The Suckfest that was July

It’s been almost a month since my last blog post. It’s also been about a month since I’ve had anything that even remotely looks like a good training week.

After the Foot Traffic Flat Half on July 4th I basically went on auto pilot. I planned to take the week “off” after that race. Then when I started my next training block my soleus muscle decided to act up. Took about 10 days for me to get a handle on that. Then it seemed like I was dealing with something in my personal life every other day. And every time running took a backseat.

It wasn’t all bad though. Mrs Team Neon and I went for a nice hike up Multnomah Falls on our anniversary.

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The end of the month our female offspring came home from Montana for a visit. I brought up the idea of doing the Crawfish Crawl 5K together while she was home and she eagerly agreed. We had a great time running together the entire race. She kept saying how I was embarrassing her as I interacted with race officials and other runners.

Here we are leaving the start line.

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Here we are post race.

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We had a nice visit with her. Next summer we are planning to go visit her and maybe run the Bozeman Half Marathon.

Last week I finally got back into the groove of running. Logged a little over 30 miles, which was about half of what I did all of July.  For my long run over the weekend I ran the Huckleberry Half Marathon. This is a hilly course in it’s second year that I’ve been using as a training run for Hood to Coast. I finished 26th overall in 1:50:10. Time wasn’t too far off from last year.

Here I am pre race. Was a little cooler at the start than I thought it would be. Perfect racing temp though.

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Here I am coming into the finish. Given my lack of training the last month I am very pleased with these results.

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Now we are just 8 days away from Hood to Coast. I’m running with basically the same group as last year so should be fun. And with a 7:30 start time we should be able to get some good sunrise pictures again this year.

Happy Running
Lonnie

Rule #1!

Coming into this year I had some goals for myself. Hit a certain mileage, do certain races, etc. But my #1 goal, which has become more of a rule, was to stay healthy. After ending last year not being able to run, I really wanted to make sure I kept myself healthy by not doing anything stupid. And you know me, doing something stupid is right up my alley.

This week started my first block of “marathon” training that I mentioned in my previous post. Monday I did 6 miles with some 800 repeats thrown in. Everything went fine. Actually felt pretty good. Tuesday called for 7 miles. Was running a little short on time so decided to just do 6 and call it good. This was an easy run, no pushing the pace. Just run a comfortable pace that feels good. Everything was going fine until I hit mile 4.5 when my right calf started cramping up. It got tighter and tighter as I ran the remaining 1.5 miles back to the house. By the time I got there I was limping pretty good and running really slow for me.

I was scheduled for another 6-7 miles on Wednesday but knew better than to run since my calf was still bothering me. I did some self treatment Tuesday night and Wednesday night using a softball to massage the area. Thursday morning I got up and the calf felt “ok”. Was a little tight but didn’t really hurt. Talked myself into going for a run, again an easy 6 miles. First half mile was kind of crappy as I felt stiff, but then things started loosening up and I actually felt pretty good. I had some concerns about climbing the 200′ hill that is in my normal route but since I felt good I went for it. Got to the top of the hill, went about another 100′ and BAM…calf cramped up. I tried to stretch it out but it didn’t help. The worst part…I was 2.2 miles from home. That was a long, slow jog back to the house. I could have walked it but it would have taken longer and not been any less painful.

So I’m going to take an extra few days off and keep doing the treatment. I also reached out to my trainer (who I’m actually no longer seeing as of last week) and will go see him on Monday if not dramatically better. The biggest downer is that I have the Harvest Hay Half Marathon this weekend. 99% sure I won’t be running it. Mrs Team Neon suggested we walk the course instead. After thinking about it, probably best to take the weekend off. I don’t have any races the next two weekends either so this is as good a time as any to miss something. Plus my race schedule gets kind of crazy next month so a good excuse to take care of some things in the non running parts of my life.

Here’s to staying true to rule #1!

Happy Running
Lonnie

So…now what?!

The Foot Traffic Flat Half was my target race this year. But there are six months left this year. And if you’ve been with me for any significant amount of time you know I like to plan WAY ahead…like two years.

The rest of 2014, all of 2015 and even part of 2016 have tentatively been planned for about six months now. I teased earlier this year about THE ANNOUNCEMENT and when I would share. To be honest, I thought I would post this months ago but never got around to it.  So what is it? I’m going to make another attempt at Boston. Yeah, I know, people try to qualify, and succeed, for Boston every year, big deal. You’re right, not a big deal. But for me it is. I like history in sports and respect that history. The only marathon that matters to me is Boston. Qualifying for Boston would supersede any race or PR I have ever achieved. I’ve told people that just qualifying would satisfy me. If I ever get the chance to actually run Boston I wouldn’t care one bit what my time was. I will want to enjoy every step of the race and take in every ounce of history that course has.

So what’s my plan? Miles…lots and lots of miles. This week started my first marathon training block. I told a running friend, Professor Badass, this was my first block and she responded “You’re training for a marathon but not actually running one?!”. Yep…for now. This training block will take me through the beginning of December. This will hopefully allow me to get in good shape for the RW Festival hat trick and also maybe attempt a half marathon PR at Rock n Roll San Antonio.

After that I will hopefully need to adjust my training plan because I’m in better shape. This will begin my second training block. This will take me up to the inaugural running of the Blooms to Brews Marathon in April. This is an extremely flat, beautiful course. Only downside is that it is small and out in the middle of nowhere. I’m planning this to be more of a test marathon, but if all goes well who knows what might happen.

Assuming I don’t BQ at Blooms to Brews, this will take me to my third training block. I haven’t fully committed to a specific target race for Boston, but right now I’m leaning towards the Eugene Marathon in July. This is a PR friendly course that has that bigger race atmosphere feel to it. Plus it finishes on Hayward Field at the University of Oregon…home of Steve Prefontaine. After that the plan is Boston in 2016.

So there’s the plan. Run lots of miles. Lose this God forsaken weight. But most importantly stay healthy…mentally as well as physically. If I get hurt or lose myself along the way this will all mean nothing.

Hope you guys come along for the ride!

Happy Running
Lonnie

Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon

The Fourth of July Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon was my target race for this year.  I was going to lose the extra weight I put on after the Portland Marathon last fall and get into good race shape as this was a very flat, fast course.

Was it flat? Definitely!

Did I lose the weight? Not even close!

Was I in good race shape? For the extra weight I was carrying my conditioning wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Was it fast? Well, the course was, but I sure wasn’t.

This race took place out on Sauvie Island in NW Portland. The island is all farm land. And by all farm land, I mean ALL farm land. When you’re running it is just one farm after another. The race was scheduled to start at 6:50. Since there was one bridge on/off the island they recommended that you show up at least 45 minutes before the race. This cushion would only get you to the start line by race time though. So we were out there about 5:45. This meant a 4:00 alarm…UGH!

Got to the event with plenty of time. Relaxed for a few minutes in the car and then started to get ready. With about 45 minutes before the gun was to go off I figured it was a good time to hit the bathroom. Unfortunately, so did the other 2000 people running. We stood in line for a solid 45 minutes waiting. By 7:00 I was all ready to race. Yep, that meant I hit the starting line 10 minutes after the gun went off. There were actually quite a few people in my situation. Mrs Team Neon told me there were people hanging around the start line who finally asked if the half had already started since they never heard an announcement or the horn. Between the standing around and getting to the start line late I got in exactly ZERO warm up.

I actually felt really good for the first 4-5 miles. Unfortunately, this is never a good sign. My watch told me that I did what I usually do and went out way too fast. And I followed that up by thinking I could maintain it for 8 more miles. I’ve also been playing around with my fueling the last few months. I’m trying to get away from excessive carb forms of fueling. This may have had something to do with the wall I hit between miles 8-10. Reflecting back on it and talking it over with my trainer, it wasn’t so much the pre race fueling that did me in but more that I needed to fuel again mid race. Like I said, I’ve been playing around with it. But, given that I knew I wasn’t going to PR, I’m ok with playing around with things during races. It’s the only time you really know if it’s going to work or not. Unfortunately, by mile 10 I was TOAST. My splits had dropped by at least 90 seconds per mile. My only thoughts were “just finish”. I came in at just over 1:48. No, not a horrible time and pretty much inline with what I’ve been doing this year. Still should have been 5-7 minutes faster given the course, but oh well. Live, learn and run another day.

Here I am coming into the finish…
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If I hadn’t felt so miserable the last few miles I would have enjoyed this race so much more. It really was a beautiful course. The weather, although a tad warm, was gorgeous. If you like crowds cheering for you this is not your race. Limited road access, limited parking, early start time and bring out in the country mean not much cheering along the course between aid stations. But if you like that kind of setting then you’ll love this race.

I probably won’t run this race again as a stand alone event. However, I did find out about a multi day event that has been going on the last few years. This year it was called the Firecracker Triple. A 5K, Half Marathon or Marathon each day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Something I will definitely look into next year.

Happy Running
Lonnie

FREE SWAG FROM PRO COMPRESSION!!

Any of you who have known me for any length of time know that I’m a big fan of compression gear. Specifically, gear from Pro Compression. One of the more exciting moments so far this year is when I was selected to become an ambassador for Pro Compression. I’ve been touting their gear for a few years and now I get to share it even more with everyone.

Here is a picture of me (and The Mayor) touting my Pro Compression Neon Calf Sleeves after the Vancouver USA Freedom 5K a few weeks ago.

Medal with Bart

My first act as a new ambassador of Pro Compression is to shower everyone with gifts. OK, not everyone, just one person. And if we’re being honest, it isn’t really “gifts”. But you do get a really awesome pair of either marathon socks or sleeves. Pretty freaking awesome in my book!!

Marathon Socks

Pro Compression Sock

Pro Compression Sizing Chart

 

 

Over the Calf Sleeves

Pro Compression Sleeve Front

Pro Compression Sleeve Back

Pro Compression Sleeve Sizing Chart

You’ll notice I’m kind of partial to the neon color.  Hmm, imagine that!  But Pro Compression has quite an assortment of colors to match your outfits and personality.

So how do you get in on this? Send me a crisp, $20 bill to the address below. Just a second, have an email. Oh, my rep at Pro Compression says I can’t take money for this. I’m supposed to just do this out of the generosity of my heart. OK, stop laughing! Seriously, it isn’t THAT funny!

So, I’m going to use Rafflecopter to track all of this.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There a few ways to get entries into the giveaway.  Follow my Facebook page or Twitter account and you get 1 entry.  Follow Pro Compression on Facebook or Twitter and you get two entries.  Tweet about the giveaway via Rafflecopter and you get 3 entries.  The contest will run for one week.  You can use the Tweet feature each day.  This means you will have the chance to get 27 entries over the week…if I’m doing everything correctly.

BUT WAIT!!!!  You can get special entries as well.  In conjunction with the giveaway, Pro Compression has a special code that you can use to save 40% off your order of marathon socks or sleeves.  If you make a purchase and use code BLG14 with your purchase, send me proof of your purchase via email to teamneonrunning@gmail.com and I will give you 10 more entries in to the drawing! How AWESOME is that?!  Click the logo below to go to Pro Compression’s website.

Pro Compression Logo

So, when does this start?  NOW!!!  The contest will run from today, Tuesday July 8th through Monday July 14th.  So I’m going to stop writing so you can stop reading and go click on the link and get your entries!  Go…now…enter!!!

 

Happy Winning!

Lonnie

I’m a Drifter

I’ve never been much of a klutz. I’m semi athletic, have a good awareness of my body weight/center of gravity and general pay pretty good attention to my surroundings. I have yet to fall down, or even seriously stumble, while running. But for the life of me I can’t understand why I continually drift to my right while running (and walking as evidenced by the laughing fit Mrs Team Neon just had while watching me try to step up onto a curb to my left only to run into the car to my right!).

Aside from the various shrubs, trees, poles and signs I’ve had to dodge over the last few years, there are two specific instances where I was left bloody for absolutely NO REASON!

Last August, at about mile 14 of a very warm 18 miler, I was running in a sparsely populated area. More industrial than commercial or residential, so not a lot of buildings, just big ones. I’m running along a warehouse a good 20′ from the building. But I notice I’m starting to get closer to the building. The following conversation may or may not have taken place in my head over the next 10-15 seconds:

The building is getting closer.
You’re drifting towards the building.
The building is getting really close.
There is a meter box on the side of the building, don’t get any closer.
Seriously, watch out for…BANG!

I hit the glass meter casing with my shoulder. It hurt like a MF! By the time I got to look at it about an hour later my shoulder looked like I fell off the building rather than running into a glass housing. Bloody and swollen.

Fast forward to this past Sunday at Vancouver Half. About mile 11 when the wheels were starting to come off (yes, it’s not lost on me that paying attention is not one of my attributes when I’m tired) we were running along the Columbia River on a very nice path by some condos. We were making a gradual right curve turn along a cinder block wall. Yeah, you know where this is going…

OK, you know you drift to the right so don’t do that.
That wall will not be forgiving if you hit it.
Seriously, get away from the…BANG…SON OF A…

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I didn’t even bother looking at it. Didn’t hit it hard but enough that I knew it was bleeding. I actually laughed at myself and may have muttered a few derogatory names to myself.

Will I ever stop this? Probably not. If I didn’t do anything stupid I wouldn’t have good stories to tell!

Are you a drifter? Dumbest/Weirdest thing you’ve done while running?

Happy Running
Lonnie

I hate running!

OK, nice little headline grabber to get your attention. Although, I am working on a post on that very subject. Yes, I do in fact hate running.

Seems like it has been forever since I’ve posted. This is just short update to give you a glimpse of the last few weeks and some things I’m working on. Think of this as my headline ticker of things to come.

Why am I on stage with Bart Yasso???

Medal with Bart

Recap of the Vancouver USA Half Marathon (and the Freedom 5K that I decided to do at the last minute the day before).

2014 Vancouver Half Marathon Finish

Why do I love Pro Compression even more????

Pro Compression Logo

Want some free goodies from Pro Compression? Stay tuned for that as well!!

And I need to update everyone on my training and mileage. Remember how I was struggling for so long to break 40 miles? Take out my cut back week and I’ve passed 40 miles for three straight weeks!

All that, and more, coming soon to the blog. With 15 events (so far) over 17 weeks, finding time to sit down and type is a challenge so bear with me.

Happy Running
Lonnie