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29 Years Old

29 Years Old

Today is my 29th birthday.

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.

under armour copper mountain race me running

It’s hard to believe that was a year ago now!

under armour copper mountain race me running

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.

New York City Marathon me running

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).

Hiking anderson park santa clara county

Marin Headlands San Francisco

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.

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Personality pic #noisycat #confusedcat

A post shared by Frick and Frack Sick (@frickandfracksick) on

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! Bridge-Way Diner Old Bridge NJ

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.


Questions for you:

Tell me about a charity you support.

What did you do for your birthday? 

 

 

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A History of Injuries

A History of Injuries

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.

run for the hill of it

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.

Happy 21st birthday to me with my non detected tibia SF

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.

When I got my sling off

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.

I chose this photo because I think I ran a hard track mile and then the next day ran a 20 miler for the marathon. #dumb

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?

A Summer of Fun

A Summer of Fun

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.

States I Went to this summer

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.

The highlight was definitely for my 28th birthday, I decided to run the Copper Mountain 25k Trail Race.  Trails aren’t something I train a lot on, but I wanted to test myself and just do things I’ve never done before. I definitely don’t regret it, and it was one of the best parts of my summer!  I highly recommend the Under Armour Copper Mountain race!

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.

I also ran the Newport 10 miler in about 64 minutes which I was pleased with.

The rest of June was relatively quiet, but I ran the Inaugural Bungalow Beach 5 miler in Atlantic City. I was able to hold it together and win, even with the final few strides on the sand.

Then July Came:

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).

Finally August:

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.

I ran the Boothbay Half Marathon in 1:29.50 which I’m proud of.  It was a hilly, hard, and hot day. I’m proud of how I ran with how difficult of conditions it was.

And now here we are!

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? 

Running Isn’t Everything

Running Isn’t Everything

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.

rabbit running me

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.

Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

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. 

Blogging is Dying.

Blogging is Dying.

Blogging is Dying.

There I said it.

I’ve actually had a document on my computer titled: “blogging is dying” for a couple of months now.  Past that, I haven’t continued the post.  Maybe I was waiting for the best moment to post it, maybe not.  Either way, blogging is slowly dying.

I’ve contemplated writing this post for a while now, but I don’t know where to begin.  It’s probably a mismatched bunch of words that don’t flow together but when is that anything new?

So here we go:

I started blogging in 2010 when blogging was beginning to grow.  Everyone was blogging!

It was the new thing to do instead of writing a Facebook update that was 10 pages long.  I think in 2010, I followed close to 20 blogs.  I was captivated by their writing, and it ranged from runners, to triathletes, to even a chocolate blog (you know).

I followed people with similar interests.  Most people were posting at least a few times a week, if not more.  To be honest, I think most blogs posted daily, which I did too!

2012-2014, continued the trend and blogging continued to grow.  As the years went by, new social media was created.

There were so many new platforms:

Instagram: To take photos of everything you did!

Twitter: To write short burbs and updates about life!

Facebook pages: When one facebook isn’t enough, get two!

Pinterest and more (to save blogs, recipes, and whatever else you’ll read or follow up on!

I remember kicking my feet at getting twitter…ugh another thing, I couldn’t keep up.  I ultimately got most of them, except for Pinterest, because I just pin cat memes.

Then 2013 was a big year for me.  I moved four times: New York to Virginia to Texas to New Jersey.  I ran my first marathon, and moved in with a boyfriend at the time who put a ring on it (yes Tim).  It was the year where I had no idea what I wanted to do.  I lived off of savings, made some money blogging, and just job searched like any early 20 year old.

In 2014, life settled down a little bit (not much, but enough).  My husband and I got engaged, settled in NJ, and I finally set a half marathon PR.  2014 for blogging was probably my “biggest year”.

What does biggest in blogging even mean?

Most page views?  Most engagement?  Most money made?

All three!

blog stats

Then in 2014, a lot of things on the internet changed.  Social media channels began to grow, and many runners turned to Instagram to document and give running advice.  I tried to go that route with long blog post captions but quickly realized I liked Instagram for taking photos of pretty places.  It isn’t my personal preference to write a novel caption about how inspired I was to get out there.

I run and come home.  I don’t have an inspiring story about every run, I just get out there and do it.  I’m just a woman in the Garden State trying to make it look cool. I don’t like to post half-naked photos and don’t like to give advice about running.  I don’t want my account to be running only and don’t want to create a separate Instagram account for my personal life either.

My Instagram is my life whether I have a blog or not.  It isn’t limited to running, because my life isn’t limited to running.  Maybe I’ll never have a niche, but that is fine.  My blog talks more about my training and life, while Instagram is just photos and short captions.  A couple of weeks ago, my husband I celebrated our anniversary. Not running, but part of my life.

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Celebrating our 3 year anniversary.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

Anyway, with the growth of Instagram and other social media, came the slow fall of blogging.

It isn’t just blogging that has fallen, and many running publications have ceased too.  For instance, Competitor magazine only exists online.  Runners World was acquired by Hearst.

This post isn’t too bash anything or anyone.  It’s just to briefly explain what I’ve observed in the last several years.  It’s not the only view, and for some their blog has gotten bigger, which is great!

In summary, social media such as Instagram has grown.  People would prefer free advice versus paying, and to be honest, people don’t want or have the time and interest to read blogs anymore.

So How do You Support Blogs?

The easiest way to support any blogger or let them know you’re reading is occasionally comment (and no I’m not begging for comments).  Commenting or sharing posts/articles are two big ways to support bloggers without doing much.

Many people have told me in person, “love your blog” and to be honest I’m shocked they read.  Sure, right now I average about 500 page views a day, but I rarely get more than 1-2 comments per post, so I have no clue who reads, if anyone!  No one is a mind reader.  I don’t expect anyone to read, but it’s always nice to hear from people who are.

I will still blog because I like too.  I’ve stopped blogging every day, but I’ll continue to blog.  This post is not meant to be negative, or put anyone down.  It’s just the trend i’ve noticed throughout several years of blogging (which of course different people notice different things).

Questions for you:

How long have you been blogging? Is blogging dying? Discuss?

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