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Today is My Birthday

Today is My Birthday

As my unoriginal title indicates, today, July 12th, is my 28th birthday.  Some years I write X number of things I learned before age X.  Other years, I don’t even write a post about my birthday.  Some years I spend with family, some with my husband, friends, and others I’ve spent alone.  I haven’t learned a heck of a lot new since last July 12th, and there is no way I could write 28 things I’ve learned since 28.

Last year, I decided I wasn’t interested in material items or junk.  I stopped buying new clothing, and in 2018 my New Year’s Resolution is not to buy any new nonathletic apparel (I don’t go crazy on buying athletic apparel either).  After bills, I’ve chosen to spend my money on experiences rather than things.  Experiences like races, diners, and traveling to random places.  Things that I can look back on and think: dang that was fun.  I don’t need or want any useless junk.

As I reflect upon that, I’m also sitting on an airplane to Denver, Colorado.  I’m doing something out of my comfort zone, and maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m going to run the Copper Mountain 25k.  My only goal is to finish.

I haven’t been secretly training for trail races, but after running the Xterra 10k a few months ago and having fun, trail no longer terrifies like they once did.  I’ve spent a lot of time this spring and summer hiking and it’s become just as fun to me as running. It will be my longest run in a long time, the highest altitude I’ve ever run, and maybe not my wisest idea.  As I mentioned on my blog, when the opportunity first presented itself a few weeks ago, I said no but thought: why not? I have nothing to prove, and it’s getting me out of my comfort zone.

I’m really looking forward to running this weekend.

A few highlights of adventures from age 27:

Visiting the Grand Canyon

grand canyon north rim

Our vacation last year that we booked two plane tickets to Denver and a rental car with no plans.  We ended up driving 2600 miles and seeing amazing places.

road trip through colorado

PRing at the Phoenix Half in February Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

10 Mile Hike through GrayBeard Trail (North Carolina)

Air Force Marathon (half for me) with my husband and in laws

Apparently, I decided to nap and close my eyes right there…

Private Flying over NYC

flying over nyc

Those are just a few of the many memories I have from age 27.  I can only hope 28 will be just as fun!

Questions for you:

When is your birthday? How did you celebrate last year?

Any last minute trail tips?

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April Training: Snow to 90

April Training: Snow to 90

It’s hard to believe another month has gone by.  April wasn’t my best, or even second best month of the year, but it was a lot better than last April.

I had two goals for April and I met both of them:

  1. Finish the April Fools Half (mentally) healthy
  2. Not Burn out in April like 2017

So while I didn’t log any extremely fast times or workouts, I also didn’t burn out and that is far ahead of where I was last year.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

Miles Run: Around 200
Rest Days: 6
Range of Paces: 5:49-10:32-untimed
Workouts: 7
Races:
April Fools Half (1:26.08)
Making Strides 5k (19:08)

Thoughts:

As I mentioned, nothing was exceptionally fast and I’m okay with that!  I’m running healthy and that is what matters.  As most people know, I took a nasty fall during the April Fools Half (I collided with a spectator cutting across the course).  I got an X-ray to confirm I didn’t break anything but it took about 2 weeks to feel good again.  It actually hurt the most while sitting.  Luckily by the end of the month, I felt much better.

It’s funny to look back at photos and realize there was a lot going on, weather wise.  In the beginning of the month we had snow and we ended with 90 degrees!

View this post on Instagram

It’s fine, it will melt this weekend.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

In May, I’ll be traveling a lot.  It’s going to be a busy but fun month.  My goal for the summer months is just enjoying running.  This summer, I would like to get to local tracks more since students won’t be in school.  After Broad Street on Sunday, I don’t have any big goal races of the summer.

Posts from the Month:

Running:

Last Minute Broad Street Tips
Benefits of Massages for Runners
ON Cloud Shoe Review
Rest Weeks Save Training Cycles

Hiking:

Exploring Turkey Swamp Park
What I Pack in My Hiking Bag

Blogging:

Blogging is Dying

Questions for you: How was your month of training?  What are your plans this summer?

A Look Back at 2016 Running

A Look Back at 2016 Running

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

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

January: 

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

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

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

carlsbad half

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

February:

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

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

March:

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

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

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

via Phillies facebook

April:

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

April Fools half

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

80s Attire

totally awesome 80s run

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

broad street 10 miler 1

May-August

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

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

September:

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

Roll Virginia Beach results

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

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

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

October:

As great as September was, October was better!

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

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

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

Base half marathon me running

November:

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

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

December:

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

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

Favorite Races of 2016:

Phillies 5k (18:27)

Flower Show 5k (18:13) PR

Broad Street 10 miler (61:59) PR

Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:22.57) PR

April Fools Half Marathon (1:24.04)

Base Half Marathon (1:25.28)

Dallas Half Marathon (1:23.44)

You can see all of my races here.

So what’s next for 2017?

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

Questions for you:

How was your year of running?

Spring Timeline of Minor Issues

I wanted to reflect upon my training since March and figure out how I got to this point in training.  The point of being burnt out, exhausted and injured. Hopefully, someone falling into the trap doesn’t land here too.  Yes, maybe this post reads more like a diary, but I do believe it’s beneficial for me to look back and reflect upon the roller coaster of 2016.

The Good Times:

carlsbad half
I started 2016 off with a bang.  In January, I PRed in both the 5k and half marathon.  I trained through February and PRed again at the Flower Show 5k.

I ran a disappointing race at Shamrock in March. It took both a mental and physical toll on my body.  I believe that was the beginning of my slow downward spiral. Since March, I’ve had a series of small injuries that caused me not to train consistently.  “It was always something.”

After Shamrock, I had a tight Glute Meade that pulled on my hamstring.   I felt overall tight, and it caused me to take about a week off from running.  After my muscles had loosened up, my training became more sporadic and less consistent.  Looking back, not training consistently caused more and more issues to arise.  I should have just taken an extended break then.  It would have prevented mental fatigue and minor aches to heal.

After running a great race at the Atlantic City half marathon, my right foot was sore.  My metatarsals hurt, and I thought I had another stress fracture in a metatarsal.  My right side doesn’t give me too many problems, but my foot hurt.  I took time off, and they found it was just soft tissue damage and pinched metatarsals.  I panicked “for nothing”.  After a week off and diving back into more haphazard training; I ran a few good races.broad street 10 miler 1

I ran Broad Street, the Newport 10k, and a mile in May. Diving quickly back into training wasn’t the best idea, and I found myself both mentally and physically exhausted.  After the mile, I decided to take a break. I didn’t have any ankle pain, but my legs were tired, and my mind was just as tired as well.

After taking a few days off, I decided to go for a run.  My legs had loosened up but something in my foot just “felt off”.  I couldn’t explain it, but my left foot didn’t feel right when running.  It was an ache more in my ankle.  It was enough to cause concern, so I just continued to rest.  I am relatively cautious, and anything feels off, I prefer to get looked at immediately, so I did.  This goes for pretty much anything, running related or not.

A few days later I got an X-ray and also got ART.  I was walking regularly, but something just felt off.  As I’ve mentioned before, the X-ray came out normally.  The doctors visually looked at my foot including pressing against each metatarsal, pushing against my navicular bone and squeezing my calcaneus.  They engaged with each bone, and I did the “hop test”.  All of which, I could do with no cause for alarm.

They also hit the tuning fork against my foot.  Nothing in my foot hurt, so it was somewhat motivating that my issue wasn’t bone related, and they ordered an MRI.

MRI foot

An MRI image of my foot

During the entire process of getting everything looked at, I didn’t miss running.  Maybe it was because I was mentally exhausted or maybe because I knew my foot felt off but I didn’t even have the interest to run.

The orthopedist thought I probably had an inflamed tendon or muscle in my foot.  Based on everything else, it made sense.  About three weeks after I decided to take the mental break, I received the results of my MRI.  I had a small hairline fracture on my fifth metatarsal closer to my ankle.

As I’ve mentioned, my initial thoughts were: how, why, what, did I do?

It was shocking considering I had run frequently on it before taking a mental break.  Since I was overall sore, tired and tight I think my foot aches were being overruled my overall body ache.

Even though the fracture probably happened sooner, we are considering the initial rest and recovery to start May 23.  It was the day I began taking my mental break.  Here I am, nearly one month later away from running.  It doesn’t feel like a month later, but I believe it was because I spent the first two weeks not knowing my body was even hurt.  I’m allowed to attempt a mile next Monday to see how it feels.  Since this injury hasn’t presented itself normally and I still don’t have many answers, I don’t know how the run will go.  If I feel anything even during the first step or two, I’m not going to continue.

Questions for you:

Have you had a mysterious injury or issue? 

What is the most fun cross training exercise you’ve done? 

From a 20:20 5k to an 18:13

It’s hard to believe this time last year I was getting ready for my second full marathon.  It’s the last marathon I’ve run.

Last year after completing the Phoenix full marathon, I felt like I failed.  Despite PRing, I finished the race injured.  Thinking out loud, I didn’t enjoy marathon training, and I didn’t enjoy the race.  The race was put together well, but it was not right for me.

What was there left to enjoy? For me, the marathon negatives outweighed the positives, and I decided I was done with the distance for a while.

Running the distance I wanted was the best decision I made for myself.

Last May I began my journey of running mostly 5ks.  The first 5k I ran was at a local high school, and I ran a 20:20.  It was disappointing, but it gave me a truthful baseline.  Sometimes, the truth hurts.  Getting the baseline was not only physically painful but mentally painful too.  It was hard to come to terms with the fact that I was running that pace.  Before marathon training, I never ran above a 20 minute 5k. The first step in achieving a goal is being honest with yourself, and that was where I was.

Goals are not attainable if they aren’t realistic.

My friend Austin and I at that race

My friend Austin and I at that race

Between May and now I’ve consistently trained.  I don’t have a secret and to be honest, no athlete should!  If you have a secret of “how you got fast overnight”, generally it’s not legal.

Last May I mentioned I was going to race a lot and I did.  Did I think I would PR at every race?  No, absolutely not.

So I took a break from marathons and got healthy and then ran a bunch of races. I wanted to focus on shorter races, and I wanted to gain leg speed back.  I thrive on racing, so I decided to do what made me happy, which was more racing.  Racing as frequently as I did, allowed me to improve as rapidly as I did.  It’s easy to see I was doing more speed work than ever before.

I attribute better fitness to a few things:

  • Consistency in my training and easy runs
  • The amount of racing and speed workouts

Each race I learned something about my running.

Each race was a stepping stone to the fitness I’m at now.

Each race was considered a workout for a larger goal of PRing.  It’s not realistic to think I could go from running a 20+ minute 5k to a PR.

Click to tweet: Consistency leads to progression which leads to PRs.

Last weekend I ran another PR of 18:13.  That is just over 2 minutes faster than where I started last May.  It is 9 seconds faster than my PR in a dress on January 1st.  It’s also 40 seconds quicker than a PR that stood for over two years.

flower show cannon

Now that I’ve Pred in everything from the 5k to half, where does this lead me?

Right now I will finish the Spring racing season with a few more shorter distances.  If I can stay healthy throughout Spring and Summer, I might give the full marathon another shot.  A lot can change both mentally and physically in the next few months, but I haven’t ruled racing another full marathon out.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite race distance?

What are you consistently working at right now?

Blogging about Blogging

The last 5+ years of blogging have been enjoyable.  I’ve learned a lot about social media, blogging, running and, of course, myself.  Through blogging, I’ve met incredible people and done amazing things.

If that isn’t the most cliché and kissass introduction, I don’t know what is.

Blogging about blogging

Just thinking out loud, like every blogger, I started by blogging for myself.   I never expected to blog five years later, and I never expected to enjoy it as much as I do.

Obviously, I’ve grown as a person since blogging.  I started LOLZ blog as a 20-year-old junior in college. Like any college student, I was confused with life, school, sports and training.  I began blogging as a way to document my personal journey.

As I continued to blog and connect with others, I even had a few readers.  I was no longer blogging just for myself because I had an audience. Whether I knew each individual in real life or not, I had readers.  My tone didn’t change, but it did make me think more about what I said on the internet.  Whether you delete something or not, the internet never forgets.

With or without readers, I blog for myself, but I also blog to share my journey in hopes someone can learn from me (both my success and mistakes).  

In blogging, twitter, facebook and social media in general, people enjoy feedback…that is why we do it.   

Would I blog as much if no one ever commented?  I’m not sure, I could have a personal journal at that point. 

I enjoy blogging, and it’s a fun hobby to have.  Life is too short to do things you don’t like.  Right now I like to blog and run…so I will make time for those hobbies. 

There is a lot more to blogging than write a post and make it public. 

It’s a lot of time, effort and commitment.  I’m far less “active” in the blogging world these days, but even the simple task of writing a post takes time.  Now there are so many platforms to promote and engage readers.  Those platforms were small or didn’t even exist five years ago.  Blogging has also become a huge advertising channel.  Sure it’s great to make money from blogging, but many people seek blogging out as a full-time income versus starting a blog “because they want too”.

Do I think it would be awesome to make more money from LOLZ blog?  Sure, but do I want to promote products every post or promote ANY product I don’t personally try or care for…no.

I don’t want to blog for giveaways, paid reviews and advertisements.  They have their time and place, which is not every post.

Six Lessons I’ve Learned From Blogging:

Not everyone will like you, and that is fine

Many people won’t agree with your training, writing style or for whatever reason they just don’t like you.  That’s fine! In a world where everyone is brought up winning a trophy and taught “you do no wrong”, it’s a harsh reality.  Don’t mistake not agreeing with hating.  Constructive criticism is something I value greatly.  We don’t grow as humans if we are told we are always told we are perfect.

Don’t lie to promote something

Lying to promote yourself, your blog or product is just dumb. What’s the point? As people and bloggers, we are allowed to change our minds about issues, products and life but not every other blog post.

People (and bloggers) grow apart

I’ve grown apart from several blogs I followed.  There are two blogs that were blogging when I began in 2010.  People change and grow, it’s fact of life. There is no need to read every single blog in the “blogging world”.  If a topic doesn’t interest you, then it doesn’t.  I’m sure several readers could care less about diner reviews, and that is fine!  Believe it or not, some locals only care about diners!  I never blog with the expectation that people care about any and every post. Believing that only sets us up for failure.  I don’t read every blog post by every blogger I follow either.

Blogging is not a profitable thing to do.

Unless you want to shill products you don’t care about or sell yourself out for trivial items, it’s not worth it. You aren’t going to become a millionaire from blogging.  To be honest, if you want to be a full-time blogger, you will also have to insert multiple ads, products reviews, and trivial nonsense that you or your readers don’t care about.    I’ve been contacted by several companies to promote things as adult diapers, maxi pads, vitamins that aren’t FDA regulated and even pet products.  None of those products match my blog, so I don’t promote them.  Sure I turned down money, but it’s not worth it to me.

I’m going to use my blog to shill out things that I could care less about.  I’ll promote products I like and my readers could find useful. It’s a big reason I’ve chosen not to be a full-time blogger.  I couldn’t take myself seriously if I turned my personal blog into a billboard for women’s hygiene products or other random junk.  Yes, they are important but not relevant here.

Just because you can use Google, does not make you an expert

If I am looking for an expert medical advice, I will seek someone who is qualified.  I read blogs because they are light hearted and fun.  I don’t read because I expect the blogger to be a medical professional.  Google does not make you as qualified as a nutritionist, dietitian or medical expert.  In this blogging day and age, it seems most bloggers are either a coach, online nutritionist or some sort of life coach.

Every blogger has chosen to omit something from their personal space online

It’s smart.  When reading a blog, you don’t see the full life picture.  For instance, when my husband and I chose to live together a few years ago, it wasn’t as if I woke up and wrote a post titled “I’m moving” and shotgunned a move.  We had discussed it for a while but I didn’t announce it until it was final.

Maybe a person is struggling because they ended a relationship, maybe they are having financial problems, or maybe someone just doesn’t feel like sharing a personal tidbit.  Blogging is a fine line between sharing and oversharing.

I am a part of an important volunteer campaign that I’ve chosen to omit.  Does that make it any less important?  Absolutely not but it isn’t relevant to my blog.

Click to tweet: Don’t overshare.  The Internet never forgets.  

For better or worse blogging has come a long way since 2010.  It’s far more commercialized, and people expect to be compensated for their “time” blogging.  No one is forcing you to blog, and it should be something you actually enjoy.  Don’t start a blog if you think you’re going to become rich, famous or an internet sensation.

In any case, I love to blog, and I’m not going anywhere. 

Questions for you: How long have you been blogging?  How has it changed?  

Why I love Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest Hallmark Holidays of the year.  I don’t know the stats, but my guess is most of the employees in the card, flower, fancy restaurant and chocolate industry are overbooked and overwhelmed.

I know in the running industry that’s how I feel during marathon and track season

To be honest, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite Holidays.  Not because I expect a plethora of things, or want to participate in the “let’s show off our love via social media contest”. 

addtext_com_MDUzNjE4MjE1NTkx

Valentines Day is a time to celebrate love. 

Whether it’s love for….

…a significant other

…your family and friends

…a pet

and most importantly:

Love for yourself

As a 20 something-year-old, I can tell you I didn’t always love myself.  In college,  I put a lot more pressure on myself. I wanted to the be absolute best I could be and wouldn’t give myself credit for achieving the small things.  I didn’t appreciate things about myself that looking back I wish I would have!  Not just in sports but in life as well.

Valentines Day is a beautiful celebration of love.  It starts with love and appreciation for yourself.  

Here are a few ways to embrace and love yourself:

  1. Show gratitude for who you are now. As humans, we are always growing and learning more about ourselves.  We are striving to do better and to be better.  Take time to reflect on where you are now and how far you have come.  Never discount the small achievements.
  2. Do something daily that makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming but do something each day that you know will make you happy.  Is that reading a few blogs?  Is that painting your fails?  Is it running?  Make sure to make a little bit of time for just you each day.
  3. Give yourself a fair chance. If you believe you will fail, you will.  Believe in yourself.  It’s that simple.
  4. Distance yourself from things that make you unhappy. That could be things, people or activities but if you are constantly around things that are making you miserable, you cannot love and appreciate yourself.
  5. Believe in yourself. If there is one thing you can do to love yourself, it’s believe in yourself.  If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?  Confidence is key.

Valentines Day doesn’t have to be a celebration of giving or receiving gifts.  It’s a celebration of love whether it is loving yourself, your family and friends or significant other.

We all have someone to love, and it starts with ourselves.

Question for you: How do you love yourself? 

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