Progress

I’m still in recovery mode. My quads were still sore and weak yesterday, but they feel almost normal today. All I’ve done this week is two short 2-mile runs on Tuesday. I’m definitely enjoying the extra sleep, but I’m looking forward to getting back to my morning runs.

I signed up for a 1 mile and 5K on Saturday. Run for the Roses is just 5 minutes from our house, and you can’t beat that! I’m going to jump in with Runner Boy and Tiny Boy’s 4×400 workout at run practice tonight. Get a little speedy turnover under the legs. I PR’ed my 10K and my half on Sunday, so I might as well try and PR everything in a six day period!

Sunday was my 3rd fall Prairie Fire half marathon. 2014, 2016, and 2017. I’m always so hard on myself, but I shouldn’t be. Because this…

2014

Actual clock time: 2:13:25 (10:11 Pace)

2015

Actual clock time: 2:08:20 (9:48 Pace)

2017

Actual clock time: 2:00:59 (9:15 Pace)

I have managed to shave nearly 30 seconds off my pace each year! I cannot be disappointed in that one single bit. And I’m looking forward to another year of training, another year of getting faster and stronger.

I just noticed that those are three different Garmins. I’m definitely a gadget nerd. Although I can say with almost 99% certainty 2018 will be run with my trusty 735 again.

Stay neon!

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2:00:59

I have no photos to share with you. Only words.

I didn’t break 2. 1:59 or Bust? I busted. 2:00:59. 60 tiny little seconds.

This was the calmest I have ever been before a race. Confidence was high. I was ready. We went through the motions of coffee and breakfast. We headed downtown and said hi to all our running family. Porta potty…done. Pre-race warm-up…done. 1/2 honey stinger waffle…done.

My friend, Jim, was in town running his 50th marathon. He’s an accomplished vocalist and is not only working on running a marathon in every state but singing the national anthem before a marathon in every state. His voice gave me chills and further confidence that I was going to break 2 with him here in town with us.

Mr. Neon and I lined up close to the front with the 2-hour pace group. They told us that they would be running even splits. Sounded good to me. The gun went off and we took off. I tried not to look at my watch, but our pace felt really fast. And when I finally looked down, it was. We ticked the first mile off at an 8:56. Woah pony. It didn’t feel too fast, so I just relaxed into it. Mr. Neon and I carried small 8oz water bottles, so we could take our BASE salt with a sip of water and not worry about the first couple of aid stations. They were disposable, so we could toss them when they were done.

Mile 2 was an 8:53. Umm…ok. My breathing was good, my cadence was good, but I was still a little worried about this being too fast. Could I hold this for 11 more miles? We had to zigzag through some road construction. I made a conscious effort to stay to the inside of the course. I knew running the tangents would be important.

We hit the out and back on Grove and I looked across the median from friends. I waved, whooped, but not as loud as normal. I needed to conserve all the energy I had for the coming miles. We passed the 2:00 pacers when they stopped to walk the aid station. I felt better with them at my back. Mile 3 was another 8:56.

Mile 4 and 5 include the only real hill on the course. I could feel my pace slowing slightly, but I didn’t worry because I already had some seconds in the bag. Mile 4 ticked off at 9:03 and mile 5 at 9:12. I had switched my eat alarm from every 3.5 miles to every 30 minutes. I sucked down a Huma raspberry gel.

We entered the College Hill neighborhood. I was mentally ticking off the miles in my head. I was hardly looking at my Garmin at all, especially with the pacers behind me. I didn’t need to worry about chasing anyone. Just maintaining forward progress. My legs felt like they were in treadmill mode. It felt a bit out of body. I was moving faster than I ever had before. Was I going to blow up at some point? I felt fine, but the “what if?” doubts started to enter my brain. I pushed them away.

Mile 6 was a 9:02. We passed the Edgemoor Fire Station and crossed the 10K timing mat. I had officially PR’ed my 10K and surpassed the longest race pace run of my training. From here on out, I was in new territory. I was coming to the downhill part of the course and looking forward to the run back on 2nd street. The marathoners left us. Good luck, friends. Better you, than me.

I struggled to get half of a Honey Stinger waffle in me. I used the last of my water bottle to swallow it. My mouth felt dry, but the rest of me felt good. Mile 7 was a 9:12. I dropped my salt tube and had to run back to get it. Mr. Neon kept an even pace and I was able to catch back up to him without trouble. Mile 8 was a 9:18. I grabbed two cups at the water station. I took two big sips and then dumped the rest of it on my back and front.

Somewhere between mile 8 and 9, my brain lost the ability to do math. I thought for sure I was coming up on the mile 10 flag and would only have a 5K to go. I have still not looked at my Garmin much. I knew the pace group was still at my back. But it wasn’t the mile 10 flag. It was the mile 9 flag and I still had 4 more to go. Mile 9 was a 9:01.

The struggle started. The wind shifted and the sun came out. It wasn’t hot, but it wasn’t cool anymore. At the mile 10 aid station, I deviated from the plan. I walked. I took a whole cup of water and dumped it down my front, another whole cup and dumped it down my back, and drank as much of a third one as I could. I took two licks of salt and started moving. The 2:00 pacers were still behind me but not for long. Mile 10 was a 9:29. Mile 11 was a 9:14. Mr. Neon waved me ahead and told me to keep going. He was struggling.

The 2:00 pacers (Karlee and Jerry) came up behind me. I heard them yell “Go!” Karlee fell in beside me and asked how I was. I was ok, but I was slowing. She told me to relax my shoulders. I tried to keep up with her, but she had to go on. But I had a savior. Lacy Lacy Lacy was there. She stayed in front of me. I had my Aftershokz turned up too loud to hear everything she was telling me. She kept me moving. I had nothing left. I had run out of juice. I grunted at her, mumbled yep. I kept moving forward, but I knew the 1:59 was slipping away.

Mile 12 was a 9:25. I thought about my mom waiting for me at the finish line. This wasn’t chemo. Work harder. Her tumor was under my shoe. I had to finish this for her. I had to push through the lactic acid that was pulling me back. I turned onto the Seneca St bridge and knew the road of pain was ahead of it. The wind blew into my face. I welcomed it. It was cooling and the sun was hot.

Mile 13. 9:42. I didn’t even look at the beep. I could hear the finish line. Friends lined the way. They yelled my name, and I burst into tears. The Lewis St bridge always sucks. Up and over. I turned on what tiny little kick I had left. The announcer said Mr. Neon’s name and I was thankful he was still behind me. I hit my Garmin and looked down. 2:01:01. No.

Lacy gave me a hug. She encouraged me to check my time. Maybe I had started far enough back, but I knew I hadn’t. I grabbed a bottle of water and a medal. I looked for my mom and the boys. They had run the 5K and were waiting somewhere. I saw my Daddy first. I walked over to them and cried, “I didn’t do it.” My mom hugged me and told me to stop it. She was proud of me. Tiny Boy offered me the sweetest little kiss.

I couldn’t find Mr. Neon. I finally found him, sitting in the shade. He was having vasovagal trouble. I switched into wife nurse mode and got him water and gatorade. Once he was feeling better, we got him some food and checked our times.

2:00:59. 60 seconds. 4.5 seconds per mile off. It’s hard to be disappointed when it’s still a 7 minute and 21 second PR, which is huge when you consider this was my 6th half marathon. My little boys surrounded me when I pushed saved on my Garmin. I PR’ed my 10K and my half marathon.

Next time, Prairie Fire. I’ll get you next time. And it won’t be a question of if I can break 2 hours, but instead, by how much.

 

Shin pain and supplements

Easy 3 miles this morning. My left shin didn’t hurt at all despite plaguing me on and off for most of the last two days. My right shin, however, was uncomfortable (not painful, thank goodness) the entire run. What in the world? Stretch. Foam roll. PT. That’s the name of the game.

Supplements. I used to be anti-supplement, which I think I’ve mentioned before. Mr. Neon is silently chuckling somewhere as he reads this. I used to complain about his supplement purchases when he was weight lifting. We buy WAY more now that we are triathlon-ing.

So what’s in my hand?

  • Glucosamine┬áchondroitin. We get the vanilla flavored one from Costco.
  • BASE multivitamin and BASE omega 3. These are MAGIC. I have struggled my whole life to find a multivitamin that doesn’t upset my sensitive system. BASE works…just like all of their other products.
  • Hylands Calms Forte. I often take these at night during training. It helps with restless leg syndrome and helps me sleep. I also take the Hylands gas pills.
  • BASE probiotic. Another fantastic BASE product. I used to use a generic 4x probiotic, but BASE works so much better. The only downside is it has to be refrigerated. The upside…after a crummy food day, two of these can banish bubble gut.
  • Generic Zyrtec. Costco brand. I take allergy pills year round. It seems to work for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve had an allergy/cold.
  • Generic celexa. Anti-depression. Anti-anxiety. Because life. I developed late onset postpartum depression after Tiny Boy. 10mg for the rest of my life keeps me sane. I’ve tried going off of it who knows how many times, and I can’t. I keep taking it. No shame.

5 days. I promise I’m not freaking out.

Stay neon!

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!

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!