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December Training:

December was a rougher month for me to be honest. I saw a lot of changes in my training including cutting down racing, increased mileage and, of course, my antibiotic issues.   I feel like a broken record when I talk about it, but my reaction to them plays an important role in training because it impacted how my running felt.

December:
Miles: 304
Range of paces: 6:02-10:20-untimed
Longest Run: 12 miles *several of my workout days added up to be 14 miles.
Shortest run: 2-mile cooldown
Races:
Memorial 5k (19:45)
Loop Run (54:00…6:26 pace)
Jingle Bell Jog 5k (19:30) 

Best Race:
That is easy as the Loop Run was the only race I felt good, and I ran as hard as possible. I ran the first 5k of the Loop Run at the same pace as my fastest 5k this month.

Best Run:

A few weeks ago I planned to do a base race.  Long story short, we figured out the race was on a different base.  Instead of “giving up” and not doing anything I did a workout.  I was proud of myself for accomplishing a workout, despite not being the original plan.

Finishing the workout in shorts....

Finishing the workout in shorts….

Thoughts from December:
After talking with my doctor and tracking daily changes, I can look back and see that I see improvements in recovering (is that the right word?) from antibiotics. Instead of feeling sick or nauseous a few days weekly, it’s down to 1 maybe two days a week. Hopefully, this continues in January.

Training this month saw an increase in mileage and as well as longer, harder workouts. The increased distance, caused my overall paces to slow a little bit, but you have to pick your poison. Either you want fast workouts or want to increase mileage but increasing speed and distance can result in injury. I’ve been there.

Honestly, I had two great months: October and November. I saw more progression in those two months than the last few, so I’m not surprised that I had a lull. I know I had several factors playing a role, though.

memorial 5k

I did, however, start January off with a PR.  The 5k PR on January 1st has nothing to do with training in January but everything to do with training in December.

Thoughts for January:
In January, I have two more races on the calendar. I’m doing a ten miler this weekend as well as a half marathon the following weekend. I might sign up for a few “no frills” 5ks at the end of the month depending how I feel.

I will be interested to see my progression in the half marathon since the Philadelphia half two months ago. I plan to continue building mileage as well as speed workouts.  I’ve improved nearly 40 seconds from my 5k in the last two months.  If you multiply that by 4, I should be over 3 minutes faster in the half.  Kidding of course,  if only it worked like that…

Questions for you:
How was your month of training?
Do you like the warm or cold weather?
To be honest, I’m probably in the minority enjoyed how warm December was.  I’m sure January and February will be hard to adjust too, though.

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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?

Holly Jolly Christmas

My husband and I were lucky enough to spend last week and the Holiday with my in-laws.  Despite working most of the week, we were able to make the easy 3-hour drive to central PA.  One reason I enjoy living in New Jersey is because we are so close to everything.  Both my parents and my husbands parents are within a six-hour drive.  We don’t have to get on an airplane to visit.  Not that my husband hates flying…

It could have been the unusual weather, but this year was hard to get into the Holiday spirit.  The pouring rain and 70 degrees didn’t help, but December was also a busy month for me.  I keep thinking we “just” made our first Turkey, but Thanksgiving was over a month ago!

We set up our own Christmas Tree at home.

Christmas Tree

We arrived on to my in-laws home on Christmas Eve.  We were able to see my sister in law play the flute in the Church service.  She is a local music teacher and truly skilled at playing.

tim and I

Afterwards, we celebrated at my sister in laws house with dinner and drinks.  It was fun to relax and enjoy just hanging out.  I’m lucky to be so close to my husband’s entire family.

A few delicious Holiday Eats: 

My inlaws enchiladas are the key to heart (one of them at least)

My inlaws enchiladas are the key to heart (one of them at least)

Egg nog and ice cream.

Eggnog and ice cream.

Pumpkin rolls with cream cheese frosting is the best.

Pumpkin rolls with cream cheese frosting are another key to my heart.

We spent Christmas with both Tim’s parents, grandparents, sister and husband as well as their daughter.

My husband, father in law and I even got to go on a nice peaceful run.  Running in Central PA reminds me a lot of running in my old college town.  It’s open country roads with minimal shoulders.  You can see for miles and the only thing that might bother you are a few cows.  Since it was Christmas, the roads were a lot quieter than normal too.

We opened gifts under the tree and watched as my two-year-old niece was excited about everything. Many people might not know but I love penguins and my mother in law got me penguin slippers.  They are the best!

penguin slippers

I had a great Holiday in Pennsylvania.  Now for a few days of work and then I’ll be traveling to my parents for New Years.  I haven’t been down to Virginia since Labor Day and the Rock N Roll half marathon so I’m excited for that too.

Questions for you:
How were your Holidays?
Do you have a tradition for Christmas? 

 

Working Out During the Holidays

Last week my mom sent me a text message.  Ever since mom got a Facebook, I think she reads LOLZ blog more.  She always gives great blogging advice and brings up the blog in casual conversation (Shoutout to my mom).

addtext_com_MDYxNjU3MTY3MDk2

But back to her text.

Text from mom

The Holidays are full of family gatherings from Thanksgiving to New Years.  My husband and I spent Thanksgiving making our first turkey, so we didn’t travel.  We are spending Christmas with Tims family and New Years with my family.  Like many people, we are traveling a lot.  We aren’t in the regular work schedule and at any Holiday gathering, there are plenty of desserts that creep onto the table.  That’s fine and the Holidays are a great time to celebrate family and a mental break.

The Holidays aren’t something to avoid or rush through either.  The Holidays are something to enjoy, but it’s important to give yourself some personal care too.

So how do you fit in workouts?  How do you balance time with family and still take personal time for yourself? 

First, schedule personal time.  Without a doubt, there will be downtime during the Holidays.  No one wants to spend every waking moment together. Spending that much together only sets you up for family fights or divorce (kidding).  Figure out when that downtime is and make the best use of it.  Go for a run, walk or find a local gym.  Most gyms have a day pass that you can utilize.

So much family

So much family (my brothers and I)

Before the day begins: When you are on “holiday time”, most people aren’t starting their day at 6 am.  I’m in no way saying to wake up at 6 to run but if you can wake up an hour earlier than normal to work out…go for it.  As hard as it is to wake up, you normally won’t regret a morning sweat (whether you are walking, running or lifting).

Early morning workouts can also provide incredible views.

Early morning workouts can also provide incredible views.

Small workouts lead to big workouts.

I’ll never forget my college coach saying: you could run for 6X10 minute sessions throughout the day…or you could go for a 60-minute run.  You will still be on your feet…There have been plenty of vacations I’ve run a few miles in the early morning and a few more late at night.

Would I normally do that? No, but I would rather spend the daytime with my family.

Workout with your family.

My parents, siblings and I used to walk our dogs occasionally together.  We enjoyed family time, were active and even kept the dogs from being restless.  Now my husband and I go for runs together.  Being active with others is one of the easiest ways to stay active.

My brother, dad and I going for my first 10 mile run 4years ago this Christmas.

My brother, dad and I were going for my first 10 mile run 4years ago this Christmas.

Finally, stay flexible and relax.

The holidays are truly about enjoying family time and relaxing.  Your overall fitness is a collection of workouts, not an individual day, month or even year.  Don’t be afraid to be flexible with the time, duration or intensity.  You will not lose fitness by enjoying the Holidays and missing a few workouts.

Questions for you:
How do you stay active during the Holidays?
What are your plans this Holiday? 

Five Types of Holiday Shoppers

There are several types of Holiday Shoppers you will see or have seen already.  Heck, you might even fall into one of these personality types.  I know I do!  Working in retail, I’ve already seen every personality type.

Five Types of Holiday Shoppers

First, it’s hard to believe Christmas is only a week and a half away. Maybe it’s just me but with the last few weeks of temperatures closer to 50 or even 60, it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit.  That being said, I’m nearly done with my Holiday shopping.  It helps when everyone told you exactly what they want.

So spill it, what kind of Holiday shopper do you fall under?

Procrastinating Peggy

Picture this: It’s December 24th and 10 minutes before closing.  This customer is in the store getting their last minute gifts.  You are trying to get home to your family…Normally the shopper looks frazzled and in a bit of sheer panic. Personally I’ve been there and I know I’ve frustrated the employees in retail stores.  internet meme

Gift Card Gerry

You get a gift card, you get a gift card…everyone gets a gift card!  At a local running store, it’s always good to get a gift certificate because unless someone explicitly tells you what shoe they run in, then it’s impossible to know.  Plus, who knows…today they want running shoes, a few days after Christmas maybe they want whatever’s on sale.  gift card meme

Early Bird Etta

They were asking about Christmas sales in July.  By the time I publish this post, they’ve already bought Christmas gifts for 2017.

Grumbly Gina

This person would hide in a hole during the Holidays if possible.  Yet here they are at check out telling you why Christmas is awful, why even bother and whatever else they can complain about. christmas shopping meme

Online Oliver

Forget those holiday shopping crowds.  Everything for everyone is purchased online.  There are no crowds to deal with and if a product is out of stock, it’s just back ordered.

Question for you: what kind of Holiday shopper do you consider yourself?

Homecation

My visit last week to Virginia was a lot of fun.  I haven’t spent a week in my hometown in a while.  I think the last time I spent an entire week there was when I lived in Virginia for the summer of 2013.  It was nice to relax and see friends.  I also got a lot of very much needed wedding stuff done. With all of things I have gotten done wedding wise, I might get married.

Where to even begin?

I arrived to Virginia late Christmas Eve.  It’s hard to believe that was 2 weeks ago. I drove home from work and then spent Christmas day relaxing and hanging out with my family. It was exactly what I needed.  While I don’t live in Virginia, Virginia is still home.

In the days after Christmas, I did a lot.  Instead of writing too much, ’ll just caption photos.

I was able to hang out with one of my bridesmaids, Theresa. We went to a (new to us) Mexican restaurant Luna Maya.  Their portions were massive and if you visit Norfolk, VA, I would recommend the restaurant.  In fact, I want to visit Virginia again so I can go.

Getting froyo afterwords.  I mean whipped cream with a side of fro yo,

Getting froyo afterwords. I mean whipped cream with a side of fro yo,

At Luna Maya

At Luna Maya

I got to hang out with another Bridesmaid, Anna.  Anna and I have been friends for over 13 years (that is over half our lives!).  It’s crazy to think that.  She is truly one of the best friends I could ask for.  After undergrad, Anna taught in China for two years and recently moved back to the US to work on grad school.  While we don’t live close, it’s a lot closer than halfway around the world.  She has been one of my best friends for 13 years now and it was so lovely to catch up with her.

anna and i

After more relaxing, wedding planning and doing absolutely nothing, I got lunch with Kris L and Kellie.  Most Virginia Beach runners know what powerhouse runners these woman are.  Not only are they both insanely fast, but they are both insanely nice.  We went to a local favorite and (Virginia diner?) Citrus on Christmas Eve.  They are two of my favorite people to talk training, life and whatever else with.

Nonrunning clothes ;)

Nonrunning clothes 😉 Kellie, myself and Kris

The of course, I also did two local road races (I’m sure I’ve spammed my blog enough with them):

12/31 11:15 pm Beat the Ball 5k

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years!

1/1 10 am: Hair of the Dog 5k

This week vacation was exactly what I needed.  It broke up the month the month of December and it made it fly by.  I feel like I was just leaving New Jersey and now I’m back.

While my “homecation” was relaxing, I got a lot of much needed stuff done on my wedding too.  I was starting to feel nervous (due to doing nothing in December) but I got a lot accomplished last week.  It also made the wedding as a whole become more real!  I’ll have a wedding update at some point.  Long story short, I’ve gone to the first vendor of each category…said what I have wanted and they have done a great job.  I have no stress or complaints.

Questions for you:

Do you visit your hometown a lot?

How were your Holidays?

Hollie Jolly Christmas

I always find it interesting to see how others celebrate their Christmas holidays.

For some it means gathering family and extended family.

For others it means a small get together at home.

Some families open gifts together, some families open gifts as they wake up. 

My family is small and close.  I always enjoy coming home to see them (Holiday related or not).

Last year Tim and I spent Christmas with his family.  I love Tim’s family as much as my own.  We were supposed to drive to see them again this but plans change. Hopefully next year we will be able see them for the holidays again!  It’s crazy (overwhelming and also crazy) that plans can change so soon!

I didn’t make an effort to take a bunch of family selfies, photos of my family or scan the internet to get the best Holiday dessert ideas.  Maybe this is why I win the worst blogger of 2014…oh well next year I can win best blogger.  There is a New Year’s Resolution for everyone.  Anyways, we had a cute Christmas tree at my parents house and celebrated as a family.

Here are some photos of my family that were not taken on Christmas:

My family is adorable.  I'm a weirdo.

My brothers high school graduation

Here is from last year

My extended family at a 2 mile open water swim

Very cold family photo.

Lake Placid.  It was -22 degrees when that photo was taken

familyportrait1

My Christmas was pretty quiet.  We did our traditional Christmas of opening gifts and having an early Christmas dinner (around 3pm).  Then we just relaxed and sat in a food coma the rest of the day.  It was honestly the relaxing and rest I needed.

Christmas tree

The craziest part of my Christmas was I didn’t drink any coffee! 

The next day, mom and I went and got some nice clearance items.  I ended up finding a blazer at New York and Company as well as a couple pairs of pants. I always love a good sale.  I’ve always found a few good updates to my wardrobe post Holiday season (mostly because everything is on sale). Boxing day was no exception.

Blazer in action getting froyo

Blazer in action getting froyo

My Christmas was very laid back (exactly what I needed and liked).  I have no complaints and I’m truly glad to have enjoyed the company with family.  Of course I missed my significant other I had a really good Christmas with my family and friends.

Questions for you:

How did you celebrate the Holidays?

Have you found any good deals post-Holiday season?  

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