XC Championship Race 6k

It didn’t make a public announcement but this weekend was my biggest cross country race of the season.  In fact, it was a 6k versus a 5k but anyways-it was also a lovely 7 hours away.  Good thing I don’t have class on Fridays and didn’t have to miss any of them.

Let me begin with saying, championship style races for cross country are no joke.  They are NEVER flat, and they are never easy.  Girls (like myself) that could run <20 5ks, are normally running 22 minute 5ks on these courses.  I’m not complaining because I enjoy the courses. It was a 6k on tap and my motto is awkward distances always make for a good PR.  (right…I know catchy) 🙂

So it started on Friday morning with a team shakeout run, followed a by a delicious bagel from the baglary.  I am in love with these guys and the fact that it is literally about a 5 minute walk from my house does not make it any easier.   But really smoked salmon + cream cheese+ bagel

Smoked salmon bagel.

Then add a 7 hour drive to New York City. 

Yes, New York State is that big and we were driving from one side to other.  (Don’t worry-I didn’t know either until I went to school up here lolz).

We have a team tradition where we decorate team sports bras for our big championship race.  Since I’m an art major after all, I drew my entire team on the back of my bra.  I also deemed it appropriate to give them all nicknames.  Right on.  My nicknames are pretty creative.  For instance my nickname for one of our girls on our team who has firey red hair was MS Fire  (MS being her initials…)

And onto to the morning.  It was cold.  It was snowing.  The course was frozen over and it was hilly.  All championesc qualities of racing.  We aren’t allowed to wear long sleeves or leggings or anything that ventured away from the uniform.  You could wear hats and gloves but that is about it.  Team uniforms are pretty strict and the weather gets really dicey at this time in the season.   We had really good luck last year with races and really poor luck this year.  Eh toss up.

A great quality photo from my phone...

The race started on an open field.  Decently flat.  Somewhat muddy.  My first mile was a 6:45.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, so I began to make my move.  (Who am I to even use these terms?).

Up and up and up and freaking up we climbed.  This was the steepest part of the course was between mile 1-2.  It was almost straight up uphill.  I wish I could tell you I didn’t enjoy it or it sucked but I run so far on my toes that uphills make me pretty happy.  My second split was a 7:30 when we were climbing the entire time and I passed about 10 girls.

At the top of the hill, almost like the heavens were singing to me…I saw her.

Incase you don’t know, I have a pretty nasty grudge against a girl that spiked me last season.  I also have a pretty nasty scar from it too.  It makes me look intense (or so I tell myself).  I don’t hold many life grudges but when you get spiked which causes you to trip, roll your ankle and bleed profusely, you get up and vow revenge on the girl.  I mean calm down and wait till next season.

You can better believe I pretty much believe I powered through that third mile and left my comfort zone and flew down the down hills.  These aren’t just easy inclines, these are more of-you may or may not trip and fall if you run like a chicken with it’s head cut off.

But I took that risk and I passed her.  My third mile split was 6:59. 

And then just powered through the nearly flat terrain that was the last .75.  My teammates were located around that point cheering like it was their job.  It was really is something else.  I love it.

My final time was 26:39 (which averages to 7:10 pace or so).  With the hills, frozen tundra, not tripping and dying, and blasting by m y grudge worthy opponent-I am happy.  Very happy.  I did exactly what I wanted to do with this race.  I took it out a manageable pace and didn’t let anything bother me.  I kept passing girls instead of dying and taking it out way to fast.

My goal for our championship race in 2 weeks is to break the 7:00 minute pace.  I think I can with another nice taper and a few speed workouts (also a more flat course).

And to end…I still love running. 


Question for you:

  1. Where does your biggest source of motivation come from?

For me it comes from a lot of places, people and things  My family is very supportive, the drive to do better and the fact that I love running.  My teammates are so supportive and great as well.

  1. Are you one to hold grudges?

I don’t have grudges against very many people in life. It’s not really my jive.  I get over things pretty quickly.  I normally get along with 99% of people, but I have a couple people that I just don’t jive with.

College Swimming

Confession of the day: I typed this blog out quite some time ago and never actually posted it.  I didn’t want to post it until I was completely sure of one thing and one thing only.

That swimming and I were getting along. 

And we are becoming closer and closer.  Gone on a few dates and been okay so I figured it was acceptable to talk about more swimming on the blog.


I know a lot of people know a decent amount of swimming (ie: survival skills) but I am forever getting questions (on and off the blog) about how swimmers actually compete and what that entails.  I don’t mind though because I actually like talking and teaching about swimming.  I am a certified instructor after all 😉

For my runners-think of a swim meet like a track meet.  You have the sprinters who run like the 100 meter and you have different people that run the 2 mile.  That is why the teams are so big, because not everyone can swim/run every single thing.  You also even more different people who are discus throwers (right?) and hurdlers…lots of different events and no one person is exceptional at every single thing.

It’s kind of like that for swimming (although I think there is more overlap).

To clarify-there are four competitive strokes.





In college we race anything from a 50-1650 (also known as the mile).

But you don’t race a mile of butterfly(dear god).

The freestylers race the following:







Generally there are three different sets of swimmers that belong to this group the class freestyle. 

You have the sprinters who only swim the 50 and 100.  They are fast and like little sparkplugs.  They could swim no yards and still whip out the same times.  (Why can’t distance swimmers be like that wahh).

You have the mid distance, who in my opinion deserve the most credit.  They have to remain fast but for longer distances and swim the 200 and 500. They do a mixture of sprint workouts and distance workouts.  Both of these events are my least favorite actually.

Then finally you have distance.  (That’s me!).  They swim either the 1000 or the mile because both are not offered every meet.  I mean who really wants to pay attention to 20 minutes of going from point A back to point A 30+ times.  That sort of race does not come down to the .001 (and yes that has happened countless times in sprint events).


Next you have the stroke groups.

Butterfliers (100 and 200).  They normally get the pleasure of swimming both.

Backstrokers/whackstrokers/napstrokers…I have a lot of names for those guys.  But they also swim te 100 and 200.

Breastrokers (100 and 200).


Then on top of all those events you have Individual Medleys (medliers…I don’t know).  Depending on the meet it can be either be a 200 medley or 400 medley.  400 IM=death.

They swim a 50 fly-50 back-50-breast-50 free.  All in a row, without stopping. 


Plus relays (which build to the team aspect).  Relays are a team of four people that swim an equal amount.  For instance in a 400 relay, everyone swims a 100.  In a 200-eveyrone swims a 200. 







200/400/800 Freestyle

200 Medley Relay (Everyone swims a 50).  So for instance 1 person will swim 50 fly, 50 back, 50 breast ad 50 free.  The 400 Medley relay is the same but with 100s.



I hope this helps one person.  I am the ultimate confuser if ya didn’t know.  🙂

Questions for you:

Swimming.  What would you like to know?

If you are a swimmer, what was/is your favorite event? 

16 Miles of Doom

No I did not bike 16 miles.

Wouldn’t that really be doom?


I ran 16.25 miles on Sunday for my long run.  That is a new length distance record for me by 2.5 miles.  Assured-I did it extremely smartly too.  As I could have run Monday because my legs don’t hurt.

Also something I didn’t do.  (I am learning this whole running thing slowly).

I ran today too and felt awesome, but anyways.

Don’t worry, I am just as shocked as you are.  I have no doubt spent countless 2 hour practices of swimming, but never ever in my wildest dreams would I imagine I would spent over 2 hours running on trails, on hills, and on the side of the road like I was running from the police.  Just kidding.  I spent it running with one of my closest friends at school.  The man who taught me that there are more races than 5ks (thank the high heavens).  Who has run most of my half marathons with.  Basically Justin is fantastic.

He runs marathons often.

He jogs marathons often.

He mostly just spends time on the Arctrainer in the gym though.

I would be lying to you if I said Justin probably could knit pick my brain better than 99% of people I know.  I could call him and be like Justin, I don’t want to go out to the bars tonight because I want to jog at 6 am and he would always respond with okay pick you up at 5:55. Similarly, he says Hollie I’m staying at your house over winter break so I can run a 50k race near your house.

Fine with me.  My parents might think I have real life friends.

It’s just how we roll.


Right then.  So I had to choose the perfect oufit to do my long run in.  By had to choose, I mean I need to choose to do laundry and this was the only one I had left.  I had lovely photos of it, but this one just shows how technology stupid I am.

And yes I wear my hair like that when I run and no it doesn't get in my face (it's too nappy for that).


So anyways, we were off to the neighboring town (because I’ve logged way to many miles up in this town for a long run).  By neighboring, it was 10 minutes away.

We had originally decided that we would run for roughly an hour and a half.  I have a weird mental block against running by myself longer.  I don’t know why-but I get super nervous like I’ll drop dead or something if I run for over 1:30 in a training run. We all have mental fears mine is running for long times, birds, and getting so lost that you never make it home.

But we got to life talking and chatting.   And talking…and chatting…and running…and talking…and chatting…and still running.  See where I’m going with this?

It was at 1:31.  I was alive and we kept running.  I took a momentary stop and talked about how cool we were.  Justin is the type of fella that does not stop running.  He doesn’t take stretching breaks, stop light breaks, or you know…nap breaks.  I needed to take this moment to congratulate myself (what..you don’t do that?)

Around 1:50, I began to become cracked out.  Like I had the creepiest smile on my face, I had bulging eyes, I was running through the woods (passerbyers seemed to run further and further on the other side of the trail).  But I finished.

During this time, I thought to myself one day I’ll be capable of running a full marathon.  It made me excited.  I made my goal to conquer the half first (ie: run a sub 1:30) then move on up to train for a full.  I seemed reasonable (in my mind at least).

And I haven’t been this proud of a run in a long time. 

So Justin and I went to my favorite place ever afterwords.  The Balgary!

Where I put down a cookie bigger than my head in all of five minutes (maybe..but I’ll go with 3 minutes).

What...you don't take photos of yourself with hugh jass cookies?

So after my not so pleasent running experience on Saturday, I had the best running experience on Sunday.  Funny how life works like that.  It should stop living my life in my own world…oh wait.


Enjoy this photo of our last race. I seem to somehow miss the "sexy pose" every single time.

Question for you:

What mental blocks have you gotten over recently?

Mud and Stuff (Geneva 5k Race Recap)

I try not to use my blog as place to bitch and whine.  If I’m bitching and whining you might think that I’m a misrible person or that we could never be real life BFFS because I’m a series of whine fest crying tantrums.  Not the case-I’m a series of sarcastic remarks and weird occurrences but that’s about it.  So let’s all be real life bffs. 

But what I’m getting to here is that I raced on Saturday and it sucked.  It was cold, muddy, rainy, windy, and there were 100 birds on the course.  Incase you don’t know-I fear birds like it’s my job.  The only birds I like are penguins.  (and ostriches I guess).


Let’s rewind to the last week or so because I have been a little bit MIA.  My laptop still hasn’t shipped so I have to go to the computer lab to type blogs which is annoying (not to mention I am a student too and have to go to do work there).  Long story short, I took Monday and Tuesday off completely from running.


Because my legs were twinging out like the day I got my stress fracture and I was not about to be an idiot.  It seemed to clear up after that so then Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I ran.  Wednesday I felt excellent, Thursday and Friday I felt okay but not like I was about to PR.

By Saturday morning,my legs felt heavy and I felt blah.  I think I was mentally exhausted as well as physically.  Not to mention the freaking gas station wasn’t open until 6:00am.  So therefore I had no coffee to deal with my lack of sleep.  I kind of made up for it on the bus which was about 5 hours, although I woke up a few times dorwning in my lovely pile of drool.  I know-you wanted to know that.

We got to the race site around 10:00 and immediately I saw thousands and thousands of birds.  It was on a lake, so I guess sea gulls like that sort of thing.  This course was different than most cross country courses as it was completely open and you could see the entire course from almost anywhere you wanted.  I like courses where I can go hide in the woods for a few minutes (or all of them).  While warming up my trainers became soaken wet and muddy.  Then went from an obnoxious orange to a dingy brown.  Since it was a loop course, I knew the first lap wouldn’t be bad (in terms of mud) but from there on out the course would be tore up from spikes and 125 girls running in a 3 feet diameter).  But boys raced second, so at least I didn’t deal with an already ripped up course for the entire race.

So anyways,  the race wasn’t one of my better.  It was windy, literally ankle deep mud (like my pink spikes are currently brown), and freezing cold.  When we could go against the wind, but splits would be upwards of 7:20 pace miles.  When we were going with the wind, my pace dropped below 7 minutes.  It was pretty humorous and slightly ridiculous now that I think about it.  I got 17th overall-compared to 5th last year.  Disapointing?  Yes.  But I have been running for 4 weeks (not heavy running either), done no speed workouts, and I was running in mud as well as a wind tunnel.

I don't think this photo does the grime factor of this course much justice.

So I’m over it.

On a better note-for making top 20 I got  a sweet fanny pack.  Yeah, this is real life.  Go for a long run with me and I’ll hold our gels. 

I also got quote of the day from my coach when I said: It’s only fucking warmup and my god damn ass is muddy.

Alright then.  I still love running don’t you worry.  The wind and mud is what I don’t like.

Question for you:

How do you clean your running shoes?

Suffolk Ten Miler Race Recap.

I was really worried about this race the last few days.  I didn’t want to race hard and injure myself(after all-my races post injury have been either short or on grass).  I didn’t want to jog slow and get the dreaded DNF or more importantly have a somewhat upsetting result .  I didn’t really have a game attack plan.  (But I normally don’t when I run races).  My thoughts are for races are either: today I will run fast, today I will jog at an 8 minute pace or today I just don’t care.)

The daddykins and I after the race (in my stunna shades)

There has been one race where I just didn’t care. Remember last Decembers Freezin’ for a reason 5k?  When we ran on ice?  Oh yes me too.  Slow and steady wins the no ankle breaking race.

Another big reason that I wanted to do this race, is because my area (VA Beach, VA) is really big into running.  I had met a lot of people on dailymile who were running this race and similar to a blogging meetup, I wanted to have a dailymile meetup.

I met some great people such as Marie, who has been one of the most supportive people since returning from my stress fracture.  Sadly, she currently has a case of her own and is coming to end of her recovery though (YAY!). 

Anyways, I was busy gabbing with Marie (what else is new…chronic chatterer is what I am.) The gun went off and people ahead of me were booking it.  I was so confused.  Then I realized-um duh Hollie you are racing today. 

So I was off.  I pretty much found my groove immediately.  I did exactly what I was recommended by coachy coach.  Extended tempo run.  3 miles warmup-4 miles tempo-3 miles cooldown.

I tried my very best to follow that and I did pretty much.  I ran the middle four miles a little slower than I wanted to at about a 7:15 pace-but I wasn’t feeling 100%.  I am still a little sleep deprived but that is another story.  I never got my ten hour make up sleep day, from waking up at 5:30 all week from swim practice. 

The first three miles were smooth.  Took them easy, chatted with lots of people. By people I mean 30-50  year old men who pretty much dominate the entire upper half of races because they are super quick.

The middle four miles, I ran quicker at about a 7:15 pace.  I chatted far and few between but the guys were great.  I stuck with one guy until he dropped down to below a 7:00 minute pace and peaced out.  He only finished about 2 minutes infront of me though.  Would you believe me if I told you, I directed him in the right direction on the race course?  He went past the turn.  People normally can never rely on me for directions.

During the last three miles (during my cooldown of course), I knew some of the other ladies in the race were gaining on me and I wanted to keep my position.  I know-I do have some sort of competitiveness somewhere in my little soul.  So even though I was literally dead at mile 8 (I haven’t felt that tired in a race in oh I don’t know…since I used to go into cardiac arrest running the mile in middle school) but I kept my head up and just pretended like I was frolicking in the park.  In my mind at least.

My high school’s cross country team was volunteering along with my brother (who is home for break too).  He didn’t race today since he has some serious cross country races ahead of him (and unlike me…likes those 8ks more than 10 milers…weird).  Anyways long story short-I saw him at mile 9 and he kept me moving. #bestmotivatorever

Then I finished the last mile, trying to keep my lead all while smelling the greasy popcorn being made at the movie theater (that is where is the race started).  Voms.com. 

And then watched later on as a 75 year old woman finished the 10 miler in 2:30.  That is me in the future. 

So another successful race in my books.  I love running. 

Question for you:

 Tell me something you love. 


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