BOOKS!

For those of you who don’t know, I am a children’s librarian. It’s my dream job. I sort of fell into it, but it makes perfect sense. I love books and I love little kids, and combination of the two = LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I’m a reader for life. I spent many childhood Saturday afternoons on my bed with books surrounding me. When I became a runner, my instinct was to absorb every bit of information I could find in books. It’s not surprising, but there are A LOT of really great books about running. Training books, running philosophy books, books about the mental side of running, even cookbooks.

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Here’s my current library. I like that currently they all fit in one of the cubbies of my bedside “table.”

Meals on the Run
The Runner’s World Cookbook
Racing Weight Cookbook
We make recipes from these books weekly. They take into account the nutrition a runner’s body needs. Many of the recipes are easily adaptable to be dairy-free for me. They use a proper ratio of carbs and proteins. My hands down favorite recipe: the corncakes one from The Runner’s World Cookbook.

Racing Weight
Racing Weight Quick Start Guide
I need to dive deeper into these. One of my big, long-term goals is to decrease my body fat percentage, and this is what these books are all about. Matt Fitzgerald dominates my reading collection for a reason. He knows his stuff!

Eat and Run
Scott Jurek is a professional ultra runner and has eaten a vegan diet for most of his life. If you are in a running or eating slump and need a dose of inspiration, definitely give this book a try. It’s one of the reasons why Mr. Neon and I try to eat #veganbefore5.

Run Less, Run Faster
The concept: three runs per week. Interval run, tempo run, long run. I used this plan in 2015 when I ran a spring half and a fall full. It works. I did get faster, but I also ended the year with a serious case of hip bursitis. My tip: do not skip the cross training. You might be running less, but you are certainly not training any less.

Hanson Half-Marathon Method
To be honest, I have only skimmed this book. Hanson’s plans are known for high volume mileage. Since I’ve spent most of 2016 decreasing my weekly running mileage and increasing the time spent on my bike, this plan just wasn’t even a possibility for me. One day I might give one of his plans a try. Des Linden, one of my favorite female marathoners, is coached by the Hanson brothers.

The Run-Walk-Run Method
Galloway’s 5k/10K Running
These books were my bread and butter when I got started running. I ran my first half marathon with a 4:1 run/walk ratio. Then I ran my second half marathon with a 9:1 run/walk ratio. I thought I would use Galloway for the rest of my running career. I’m not sure if I got tired of hearing the beep of my Garmin telling me to switch, but I eventually stopped using it.

ChiRunning
I started reading this and then got distracted by something else. Probably a YA book about vampires or a dystopian civilization. The bookmark is still in it. I dabble with meditation, so this style of running definitely appeals to me. I just have to find the time in my schedule to sit down and embrace it. Sounds like a double-edged sword, doesn’t it?

Quick Strength for Runners
I’m about to start this program back up again, after I dust off my balance ball that has been hiding behind my recliner from the boys and the dog. I’ve gone through this program once before, and it really seemed to make a difference. I’m horrible at knowing what to do in a weight room, so this book was great for someone who struggles to understand the point of strength training and how to do it effectively.

80/20 Running
Another training method. The theory: spend 80% of your time running easy in heart rate zones 1 and 2 and the other 20% at a zone 3-5 harder effort. These plans flat out work. The concept is sound. You will be in better shape with less chance for injury. The book helps you establish proper pace ranges for the different zones, as well as explains heart rate training in a way anyone can understand.

Train Like a Mother
I LOVE Dimity and Sarah. Their blog, social media, and their three books are full of inspiration for mother runners everywhere. This book is full of sound advice and wonderful training plans. I keep coming back to it.

IronFit Triathlon Training for Women
This is a relatively new addition to my library. The authors provide three levels for each distance. I am looking forward to following the mid-level spring/oly plan next summer.

Stretch Book
This book was recommended in Eat to Run. It prompted me to buy a yoga strap to use for stretching. I keep a list of stretches that I’m supposed to do after cycling and running.

Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week-By-Week Training Guide
This book isn’t in the above picture because 1. it’s too big and 2. it’s not really mine. It’s Mr. Neon’s bible. It has SO MANY PLANS. I think there are 10 different levels for each distance of triathlon. If you are triathlete without a coach, you need this book.

Books I Don’t Own But Enjoyed:
Run Fast Eat Slow – Shalane Flanagan’s approach to food and running. I’ve read it, tried some recipes from it, and it’s currently on my Christmas list.
Kara Goucher’s Running for Women – Another excellent book for a new runner or a runner in need of inspiration.
First Ladies of Running – Such a cool book! 22 incredible women who showed the world how running can improve the lives of women.
Meb for Mortals – I’m gonna be honest. Parts of this book were a bit “meh” for me. Maybe I was expecting more out of Meb. What I did get out of this book was a list of dynamic warm-ups and stretches to do before running. I also found out how much Meb weighs. Dude needs more cheeseburgers in his life…just kidding.
The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances – From The Oatmeal. If you love to run and need to laugh, it’s worth a read.

For pleasure reading books about running:
Born to Run – Reading about the Tarahumara Indian tribe will make you want to sign up for an ultramarathon. Scott Jurek makes an appearance as well.
Two Hours – Can a sub-2 hour marathon happen? Science says yes, but will it happen in my lifetime? This book looks as the biology and science behind running. Fascinating read!
Shoe Dog – Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, writes his memoir. It’s pretty amazing stuff. A somewhat typical rags to riches story, with crazy runner mentality thrown in.

Books on my to-read list:
How Bad Do You Want It? – Matt Fitzgerald’s book on the mental side of running and racing. If it’s anything like his other books, it’s bound to be good. It’s been recommended all over the place. I will definitely be reading it before 2017 when I hope to break 2 hours in the half.
The Running Revolution – Another method of training. When I was hit with my bursitis diagnosis, this is one book that kept popping up on my Amazon feed. I went with ChiRunning instead, but I think it’s a similar idea.

Let me know if you take me up on my recommendations. I purchased all of these books from Amazon, so they are easy to get ahold of. Also, check with your local public library. Running is so popular that most libraries are keeping a copy of several of these on the shelf.

I previously reviewed running books on my old One Brown One Blue blog. I transferred all of those posts over. You can check out that post here.

PLEASE….

Please…
Please…
Pretty please…
With a BIG cherry on top…
Don’t be a stress fracture.

I made a doctor appointment. My shin hurt the entire time I was running this morning. I have a high pain tolerance, so I’m not sure if I should even call it “pain.” It’s discomfort. And the rest of today the mild, intermittent discomfort continued. It feels swollen. Not to the touch. It just feels off. I don’t like it.

I refuse to make the same mistake I made last fall/winter. I hurt myself and kept trying to train through it. I was unwilling to stop running because I didn’t want to stall progress. Now I know there are other ways to keep and even increase my fitness. Cycling and PiYo…thank you for keeping me sane.

I’m also probably going to make a training plan change. I know, I know. I’ve only been at it for a week, but burn out hit hard this morning. Level 2 80/20 10K training is not easy maintenance training. It’s a bit much. I’m going back to my roots.

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This is the first training plan book I ever used when I became a runner. It’s the first one I still recommend to new runners: male, female, single, married, dads, moms, grandmas. It might say train like a MOTHER, but it’s good for everyone. The 10K finish it plan looks much more my speed right now. 3-4 mile weekly maintenance runs and only one day of interval speed work. To be honest, I’m a little tired of timed runs. It was nice knowing that I only had 40 minutes, but 3 miles just sounds much more manageable right now. It’s just the way my brain needs to think about running.

So cross you fingers for me tomorrow afternoon. No stress fracture. Just a strained shin muscle. A deep bruise. I’m finally making progress again. I don’t want another setback.

Please…

Stay neon.

Shin…Why do you hate me?

Week One of winter maintenance training was a complete success.

Monday: PiYo Sweat
Tuesday: Fast Finish Run 4 – 4.21mi
Wednesday: Downtown Tempo – 3.72mi
Thursday: Downtown 5K – 3.1mi
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Long Run 1 – 6.0mi
Sunday: XT Bike – 9.58mi

My right shin has been bugging me for a while. I have no idea what it is. I wouldn’t categorize it as a pain, just a discomfort. It doesn’t make me want to stop running and it doesn’t happen every time I run. It’s isolated to one spot, but it seems more muscle related. I used the omni ball on it this morning and that seemed to make a bigger difference than foam rolling or stretching. I do remember banging it on something when I was playing keep away with Willie a month ago. Maybe just a deep bruise?

You’ll notice in my rundown that I did not do the prescribed workouts for Wednesday and Thursday. I was supposed to do a Foundation Run and a Speed Play run, but I was downtown for a librarian conference and had access to the river path. I took advantage of my 4pm early release and packed run clothes and shoes. Best idea ever! Make the most of the time you’ve got.

Now that I’ve got the winter maintenance plan in motion, I also need to get the winter nutrition plan back in motion. Dessert and oversized portions have been my issue lately. I need to nip that in the butt.

I had to hide this tub from myself over the weekend.

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Have you tried these yet?

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So good! They sell them in big bags, but these little snack bags are awesome. Mr. Neon and I were at the store over the weekend and the stocking person in the organic section told us that when the snack size bags were gone, they weren’t going to carry them anymore. We bought two dozen. $24 on snack bags of granola bites. We have our priorities straight, folks!

Stay neon!

Recovery DONE. Winter Maintenance COMMENCE.

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For the first time, I finished a race uninjured and gave myself a week off before diving back into training. I did a tiny recovery run on Tuesday because holy heck, the lactic acid was eating my quads alive. I did a foundation run on Thursday and an easy long run of 6 miles on Sunday. Boom…recovery done right!

Yesterday, we started winter maintenance training. Mr. Neon is going to be following a mid-level Olympic distance triathlon plan, and I’ll be doing the level 2 10K plan from 80/20 running. I’m planning on sticking with 4 days of running and subbing in PiYo and biking for XTing.

Yesterday we did PiYo and, oh my goodness, I am out of shape. My upper body is non-existent. My shoulders hurt so bad today and my inner thighs are angry with me. Today I had a fast finish run. I used my new paces established by my new PRs. I missed being a sub-10 minute runner. It didn’t last too long without injury last time. Let’s hope I can hold on to the speed this time!

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Apparently, I like the celebrate PRs with new tattoos. Two years ago, I got my shoe with the 5K, 10K, and 13.1. Last year I added the 26.2 and got the elephant. This year, I celebrated with an owl. This one is hard to describe. I love trees…new life, the changing seasons. And I love owls. They are wise, often associated with books and libraries. So viola…a branch turning into an owl. Close to my heart. I just love it.

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HOT and WINDY XC meet this past Sunday for Runner Boy and Tiny Boy. No PRs, just good hard efforts celebrated with pizza and friends.

Stay neon!

My Favorite Half

It’s been two years since I ran the Prairie Fire fall half marathon course, and I’m more than a little sad that I have to wait another year to do it again.

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Race Morning: The alarm went off at 4:50. I got up, let the dog out, and started the coffee. Then I went back to bed and snuggled back under the covers for 5 minutes while the coffee brewed. I got back up and started my new race morning staple in the toaster. Mini blueberry waffle PB sandwiches. DELICIOUS! I also made sure to drink 8 ounces of water.

We took the boys up to my dad and picked up my mom. More about her later. We drove to the race and immediately got in line at the port-a-potties. We found ALL THE FRIENDS and got hugs, high-fives, and passed around words of encouragement. We did a tiny quarter-mile warm-up and some dynamics and hit the potties one more time. We got into the corral and lined ourselves up smack between the 2:00 pacers and the 2:15 pacers. I had made a race day morning decision to go for 2:05. I knew I wasn’t ready for 2:00 yet. 2:05 was going to be uncomfortable enough.

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The gun went off and we got moving. The 2:15 pacers were both good friends of ours, so they were chatting away and hanging right with us. About half a mile in, they realized they should probably slow down. Mr. Neon was in front of me and I yelled at him to get right behind me on my left hip. He was setting the pace without knowing what he should be doing! I switched my watch to lap distance/pace, so I’ll do a mile by mile breakdown.

The pace in parenthesis is what I was supposed to run according to the magical 2:05 pace band on my wrist.

Mile 1: 9:52. (9:52) I pumped my first in the air. No discomfort anywhere. First time in a half marathon I started at a sub-10 pace on purpose!

Mile 2: 9:33. (9:42) Oops. A tad fast. Still feeling good. HR was in Zone 3. Starting at mile 2.5 there was a half mile out and back, which was new for the course this year. I LOVE little out and backs like this, because it means you get to see all of your friends who are ahead and behind you. I told Mr. Neon that I was going to trip because I kept looking over the median at all our people.

Mile 3: 9:38. (9:42) Oops…again. I hit the water station at the beginning and end of the out and back. I perfected the pinch and drink from the paper cup without breaking stride. I also poured a cup of gatorade on the shoes of a volunteer. Oops! SORRY! She was hollering water, but was clearly holding gatorade.

Mile 4: 9:31. (9:32) Perfect. I ate half a Gu Stroopwafel at mile 3.5.

Mile 5: 9:31. (9:28) We “sucked some souls” up the Hillside hill and made the turn into the College Hill neighborhood.

Mile 6: 9:28. (9:28) Perfect pace again. I started to feel some discomfort in my left knee. I had KT taped it well that morning and was really hoping it wouldn’t give me trouble. I made some form corrections and relaxed my arms and shoulders as much as I could. We hit the water stop at 6.5.

Mile 7: 9:30 (9:31) Every mile beep was feeling good. I was getting good at this whole hitting pace thing, even though my knee was still feeling off. I ate the other half of my waffle at mile 7.

Mile 8: 9:30 (9:20) So…the wall came up and smacked me in the face. I got confused. I thought this was supposed to be another 9:28. Mr. Neon yelled at me. I said some choice words back. My knee was so tight. It felt like a rubber band stretched to the limit.

Mile 9: 9:15 (9:28) I told Mr. Neon I needed to run a 9:20. Apparently he thought this meant 9:15. I said more choice words.

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Mile 10: 9:39 (9:28) My eat alarm went off at mile 10.5, and I could not stomach my Huma gel. My belly was full. I realized had taken in too much water on course. There was no discomfort…no feeling of bloat, no need to hit the bathroom…just fullness. I kept taking in BASE salt and just swishing water in my mouth and spitting it out.

Mile 11: 9:47 (9:28) All aboard the struggle bus. I told Mr. Neon just to keep me below 10:00. I think he realized 2:05 was slipping from my grasp, so he stopped yelling and just kept me moving.

Mile 12: 10:18 (9:28) I chased the IM tattoo’ed calf in front of me. Stupid IM tattoo will haunt my dreams now.

Mile 13: 10:55 (9:29) I started counting my steps. Every 100 I would start over. I gave an audible “ARGH” when my watch clicked over. My HR had taken a dive back to Zone 3. My cardio was there. My knee was not.

I took a deep breath, pushed my knee pain to the back of my mind, and ran across the bridge and across my favorite finish line. A 5:15 PR and my first half marathon in 18 months.

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We grabbed our medals, handfuls of orange slices, and our finisher shirts. We were walking around looking for my dad who had Runner Boy and Tiny Boy when a lady motioned to us from the side of the finisher chute. She said, “I just want to make sure you guys are still going to be married tomorrow.” Mr. Neon and I both burst out laughing. He really is a fantastic pacer. He kept me going, kept me running, even when I wanted to punch him in the face. I love that guy.

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We watched some friends cross the finish line, found my dad who was holding a box of donuts, and waited for my mama. She’s kind of a big deal. My mom was diagnosed with lupus and fibromyalgia during my senior year of high school. She and I were both overweight at the time. Her doctor told her the number one thing she could do to combat her diseases was to get more active. She definitely took that to heart and pulled my competitive butt along with her. She’s done more 5Ks than I can count, a couple of 10Ks, and two half marathons. She also rides her bike around 100 miles per week. She’s a BADASS. She PR’ed her half by 2 minutes. I’m a proud daughter. Isn’t she adorable?! 57 years young!

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A PR should always be celebrated with donuts. Mr. Neon already ate his. He takes big bites.

Until next year, Prairie Fire. I’m coming for you and that elusive sub-2 hour!