Training: Plugging along and 5ks

Training: Plugging along and 5ks

Last week’s training went moderately well. I’m slowly trying to get back into shorter distance shape. While the exact same time of 5ks might not seem like I’m making any progress, I know this weeks 5k was significantly harder than the previous week.

Continue reading


November Training

November Training

November brought a whole bunch of a lot of things. I ran my fourth marathon, took some time off, and now am getting back into running again. I didn’t really have a “goal” for November but to run the marathon, take time off, and then get back into running.

Miles Run: 150ish

Range of Paces: 6:34-11:15-untimed

Rest Days: 12


TCS New York City Marathon (3:27.19)

Cpl. Marc T. Ryan Memorial 5k (21:38)

Medford Lakes Turkey Trot 5k (20:33)


In all, it was a good month of training. I met my goal of starting and finishing the marathon healthy.  After pulling out of the Big Cottonwood Marathon because I pulled my hamstring, I was happy to start and finish New York healthy.

Now that the marathon is done, it feels like forever ago.  I can’t believe it was only a month ago. My goal for December is to build mileage and to ease back into running. I want to start running and training for shorter races consistently. Although I said that last year, I’m hoping to get back into a shorter distance shape.  I wrote a post about marathoning and why it’s not my favorite or for me. My 5k PR is about five years old now.

During December, I’ll focus on building a base.  I had a decent base for the marathon, but I would prefer to be comfortably running between 50-60 miles. Then go from there in January (which…who knows what the weather will be like in January, I’m sure NJ will get some snow days).

Posts from the Month:


Chimney Rocks Trail via Hermitage and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Hiking the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop (Appalachian Trail)

Product Reviews:

Sport Suds Laundry Detergent Review

PonyFlo Hat Review

What Makes Maurten Energy Gel and Drink Mixes Different?

Shoe Reviews:

Asics Nimbus 22

Saucony Triumph 17 Shoe Review

Newton Gravity 8 Shoe Review

Diadora Mythos Elite TRX Shoe Review

Marathoning | Not for Me

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

How was your training in November?

Do you have any plans for December? 


Marathoning | Not for Me

Marathoning | Not for Me

I don’t love the marathon distance.

I wrote this post almost a week before running the New York City Marathon. About 2 weeks beforehand, I realized I just didn’t “love” marathoning. Before New York in 2018, I thought maybe I didn’t like marathons because I hadn’t run enough. Maybe I just needed practice. So in 2018, I decided to run another. I did well and ran a PR of 3:07.

The truth is, marathons never swept me off my feet. I never felt like I “needed” to run marathons to be a runner. New York has been 3 out of 4 of my marathons. I’ve enjoyed those steps crossing bridges, through Midtown, First Avenue, and all of it. I liked the race, but I don’t enjoy the training, the exhaustion, and 20 miles run.  I don’t “love the grind” of runs more than 15 miles.

I like to run. I don’t need anyone to motivate me to run, but I don’t like to run 20 miles. I don’t go to bed thinking about a long run the next morning. I go to bed, get up, run, and move on with my day. I like the rush of finishing a half marathon or 5k, knowing that I may or may not puke at the end. I don’t quite get that rush from marathons. I finish the marathon, half delusional from exhaustion, and think about what happened.

A few years ago, I decided after my second marathon (Pheonix); I was done with marathons for a while. It was before “Instagram running” was a big thing and not everyone was training for a sub-3-hour marathon or even 2:45.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for anyone going after those goals, but it’s not for me. Neither has ever been a bucket list or goal of mine.

After Phoenix, it took me about 3 years to want to run another marathon. Maybe it will take me three more years, maybe 5, maybe 20, I don’t know. I’m not into it and that’s okay.

Anyone who I’ve talked to in 2019 (about running), knows it has not been my year of running. I’m running 1:30+ half marathons when my PR is 1:22.  sub 20 minute 5ks are working hard, when my goal used to be breaking 18 mins.

It hasn’t been because I don’t work hard, but things haven’t clicked. I’ve had outside stress and I attempted to start marathon training when I should have stuck to shorter stuff and gained speed back.

My goal from Big Cottonwood Marathon was to start and finish the marathon healthy. That didn’t happen. When the opportunity presented itself to run New York City for the third time, I jumped on it. I was beyond grateful from New Balance.

My goal from Big Cottonwood transferred to New York: Start and Finish healthy. It was never to “secretly PR” or to run X time. I simply wanted to finish a training cycle healthy. I was able to do that. The 1:36 a few weeks ago at the Atlantic City half or the 3:27 at NYCM is slower than I’ve run in a long time, I was beyond happy to finish my slowest marathon yet.

After some rest and recovery, my goal is to regain speed something I’ve lost since early 2018. I want to run fast. Gone are the days that a sub 20 minute 5k seems “easy” to me and it’s something I need to work hard to get back too.

I’m ready to start training for shorter things and gain speed back. I am ready for the rush of “feeling fast” and the feeling of a 5k. There aren’t a lot of winter fast 5ks so I’m hoping to get quality mileage, a base, and speed workouts and find some shorter races this spring.

I’m looking forward to shorter distances and a challenge that excites me. Running another marathon to finish or even PR, doesn’t.

Questions for you:

What’s your favorite racing distance?

Are you currently training for anything? 

TCS New York City Marathon (3:27.19)

TCS New York City Marathon (3:27.19)

TCS New York City Marathon (3:27.19)

The TCS New York City Marathon 2019 might be my longest race recap ever so hang on tight.  I’ve run the New York City Marathon two other times: 2013 and 2018. 

In early September, I pulled my hamstring which caused me to miss my previous marathon (Big Cottonwood in Utah). Around that time,  New Balance asked if I wanted to run the TCS New York City Marathon as part of Team New Balance. I love the atmosphere of New York City Marathon and it’s hard to say no. If it were almost every other marathon, I probably would have said no.

The goal of the six weeks leading up to the TCS New York City Marathon were to get my hamstring healthy. I got ART from Dr. Craig and rested. 2 weeks prior, I was able to do a very loose 20-mile run. I ran 13.1 miles at the Atlantic City Half Marathon (logging a personal worst there too) and slogged my way through 7 more. At that point, I was like how on earth am I going to run the New York City Marathon? My hamstring seemed fine, but it felt like I took 12 steps back when I was never in front.

I got to New York City on Thursday night. Danielle and I picked up our packets, did a quick scan of the TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) New York City Marathon expo and went to a diner in Jersey City. The next two days were spent trolling around New York City. New Balance had a shakeout run with Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson. It was a 2-mile shakeout run at the New Balance Pizza Co.

The theme of the TCS New York City Marathon was: I move me and inspiring people through running. It’s one of my more favorite themes from New York Road Runners.

I was on the sub-elite bus again for the New York City Marathon. This meant I got to spent the morning at Ocean Breeze (on Staten Island) amongst all of the elites and other sub elites. I exchanged good lucks with Sara Hall, and I sat within feet of Allie Kieffer, Kellyn Taylor, and Mary Kiettany. I enjoyed it last year and it was equally as fun this year.

First, the elite women off, then the rest of us.  Once we got off the bus, we threw out bags into the elite check-in. Initially, they said we could use the bathroom one last time, but then the line was too long and they made us head to the start. Unfortunately, this meant I started the race needing to use the bathroom. The start of the New York City Marathon is always amazing. They had music blasting and people dancing. They fired the cannons and before I knew it, we were off.  One thing I appreciate about the TCS New York City Marathon is the ability to track mile by mile with the New York City Marathon app. Not that it mattered to me at the time, but family and friends could do so.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

I spent most of the New York City Marathon being passed by people. The first mile of the TCS New York City Marathon goes up the Verrazano Bridge. This means it’s uphill and going to be one of the slowest miles you run. I hit the first mile of the New York City Marathon in 7:52.  All I could think was, wow, I’m in worse shape than I am. I knew it was a slow mile, but somehow seeing the clock beep at 7:52 and knowing (with my lack of training): I wasn’t going to negative split the race, I was nervous.

Luckily, the second mile of the TCS New York City Marathon cruises down the Verazzano Bridge and I hit mile 2 in 6:54.

The next few miles of the New York City Marathon alternate between uphill and downhill. There are very few parts of the TCS New York City Marathon that are flat. I kept my eyes peeled for a bathroom. I knew I was not going to make it through 26.2 miles without using the bathroom so I figured earlier rather than later.  Miles 3-5 of the New York City Marathon were all between 7:22-7:28. I felt fine and my hamstring felt fine.

Just after mile 5 at the New York City Marathon, I found a bathroom. I ducked in and realized I had to go more than I thought. I was in and out within 30 seconds and proceeded on. I hit mile 6 of the New York City Marathon in 7:55. I asked NYRR to pause the clock while I used the bathroom, but they didn’t so I didn’t pause my GPS watch either.

I took my first Maurten Gel around mile 5. I like to take gels every 5 miles of the marathon and Gatorade the rest of the time. Around mile 8 of the New York City Marathon, I saw Amelia in her Giraffe suit. I waved and she snapped this photo of me. During some of the water stops, I found myself weaving and before I knew it, my watch was not matching up with mile markers at all. I was slowly adding time and distance. While I tried to run the tangents, (because I didn’t want to run any further than needed), I also wasn’t that worried about it. I weaved around the course high fiving friends and I wasn’t going to stop in front of people.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

I hit mile 10 in exactly 1:15. Exactly the time I ran at the Cow Town 10 Miler a month ago. LOL, that’s not what is supposed to happen here I thought. I took my gel between mile 10-11 of the New York City Marathon. I could feel a cramp coming on, but after getting the water, it went away. The next 5k of the New York City Marathon was focused on getting to half. I knew the halfway mark was on a bridge. I hit the halfway mark in 1:40.12. I was already at 13.5 and I thought, ok, I am going to make a little more effort, so I don’t run 27 miles.

I thought if I ran a 1:50 for the second half TCS New York City Marathon, that will be under 3:30. It seemed doable, except I remembered my long runs for the TCS New York City Marathon were not there. I did 1 20, and 2 15 milers. I had no idea what to expect for the second half and rightfully so.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

Mile 15 begins the dreaded Queensboro Bridge. Mile 15-16 is one of the hardest miles of the New York City Marathon. It goes over the Queensboro Bridge, it’s quiet, and you only have yourself to motivate you up and over. My legs weren’t feeling fatigued going up. During my New York City Marathon, the Queensboro Bridge crushed me and my legs never recovered. During the second, I felt ok. This time at the New York City Marathon, I felt fine going up but going down my quads were on fire. I hit my 15 going up the Queensboro Bridge in 8:17 and rolled right back down in 7:44. I didn’t feel “good” going downhill and actually felt better going up.

The roar, after leaving the Queensboro Bridge, can’t be beaten. That propelled me to a 7:25 18th mile. I saw a few friends, including Amelia again. After mile 18, my goal was to make it to 20. I told myself: okay, Hollie. You have 8 miles to go, then 10k. It doesn’t quite make it easier. When I hit mile 20 in 7:52, I thought this is where you enter the unknown. I imagined 8 min miles would probably be about what I averaged the last 10k. I didn’t care; I just wanted it done.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

The last 10k of the New York City Marathon is no walk in Central Park and the long inline at mile 23 burns. I saw many people stopping and walking. I knew it I stopped; I would never start again. My legs were tired from running, but my hamstring was ok. I saw plenty of friends and I tried to wave, but my arms hurt. I could feel chafing on my arms, legs, and sports bra. At 23 miles, I said: 5k to go. You like 5ks, 5ks are your favorite. I hit mile 24 in 8:32. My slowest race mile ever. I didn’t care; I was making it to the finish.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

Then at mile 24 of the New York City Marathon, I recognized buildings I ran by during my shakeout run the day before. Okay, Hollie, you’ve run by these. 2 miles to go. I hit mile 25 in 8:15 and I felt better I was slightly faster. I knew I would be well above 26.2 miles and tried to prepare myself for that mentally. I hit mile 26 in 8:21 and just proceeded on.

The final countdown was there. I just focused on the New York City Marathon finish and what that would feel like. I kept trucking along and finally, I heard (in a familiar Ali F podcast voice:) Hollie from New Jersey.  I crossed the TCS New York City Marathon finish line in 3:27.19 and collected my things.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

TCS New York City Marathon Thoughts:

I’m happy with my time and effort at the New York City Marathon. I knew it wouldn’t be my fastest marathon and I was happy to finish healthy. It’s motivating to me, and I’m hoping I can resume training with a fully healthy hamstring.  I had such an enjoyable experience from before theNew York City Marathon to the end. For now, I think I’m done with marathons for a while. I prefer shorter distance and to get speed back.  Finally, thank you to New Balance for allowing me the incredible opportunity to run.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

Questions for you:

Have you run the New York City Marathon?

What is your favorite distance?

%d bloggers like this: