I haven’t run in almost two weeks…

…because we bought a house.

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.

5:57

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.

NuhNuh and Runner Boy at his first timed 5K. Run for the Roses 2013.

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.

Their last 5K together. Prairie Fire 2017.

Records fall

What a weekend for endurance sports!

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.

TinyBoy raced a 1 mile road race AND a 2 mile XC race on Saturday. Beast mode!

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.

Tempo and Firecracker 4mile Race Report

2 mile tempo to start the day. I adjusted my HR zones because they didn’t transfer properly when I upgraded to my Garmin 735xt. My tempos were done at 8:57 pace and my HR didn’t leave zone 2. So maybe I need to increase my paces? I didn’t feel like I was struggling at all, so maybe I do need to push it a bit more. I haven’t done genuine speed work in so long. I’m having to remember how to do it and what a hard effort feels like. Come on, muscle memory!

Ok…enough about today’s run. Let’s talk about our run from two weeks ago. How was the 4th of July two weeks ago?!

Our running club has an annual 4th of July run called the Firecracker 4 mile. This year was the 36th annual. We ran it back in 2014 and got someone to watch the boys. We skipped the last two years because of marathon/triathlon training and wanting to sleep in on my day off. But this year, the boys are finally seasoned enough to run 4 miles. Firecracker 4mile will now be a family tradition!

This is a fast race. Lots of speed demons show up. I had no true goals other than to stay around a 9:30 pace. Everyone took off super fast. I kept myself reeled in and focused on my Garmin. There were lots of photographers out on the course. This picture was taken about about the half mile mark. It was a beautiful morning for a run, especially in Kansas in July, so the smile is genuine. It felt good to smile. I could feel my body relax. I decided to keep the smile going and see how I felt.

Mile 1: 9:05. 9:30? Nah. Let’s try for 9 flat!

Mr. Neon’s goal was to just keep up with TinyBoy. Can we talk about those legs? He trims the hair for triathlon in the summer. I think it makes his quads look awesome!

Oh…you know. Just running a 7:30 and 8:15 pace and grinning from ear to ear.

I kept the cadence surging and picked up the pace a tiny bit down the back half of the course, after we popped out from the high school parking lot. I passed quite a few people on the hilly parts of James St. Derby is notoriously hilly, but these streets are where I do 90% of my outdoor runs, so it was home turf. Hills…what hills?

Mile 2: 8:57
Mile 3: 8:54

At this point, the course dumps us into the park. It’s always a struggle to have to run past the finish line. I had a distraction looking for my boys who were well ahead of me. Two other runners who I’m sure recognize my family asked me where my boys were. In front of me, of course! I’m the sweeper!

Mile 4: 8:49. Perfect negative splits. I didn’t have much of a kick left at the finish line. And have I told you lately how much I love my Oiselle Roga shorts? I need to do a whole post on them. My running wardrobe has really changed in the last year.

Overall time: 36:11 (9:03 pace). Course was a touch long (as expected), so those sub-9s didn’t come through on the results page. But it felt good knowing I could do it!

I challenged Runner Boy to break 30 minutes. He ran a 29:56! (7:29 pace) He not only took first in his age group but beat all the 11-14 year olds too!

Mr. Neon kept up with Tiny Boy and ran a 33:31 (8:23 pace). And his legs never looked better. Swoon!

Tiny Boy ran a 33:50 (8:28 pace) and took second in his and Runner Boy’s age group.

All in all, it was a very good morning for all four of us. We celebrated with donuts! I can’t wait for next 4th of July and next year’s Firecracker 4 mile with my three boys.

Stay neon!

Tinman Long Course Race Report

Mr. Neon picked me up from work Friday afternoon, and we ate a picnic lunch in our laps on our way up to Topeka. Dave’s Killer Bread makes bagels now! YES! We drove straight to the lake, picked up our packets, drove the bike course, and hit up the grocery store for breakfast supplies. The bike course looked like fun. Lots of rolling hills…not very much flat.

We slept in my in-laws fifth-wheel trailer. Tiny Boy was smushed into a recliner. Runner Boy was on a camping mat under the fold out couch bed. Mr. Neon was on the couch bed. And I was on my beloved camping mat at the foot of the bed. I slept pretty well, with the exception of one wake-up due to the over night storm. The wind was rocking the camper!

Breakfast: Two slices Dave’s Killer Bread. The yellow label because Topeka Dillons was out of the green label. One tub of Natural Jif To Go. COFFEE.

One hour before the swim, I choked down an Untapped Coffee Waffle. If you haven’t tried them…you should. So yummy with a kick of caffeine. I don’t usually eat anything outside of breakfast before a race, but the more I read about race nutrition, the more I realized I was probably lacking in glycogen at the starting line. It’s hard to play catch-up with race nutrition once you are out of the swim.

The race was a bit disorganized. I felt for them. They had a lot stacked against them. They had to add the 70 distance, cancel the 100 distance due to lack of participation and heat advisory, and deal with the storm the night before.

They organized us into waves and explained the courses. I had a bit of a panic when I realized how far the 1000m course was. It looked so long compared to 40 laps of the pool. Not to mention that it was open water and there were no walls and you couldn’t see the bottom.

Mr. Neon was three waves ahead of me. Once he got in the water, my lifeline was gone. I tried to take deep breaths as my wave moved into the on deck position. Before I knew it, they were giving us the countdown. I barely had time to put my goggles on before the horn went off.

My goggles were brand new. My previous pair had started to leak during my last two swims. I got a larger pair that I had never worn before. They came while we were gone to NYC. Oops. Nothing new on race day…broken rule.

I doggy-paddled / breaststroke’d the first 200. I knew it would be a struggle to get myself calmed down, and I didn’t want to swallow a gallon of lake water. Once I got myself calmed down, my stroke settled in. I was able to relax. I told myself, “It’s just water. Put your face in it and swim.” And it worked! Before I knew it, I was heading toward shore. New goggles were perfect. No fogging up and no leaking.

SWIM 1000yd 27:43 (2:47)
Note: Course was between 150-200m long.

Transition was almost a quarter mile run up a hill. We had to run around transition and enter through the backside. I almost missed which row my bike was in. I quickly dried off my feet, shoved my socks and shoes on, and grabbed my helmet. First race with my new Rudy Boost helmet with the visor! No fighting with sunglasses.

T1 3:43

Wee! Bike! I decided to use my road bike. I’ve actually decided to sell my tri bike and get aero bars for my road bike. I love my Trek Madone 4.5. She’s the reason I felt in love with cycling, so I need to stick with her. Maintenance on one bike will be easier to deal with as well.

The first 5 miles were hilly and windy. I only averaged 13.5mph on that stretch, but the rest picked up. We had to deal with headwind, crosswind, and lots of hills. But it was fun! I was able to drink several times on the bike, which has been an issue in the past. I did really well once I learned that I needed to leave my right hand on the bike. I balanced better using my left hand to grab my bottle. I ate a whole package of GU chews on the bike. I averaged 18.5mph for the last 4 mile stretch! That was a blast!

BIKE 1:15:28 (15.1mph)


I racked my bike, cursing Mr. Neon because he racked Beast backwards and I had to squeeze Sexy in. I grabbed my race belt, my visor and sunglasses, and took one last big swig of BASE RocketFuel.

T2 1:07

They had a water station right out of transition. I took a cup and immediately took three hits from my BASE salt tube. The forecast was HOT with a heat index of 90 by 9am. I knew I’d need salt. I made a decision then and there to take two licks of salt instead of one every mile.

I tried to do math and figure out when I would run into Mr. Neon, but then I realized I needed to know his run pace. My first mile split was a 9:43 and I was hoping I could keep it up. But then the little hills started. Two of them were so steep that I was forced to walk. My legs would just not run up them.

I found Mr. Neon right after the sprint turn around. He stopped and hugged me. I LOVED that. I honestly don’t really remember if he said anything to me. I complained about my left ankle hurting and my hamstrings were achy. I think my ankle was hurting from the chip, because once I took it off, the pain went away. And it hasn’t hurt since.

I walked a bit. I ran a lot. I shuffled to keep myself moving forward. I ate a Huma lemonaid gel at mile 3.5. It was YUMMY. At every aid station, I grabbed a cup of water, took two big sips, and dumped the rest on my head, back, and chest.

Mile 2: 10:34
Mile 3: 10:28
Mile 4: 10:24
Mile 5: 11:12 (It started to get hot!)
Mile 6: 10:35

I was actually able to pick it up in the last mile and sprinted the stretch. First time I’ve been able to do that in a triathlon in a LONG time. BASE salt for the win!

RUN 1:04:18 (10:23)


I finished strong and felt great! Mr. Neon met me at the finish line and took my medal challenge coin from the volunteer because he wanted to give it to me! I love my guy! He’s the reason I made the decision to do a long course and having him there waiting for me at the finish line was the cherry on top.


Overall time 2:52:16

My main goal was to finish feeling good and under 3 hours. Boom…goal achieved! I think getting my nutrition right really helped. I only had minimal soreness in my back and shoulders in the days following. My legs never really felt sore. I took four BASE Recovery Activators immediately after we finished. I’m so glad I remembered to put them in my transition bag this time.

I will definitely do another OLY distance again. And I’m really looking forward to training harder for any future sprint races. As far as anything longer than that…we’ll see.

Stay neon!

May! BOOM!

WOW! This is what real triathlon training looks like. I’m going to admit the last two years I’ve been phoning it in. For reference, I swam 4.54 miles TOTAL in all of 2016. 1.04 miles in 2015…marathon training, what? And in 2014 when I was learning how to be a triathlete, I only swam 6.31 miles total.

I was sick last week too. I skipped two workouts, including my long run. And I’m surprisingly ok with that. I woke up Friday with a sore throat and ear pain. I headed to urgent care and got a z-pack. I never had ear infections as a child, but since I turned 30, I get one or two a year. Not fun. My doctor just thinks it’s allergy related.

The next two weeks will be interesting. I guess it’s going to be a forced taper. The boys have a big race on Saturday, so I’m not sure when I will be able to get my last long bike/brick workout in. And then next week we are headed up to NYC to see the nephews and their parents.

I mean…let’s get serious…the nephews are the reason we are going. BIL and SIL…I love you too, but you are not adorable and cute, and you don’t call me Aunt Hannah in a sweet little boy voice.

Our NYC trip this year will include a run in Central Park! We fly out on National Running Day, so maybe we’ll also do an airport run…ha!

Stay neon!

79.2

Seriously?! 79.2 was last week’s mileage. POINT EIGHT away from 80.

Good news…I have two weeks of virtually the same level of training. You can bet I won’t be making the same mistake twice.

Look at this month!! The blues are runs. The pink are bikes. And the yellows are swims. There’s another swim on the 14th that’s hiding.

My total mileage for May is already 230. I’ve never broke 200 and by the end of the month I will easily break 300. I used to get so hung up on mileage when I was just running. 1000 miles run in a year sounds completely doable, but I have yet to hit that mark.

I’m really enjoying tracking my triathlon mileage. Not because the numbers are bigger, but because I feel SO GOOD doing all three disciplines. Less injury. Less nagging pains. I rarely do the same thing two days in a row, so my muscles have more time to recover. My swim on Sunday was so awesome that I can’t wait to swim again. I used to despise swimming and would look forward to the minute it was over during races.

And I’m totally on track to swim, bike, run the year. I figured out that if I set my Garmin goal to “any activity” that it will count all my swims, bikes, and runs.

So what’s the point of all this? Tracking my workouts like this gives me confidence. I can do this! I LOVE living the tri life…especially when it’s shared with my husband and my boys.

Stay neon!