Runners World Festival Half Marathon (1:24.17)

The recap for the actual race begins the night before. A couple two doors down fought the entire night.  From about 11 pm to 5 am, they screamed at each other and slammed doors.  I’m not sure if I was more frustrated or impressed by their fighting stamina. I woke up around 4:45 to another fight and couldn’t fall back asleep.  I was glad this wasn’t going on during a goal race and just decided to wake up.

After waking up and relaxing, I walked to the race at 7.  Runners World changed the bag check this year, and it was over half a mile, away.  By the time Ty and I realized this, it was too late for me.  I couldn’t drop a bag off, go to the restroom and get to the race on time.  I also didn’t care to be delayered that far in advance before the race or run in my racing flats to the start.  So I took a risk and stashed my bag in the bushes.  It’s not something I advise, but I made it to the start on time.  (Yes, I thought about what a poor decision that was for half of the race.  My shoes and cell phone are both replaceable, but it would have been a costly replacement).

The race went off right at 8. After the November Project workout as well as 5k the day before, I didn’t have high hopes for an amazing time.  Plus, I’m not in the fitness I would like after my ankle injury. Last year I ran a 1:28 and my goal was to run faster than that.

The only thing I remembered about the course from last year was it was hilly for the first 10 miles, and the last three were downhill.  It’s a tough and challenging course, but it’s set up pretty well.  

The first mile went by fast.  I was running in a pack of people, and we hit the first mile in 6:22.  I thought it would be one of my fastest miles since it was downhill.

I noticed three women in front of me, and I focused on them.  One of the women was the overall winner of the 5k the day before.  The second mile went downhill.  I passed a few men and hit the second mile in 6:27.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

During the third mile, we climbed, and I ran close to another woman.  She passed me on the uphill, and I would pass her on the downhill.  She had such great form climbing the hills, and I tried to mimic her.  It was like she was climbing hundreds of feet effortlessly. I was in awe, and we hit the third mile in 6:33.

The fourth and fifth mile went by without any notice.  I was bouncing around and running with a pack.  I guessed I was moving places anywhere from 3-5th.  There was a pretty large pack of us! I ran mile 4 at 6:31 and mile 5 at 6:30.

I knew mile 6 was going to be a steep climb and it didn’t disappoint.  I focused on making it to the halfway point.  I ran a 6:49 mile but I wasn’t fading, and the pack did about the same.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

Finally, around the halfway point, someone shouted 3,4,5th female.  There was a potential podium finisher in our pack (which actually it was another woman who outkicked us all!).  It didn’t necessarily motivate me to run any harder, but it was nice to know where we were.  I realized at the halfway point; I didn’t feel too bad.  I wasn’t fading, and my splits were direct responses to hills. I had a feeling I might finish well.

I hit the halfway point in 42:34.  It would equate to a 1:25.08 half.  I made the goal of breaking 1:26 which wasn’t based on anything but feeling good.

I knew one of my friends was passing water out around mile 8 so I just focused on that.  By this point, I was running in the same pack consisting of myself, two women and a male.  It kept me motivated and pushed me to keep moving.  After a turn around mile 9, I also noticed there were about four other women 10 seconds behind.

I hit the ten-mile point in about 1:05 and I desperately wanted to break 1:26.  This was when I began pushing the pace.  I knew the last 5k was a lot of downhill, so I was going to take advantage of it. I rarely have downhill advantage over any racer, but I began pushing and broke away from the females.  The male and I progressed together.

Around mile 11, we went over the bridge and a new woman passed me like I was standing still.  I knew at that very moment; she had clutched 3rd.  I did not have the leg turnover or speed and I knew if it came down to the last .1, she would easily outkick me.  I did, however, attempt to keep up and mile 11 was the fastest mile I’ve ever run during a half marathon (5:58).  It was also partially downhill.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

The final two miles were spent by myself.  I just focused on the end.  The last mile is the same last mile the 5k uses.  I just kept wanting to see the finishers line.  Around mile 13, I saw Erica Sara and her son which motivated me.

I crossed the finish line in 1:24.17 and I was both ecstatic and shocked.  That is my third fastest half marathon (Behind my PR at Carlsbad and Atlantic City 2014).  I still cannot believe I ran that well given the circumstances and I do believe it sets me up for a great rest of the year.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

Course Elevation Profile: 

Runners World half marathon elevation profile


Runners world festival half marathon splits


I’m extremely proud of this time.  It’s my third fastest half in non-ideal circumstances.  I’m excited to see where the rest of fall and winter takes me.

Other Runers World Festival Posts: 
Runners World Festival Activities
5k (18:41)

Questions for you:
Do you run downhills or uphills better?
When was the last time you surprised yourself?

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? 

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? 

Training: First 20 Miler in 18+ Months

As I mentioned in my training log last week, I am still entertaining the idea of a marathon.  So last week set out with personal friend Angela, we ran 20 miles.  It wasn’t pretty, fast or even that fun (minus running with her) but we did get it done.  More on that later…

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 20 miles with Angela
Wednesday: Rest ART/PT
Thursday: Easy 30 minutes
Friday: 6 miles with Montana Core/ART/PT
Saturday: Easy 30 minutes
Sunday: 30 minute tempo run  Core


I was lucky to find someone to be able to run the entire twenty miles with because honestly, I’m not sure I would have been able to run the mileage by myself.  I never felt awful during the run but it didn’t feel good either.  Not feeling amazing is to be expected considering I haven’t run that far since the Phoenix Marathon.

I finished the 20 miles, and it honestly took me all week to recover even with extra rest and ART sessions.  I still don’t feel perfect, but I do feel a lot better.  Have I made up my mind about the marathon?  Not really…I wish I could say running 20 miles motivated me to run a marathon, but it didn’t.  I don’t feel like I could confidently finish 26.2 miles right now.

Angela and I

The majority of the week was spent recovering, shakeout runs and easy runs.  I was able to run with a friend too.  I took the weekend off from racing as well.  I did a tempo run on Sunday, but it was pouring rain and windy.  I was running about a 7-minute pace, but the effort felt much faster.  As I’ve learned this year, you can’t choose the weather on race day…and you can’t on workout days either.

In summary, except a 20 miler, it was a down, boring and easy week.  I guess when a single run makes up most of your running, it’s not as boring.

But after your longest run in 18 months, you shouldn’t be running too much.  I’m running the Runner’s World Festival next weekend (the 5k and 13.1 miles).  (If you are local and want to run, I have a 10% discount code of FueledbyLOLZblog). So before then I’ll continue to rest and see where running goes.

So before the race weekend, I’ll continue to rest and see where running goes.

Questions for you:

Do you recover well from long runs?

Is anyone else doing Runners World?

Jake’s Place 2.8 miler (17:11)

On Sunday, I ran the Jakes Place 5k (spoiler: the course was short).  Even though I raced on Saturday, the race went to benefit a great cause.  Jake’s Place is a local playground with plenty of locations around the South Jersey area.  The playgrounds are built with modifications for people with disabilities.  All of that said, it’s a wonderful cause, and I use Jake’s Place bathroom about 50% of the time on my runs.

To be honest, after running the Dragon Run, the day before I wasn’t feeling great.  Why would I be?  Besides me legs being tired, I didn’t sleep well the night before either.

But my friends were doing the race, and I wanted to see them and support the cause.  After warming up with my friend, Montana, we towed the line at the 5k.  The race was delayed because they couldn’t close down the street and around 8:10 we were off.

Run for Play 5k

About a dozen high school boys shot to the front like missiles.  One cut me off, and I said: “Oh my stars”.  I think he was mortified, but we both almost went down.  I’ve been to the hospital for falls enough for my lifetime.  The first mile went down the road and around the parking lot.  The parking lot wasn’t uneven, and it was actually tough terrain to run on.  Since we were going in a big square, it was also hard to get a rhythm down.  I hit the first mile in 6:16 which I was pleased with.  At the first mile, I found myself as 4th overall.

During the second mile, I passed two males and found myself as second overall.  I don’t get competitive with boys, especially high school ones.  The first place and I were running side by side, and he was weaving around.  I would move out of his way, and he would somehow get right on my side.  Finally, I pulled a Meb and told him I was visibly going out of my way not to be on his tail (later he said he ran cross country and “all they do” is throw elbows…).  We hit the second mile in 5:58 which happens to be my fastest mile in October.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to outkick him and I just stayed as close as possible.  The third mile ended, quickly, too quickly.  When we went to turn into the parking lot, I thought we must have another loop but we went straight to the finish line (as the course indicated).  The course ended up being about 2.8 miles.  I was disappointed for my friends who were on PR pace.


I’m happy with the race despite everything.  I support the cause and I’ll probably do the race most years. Even though the course was short, my final pace was 6:06, so I would have probably finished a full 5k around 19:10ish.  I can’t complain about that!

Questions for you:

Have you raced a short course before?

Have you chosen a race based on the cause?

September Training:

September Training

My oh my, where to begin this monthly recap?  Thinking out loud, This month was a huge change for me.  After roughly three months of injury recovery, I’ve made it over my injury.  I’m not injured anymore, but I’m not “in shape” either.  I’m slowly working my way towards breaking PRs again. To be honest, I haven’t felt the greatest lately either.  My stomach has been off for a few weeks, and my legs haven’t felt “in shape”. I’m injury free so I can’t complain about that.

Total mileage:
Paces: 5:53-11:40-untimed
Shortest run: 2 mile cool down
Longest run: 17.75-mile run
Total workouts: 1
RnR Virginia Beach (1:29.46)
Flying Fish 5k (19:35)
RnR Philadelphia (1:27.37)
Rotary 5k (19:41)
Maple Shade Soccer 5kish (3.3 miles) 19:36

Favorite Race:
Honestly, I actually enjoyed each race, and none were any better or worse for me.

RnR Virginia Beach showed me I was in better shape than I thought…Roll Virginia Beach results

Flying Fish 5k showed me I could power through extreme heat…Flying Fish 5k
RnR Philadelphia showed me I could power through extreme heat and that my endurance was higher than anticipated.Rock n Roll Philadelphia


Finally, my last two 5ks showed I am in better shape than this time last year as I ran both in 30-90 seconds faster.

So to say it was my best month post injury is an underestimate.  I’m happy with how my training went last month and I could not have asked for a better month.


But now I’m at cross roads of where I want to go.  I’ve debated training for a marathon later in the winter.  Do I want to give up racing for longer distances?  I’m not sure.  While I’ve only run two marathons, I haven’t had one I’m satisfied with.  October’s training will definitely determine whether I’ll go for the 26.2 or stay at shorter distances.

Dragon Run 5k (18:58)

On Saturday, I ran the Dragon Run 5k.  The local high school’s mascot is a dragon which is how it got it’s name.  I didn’t even know about the race until the week before when a student came into work and told me to do it.

As I mentioned in my log, I ran my longest run in 18 months the Wednesday before.  While I wasn’t recovering poorly, I didn’t feel amazing either.  My legs felt as if they had minimal pep.  That being said, I wanted to support the school.  I’m beyond the point that I let ego bother me.  If I ran a 20 or 21 minute 5k, I am happy to finish healthy.  It stinks at the time, but I’m not a professional runner and in the big picture, my time doesn’t really matter.  I still have a job and a blog whether I have a bad race or not.

I got to the race around 7:30.  I didn’t realize how big it was and there were over 700 runners and a huge craft show.  All of the roads were shut down. I’m not too familiar with the area, but I found a parking spot and went to the start to sign up.  I didn’t get a t-shirt which actually looked really cool! The woes of signing up late.

Warming up proved to be more of a challenge because it was a lot of country roads with no shoulder.  I was able to get a good warmup and made it to the start by 8:20.  I talked with several local kids.  While chatting, the gun went off.  There were no announcements or anything, just a gun.  It was the most abrupt start I’ve ever had!

Dragon Run me running

During the first mile, I felt indifferent.  It was muggy, and my legs didn’t feel like led bricks, but they also didn’t feel tapered and ready to run fast.  I still felt overwhelmed by the start and not prepared to actually race.  I ran with a pack of males anywhere from high school to their 60s. We crossed the first mile in 6:07 which I was pleasantly surprised with.  At that point, I decided anything under 20 minutes would be a good goal.

The middle mile was a hilly out and back.   After we had turned around, the rest of the racers kept me motivated.  Since I was running the pace of a lot of the local high school boys, I had a nice group to work with. We crossed the second mile in 6:03 which I was even more surprised with.

Dragon Run me running

During the last mile, my only goal was to run hard and finish hard.  Our pack had spread out, and I was running by myself.  During the final mile, a young student thought he was funny and sprinted side by side with me.  He was telling me to pick up the pace and entertaining his friends.  Luckily he didn’t last long.  I crossed the third mile in 6:03 as well.  I must be a metronome because I did that during last weeks 5k too.

During the last .1, not one, two or three but five high school boys outkicked me.  I don’t have a kick, but they were able to tow me just below 19 and finish in a chip time of 18:58.

Dragon Run me running


I was both happy and surprised with my time.  My only speed work during the last two months (after being injured) has been racing and I ran 17+ miles on Wednesday.  This is my fastest 5k post injury and I ran long the week before.

Questions for you:

Have you ever had someone run side by side with you?

Do you have a good finish line kick?