Did you hear it?

The sound of the barn door slamming shut during last night’s final round of speedwork. I shoved every bit of hay in that I could and now the door is shut.

After my run last night, I was greeted with a new VO2 max on my Garmin. I know it’s just a rough estimate, but it’s nice seeing a number that’s in the 5th percentile. It really lends to the “best shape of my life” feeling I’ve got going on right now.

Speaking of the run, I did step down intervals with 2 minute recoveries. So a 5,4,3,2,1. The 2 and 1 minute intervals were done at a sub-8 pace. I can tell I need to do some dynamics and some serious strength training after this attempt. My shuffle is a true shuffle. I don’t have much butt kick going on. My glutes need some engagement. Big time.

The missing 4 pounds (almost 5) is also making a difference. After topping the scale at my heaviest weight in several YEARS, I started counting calories this week. I hope I can keep it up because I’d really like to get down to my recommended racing weight based on Matt Fitzgerald’s book. I miss post dinner bowls of cereal.

All that stands between me and race day is a short long run tomorrow and three 3-mile runs next week.

Now if only the weather would cooperate…

Stay neon!

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Taper

Whew. Almost there. 10 days and counting.

My confidence waxes and wanes hourly. My shins are sore. My body is sore. Getting up yesterday for an easy 3 and this morning for an easy 4 with mid 2 @RP (race pace) was nearly impossible. I just wanted to stay curled up in my warm bed.

I’m ready. And then I’m not.

In true NRG fashion though, I’m already starting to look to the future. I’ve got some work to do if I’m still going to make it to my swim/bike/run the year goal. 2017 miles. I’m going to have to make an effort to ride my bike more, which is hard when all I want to do is run.

Of course, there’s a lot of “ifs” when I look at potential training plans. If I can break two hours, I’ll probably take a break from half marathons and focus on my 5K and 10K speed and get back on the bike and in the pool. But if I don’t break two hours…I will likely try again. It’s been a goal of mine for as long as I’ve been a runner. To see that 1.

Of course, there are positives to the taper. The dishes are always done. The laundry is actually folded and put away. I have plans to steam clean the carpets this weekend.

Stay neon!

Productivity

The title of this entry is making me chuckle. I haven’t blogged in 10 days and yet I’m going to talk about how productive I’ve been lately. Productive in some areas…slacking in others.

Side note: I should be working on my research paper for grad school. Instead I’m typing to all you people. Productivity? Priorities? Whatever. I needed a brain break.

The internet says we are addicted to our phones. Is this detrimental to our health, to society as a whole, and to our future generations? I think it’s a double-edged sword. I love my phone. It’s my distraction from the worldIt’s a tool I use every day to get stuff done. And currently, it’s keeping me motivated and on task.

So here’s my top 5 productivity/motivation/get-through-the-day apps!

Google Keep – I use this to keep track of my to-do list. I have separate to-do lists for general life, grad school, and work. I also use Google Keep for meal planning. I plan Monday through Friday and then as the week progresses, I start making notes for future meals. It’s also good for jotting quick notes to myself or saving links that I want to look at later.

Out of Milk – I LOVE this shopping list app. You can have shopping lists to different stores. I keep one for our Kroger store, one for Costco, and one for Target. I’m able to save categories which organizes my list by areas in the store. Faster shopping and less chance of missing something. There’s also a browser based version so I can create the list on my laptop at home in the kitchen/dining room and then sync it to my phone. You can also sync it to your spouse’s phone, but we haven’t use that option yet. Mr. Neon isn’t a huge fan of the grocery store, except for the Oreo aisle.

Momentum – This is a habit forming app. The free version only lets you track 2 or 3 habits, but the paid version has unlimited options. I’m using it right now to track water intake, meditation, and strength training activities. It really helps to see your progress.

Forest – I just downloaded this one yesterday, but so far I LOVE it. You “plant” trees (you can choose the duration from 10-120 minutes) to keep on task. If you leave the app, the tree dies. If you stay on task, you can grow a forest through the day. You get plant coins for your progress, which you can use to unlock other species of trees. The app essentially locks your phone and prevents you from going to other apps, which allows you to focus on whatever task you are trying to get done. I’ve been using it at work and at home. I used it this morning to get a bit of housework done before work and was surprised how many times I picked up my phone to mindlessly scroll through instagram or play a level on my cooking game. You can categorize your activity after the tree has grown, so you can track how much time you are spending on each task (work, school, housework, even screen-free rest).

Headspace – Meditation! Headspace is the best. Simple. Easy to use. Lots of different packs and singles. I wish I could get into this habit, instead of being so . I feel so much better when I do it. Finding the time is the hardest part. 10 minutes of quiet doesn’t sound like much, but it’s never quiet in my house. Well, it is at night, but meditating when I’m on the verge of falling asleep seems counter productive. Runner Boy asks to use my app from time to time. He was really excited when they added kid specific meditations.

Do you use any other apps to help with day to day tasks and productivity?

Stay neon!

Toes

I REALLY want to post pictures of my toes. Although I could just as easily post a picture of raw hamburger. Right now, they look about the same. I sent pictures of them to a fellow runnerd. She commented, “Looks like true runner’s feet.”

I had to perform blister release surgery again last night, and there was a touch of toe agony during most of the 3 miles I ran this morning. But the flip side of the coin is my average heart rate for those three miles was a mere 135.

Progress? Yep.

Stay neon!

What if I can’t?

I told Mr. Neon that 15 miles scared me. I didn’t want to run 15 miles. I wanted to run 13.1, so we mapped out a new course in our usual running area.

We still had six mid miles at race pace. I’ve been shooting for 9:05 for race pace.

What did I do?
9:11
9:10
9:10
9:01
9:14
9:10

This part of the run didn’t suck. This doesn’t include one bathroom break and one refill break.

To run a 1:59:59, I have to average a minimum 9:09 pace…for twice as many miles as this. Hello…doubt…again!

What if I can’t? What if I fail? What if I cross the line at 2:01? Do I try again? Do I give up?

My left shin has been sore for a week. It hasn’t gotten any worse. I’ve picked up my stretch, foam roll, PT exercise routine. It’s a classic shin splint pain that I’ve had before, so I’m hoping that all the prehab (love that word) will allow me to continue with the training plan.

Thank goodness this is a cut back week. I only have one speedwork workout and it’s an easy negative split run. The rest is EASY miles, including the 12 mile long run. I think we are planning on meeting up with the course preview peeps. I love the Prairie Fire fall half marathon course, so I will jump at a chance to run it twice in a year!

Of course, Mr. Neon was there during my mid-run freak out. He reminded me that I won’t have had a class weekend before race day. I won’t have done 12 miles of speedwork before race day. It will be cooler. I can do this.

Everyone should have a training partner like Mr. Neon. But you can’t have him…he’s mine. Find your own!

And stay neon!

Randoms on a Wednesday

Helloooooo FALL! These 70 degree days feel AWESOME. I really hope it keeps up. We slept with the windows open last night. The A/C needed a break for sure.

Only downside is BOTH doggies are sleeping in bed with me now. This is a new development since last winter Merry was still sleeping in her crate. Basically, I won’t need blankets at all this winter. Dogs are like little space heaters. Warm little fuzzy bodies.

Last weekend my tummy was unhappy. I made a note of what I had eaten, and I noticed that I had abandoned my 50/50 vegan/omnivore diet. I wasn’t eating vegan hardly at all. So for the last three days, I have eaten almost completely vegan, with the exception of eggs for breakfast. And I feel so much better. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make the full step into veganism, but I definitely like the way I feel the more plants I eat and the less meat I eat.

I did something during this morning’s tempo run that I had never done before. I hit the 7 during a tempo run. 4 miles at tempo. I did the first two miles at 6.7 (8:57 pace). I did the third mile at 6.8 (8:49 pace). And I did the fourth mile at 6.9 (8:42 pace) with the last 400 at 7.0 (8:34 pace). 7.0!! Woah. That definitely swept away some of the doubt from yesterday’s post.

I’ve got to stretch and foam roll tonight. My shins are cranky. I did the magic shin splint stretch this morning, but I can tell I need a little extra prehab to avoid disaster. Prehab…is that a real word? Or did some physical therapist invent it?

Anyway! Stay neon! Stay random!

Doubt

Three weeks of less than stellar long runs. The weather has been a large contributing factor in that. I am over the humidity. The heat doesn’t even really bother me. Has it always been this humid in Kansas in the summer??

On the plus side, I had my second biggest running month ever. 105.5 miles for August! Surprisingly that’s only my third month over 100 miles. I didn’t do any XTing, outside of my hip PT exercises. I have made more of an effort to foam roll and stretch in the evenings. Fingers crossed the injuries stay at bay. So far the worst I’ve had to deal with is sore toes. I’ve had more blisters on my toes this training cycle than I think I ever have before. I even had my first blood blister that I popped this morning. I’m not sure why either. I got new socks. I tried the injinji socks again but they just felt wrong. I told Mr. Neon I probably need to do some epson salt soaking again.

So the doubt is creeping into my mind. Can I really do this? Can I really break two hours? My training is telling me yes. My easy runs are easier than ever. My HR data is trending down. I’m hitting my training paces (for the most part).

Stay neon! And keep doubt away!