Running, Running Reads, Training

Runners World Festival 5k (18:46)

I’ve always enjoyed the Runners World Festival in Bethlehem, PA, put on by Runners World Magazine. During the Runners World Festival Weekend, there are several multi distance challenges including a trail run, 5k, 10k, kids run, dog run, and half marathon. For me running the 5k and Runners World half marathon works the best (to stay healthy). The Festival is Beautiful Bethlehem, Pennsylvania just miles away from the Runners World Headquarters (ETA: Now moved to NYC).

The races themselves are scenic and feature Bethlehem’s historic neighborhoods including the Bethlehem steel complex.

After running the Runners World 5k twice (in 2015 and 2016), I knew what to expect with the course.  I knew the first mile was hilly, the second mile had a nice downhill, and the third mile had a couple of hills but nothing like the first mile.

I didn’t sleep well the night before.  I’m not sure why, but my body decided that 5 am was a good time to be wide awake.  So with that, I was up at 5.  I ate breakfast and just kind of waited around in my hotel room.

Around 7 am, I went for a warmup.  My legs didn’t feel good, but they felt decent.  Due to Runners World Influencer events and a busy day before, I felt more exhausted than normal but I knew I would.  We did a HIIT class, and you can ask any of the bloggers there I was definitely the caboose in fitness there.

I don’t run Runners World Festival to PR, I run because I like the atmosphere, Runners World, and it’s fun.  Not that I’m in PRing shape anyway.

I also knew it wouldn’t be my fastest time because of the hills but also because I’m not in the same fitness as last year.  Never the less, I was excited to run and my husband and I went for a 3 mile warm up.

By the time I realized it, it was 8 minutes until the race and I wasn’t at the start.  I hustled over and on the way, the policeman told me I was the last person.  Ha..I arrived at the start at 7:58 for the 8:00 am start.  I quickly threw my things in the bushes, and one minute later we were off.  Despite being awake early, I seem to cut every race close.

The first mile got out fast.  There were several women in front of me, and I figured if I could place in my age group again I would be happy.  Slowly, I began catching women, and by the time we went over the bridge I found myself as third female overall.

As I began focusing on my race, I noticed a familiar face.  Not because we were friends but because I recognized her from photos.  Ryan Hall’s oldest daughter, passed me as if I was standing still.  I looked several feet ahead and noticed Ryan, himself, was jogging in sweats in front of her.  I hit the first mile in 6:18 which with the hills, I was happy with.

The second mile begins the nitty gritty of the race.  Of the three miles, it’s the easiest with a few downhills to charge and make up time for the first mile.   I passed two women and hit the second mile in 5:54 which is my fastest mile since returning to the sport.

My legs were tired during the third mile, but I wanted desperately to hold on.  My good friend Rosie was catching me (Spoiler: we ran the entire half marathon together until she floored it for the win).

During the last half mile, I told myself I’ve been working on my kick.  I need to take it to a gear I haven’t been in a while.  I have one of the worst kicks of any runner and chances are, if you are near me in the final strides you can outkick me.  I lost a lot of races in the spring due to being outkicked by a few seconds.

Last Saturday, I kicked as hard as I could and finished at a 5:49 pace, barely holding onto second.  If it was a 3.2-mile race, I can guarantee Rosie would have passed me.  I finished in 18:46 which is only 5 seconds slower than last year and last week (last week was a much easier course).

Runners World 5k me running

After the race, Hanna, Rosie, and I accepted our awards and the Hall’s were kind enough to even take a photo with me and chat for a few minutes.

To be honest, it was one of the most surreal moments of my life.  I’m standing there accepting an award with two of the greatest distance runners and just babbling about who knows what.  Not my first time making a fool of myself as I made Kate Grace choke on a hotdog a few years ago. Despite being a challenging course, I enjoy the Runners World Races through Beautiful Bethleham, Pennsylvania.

Questions for you:

Do you have a good kick?

Have you ever met a famous runner?

me running holmdel

Workouts: Easy Runs and RW Festival

Last week was a great week for both training and running.  As many people know, the Runner’s World Festival in Bethlehem has become one of my favorite weekends.  I was lucky enough to be an influencer this year again and came up a day early and got to take a look at Runners World as well as listen to a few seminars.  I’ll blog about that more throughout the week though!

Monday:  Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday:  Easy 45 minutes
Wednesday:  Easy 90 minutes at Holmdel Park
Thursday:  Rest
Friday: 20 minutes with RW crew/40 mins PM
Saturday: Runners World 5k: 18:48+7 WU/CD
Sunday: Runners World 13.1+2 CD
Total: 50-54 miles



Week 8: 43-45 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)
Week 9: 41-43 miles (2 races)
Week 10: 50- 53 miles (13.1 miles workout)
Week 11: 44-47 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)

Week 12: 50-54 miles (2 workouts: 5k/13.1)

Easy Runs: 
The easy runs were just that, easy.  Friday we ran a shakeout run and were led by Suzanne A (who I’ve come to know well from my job at a local running store, as well as Runners World) and Ryan Hall.  The pace was relaxed, and I didn’t bring my Garmin.  It was a lot of fun just watching the sunrise over Bethlehem.

Runners World 5k: 18:48
Not my fastest course time, but as I mentioned last week, I didn’t feel as trained as last year.  That’s because I wasn’t!  It was, however, my highest finish at a Runners World race and I was second in the 5k.  You never know who will or won’t show up!

My splits were 6:18, 5:52, 6:01.  It accurately reflects the course, and the first mile is hilly, while the second mile has a few downhills. What I am most proud of is my kick, that I ran the last .1 at 5:49 pace.  If you followed my blog through the Spring, you know I have the worlds worst kick.  I gave up several overall places because I don’t have “it” in the last strides of a race.  I’ve been working more on fast finishes which helped and I was second overall.

What else happened during this race?  During mile 1: I was passed by none other than Hanna and Ryan Hall.  Hanna went on to win but having the US record holder in the marathon pass you in sweatpants is a running moment I’ll never forget.  HA!

Runners World 13.1: 1:24.52
I have so much to say about this race but it merits it’s own race recap.  I had a great race and was second overall.  I was surprised with how “good” I felt after racing a 5k the day before.  While I ran faster last year, I was also in better shape.

I actually ran with a pack of about 6 women for nearly 10 miles.  It was kind of crazy and cool, as I’ve never done that before.

In all, I’m happy with how everything went last week.  I had such a great time at the Runners World Festival and a good week of training.

Running Related Posts of the Week:

How to Beat Race Nerves

Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)

Questions for you:
Have you met a famous/elite athlete before?
What is one of your favorite races?

Running, Training

Runners World Festival 5k (18:41)

I went into the Runners World 5k in nonideal conditions.  As I mentioned in my training log, we did a November Project workout the day before and my legs did not feel fresh.  I don’t regret doing the workout but it was more strenuous than I would have preferred.

While warming up, my legs felt November Project.  More specifically, my quads felt fatigued.  It almost felt as if I had raced the day before.  I reminded myself: I’ve done back to back races before and done well, so I tried to get myself into that mentality.

Since I ran the 5k last year, I knew the course.  I knew it was challenging and it was one of the more hilly 5ks I’ve done. I knew I wouldn’t PR, but I was looking to run hard.

At the start line, there were a lot of fast women.  I was excited and nervous.  The air horn went off and all of a sudden we were off.  It was a crowded first 400 meters, and I was elbow to elbow with a lot of people.  I saw five ladies take off like missiles and I knew they were much faster.  I placed third last year but suspected that was not happening (and it didn’t!)

The first mile felt like it took a lot longer than it should.  I was running in a large pack and we ran a 6:16.

Honestly, I was extremely discouraged.

I thought my race was done.  My goal was to be around 18:56 (the time I ran last year).  I spent the next mile sulking and wondering what went wrong but I also tried to regroup and refocus.  Often times, things seem 100 times worse when you are in the moment.  During mile 2, I saw my Runners World Festival team partner, Jason, who was killing it.  He also ran the 5k/10k and half.

As went over the bridge,  I saw a lot of familiar faces which motivated me and allowed to refocus and change my attitude.  It’s a running race, not life or death.  I ran the second mile in 5:45.  Looking back, the elevation profile makes complete sense with splits.  My time makes sense, but nothing makes sense when you are actually running.

After hitting the second mile in 12:01, I made it my goal to power to the end.

I wanted a course PR, and I knew if I didn’t run a 6:30ish mile I could do that.  So I focused on the end.  I also knew the final mile had a small uphill too.  I remember the second place woman passing me effortlessly there last year.  There weren’t any females around me, but there were plenty of men. Runners World Festival

After the hill, I cruised down and towards the finishers shoot.  Around 2.9, I saw the clock ticking 17:30.  I stared at the 3-mile clock until I passed it.  Then I stared at the finishers clock.  I didn’t want to view the clocks, but I couldn’t look away from them either.

Finishing the 5k

Thanks Ty for the photo

I heard them announce me name as: “All the way on her toes, Hollie, crosses as fourth place female”.  I laughed because I am, after all, FueledbyLOLZ…I can only laugh in real life.


I’m extremely pleased with the race.  I was faster than last year even though I was much more sore from November project.  It’s my fastest time on an accurate course (I ran an 18:58 two weeks ago, and a 6 min paced 3.3 miles three weeks ago).  Plus the course is difficult. I am proud of myself for regrouping and refocusing in the race.

Elevation Profile:

Runners World 5k elevation profile

Other Runners World Festival Posts: 
Activities during the Runners World Festival
Training Log

Question for you: Have you ever mentally checked out of a race or activity? 


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? 

Running, Training, Training

Training Last Week: November Project and Runner’s World Festival

The majority of last week was spent running easy and getting ready for the Runners World Festival.  While I knew, both courses were difficult, and I’m not in shape to PR yet, I wanted to feel somewhat fresh.  All of that was thrown out of the window when we did a new workout the day before.  Honestly, it was fun, and I’m okay with that.

Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: Easy Run
Wednesday: Easy Run with Montana before she moved
Thursday: Rest
Friday: November Project
Saturday: Runners World Festival 5k (18:41)
Sunday Runners World Festival 13.1 (1:24.17)

Easy Runs:
As usual, there is nothing much to say about easy runs.  There was nothing particularly good or bad about them.  Soon, I think I’ll be ready to add an additional speed workout back into my routine.  I’ve been running healthy for over two months, and my base is just about back.

November Project:
Any runner has likely heard of November project.  I had beforehand, but I had never done a workout before. I knew it was intense and it didn’t disappoint.  There was a Pop Up in Bethlehem at the Runner’s World Festival.  All of the Runners World Influencers were asked to attend, and it was great to meet a lot of people. We had to climb the Steel stack stairs, do push-ups and dips and a lot of core work.  It was a lot of fun, and I don’t regret going, but I was definitely sore for the races!

November Project
Climbing the Steel Stack Stairs

Runners World Festival 5k: 18:41
I’ll have a full recap this week, but I’m happy with the time.  The course is hilly, and after November project I have no complaints.  My splits were 6:16, 5:45 and 6:02. I placed fourth woman overall.

Runners World Festival 13.1 (1:24.17)

Runners World Half Marathon
Thanks to Erica Sara for this photo

The half marathon was honestly my biggest shock of the weekend.  My hopeful goal was to be faster than the 1:28 I ran in 2015.  I couldn’t believe when I crossed the finish line in 1:24.  I never felt good during the race (tired legs and lack of sleep) but I never felt bad either.

I’m really happy with how this week went and I have zero complaints.  I had a great time at the Runners World Festival and two great races.  This week will probably be filled with Runners World Festival race recaps and behind the scenes recaps too.

Posts from last week:
Fall Running Products I’m Enjoying
LunarGlide 8 Review
6 Weeks of Deployment Later…

Questions for you:
Do you do better at hilly race courses or flat?
I’m beginning to think I run better on hilly half marathon courses.  This was my third fastest half marathon behind Carlsbad and Atlantic City (2014).  Carlsbad was a rolling hilly (to me) course too.
How was your week of training?