2015: Blogging Edition

The year 2015 was a very eventful year for me. Normally when life is exciting and eventful…blogging is not as exciting.  This is my fourth full year of blogging, and I learned a lot from it.  In 2016, I plan to keep my blog, but I’ll be going in a different direction.

2015 blogging in review

For the last few years, I’ve posted nearly every day.

Posts have varied in topic.  When I was in college, I posted about that. When I was working in a health promotion office, I posted about life in Upstate NY.  This year was a lot of marriage posts followed by mostly sticking with running topics and, of course, diners.

I once partnered around with a monkey on campus.
Throwback: I once partnered around with a monkey for education on campus.

I have taken a lot of personal life out of my blog.  Not because I am hiding anything but because I truly am not exciting outside of running or work.

People have asked how I blog frequently or for so long but, to be honest, blogging goes hand in hand with my breakfast and morning coffee.  I typically write or schedule a post before 7 am and go about the rest of my day.  There are very few days I’m writing a post after 8 am.

I will still blog in 2016, but I don’t feel the need to blog about trivial and minor details of my life.  You can typically follow those through Instagram or even my facebook page.

After that update, I decided to compile my most seen blog posts of the year as well as my personal favorites. 

Here are some interesting stats from FueledbyLOLZ:

Most searched (and funny) terms:
What is ISO?  (ISO is clearly everything and the substance used in many different Saucony shoes…)
Crystal Lake Diner (My friends in Haddon Township know this place burnt down, but it’s slowly being rebuilt.  I’ve been excited for a year!)
Penguins (Are LOLZ favorite animal)
“I want my yoga pants to smell like I sweat money” (I don’t do yoga, and none of my yoga pants smell like money sweat, but you do you.)
Nike Frees (No, not a running shoe)
College Graduation Shoes (I wore these)

megraduation
A Day Everything Went Wrong (I’ve had plenty of those…hopefully the next day was/is better)

Of course, a lot of people find LOLZ blog by googling FueledbyLOLZ…ect.

Most Popular Posts:

Believe it or not, my most popular and most seen posts are often shoe guides. It’s funny because the least amount of people comment on them but they are the most seen!

Saucy ISO 2 Feat Everrun Review

Most Popular: Asics Nimbus
Runner-UpSaucony Triumph ISO 2

Other Popular Posts from 2015:
Five Types of Runners
Running on the Cheap
Facebook Ads: Are they worth it?
Losing Toenails: A Runners Right Of Passage? (The answer is still a no)

Busiest Month (Traffic) Blogging Wise: December
Slowest Month (Traffic) Wise: July

Amount of Diners Reviewed in 2015 (Full list here): 54

Favorite Diner of 2016: Chit Chat Diner, State Line or Mustache Bills

Mustache Bills Coffee

Fun blogging activities:

This year I was honored to go to the Runners World Festival as a blogger and influencer.  It was an experience I will never forget and I had such a good time.  I’m hoping to go back this year.

Runners World Half

Since the majority of my blog is running related, I recapped my 2015 running journey here and here.

I had a great year in 2015 and truly enjoyed blogging my way through it.  I’m interested to see what 2016 brings, and hopefully, I’ll get to share the journey with you!  Thank you to friends and family who read as well as friends from across the world that read too!  Have a happy New Years!

Question for you: What were some of your personal favorite moments of 2015?

Rotating Running Shoes

My current rotation of running shoes includes all of the following:
Saucony Triumph ISO 2 (for long or easy runs)
Saucony Zealot and Nike Pegasus 32 (for race warmups, tempos runs, or a daily run)
Saucony A6 (for workouts, races)
Occasionally the Asics Quantum for recovery runs when I want to feel nothing because they are ultra-cushioned shoes.
Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi (for trail running)

Rotating Shoes

As you can see, I use and alternate six pairs of running shoes.  There isn’t a single running shoe that can do every run, race, and, workout.  I wouldn’t want to do a long run in a racing flat, and I would prefer not to race in a trainer. Plus I have an old pair of running shoes for cross-training.

That leads to one of the most common running gear questions:

Should you train in multiple pairs of running shoes?

The answer is yes it’s a good idea!  No single shoe can serve the purpose of all of your training needs.  Plus having multiple pairs of running shoes in your shoe rotation can extend the life of a shoe and help to prevent overuse injury.

Rotating through two pairs of the same running shoe will prolong the lifespan of the shoe, but you will still be working the same muscles.

How does alternating running shoes reduce overuse injury?

By rotating through a few pairs of running shoes, your gait and running form will change slightly in each pair of shoes.  In every pair of shoe, your foot strikes the ground differently because the cushioning of each brand and each shoe varies from shoe to shoe.

Your muscles will work slightly differently in different running shoes which will cause different muscles to become stronger.  Your body won’t get used to running in the same thing and it helps prevent injury (it doesn’t always though). It will also create fewer overuse issues because you’ll be using different muscles.

How does alternating running shoes extend the life of a training shoe?

If you use the same shoe daily, the cushioning will continue to compress.  The cushioning or foam will break down instead of bouncing back to recover.  Having multiple shoes allows each pair to have their own “rest days” even if you don’t take rest days. The average running shoe lasts about 400 miles but there is no exact number. Racing flats usually last less while many trail shoes last longer.

An important thing to note about rotating shoes:

It’s great to rotate through several pairs of shoes, but you should be rotating shoes that are still fit and appropriate for your foot type.  Using a very stable shoe and a minimal shoe could multiply your ability to get injured versus reducing it.  Make sure that the shoes you are using are compatible with you.  Not every running shoe works for every person.

Questions for you:
Do you rotate through shoes?

Training: Tis the Season for Downpours

Lately, my speed workouts haven’t always hit the paces I’ve wanted.  To be fair, my effort has been there, but I’m often running in undesirable elements or on hilly courses. I haven’t been running workouts on tracks or even flat ground.  That being said, road races aren’t on the track, and there is a hardly ever a perfect day.  Practicing these things is good.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve been having a few issues with antibiotics.  There hasn’t been any drastic improvement this week, but I was still able to get my workouts accomplished.

During the month of December, I’ve also raced far less frequently and honestly I miss it. My wallet and budget don’t miss the races, but I do! 

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Easy 12 mile long run with Liz
Wednesday: Easy run
Thursday: 6X1 mile repeats (6:40 average)
Friday: Easy run
Saturday:  Easy Run
Sunday:  14.5 miles with 10k tempo (40:40…6:34 pace)
 Total:  74 miles

On Monday, I woke up, and my body hurt. I felt tired and not wanting to move and I am glad I rested. I did get a deep tissue massage that I needed.

On Tuesday, Liz and I ran her longest run ever together. We are trying to run more Tuesday mornings together. Part of my plan to get out of my running rut is to find more people to run with.

liz and i

I pushed a workout back one day because my legs were sore from the deep tissue massage. It takes me, personally, 2-3 days for my legs to feel good afterwards.

6X1 mile repeats average (6:45 pace)

(7:05, 6:16, 6:44, 6:15, 6:43, 6:16)

The first mile it down poured. I couldn’t get a good groove. I got to the end of the first mile and looked at my watch and thought: Are you effing kidding me? To be honest, I nearly through in the towel but since I was a mile out I had to run at least one mile to get to the start. I ran back and felt better, so I continued the workout. It poured rain throughout the entire workout, and I changed clothing for my cooldown since I was drenched.

Taking out the first mile, I averaged about 6:30 pace which is more/less where I would like to be.

My mile repeats have been done lately on a significantly hilly section of a local road. I like it because it includes hills. It’s a slower pace, but harder workout. It’s helped my races that have hilly portions because I feel like I can surge the hills better.

Holiday Christmas Bow...because why not
Holiday Christmas Bow…because why not

Sundays Workout: 14.5 miles with 10k tempo (40:40…average 6:34 pace)

Today’s workout was my best workout all month.  I warmed up 4 miles, ran my tempo and cooled down another 4 miles.  Throughout the entire 14 miles, I felt strong.  Since I haven’t been racing, this was an excellent motivational workout.

My splits were 7:01, 6:29, 6:34, 6:27, 6:31, 6:29.  To run out of my neighborhood any direction, the first mile is all uphill.  The incline has been good for training, and I’ve found quite a few hills throughout various routes as well.  I’m happy with the workout and was surprised I was able to maintain that pace.  I felt as if I could have gone further.

It was great to end my highest mileage week on this note and bonus my stomach didn’t act up today either.

Thoughts of this week:
It’s another high mileage week with rainy but solid workouts.  This work is going to pay off in 2016.  I might not set PRs through the winter but similar to summer training when I plateaued, I’ll break through another plateau.

On another note, Women’s Running featured an article that I wrote about starting to run.  I couldn’t be more honored.

I hope everyone had a Happy Holidays.

Questions for you:
How has the weather been where you live?
Are you training for anything in particular right now?

Shore Diner (Egg Harbor Township)

Shore Diner (Egg Harbor Township)

A few weeks ago, I made up my mind that I wanted to go to the Shore Diner in Egg Harbor Township.  When I initially put the directions into my phone, it said it was 30 minutes away.  When we got to the destination, we realized the directions had been inaccurate and still had another 20 miles to go.  In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t the worst thing but try telling that to a hungry person.

Shore Diner Atmosphere: A
The outside of the Shore Diner was a giant square building with a lot of tinted Windows.  Honestly, I think there could be a flood and nothing would get through.  The inside of the Shore Diner was huge with plenty of seating.  It was neat to sit in diagonal booths.  It makes sense as Egg Harbor Township is close to the shore.

Shore Diner Service: A
The waitress at the Shore Diner was friendly.  She refilled our drinks as much as we needed.  The food also came out incredibly fast.  For our meals, we waited less than 7 minutes.  Everything about the service was impressive.

Shore Diner Coffee: A
I ordered two beverages at the Shore Diner. First, since it is a diner I ordered a coffee with whipped cream.  The coffee was brewed from the local Lacas coffee in Pennsauken, NJ.  Anytime a diner has local Lacas coffee; it’s hard to mess that up.  The waitress brought out plenty of refills, and I have no complaints.

Shore Diner Coffee

Shore Diner Food: A
The Shore diner menu is massive. They have everything from breakfast to sandwiches to lots of seafood options and even Pad Thai.  I’ve never seen a diner with Pad Thai before!

I was craving a burger and sweet potato fries, so I settled upon the Tex-Mex Burger.  I enjoyed how crispy the fries were and how massive the burger was.  The Tex-Mex burger had half an avocado which was awesome.

Shore Diner Burger

Shore Diner Dessert: D
I split a piece of carrot cake.  I was expecting a dense piece of carrot cake, but honestly, it was hard and crusty.  I wanted to like it, but it tasted as if it had been sitting for several days.  It wasn’t as bad as the Red Lion Diner, but I wouldn’t order it again. The Shore Diner prides themselves on homemade desserts, but their dessert had been sitting too long, and I was extremely disappointed.

Shore Diner Price: $
For my coffee, burger and carrot cake the cost was $20, which isn’t bad for everything I received.  The Shore Diner has good food and a great spot if you are going down the shore. However, I wouldn’t order the cake again.

Summary/Would I come back to the Shore Diner (Egg Harbor Township)?
The food was good, but I would probably skip dessert or try something else.  It’s a great stop for anyone Egg Harbor Township it is worth the stop.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee (and beer): A
Food: A
Dessert: D
Overall score: B

You can see all of the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite type of beer?
Have you ever misjudged the distance somewhere?

So You’re Running Late with Gift Giving?

If you are anything like me then you normally wait until last minute to Christmas shop. Unfortunately, that isn’t as easy this year because I’m working. So I was forced to get my shopping done early and by early I mean yesterday and online.  Just thinking out loud, I’ve created a LOLZ worthy edition of some last minute gifts to get your loved ones. 

Last week to get into the Holiday spirit, I posted about the five types of Holiday shoppers.  Now I’ll post about getting a few last minute Christmas gifts.

Last minute holiday gift guide

So you waited until last minute?

Christmas is two days away, and you see friends and relatives all have gifts out…but you forgot about Great Aunt twice removed Sue, who you met once after having a few cocktails.

Like half of the population, I never got my “gift giving guide” on the blog.  I never really had a great gift guide to be honest, I feel as if I just purchase people what they want and gift guides are never that personalized.  My dad loves to run but doesn’t want a Spi belt…gift guides tell me Spi belts are great options for runners.

Here are some awesome gifts you can go out and buy in the next 24 hours. Maybe even on Christmas at your local drug store.

Socks: Most people need socks as much as underwear. Since it’s just awkward to buy someone underwear…stick with socks. You might not want to know their underwear preference.

Towel: Most people shower and after taking a shower you must dry off. A towel is a nice way to do that. Heck, you can even personalize and glitter gun it if you are the crafty type.  Or give it to them in a towel animal form.

Plus you can make a towel animal post with it too...
Plus you can make a towel animal post with it too…

Tweezers: Tweezers are one of the most universal items out there.

tweezers

Do you have an emergency eyebrow hair in the way?

Do you have to tweeze out a splinter?

You never know when those guys will come in handy and when they do…the gift receiver will text you a solid thanks with a Facebook “like” emoji. 

Calendar: Since most people have their personal planner preference choice (or none at all), it’s wise to go towards a wall calendar. The last thing you want to mess up someone’s planner life with one they won’t use.  I recommend staying with a plain calendar because you don’t know if someone really likes cats that much (if they don’t they are weird).

calander

My other recommendation is to take 12 selfies and make your own personalized calendar for friends.  Your friends and family can appreciate that, but you’ll have to tape the photo to the calendar since it will take more than a day to get a custom one.  Bonus: You’ll look crafty too!

If all else fails go for the Gift Card: I get it…you want to unwrap something. So wrap the gift card in the biggest packing box you can find, add some tissue paper and you are fine. They unwrap something under the tree, and you don’t have to worry about a return. Alternative options include putting a 20 dollar bill inside a box but hoping it doesn’t somehow get lost.

Bonus: If they have cats or small kids, they can play in the boxes.  Double gift giving!

cardboard box

And of course, have a Happy Holidays. Anything of these things will most certainly make for a happy day, though.

Questions for you:

Are you done with your Holiday Shopping?

How are you spending the Holidays?

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