Happiness happens on the road.

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Happiness happens on the road. Not at the destination. My grandpa is a very poetic man.

This week has been a tough one in the Neon Runner household. We had two deaths in the family. Mr. Neon’s aunt and my great uncle. I feel like it’s the beginning of a tough time. That generation is aging and eventually we are going to have to say goodbye to them. AND I DON’T WANT TO! These are the people who molded me into the person I am today. They are the people who taught me generosity, compassion, humor, love, and how to bait a fishing hook. That generation is so cool. My kids don’t know a world without smart phones, but my grandparents know a world before TV, before space exploration, and before pizza delivery!

Hip still hurts. Last week it really felt better, but then it took a slide over the weekend. I slacked on stretching it on Friday and Saturday. My 6 miles on Sunday felt long. My legs were just trashed. When I went back to fill in my Believe Journal, I realized I ran 5 days in a row. Whoops! I probably should have biked on Saturday, but Mr. Neon had his first long bike and monopolized the trainer. Juggling two training plans is taking a bit to get used to. I just need to get in the habit of checking his first and then deciding if I want to swap for a XT day. His workouts take precedence right now, because…well…Ironman.

I biked this morning. I can feel different parts of my legs getting stronger. I’m really encouraged once triathlon season hits. Now I just need to talk myself into squeezing a swim in each weekend. I also need to get back into strength training, which means getting up an extra 30 minutes early. Why is that so hard?! It’s just 30 minutes!

I’m back to counting calories. I really hoped that regular 7-days-a-week working out, as opposed to hard workouts three days a week, would level out my eating habits and my weight. But it hasn’t. The scale has crept back up again. And it’s in my face every time I open my Garmin Connect app thanks to our Garmin Smart Index Scale. Ugh. I’m reading this right now, hoping it’ll give me some encouragement. It did help me establish a slightly more aggressive goal, which is a full 3lbs below my lowest weight.

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Tiny Boy had a fantastic 7th birthday. He got everything he asked for, including a Little Live Pet bird. I didn’t even know how badly he wanted that thing. I gotta admit…it’s pretty cute. He also got a Garmin 15, after finishing his seven miles over seven days birthday run. I’m pretty proud of that little kid. XC practices start Saturday. This mama is READY!

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Anyone else struggling with weight and training? Why do oreos have to taste so good? And why do I keep buying them?!

Stay neon!!

Falling Back in Love

Confession time: I fell out of love with running.

Ok…so that might not be a total confession, because I’m sure some of you surmised that just by reading my posts from the end of 2015. Marathon training destroyed my love of running. I stopped looking forward to my workouts and instead completely and utterly dreaded them. But I had paid the registration fee, and I was going to run that marathon. I put my nose (er…feet) to the grindstone and got the workouts done. When it was over, I quit. I told myself I needed to keep running, because I was a runner and that’s what people knew me as. But the passion was gone.

I love food though and I love getting sweaty, and no matter what other type of exercise I try, nothing gets me going quite like running. I’m so thankful I found 80/20 running, because I have once again fallen completely and totally 100% in love with running!

I realized this fact during my easy peasy lemon squeazy 40minute Foundation Run this morning during my quiet, dark treadmill run. My heartrate settled happily into Zone 2.5. The sweat was collecting on the small of my back. My breathing was controlled. And then the grin started…ear to ear…bliss. I was running and I was enjoying it. I wasn’t waiting for the moment that I could jump off. I was just enjoying the burn and the feeling of flying. Before I knew it, the 40 minutes was up. My mind was clear. The stress of starting another day was gone. I was ready to get going and kick butt!

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I go back to the chiropractor this afternoon. I’m anxious to see how my hip is progressing. The pain is very minimal, during and after running. I hope I can keep pushing through it and that it doesn’t flair again. This is my last training week without a 10+ mile long run. Can I tell you excited I am for all these 10+ milers?! 10 is one of my favorite distances to run…not sure why.

What’s your favorite training distance? Stay neon!

A New Runner

Progress! My hip felt so good yesterday and this morning that I decided to risk a tiny bit of speedwork. I’ve been skipping it, subbing in more easy runs or XTing. This morning I did my Fast Finish Run. 5min in Z1. 20min in Z2. 10min in Z3. I’d say I did pretty good.

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I’m using the McMillan run calculator to figure my paces and then double checking it with HR. It’s working beautifully and I’m having great results. I ran the 10min in Z3 at a 6.5 on the TM (9:13 pace) and it felt pretty good! Hip is just a tiny bit sore now that I’ve been going from sitting to standing at work. Stretching and rolling helps as always. I go back to the chiro tomorrow for another adjustment.

I am really loving the 80/20 running plan. This is my third week, and I’m already feeling so much more confident and happy with my running. I look forward to it, instead of dreading it. The more consistent workouts is making me feel better about my body as well. I’m seeing more definition in areas, and my weight isn’t yo-yo-ing anymore. That book came along just at the right time. Thank goodness Mr. Neon decided to do an Ironman and I discovered the brilliance of Matt Fitzgerald.

In other news, Tiny Boy’s birthday is this coming Sunday. My baby is going to be SEVEN! How did that happen?! To celebrate he’s doing a birthday run and has pledged to run one mile every day from Monday through Sunday on our homemade XC course. Is there anything more adorable than tiny people running? And looking amazing while they do it. I think he’s hoping that this run will encourage us to get him the Garmin that he has been begging for. Little does he know I already ordered it! I can’t wait to see his face when he opens it.

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Here’s Tiny Boy running at Regionals with Mr. Neon chasing alongside in the background.

XC season starts back up next weekend. I’m so excited. These kids inspire the heck out of me. I’m also looking forward to running with them a lot more now that I’m not so obsessed with marathon training and specific Run Less, Run Faster workouts.

Anyone else a XC parent? Do your kids run with you? Can you keep up? 🙂 Stay neon!

25 miles

So apparently the hip injury that I have been whining about doesn’t appear to be holding me back. I ran a whopping 25 miles last week. Oops. So much for taking it easy…

To be honest, I didn’t increase my mileage dramatically. I missed my long run last Sunday, so it got moved to Monday. So technically it was only an 18 mile week. But you have to go back to the first week of November to find mileage close to that.

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The chiropractor appointment went great. He really worked my hip and my IT band. He said that the issue isn’t necessarily bursitis, but a really tight TFL muscle. Of course, now that he has told me this, the problem definitely feels more muscle than tendon. It just feels sore, bruised, tight, and just like a badly pulled muscle. It’s no wonder that all the stretches I’ve been doing have been helping the problem. It’s just going to take a few more adjustments and time to heal. Thankfully running does not seem to make the problem worse. More often than not it makes it feel better. I am still sore after runs and have pain upon standing, but I know what stretches and which spots to rub to make it better. I also got my pelvis adjusted during the appointment. No doubt it’s been out of whack since Tiny Boy’s birth. It was like popcorn when he popped it. I felt like I was walking on a cloud the rest of the day!

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This little guy has been my best friend. I take it everywhere with me. It’s perfect for massaging those sore spots and get me moving pain free again. Seriously, get one. I ordered mine from Amazon for about $11. Cheaper than a stick or a foam roller. And much more portable.

In other news, I signed up for two triathlons this summer. I want to do at least two more, so I’ve got some thinking to do about which ones. I love watching my race calendar fill up. I’m doing WAY MORE races this year than last year. Hopefully it’ll get me over my insane race anxiety that I developed in the last 18 months.

Off to eat an apple. Stay neon!

Broken Record

I feel a bit like a broken record these days. My hip hurts. I’m still running because I’m stubborn. I’m XTing like a machine and actually enjoy riding my bike now. I’m still strength training. My arms and my quads are sore today as a result. Blah blah blah.

I called in the big guns yesterday and am going to the chiropractor tomorrow. He’s known in our triathlon/running inner circle as a miracle worker. Fingers crossed.

Do you want to know what I miss the most? SPEED. I want to run fast so bad. I want to run a 5K PR. I want to run a sub 2-hour half. All of this taking it easy baloney is really starting to get to me mentally. I am enjoying the slow easy miles and the lack of overly saturated sweaty clothes. 80/20 running is definitely the way to go, but I’m not getting to do the 20 part. Sometimes you just want to let go, see what you body can do.

I FINALLY figured out how to adjust the HR zones on my Garmin 235. Apparently, you can’t set it up on your phone and then have it sent to your watch like I thought. I went in manually on the watch and adjusted my zones. Now it won’t tell me I’m in Zone 4 when I’m cruising along at a very chatty pace! I feel like such a dork. How long have I had a Garmin and I’ve always been irritated when my HR data was wrong?!

I returned the Hokas. They just didn’t work for me. They made my hip hurt more and they made my running feel off. I exchanged them for a pair of Brooks PureCadence 5s. I just need to stick with what has worked in the past. Besides, they are sooo pretty!

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When I really thought about it, the only reason I gave up on the PureCadence is because Brooks changed the tongue. That’s something that can be fixed with a needle and thread. The rest of the shoe still fits my foot perfectly. I really shouldn’t have stressed over this shoe so much. Marathon training will do that to you though…make you lose all sense of reason.

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While I was at Fleet Feet, I also scored these tights for 50% off. Delightfully obnoxious and neon!!

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Stay neon!!

Reinvention

I wrote in my Believe Training Journal this morning that at only one month into the new year I already feel like throwing out all my goals and starting over. I knew 2016 was going to be a rebuilding year / year of invention, but I thought that just pertained to changing up my training plan. And then I hurt my hip…

I was supposed to start half marathon training yesterday. Who starts a training plan the day after the Super Bowl? That was a dumb idea. Sunday night into Monday morning I had a serious guacamole hangover as well as the beirock farts. Needless to say, I did not train yesterday. Today I got up and did the Foundation Run 5 that was on schedule for Monday. Five minutes in Zone 1, 30 minutes in Zone 2, Five minutes in Zone 1. Nice, slow miles for 40 blissful minutes. My hip felt a little tight in the last 10 minutes, but I felt a definite improvement when I stretched. Stretching doesn’t hurt anymore! It just feels like stretching…progress! I knew my hip was going to hurt later, but not nearly as bad. And I was right. It hurt when I stepped out of my car after my drive to work, but now when I get up from sitting at my desk, it barely registers on my “ow” scale.

I’m going to skip the interval training scheduled for Tuesday. Tomorrow I’ll do a 40 minute bike, instead of another Foundation Run. Thursday is supposed to be a Fast Finish run. Not sure if I will attempt it or swap it out for another Foundation Run. In the 80/20 Running book, they list several options for XTing, including incline walking and elliptical. This is much different than than Run Less, Run Faster which only allowed for bike, swim, and rowing as XTing. At least I have a plan and can keep training, which greatly helps my sanity and my waistline.

Speaking of waistline, I had an epiphany this week. One of my BASE teammates posted this article about the “Endurance 15” in our group the other day. It spoke volumes to me. I gained weight during both hard training cycles in 2015. I lost most of that weight after my goal races. I racked my brain trying to figure out why. I didn’t feel like I was treating myself extra. I counted calories a few days here and there and never felt concerned that I was eating more than I was doing. That article made me realize I was doing two things that caused the weight gain. Starting in May 2015, two days a week I was getting up well before dawn and killing myself on the treadmill for an hour or more. I was way above my fat burning HR, in addition I was doing all that hard work on an empty stomach. My body was entering starvation mode. No wonder I packed on an extra 5-10lbs.

And I think this is my solution…

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Being a BASE ambassador allowed me to try two products that I probably wouldn’t have…Aminos and Hydro. I figured their salt was enough for me. But 1 scoop of Amino + 1 scoop of Hydro + 1 scoop of salt = Rocketfuel! It has 80cal, so I can sip my calories, wake my digestion up, and keep my body from thinking I am starving it. The 80/20 Running will also keep my heartrate longer in the happy fat burning zone.

This is another solution…

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My snacking does get a little out of control during training. I also tend to overbuy snacks at the grocery store. I find something new that I really like and end up buying way too much of it. “I love these new fig bars, so I’ll buy four boxes of them.” After two boxes, I’m tired of them and then a year later, I end up pitching the boxes because they are way out of date. Enter NatureBox. It’s another one of those subscription services, but this is one I can get behind. I signed up for the 5 snacks every two weeks. It ends up being about 20 servings, which averages out to about $1 per snack. Definitely what I would consider a good price for a good, healthy snack. And they come in the mail…so no driving to the store, no extra items thrown in the cart that weren’t on the list. So far I’ve tried the blueberry almonds, the strawberry carrot fruit chews, the blueberry almond quinoa bites (my favorite!), and the cocoa belgium waffles. I loved them all. I also got the honey dijon pretzels that I haven’t opened and my surprise snack of lemon tea biscuits, which have milk in them and will get eaten by Runner Boy. Use this link to get 50% off your first box.

Do you have weight issues during training cycles?

What do you snack on?

Are you a fan of subscription services?

Stay neon!

Cortisone and Training Binder

Guess whose hip doesn’t hurt right now?! MINE! I went to the doctor on Monday after lunch. The 3-miler Monday morning resulted in the worst hip pain I’d had yet. My doctor confirmed what I was thinking. I have bursitis in my left hip. I also might be dealing with some it band syndrome, which can go hand-in-hand with bursitis. She offered me a cortisone shot right then and there. I didn’t turn her down. I’ve never had a cortisone shot before.

The injection hurt, but not too bad. The injection site was sore for the rest of the day Monday and into Tuesday. I rode my bike Tuesday morning and really enjoyed it. I considered running today, but I chickened out and wallowed in bed for an extra hour. I might give it a try tomorrow morning.

My doctor told me to keep doing what I’m doing: ease back into running, XT, stretch, foam roll, strength train. I found some great PT exercises and stretches for bursitis, and I’ve been doing those every night. My doctor also suggested that maybe becoming a full on triathlete wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Honestly, that notion is sounding more and more appealing to me. Mr. Neon just chuckles and shakes his head. He knew this was going to happen. #neversaynever

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I started Quick Strength for Runners last night. It’s an 8-week program with two workouts per week. The only truly required items are a set of dumbbells, a medicine ball, and a stability ball. I’m planning on doing them Tuesday and Thursday evenings. And I’m going to attempt to do Lauren Fleshman’s core workout on Monday and Wednesday. I’m strength training, y’all!

I’ve mentioned before that I have a training binder. I’ve had a couple of people in real life ask what is in that binder. So here it is:

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It’s been very recently revamped. I switched from a full size binder to a mini binder (5.5×8.5). I can more easily carry it in my tote bag. I almost ALWAYS have it with me, so I can reference my training plan at any time or jot notes down from various articles/books I read. So what’s inside:

  1. Training plan
  2. Recommended Paces / Treadmill Pace Chart
  3. Tabs
    1. Clear – General notes, goals, race schedule
    2. Grey – Nutrition information, articles printed out to read later
    3. Blue – XTing options, printed strength training options
    4. Green – blog notes
    5. Red – Mr. Neon’s Ironman plan

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I’m an overly organized person, so this binder is a necessity for me. I take it along with my Believe Training journal with me almost everywhere. It keeps my mind on my training and on my goals.

Do you have a training binder?

Stay neon!