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

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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

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

Rock n’ Roll Races

Last week I said I was going to do a mid week post to make an announcement. Oops! So I guess I will do it this week.

Last year I ran the Portland Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon. I still think this was my best tactical race I’ve ever ran. Even though the event is a little over the top for me, I still had a good time. I wasn’t really planning to run it again this year but as the time got closer I knew I would want to run it so I bit the bullet and signed up. Then a running friend from the Sub 30 Club moved to Seattle from back east. She said she was going to run Seattle Rock n’ Roll. I knew that if you ran both events you got an extra medal. And you know how I love my bling! Then I found out that you actually get TWO extra medals for running both Portland and Seattle! How could I possibly turn that down?! So I signed up for Seattle Rock n’ Roll.

I’m constantly bombarded with running event emails. Some I read, some I don’t. Since I had already signed up for two Rock n’ Roll events I rarely pay attention to the emails from them. One caught my eye though. Buy a 2014 Tour Pass for $199 and run three events. I wasn’t a math major but I knew that I had spent about that already. Did some quick checking and found that your entries could be applied to the purchase of a Tour Pass. I could basically get a third race entry for minimal cost. Oh, and get two more medals! Yes, I’m a bling whore!

Talked it over with Mrs. Team Neon who, much to my surprise thought it was a great idea. This was a change from the “OK” and eye roll I usually get. The initial plan was to do the Vancouver, CA Half Marathon. It’s only about a 5 hour drive from our place and something we could realistically do on the weekend so we wouldn’t have to miss work. Downside was that it was the weekend right after Runner’s World. I kicked it around for a week or so and finally decided to look at other events.

One of the offspring moved to Austin, TX a few years ago. We’ve talked every once in a while about going to visit. Google maps shows me that Austin is only 100 miles from San Antonio. San Antonio has a Rock n’ Roll event on December 7th. Bonus…his birthday is on December 10th. To say Mrs Team Neon was beyond excited at this idea would be an understatement. So now I’m signed up for the San Antonio Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in December. We are going to take a few extra days and spend some time with him and his girlfriend. Take in a few sites and have a good time. Have to love runcations!!

Happy Running
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

Kick Cancer’s Ass!

From the nut jobs that brought you Chilly Cheeks Virtual 5K, Hot Buns Run and Sub 30 Virtual 5K (#SUB30V5K) comes the newest virtual race looking to make a positive impact on society.

The Sweet Cheeks Virutal 5K is set to take place between February 14th-16th…February 14th…Valentine’s day…”Sweet” Cheeks…

This event is part of a fundraising effort associated with the Blue Cross Broad Street Run 10 Miler taking place on May 4th in Philadelphia, PA. I will be running with team Running My Ass Off. This team was put together by my good friend Andy Aubin who runs the blog Running My Ass Off. Andy has participated in this event for a few years now and has been such an inspiration and influence for the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation group that they asked him to be a mentor/coach for this upcoming season.

The entry fee is $25. All profits will be donated to the American Cancer Society via DertermiNation. We are looking to raise $10,000 for DetermiNation and this virtual race is a big part of that.

This event is being done just like our previous ones. You pay your entry fee. Some time during the date span you get out and run, walk, job, skip, hop, shimmy, crawl your way over 3.1 miles. Submit your time online and get a cool looking medal and are entered for more of the awesome swag that we always have.

Head on over to Andy’s page to help kick cancer’s ass!

Cancer Sucks

If you have one funny bone in your body you’re going to want to sign up for this just to get the medal…

Sweet Cheeks Logo

So go over to Andy’s page and sign up. This is a great cause! Even if you aren’t able to do the event you can still have an impact. First off, share this event with your family and friends. If you’re on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) please share this. Word of mouth is the best advertising! You can also help out by simply making a donation. Andy has a link for that as well. Thank you in advance for your help!

Happy Running
Lonnie

2014 Resolution Run 5K Review

Today I ran with a heavy heart.  Before going to bed last night I found out that my aunt was in the hospital and was not doing well.  Shortly after leaving the house for my race this morning I found out that she had passed.  It made for a long, quiet ride in the car.  But along the way I took this picture of the sunrise above Mt Hood and posted it to my Facebook with this message:

An awesome sunrise to remind us that every day we are given a new chance to live life to our fullest potential. Give it everything you have. Live life to the fullest with no regrets.

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The sunrise seemed to calm me and center me.

I had zero expectations coming into this event.  I’ve had three runs for whopping 16 miles in the last 29 days.  The smart thing to do would be to enjoy the run on a very cold, but beautiful day.  Yeah, I’ve never been very smart.

After last month’s 5k, where I was rushed for time before the start, I made sure I had plenty of time for my pre-race routine.  I even had a few extra minutes to stand around the starting line and freeze my butt off…did I mention it was cold?  But it did give me time to say hi to the race director, Elba Benzler, a very nice guy who I have never seen NOT smiling.  When he saw me by the starting line he came over and gave me a big hug and said he loved my attire!

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My “plan” for today was to target a 7:30 overall pace.  I wanted to go 8:00-7:30-7:00.  Just gradually speed up each mile.  But guess my legs had other plans.  The gun went off and away we went.  The nice thing about an extended lay off is your muscles are nice and fresh.  The bad thing about an extended lay off is your brain forgets how much running fast hurts.  A quarter mile in and I knew I was WAY ahead of pace, but I felt good (man it seems like I say that a lot in my recaps).  Half mile in I still felt good but I was quickly noticing my breathing was starting to change.  Oh yes, I remember this part…not the part where you settle into a nice pace for a half marathon and cruise, but the part where you push you body to the limits for a 3 mile sprint.  But, I kept checking myself and I felt good, for the most part.  Mile 1…6:24.  Yeah, that’s not 8:00.  I haven’t downloaded the data yet, but given my next two splits and how I felt, I’m guessing that first mile was more like 5:30 pace for the first half mile and then 7:30 for the second half mile.

After the first mile I felt like I had settled into a nice rhythm and just tried to focus on my breathing, which was definitely labored.  The 3 mile sprint pain memory was quickly coming back to me.  At one point I did get stuck behind a guy who had recently passed me.  Normally, when someone passes you, they just keep on trucking and no big deal.  But this guy was like the annoying car on the freeway who tailgates you until they can finally pass and then just sits in front of you not going any faster.  Not a huge deal, but we were running on no shoulder/sidewalk streets in the suburbs.  Lots of potholes that I had trouble seeing until the last minute.  I finally backed off just a hair and let him pull away a little.  Mile 2…7:30 (hey, I nailed my mile 2 goal!)

They did make a change to the race this year.  Due to safety issues they had us run the exact same course…backwards.  I’m not exactly sure why running the exact same course, but backwards, was safer, but whatever.  This did create a slight change to the course.  There is one section that is a gradual, not overly long, incline/decline depending on which way you are running.  The decline just before mile 1 last year was pretty cool.  The incline at about mile 2.25…not so much.  This is also about the time that you can see the general location of the finish line…and realize it is still 10 minutes away.  I’ve come to realize I really hate this.  My brain is saying “You can do it, the finish line is right there!”  My body replies “Screw you, you come down hear and push this fat ass around for 3 miles!!” I had noticed after mile 2 that I had a shot at a PR.  I’m sorry, WHAT?!  Yeah, couldn’t believe it.  So I started doing that little dance I do where I start “PR watching”, where I constantly go back and forth between the road and my watch with my eyes.  One of these days I’m going to bight it right in the middle of the road.  I got about a half mile from the finish line and knew I was not running a sub 6:00 pace, so the PR was out.  But I was still running a solid time. I made the last 90 degree turn and saw that there was someone closing in on me with 100 meters to go.  I will be the first to admit that I CRUISE into the finish line.  It is something I’m aware of and do not like about my racing.  But not today!  I gave it all I had and held them off…yay, me!  Mile 3…7:35.  Final time 21:49.  Here’s me coming into the finish line.  My form doesn’t look half bad in this picture.

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I ran this race in 21:15 last year and my PR is 21:05.  Remember that part about no real training the last month?  Yeah, I’m VERY happy with this race.  This was also a huge mental boost for me.  After all the distance training I did the last 9 months, I was wondering if I was going to be able to “run fast” again.  I know it’s mental, but it was gnawing at me.  If my foot holds up, I’m feeling very good about my training moving forward.  And a double bonus, I placed in my age group!  I took 2nd, finishing 11th overall.  I took the opportunity to get a picture with the Get Bold Babes after getting my medal.Image

Get Bold is still relatively new to the race management scene.  They put on a handful of events a year and I run most of them.  Great people who do really work hard to put on a great event.  Each one gets better.  My first half marathon this year is one of theirs, Blooms to Brews in April.  Looking forward to it!

Happy Running

Lonnie