About a month ago, I read somewhere that one of the best things you can do right now is “do things that make you get off your phone.” It’s a simple concept and one that can be applied at any time (pandemic or not). But it’s also one I’ve been fairly bad at in the last few months.
Today is my 29th birthday.
For some reason, I always imagined at age 29; I would look and feel older.
Maybe like an adult? It hasn’t come (yet). Anyway, looking back at age 28, I had a great year. I’ve been an “adult” for a decade now.
What Did I Do During Year 28?
Last year, I started age 28 with my first “real” trail race. I ran the Copper Mountain 25k, and it was one of the best running memories I’ve had.
It’s hard to believe that was a year ago now!
Last summer, I did a lot of traveling up and down the East Coast. We visited family, I saw friends from college, and I just had a good summer. In August, I ran/hikes my second trail race in Killington, VT. To me, it was more challenging than the race in Colorado because the terrain was much more technical. Then in the fall, I changed gears entirely and trained for the NYCM. I didn’t think I would do another marathon, but when the opportunity to run in the “sub-elite” corral presented itself, I couldn’t say no. I’m glad I did, and it was one of the best running experiences I’ve had.
Since the NYCM, running hasn’t quite come into place. I’ve trained, but I haven’t had any “spectacular” or amazing races. I’ve had a lot of great and fun races, but I’m well off PRs. Right now, I’m content with that.
In January, my husband and took a trip out to California. We drove from San Diego to San Francisco and just explored. We had no agenda (as most of our vacations are).
The highlight of the Spring was adopting my two cats: Frick and Frack. I always had cats growing up, and I’ve wanted them for years, but our landlords or landladies always said no.
Finally, after proving we were good renters, they agreed. We found these two cats at the local shelter, and when I found out they had been there for five years (YES 5), I knew I wanted them. They were shy at first but have come out of their shell.
The last few months have been quiet as far as personal and running life goes. I’m training for the Big Cottonwood Marathon in early September. Running another downhill marathon terrifies me because the last one wasn’t my favorite race ever — cheers to doing things outside of your comfort zone.
Fulfilling my other hobby, I also went to over 50 New Jersey diners last year and have now been to 253. I don’t know if I’ll make it to 300 (if we move). When I started this journey 5 years ago, I never imagined going to 250 diners. But as they motivational quotes say: you never know until you try!
Anyway, thank you age 28 for the memories and to family and friends for supporting me!
This year, I wanted to do something and different for my birthday, so on July 20th, I’m running the Teterboro 5k to Homes for Our Heroes: a mission to build safe, affordable housing for military and military families.
This includes Veterans who have nowhere to live as well as military families in the NJ area.
I appreciate anyone willing to donate and support this cause with me.
My goal is to reach $500 and any amount matters. Here is the link if you are interested.
Questions for you:
Tell me about a charity you support.
What did you do for your birthday?
Four years ago was the best day of my life because my husband and I got married. We had a wonderful wedding, and there is nothing we would have wanted differently.
As most people know, he is in the military and has been gone a lot. While his deployments aren’t long (about two months), they are frequent and so are his other trips. I won’t say it’s been easy and there have been plenty of hard days. I will say we are still as happy as the day we met.
Today I knew today I wanted to post about our anniversary but had no idea what to post. I finally settled on a “how we met post.” Many long term readers know “how we met,” but many people don’t. I’m always interested to see how other people met their significant other, so I thought I would share.
So How Did We Meet?
My husband and I met during college cross country season in 2011. It was a scrimmage race between our respected two universities.
Tim ended up winning the scrimmage race for men, and I won for females. After the scrimmage, we talked for a while and went on a run a few weeks later. Cross country season went by, and we still chatted after the season. During this time, I was coming back from my first serious running injury a tibial stress fracture. Tim did multiple sports and was getting ready for ski season. Since cross country was over, and he was no longer running competitively, running at a slower pace didn’t matter. I was running easy after my injury, and he was running easy just to run.
Eventually, after several runs, we hung out outside of running. When the semester ended, we both went to our hometowns for the winter break. Tim drove down to Virginia Beach and visited for New Years.
Later in the spring, we officially started “officially dating”. I was blogging at the time, and I don’t think I even mentioned on the blog: OMG you guys, a new boy in my life”.
In May of 2012, we both graduated from college and decided to try a long distance relationship. Our options at that point were long distance or break up.
Tim went to Air Force Undergraduate Pilot school in Texas, and I began working in Oswego, NY. During that time, we both learned a lot about ourselves, interests and hobbies. We went just over six months without seeing each other. It was one of the hardest times of our relationship but worth it. The first time we saw each other again was that Thanksgiving, and it was as if nothing had changed.
After Thanksgiving, we saw each other again for Christmas, then in March and in May. It was a lot easier than the first few months. After nearly a year of distance, we made the decision I would move to Texas. As much as I enjoyed my job in Oswego, I wanted to continue my relationship with Tim, and we had to eventually move (he did not have that choice).
Then in late 2013, Tim graduated his pilot training, and we were told we would be moving to New Jersey. Neither of us knew anything about NJ (except people drive very quickly on the Turnpike).
I’ve now lived in NJ for five years, and I love it. We never thought we would stay here this long, but I don’t mind. I’ve made incredible friends, I enjoy my job and there is always something to do. We are only a few miles from Philadelphia and a short (3-6 hour) drive from both of our parents, New York City and Baltimore.
On April 1, 2014, Tim proposed to me. It was exactly what I wanted, low key and at our house. We are low key, and I could not have asked for a better proposal. As much as we both love running, proposing at a race or in front of hundreds of people is not either of our scenes. Neither are big crowds or making a huge scene.
Even though we lived in New Jersey, we decided to get married in my hometown area in Norfolk, Virginia. We spent a year wedding planning and got married on April 12, 2015. While planning a wedding further away was more difficult, it wasn’t as stressful because we both have such supportive and helpful parents. For each of the things. We couldn’t have dreamed for a better day.
After our wedding, we took a few days to relax and went straight on our honeymoon. We decided to spend a few days in Key West and go on a cruise in the Carribean. It was a great vacation, and it was perfect.
Then a few days after we got home, he was deployed for a while. For the first six months of our marriage, he was gone for just over 4. Afterward, he was home for a bit more, but for the past four years, he has been a lot.
Throughout the first few years of marriage, we have learned a lot about ourselves and each other. Even though I grew up as a military child, being a spouse much different. It’s not always easy, but the time we do have together makes it worth it. I’m also thankful for my family and friends who help me get by.
We aren’t able to celebrate today, but that is okay. We might talk today; we might not. It doesn’t mean I love my husband any less. I could not ask for a better person in my life.
Although we met through running and it’s a part of both our lives we do a lot of other things together too.
Questions for you: How did you meet your spouse? When is your anniversary?
This week, my “on this day app” showed me seven years ago, I had my official diagnosis of a tibia stress fracture. It was my first real running injury. The diagnosis came a month after the actual break. I think the original diagnosis (with a clean X-Ray) was tendinitis.
Stress fractures rarely show up on X-Rays. In fact, I’ve never had a stress fracture that did show up within the first weeks of the break.. I tell people that X-rays are the gateway to MRI’s.
I know exactly how I caused what caused my tibia to break and it was by running my runs to fast all of the time. I ran between 7-7:10 pace every day. You can read about my running history in my running about page, so I’ll spare you all of those details.
In summary, at the time my PRS were much slower. I was always tired, and my training was dumb. I was a new runner (I had been running off and on for about a year), so I didn’t know the importance of easy runs.
Most runners go through the phase of running in cheap shoes, running all their runs to fast, and then get injured.
On that day 7 years ago, I sat in the doctor’s office, crying my eyes out as they read the results. My dad was sitting there, probably rolling his eyes.
He looked me square in my 21-year-old face and said: “Hollie, it’s just running, get ahold of yourself.”
I’ll never forget that statement because at the end of the day it is…just running. Races, events, and running will always be there. I don’t regret the injury, and I don’t regret any of my injuries because they have all taught me something.
This is my 21st birthday when the reality was I had a broken tibia. The doctor told me it was “tendinitis” so didn’t boot it for a while longer. My youngest brother seems thrilled to celebrate my birthday.
In 2011, my tibial stress fracture taught me not to train like a moron.
In 2014, my second metatarsal fracture taught me I can’t outrun injury. Nipping things in the bud is essential. If I rested a week, I wouldn’t have sat out 2+ months. You will never outrun a stress reaction, and they turn into a fracture.
In 2016, my ankle fracture taught me I have a lot more hobbies than running. I like to run, and I blog about running but I like a lot of other things including hiking and just being active. I mean one of my first “real” hiking adventures and I was doing yoga. JK…yoga is not my thing.
That being said, of course, there were hard times and tears shed but running isn’t everything.
I’ve had multiple doctors visits to make sure my body is healthy, and it is. I have the right amount of calcium, vitamin D, and I get my period every month. My injuries have been either overuse or form. I stress my metatarsals with how I run, so I need to be overly cautious in changing shoes as well as running too much. It took me a long time to realize that but better late than never.
So that leads me to where the post is actually going.
I don’t rely a lot on paces and for the most part train for time versus pace. I’ll never be a runner who cares about an 8:30 mile versus 8:33.
I’m not a data nerd and don’t even log into my Garmin app very often. Strava doesn’t interest me for many reasons including safety, but I also don’t care enough for the data portion. I don’t need head pats and likes to get me out of the door. I do it because I like it.
It’s another reason I don’t see the point to log pace and lose sleep over an of an easy run.
(Since my tibia break, I’ve never had the issue of going to fast for recovery and easy). I want to know that data for races or workouts, but I just listen to my body on easy run or recovery runs.
To tell you the type of runner and person I am, this morning I finished a run with my friend Alexis and she asked: what does your watch read? I said 9.95 and she asked if I wanted to get to 10…I just shrugged and said it didn’t matter. One of my most significant personal accomplishments for my anxiety is not to sweat the small things. Will I remember next week I ran 9.95 versus 10.01…no.
I’m not lazy, and I do work hard. I don’t feel like I have to prove that to anyone because I know it for myself. If you cut corners in your training, you are only hurting yourself. I’m not hurting “X the Instagrammer” because I’m lying about workouts, runs, or races…I’m just hurting me.
Originally, this was written in more of a diary format and I wasn’t going to post it. Sometimes it’s just cathartic to get information out there.
Then I was told, and I also realized, I have been lazy with my training logs because I don’t really know who reads them. I don’t care if I get 10 comments or none but if no one ever comments, how on earth would I even know someone is reading? So I figured people weren’t reading my blog anymore. That is totally fine and I never expect anyone to read anything I write. In fact, I’ll tell personal friends stories and they’ll say: oh I read that on your blog. I never think anyone reads anything. It’s fun when people do, and the commentary is fun but I don’t expect it. Bloggers aren’t celebrities and having the most followers is like having monopoly money…when you log off the computer…no one cares.
So where am I with Running Now?
This summer I have been running easy and doing workouts when I can.
I am a high mileage runner and I thrive on high mileage and racing all of the time but I absolutely can’t do that year round. I’ll injure myself or burn myself out. I’ve learned that lesson too many times. This summer I put the brakes on and while I’m running 45-60 minutes and longer runs a couple of days a week I’m not hitting double digits every day. I will do that again, hopefully in the fall, but I won’t that mistake of doing that year round and hurting myself. Sure it’s boring because I’m not racing every weekend, and I could put more effort into my training logs.
That being said, I am in shape but I’m not in peak shape, and your body can’t be year round. If you asked me to race a half marathon right now, I think I could run somewhere around 1:30 but my PR is 1:22. To get to 1:22, I do have to up training and mileage. I have to run hard, fine-tune fitness, and train for a goal.
Right now I’m running the Under Armour 25k trail race in Killington, this weekend. A completely different goal than a PRing half marathon or having any road goal. My goal is literally to finish healthy. I do plan to train for a goal (road) race in the fall, but the other component is I’m often at the mercy of my husband’s schedule. We have a few more things to sort out, but I do plan to train for a fall goal race. Once I have a decision and bib for a race, the blogging world will be the first to know (well maybe my parents).
This is one of my longest posts about life, running, and everything in between so thank you for staying with me if you did. I never really anticipated posting it but the timing just seemed right.
After visiting Utah, my husband and I drove back towards Colorado. One thing we wanted to do was see the Grand Canyon. While it was a little bit out of our way, being so close it was hard to say no. Where we stayed in Utah, it made the most sense to go to the North Rim. I’ve always wanted to go the Grand Canyon, I mean who doesn’t?
The first and possibly most crucial stop we made, was when we saw the wild Buffalo. I have always wanted to see them, and it was cool to see them in person. No, I had no intentions of getting any closer than that, as who knows with wild creatures.
After driving about 20 miles into the park, we came up to the lodging area and the actual canyon. We had been warned the lodging was not open but that was fine by us because it was much quieter at the North Rim versus the South. In fact, there were maybe about 20 people there.
It was honestly breathtaking to just look out and see nothing but the canyon for miles. It was also terrifying to look down and know you were over a mile high.
The daredevil and clumsy person in me, said that was far enough.
My husband was a little bit more adventurous.
In total, we spent about 2 hours just walking around. Like with Zion and the Grand Canyon, we wanted to see the Grand Canyon, but we also wanted to do other things too. It is definitely somewhere we could (and eventually plan too) spend more time at.
After the Grand Canyon, we took to the road for the day and drove over to the Four Corners Monument. It’s where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico all meet. It’s definitely a bucket list item.
Like many monuments, you stand in line for a chance to take a photo there. Or look at it, whatever you want to do. I decided to lay there. Keep in mind it is a $5 fee that goes towards the Navajo Nation, which isn’t included with Park passes.
Questions for you:
Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon or Four Corners?
What is your favorite monument you’ve been too?