the Rubbermaid Lunch Blox. This is the salad one. It makes lunch EASY!

P.S. FOUR workouts left before MARATHON!

Things I Learned This Weekend

Three things I learned this weekend:

  1. I can run a half marathon with a decently gnarly wine hangover.
  2. Nothing can cause marriage tension quite like the combination of two tapering marathon runners and a hot afternoon at the boys’ XC meet.
  3. A total lunar eclipse makes me geek out like no other.

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Runner Boy and Tiny Boy.

cupcake black forest

This stuff is good.

So how is the taper going? It sucks. I’m ready for the marathon. I’m ready for my quads not to hurt. I’m ready to run my happy 21 miles per week. I’m ready to go on normal dates with my husband that do not involve running 3+ hours.

I’m ready. 12 days.

What’s Next?

I’m a planner. It gets a little extreme and borderline crazy. So naturally I’m already looking past the marathon at what I want to do next.

I’ve pretty much ruled out another marathon any time soon. Mr. Neon is going to embark on the crazy climb toward IRONMAN, so he’ll need all the support he can get. There’s a good chance I’ll be joining him on some of his longer training adventures. I’m just that good of a wife. Plus…I REALLY liked running 20 miles. What is wrong with me?!

I’ve set my sights on improving my times next year, maybe even breaking 2 hours in the half marathon. I’ll probably run three or four half marathons, all the 10Ks I can find, and a couple of 5Ks. I also plan on running at least one mile race later this fall. The mile hurts so bad, but it’s a good baseline to know. Plus…I really want to break 8 minutes. My current mile PR is 8:10.

So this is what I’m going right now. Runner’s math.

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Outside of running a marathon, my biggest goal was to finish 2015 with 1000 miles running. I thought it would be easy, but I slacked off during the time in between training sessions more than I should have. According to my math right now, I need to average 3 miles a day or 21 miles a week to finish out 1000.

I added up the mileage of the Run Less Run Faster 10K plan and it’s close. A little too close for comfort, but if I run a little extra at the boys’ XC practices, sneak in the easy 3 miler on my lunch break, and just run for fun, then I should be able to manage it.

Is anyone else this crazed about their stats? Or is it just me?

Music or not?

Run number two in my new Saucony Mirage 5s was ok. The nagging shin splints seems to have resolved itself a bit. My legs relaxed after the first 2+ miles of my tempo run this morning. Five miles at mid-tempo pace (9:20) was on the menu. I really didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. I wanted to stop REALLY, REALLY bad at 2 miles, but I forged on and the last 3 miles felt pretty good.

I am wearing my calf sleeves at work today. My legs are still a little off after the 20 miler, so I figured a little time in compression couldn’t hurt. My sleeves are hiding under my pants since the only pair I could find this morning were my neon orange ones. I really need to fold laundry and put it away.

I have a dilemma that I need to figure out before the marathon. I ran my 20 miler without music. I didn’t plan it that way. I’ve been doing so many of my training runs on the treadmill that my Garmin and my iPod have just been sitting on my desk. I charged my Garmin while I ate breakfast and got ready to head out the door that morning, but I neglected to check my iPod. When I turned it on before we started running, the battery was in the red. Instead of being frustrated, I just put it back in the car and off we went. I have to say that I didn’t miss it. I never felt like I needed music to keep me going. Mr. Neon isn’t the most talkative running partner, so it’s not like I had a lot of chattiness to distract me from my lack of music either.

So here’s the dilemma…I’m thinking of running the marathon without music. Even in past races, the music is just there in the background. I don’t really listen to it. The actual songs don’t motivate me so much as the beat. But sometimes I think my better training runs happen when I don’t have music. I can hear my breathing and footsteps, and the lack of music keeps me in tune with myself than with the beat of the song. No music also means one less thing to think about. No iPod and no headphones to worry about.

What does the peanut gallery think? Music? Yes or no?

TWENTY!

I ran twenty miles on Saturday. TWENTY! 10+10=20 4×5=20 TWENTY!

I’m still in shock a bit. None of my long runs over 13 miles have gone as well as the 20 miler did. The 14 miler sucked. It was HOT. I walked the last two miles. The 16 miler was better, but it got HOT at the end, and we ran a route that we somehow have a mental block about. We walked a lot during the last 3-4 miles.

So ask me how much we walked during the 20 miler? Just go ahead…ASK! NONE! Well, no walking when we don’t normally walk. We take 30sec to 1min walk breaks at every mile beep to take our salt and/or eat. But that was it. We RAN 20 miles!

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Notice anything else about this pace graph? NEGATIVE SPLIT! Yeah…who negative splits their first 20 mile run?! Apparently Mr. Neon and I do. I will give the weather some credit. It was beautiful out…perfect 55-60 degrees, a light breeze. Just wonderful!

In other news, I might have found a solution for my shoe issue. For the last 18+ months, I have worn Brooks PureCadence 2s. I fell in love with them and stockpiled what I could when they went on BIG sale. $50 for my favorite running shoe…I bought four pairs! The last two pairs that I have been rotating now have 300+ miles on each of them. No good. I found a pair of PureCadence 3s on sale, but Brooks changed the fabric on the heel to this ribbed baloney. It gave me a wicked heel blister no matter what I did. No good again. I got a pair of PureCadence 4s and took the run shoe person’s advice and went up another half size. There were ultimately too big and the tongue isn’t attached and doesn’t have a loop, so it slides ALL THE WAY over to the side within minutes of me wearing them while walking around my house. No good times three.

After the 20 miler, I exchanged the 4s for Saucony Mirage 5s. I started my run journey in Sauconys. I used to wear the Guide and I did try one pair of the Mirages…I think the 3 series. The Mirage seems to do the trick for my slight overpronation, but it’s a stiffer feeling shoe which tends to give me shin splints…like the ones I’m currently dealing with after doing 8×800 yesterday. It could be the shoe or just my legs continuing to recover from the TWENTY miles I ran on Saturday.

Yeah…that runner’s high is gonna last all week!

So now begins the taper. The remaining track workouts and tempo runs are still at a pretty intense level, but the long runs are only 13 this week and 8 the next. Of course, they are faster, both at flat MP pace (10:09). And then there’s the other part of taper I have to think about…getting nutrition back in line, trimming down the 4ish lbs I’ve added in the last couple of weeks, and getting plenty of sleep.

18 days out. And then comes the fun part of completing the tattoo. (And getting another one…)

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The 26.2 is missing, but not for long!!

Me Against the World

I think the world is against me this week. Our children programming started back up at work. (For theĀ NRG noobs, I’m a children’s librarian.) This is my first session being in charge of planning and presenting storytime. Big time stuff. I can’t really miss work. So what happens? Runner Boy gets sick.

I was halfway through my 8 mile marathon pace tempo run this morning on the treadmill when I was informed his sore throat from the night before (it’s just allergies…nope!) was worse and he was running a low grade fever. Great… I scrambled, got my mom to watch him in the morning, had a blast doing my second weekly session of storytime, and then took him to the doctor in the afternoon. Diagnosis: tonsillitis and sinus infection. Wee! He was given a z-pack, which I’m about 99% sure he’s had before. But 30 minutes after he took the first dose, nausea hit. I dosed him with a leftover zofran, and his stomach calmed down. He’s eating cinnamon toast right now.

20 miler this weekend. I cannot get sick. And honestly, I feel off. Not sure if it’s sympathy illness, my cycle (darn womanhood), or just rundown normal stuff.

I will not get sick. I will not get sick. I will not get sick.