That’s a Terrible Idea

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I was driving the boys to track practice last night. Mr. Neon was meeting me there. I got this crazy idea in my head and decided to bounce it off Mr. Neon. I called him and told him that instead of the prescribed mixed interval workout, I was going to attempt to break my 5K PR.

“Tonight?” he asked.

“Tonight,” I said.

I haven’t PR’ed anything in nearly 2 years, with the exception of a sad 11 second 10K PR. It counts, but my hip was in BAD shape. I’m just glad I was able to hold my fitness level.

I use a combination of heartrate and the McMillan Running app to determine what pace I should run my workouts. McMillan is based on a race PR. Right now my 27:19 two year old 5K PR is still my fastest PR at any distance, so I’ve been using it for my paces. BUT! My paces lately have been feeling a bit too easy and my HR isn’t getting into the zones that I should get it into.

So what do I decide to do? Run a fast 5K, just because I can. The temperature was relatively was cool, I was well hydrated, and I had access to a track. The only downside was that it was 6pm in the evening, not an ideal PR time for me who is normally an early morning runner.

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I set off too fast. It hurt. I wanted to stop after each lap around the track. I ran near perfect positive splits (8:18, 8:28, 8:36). And yet, I managed to do it. An entire minute off my old 5K time. McMillan is now telling me that I should be able to run a 2:01:41 half. Should I line up with the 2:00 pace group? Could I do it? 9:05 pace for most of the race. Whew. That’s speedy.

Mr. Neon told me this morning that I won’t know unless I try. That’s what I’m going to try and do. There’s a high chance I’ll crash and burn. But the good thing about running is you always get another chance. There are always more miles left to be run.

Stay neon.

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Tempo Tuesday…err…Wednesday

I started writing this yesterday, but never finished it. I baked granola bread instead. Mmm…granola bread!

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Alliteration is so sweet. I was one tired girl Tuesday morning. I was so tempted to skip my workout, or switch it to something shorter and easier. But I turned on some Parks and Rec and got it done.

5min Zone 1 = 5.5mph (10:55 pace)
5min Zone 2 = 6.0mph (10:00 pace)
30min Zone 3 = 6.5mph (9:13 pace)
5min Zone 2
5min Zone 1

Intervals are good for picking up speed, but I think tempos are where it’s at to increase your base speed. A pace that’s just slightly uncomfortable. I’m hoping by the end of the year I’m able to make some jumps in my zone paces.

Today’s workout was a 40 minute Foundation Run. I got in 3.93 miles. Old NRG would have had to finish out the 4 miles, but the new 80/20 convert stopped at 40 minutes. I ate breakfast first and then ran since Wednesday is late start and I have more time. I run better when I eat first, but most mornings that just isn’t possible.

I went grocery shopping last night. I love grocery shopping. Mr. Neon picked up the boys, so I was able to do it ALONE. I love grocery shopping even more when it’s just me and the shelves.

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I used our reusable bags. We forget them sometimes, but we’ve been using them almost weekly for close to a year now. I’m a BIG fan. My trunk is just prettier than icky plastic bags.

I was able to get a couple more Amy’s Kitchen meals so I could return to Vegan Before Five. I also got supplies to make an old recipe that I coverted to vegan for homemade freezer lunches. Tortilla Black Bean Casserole. It’s a recipe that I got from K-State’s Housing and Dining Department. It was one of my favorite things they had on the menu when I lived in the dorm. K-State used to have a few recipes on their website, but I can’t find the link now. Anyway, once I make the casserole, I’ll post the recipe!

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I was scrolling through the Amy’s Kitchen instagram hashtag and came across a picture of someone’s lunch. It was just a serving of this chili with a serving of basmati rice dumped in it. Doesn’t that sound good?! I use this brown rice quinoa lentil blend at Costco that I plan on making with it. Easy lunch and fairly inexpensive too.

Ok…enough talk about food. Stay neon!

Twenty X2

Boom! Consecutive 20 mile training weeks…yes! The last time I did that was in March when I was pretending that I wasn’t injured.

It was a cut back week, so I only had an 8 mile long run. This week is pretty heavy week with a long tempo and another 10er. Then I get a brief one week taper and RACE. I usually do a 2-week taper, but the 80/20 plans don’t appear to give you a giant taper. You aren’t training at such a high intensity, so your legs don’t need that longer recovery before race day. We’ll see if it works for me. My 13 mile training run came after two 10er weeks and it was my best run of the year. Solid plan.

So, I tried this new thing last week. Vegan Before Five. I don’t know if it’s really a thing, but I made it one. I ate vegan for breakfast and lunch and then ate meat as part of my dinner meal. I liked the way I felt…less bloat, more energy. And then I stopped doing it over the weekend and didn’t do it today. I’ll get back at it once I can hit up the grocery store for some more Amy’s Kitchen meals. Those things make my day, especially the burritos. I also need to start making some vegan frozen lunches myself.

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We had our first XC meet of the year yesterday. The boys both did very well. It was WET, but thankfully not super muddy. They got to splash through several puddles. It was fun watching the kids fight the urge to slow down through the puddles and let instinct take over.

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Tiny Boy ran a 10:06 2K (8:02 pace) and Runner Boy ran a 10:26 1.5 mile (6:57 pace). Tiny Boy’s 1 mile PR is 8:29, so he did pretty darn awesome. Runner Boy has never run a XC race under a 7-minute pace. We rewarded the shiny new PRs with pizza buffet. Boys who run get their monies worth at pizza buffets!

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Stay neon! Check out the boys’ socks…the love of neon runs strong in our family!

Mmmm…Those Words Taste Delicious

Apparently I shouldn’t write blog posts about shortening my race distances the day after a bad interval workout when I don’t feel good on a Friday. Because this happened at the course preview…

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Check out that last mile. Yeah… That whole run felt good. Weather was good. Nutrition was good. Hydration was good. I taped my knee and wore the magical new Hurricanes. Have I told you about the Hurricanes? Two weeks ago, I was talking with my mom, who is an AMR role mother and gets Saucony swag, and telling her that I kind of wanted to try the Hurricanes. They offer a little bit more pronation support than the Guide and they are cushier. But they cost $160…$50 more than the Guides. Eeek. My mom showed up that afternoon at my work with KT tape and $50 and told me to buy the Hurricanes. She’s a good mom.

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See magic… I have the pink ones, but I want the blue ones too. N+1 applies to shoes AND bikes in Neon Runner World.

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IT band taped with pink KT tape. To match the shoes, of course. And nope, I did not have pants on in this picture. You are welcome for the photo edit crop job.

There was only one casualty from that run. My poor hair. Mr. Neon took a picture while we were hitting up McDs for our post long run sausage egga muffin. My pony tail was a nasty rats’ nest. Any suggestions what I can do to prevent this? This is the longest my hair has been since I started running 3 years ago.

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Recovery snuggles are the best. I never get to sit in that chair alone. Never.

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Alright, so I ate my words from last week. This week I’m planning for what’s next. Prairie Fire is in less than 3 weeks. I’m feeling good about it. If I can repeat that long run just a smidge faster, I’ll be happy. I really just want to see a 9 first on the pace on my official results.

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Winter training planning. I’m leaning towards an intermediate 10K plan, which I’ll repeat for Easter Sun Run. Then I’ll look towards next October. 2017…the year I break 2 hours in the half? Maybe? Hopefully? We’ll see.

Stay neon!

13.1?

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Do I?

I’m not sure if what I’m feeling is just end-of-training-plan exhaustion, but some serious doubts have entered my brain in the last week or two. Do I really love the half marathon as much as I think I do? Or is it just peer or even internal pressure that keeps me signing up and training?

The course preview run for Prairie Fire is tomorrow. Mr. Neon and I have plans to run the whole thing. Last week I put the 13.1 shoe charm back on my necklace. I glance at it every time I pass a mirror. Does it belong there?

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After 3.5 years of running, I still prefer racing and even training for 10Ks, 5Ks, and sprint triathlons. There, I said it. I don’t think it’s a lack of effort or laziness that has me leaning towards the shorter distances. Right now I’m simply interested in running faster. Plus, training runs between 3 and 9 miles seem to feel the best. My hip doesn’t hurt. My IT band doesn’t scream at me.

Maybe I need to reevaluate everything. Does putting the half marathon on the back burner make me any less of an endurance athlete? NO, of course not! I’m just temporarily shifting my focus, getting back to basics, and working on my base.

This article by Lauren Fleshman speaks to me. Endurance, strength, and speed…here I come.

Can we talk about mango?

Almost every night before bed, I ask Mr. Neon the same question. It’s a very short question, just one word.

Yes?

Sometimes it takes him a minute to get what I’m asking, but most times he just grins and answers me. And nearly all the time, the answer is yes.

Yes? = Yes, do you want overnight oats for breakfast in the morning because I am going to make some for myself and I’ll make them for you too if you want me to?

As I was making overnight oats last night, the ingredients on the counter made me pause and reflect, especially this one.

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Mango. And here’s a secret: before this week, I’d never eaten mango before.

Let’s back track for a bit. Before we began “the change,” I didn’t eat breakfast. For most of high school and college, I skipped it. It wasn’t because I thought skipping breakfast would help me lose weight. Now that I think about it I don’t really know why I skipped breakfast. Maybe because I slept in later than I do now. Maybe because I just didn’t know what to eat. I was still in the dark about my lactose intolerance, and i had an aversion to cereal and bars. My brain and stomach knew to avoid certain foods before I fully even knew why.

When I was pregnant with Runner Boy, I started eating breakfast. I had to, because morning sickness is evil. And then breastfeeding made breakfast even more essential. And then running…well, running makes you hungry. And now breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day.

Back to the mango. To make overnight oats, I pull out the tub full of Bob’s Red Mill extra thick organic rolled oats, the big bag of chia seeds from Costco, almond milk, and real maple syrup. I mix up two containers of oats, chia, almond milk, and maple syrup. Noel gets diced pineapple, and I get a double dose of diced pineapple and mango. I wipe the drool from my chin and pop the containers in the fridge.

That’s our breakfast. Zero effort clean eating. I used to reach for pop-tarts or pre-mixed oatmeal packets. I never would have considered eating pineapple and mango for breakfast. Back then the extent of my fruit eating was canned mandarin oranges or flavored applesauce. And I thought those choices were healthy!

So what’s my point? The thought of pop-tarts for breakfast grosses me out now. I crave overnight oats and fruit or nut butter on a whole grain piece of toast or a smoothie with vegan protein powder and lots of spinach and fruit. Mango is my new obsession. I can’t get enough of my its tropical peachy goodness. You can make that change too. You can “teach” your body to crave good, natural food. The human body is an amazing thing. When I eat good food, I feel good and unconsciously my body begins to crave all the good food. Fresh mango does taste better than a pop-tart. You just have to remind your brain that’s the truth!

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Sharing this too, because it’s beautiful! My lunch from yesterday. Because it was yummy and another example of craving real food. THIS was so good!

Whining

I’m a whiner.

Somewhere Mr. Neon is reading this and vigorously shaking his head.

The last two weeks haven’t gone as well as I envisioned them. I’m pretty sure I have the dreaded “virus that mimics allergies” that is dominating all health related news reports right now. It started with a scratchy throat, then turned into a very stuffy nose, and now has morphed into a constant feeling that I’m choking on phlegm and general full body malaise.

See…whining.

I still managed to run 21+ miles last week, including a 10 mile long run on Sunday with 8(!) quarter-mile pick-ups. Mr. Neon and I opted to do it inside on the track since I was feeling less than 100%. It turns out that was a good idea. My legs felt good, and we managed a 9:49 overall pace. Confidence boosting run…for sure. I’m really hoping for a PR at Prairie Fire. My last half-marathon PR was TWO years ago.

I skipped Monday and Tuesday because my left IT band had a flare up during the last 2 miles of our long run. My hip has felt surprisingly good. I really feel like I’m continuing to get over this left side weakness. I just need to keep at it. Strength training needs to happen MORE often. And I need to keep up with the cross training and the focus on form.

This morning I managed to do my Tempo Run 4. 10 minute warm-up, 24 minute tempo at 9:15 pace, and a 10 minute cool-down. It took me a bit to get comfortable, but once I did, the minutes flew by.

Ok…that was less whining. And this blog has become a bit boring, so let’s end here.

Stay neon!