What Is Normalacy?

I sit here on the airplane looking for inspiration.  To talk about running?  To talk about my life?  To talk fashion? School?  Eating and fueling properly?  I don’t even feel overly knowledgeable in any of the above topics-with regards to my life of course, but there is only so much you can say about that.

So I sit here wondering how I’ll draw you in.  How I’ll captivate your attention for a brief moment in time.

And that is where I sit on this two hour plane ride.  Trying to figure that out.

I have always felt a little bit off in regards to my own life.  As a United States citizen going to school at an all British Academy.  As the only blonde member of my all brunette family.  Moving back to the United States and having a deeply heavy British accent.  Don’t even get me started of how I would rather wake up early for 16 mile long run than go to the bars every weekend.  One might assume I would prefer to go against the gradient of everyday culture.  Whichever culture I choose to be participating in.

To say the least I have always felt like an outsider in my own life, let alone before I started learning what my life was about or became an adult.

Upon staring out of the window and at the dimly lit stars-I have wondered though, what exactly is normal?   What is normal to bloggers?  What is normal to nonbloggers?  I would beg to differ that my facebook friends appreciate my constant facebook updates and profile changes.  I would then beg to differ my tweeting friends wouldn’t wonder where if I went MIA upon not updating for a week or two.

Then I would also wonder if my dailymile friends would judge me if I went to the bars the night before a big race, while some of best college mates would question me if I didn’t.

It’s almost like my life has been at ends.  Who exactly am I (or are you) trying to impress by fitting the mold of the audience that perceives normal. 

Normal would be having your own fears of where your life is going and what direction you are going through.  Do not fear normalacy and do not fear being an outsider.  Fear living a life full of wonderment of these simple topics.

So I leave you and deboard my plane.  My coffee at 9pm, tweeting my arrival while simulatonsly updating my facebook status of the long run that will surely come in the early morning followed by the breakfast for lunch and possible date at the local bar for a couple beers later in the evening.

Because for me-that’s normal. 

peace out and keep it on the real.
Tempo Twinnie Race Recap 5k=20:04

I honestly didn’t even want to write a race-recap of this race.  It was actually pretty difficult for me to sit down on my butt and write that bad boy out.  Here I am typing away and pretending like I enjoyed the race in the slightest.  I don’t know why I didn’t, maybe it was that I felt like utter crap but you know…we all have those days and it was only a damn 5k.  Now that we have that rant out of the way-I’ve put it in my past and I’m ready to move on. 

Okay it won’t too whiney I swear.

As some of you may or may not know-I went down to visit the lovely Laura this weekend.  I had honestly one best times ever.  Minus we should have taken more photos. 

Dear sun spot. Please stop that.

Anyways-for those of you who don’t know, I’ve been having some phantom knee pain and it really has me worried.   My COACH seems to think it will go away soon, but I’m so paranoid about it.  I’m honestly super afraid that I’ve picked up the injury my brother has that prevents him from running.  Let me just take a second to ramble away about my symptoms (for my clarity if nothing else):

  1. 1.       it comes and goes when I’m running.
  2. 2.       It feels almost like underneath the top of my knee cap, possibly the tendon I don’t know.
  3. 3.       It doesn’t hurt arcing/ellipticaling…basically anything besides running.
  4. 4.       It hurts when I bend my knee in that part of my stride that kicks back. 

Okay anyways.

Now back to the race (which I ran as more of a moderate tempo).  I didn’t get much sleep the night before because I had a killer migraine.  Somehow, I posted a blog about my new blog URL (please look at that timestamp sometime if you are bored…because it wasn’t scheduled and I was UP at that hour).


Race Day:

I enjoyed a lovely morning with Laura doing some Pilates.  Incase you don’t know, she is getting her Pilates certification and is fantastic!  Core whorin’ typical jive.  My knee felt fine at this point, I thought the foam rolling/pilates combo had finally kicked whatever was going on for good.  It really felt like a normal knee.  As you will obviously guess, that wasn’t the case during the race (not that it was bad or anything). 

The race started at 3pm (yes 3pm).  Laura and I got there at 2:30pm and did a 1 mile warmup.  It was much more crowded than we had assumed.  There were probably about 100 people or so, mostly all locals.  Whenever I race somewhere, I always put the further of the two distances-either NY or VA.  That race I was Hollie from NY. 

When the race started, I decided I would stick with the top 10 (most of the high school track stars) and see where it took me.  I felt okay for the first 5 feet but immediately I felt a rock in my stomach…and thought to myself oh one of those races eh.  No matter.

The first mile was short-in fact it said I reached it at 5:20.  It was more or less 5:50.  That was a good mile for me, I don’t really know the exact time but it is probably close to my “mile PR”.  That was when the rock ie: coffee creamer baby really started kicking.

Then it was all downhill…well literally uphill.  My stomach was just not feeling this race and felt rather heavy.  My knee wasn’t in a lot of pain but didn’t feel injury free.   I was somewhat grumpy by the heavy linebacker drafting off me.  (Props to him though-he finished under 20!).

High school boys were high school boys.  They mostly died around mile 1-minus the fellas that were clearly high school XC runners.  I ended up staying in 10th place the entire race until the last second when one didn’t want to be “out girled” so be it.  His friends gave him so much crap for outsprinting me.

I laughed. 

After the race, he tried chatting me up and then realized when I said I was a senior…I meant in college.   Our convo went something of this nature.

“Nice race there” (Blue is a boys color no?)

Oh thanks 

Is that your PR?

Oh no-today was not my day for PRing. 

Oh that suck-so what grade are you in?

I’m a senior.

Oh me too!!

A senior in college…

Oh really?  You look so young!

Tell me that again in 10 years.


I was super happy for my long lost twinnie Laura though who PRed and also took it as a tempo run.  Anyone who can casually tell me that this is their PR without going into cardiac arrest at the last .01 has many more PRs in their future.

Old School No Chip Race. Love it 🙂

So to sum up this novel of a race recap type post.  Not all races are your best and not all are meant to PR.  I learned that maybe too much gas station coffee creamer played a part in this race but I wasn’t trying to go all out to begin with so I don’t even know why I’m being obnoxious.  I’m not upset with this race (running doesn’t make me upset duh!), I just think I was hoping for a better time even though 2 months ago 20:08 at Footlocker South made me squeal with joy.

Question for you:

  1. Have you ever had expectations for something that didn’t occur (racing or life in general) but the settlement wasn’t bad either?
This is what we have here.  😉
  1. Have you ever had a knee injury? 
Running Story Part 2

If you missed part 1 of my running story from Friday here ya go.

In July 2010, about 48 hours after emailing the college coach, he sent me a summer schedule back which really freaked me out.  Running 5 miles daily, a 7 mile run here and there?  I had struggled with that 8k earlier. What the hell are striders?  I knew I enjoyed running but I wasn’t sure of these new “technical” terms.  I essentially thought of running still as walking quite quickly.  But I went with it.  The day I did my first 7 mile run was literally one of the most exciting days of my life!

 On July 16th, I went to win the run-swim-run that I had so desperately trained for last year in 42 minutes.  I can still say that is my greatest race achievement.  

The rest of July and August were full of running more and more.  I made it up to 30 mile weeks even! I went to preseason camp in late August and was instantly hooked.  My first cross country season served as a lot of things for me.  Mostly a learning experience as my coach would tell me.  Just learn as much about the sport as you can.  Learn that girls will elbow you-learn that how to run up hills, run down hills (I still can’t).   It was a successful season for me, and I won MVP for our team!  I wanted next season to come the second after I crossed the finish line of our regional race.

its over? WAHHHH

Meanwhile in October and November I was still swimming.  I had been swimming all my life-I wasn’t going to give that up.  After my last cross country race of the season, I had to give up running and just focus on swimming, as hard as it was I couldn’t swim four hours a day and then run.  Yeah..no.

Plus who wouldn't want to go to Puerto Rico to Train?

To put it in simple terms-lasts years swim season was the worst I had ever had.  I was miserable, I didn’t do well…all that jazz.  I had fun with my friends but that is about all I can say.

In early February 2011-I was so excited to start running again-so excited that I got injured within a week .  I fractured my heal on the treadmill.  I could walk and all that jazz but running hurt.   So I didn’t run again until the Shamrock 5k on my campus (a little more than a month and a half later…the same 5k that I ran the year before and did so well).

Last year I ran a 23 minute 5k and wasn’t pushing the pace.  It was, after all, my first real run in about 4 months. 

I also wore a running skirt

I trained through the Spring and ran 3 half marathons.  Those races kept me excited and I fell in love with the distance races.  No

thing could take away from the accomplishment I had of finishing those.  The excitement of the people, the thrill of the finish line, every part of them excited me!  I wanted to do more-but alas it was way to warm down south for VA to host those in the summer.

I didn’t have any good races in the summer, but I did have the memorable one.  The run-swim-run, the race that I had won last year and was so excited to repeat the win is when I got my stress fracture.  I was in first place but at least 4 minutes but I knew I needed to stop because I was in so much pain.  I watched hundreds of people run past me and it was heartbreaking but it was enough to make me realize that my training needed to change. 

But I still had a good 21st birthday 🙂

I couldn’t run every run within 3 second pace of each other.  I couldn’t run as many miles on the treadmill as I did.  I had done everything that was on my coaches schedule, every distance,  but I was forcing myself to go faster than I needed too and causing my body to work harder than easy runs were supposed too.  I needed to approach running a different way.

I had two months to think about it and was scared I was going to sit out my entire cross country season.  September was always on my mind since it was when I was allowed to run again.  Although my second cross country season was nowhere where I wanted it to be-it was still fun.  I loved it.  It gave me hope for the Spring. 

because my team is awesome<3

I do not regret any part of my stress fracture.  In all honesty, it showed me how fragile the body is too overtraining in running which is a new concept for a swimmer.  Swimming and overtraining are like two peas in a pod.

During my senior year, I also (for personal reasons) made the executive decision to quit swim.  It was hard, but I knew it was better for me.  I haven’t looked back since.

I spent November and December raking in high mileage weeks that I didn’t even know my body was capable of.  (I was also like to point out my coach carefully monitored this after HE SUGGESTED IT).

And it worked.  I went from a 7:22 pace in my last half marathon to a 6:51 in my 20k.  My new running “carefree” style has done wonders for my ability.

Now where does this take me now?  This book de Hollie is far from over, but Ill spend the next couple of months training for more half marathons with more high milage (and carefully monitored) weeks to prepare me.  I’m still not doing much speed work and not venturing to the track which are two things I loathe to begin with.

I love running and I can’t thank everyone via the blogging, DMing and tweeting world who support me.  Also-real life friends, can’t forget about you guys.  🙂

Questions for you:

  1. 1.       Tell me about your running story. 
  2. 2.       What sort of run blogs are you curious to see on lolz?   
Running Story Part 1

I didn’t realize so many people were curious about my running story.  No matter-I’ll share some parts are on my about me I suppose but who doesn’t enjoy talking about themselves?

I digress.

As most of you know I haven’t been running a really long time.  A year and a half to be exact (and not even the full time of that because I was plagued with a couple injuries.  I’ve run consistently about 8 months of my life). 

I touched upon it here, but I didn’t start really running until the summer of 2010.

In middle school I was overweight, pudgy, awkward and well couldn’t run.  My family was a bunch of runners-but me?  Yeah…no.  I failed the mile test multiple times in both middle and high school.  Not because I didn’t want to pass, I truly did, but because I couldn’tI could not physically do it.

It would always come down to the last lap around the track.  I’d be somewhere between 9-10 minutes and I would be dying.   Like oh my god how the hell am I going to make around one more time?

My middle school gym teacher (little did I know how big in the running community he is) would constantly make fun of me.  It didn’t help that I had some of the best middle school runners in my class.   I mean when you have some girl running the mile in 6:30 not really trying  in 7th grade and you have me going into cardiac arrests at 12:15…such differences are noticed.

When I did pass it was passed with anywhere of 10-15 seconds to spare.  My PR on the mile test was 12:12.

So middle and high school running went something like that until 11th grade when we didn’t have togo to gym class anymore.

I enjoyed swimming and it was fun.  To summarize, my running consisted of preying to the high heavens that I’d pass gym class and not have to retake the mile test.

For the first year of college-I ran two times.  One was to impress the (male) captains of the swim team because they were hosting an optional practice that consisted of running.

Why the hell I thought that was a good idea was beyond me.

Another was with my roommate, with when all the ellipticals were taken.  We ran exactly 1.46 miles.  New Personal Long Run!

I mostly got my exercise via dancing...

The summer between freshman and sophomore year-a lot of things happened to me physically and emotionally.  (I found out I had a few random health problems and I became depressed and nearly decided to spend the semester at home).

To keep my mind at ease, I ran a bit over the summer because I wanted to do well in a local run swim run race.  So I did a few 5k training runs on the treadmill (yes treadmill) and went with it (I think did it 4 times on my lunch break at work in about 40-45 minutes or so).  I ended up finishing the 1k run on the beach, 1k swim in the ocean and 5k run in 50 minutes.   I even got second in my age group!

I was overjoyed of my success but didn’t run again for a while.  By a while, I laced up my sneakers maybe once from August to March. My next big running event came when my college hosted an annual 5k on St. Patricks day. The infamous 5k I often talk about the set my running into motion.  I ended up running 24 minutes.

The spring of sophomore year my medical issues kept me at edge and I ran maybe 20 miles weekly, maybe.  I didn’t keep track but I just kind of went with it.  I ran when the weather was nice and I didn’t want to stay cooped up in my dorm.  I kept it casual and did this roughly 5k loop around campus when I did run.

Now we are up to May of 2010, upon returning home from sophomore year of college, dad asked if I wanted to run a 10k race (The Elizabeth River Run) and I told him I had other things to do.  (That was a lie-I just didn’t think me running a race was worth the 30 dollars…it was not big deal for me and I distinctly remember wanting to do a core class at the same time as the race) but I would run the following weekend an 8k.

I maintained my 20 mile weeks and did the 8k.  I don’t remember much from the race just that I finished with roughly an 8:15 pace.  I kept my running casual and mainly swam with some random running in the afternoons if I got off of work early.

July 4, 2010 was when the stars aligned for me in regards with running.  I ended up running a 22 minute 5k.  I don’t know where it came from but I was on cloud 9.  I was hooked.  I was delusional. Out of runner’s high emailed our college cross country coach saying I wanted to join.

Little did I know where this race was going

Stay tuned for part 2 on Sunday which has actually completely been documented by my blog already!  Recaps are fun.

Question for you: Share a personal story about you in regards to working out or fitness, has anyone inspired you?   

Views on Coaching

I’m not going to apologize but I would say the majority of my blogs this week are going to be about running.  Where my running is going, why I think coaches are a GOOD idea and just random thoughts about the Houston Marathon. 

Now that we cleared that up.  I’ll also try and add photos so they aren’t a snooze fest.  I said try-we can’t put too much hope into me now can we. 

I promised a blog of where my training was going and I wrote one up.  Sadly, my coach and I decided that we were COMPLETELY changing my training focus so the blog was pretty much meaningless.  Well it had meaning but it wasn’t going to be what I was doing. 

So today I’ll chat you up about why I think coaches are a great idea for anyone who is training with purpose or for a certain race.  I’m not saying you have to be hardcore training for a full marathon or half complete with speed workouts but I have found myself already reaching more potential having someone to back me up.

I could sit here on the computer and google every little thing about running, read every piece of print ever created or listen to many youtube videos teaching me proper methods to run and proper training schedules.  It doesn’t mean my body will react to them the same way as they were intended.

For instance, most people don’t need to run 50 miles to train for a half.  For me personally, my body is doing EXTREMELY well at running 70 miles per week.  Something I had not once thought possible during cross country season and coming back from my injury.  Something when my coach suggested my word for word answer was “So do you want me to peel over and die too?”

But I trusted him and can very easily tell you I wouldn’t have done it by myself.

Although my coach does not sit and scream workouts down my throat (another thing I would not respond well too), he does mentor me and show me things he thinks will be beneficial to my body (and that have been).   I don’t see him everyday or talk to him everyday but I know if I needed too I could.  He knows-I’m the definition of independent which is another bonus for the both of us.

I truly think that every single person could benefit for a little while from a coach to help guide them.  You can google yourself a fancy training plan, but training plans aren’t normally tailored to you found from google.  True story: I just googled training plan for Hollie and found nothing… There will always be something you never thought about.  There will always be something you can tweak to improve your times.

For instance the first change that came to me with my half training plan is that I do not have a said “long run” most weeks.  Maybe every two weeks or so-I’ll do a straight up 15 miler.  Normally and 9 times out of ten I would rather run a 10 and a 5 miler in a day.  My coach gets that.  My only real criteria in my plan is to get long easy miles in.

So I guess what I’m saying is that in my opinion, everyone could benefit from a coach for training for something.  Not necessarily someone screaming down your throat to finish a hard run, but to motivate and know as much about your training as you do.  To understand and motivate you when you are feeling like utter crap.  Sure you could google every answer to running imaginable but it doesn’t mean you won’t overlook something in your own training.

*I’m not saying that every person will mesh well with every coach.  I’m also not saying that I don’t google running training like it’s my job.  I’m just saying it’s always good to have a second opinion!  😉 

What are your thoughts about coaching?

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