Can we start over?

Of course, I could be referring to so many things. The first thing that’s likely to come to your mind is this darn year. Is this cliche yet? To complain about 2020. But really…2020…I had such high hopes.

Anyway…I kind of want to start blogging over again.

I keep logging in to wordpress and feedly. I open a fresh blog page, type a couple of sentences (not dissimilar from these), and then close it. I scan feedly and become quickly overwhelmed by the dozens of posts that I’m behind on reading. I miss blogging, and I miss bloggers.

Why don’t I return to the blog and just start writing again? I think part of it is a fear of being inadequate. What do I really have to share? Does anyone really read this? Maybe another part is that I struggle so much with so many things. I’m imperfect. I see so many bloggers as having their perfect little brands and their message and their perfectly curated content, and I’m a little green with envy.

However, 2020 has definitely taught us that life isn’t perfect. It’s messy. It’s frustrating. But it’s also WORTH LIVING.

So here’s my life…one big, happy, frustrating, glorious mess. I’m living it, and I’m grateful. And I’m back to blogging. At least for today. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

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!