grilled cheese and tomato soup
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (27:13)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (27:13)

The Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler is one of the few races I’ve run multiple times. In fact, I’ve run the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler the last five years and gotten slower every year. I’m not sure how I ever ran around 24 minutes, but hopefully, fitness will come again.

I’ve been struggling all week to write the post. For several reasons but the race never felt good. My ankle felt fine, but since I hadn’t run anything fast, I didn’t feel good. In the minutes after I took off my shoes from the race my ankle hurt enough that I decided not to run…which I haven’t since I crossed the finish line.

My husband and I got to the race around 9, did about 4 miles to warm up and got the race start at 9:55. During the warmup, I felt fine. My ankle felt fine, and my body felt ok.  I didn’t feel great, but ok. I saw a couple of good friends and by the time I knew it, we were off.

My fast friend Meghan took off and I found myself as second female overall where I (barely) stayed. The first mile of the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler makes a giant loop around the parking lot. It’s paved and about the only paved section. I hit mile one of Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler in 6:33. I thought on a perfect day I could run 6:30 pace and I still kind of held my breath for that my body would feel good enough to do that.

The next couple of miles go out on Washington Crossing Pathway. It’s a narrow dirt path, but there is space to run. I hit the next mile in 6:57 and felt defeated. How could I have ever run a minute faster per mile? I felt stale and just kind of plugged along. 4 Miles doesn’t seem like a long race until you’ve taken it out too quickly for the day and need to hang on the second 2 miles.

The next mile of the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler turns around and I saw the leaders coming back. I hit mile 3 of the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler in 7:02.  While slightly windy, I just laughed. My stomach and body just didn’t feel good for the day.

During the last mile, we headed back towards the finish. One of my friends was quickly closing the gap and I just sprinted as hard as I could. I crossed mile 4 of the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler in 6:51 and finished in 27:13. My slowest time yet.

When I crossed the finish line of the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler, I felt fine. When I got to the car, my foot felt funky and when I went to cool down, it hurt. It hurt enough that I’ve shut down running since. I’ve just waited for MRI results because it could be several things ranging from severe Achilles tendonitis to a broken foot, I just don’t know.  Ther are different steps to recovery for all, so after a month of on/off dealing with it, it made sense to get an MRI.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler Thoughts:

As much as the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler is one of my favorite races of the year, I wish I hadn’t done it. I felt fine during the race, but running the race might have been a classic example of too much too soon. I felt fine running above 8-minute pace, but clearly, my ankle did not feel fine running faster. Only time will tell.

That being said, Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler is a well put together and fun race.

For those asking, there are grilled cheeses and tomato soup waiting at the end of the race for runners. RunBucks and Pat always has fun and unique races and I recommend any to friends.

Questions for you:

What’s a race you like to do every year?

Do you like Grilled Cheese? 



Kudos Coasters
A New Way to Display Race Medals with Kudos

As many people know, my New Year’s Resolution of 2020 is to get rid of things not serving me in a positive way. This could be tangible or not. If that interests you, you can follow along on Instagram @2020trashthetrash.

Anyway, one of the more significant tasks I’ve come across is Should I keep medals? Should I keep all of them? Some? Hang them on the wall? There are so many options out there.

Recently, I discovered Kudos, which is a unique way to turn your old race medals into coasters.  You don’t need to be a runner to use Kudos and you can turn any race medal, photos, artwork, or seashells. I think my next set of Kudos Coasters might be photos of my cats.

Kudos Coasters

The Kudos History:

Believe it or not, Kudos Coaster Plus was designed in five years. The founder, Ryan, started in a dimly lit basement and has evolved from there. He has since hired product designers to help morph Kudos into the coasters they are today. While Kudos is a common phrase (by runners on Strava ), meaning praise for an achievement,  is where you can find the coasters.

Kudos coasters also have tru-fit inserts so you can get a personalized fit and feel to the coasters. You could even design or paint your own.

Using Kudos as Coasters:

I’ve seen some creative displays of Kudos, but my favorite way is to display them as coasters. As a coffee and hot cocoa drinker, I can tell you the Kudos 2 U Coasters have to withstand both my coffee and hot cocoa with no issue or damage. Plus, the beveled lip makes it easier not to spill a beverage. The Kudos are designed to withstand 300-degree temperatures, so you don’t need to worry about them melting.

Kudos Coasters
Kudos Coasters are Stackable too

Can Kudo’s Store All Medals?

Obviously, some medals won’t fit into a Kudos Coaster, but for most of my medals fit. Sometime’s the ribbon is too large or bulky, so I cut them off. Or some medals make it easy to remove the ribbon without cutting it. I would say in the roughly 200 race medals I have; Kudos Coasters can accommodate 180 of them. It’s the custom medals or oversized medals that don’t fit in Kudos (like from the She Power Half).

Kudos Coasters

The Kudos Coaster Plus will fit any medal up to 0.5″ thick and 3.75” wide. If you find you need a little more thickness, you can remove the tru-fit insert. (I found this works well if you want to keep the ribbon inside the Kudos Coaster too).

Kudos Coasters

How Else Can You Use Kudos Coasters to Display Old Race Medals?

Using Kudos Coasters as Wall Decorations:

Kudos are fun because you can display on your wall without a medal rack. You can display your custom race medals and award medals on the wall without worrying about the ribbon taking up room.

Using Kudos as Refrigerator Magnets:

I got this idea from the website itself, but I use a few Kudos as big magnets.

Kudos Coasters
Taken from the Kudos Website

One thing that I appreciated is when I reached out to the founder, Ryan, to see if he would be interested in offering readers a discount, he replied himself! It’s awesome to talk 1-1 to the company founder.

I was lucky enough that Kudos is also offering 10% off to FueledbyLOLZ readers by using the code “FueledbyLOLZ.” You can find Kudos in many local running stores too (including RunningCo. of Haddonfield). Plus, shipping is free, which is awesome!

They make great gifts for the “runner that has everything,” which is what I’ve found myself getting a lot of runners lately.  I’ve been enjoying sharing more running related products that aren’t shoes and you don’t even need to be a runner to get use out of Kudos.

You can see more product reviews here.

Questions for you:

How do you display your finisher medals and racing bibs?

Have you tried Kudos Coasters before? 


Hilton Head Half Marathon
Hilton Head Half Marathon (1:31.13)

Hilton Head Half Marathon (1:31.13)

Last week, my husband and I took a trip to Hilton Head. I was looking at various winter races and thought the Hilton Head Half Marathon would be fun. We’ve been to the West Coast twice and Arizona twice, so we wanted something different. Typically I like to take a winter vacation to break up January and February. I don’t love the winter, so this gives me a short recoup time. The winter in 2020 hasn’t been winter at all, but we still decided to go down to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Our flights down to Hilton Head were bumpy but fine. We got one of the last planes out of Charlotte before a tornado hit. We arrived on beautiful Hilton Head Island Thursday morning. We did a short shakeout run where I felt like garbage (10-minute miles were pushing it for me). On Friday, we ran again and felt a little better.

The Hilton Head Island Marathon, Half Marathon, and 8k all started at Jarvis Creek Park at 8 am. The course takes participants through two parks on beautiful Hilton Head Island and is supposedly an overall scenic certified course. To me, it was scenic in some spots, but at least half of the race was on a highway or through narrow windy bike paths.

Overnight the weather went from being about 45 at the race start to 39. I didn’t have a hat or gloves, so I stopped at a local Walmart and picked up some stuff. Luckily the $3 headband is actually nice and didn’t get any ear chaffing.

The Hilton Head Half Marathon, Marathon and 8k all start at the same spot at 8 am. While the start has plenty of space, the race does funnel into a lot of small bike paths. During the first mile, I didn’t know who was racing what. We went around a turn and I hit the first mile of the Hilton Head Half Marathon at 6:55. I didn’t feel good or bad and just tried to get comfortable.

The second mile started to spread out and felt like I finally got some space. It was uneventful, and I ran in 6:45. I thought I might have the fitness to be below 1:30, but that didn’t happen.

During the third mile, the 8k broke off, so I was able to see who was in front of me. I didn’t know if they were running the full or half, but I estimated I was around 6th female.

The next few miles of the Hilton Head Half Marathon went by without a lot of anything. I kept to myself and was ran alone. There were people about 20 seconds ahead and 20 seconds behind, but no one around.

I ran mile 3 in 6:58, mile 4 in 6:57, mile 5 in 6:58.

It was fun to run under a toll booth and I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that. I knew there were two climbs in the Hilton Head Half Marathon, but I didn’t know what that meant. I hadn’t run the course, nor really researched it.

Then during mile 6, I quickly realized what it meant. We were climbing up and over the bridge. It gained about 100 feet of elevation in about 1/3 of a mile. It was tough, but I just told myself: “2 minutes of your life”. I climbed over the bridge, passed someone and went sailing down the other side. I hit mile 6 at 6:51, which I was pleasantly surprised with.

Mile 6-7 of the Hilton Head Half Marathon was my least favorite part of the race. There were no less than 12 turns on a narrow, windy course. I felt like I couldn’t get any rhythm and it was just one sharp turn after another. Then we headed into a muddy section of the race. That entire mile made me feel like garbage. I started negatively thinking: “well, that’s it,” the race is done. I ran a 7:08 mile.

The next mile went back onto roads and into a headwind. I was running with a young kid who kept me more motivated and engaged in the race. I hit mile 8 of the Hilton Head Half Marathon at 6:59, which I was happy with. Getting back under 7 made me feel like mile 6 was “just a fluke” with the turns.

Mile 8 of the Hilton Head Marathon was spent weaving around marathoners. We caught back up to those running about a 4-hour marathon and between the narrow streets and weaving, I ran a 7:09. I don’t mind when races overlap, but having them overlap on narrow bike paths is unacceptable and dangerous for everyone.

Ater getting back on the road, mile 9 of the Hilton Head Half Marathon went back over the bridge. I was running with marathoners. I just tried to keep to the left to minimize weaving but this also meant I was closer to cars passing by. The bridge went by quickly and before I knew it, I hit mile 10 at 1:09.30. I was happy that it was 30 seconds faster than the ten miler I recently did. Progress, I thought.

Then I told myself just a 5k to go. We went back down into narrow paths, and I weaved around marathoners on the windy roads again. I was just frustrated that we didn’t have more space.

Finally, we got back onto the main road and it opened up. I was happy to just have room to run again. I told myself 2 miles to go. You can run hard, blow up, and pick up the pieces for a mile. So I did. I just ran as hard as my body would allow. It didn’t feel good or bad, but indifferent. My breathing felt fine and I never felt like I was redlining it. I hit mile 11 of the Hilton Head Half Marathon in 6:44, which was my fastest.

During the last mile of the Hilton Head Half Marathon, I was trying to keep the momentum going. I passed a young kid and a few walkers from the 8k. We cut across the grass and went back down to the narrow paths. I thought I could break 1:31 and I desperately wanted too. I just ran as hard as I could.

I ended up crossing the Hilton Head Half Marathon in 1:31.13. I got the race at about 13.15 on GPS and most people got it longer.

Hilton Head Half Marathon Thoughts:

While I feel like I’m in faster shape than a 1:31 half marathon, it was a tough day. The weather was ideal but several spots on the course made it tough to get into a rhythm. I’m not sad or upset about my time, but I am looking to improve it. Sadly, the Hilton Head Half Marathon might be one of the few Half Marathons that I’ve run that doesn’t do race photos? I don’t think the Hilton Head Half Marathon was my least favorite course of any half marathon, but I don’t think I would run it again. The number of turns and congestion on the narrow paths made it less enjoyable than anticipated.

Questions for you:

Have you ever run a half marathon on narrow roads?

Have you been to Hilton Head? Have you run the Hilton Head Half Marathon? 

Distance Series 10 Miler
Distance Series 10 Miler (1:10.07)

Distance Series 10 Miler (1:10.07)

The Distance Series is one of my favorite local races in Virginia. Since I grew up in Hampton Roads, I always have both family and friends racing.  The Distance Series has three races from January to late March to get ready for the Shamrock Half Marathon.  There are 10/15/20 milers in the series or the shorter series 6/10/12.

The last Distance Series race I ran was in 2018, the 15 Miler. It was one of my best races in 2018.  Usually, January is dreary and I like to take a short trip out of New Jersey. This winter has been mild, and in fact, the Distance Series was hot. I haven’t run a January race that was 65-70 degrees and humid in a long time (maybe ever).  It felt like I was running a late May race! Anyway, I still had an enjoyable time and even with the humidity barely missed my “A” goal of under 1:10.

Dad and I arrived around 8 am picked up our packets and talked to a few friends. I saw good friend Mollie and we decided to warm up together. It was hot and to be honest; my body didn’t feel great.  We jogged about 2 miles and then headed to the start.

Distance Series 10 Miler

The Distance Series 10 Miler went off promptly at 9 am. It runs on the Dismal Swamp Trail, which is a boring, flat, trail next to the Dismal Swamp. In the summer, it’s insanely buggy.  The last time I ran there was the day before my wedding in 2015, my how time flies.

My A goal was to run a 1:10.  Based on my 10k, my VDot indicates I’m in between 1:09-1:10 shape right now. I knew the weather was not ideal, so it was a stretch to run 1:09.  I hit the first mile in 7:01. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed, but I evaluated how I was feeling and knew I needed to run conservatively, otherwise it would be a death march to the finish.

I ran the next mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler in 6:57. I felt better about it. For the most part, I was running alone and just lost in my own thoughts.  The 6 miler and 10 miler were together until mile 3, so it was tough to know who was running what. I wasn’t running for a place but more to see what kind of fitness I was in.

I crossed the third mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler in 6:57. I felt decent, but my legs were still stiff. I noticed we had a headwind, so I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if the last 5 miles were tailwind…then I realized, did I really want tailwind with how hot it already was?

The next two miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler went by without much note. I was just plugging along. Around mile 4.5, I saw the leaders heading back. I couldn’t tell if it was a tailwind. All I wanted to do was get to mile 5 to find out if it was a tailwind. I crossed mile 5 in 35:10.

As we headed back, I realized it was no wind. The air was a standstill and the humidity was high. I felt like I roasted the last 5 miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler.  I just plugged along. Running in the Dismal Swamp can be mentally challenging because there are mile markers by the .25, so you literally count down. It felt like it was dragging.

As I was heading back, I grabbed Gatorade at the two remaining stops. I ran mile 5 in 7:01, followed by 6 in 6:57.  The miles felt like they were taking forever; I just wanted to be done. Something happened that I’ve never had happen before and that my leg started to spaz out a little bit. I think I was cramping due to the heat. Once I grabbed Gatorade around mile 7.5-8, it felt better.

The next few miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler were uneventful and I ran a 6:59, 6:58, 6:59. I wanted so badly to be under 1:10, but I realized due to not running in a perfect line and adding almost a 10th of a mile, I wouldn’t be there. I crossed mile 9 at 1:03.15, and I knew I would need to haul butt to be under 1:10.

Distance Series 10 Miler

I felt like I was powering during the last mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler.  I passed a few of the six miler races, but I had tunnel vision to the end. I saw the clock ticking 1:09.45 and I knew I was just a little bit off. I didn’t let that dampen my spirits and I still powered to the end. My last 30 seconds was about 6:12 pace. I crossed in 1:10.07.

Distance Series 10 Miler

Distance Series 10 Miler Thoughts:

I’m happy with my effort at the Distance Series 10 Miler.  If it was better weather, I would have run under 1:10 but can’t change the weather. My effort was there and I was much more consistent.  I didn’t “fly and die,” so I was happy with that. Plus, the last time I ran a 10 miler in October, I ran a 1:15.

I’m looking forward to my next race in a few weeks (a 5k).

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. 

Questions for you:

How was the weather near you last weekend?

What is your favorite distance to race? 



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