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

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? 

Goodbye Summer

Summer came roaring through and now in the blink of the eye it’s gone.

When people asked how my summer went, I can’t say it was my favorite summer. 

Thinking out loud, I didn’t necessarily have a bad summer, but being injured as well as my husband’s deployment didn’t make it “the best summer ever”.

hiking sunfish pond

And you know what? That’s fine, I made the best of it and I’m looking forward to a great fall.

Technically summer spans from June 20-now but we have had plenty of 90+ degree days out of that time frame too.

tim and I

By June 20, I was already over a month of injury recovery.  The month of June was relatively boring.  I worked a lot, volunteered and hiked a ton.

What did I do in June? 

Night out at Zahav

Products I Love over the Summer

Four Reasons Runners Should Get in the Pool <- I swam😉

How can I forget that I met Jon and Jenna?
How can I forget that I met Jon and Jenna?
How about July? 

I turned 26

A Day in the (Boring) Life…

I got my Blood Drawn with InsideTracker

Ran my First Race Back

My husband and I flew


Finally August and September: 

This summer, I hiked more than ever.  I found it to be relaxing.  I felt like I could conquer distance when I couldn’t run.  It was a reminder my body could do other things besides running.

hiking bear mountain

My ankle never hurt to hike, and it was a great way to spend time with my husband and go to several new diners.

Here is some hiking I did this summer:
Hiking Hemlock Falls
Getting Lost in Bear Mountain
Bear Mountain Part 2
Hiking around Sunfish Pond
That Time I Saw a Bear While Hiking

I had a few struggles both physically (thanks, injury) to mentally (thanks anxiety), but honestly, I’m coming through as a stronger person.  A stronger woman, wife, sister and daughter.

Something I learned this summer, is it’s okay to ask for help.  I’ve always given myself the title of being “independent.”  During my mid-20s, and this summer more than ever, I’ve learned it’s okay to ask for help and not do it all.

In summary, it was my favorite summer but it wasn’t bad either.  I learned a lot about myself and grew as a person.

Questions for you:

Can you believe summer is over?

What was your best memory this summer?

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

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?

August 9th, 2010

On August 9th, 2010 I started blogging.  So today, August 9th marks six full years of blogging.  Can you believe that?

It probably doesn’t feel like it!  There are very few people, if anyone, that have read LOLZ Blog for that long.  Plus six years in the blogging land is like 20 human years.

six years of blogging

My blog has gone through a lot of changes throughout the last few years but then again, so have I.  I began blogging as a 20-year-old college student in Upstate, NY.  Now I’m a married 26-year-old living in southern New Jersey.

One of my blogging photos and open water swims
One of my blogging photos and open water swims

I thought it would be fun to summarize the last six years of my life and how my blog has changed along with it.

Year 1: 2010-2011

The original blog title was “LOLZthatswim”.  I added the (and run) later on since it was kind of just a thing I did on the side of swimming…I was a competitive swimmer and had been for over a decade.  When I started my blog, I started running too.  Junior year I began both swimming and running for my college.  It was a lot, but I loved both sports!

Old school site header
Old school site header

I had no idea what to expect for college cross country. I didn’t know anything about the sport of running, and everything was a new experience.  It was pressure free and worry free.  You can read more about my running story here.  The first year was my honeymoon love story with running. rachel

Running was my new boyfriend it treated me well.  At the time, swimming was arduous, and I was going through the motions of the sport but had fallen out of love.  In the middle of the summer, July 12th to be exact, I got my first running injury.  My tibial stress fracture came from doing too much too soon.  That was a straight forward overuse injury.  I thought in order to get better you must run faster all of the time.  That didn’t work and I ended up injured.  So I spent the summer cross training preparing for the upcoming season.

Year 2: 2011-2012 The Change and Graduation

Year two of my blog started out with a bang. It was the start of my senior year of college, and I was miserable, so I made a lot of changes.

  • I changed my major from math to public health.
  • I quit swimming altogether.
  • I broke up with my then-boyfriend who I dated through college.

My life drastically changed in about a month, but I’ll never have any regrets.  If I hadn’t chosen to change all of those factors I would have never been happy.  My blog continued to follow my journey.  I suffered a lot of social anxiety my senior year of college and spent most of my time focused on graduating with a new major as well as running.  After breaking up with a serious boyfriend, I had no interest in dating.

Funny how those things work but I met Tim at a college cross country race.  We weren’t “immediately in love” and it took us a few months to even start dating.  I think I posted a blog about it here.


After college cross country I decided to train for a longer race.  I ran the Plattsburgh Half Marathon in April of 2012.  My goal was to run under a 1:30 and I ran a 1:27.  It was my first big race win and I was so excited and proud.  It showed me that even though college cross country was over, I had plenty of running left.


Year 3: 2012-2013 Oswego

I graduated college in 2012.  Even though I swore I would leave Upstate, NY I ended up working for a year on a college campus.  After a very long talk with a lot of crying, Tim and I stayed together and maintained a distance relationship.

College graduation
College graduation

He was busy with work and so was I.  My coworkers were the best and I made two of my good friends Becky and Danielle.

They even took me to first hockey game.
They even took me to first hockey game.

I started a job I enjoyed in Oswego and met a lot of close friends that year including Laura, Brittany, and Heather.

Left to right: Heather, Laura, me, Brittany
Left to right: Heather, Laura, me, Brittany

2012 was a huge turning point year for me.  I was self-sufficient, working and living by myself.  I felt like a real adult and met a lot of friends along the way.  Despite being over 2000 miles apart, Tim and I maintained a long distance relationship.

On the running front, I ran one of my favorite races: The Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington DC (the race no longer exists).  It was a huge accomplishment because I got out of my social anxiety comfort zone, ran a race I was scared to do and set a PR at the time.  Plus I placed 9th out of 15,000 women which was a huge accomplishment.


Year 4: 2013-2014 Texas and New Jersey and Marathons:

In the late Spring of 2013, I made the decision to move to Texas with Tim.  Due to the military, he did not have the option to move where or when he wanted.  Either I would move in with him, or we would not live together and probably not stay together.  You can’t do long distance forever…

I left Oswego and moved in with my parents for the summer.  I worked and gathered all of my things for the huge life change.  Honestly, I didn’t have a plan, job or any idea of what I would do down there.  It gave me anxiety to tell people when they asked.  Obviously, I hoped I would find a job and make friends when I moved down there.  I knew I had Tim but moving down to a remote area with no plan terrified me.

Just thinking about Texas and my hair is huge....

A few weeks after I moved down there, the military had other plans. They decided they were sending Tim to New Jersey.  I had packed up all of my things and planned to live in Texas for a few years!  It was incredibly frustrating, but you never know with the military. 

Neither of us knew much about New Jersey.  We drove on the turnpike but had never spent much time in the state.To keep myself occupied during my brief Texas stay, I trained for my first marathon, New York City.  No one hires you for a month, so I just made the best of the situation.  I blogged, lived off of savings and ran.  I didn’t hate Texas, but I doubt I would have enjoyed staying much longer.  After coming back to the East Coast, I ended up running a 3:17.  Cliff notes: it was freezing, windy and my first marathon. New York City Marathon was actually a much tougher course than I realized.  I had a great time, though.

Running the NYCM 2013

After running New York and moving to New Jersey, I looked for various jobs. I began working at the running store, and I enjoy helping others appreciate the sport.  I’ve been working there about 2 and a half years, and I enjoy it. I’ve made most of my friends through work, and I enjoy going in each day,

During the summer, I also started training for my second marathon.  It didn’t last long, and I got a second metatarsal fracture the week after Tim had his first deployment.  I spent most of my first year living in NJ injured.  By some miracle I ran and PRed at the April Fools Half Marathon.  To this day, I don’t know how I did it. I wasn’t in shape to run the time and hadn’t put in the work to run that time. The course was flat and fast, and it was a perfect day.  On the injury front, I had everything from a sore plantar fascia to a second metatarsal fracture.  It was one small ache after another.  Eventually, it led to my fracture.

I also joined Oiselle Violee that year.  I was on the team for just over a year and had a good time during that year.  I met some more of my close friends like Danielle and Amelia from the team.  I’ll never regret being part of Oiselle that year.

Nj half race
At the New Jersey half

Year 5: 2014 Assimilated and Running in New Jersey:

In later 2014, I decided to start running consistently again.  After completely healing I started training for my second marathon (again), the Phoenix Full marathon.  My training went well for the entire cycle but on race day I fell short and finished with an injury in my butt. After two months of recovering, I started training for shorter distances.  I began racing most weekends, adding speed and getting faster.


On the life front, I did a lot in 2014 but most noticeable, I got married.  There is obviously so much emotion that went into that single day, but it was one of the happiest and most enjoyable days of my life.

wedding 9

Year 6: 2015 Fun in New Jersey:

The last year has been filled with both good and bad.  I trained consistently from last August until April.  I set PRs in everything except the full marathon.Over the course of a year, I went from running a 20:30 5k to an 18:13. Honestly, compared to every other year the last has been boring. My husband and I have finally assimilated into “being married”.  Neither of our schedules is typical, but we like it that way.  I think by age 26, we have finally become adults that don’t move every year. 

This year we’ve added a lot more weekend adventure in our life and gone flying several times as well as hiking.

tim and I

So what’s in store for year 7 of blogging?

Honestly, I have no idea.  I’ll continue running and working towards getting back in shape.  I don’t forsee myself stopping to blog, and I’ll just continue doing that.  Will I run out of things to blog about? Probably not…Will I love running forever? Will I train for another half marathon? Even full marathon? Will I hit diner number 200? Who knows what year 7 in the blogging world will bring…

Questions for you:

How have you changed in the last six years?

Bloggers: How long have you been blogging? 

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.


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?