It’s that time of year again.

It’s that time of year again. Time to bust out the training log books.

Over Thanksgiving week, I signed up for two half marathons. Bill Snyder Highway Half in May and Prairie Fire Half in October. I have yet to PR a half marathon in the spring, but we’ll see what happens at Bill Snyder. It’s the half that Mr. Neon broke 2 hours for the first time. It’s a mostly downhill race, and it’s in our favorite town. The town where the Neon Runner family was created.

I’ve thought about going back to 80/20 running, but I had to most success with Train Like a Mother, so I’m sticking with it. The plan right now is to follow the Own It version in the spring and the fall. I won’t need to start half marathon training until the middle of February. I’ll probably write myself a maintenance plan for the first 7 weeks of the year using the IronFit book, which I will also use in the summer, in between half marathon training plans.

I’m ready for 2018. Like all previous years, 2017 saw another list of goals bite the dust. I haven’t gone back and actually looked at them, but I’m pretty sure I fell short on nearly all of them. A 1000 mile year was once again an enigma. It wasn’t an official goal, but it’s always there, taunting me.

And yet progress has been made. I’m looking forward to December 31st, when I can sit down and analyze my Garmin data from the last four years of running. FOUR years. When did that happen? I can still remember those first months when running felt impossible and glorious. It still sometimes feels impossible and glorious. And I’m still head over heels in love with it.

Today is a double run day. I got up and did my speedwork this morning. 3 x 5 minutes @ 8:34 pace. It feel comfortably hard, just like maintenance training should feel. Tonight’s run is a Christmas light run with our tri club.

Stay neon!

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The off season is not my favorite.

The off season is not my favorite. It’s not. I’m unmotivated. I’d rather stay in my warm bed than get up and run on the treadmill. And I want to eat all the carbs.

I miss the feeling of getting stronger. I miss watching the scale drop. I keep telling myself I’m switch it up, add in some yoga, add in some PiYo, add in some strength training. But I keep hopping on the treadmill and doing my PT exercises when my hip/knee gets cranky.

Mind over matter. I seem to have forgotten that. It’s time to get back in the habit. If I want to make the gains I want to make, then I better get to work.

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, stay neon!

 

We came. We saw. We got muddy.

And just like that…another XC season is over. We traveled from KS to Ohio this past weekend for Coaches Youth XC Nationals. This year it was held at Voice of America MetroPark. Out of the four venues we’ve experienced, I must say it was my least favorite. Zero access to the course. And the mud…oh the mud. I know the mud wasn’t their fault. I don’t know how much it rained before we got there, but thankfully it didn’t rain in the two days we were there. That would have made it an even bigger nightmare than it already was.

Tiny Boy ran an 8:32 2K. 6:51 pace! He made it official…8yo Tiny Boy is faster than 8yo Runner Boy. He has learned so much from his brother’s running, and I hope that trend will continue. He was the 47th 8yo across the line.

The aftermath. The 2K course wasn’t too bad.

Runner Boy ran a 13:12 3K (7:04 pace). He came in 69th 10yo. This is well off his usual pace. He just plain had a crummy race. He said he couldn’t get footing and slid all over the place, tweaking his hip halfway through the race. He couldn’t get up to speed after that. He crumbled into me at the finish line. He tossed his finisher medal in our pull cart and hasn’t asked for it since. It’s hard as a parent to watch him want something so badly and have a bad run during his biggest race of the season. We walked to the car to get the battery pack for our phones, and he held my hand the whole way there and the whole way back. That’s how I knew he was upset.

Hopefully they can both turn it around and ease back into training. Mr. Neon is encouraging both boys to pick up another sport to work on other muscle groups. And Runner Boy has already asked for more biking and swimming. Runner Boy –> Tri Boy.

It’s not very often kids are encouraged by their parents to play in the mud.

Stay neon!

Excuse Me

Note: I started writing this post on Monday with the intention of posting it on Monday. So let’s pretend you are all reading this on Monday.

Excuse me for a second as I relive yesterday over and over again.

Daylight Savings Times was a bust for us. We had to get up early to head to Regionals XC for Runner Boy and Tiny Boy. We could have gone to bed at our normal time and got that extra hour of sleep. Instead, we stayed up late catching up on the DVR and playing games on our phones.

On the way up to Garnett, KS, I was able to get bits and pieces of the NYC Marathon streaming on the ESPN app. I was tracking the leaders and then would hop on when it looked like something exciting was happening.

SHALANE!

Oh man…all the feels. Beth from Shut Up and Run said it best with “Did anyone else turn into one giant crying goose bump as she ran into the finish?” YES!

And then we watched the dudes finish. I really thought Kipsang was going to catch the young gun, Kamworor, but he didn’t. And then Meb came through. Oh Meb. Thank you for all you’ve done for the rest of us average human runners. For every ounce of inspiration you’ve given us. Enjoy your retirement.

And just when I thought I had filled my running inspiration tank for the day, my two little bubs toed the line of their own races.

They had talked through the race with Mr. Neon, aka Dad Coach, and had set their goals. They have put in the time this year and have both made steady progress. The weather was good, and they knew the course. They were ready!

Tiny Boy ran an impressive 8:54 2K (7:09 pace). A full 20 seconds faster than his race two weeks ago. It was his first time breaking 9 minutes. I told him later that he only needs to run 14 seconds faster to beat his brother’s 2K PR and break 7:00 pace. He told me, “Done.”

Runner Boy took off like a bolt of lightning. We’ve really been working on him getting out front in races. He struggles to push himself in the beginning and then can’t get up to speed fast enough to break into the lead pack. I saw him at the half way point and he was running 4th. I was shocked. I just yelled, “John, do you realize what you are doing? You are running fourth! Keep it up!”

And then I caught him at the finish line. Literally. I love to catch him at the finish line. He’s spent. He wants me and needs me to hold him up. He held on to 4th and ran an incredible 11:58 3K (6:25 pace). It was his first time breaking 12 minutes and was nearly a full minute faster than his time last year. He hugged me and said, “You are the best parents in the world.” He gives all his success right back to us and thanks us for pushing him and bringing him to races. What a kid.

Tiny Boy was 13th (9th 8yo) and Runner Boy was 4th (2nd 10yo).

Needless to say, Mr. Neon and I are proud as punch, busting buttons, and all those other cliched things you say when you are REALLY REALLY REALLY proud of your kids.

And now we head to Nationals next week. I can’t wait.

Also…is anyone else obsessed with comparing side-by-side of your kids as they grow?


Look how long his legs have gotten!


Check out the muscle development on Tiny Boy! I have a theory that magical things happen for little runners between 7 and 8 and again between 9 and 10.

Stay neon!

Let’s Catch Up

I wrote that title into a draft over a week ago. What happened?

Life. Is. Busy. I’m so tired of making that excuse, but there it is. Wife. Mom. Librarian. Grad student. Runner. All those titles pile up on top of me. Don’t get me wrong…I like to be busy, but lately it feels like I’m just a walking to do list with little room left for anything else.

It’s also starting to get cold, and I definitely tend to get winter depression syndrome. It just seems to be happening really early this year.

So what’s been going on…

I PR’d everything in a 6 day period.

The asterick is because I unofficially PR’d my 10K during my sub-2 half marathon attempt at Prairie Fire. I won’t count it in my PR list, but it exists in my head.

Mr. Neon and I were again selected to be on the BASE Performance team. New kits…pink and turquoise! I’m super excited. We’ve started tentatively planning out our 2018 season. I’m still planning on sticking to a lower number of races and working on building my speed for another sub-2 half marathon attempt next fall.

I survived back-to-back class weekends, and now we have XC regionals and nationals to look forward to. Never a dull moment around the Neon Runner house.

I’ve decided to set a few goals for November:

  1. 10,000 steps every day. I sit more and more at work. I started a maintenance 10K finish it plan, and I only run 4-5 days a week. I think I’ll be spending some time walking on my treadmill in the evenings after dinner.
  2. No more excuses. I like to make excuses for everything. And I need to stop. No more negative Nancy.
  3. Get the snacking under control and eliminate dinner #2. I have a goal weight in mind and it’s going to take some more.

That’s all from me today! Stay neon!

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!