A Look Back at 2016 Running

The year, 2016, brought several PRs but is also brought one serious injury.

As I close out 2016 with my running, I thought it would be fun to reflect upon the year.  Plus there are plenty of new readers as well.  Thinking out loud, I also never expect you to read remember what happened on LOLZ blog.  Reflecting allows me to look back on the year too.

January: 

In 2016, January was probably the best month running wise for me.  I PRed in both of my favorite distances, the 5k and half marathon.

Starting the year off, on January 1st, I ran the Resolution Run 5k (18:22) and PRed in a prom dress. Resolution Run

Then we went on vacation to Carlsbad and I PRed at the Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:22.57).

carlsbad half

The rest of January was relatively quiet.  It is definitely hard to top a PR in my two favorite distances.

February:

February brought a better PR in the 5k and I PRed in the Flower Show 5k (18:13).  They threw flower petals at the start and you can clearly tell I was amused.flower show cannon

After that, I raced a few races but nothing of note.

March:

The biggest race in March was not my best race.  In fact for all of 2016, Shamrock Half Marathon was my most miserable and unenjoyable race (The Philly half is so very close).

I love the Shamrock Race series, but 10 minutes before the start, it started to downpour.  It was 40 degrees,  downpouring and windy.  Long story short, I paid the price and went from 7th place overall to 14th in the final mile.

My favorite race of March was the Phillies Charity 5k (18:27)  I ran an 18:27 and surprisingly won the race for females.  I received an autographed bat which was one of my favorite awards to date.

via Phillies facebook

April:

My most memorable race was running the April Fools Half Marathon.  While it wasn’t a PR, I did run a great race and surprised myself.  The theme of my 2016 racing season became bad weather and we had wind gusts of 50 MPH.

April Fools half

Another race my husband and I did in April was the Totally Awesome 80s run.  We attempted to dress the part and win the “best dressed” but there were many other couples dressed far better.

80s Attire

totally awesome 80s run

In April, I also ran the Broad Street 10 miler.  This was one of a few very good 2016 races for me.  Even though the weather was awful (what a trend), I ran a 10 mile best of 61:58.  I learned a lot from racing in Shamrock the month before and I ran the race in my Gortex jacket.  Bulky but I wasn’t defeated by the weather.

broad street 10 miler 1

May-August

May began a series of runs that felt like garbage.  I knew something was off and even with rest I didn’t feel good.  Later I found out I had a small break in my ankle and had a very rare form of food poisoning.  Honestly, it gave me plenty of time off and I didn’t miss running.

I spent most of the summer resting and then slowly easing back.  The summer of 2016 was my down period.

September:

In September I jumped into RnR Virginia Beach and ran a 1:31.  It was my first official race in a few months and I had no idea how it would go.  A hurricane had just blown through and conditions weren’t ideal, but I finished as fifth women overall.

Roll Virginia Beach results

In September, I also won the Flying Fish 5k which gave me one of my all time favorite race photos.Flying Fish 5k

Finally in late September, I ran RnR Philadephia and ran a 1:27.37.  It was extremely hot day and I was pleased with my improvement.

As you can tell, September was a great month, running wise for me.  I began to feel motivated that I was coming back from my injury strong.

October:

As great as September was, October was better!

I had an incredible time at the Runners World 5k and half marathon.  I attended my first November Project, ran an 18:41 5k and then the next day a 1:24.17 half marathon.  It was one of my best weekend performances of 2016.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

The following weekend, I ran the Base Half Marathon.  Even though it was close after Runners World, the race itself was important to me.  My husband was deployed at the time.  It poured rain but I ended up running negative splits (1:25.30) and was second overall (including men and women).

Base half marathon me running

November:

Similar to March, my noteworthy race was not because of a positive experience.  I felt terrible at the Philadelphia half marathon and ran a 1:27.  I was in shape to run faster but like anything bad races happen.  I crossed the finish line and didn’t think too much about it.

Five days after the Philadelphia half marathon, I ran a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k and ran an 18:30.  It restored the motivation I had lost in myself.  Plus I was race number 1, which was probably my greatest achievement of the year.medford-lakes-turkey-trot

December:

December is obviously the most fresh in my mind, and I only raced once.  The Dallas Half Marathon was my only race but also my favorite race.  I ended my half marathon racing with a 1:23.44 which was close to where I started in January (1:22.57 at Carlsbad).  bmw dallas half marathon me running

I also announced that I was being coached by James Mckirdy.

Favorite Races of 2016:

Phillies 5k (18:27)

Flower Show 5k (18:13) PR

Broad Street 10 miler (61:59) PR

Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:22.57) PR

April Fools Half Marathon (1:24.04)

Base Half Marathon (1:25.28)

Dallas Half Marathon (1:23.44)

You can see all of my races here.

So what’s next for 2017?

That is a can of worms post that deserves it’s own day.  I have a lot of goals but honestly running healthy and injury free is still the first priority.  Like any runner I would like to continue to PR. I have no plans on marathoning soon and I’m happy racing shorter.

Questions for you:

How was your year of running?

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Vacationing to Dallas

Last week I went to Dallas, Texas.  The race was less than 90 minutes, but we did plenty of other things that weren’t racing too. Together with my husband as well as my inlaws, we discovered several fun and exciting things to do.

So first, Why Dallas?

The December time frame (weather wise) is a typically good in Texas.  As long-term readers know, I lived in Texas for a while. Although last week was much colder than anticipated New Jersey received it’s first snowfall, so it’s hard to complain.

Second, both my husband and I like BMWs.  He drives a 1980s BMW, while I drive a 3 series.  Since this is BMWs first title-US race, it seemed like an awesome idea to run.  The weather, timing, and title sponsor all suited us!

So with that, we arrived the Friday before the race.  Here are some of the things we did and ate.  All of which I would recommend.

We stayed in the Magnolia hotel which was beautiful and close to the race start.  We didn’t mean to find a hotel within walking distance but lady luck was on our side (this has never happened and probably never will again).

magnolia hotel view

Some of my Favorite Food:

Whiskey Cake at the Whiskey Cake

I heard this was one of the best cakes in all of Texas! It’s a rich cake made with Whiskey.  The cake itself did not disappoint and the homemade whipped cream on top was perfect. If you’re looking for a nice place to hang out, grab a drink or meal Whiskey Cake is delicious.

whiskey cake plano

 

Campisi:

If you are ever in Dallas for a race or just like Italian, Campisi is great.  They were initially opened in 1946.  For a business to still be here, means they are doing something right.  It was exactly what I wanted before a race.

What we Did:

Expo:

The BMW Dallas Marathon expo was a lot of fun.  There were plenty of activities to do including test driving an I3.  Of course, I wish they let you test drive an I8 but apparently they don’t put 100k+ cars out for testing.  I don’t get into real “fancy” cars but this would be my dream car if I had one..

BMW i8 half marathon dallas

My father in law, myself and Tim all signed the runner wall and got a nice photo next to it.

signing bmw dallas wall

img_2312

And we wouldn’t be there without my mother in law, Greta, so we needed a photo with her too. bmw dallas half marathon

Museums

I hadn’t thought about it, but I didn’t realize JFK had been assassinated in Dallas.  We walked though the Sixth Floor Museum which was a great (but lengthy) museum.  They give you a headset, and you feel like you are there.

Hiking:

hiking dallas texas

As most people know, my husband and I do enjoy our fair share of hikes.  We found a short Mountain Bike area to hike around.  All of a sudden, we found ourselves surrounded by various bike pieces and road signs in trees.  It was the most random and bizarre part of the trip.

hiking dallas texas

And of course, plenty of relaxation!  The problem with going to a destination race is you want to explore and “do everything, ” but before the race, you need to rest your legs and after a race you just want to nap.  We had a great time doing a little bit of everything.

Dallas is a fun city, nd I would love to go back sometime.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to Dallas?

What is something fun to do in your hometown?

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
Fascinating

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? 

Workouts: Rest and Group Runs at Breweries

As I mentioned in my training log last week, the goal was to take a step back from training this week.  I’ve been consistently running for about a month now and needed a “back off” week.

Back off, rest, cut back….you get the idea.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest 15 minutes core
Wednesday: Easy 40 minutes 15 minutes core
Thursday: 3 Mile Group Run
Friday: Easy 40 minutes
Saturday: Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: 6 mile tempo  15 minutes core
 Total:  35 miles

Thoughts:
All of my easy runs were easy.  They were boring, untimed and I just ran for 30-40 minutes.  The Group run was definitely my favorite.  There is a local 5k in a few weeks called The Flying Fish 5k that runs from the Flying Fish Brewery.

I signed up for it, and our running store hosted a group run with them on Thursday.  We ran an easy 3 miles and hung out at Flying Fish afterwords.  It was fun to get a few miles with a lot of friends and just hang out.

Flying Fish 5k

Tempo Run:
This run gets it’s own blurb since it’s the first workout I’ve done since May.  Instead of racing this weekend, I opted for a tempo run. It put less pressure on my legs but still got turnover and speed work done.  While it was hot, my legs questioned how to run fast, and I felt awful, I’m glad I did it. I’ll have to rip the band-aid off for speed work eventually.  Right now I’m limited to one-speed workout a week: either a race or a workout but not both.

In summary, I’m happy with how the run went, but I do know I have a lot to do to get back where I was.

Next week I plan to get back into training.  I’m hoping to begin consistently adding longer runs and getting back into higher mileage.  I feel as if I’m in the limbo stage of running where I’m not 100% healthy, but I’m not injured either.  If you get too arrogant during this stage, you end up injured again.

Posts from the week:
Hoka Clifton 3 Review
Five Tips for Coming Back after an Injury
Life as a Military Spouse

Questions for you:
Do you like group runs or running by yourself?
What was your best workout of the week?

Life as a Military Spouse

While this is (mostly) a running blog, it’s also a personal blog too.  After a long conversation with a friend, I realized where

I find myself constantly going back and forth of being: 

A “proud military spouse.”

To finding my own identity…

To being frustrated with the military because everything changes so rapidly…. 

I’ll always be proud of what my husband does, whether he is in the military or not.

Finding my own identity is a post by itself.  In conversation, I don’t care to talk about myself a lot (ironic since I’ve been blogging for five years), but I find myself questioning my identity.

Am I Hollie, military spouse?  Hollie the runner? Hollie the volunteer? Hollie the blogger?  To be honest, I don’t have an answer to that, and I find myself lost in my own identity.

And of course, the last frustration component makes up most of this blog. 

You know what?

Life has been hard.

Not in a whiny sense but in a talk real sense.  My husband and I are preparing for another deployment soon.  By “preparing”, I mean the Air Force needed him for another last minute trip, and he is currently away doing something else.  The trip was only supposed to last four days but four days turned to 5…6…7…and we are still counting upwards.

In the next 16 days, there is a lot to do before the deployment.  None of these things, he (or I) can do while he is away doing something else.  Sure there are goodbyes, but there is a lot of paperwork and misc tasks that have to be done beforehand.

These tasks are done on top of working a normal job.  What most people don’t realize is that also with the military, you don’t just “fly some” and come home.  When you’re not flying you’re back doing things on base too.  So it isn’t like a vacation when he is back. Not that he has been back to do that.

Essentially neither of us work regular hours.  Today (Friday) was our only day off together for the next 16 days, but that didn’t pan out. With my job, I must request days off a month in advance.  Working in retail that is what happens.  You can’t call in sick because if you do, the store can’t function. It ultimately strains the store.

I love my job but to give you an idea of how August played out, I asked for four days off to spend with my husband.  All four of those days he had emergency missions.  All four of those days off were wasted for me.  If I hadn’t requested off, I’m sure he would have had off.

With the military, your plans are always changing.  Your needs can often come behind the needs of the AF and the county.  I love my husband, and we are in a happy marriage but this month has tested both my stress and anxiety.  I would by lying if I said I hadn’t cried when several plans were canceled. Is it the end of the world?  No, but it’s frustrating.

I’m not a perfect wife, military spouse or person.  I do know that if he could, my husband wouldn’t cancel plans.  

So where does this leave me now? 
The same place I started.  Unfortunately, my plans are often dependent on what the needs of the military.  I’ll keep trucking on and we will make the best of the situation as we normally do.

Workouts: Racing and Taking a Step Back

Like most of the Northeast, it was scorching last week.  If I weren’t motivated to get back out there, I would have struggled with most runners. Luckily I was driven by the pure fact I’m able to run again.  Plus I don’t have certain paces or workouts I need to hit in the heat, so that makes it a little bit easier too.

All of my runs have been easy.  They are boring, and I’ve been running for about any hour 4 days a week and two longer runs.  This time, period makes for several uneventful training logs.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Midweek Long Run 85 minutes
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 50 minutes
Saturday: Healthy Kids 6k (20:01)
Sunday: Long Run 90 minutes
Total: Roughly 50 miles

My race on Saturday went better than expected. Despite the heat, I was able to run a 20:01.  It was about 20 seconds faster than the week before.  I ran the race last year in cooler conditions and ran a 20:13. So I’m happy with the time for now.

running 12

The main question: So how’s my ankle feeling?

I do still have a little bit of achiness.  It’s not painful, but it is noticeable. I’ve had three weeks of solid base building, so I’m taking a step back next week and taking a few days off.  While I do believe it’s residual pain but, I would rather be safe than sorry.  There is no need to push it now.

Thus another short and relatively boring training log complete.  I wish I had something exciting to share, but the boring parts of training have their place as well.

Questions for you:

How long after an injury do you normally feel “good’?

Is it hot where you are?

Weekly Recap

I’ve thought about doing a personal life weekly recap.  I have a lot of friends and family that read LOLZ blog, but I barely ever talk about my “real life.”  While this blog is heavily running focused, it isn’t everything I do.

Sometimes I think I’m living a double life: Blogging and the outside world.  I’m not hiding anything from blogging, but I tend to microblog on Instagram or Facebook.

I thought I would start adding more personal life updates as well.

This week was a great week. My sister in law Lindsay graduated with her master’s degree.  I made the quick trip down to the DC area to watch her graduation.  It was a very good time seeing my family, and I definitely miss them.

mastes graduation

Yesterday I got my blood drawn for Inside Tracker.  I was given a discount to talk about my experience. To be honest, I was nervous about the entire thing.  I scheduled the appointment just over two weeks ago, and I wanted it to be over sooner than later.  I’ve never dealt well with needles.  I  can’t relax enough for them to get into the vein.  I also pass out the majority of the time giving blood or getting shots.  Needless to say, needles are a big deal for me. I paid the extra fee to have a certified nurse come to my house and take my blood at 7 am.  Since we had to fast 12 hours beforehand and I wake up hungry in the morning, this was the best option for me.  The Nurse was kind and helpful, and I watched Netflix, which kept my mind off it.  Everything went smoothly, and I was shocked at how easy it was.

I decided to try Inside Tracker for a number of reasons.  Since we are in the military, I don’t have a Primary Care doctor. It would take a lot of hoops for me to get a “routine blood test” after just getting one from my fracture (only with a few minerals such as calcium and Vitamin D) and the results being normal.  The miliary has great insurance, but I have no life-threatening conditions and in fact, I am healthy.  My quality of life is fine and I wanted a blood test “just to know” and to make sure that my nutrients are appropriate for running.  InsideTracker, while expensive, was the best route for me to take.  I have also seen several bloggers and others use and have great success with it.  Plus, Insider Tracker gives out fun bandaids.

InsiderTracker

Since my fracture still doesn’t have an exact cause I’m hoping my blood work might reveal something.  Either way knowing that information will be good knowledge to have, and I’m looking forward to the results. Once I have the results, I’ll be sure to talk more about it.

Last night for work we also hosted our first “Paint Your Own Race Medal Holder” event.  It was a lot of fun, and we sold out the event.  They have painting parties, so we thought, why not a race medal painting party?

running co paint night

Recent Posts: 
26 Things I learned before Age 26
Training Last Week (Summary: not so great)
Hiking at Bear Mountain (New York State)
A Day in the Life

Question for you:

How was your week?  Have you been busy? Quiet?