Christmas Classic 5 Miler (32:46)

Christmas Classic 5 Miler (32:46)

Last weekend, I ran the Christmas Classic 5 Miler in Bethlehem, PA.  I haven’t been to Bethlehem since the Runners World half in 2017, so it was nice to go back.  I’ve run the Runners World 5k and half for a few years, so I know that Bethlehem is not flat. I wasn’t expecting a pancake course, and it did not disappoint.

The race started at 9:10 which was nice because my husband and I could sleep in.  We left the house around 6:45 am and got to Bethelam around 8.  Packet pickup was at the YMCA and there was plenty of parking. I don’t usually get excited about race t-shirts but a cotton long sleeve race t-shirt is the unicorn of running shirts.

Before leaving for the race, I hadn’t made much of an effort and threw a bunch of stuff in a bag.  When I got to the race, I realized I didn’t have a long sleeve shirt or my puffer vest. It was 20 degrees and I had planned to run in both. I almost ran in the race shirt, but since I had capris, I figured the tank and arm warmers would be fine.

I warmed up and felt decent.  Just as we got to the start, the 5k was off. The 5k started 10 minutes before the 5 miler. It was a crowded downhill start.  I found myself as fifth women overall. My legs didn’t feel great and just felt like I’ve started training again. I didn’t have a big goal for the race, just to get a hard workout in.

I hit the first mile in 6:35 and felt okay about it. Lately, I’ve struggled not to compare myself to earlier in the year, but I know that fitness will come again.  We caught up to many of the 5kers which was frustrating because we were going around many people walking 3-4 across. Finally, we turned off and went different directions.

During the second mile, I passed two women and found myself running side by side with a male.  He would tuck in behind me as if I provided some sort of draft for him.

I liked the course because I could get an idea of where I was in relation to other racers.  I saw my husband flying by and I was happy for him.  He had a rough week as well as a long flight the day before, so he wasn’t thrilled to be running.

We passed the water stop around mile 2.5 and I needed water. I hadn’t hydrated enough and I found myself probably getting a side stitch.  Unfortunately, due to crowding of the 5k and 5 miler, there was no way I could grab water. I didn’t stop and kept going.

I hit the third mile in 6:35 and felt decent. I knew the last 2 miles would be rough. We were at the lowest part of Bethlehem but the race itself had started at the highest peak. When we would go up?  It was a question I kept wondering…

We didn’t run back up in the fourth mile.  During the fourth mile, I found myself running alone and as the second woman, although I knew 3rd was coming up behind me.

Then around mile 4.5, we hit the hill. The 5kers were also climbing the hill and I weaved around people. I tried to run the tangent as best as possible but also not look like I was struggling, and just make it up. The entire hill wasn’t more than .25, but it was steep.  At the last turn, I high fived the local running store mascot and powered to the finish.

During my last .1 finish, I was weaving around 5kers trying to hold the next woman off. Two 5kers went to raise their hands, and cross holding hands but unfortunately one smacked me directly in the face. I looked overly dramatic but I wasn’t all that mad. I crossed in 32:46 which was a decent time for where I’m at fitness wise as well as for the course.me running christmas classic

I’m happy with my effort on the day. I’ve only run a few courses that have racers overlap at different distances and now I’ve done it twice in a row. 5

Questions for you:

Do you like themed races?

Have you ever run in the race t-shirt?

I thought it was borderline comical when I said I might end up doing that and the number of people that thought it was “the end of the world.”

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.

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).

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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? 

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