The End

Saturday marked the end of triathlon season. SOB! In 2014, I did two triathlons. In 2015, I did one. In 2016, I did FOUR. It should have been five, but I was the genius who signed up for a triathlon six days after Mr. Neon’s Ironman. Sherpa hangovers take a while to get over.

I did Tiara Tri this past Saturday. It’s my favorite triathlon to do. It’s an all-girl event, which is fun, but add in the number of brand new triathletes makes it extra fun. This year I really felt like a seasoned pro, especially when only handful of us have tri bikes. I got asked lots of questions. Race report coming soon. For now, you get randomness.

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“Intestinal digestive support.” A.k.a. it makes your poop healthy and regular. But seriously…I’ve been taking a probiotic for a long time, since Tiny Boy was a baby. I started with one of the name brands. I can’t remember which one, but it definitely didn’t do the trick. Then I switched to the generic 4X probiotic from Sam’s Club. Then we switched to Costco. I tried unsuccessfully to use the generic from Walmart before discovering that our Kroger store carries the same 4X generic as Sam’s Club. But Sam’s…I thought you and Walmart were the same thing…WRONG. About a month ago I got an email saying that BASE was going to start selling a probiotic. I did the math, and with my ambassador discount, it was about the same price as the generic from Dillons. Why not give it a try? And guess what…it works better. I won’t go into details, but in the last two weeks since I switched, my bathroom habits are on point. HA! If you want happy poop too, just click the affiliate link to the right of this post.

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I love peanut butter crackers. The end.

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I’m missing Colorado today. Whenever we go on vacation, Mr. Neon and I play the game “Do you think we could live here?” Hawaii was a yes…duh, it’s Hawaii. Missouri was a no. Kentucky was a no. Indiana was a maybe. New York was a strong maybe. Texas was a no. Colorado is a very affirmative YES. Someday…maybe.

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Summer is coming to a close. That means it’s time to share those Garmin tans. I think this summer’s tan compares to the epic tan of 2014. I didn’t get much of one last summer because of the then new full time job. This summer’s tan was aided in large part to the extra hour spent Pokemon hunting each day.

With triathlon season over, half marathon training begins. I kicked it off pretty well with a 9 mile long run on Sunday. Mr. Neon ran with me! I have sure missed my training partner these last three weeks. We were impressed both of us were able to maintain a smooth easy pace of 10:15, while managing to keep our HRs happily around 140.

I move from 3 days a week of running to 4 days (One foundation, one tempo, one interval, and one long run). I’m still planning on swimming once per week, and hopefully getting a swim coach. And I’ll still use my bike for XTing. Fingers crossed my left hip, knee, foot continue to see improvement!

Stay neon!

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Happy National Dog Day!

I’m deviating from my norm of posting about running and triathlon to tell the story of Willie. My four-legged bestie. And the only character on this blog that gets to use his real name!

The Story of Willie…

When I get an idea in my head to do something, I usually can’t stop obsessing about it until it’s done. I think that’s why running stuck with me. I said I was going to run a half marathon and I did. I said I was going to run a full marathon and I did. I said I was going to become a triathlete and I did.

In January 2014, I told Mr. Neon I wanted a dog. He rolled his eyes. But he knew by the end of 2014, we would have a dog. Mr. Neon lives by the rule “happy wife, happy life.” I wanted a dog, and I was going to get a dog.

I have a pretty good gut instinct. It’s what makes me a good mom. I know when my kids are take-them-to-the-doctor sick vs. lay-on-the-couch-and-watch-movies sick. I know when a situation feels wrong. I know when something is a good deal, and we should go for it.

So I started looking on the Kansas Humane Society website in January 2014. I scrolled through the pictures every day waiting for my gut to kick in. There were lots of potentials, and we almost made the trip to look at a dog a few times. But it never felt 100% right. Until March 25, 2014…when I saw Willie.

I was at work on a Sunday. I scrolled through the pictures and there he was. He was 16 months old, weighed 12lbs, and his name was Willie. He was listed as a miniature pinscher, but he had gigantic ears and a curly chihuahua tail. When I got home from work, I showed him to Mr. Neon who rolled his eyes. I told him that if he was still on the website on Tuesday, my day off, that Tiny Boy and I would go up and look at him. Guess what…he was still there on Tuesday.

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I really wish I had that original photo saved, but I don’t. The only picture I have is this one. The first picture I took of my Willie dog.

Tiny Boy was only 5 and very nervous around dogs. He sat perched on the chair the entire time and refused to get down on Willie’s level. Willie didn’t jump on me. He sat and let me pet him. He sat in between my feet. I wanted him, and he wanted me. I had found my dog.

Mr. Neon was at school and hard to get in touch with except for an emergency. I called my mom who had volunteered at the humane society before. She told me to pay the $30 hold fee and then bring Mr. Neon and Runner Boy back later that evening to check him out before we made a decision. So that’s what we did.

I finally got ahold of Mr. Neon. I remember that conversation vividly.

Mr. Neon: How sure are you about this dog?
Me: Really sure. He’s adorable. He’s sweet. He’s scared and wants a home.
Mr. Neon: Is this the dog you want?
Me: Yes, please.
Mr. Neon: Ok, then we better go back tonight and get him.

When the bus dropped Runner Boy, then 6 and in 1st grade, off after school, I told him we were going to go see a dog and maybe bring him home. I remember this conversation vividly too.

Runner Boy: What’s his name?
Me: Willie.
Runner Boy: Like Willie the Wildcat?! That’s perfect! We have to get him!

We made the trek back up to the humane society. When the volunteer brought Willie into the room, he ran right up to me. He must have spent the last five hours waiting for me to come back. We finalized the adoption and picked out some stuff for him and brought him home.

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A lot of people say their dog is the best and they are just plain wrong. Willie is the best. I don’t know where he came from or who owned him before us. I like to think he was always supposed to be ours. They were just holding him until he could find us.

Happy National Dog Day, Willie! Thanks for making walking into the door of our house always an event worth celebrating!

Ironman Boulder Sherpa Report: Part Two

Read part one first!

I left off with the finish line. He looked so strong coming across the finish line, but looks can be deceiving.

A few moments after he walked into the medical tent, I was able to ask one of the attendants how to get information about him. He led me over to the spectator side of the medical/food tent. I could see Mr. Neon inside the tent. He was sitting in the “good chairs” where I was told the athletes usually only stay for about 30 minutes before being released. They told me that he was just dizzy and a little nauseous. At that point, they thought some zofran and chicken broth would perk him up.

I had to stay close because I had to wait for him to come out of the tent. There was no other way for me to communicate with him. I was so tired. I had been awake for nearly 20 hours at that point. I hadn’t eaten dinner and had barely eaten lunch. I just kind of wandered around in a daze, glancing up at the tent every few moments. Several spectators and other BASE athletes checked on me. Again…thank you, Ironman family.

After about 30 minutes, I noticed that Mr. Neon was no longer sitting in the “good chairs.” I asked again about him and was told that he had passed out. They had taken him to the back for fluids. The medical director came over and spoke with me. I let him know that Mr. Neon has vasovagal syncope episodes when his stomach acts up. He told me he would find me in about 20-30 minutes with an update.

The next update was more of the same. He couldn’t stay conscious sitting up. They were going to give him another bag of fluids. I found a tree and parked myself underneath it. I managed to choke down a Honey Stinger waffle. Thankfully my family had handed two bottles of water off to me before they left. Hydration is good.

Speaking of family, shout out to my amazing mother. She took the boys and went to get Mr. Neon’s bike from transition 2. She hauled it and all his gear bags back to the car. When it became clear that Mr. Neon wasn’t leaving medical anytime soon, I sent her and the boys back to the airbnb. She’s a rockstar. I could not have done this trip without her. She took care of my boys (McDs and iPads for the win!) when I needed to take care of my Ironman.

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Nephew and his Pam. He learns names quick. She melted every time he said it.

After about 20 more minutes of waiting, I heard my name being called. There was a man calling to me from the fence around the food tent. He said Mr. Neon told him to look for the cute, tiny wife in a pink tank top. Apparently I was the talk of the medical tent. He was the doctor in charge of caring for the athletes and told me that the second bag of fluids was still being administered, but Mr. Neon was still getting pasty when they tried to sit him up. He would come find me again soon with an update.

Another twenty minutes later, I was still sitting under the tree, zoned out in exhaustion. This time the doctor came around to me, sat down in the grass across from me, and told me he had good news and bad news and which did I want first. I told him the bad. He said they had exhausted everything they could do for him in the tent and that it was time to go to the ER. What on earth was the good news?! He looked at me, smiled, and said, “I get to take you to him.” He told me that keeping the two of us separated was awful. He said we clearly needed each other. I braced myself to see my Ironman. He really didn’t look too bad. He was pasty and tired, but he smiled at me. I don’t think he ever stopped smiling. We took a quick ambulance ride to the hospital. I will say that Ironman is thorough. Within moments of the ER decision, I had two phone calls from Ironman making sure I knew about the situation. Frank Lowery, the regional director, checked on Mr. Neon twice in the hospital and kept in touch via phone and text in the week after.

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Medical director Jeff thought this moment needed to be documented.

The ER doctor was very reassuring despite using some scary words. Rhabdomylosis (google it.) and acute kidney failure was the diagnosis. The only solution was fluids and hospital observation. I also found out during our time in the ER that Mr. Neon had a syncope episode between mile 24 and 25. That’s why it took him 45 minutes to go 1.5 miles. He said he felt the episode coming on and sat down before he passed out from standing and hurt himself. He had two medical personnel with him then. One wanted to pull him. The other one wanted to let him continue. Thankfully the second one won and got Mr. Neon moving. After all the ER paperwork was signed and all of his issues were addressed, Mr. Neon sent me back to the airbnb to sleep. I went back to the condo and fell into bed. I had been awake for 23 hours.

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The mini sherpas slept HARD!

The next morning, I woke up to a text from my guy. They had gotten him into a room around 2:30am. He asked if I could bring him shower stuff, clean clothes, and some breakfast. I brought him a McDs sausage mcmuffin with egg (no cheese). Our favorite post long workout treat. He looked a lot better that morning. I helped him shower. I wish I would have taken a picture of his tri shorts. They literally stood up on their own from the salt. He had been wearing them for 30 hours at that point. Gross and yet hilarious. I also got my first full body post race Ironman hug. Man, that felt good!

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The smile never faded! It’s hard not to smile when you are an Ironman!

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I had two BASE team members (including Mr. Base Matt Miller) reach out to me during Mr. Neon’s stint in the hospital, making sure we had a place to stay. BASE Performance…YOU ROCK!

The rest of the day was spent visiting him at the hospital, napping, walking the halls, and figuring out our next plan of action. We had to wait for all his bloodwork numbers to start trending back down. Unfortunately by the end of the day that meant one more night in the hospital. Poor Mr. Neon. Leaving him that night was hard on all of us. The boys wanted their daddy home with them. We cried as a family more in three days than I think we have in our entire 13+ years together.

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140.6 was meant to be the end of a long 168 day journey, and we all felt a little cheated out of the recovery side of things. The next morning, Mr. Neon was deemed fit enough to go home. Mom, the boys, and I grabbed some lunch from the hospital cafeteria while we waited for him to get discharged and get copies of all his records to take home to our regular doctor, who we had been in contact with the entire hospital stay. Boulder Community Hospital is top notch, by the way.

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The Ironman and his watermelon balloon!

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First stop after getting out of the hospital…Whole Foods for vegan chocolate chip cookies! You can see here how swollen his calves were from the fluids.

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As badly as we all wanted to get home, we decided to take the rest of Tuesday to rest and get a good night’s sleep in the condo before heading out the next morning. Poor Mr. Neon was still dealing with some indigestion, queasiness, and lots of edema from the nearly 13 bags of saline they pumped into him over the course of 40 hours in the hospital. He slept really hard Tuesday night and about halfway home on Wednesday, but then he woke up and looked and acted much more back to normal. Mr. Neon has a knack for sleeping away all ailments, including apparently Ironman-induced rhabdomylosis.

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HOME!

So that’s the story of Mr. Neon becoming an Ironman. He spent the next week in recovery mode, following up with our doctor and drinking lots of water to flush out the horrible edema he had in his feet and calves. So far, he hasn’t had any adverse side effects. He’s even started slowing easing back into training. He’s run a couple of times…very slow and very easy. He did my long bike with me over the weekend and said it was the best bike ride he’d been on all year. But when you get to ride 19 miles at 14mph on your road bike with your wife…well…that is the best bike ride of the year!

As for the future, I think Mr. Neon is ready to stick to the shorter races. 2017 will see lots of sprint triathlons and hopefully an increase in speed at the shorter distances. There are a lot of half Ironmans every year and lots of opportunities to volunteer at Ironman events. It sure would be nice to take a vacation without a race in the middle too!

And since I’m sure people will ask. We don’t really know why this happened to Mr. Neon. All the doctors had different theories. It could have been the altitude. It could have been a lack of fueling on the bike or run. It could have been Mr. Neon’s specific body chemistry. He has genetic high cholesterol and takes a low dose statin, which could have caused some issues too. It could be that he simply found his physical limit. His case of rhabdo was mild compared to others we were told about. All that matters is that he’s ok and HE’S AN IRONMAN!

Thanks for reading. And as always…stay neon!

Ironman Boulder Sherpa Report: Part One

Part One. I had to split it into two parts. It’s still long. Thank you if you read the whole thing.

Where do I even start?

Let’s go back approximately 12 months. Mr. Neon told me he wanted to do an Ironman in 2016. We just had to pick one. He gave me two options. Louisville or Boulder? Kentucky or Colorado? October or August? Of course, I picked Boulder. Colorado in the summer?! Sign me up!

Hindsight being 20/20, with the exception of the altitude, Boulder was the better choice. It was right before school started. The peak of training happened in the summer when Mr. Neon was off work. It was in Colorado and only an 8 hour drive, instead of a 12 hour drive.

So let’s get to the sherpa report…

Checking in for an Ironman is a three day ordeal. We got into Boulder Wednesday evening. We checked into our airbnb. Airbnb gets two thumbs up from me. It was a million times more comfortable than a hotel. Thursday morning, Mr. Neon got up for an easy run. Then the boys, Mom, and I went out for a run. The weather was gorgeous. 70 degrees, slight cloud cover, no humidity. I kept waiting for the altitude to affect me, but it never did.

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We got ready and headed to Ironman Village. I fought the urge to call it “the expo” all weekend. It’s a village, people. We got Mr. Neon checked in. Blue wristband on…Beast mode activated. Then we did some credit card damage. BASE tent = new tanks for me and Mom and more salt. Zoot tent = new tri kit for Mr. Neon. Hoka tent = new Cliftons for Mr. Neon in Ironman red, of course. Clif bar tent = fistfuls of samples into our bags. You can never have too many snacks in the sherpa bag. Ironman Merch tent = name tee, name hoodie, water bottle, and support tees for Runner Boy, Tiny Boy, me, and Mom. We explored Boulder for the rest of the afternoon.

Friday we went back to the Ironman Village to take a picture with everyone, since Mr. Neon’s parents and brother, SIL, and Nephew arrived Thursday afternoon. Mr. Neon did a short bike ride, and then he and his brother drove the bike course, while Mom, the boys, the SIL, and I went to the Celestial Seasonings factory, which was conveniently a block from our condo. I bought lots of tea! Mr. Neon and I went to dinner at the BASE house and got to rub elbows with other BASE athletes and Matt Miller and Tony Demakis. I love the BASE family…such a neat group of people.

Saturday was bag and bike drop off day. We had a bit of a hiccup when Mr. Noel got his wetsuit ready to go. Parts of it had fused to itself and it tore when he went to lay it out. Tip…don’t buy an Xterra suit. They are modestly priced and offered at deep discount for a reason. We ended up going back to the Village and buying him a sleeveless Roka suit. This ended up being a good choice, which I’ll explain in a bit. We dropped off the bike, bike gear bag, and run gear bag. And then we tried to relax. Emphasis on tried.

The alarm went off at 2:45am on Sunday. 2:45am…is that even considered morning?! We got coffee into us and some breakfast and then we headed to downtown Boulder to catch a bus up to the reservoir. Mr. Neon double checked everything, while I tried not to freak out. What my love was about to do hit me hard. I just started crying…a theme that would continue throughout the day.

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Mr. Neon kissed me and headed to line up for the swim. The energy in the air was thick. This song started to play over the loud speakers and it resonated with me. A quick google revealed it to be “Go Big or Go Home” by American Authors. I haven’t stopped listening to it since. I had a hard time finding Mr. Neon in the sea of green and pink caps. I knew where he would line up, but I still couldn’t spot him. They all looked the same. I finally found him and started taking pictures for everyone waiting back at the airbnbs. I got several good ones of him going into the water. He was off. I cried some more and got many hugs from random spectators. Ironman family…I love you.

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I wandered up the hill in between the swim start and the swim finish. I munched on some Nature Box chocolate waffles and updated social media. It wasn’t long before I heard Mike Reilly announce that they could see the first swimmers heading back in. I had nothing better to do, so I wandered over. About that time, Mr. Neon’s brother texted me that he, SIL, and Nephew had arrived at the reservoir. They found me and we moved over to the side of the swim finish where we could follow him through transition.

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Mr. Neon had told me that he planned on a 1:30 swim. Nope, he came out of the water in 1:13. New wetsuit for the win! He’s such a strong swimmer. I completely missed him until he was right in front of me. He gave me a big grin and stuck his tongue out at me. He was having fun! YAY! His number one goal for the day was to have fun and enjoy every moment. He made his way through transition. We ran around the side to wait for him to come out of the tent into the sunscreen station. It was cute watching my seven-months-pregnant SIL run between areas. We watched him go off onto his bike! See you in six hours, my love!

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We had to take a bus back down to the second transition. I missed seeing him on the bike, but Mom and the boys got to see him at mile 20. I made it back up to the condo and managed to take a fitful 45 minute nap. Once he hit mile 65 on the tracking, we headed back downtown to find some lunch and figure out the best place to watch him on the run.

My heart fluttered a little bit when I saw him hit mile 107 on the bike tracker. I was going to get to see him soon! We are one of those disgusting couples who doesn’t go more than a couple of hours without at least texting or sending each other silly snapchats. Six hours is a long time. I was also really excited for him because he was going to hit his goal of a 6 hour bike.

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He came into transition smiling. Bike was a 5:53 split! 19.02mph! I watched him dismount and his legs looked strong. Tiny Boy and I were standing on the “hot corner” and ran around to the other side of transition to find Mom and Runner Boy. They said they saw him cross the bridge, and he had grinned at them again. Operation Have Fun appeared to still be in full swing.

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In another ten minutes, he came running past us. He was running and looking very strong. I was impressed. Then came the sinking feeling that I wouldn’t see him for another 10 miles. We had originally thought of bringing my bike down with us, but then decided against it. I tried to make my way down to the flux capacitor part of the course, but I would have had to run much farther than I thought. We made a camp site on the lawn near the high school and waited. When he came back through, I got a big hug and was able to run next to him for a few minutes. It was really the first time I’d gotten to talk with him all day. He said he was feeling really good. Nutrition was good, liquid intake was good. He said he was tired and would probably do some walking/slowing down, but he was still moving forward.

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Mile 10

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Mile 13 – Photo credit SIL.

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One of my ugly cry moments. My SIL’s reaction to me crying was to laugh and take pictures. Stinker!

We saw him again at the halfway point. Then began the long wait until mile 23 when he would make his way back to us. His pace really slowed on the tracker, and I started getting anxious. Eventually, I started walking backwards on the course, hoping to find him. I finally did and he looked exhausted. Still smiling, still in good spirits, but darn tired. I walked with him a bit, kissed him, hugged him, and told him we would see him REALLY soon at the finish line where he would become an IRONMAN.

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Mile 23. Tired Mr. Neon.

We got to the finish line and I was a bundle of nerves. I kept checking my tracker. I figured it would take him about 20-30 minutes to make it from the last check point to the finish line. It ended up taking him 45 minutes. My BIL started walking backwards away from the finish chute, found him walking, and texted me that he was on his way. I watched my love cross the finish line and become an Ironman. Mike Reilly announced him and then we made our way around the tents to where we could get to him.

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I saw him being led by a volunteer and I knew something was up. I hollered at him. He waved at me and pointed at the medical and said, “I’m going to medical.” And that was the last time I got to talk with him for two hours.

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Part two coming soon!

So much stuff…

There is so much stuff in my brain right now.

So…this happened two weekends ago. It still feels like yesterday. Yeah, I’m married to an Ironman. He’s a pretty big deal. I have a sherpa report coming. It’s gonna be a long one.

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I also have a draft about all the supplements I use. I used to be anti-supplement and used to get mad at the amount of money my then-weight-lifter husband used to spend on them. Now I spend twice what he spends. Oops…I hate it when he’s right.

I hit a training week high the last week of July with 50.89 miles, swimming biking and running. And then I only ran twice in Boulder and didn’t run at all last week. I tried to jump back into my long stuff over the weekend with somewhat disastrous results.

My Saturday brick went great. I did it inside on the trainer since I was still dealing with an Ironman hangover. I hit 18+ miles on the bike, easily keeping the cadence above 80, and the one mile run felt good.

Sunday’s long run did not go well. I got started an hour later than I wanted to. I was looking forward to a solo run. Mr. Neon is out of commission for another week or two. I don’t mind running alone. It’s nice sometimes to be able to run my pace, alone with my own thoughts. Nope…none of that happened. I went out too fast. It was hotter than my weather app said. My IT band decided to scream at me around 2 miles. I sat down on the sidewalk at one point to stretch, but a creeper guy caused me to get up and run to the gas station. I texted Mr. Neon whining that I was now 2.5 miles from my car. He told me that I could at least walk back. I shuffled my butt back to the car, went home, foam rolled, icy hotted everything, and called it a day.

My knee hurt all day Monday, but then miraculously did not hurt Tuesday morning. I did a very easy 35 minute foundation run, where nothing hurt except my left foot. Basically the entire left side of my body hates me. My left foot hurt yesterday, but then when I woke up this morning, everything was fine. My 45 minute bike this morning went fine, except I was tired and the quads were sore.

Stay neon, kids.

Mr. Neon

Tomorrow my love will become an Ironman. For the last 167 days, he has pushed himself to the limits physically. And through all of that, he has remained a devoted husband and father and a passionate educator.

Mr. Neon, no matter what happens on Sunday…I am PROUD of you. I am PROUD to be your wife. To stand beside you. To have grown up next to you. You are an incredible man, father, husband. You are the best and I love you.

CORN

He’s bib# 945 if you want to track him on Ironman.com. There’s live streaming of the finish line, so you can watch him cross and hear Mike Reilly say those coveted words. I’ll also be posting updates on my various social media sites.

Stay neon!!

Running on Vacation

Hello from Boulder, CO! We are in town for Mr. Neon’s Ironman. It’s been over a decade since I’ve been in Colorado. And now that I’m here I’ve decided that I will not be waiting another 10 years before returning. I love this place! Especially Boulder. I have lost count of the number of people I’ve seen on bikes. It’s very athletic minded and laid back. I dig it!

Mr. Neon got checked in yesterday. And we bought ALL. THE. THINGS. We hit up the Hoka tent for new shoes, the Zoot tent for a new tri kit (50% off!), and the BASE tent for more salt. I tried to talk Noel into some Normatec, but alas I think we might have to wait on those.

Today will be spent driving the course, double checking gear bags, and figuring out our spectator spots. I think we’ll also hit up the Boulder version of Fleet Feet. I need a Run Colorado shirt, because I am in love with Colorado running.

I thought the altitude would bother me, but it appears that swapping out humidity and temperature for altitude is a good thing.

So here’s my suggestions for running on vacation:

  1. Shoes and socks. Duh.
  2. Bring one outfit for every two runs. Yup, I’m gross on vacation and just hang them to dry and wear them twice. It saves space and stink.
  3. Spibelt. To carry your phone with you, in case you get lost. Or because you have a 5K Pokemon egg to hatch. And take pictures of the scenery.
  4. Leave your music at home! It’s not only safer to run in a new place without music, but it’ll also heighten your other senses.

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Seeing those in the background will never get old.

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Soon-to-be Ironman!

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I finally got to meet THE Matt Miller! I fan girled out a little bit. I love my BASE. I’m writing this post while drinking my recovery shaker bottle of Rocket Fuel.

Stay neon!