July went by fast. Does anyone else feel like they say that every month?
For the most part, training went well. I’m slowly increasing mileage and building a base. There were many days that tested me to get out the door (or on the treadmill) between weather but I only skipped a couple of runs or moved workouts to better days.
Miles Run: About 215 Range of Paces: 6:07-11:30-untimed Shortest Run: 2 miles Longest Run: 20 miles Rest Days: 3 Swimming Days: 7
It was fun to do the Allen Stone Run Swim Run again. While it wasn’t my highest placement, I’m proud of how I raced, and I slowly picked people off. After the first 1k on the beach, I was 55th, then 22nd after the swim, then 10th overall and no one passed me on the 5k run.
I question myself regularly about my marathon and marathon goals. I haven’t run anything that I’m substantially happy with since NYCM last year. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy running, but training cycles haven’t come together. August will be my highest mileage and peak month of training. I’m looking forward to the challenge.
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. This week is all about running on the treadmill.
Questions for you: How was your month of training? What has been your best race of 2019?
For some reason, I always imagined at age 29; I would look and feel older.
Maybe like an adult? It hasn’t come (yet). Anyway, looking back at age 28, I had a great year. I’ve been an “adult” for a decade now.
What Did I Do During Year 28?
Last year, I started age 28 with my first “real” trail race. I ran the Copper Mountain 25k, and it was one of the best running memories I’ve had.
It’s hard to believe that was a year ago now!
Last summer, I did a lot of traveling up and down the East Coast. We visited family, I saw friends from college, and I just had a good summer. In August, I ran/hikes my second trail race in Killington, VT. To me, it was more challenging than the race in Colorado because the terrain was much more technical. Then in the fall, I changed gears entirely and trained for the NYCM. I didn’t think I would do another marathon, but when the opportunity to run in the “sub-elite” corral presented itself, I couldn’t say no. I’m glad I did, and it was one of the best running experiences I’ve had.
Since the NYCM, running hasn’t quite come into place. I’ve trained, but I haven’t had any “spectacular” or amazing races. I’ve had a lot of great and fun races, but I’m well off PRs. Right now, I’m content with that.
In January, my husband and took a trip out to California. We drove from San Diego to San Francisco and just explored. We had no agenda (as most of our vacations are).
The highlight of the Spring was adopting my two cats: Frick and Frack. I always had cats growing up, and I’ve wanted them for years, but our landlords or landladies always said no.
Finally, after proving we were good renters, they agreed. We found these two cats at the local shelter, and when I found out they had been there for five years (YES 5), I knew I wanted them. They were shy at first but have come out of their shell.
The last few months have been quiet as far as personal and running life goes. I’m training for the Big Cottonwood Marathon in early September. Running another downhill marathon terrifies me because the last one wasn’t my favorite race ever — cheers to doing things outside of your comfort zone.
Fulfilling my other hobby, I also went to over 50 New Jersey diners last year and have now been to 253. I don’t know if I’ll make it to 300 (if we move). When I started this journey 5 years ago, I never imagined going to 250 diners. But as they motivational quotes say: you never know until you try!
Anyway, thank you age 28 for the memories and to family and friends for supporting me!
This year, I wanted to do something and different for my birthday, so on July 20th, I’m running the Teterboro 5k to Homes for Our Heroes: a mission to build safe, affordable housing for military and military families.
This includes Veterans who have nowhere to live as well as military families in the NJ area.
I appreciate anyone willing to donate and support this cause with me.
My goal is to reach $500 and any amount matters. Here is the link if you are interested.
One of the most requested posts is about my history with injuries.
I haven’t always stayed injury free, and I have several injuries throughout the years. Before recently, my blog could have alternative names such as fueledbyInjuries or InjuriesNlolz.
Many of my injuries were because I overtrained or ran easy runs too fast.
Over time, I’ve learned that you can’t outrun an injury. Life doesn’t work like that. If you are worried, rest. Resting a few days often saves you from resting a few weeks, months, or even years. You don’t gain fitness in a day and you definitely don’t lose it either.
When I first started running in 2010, I had many years of haphazard running. It took a lot of trial and error and learning from experience to determine what works best for me. As with anything, I learn best when I do something and make mistakes along the way.
You can read my full running story here (or in one of the headings above).
In summary, I began running in July 2010. I ran off and on and was still a member of on my collegiate swim team. Swim season lasted from September until late February, so there was no running during that time. During the off-season, we were allowed to work out as we pleased, so eventually, I picked up running.
Here is my History with Injuries:
My first serious running injury:
Tibial Stress Fracture (July 2011-September 2011)
How it happened:
I ran every day for an hour on the treadmill. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to train fast every single day. I thought to race faster you must train faster. So every day I made the goal to beat the previous day’s mileage for 1 hour. I never ran for more than an hour, but I ran seven days a week. I was running between 7-7:15 pace for an hour.
Ultimately I was far more exhausted from running 50 miles then I am now. My body broke at a road race on my 21st birthday. Midway through a run-swim-run race, my body broke, My tibia fractured and I was done.
I learned more about myself than any other injury. To be honest, I needed that injury to realize that training was idiotic and not right. My tibial stress fracture shaped my training to include a lot more easy miles. I don’t time my easy runs anymore, and I don’t GAF whether the pace is 10 minutes or 8 minutes.
Cyst: August 2012-October 2012:
How it happened:
During September 2012, I developed a cyst in the arch of my foot. The doctors still don’t know exactly how it formed it could have developed anywhere in my body (I’m so thankful it wasn’t my brain).
They don’t believe it was running related, but it prevented me from running. I was able to run with minimal pain until the cyst became large enough to rip the muscle from my bone. After tearing the muscle off my metatarsal, it halted running completely.
After recovering for two months and a shot to reduce the swelling, I came back and ran my fastest college cross country race.
Fractured Elbow (August 2013):
How it happened:
While cooling down at a road race in August 2013, I was hit by a cyclist. I was knocked to the ground, and it fractured my elbow. I was devastated, but after a week, I was able to run slowly.
I decreased mileage, but it ended up being the most nonserious elbow fracture I could have. At the time, the decline in mileage was terrifying because I was training for my first marathon, NYCM.
It taught me; you have to roll with the punches. A few days of rest does not impact fitness.
Second Metatarsal Fracture (August 2014)
How it happened:
Fast forward to moving to Texas and then New Jersey. In August of 2014, I got a second metatarsal fracture. In hindsight, I believe I upped my mileage too quickly. Even though I was running easy, I think my mileage went up too fast. At the time, I was training for my second marathon, Wineglass. I healed by race day, but it would have been dumb to run a marathon on a newly recovered stress fracture. To be honest, I don’t think my heart was ready to race another marathon, and it was a good out.
Bum Butt (February 2015-March 2015)
How it happened:
I tweaked something running my second marathon and kept running. Around mile 18, my butt started to throb. By the end of the marathon, my whole left side was in pain. Should I have finished the race? Probably not…Did I PR? Yes…
I didn’t heal as fast as I should have because I continued to run after the marathon. I took two weeks off (which helped) but then I ran too hard too fast. Looking back, I made good progress and then threw it all away running again. This is something I’m 100% kicking myself for…even though I had an excellent time at Shamrock 2015. If I had taken a month off, I wouldn’t have had two months to deal with the issues.
Ankle Fracture June 2016:
How it Happened:
This was the only injury I’m not entirely sure what I did. Did I tweak my ankle running on trails? Did I run too much? I don’t know. In June of 2016, something felt off. I couldn’t pinpoint it, and it almost felt like plantar fasciitis on the outside of my foot. An X-ray confirmed I had a minor fracture. The fracture healed with time off but it worried something else was not right. Test results found my calcium, vitamin D, and blood levels were fine.
One thing my ankle fracture taught me was I liked hiking. After healing, I spent a good portion of the summer hiking and enjoying the outdoors that way.
There are many times I look back at my training and think: If I had taken a few more days off, or if I had realized that ache was a minor bone pain….but each is a lesson to move on. I have learned that running in pain isn’t worth it to me.
You cannot outrun injury, and it will catch up to you.
I tell any runner, new or old; there is no shame in rest and easy days. I am to the point in life and running that it will never be my sole purpose in life. Resting and staying healthy is more important to me than running every day.
Question for you: Have you had a running injury before?
I can’t believe the “technical” summer is almost over. I had one of the best summers I’ve had in a long time.
Not running wise, but life wise. For many years post-college, I’ve looked back and said: eh what did I “really” do over the summer?
It’s usually the same: See a few friends? Go to the beach a few times? I always say I’ll do more things, but for whatever reason, I don’t. Of course, like most adults, I have a job and other responsibilities, but I made time for things when I could.
This summer I made it a priority to get out of my house and do things. On days I was off from work, I traveled somewhere new. I didn’t spend oodles of money going across the country every day I was off work, but I did take time to explore various parts of the state, and see family and friends, and explore.
I was lucky to go to all of these states including new to me: New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine.
I didn’t plan the summer to be like that, and if you had asked me in May my plans, I wouldn’t have had much.
I liked running on the trails so much, I went to Killington to run the 25k there too. It was a whole different beast to conquer, but I’m glad I did. I found Vermont to be far more challenging and technical than Copper Mountain, but it taught me: I can do hard things.
Those were my only two races in July and August. It’s crazy to think, it was the healthiest summer I’ve had but the least amount I’ve raced. I don’t regret that, and I enjoyed both races.
I feel like my summer can be broken into two sections:
June versus July and August.
I started June off with a bang. Together with my parents, we visited one of my brothers in Newport, Rhode Island while he was in school for the Navy. Since he is stationed overseas in Spain, I haven’t seen him as much the last few years, so it was awesome.
My husband wanted to pick up car parts in Connecticut. I had nothing to do, so I decided to go with him. We made it a weekend adventure and ran (can you believe?) my only 5k road race of both June and July. We also hiked in Connecticut too. On the way home, I hit my 200th diner. Despite it not being great, 200 in 4 years is neat. Will I make it to 300? Who knows. Here is a recap of the best/worst in 200 so far.
The month of July itself, was actually quiet except for celebrating my 28th birthday at Copper Mountain 25k in Colorado. I ran and tested myself with one of the hardest races I’ve done (I do think Killington is harder).
I thought August would be a quieter month but it wasn’t at all. The first couple of weeks of August were. Then I went to Killington, Vermont and ran the hardest race I’ve done. Killington was special to me for many reasons. The biggest was, I got to see two of my closest friends from college, my freshman year roommate, Kierstin, as well as someone who helped convince me to start running, Justin.
Running in Vermont taught me I could do long races where I’m on my feet over 3 hours. It was the longest time I’ve been on my feet as well as the hardest race I’ve done.
On Labor Day weekend, my husband and I decided to drive back to the Northeast. I haven’t spent much time in New England until this summer! We had planned to go to Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine. That was definitely overzealous for us looking back. We are the type of couple not to have an itinerary and plan as we go (like we did when we went out west last year). We decided midway through to skip Boston and save it for a trip in itself.
Mid Septemeber and heading into the fall. I believe fall will be just as great but in different ways. I have no idea how long we will stay in New Jersey, and I want to make the best of everything while I’m here. I’ve started increasing mileage and training again. I do have a few races I’m sorting out, and once I figure that out, I’ll, share. For now, I’m heading to Dayton, Ohio this weekend for the Air Force half marathon again.
Questions for you:
How was your summer?
What is one spot you’ve wanted to go but never have?
This week, my “on this day app” showed me seven years ago, I had my official diagnosis of a tibia stress fracture. It was my first real running injury. The diagnosis came a month after the actual break. I think the original diagnosis (with a clean X-Ray) was tendinitis.
Stress fractures rarely show up on X-Rays. In fact, I’ve never had a stress fracture that did show up within the first weeks of the break.. I tell people that X-rays are the gateway to MRI’s.
I know exactly how I caused what caused my tibia to break and it was by running my runs to fast all of the time. I ran between 7-7:10 pace every day. You can read about my running history in my running about page, so I’ll spare you all of those details.
In summary, at the time my PRS were much slower. I was always tired, and my training was dumb. I was a new runner (I had been running off and on for about a year), so I didn’t know the importance of easy runs.
Most runners go through the phase of running in cheap shoes, running all their runs to fast, and then get injured.
On that day 7 years ago, I sat in the doctor’s office, crying my eyes out as they read the results. My dad was sitting there, probably rolling his eyes.
He looked me square in my 21-year-old face and said: “Hollie, it’s just running, get ahold of yourself.”
I’ll never forget that statement because at the end of the day it is…just running. Races, events, and running will always be there. I don’t regret the injury, and I don’t regret any of my injuries because they have all taught me something.
This is my 21st birthday when the reality was I had a broken tibia. The doctor told me it was “tendinitis” so didn’t boot it for a while longer. My youngest brother seems thrilled to celebrate my birthday.
In 2011, my tibial stress fracture taught me not to train like a moron.
In 2014, my second metatarsal fracture taught me I can’t outrun injury. Nipping things in the bud is essential. If I rested a week, I wouldn’t have sat out 2+ months. You will never outrun a stress reaction, and they turn into a fracture.
In 2016, my ankle fracture taught me I have a lot more hobbies than running. I like to run, and I blog about running but I like a lot of other things including hiking and just being active. I mean one of my first “real” hiking adventures and I was doing yoga. JK…yoga is not my thing.
That being said, of course, there were hard times and tears shed but running isn’t everything.
I’ve had multiple doctors visits to make sure my body is healthy, and it is. I have the right amount of calcium, vitamin D, and I get my period every month. My injuries have been either overuse or form. I stress my metatarsals with how I run, so I need to be overly cautious in changing shoes as well as running too much. It took me a long time to realize that but better late than never.
So that leads me to where the post is actually going.
I don’t rely a lot on paces and for the most part train for time versus pace. I’ll never be a runner who cares about an 8:30 mile versus 8:33.
I’m not a data nerd and don’t even log into my Garmin app very often. Strava doesn’t interest me for many reasons including safety, but I also don’t care enough for the data portion. I don’t need head pats and likes to get me out of the door. I do it because I like it.
It’s another reason I don’t see the point to log pace and lose sleep over an of an easy run.
(Since my tibia break, I’ve never had the issue of going to fast for recovery and easy). I want to know that data for races or workouts, but I just listen to my body on easy run or recovery runs.
To tell you the type of runner and person I am, this morning I finished a run with my friend Alexis and she asked: what does your watch read? I said 9.95 and she asked if I wanted to get to 10…I just shrugged and said it didn’t matter. One of my most significant personal accomplishments for my anxiety is not to sweat the small things. Will I remember next week I ran 9.95 versus 10.01…no.
I’m not lazy, and I do work hard. I don’t feel like I have to prove that to anyone because I know it for myself. If you cut corners in your training, you are only hurting yourself. I’m not hurting “X the Instagrammer” because I’m lying about workouts, runs, or races…I’m just hurting me.
Originally, this was written in more of a diary format and I wasn’t going to post it. Sometimes it’s just cathartic to get information out there.
Then I was told, and I also realized, I have been lazy with my training logs because I don’t really know who reads them. I don’t care if I get 10 comments or none but if no one ever comments, how on earth would I even know someone is reading? So I figured people weren’t reading my blog anymore. That is totally fine and I never expect anyone to read anything I write. In fact, I’ll tell personal friends stories and they’ll say: oh I read that on your blog. I never think anyone reads anything. It’s fun when people do, and the commentary is fun but I don’t expect it. Bloggers aren’t celebrities and having the most followers is like having monopoly money…when you log off the computer…no one cares.
So where am I with Running Now?
This summer I have been running easy and doing workouts when I can.
I am a high mileage runner and I thrive on high mileage and racing all of the time but I absolutely can’t do that year round. I’ll injure myself or burn myself out. I’ve learned that lesson too many times. This summer I put the brakes on and while I’m running 45-60 minutes and longer runs a couple of days a week I’m not hitting double digits every day. I will do that again, hopefully in the fall, but I won’t that mistake of doing that year round and hurting myself. Sure it’s boring because I’m not racing every weekend, and I could put more effort into my training logs.
That being said, I am in shape but I’m not in peak shape, and your body can’t be year round. If you asked me to race a half marathon right now, I think I could run somewhere around 1:30 but my PR is 1:22. To get to 1:22, I do have to up training and mileage. I have to run hard, fine-tune fitness, and train for a goal.
Right now I’m running the Under Armour 25k trail race in Killington, this weekend. A completely different goal than a PRing half marathon or having any road goal. My goal is literally to finish healthy. I do plan to train for a goal (road) race in the fall, but the other component is I’m often at the mercy of my husband’s schedule. We have a few more things to sort out, but I do plan to train for a fall goal race. Once I have a decision and bib for a race, the blogging world will be the first to know (well maybe my parents).
This is one of my longest posts about life, running, and everything in between so thank you for staying with me if you did. I never really anticipated posting it but the timing just seemed right.