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

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Are You Boring Enough?

We all have goals for our running. Whether it is getting a new time/distance PR, completing a race for the first time or simply just staying healthy; we are all chasing something that makes us get out and run. We hear it all the time…how bad do you want it? Truth be told, we all want it bad enough. We wake up each day wanting what ever it is just as bad as we did the day before. I don’t think that is the issue. The problem comes from us not being willing to do the little things each and every day that are a necessity for us to achieve our individual goal.

For the most part, runners have no issue dragging their butt out for their daily runs. We’re runners, running is what we do. Where we come up short is the other things we need to be doing every day to ensure we can drag our butts out there. Foam rolling, cold soaks, stretching, strength training…all of these are a just as vital to our training (if not more so) than the miles we log on our feet. But if you’re like me, you come up with a hundred different excuses to not do them each day. My biggest cop out lately is I’m tired. I am tired…extremely tired most days…but that isn’t a good enough excuse to not spend 30 minutes each day doing a few little things that will help me get out the door in the morning.

If you’re anything like me you also find these activities boring. I don’t mean boring, I mean B…O…R…I…N…G!!! I really do not look forward to doing any of my “homework” that I know I should be doing and that I know will help me feel better. Which begs the question, how bad do I really want it? You have to want it bad enough to do the boring, mundane things you hate doing but know you should.

2013-want-vs-will

Go be boring!

Happy Running
Lonnie

Give My Regards to Broad Street

I spent the first weekend in May in Philadelphia attending the Broad Street 10 Miler as well as taking in the sites and meeting new friends. I love to travel, especially to the East Coast. So much history back there. So when Andy from Running My Ass Off asked me to run with his team it was a no brainer. Speaking of Andy, say hi Andy…

Andy Aubin

On Friday, since it was the first time getting to meet Andy, the day was spent spending time together and getting to know each other a little more. Of course, the first thing we needed to do was go for a run.

Andy and Lonnie Run

After getting settled and cleaned up we went took in the Phillies vs Nationals game.

Phillies vs Nationals

For several months Andy had been preaching to me and anyone that would listen about the virtues of The Schmitter.

Schmitter

This is probably the best sandwich on the face of the Earth…when you’re drunk. Greasy, decent size and lots of bread. But when sober it’s meh. Was really disappointed in the flavor…there really wasn’t any. No offense Philly nation.

I had planned to get to bed at a decent hour Friday. I had traveled over night on Thursday and wanted to take advantage of the night before the night before night of sleep. I also wanted to get up at a decent hour Saturday to get in a run. But, since I’m a Blazer fan and they were playing Houston in game 6, I stayed up a little later than planned. If I hadn’t, I would have missed this…

Damian Lilliard

On Saturday, Andy had some family things to attend to, so when I finally dragged my ass out of bed I found my way to the treadmill at the hotel and put in six very hot, sweaty miles. Then the real fun began. We were meeting up with our teammates for lunch at Reading Market. This place was AWESOME!! All different kinds of food from so many different cultures. It’s obviously a popular place as it was packed shoulder to shoulder. But it paled in comparison to these awesome people!

Team Low and Slow

Then I had to take advantage of the opportunity to eat some of the local fare…

Reading Market

Philly Goodies

Once we were done eating we found out way to the expo for the race. Maybe it’s me, but I’m always expecting so much more from race expos than what I end up seeing. This expo was nice but like usual, I felt like something was missing. It did give me a chance to do a little shopping. Any booth that had something that caught my eye (neon) I stopped to look. At one point one of the guys said “It’s like a moth to a flame!”

Broad Street Expo Shopping

After the expo a handful of us decided to do a little site seeing and find a place to “hydrate”.

Philly Church

Philly Museum

Rocky Statue

Philly Statue

Then we got this great picture at the Love statue.  This was quite a humorous moment as I had to take the picture twice and had to have help the second time.  I obviously suck at taking selfies.

Sub 30 Love

Sunday. Race day! Now, I may or may not have had one or five too many drinks the night before. And the lack of sleep was catching up to me. I made the decision to run with my friends rather than trying to “race” the race. Best decision I made all weekend. I had such a great time running, talking and taking in the sites. Here are some pics we got pre, mid and post race.

Broad Street Pre Race

Broad Street Mid Race

Team Low and Slow Post Race

Philly Post Race Food

Broad Street Bling

This was the most fun I’ve had during event.  Great people, great experience!  I’ve already told Andy that Mrs Team Neon and I are both in for next year. Looking forward to it for sure!

Happy Running
Lonnie

Breaking Barriers

It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that I was struggling to finish what felt like a grueling 10 mile run. It was my first double digit run of 2014. Considering I spent most of 2013 knowing that I could run 13-15 miles any given day without thinking twice about it, I had a little trouble adjusting to working so hard. Seems as though I had forgotten how hard I worked to get to that level. That run was almost 3 months ago.

Although I’m not in true half marathon race condition yet, it’s coming. I can feel it coming. Every week I can feel myself getting stronger. I’ve been able to recover quicker from tough runs. And this has led to me being able to log more miles each week. I’m still struggling with that 40 mile barrier. But this week, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t worry about it. I know I will get over that 40 mile in a week barrier. I just need to keep focusing on my training, stay healthy and the miles will increase. Although, I’m scheduled for 37 this week and with how I’ve felt lately, I’m sure I can squeeze out a few extra miles to get there.

With my 14 mile run yesterday, I passed the 100 mile mark for the month. That’s my third month in a row eclipsing 100 miles. I’m on pace for 160 this month. My previous high month was 155 in May, 2013. And the best thing is that I feel good. Sure, I’m pretty sore this morning after logging 14.3 miles at 8:39 pace, but I feel good. Nothing hurts that isn’t expected. After I finish watching the Boston Marathon this morning I’m going to get in a recovery run. Here is a nice pic of me before my run yesterday.

Lonnie 4-20-14

Due to a programming issue, found out that the spreadsheet I was using was not tracking my racing miles accurately. So, I didn’t provide an update last week. Issue has been fixed and we are back on track.

Lonnie's Mileage Challenge 4-20-14

I’m trying not to get hung up on how many miles I have to go. I know I will really start making up ground in June. Lots of races this summer and planning to up my mileage. The key now is to focus on my training that is right in front of me and stay healthy.

Well, since it is taking me so long to write this due to watching the race and chatting online with my running buddies, I’m going to wrap this up. Lot’s of emotion today watching these incredible runners. Here’s to hoping Shalane is able to hold on and lead the whole way. Would make an incredible story!

Happy Running
#BostonStrong
Lonnie

Blooms to Brews Half Marathon Recap

Today I ran the 2014 Blooms to Brews Half Marathon in Woodland, WA. This was the second running of this event. At last year’s event I set a 23 minute half marathon PR. I had no such illusions for this year!

I’ve really only been back to full time training for about a month. And my goal race for this year is still 14 weeks away. My target time coming into this race was 1:45. With my current weight and the status of my training I felt an 8:00 mile pace would be a good goal. I finished in 1:46:28 for an 8:07 pace. For those that know me, yes, that 7 seconds per mile bugged me!

Right now I’m trying to focus on the positives of my races. The first 8+ miles I ran this exactly how I wanted. At mile 8 I was 36 seconds ahead of target time (translation: I should have been at 1:04:00 and was at 1:03:24. Yes, I did the math in my head. Something that dates back to when I swam long distance in high school…helps pass the time). I had also been gradually speeding up the previous few miles.

Mile 1: 8:22
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 7:54
Mile 4: 8:01
Mile 5: 8:05
Mile 6: 7:41
Mile 7: 7:49
Mile 8: 8:04

Don’t try to do the math from these splits. I took these from my Nike, which it seems NEVER matches up to the mile markers of races.

But then I ran into two variables that I was not prepared for, nor had any control over…a head wind that lasted for almost 4 miles and a stretch of dike road that was much rockier than last year.

Mile 9: 8:22
Mile 10: 8:28
Mile 11: 8:30
Mile 12: 8:35
Mile 13: 8:32

I talked to one of the race organizers I’m friends with who ran the course yesterday and she said the exact same thing happened to her over that same stretch. And to be honest, after looking at my actual splits, they weren’t as bad as I thought they were when I was checking them mid race.

Here I am coming into the final stretch. You can tell by the background what kind of course this was. Sunny, bright, lots of green and water.

2014 Blooms to Brews race

One thing that was within my control that I totally failed at was dressing appropriately. ALWAYS DRESS FOR THE END OF THE RACE NOT THE BEGINNING! At the start it was hovering around 40* with a little wind. I always bring options for clothing as you never know what the microclimate is going to be at the race location. I decided to go with my Headsweats Toaster Beanie as I was concerned my Hi-Vis Visor was going to leave me feeling too cool. Rookie mistake and I know better. Temp climbed almost 20 degrees during the race. I was dying by mile 5. I decided to take off my beanie and tuck it into my belt. Headsweats would not have been pleased with me today. But better than over heating.

Here I am post race in dry clothes getting ready to enjoy my banana and protein shake while sporting my medal.  Also a close up of the finishers medal.

2014 Blooms to Brews Medal 2014 Blooms to Brews post race

Overall I’m pleased with this race. I nailed my paces to start while also increasing pace where I wanted. This is a really good event if you’re looking for something in NW Oregon/SW Washington. This is definitely a PR friendly course. Flat and fast! It’s basically one big loop through the country where you spend about 75% of the time running along the Columbia and Lewis Rivers. Did I mention it was flat and fast?

Happy Running
Lonnie

Breakfast Muffins

I have had several requests lately for me to share my wife’s breakfast muffin recipe.  So, by popular demand, here you go!

To make 12 muffins:

12 large eggs, beaten well

½ cup diced onions

½ cup chopped mushrooms

½ cup chopped bell peppers

1 cup fresh spinach

½ pound cooked ground turkey, cooled (we use 93/7 mix)

Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder

Optional items:

½ cup cheese

Preheat oven to 350°

Spray muffin pans with nonstick spray

Fill muffin pans about ¾ full with mixture, roughly 1/3 of cup

Bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes in pan.  Then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

This is a very versatile recipe so feel free to play with it based on your own personal tastes. Personally, I also like to add some salsa verde on top to give them a little zing.

You can place these in an air tight container in the fridge and they will last several days.  Just heat up in the microwave and they are good to go.

Breakfast Muffins

Nutritional information (based on http://www.livestrong.com):

Serving Size: 1 muffin
Amount per Serving
Calories 132
Calories from Fat 70.5
Total Fat 7.83g
Saturated Fat 4.0g
Cholesterol 235.0mg
Sodium 159.17mg
Total Carbohydrate 2.64g
Fiber 0.67g
Sugars 0.33g
Protein 12.06g
Happy Running
Lonnie

Running on the Wall Medal Hanger Review

We all love to get our bling on.  It is one of the perks of running the races we run.  And what’s the point of getting said bling if we can’t show it off to people when they come to visit our house.  I mean, really, that is the reason they are coming over, right?!  Recently, a company reached out to me online and asked if I would be interested in giving one of their medal hangers a test run and letting them, and you, know what I think.  Considering my non displayed medals are starting to pile up again, I eagerly accepted.

The product I have the privilege of reviewing today is a medal display hanger from Running on the Wall (www.runningonthewall.com).  They are a small husband and wife company based in Sedona, Arizona.  Both are avid runners who felt they had a great idea to fill a creative niche.  Taking a look over their website shows that they have a wide variety of medal display options.  They also have displays for bibs and bib/medal combinations.  I found the bib/medal combos to be quite appealing to the eye.  They also have other things offered on their site such as bracelets, arm warmers, shirts, water bottles, etc.

Here are the specifications for my medal hanger taken directly from their website:

Running Medals Display Features:

  • 7 Inches Tall By 15 Inches Wide
  • MDF Wood
  • Vinyl Lettering
  • Protective Satin Varnish
  • All Hardware Included
  • Accommodates Up To 27 Medals

Here is what I received:

Image

Now, I have to admit, when I first opened the box, I was a little taken aback.  All I knew was that I was receiving a medal hanger.  I had not even checked them out online before receiving the package.  A wooden board with a baggy of hardware.  Not exactly what I envisioned I would be getting.

For the most part it is pretty simple to put together.  You just take the hooks and screw them into the predrilled holes.  That being said, there are going to be people out there who are going to be clueless when they get this.  Some people do lead lives that are THAT sheltered.  I’ve met those people.  They scare me.  And as simple as it is to put together, ease is another issue.  I will be the first to admit I am a wimp and have sensitive skin.  There are nine hooks to screw in.  By number three I was done with wanting to put them in.  By number five my hands started hurting.  By the time I got done I was cursing.  Given the box that this was shipped in, I find it hard to believe that this could not have been done prior to shipping.  File this under customer service.  I hate paying for things I have to assemble myself.

Now that I have it all together it is time to hang it.  So I grabbed the…what the…two small nails.  I get that we are not hanging large pieces of art here, but two small nails?  Seems a little on the wimpy side to me. The display is intended to hold up to 27 medals (you know people will hang more).  Assuming each one weighs a mere four ounces, you are easily creeping up on eight pounds of weight when you take into account the display.  But other than that, it is pretty easy to hang.  Measure, make sure it is level, hammer nails, and hang display.  I hate hanging stuff on my walls…I suck at it.  But this was a piece of cake (mmm…cake…).

ImageImage

Overall, this is a decent piece.  It does exactly what it is intended to do…display your medals.  The company, from the information on their website, tries to use recycled material whenever possible; a big plus in today’s world.  The display is nice looking.  They give you a wide variety of options when it comes to colors and what you would like your display to say.  I find it hard to believe that you would not be able to find a match for your current décor in your home.  Whereas a metal display might come across as cold and impersonal, these pieces are subtle yet make a nice statement.

One the negative side, this seems like a very doable DIY project.  A piece of medium density fiberboard (MDF), some paint, some stickers, a drill, some hardware and little time on the weekend and you can knock this out on your own.  I joke that I work so I have money to pay for things I don’t want to do (cook) or can’t do (change the oil in my car).  Having taken a look at this kind of makes me want to give it a shot on my own.  I did not care for having to assemble it on my own.  Again, if I’m paying for it, I want it done when I get it.

I always like to include cost in my reviews.  Everything comes down to value.  The display I received retails for $28.99.  Based on the calculator from their website, shipping would be an additional $9.50 for USPS Priority Mail.  That was the only option offered.  Total cost being $38.49.

Value is going to be relative to the person so I will go based on my perceived value.  Essentially, would I order one based on this information.  It would be a definite maybe.  Like I said, it’s a nice looking piece.  I do like the options they have available on their website.  It gives you the freedom to personalize your piece in many different ways.  The negative hang ups I have about the piece are pretty minor and can be classified as my quirky issues.  I do think the price is a bit steep for these.  If you have any kind of knack for handy work, I think this is something you can do yourself for about $10 with items from your local hardware store.  Plus you would have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.

All that being said, I will be proudly displaying this hanger in my home office!

Give Running on the Wall a look for your next medal display.  You can find them on the web at www.runningonthewall.com.  They are also on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.  Tell them Team Neon Running sent you.

Happy Running

Lonnie