Runners World Festival Half Marathon (1:24.17)

The recap for the actual race begins the night before. A couple two doors down fought the entire night.  From about 11 pm to 5 am, they screamed at each other and slammed doors.  I’m not sure if I was more frustrated or impressed by their fighting stamina. I woke up around 4:45 to another fight and couldn’t fall back asleep.  I was glad this wasn’t going on during a goal race and just decided to wake up.

After waking up and relaxing, I walked to the race at 7.  Runners World changed the bag check this year, and it was over half a mile, away.  By the time Ty and I realized this, it was too late for me.  I couldn’t drop a bag off, go to the restroom and get to the race on time.  I also didn’t care to be delayered that far in advance before the race or run in my racing flats to the start.  So I took a risk and stashed my bag in the bushes.  It’s not something I advise, but I made it to the start on time.  (Yes, I thought about what a poor decision that was for half of the race.  My shoes and cell phone are both replaceable, but it would have been a costly replacement).

The race went off right at 8. After the November Project workout as well as 5k the day before, I didn’t have high hopes for an amazing time.  Plus, I’m not in the fitness I would like after my ankle injury. Last year I ran a 1:28 and my goal was to run faster than that.

The only thing I remembered about the course from last year was it was hilly for the first 10 miles, and the last three were downhill.  It’s a tough and challenging course, but it’s set up pretty well.  

The first mile went by fast.  I was running in a pack of people, and we hit the first mile in 6:22.  I thought it would be one of my fastest miles since it was downhill.

I noticed three women in front of me, and I focused on them.  One of the women was the overall winner of the 5k the day before.  The second mile went downhill.  I passed a few men and hit the second mile in 6:27.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

During the third mile, we climbed, and I ran close to another woman.  She passed me on the uphill, and I would pass her on the downhill.  She had such great form climbing the hills, and I tried to mimic her.  It was like she was climbing hundreds of feet effortlessly. I was in awe, and we hit the third mile in 6:33.

The fourth and fifth mile went by without any notice.  I was bouncing around and running with a pack.  I guessed I was moving places anywhere from 3-5th.  There was a pretty large pack of us! I ran mile 4 at 6:31 and mile 5 at 6:30.

I knew mile 6 was going to be a steep climb and it didn’t disappoint.  I focused on making it to the halfway point.  I ran a 6:49 mile but I wasn’t fading, and the pack did about the same.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

Finally, around the halfway point, someone shouted 3,4,5th female.  There was a potential podium finisher in our pack (which actually it was another woman who outkicked us all!).  It didn’t necessarily motivate me to run any harder, but it was nice to know where we were.  I realized at the halfway point; I didn’t feel too bad.  I wasn’t fading, and my splits were direct responses to hills. I had a feeling I might finish well.

I hit the halfway point in 42:34.  It would equate to a 1:25.08 half.  I made the goal of breaking 1:26 which wasn’t based on anything but feeling good.

I knew one of my friends was passing water out around mile 8 so I just focused on that.  By this point, I was running in the same pack consisting of myself, two women and a male.  It kept me motivated and pushed me to keep moving.  After a turn around mile 9, I also noticed there were about four other women 10 seconds behind.

I hit the ten-mile point in about 1:05 and I desperately wanted to break 1:26.  This was when I began pushing the pace.  I knew the last 5k was a lot of downhill, so I was going to take advantage of it. I rarely have downhill advantage over any racer, but I began pushing and broke away from the females.  The male and I progressed together.

Around mile 11, we went over the bridge and a new woman passed me like I was standing still.  I knew at that very moment; she had clutched 3rd.  I did not have the leg turnover or speed and I knew if it came down to the last .1, she would easily outkick me.  I did, however, attempt to keep up and mile 11 was the fastest mile I’ve ever run during a half marathon (5:58).  It was also partially downhill.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

The final two miles were spent by myself.  I just focused on the end.  The last mile is the same last mile the 5k uses.  I just kept wanting to see the finishers line.  Around mile 13, I saw Erica Sara and her son which motivated me.

I crossed the finish line in 1:24.17 and I was both ecstatic and shocked.  That is my third fastest half marathon (Behind my PR at Carlsbad and Atlantic City 2014).  I still cannot believe I ran that well given the circumstances and I do believe it sets me up for a great rest of the year.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

Course Elevation Profile: 

Runners World half marathon elevation profile


Runners world festival half marathon splits


I’m extremely proud of this time.  It’s my third fastest half in non-ideal circumstances.  I’m excited to see where the rest of fall and winter takes me.

Other Runers World Festival Posts: 
Runners World Festival Activities
5k (18:41)

Questions for you:
Do you run downhills or uphills better?
When was the last time you surprised yourself?

Runners World Festival 5k (18:41)

I went into the Runners World 5k in nonideal conditions.  As I mentioned in my training log, we did a November Project workout the day before and my legs did not feel fresh.  I don’t regret doing the workout but it was more strenuous than I would have preferred.

While warming up, my legs felt November Project.  More specifically, my quads felt fatigued.  It almost felt as if I had raced the day before.  I reminded myself: I’ve done back to back races before and done well, so I tried to get myself into that mentality.

Since I ran the 5k last year, I knew the course.  I knew it was challenging and it was one of the more hilly 5ks I’ve done. I knew I wouldn’t PR, but I was looking to run hard.

At the start line, there were a lot of fast women.  I was excited and nervous.  The air horn went off and all of a sudden we were off.  It was a crowded first 400 meters, and I was elbow to elbow with a lot of people.  I saw five ladies take off like missiles and I knew they were much faster.  I placed third last year but suspected that was not happening (and it didn’t!)

The first mile felt like it took a lot longer than it should.  I was running in a large pack and we ran a 6:16.

Honestly, I was extremely discouraged.

I thought my race was done.  My goal was to be around 18:56 (the time I ran last year).  I spent the next mile sulking and wondering what went wrong but I also tried to regroup and refocus.  Often times, things seem 100 times worse when you are in the moment.  During mile 2, I saw my Runners World Festival team partner, Jason, who was killing it.  He also ran the 5k/10k and half.

As went over the bridge,  I saw a lot of familiar faces which motivated me and allowed to refocus and change my attitude.  It’s a running race, not life or death.  I ran the second mile in 5:45.  Looking back, the elevation profile makes complete sense with splits.  My time makes sense, but nothing makes sense when you are actually running.

After hitting the second mile in 12:01, I made it my goal to power to the end.

I wanted a course PR, and I knew if I didn’t run a 6:30ish mile I could do that.  So I focused on the end.  I also knew the final mile had a small uphill too.  I remember the second place woman passing me effortlessly there last year.  There weren’t any females around me, but there were plenty of men. Runners World Festival

After the hill, I cruised down and towards the finishers shoot.  Around 2.9, I saw the clock ticking 17:30.  I stared at the 3-mile clock until I passed it.  Then I stared at the finishers clock.  I didn’t want to view the clocks, but I couldn’t look away from them either.

Finishing the 5k

Thanks Ty for the photo

I heard them announce me name as: “All the way on her toes, Hollie, crosses as fourth place female”.  I laughed because I am, after all, FueledbyLOLZ…I can only laugh in real life.


I’m extremely pleased with the race.  I was faster than last year even though I was much more sore from November project.  It’s my fastest time on an accurate course (I ran an 18:58 two weeks ago, and a 6 min paced 3.3 miles three weeks ago).  Plus the course is difficult. I am proud of myself for regrouping and refocusing in the race.

Elevation Profile:

Runners World 5k elevation profile

Other Runners World Festival Posts: 
Activities during the Runners World Festival
Training Log

Question for you: Have you ever mentally checked out of a race or activity? 

Runner’s World Festival

I’m not sure where I wanted to start my Runners World Festival Recap.

Do I start with the races? The events? The food? As luck would have it, I’m haven’t finished writing the race recaps so events it is!  I thought about adding the events and food together, but it was too long.  So more posts for you.

As you might recall, I was an influencer for the Runner’s World Festival last year, and I was invited back again this year too.  When they asked, I was extremely excited.  I had already planned to come up for at least the half marathon.

Thinking out loud, To be honest, the entire weekend is one of my favorite events of the year!

The Crowd…

The Energy…

The Runners World Staff…

Plus Bethlehem is only about 60 miles from my house (but anywhere from 1.5-2.5 drive because of Philadelphia traffic).  I arrived at Bethlehem the Thursday before the race.  We went to a BBQ hosted by Runner’s World with plenty of delicious food.

We were then split up into teams to compete in the “Altra” Olympics.  (Altra is the shoe company that sponsors the Runners World Festival).

My partner, this time, was Jason from SaltyRuns.  I already knew Jason well and we chatted back in May.  He gave me advice on my most recent fracture.  Jason is a great guy, and his blog is extremely informative about running related topics: anywhere from shoes to injuries to marathoning!

We had a fun task to create our own country flag, complete with a name and motto.  Being the cleaver people we are we chose:

“Salty Lolz,” Run Hard, Laugh Harder.  

Jason and I

To be honest, I’m not all that creative, and I was extremely proud of this.

After that, we retired for the night and were up bright and early for a Pop-up November Project.  Before Friday, I had never done a November Project Workout.  I kind of knew about it (read: I knew it was hard and intense).  I was nervous to do a workout!

November Project

So I was trying something new and strenuous) before race day.

Fellow blogger, Ty and I
Fellow blogger, Ty and I
November Project Super Secret Meeting Runners World
Creeping on the famous ladies from “Super Secret Meeting” (It’s hilarious if you’ve never watched their videos)

A new workout was not in the actual game plan and I will say, I was sore for the rest of the weekend. It was a great workout and there is a Philadelphia Chapter.  I think I’ll save it for the weeks I’m not racing.

November Project
November Project, Brogan, said: “Be Serious” and I was just awkward…

I don’t regret doing it and it was a lot of fun.  I can see why it draws hundreds in the Boston area.

After the November Project,  we had a gait analysis from Altra founder, Golden.  He helped with form and had great advice for techniques when you’re tired. Of course, he talked about his running shoe brand, Altra too.  We carry Altras at work, so it was beneficial knowledge for me to have for work too.

Altra Founder Golden

For those who don’t know, Altra is a “zero drop” foot shaped shoe brand.  Last year, I reviewed the Altra Paradigm.  This year I’m currently trying out a pair of Altra Torin 2.5s.

Altra Founder Golden

We had an excellent lunch using recipes from “Run Fast, Eat Slow.”  I’m sure most in the Running World are familiar with Shalane’s new book. We were given a copy, and I’ve made a few recipes at home myself that I do like.

The beet hummus and pita chips are delicious...
The beet hummus and pita chips are delicious…

We also got to be part of the new launch for Dean Karnazes book: Road to Sparta.  It was so new; I was the first person he signed the book for.  I’ve dug into the book already myself. Karnazes recreates the very first journey and the birth of the marathon.  To recreate it, he even goes without modern day sports nutrition (energy gels, Gatorade, etc. basically ).  He was telling us how he lived on figs and olives throughout the entire process.  He basically ran and ate figs for 26 hours straight (in costume too!).  I would definitely recommend picking up a copy.  I’m just over halfway through, and I’ve enjoyed it!

Back to meeting Dean: 

Road to Sparta Dean Karnazes.

I pretty much sounded like a gargled mess.  Typical of me since I am incredibly awkward in real life…  (You have to own it though).

Road to Sparta Dean Karnazes.

After lunch, we were off on our own.  To be honest, it was only 1 pm, and I was exhausted.  It was nice to relax and prepare for the races.  As I mentioned on Instagram, I ran an 18:41 5k and 1:24.17 half marathon.  I was surprised with the half marathon time since it was a hilly course and I had raced the day before.

Questions for you:

Have you ever done a November Project Workout?

Have you ever met a writer or celebrity?  Are you as awkward as I am? 

Training Last Week: November Project and Runner’s World Festival

The majority of last week was spent running easy and getting ready for the Runners World Festival.  While I knew, both courses were difficult, and I’m not in shape to PR yet, I wanted to feel somewhat fresh.  All of that was thrown out of the window when we did a new workout the day before.  Honestly, it was fun, and I’m okay with that.

Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: Easy Run
Wednesday: Easy Run with Montana before she moved
Thursday: Rest
Friday: November Project
Saturday: Runners World Festival 5k (18:41)
Sunday Runners World Festival 13.1 (1:24.17)

Easy Runs:
As usual, there is nothing much to say about easy runs.  There was nothing particularly good or bad about them.  Soon, I think I’ll be ready to add an additional speed workout back into my routine.  I’ve been running healthy for over two months, and my base is just about back.

November Project:
Any runner has likely heard of November project.  I had beforehand, but I had never done a workout before. I knew it was intense and it didn’t disappoint.  There was a Pop Up in Bethlehem at the Runner’s World Festival.  All of the Runners World Influencers were asked to attend, and it was great to meet a lot of people. We had to climb the Steel stack stairs, do push-ups and dips and a lot of core work.  It was a lot of fun, and I don’t regret going, but I was definitely sore for the races!

November Project
Climbing the Steel Stack Stairs

Runners World Festival 5k: 18:41
I’ll have a full recap this week, but I’m happy with the time.  The course is hilly, and after November project I have no complaints.  My splits were 6:16, 5:45 and 6:02. I placed fourth woman overall.

Runners World Festival 13.1 (1:24.17)

Runners World Half Marathon
Thanks to Erica Sara for this photo

The half marathon was honestly my biggest shock of the weekend.  My hopeful goal was to be faster than the 1:28 I ran in 2015.  I couldn’t believe when I crossed the finish line in 1:24.  I never felt good during the race (tired legs and lack of sleep) but I never felt bad either.

I’m really happy with how this week went and I have zero complaints.  I had a great time at the Runners World Festival and two great races.  This week will probably be filled with Runners World Festival race recaps and behind the scenes recaps too.

Posts from last week:
Fall Running Products I’m Enjoying
LunarGlide 8 Review
6 Weeks of Deployment Later…

Questions for you:
Do you do better at hilly race courses or flat?
I’m beginning to think I run better on hilly half marathon courses.  This was my third fastest half marathon behind Carlsbad and Atlantic City (2014).  Carlsbad was a rolling hilly (to me) course too.
How was your week of training? 

LunarGlide 8 Review

The Nike Lunarglide is a special kind of shoe.  It’s mildly supportive when you need it, and not when you don’t.  It can fit a broad range of foot types, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect for everyone. In fact, if you need an extremely supportive or high cushioned shoe, this probably isn’t a shoe for you.  If you need a mildly supportive or neutral shoe, it could be a great option.

While I never ran in the LunarGlide 7s or any previous model of the LunarGlude, I had put them on before.  They felt too supportive, and it was a shoe I didn’t need.  The update from the LunargGlide 7 to 8 made it less supportive and a shoe I wanted to try.

Nike LunarGlide 8 Shoe Review


The LunarGlide 8 now uses the flyknit upper that many other Nike shoes use.  The fit is similar to other Nike Flyknit shoes, but it’s different than previous LunarGlide models.  It’s not a good or bad thing, and the flyknit upper accommodates wider feet (like mine) as well as those with a higher instep.  A lot of brands are going towards a seamless upper, and it’s a good thing. I usually wear a size 10, and the size 10 was the best fit for my foot.

It’s not a shoe I would just order online because you’ve worn that size the previous year.


As I mentioned, I’ve never run in LunarGlide before and in fact, on paper, it’s not exactly a shoe that would make sense for me.  Since it is a special design that works for runners who need mild stability and those who need nothing, it can work for a few different people.  (Sorry friends, not going to try a shoe that would injure me “for the sake of the blog).

The ride itself is light and soft.  It doesn’t have a lot of cushion but definitely more than a racing flat.  It’s not a shoe I’m comfortable running more than 10 miles in but some people might get away with it.  Based on the design, I’m curious to see how much mileage,, it will be before the shoe breaks down.

Something interesting about the design pattern of the bottom is how many rocks it collects.  I’ve only run into this problem with a couple of different shoes (including the Newtons).  It’s not a make or break for the shoe, but you will hear a little clicking noise when (not if but when) a rock gets stuck in between the layers.

Nike LunarGlide 8 Shoe Review
Rock City

The major difference in the ride is the stability factor.  The LunarGlide 8 is far less stable than the LunarGlide 7.  If this is something you needed from the shoe, I would be more hesitant.  For me, this is a good thing and why a neutral runner like myself likes and can use the shoe.

Final thoughts:

While I never ran in the LunarGlide 7, I do know it’s a drastic and significant change.  That change is why I can run in the 8, but it’s a change that many running in the 7 might not appreciate.  I would go to your local store before purchasing.  Due to the changes, it’s not a shoe I would recommend ordering online, just because you’ve worn several models.

I do like the shoe and will continue to run in it until it wears out. 


  • Less stable and can fit a broad range of foot types
  • No seem upper allows accommodating bunions and wide feet


  • Drastic changes from the LunarGlide 7 to LunarGlide 8
  • Collects a lot of small rocks underneath

Not too many “similar” models of shoes to compare too.

My Running Shoe Rotation: Hoka Clifton 3, Saucony Zealot 2, Brooks Launch 3

Questions for you:

What shoe are you currently running in?

Do you have any shoes that collect rocks underneath? 

Fall Products I’m Enjoying

I realized that I never did any late Spring or Summer “products I am currently ling” post.

I am nosy and enjoy reading what other people like.  None of these products are sponsored and I’m not being paid to let you know about them.

As I have gotten back into running, there are several running related as well as life-related products I have enjoyed.

Running Shoes: 

None of these should come as a surprise because I do shoe reviews of models I’m running in. Each of these shoes I’ve liked and put over 300 miles in now.  I liked the Hoka Clifton 3 enough to retire the first pair and buy another.

Saucony Zealot ISO 2 Shoe Review

Hoka Clifton 3 
Brooks Launch 3
Saucony Zealot ISO 2
Nike LunarGlide 9 (review to come)



Coincidentally, We have also brought Janji to work.  Recently I tried this light weight top.  I love the sleeve details and it’s light weight and fits well.

Janji also sends 10% of their sales earned to the clean water.  I like companies that have a back story.
running janji


I’ve written many posts about various products that I like from Saucony.  Including shoes like the Saucony Triumph, Zealot, and Ride.

Working in running retail, I see the evolution of brands and brand design.  They’ve always had great shoes but they’ve upped their game on apparel too.  I love their fashion forward trends including the Life on the Run collection.  You can tell because I’ve hiked in this tank top every time.

Delaware Water Gap

As we draw more into fall and winter, I’m sure I’ll stumble upon new products and gear to add to the list.

Questions for you:

What gear are you currently enjoying?

What nonrunning things are you enjoying? 

Training: First 20 Miler in 18+ Months

As I mentioned in my training log last week, I am still entertaining the idea of a marathon.  So last week set out with personal friend Angela, we ran 20 miles.  It wasn’t pretty, fast or even that fun (minus running with her) but we did get it done.  More on that later…

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 20 miles with Angela
Wednesday: Rest ART/PT
Thursday: Easy 30 minutes
Friday: 6 miles with Montana Core/ART/PT
Saturday: Easy 30 minutes
Sunday: 30 minute tempo run  Core


I was lucky to find someone to be able to run the entire twenty miles with because honestly, I’m not sure I would have been able to run the mileage by myself.  I never felt awful during the run but it didn’t feel good either.  Not feeling amazing is to be expected considering I haven’t run that far since the Phoenix Marathon.

I finished the 20 miles, and it honestly took me all week to recover even with extra rest and ART sessions.  I still don’t feel perfect, but I do feel a lot better.  Have I made up my mind about the marathon?  Not really…I wish I could say running 20 miles motivated me to run a marathon, but it didn’t.  I don’t feel like I could confidently finish 26.2 miles right now.

Angela and I

The majority of the week was spent recovering, shakeout runs and easy runs.  I was able to run with a friend too.  I took the weekend off from racing as well.  I did a tempo run on Sunday, but it was pouring rain and windy.  I was running about a 7-minute pace, but the effort felt much faster.  As I’ve learned this year, you can’t choose the weather on race day…and you can’t on workout days either.

In summary, except a 20 miler, it was a down, boring and easy week.  I guess when a single run makes up most of your running, it’s not as boring.

But after your longest run in 18 months, you shouldn’t be running too much.  I’m running the Runner’s World Festival next weekend (the 5k and 13.1 miles).  (If you are local and want to run, I have a 10% discount code of FueledbyLOLZblog). So before then I’ll continue to rest and see where running goes.

So before the race weekend, I’ll continue to rest and see where running goes.

Questions for you:

Do you recover well from long runs?

Is anyone else doing Runners World?