Instead of running, I’ve been packing and cleaning. And slowly moving stuff. It’s worth it. We bought a house that will become our home.
Runner Boy and I found it early one Saturday morning. A small for sale by owner sign stuck in the yard. Runner Boy had asked me to run his XC team’s 5-mile route with him. I’d never run that specific route, so I’d never run through that part of the school neighborhood.
I found our house while running. Meant. to. be.
I can run from my front door. We’ll have a pain cave in the basement with our bikes always set up on trainers. My boys can walk to school. No more “Mom, I’m bored,” because there are always kids playing outside and riding bikes.
And no one will ever have to wait to poop ever again.
Runner Boy ran a 5:57 mile yesterday to close out his first middle school cross country season. That was a goal almost 2 years in the making.
Runner Boy LOVES running. He fell in love when he was only five years old. He finds his zone and just runs. Sometimes when I watch him from afar, it looks like he could just run forever. He loves to run fast too. To push himself. It’s a skill that a child has to develop. Pushing to the brink of pain and discomfort, welcoming that pain and discomfort like a friend, and riding it out until the finish line.
He’s had some ups and downs with running the last two years. That’s what happens when your best friend and the woman who watched you become a runner passes away. John and his NuhNuh had a special relationship. She was the first person outside of Mr. Neon and I to welcome him to the world. She was there when he was born. It wasn’t planned. She was just in the room when I started pushing and neither Mr. Neon or I felt she should leave. She was supposed to be there.
When I arrived at Runner Boy’s meet yesterday, I was greeted with a hug. I watched him zone out, do his stretches, lost in his own world, almost ignoring his own teammates. He asked me to put on his bib. “You do it better than I do. You are my good luck.”
I hugged him when he went off to the starting line. “I’ll run for you, Mom. I love you.” I felt my nervous energy build. And for once, I was thankful that he didn’t have any. Maybe after two years of struggling, he had finally figured this run thing out.
The gun went off, and I started my stopwatch on my phone. It was windy, but cool. A beautiful early fall day. If the PR was going to happen, it was going to happen today. Coach was sure breaking six was going to happen. His confidence eased my nerves only slightly. I had picked up the pieces from a missed PR too many times.
In the past, Runner Boy has expressed annoyance, anger, and frustration when Mr. Neon or I, or even his coaches, have yelled at him while he’s running. When he emerged from the trees, I was tempted to hold my voice. But I didn’t. I hollered, “Keep it up. Drive. Drive!”
I ran across the field, towards the finish line, my eyes on the ticking stopwatch. It was going to be close. I yelled “Go, John! GO!” Instead of watching his shoulders contract in frustration, I watched him pick up his cadence, flying, and holding off the runners on his heels.
I hit stop and looked down at my phone. Mr. Neon ran to me and said, “I think he did it!” I couldn’t speak. I just held the phone out towards him. We both rushed over to John and showed him his time. The elation on his face was indescribable. It’s an image I will save in my memory bank forever.
He ran happy. He ran hard. He worked for the joy of the finish line. He ran for the long desired sub-6 mile. He congratulated every teammate. He was present. He enjoyed the moment.
What no one else saw was the ugly cry session I had in the car on the way home. Runner Boy went home with Mr. Neon. Tiny Boy asked for my hand and held it while I cried. She’s not here and she should have been there. She loved to watch him run, and she feared he would give it up because he sometimes forgot how to run happy. I’m glad her fear didn’t come true.
Eliud Kipchoge broke the 2 hour barrier in the marathon. I still haven’t sat down and watched the entire thing, but I have it saved to my Watch Later on Youtube. TinyBoy desperately wants to watch it, too. How many 10 year old boys know who Eliud Kipchoge is and what a sub-2 hour marathon even means? He’s such a cool little dude.
After our crazy morning of running races and our town’s fall festival parade, complete with a snare-drum-playing Running Boy, we sat on our butts for 8 hours watching the Ironman World Championships, aka KONA. Mr. Neon and I both were hoping for a Frodo comeback, and we both got our wish, complete with a new Kona course record. And I am over the moon for Tim O’Donnell. I have a major couple crush on T.O. and Rinny. 2nd in the world and a sub-8 Ironman. Dreams happened on Saturday.
And then Chicago. Brigid Kosgei 2:14! What in the world?! We had so many friends running Chicago and Prairie Fire, and I had a tiny bit of FOMO. The weather was so favorable and nearly all of them had PRs. I’m still on the fence about running another marathon, but days like Sunday make me want to give it another go. And then I think about the training required and second guess myself.
As for me, I am ok with not running a 5K this past weekend. I need to get some more miles in my miles. I did sign up for Easter Sun Run 10K, and I’ll write myself a training plan for that. I’m still considering a spring half. But I’m struggling to justify the expense of race registration with a new house on the horizon. I don’t need to race in order to find motivation to run.
Life is so up in the air right now. I come to the blog, open a new post window, and stare at the screen. It’s hard for me to share anything right now, because our family doesn’t know where it’s going to land before the end of the year.
I don’t intend to be vague, but I don’t want to jinx anything right now. And I don’t want to get my own hopes up. I feel out of control, which drives my type-A personality crazy. And when I feel out of control, I avoid social media, which explains the lack of posting these days.
In short, we’re house hunting. We found THE ONE. We are crossing our fingers and our toes hoping everything works out. Buying a house is the most emotionally exhausting experience outside of marriage and childbirth.
My freshly earned MLS degree is burning a hole in my pocket. I’m looking for other library opportunities. (I think I heard the inhaled shock sound from everyone who knows how much I love my current library and my current job.) I always said I was getting this degree to become a real librarian and now it’s time for me to make that happen.
And my coaching certification is almost complete. As excited as I am to get started, I’m also anxious about starting a coaching business and all the little cogs and wheels that go into keeping it running. Keep your eyes peeled on that coaching tab above for more details. All I’m waiting for at this point is for my CPR card to come in the (e)mail. I had unfortunately let my training lapse and had to renew it before I can get my full certification. I passed the test with flying colors.
Racing is the furthest thing from my mind. I scrapped the plans for a fast 5K when my training suffered too many missed speed workouts. I’m definitely running more consistently with zero current niggles or injury potential. The step streak is still going strong. I’m sitting at 285 days. I’m starting to wonder what I’ll do at the end of the year. Let the streak expire? Or keep it going? Do I reward myself for a year of 10K a day or do I just pay myself on the back?
I’m still on the hunt for my first 1000 mile year. I think it could happen, but it’s going to be mean some fairly consistent running through the rest of the year. At least 3 miles per day.
I think that updates everything that’s going on in our Neon little world.
Nothing can bring a training plan to a grinding halt like a sinus / ear infection. Yuck. I felt like I went to the doctor early enough, but the last five days have been nothing but pain, drainage, snot, phlegm, coughing, and medicine fogs. I haven’t run since Sunday. Blah. And the steroid has me bloated and up several pounds. FRUSTRATING. Especially considering that I was supposed to start two doses of speed work this week.
At this point, I might just see what I can get done tomorrow with a long run, and then toss out the rest of the workouts from last week. It’s only a 5K. That’s what I keep telling myself. I’m only training for a 5K, so these workouts aren’t as vital. They are just the difference between how much progress I’ll make on my current PR.