Brooks Levitate Shoe Review

Brooks spent a lot of time promoting the brand new shoe: The Brooks Levitate.  They built the social media hype, grabbed people’s attention, and drew people in.  It has been one of the most highly anticipated shoes of 2017.

Brooks Levitate Shoe review

We brought it into my work, and when we first got them, it didn’t wow me.  I tried it on, and it felt good, but not like the greatest shoe ever.  I knew I wanted to purchase a pair at some point but had to work through a couple of other pairs first.


Typically I wear between a size 10-10.5 (wide) in running shoes.  I found the size 10 to fit the best, but I would love to see the Levitate come in wide.  Like the Brooks Launch, the regular width fits comfortably, but the wide would fit better.

The upper is seamless, which I’ve mentioned in several shoe reviews.  It allows for those with a wider foot to fit more comfortably, and less irritation all around.  Many running shoes are now designed to fit more like a slipper.  Brooks Levitate Shoe review


When I first tried the Brooks Levivate on, I noticed how heavy it is compared to other models of Brooks shoes.  I was not expecting the firm sole or just the overall weight.  If you are usually Brooks fan, you will notice the difference of cushioning.  The Levitate is much firmer than both the Brooks Ghost and Brooks Glycerin.  It’s also much heavier than the Brooks Launch.  For women, it comes in at a dense 9.7 ounces.

Thinking out loud, A big draw to the Brooks Levitate is that it’s an 8 mm drop.  Most Brooks Running shoes are between 10-12 mm, and they haven’t had a good 8 mm shoe.  It’s similar to the Saucony Ride, albeit much heavier.

For me, it took about 5 runs for me to like the shoe.  I bought the shoe, so at $150 my wallet says: “I’ll like it”, but at first it wasn’t my favorite shoe.  A good shoe?  Yes, but I like both the Brooks Ghost and Glycerin better.  After about 5 runs, I grew to like it much more.  It is much more responsive, and I feel the ground more.  It cushions well.

In all, I do like the Brooks Levitate.  It’s not my favorite, nor least favorite shoe but it’s been a solid trainer so far.  I’ve run about 100 miles on the shoe, with my longest being about 10 and it’s held up well.

My Current Rotation:
Brooks Ghost 10 (easy runs, daily runs)
Saucony Freedom (easy runs, long runs)
Nike Zoom Fly (workouts) Review to come
Saucony Type A/Endorphin (Races)

Questions for you:
Have you tried a brand new shoe recently?
What is your favorite running shoe?


Haddonfield Road Race (19:59)

On Saturday, I ran the Haddonfield Road Race.  I’ve run before, and I know the course is moderately challenging.  As I said in my training log two weeks ago, coming home from vacation, I caught food poisoning.  They diagnosed it, and I am recovering decently.  On Saturday I was not 100%, but I felt good enough to toe the line.

Since I am running Philly half marathon again on Saturday, my goal was to tempo and get a good workout from the race.  I know the course is one of the most difficult in the area, plus getting over an illness, and the cold weather, there wasn’t a point to go crazy.  To be fair, I didn’t think I could go crazy anyway. I had made that goal the night before, and thank goodness I did.

The morning of the race was a disaster.  I had gone to bed around 9 pm the night before but ended up sleeping in until 7.  I had a few errands to run in the morning before the race and work, and by the time I knew it, I was running late to the race.  Luckily, it all worked out, and I made it to the start line.  After realizing I was still wearing a fashionable Abercombie Puffer vest, I delayered that, and we were off.

The first mile went up a large hill and turned.  There was a huge pack in front, followed by me.  Somehow I’ve run a lot of races that I end up running by myself.  We ran up the hills of the first mile, and I ran a 6:25. It was precisely where I wanted to be, but I also knew I was tired and fatigued.  I didn’t even think I would be able to hold that.

During the second mile, I began catching a few people.  I remember last year running that mile completely alone, so I was excited to chase someone.  I hit the second mile in 6:26 and was happy.

The last mile had one last hill.  Bonus hill, if you want to call it.  By that time I hit the mile around 2.5, I was toast.  I’ve been training out west, so I secretly hoping my lung compacity would be higher than it was.  But I felt like garbage and just powered through.  I surged down the hill and ran a 19:59 5k.

The goal was 20 minutes, and I ran 19:59.  I’m happy with how it went, with everything that happened in the morning.

haddonfield road race me running

Questions for you:

Do you prefer hilly or flat courses?

What is the coldest race you’ve run?

This one was 22 degrees which is one of the colder races I’ve done.  I’ve run a few below 20 but around this temperature is about my limit.

Training: Back to NJ

Last week was just about assimilating back to New Jersey.  After getting food poisoning, this week was about getting back out there and just getting some easy runs in during the week.  Even though it meant about 2 weeks between races and speed work, it was necessary. I was exhausted from vacation, as well as getting over food poisoning.

It all worked out, and with extra sleep, easy miles, and focusing on nutrition, I seemed to feel a lot better towards the end of the week.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 45 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 45 minutes
Saturday: Haddonfield Road Race (19:59)
Sunday:  Blueberry Challenge XC 5k (20:01)
 Total Miles:  35-37


Haddonfield Road Race (19:59) 6:25, 6:26, 6:25

The goal of this race was to run a 20 minute 5k which I ran right on pace.  The course itself is difficult and the day did not go exactly as planned but I was able to get done what I needed too with a few faster miles on my legs.  Despite being one of my slower “races” recently, my effort was exactly where I needed it to be.

Blueberry Challenge XC 5k (20:01) 

I have always wanted to do this race, but whatever reason, it never works out.  The race is a mixture of a lot of grass, gravel, pavement, and finally, a stair climb up Blueberry Hill.  Even without the climb, it’s one of the hillier 5k courses I’ve done.  My goal was to try and run 20 minutes, and I met that goal.


While neither are “fast” races indicating my fitness, I enjoyed both and getting out there again.  Training isn’t linear, and I’m the same person who ran an 18:46 less than a month ago.

This week will also be a lighter week as I will be running the Philadelphia half marathon.  I’ve never run particularly well there as coincidentally enough I had food poisoning in 2015 and in 2016, I just felt like garbage.  Third time is a charm, right?

Posts from the Week: 
How to Build Back Mental Confidence
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder
Smile Brilliant Review and Giveaway

Questions for you:

Do you like running on trails or roads?

Have you ever run up stairs during a race?


How to Build Back Mental Confidence

Running is 1% physically and 99% mental.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but there is a lot of mental component to the sport (or any sport really).  As most people know, most of 2016 and 2017 were not my years for running.  I set two of my favorite distance PRS (5k and 13.1) in January and February of 2016.  After that, I haven’t PRed.  

So here I am almost 2 years later, with no PRs.  I’ve been trotting along with running.  I’ve taken extended breaks from both injury (last year I fractured my heal) as well as just plain mental burnout.  So I haven’t run for 2 years straight, but I have trained and gone through training cycles.

I can’t quite say my mental game is exactly where it should be, but it’s getting a lot better.  As I get back into fitness during the last few months, I’ve pretty much run with no worry about pace or distance unless I’ve raced.  I wrote more about that here.

Half of my training miles have been above 9 minutes, and I haven’t worried about it.  I’ve run and gone about my day.  Right now, I have a solid foundation and base.  I know my base miles have set my body up to begin doing more speed workouts and hone in on speed.  I will get there.  Who knows how long it will take but running is lifelong!  I would rather not rush anything and burn out…again.

Most importantly though, running without time and pace has given me a huge mental break.  Once again, I feel happy with running.  Thinking out loud, I don’t feel like it’s forced or dread getting out there.

So How do you Build Back Mental Confidence?

For me, mental confidence takes a lot more time to develop than physical speed and endurance.  Here are a few techniques I’ve used.

  • Stop Negative Self Talk: If you think you’ll run like garbage, you probably will. Last year, I thought I would run like garbage at the Philadelphia marathon…and…I did!
  • Stop Comparing: This means stop comparing yourself to others and to yourself. Now that Instagram running is “so big”, it’s easy to look at someone and be like…how do they run fast all of the time.  But just worry about yourself (or don’t worry about all)…and I’m too old school for Strava, so I’ll let you remove comparison traps there for yourself.
  • Set Smaller Goals to Achieve Your Bigger Ones: For me, I set a smaller goal to get back out there. Then another goal to do a few 5k, then a half and then begin honing in on speed.  You don’t need to set a huge goal of PRing when you aren’t running or dropping an hour from your marathon.  Set a bite-sized goal and move forward.
  • Visualize: I cannot emphasize this enough but visualizing running and doing well will help tremendously.  My college swim coach had us visualize swimming well at conferences, and I always felt more confident after that.

It’s always important to remember that running is lifelong.  There are races any weekend you want, and if you don’t feel mentally right, you should work on that first.

Questions for you:

How do you stay mentally strong with any sport?  

What are some mental techniques you use?

Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder

I have so much to recap with my trip to Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.  I believe it will take close to 10 blog posts because we did something every day.  We went to Colorado with no plan but two plane tickets and a rental car.  We thought it would be cool to make it to other states, but if we didn’t…we didn’t…

I decided it would be easiest to recap through days (so I didn’t forget too)

road trip through colorado

Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder

As most people know, my husband and I like to hike.  We try and hit a mountain wherever we are.  I won’t say I’m a fantastic hiker, but it’s something we both enjoy doing.  We found a shorter hike in Boulder which seemed like it would be fun.  The mountain, called Flagstaff Mountain, kept confusing us because of Flagstaff, Arizona…

We parked and headed up.  A hiker informed us it was rocky, and I thought: “well I’ve seen some rocks hiking before, ” but the Rocky mountains are so different.  I had recently purchased a pair of Brooks Caldera (trail shoes) and I’m glad I did.  Eventually, I’ll have a review of those shoes later.

hiking flagstaff mountain boulder

We started on the Gregory Canyon trail and intersected with the Ute trail at Realization point.  Together, the hike itself was 2 miles up and 2 miles back.  My husband and I have done easier 10-mile hikes out east than this one.  It was climbing the entire time.  He believes we climbed about 2000 feet of elevation.  In two miles, that is a lot.

hiking flagstaff mountain boulder

Throughout the hike, there were plenty of views of the Colorado State University (which I tried to just absorb some running speed).

We first made it to “realization point”.  Where I realized what a mistake I made hiking in Colorado (just kidding).  It is accessible by car as well if you wanted to drive and park up there.

Then we continued our hike up to the peak of Flagstaff Mountain which was gorgeous.  You could see more of the rocky mountains.

hiking flagstaff mountain boulder

While coming down, we saw a family hiking up.  Their 3-4-year-old daughter was hiking up what I considered one of the hardest mountains I’ve done.  I kept thinking: if this mountain baby can do it, so can I.

hiking flagstaff mountain boulder

The hike itself was moderate, and I don’t think without trail shoes I would have made it to the top.  I’ve hiked plenty of old running shoes but based on the rocks, I think trail shoes are necessary.

So far one of my favorite hikes I’ve done.

Other Hikes We’ve Done:

Hiking the Hollywood Sign (LA)

New York:
Getting Lost at Bear Mountain (Part 2)

New Jersey:
Sunfish Pond
Seeing a Bear at Sunfish Pond
Hiking the Stairway to Heaven
Hiking Hemlock Falls

North Carolina:
Hiking Greybeard Trail (Asheville)

Questions for you:
What is your favorite hike?  Is there anywhere near you? 
Are you a planner or a go with a flow?

Two Weeks of Training: Easy Miles Out West

As most people know from Instagram, I was on vacation for nearly 2 weeks now.  The short story is I’ve had the time of my life.  A good friend and coworker always says: “The best part of vacation is always the few days leading into it.  The time you are most excited”.  You are anticipating how much fun you’ll have, etc.

That usually rings true for me.  Yet this was the most relaxed and fun vacation my husband and I have had.  We didn’t plan anything.  When we flew into Denver in late October, we had a rental car and that’s it.  No plans, no hotel confirmations, and no idea where it would take us.  Stay in Denver?  Go to Utah? To Boulder? To the Grand Canyon?

We did all of those things!  I have a lot of posts in the next month including running, hiking, and of course diners.

Reunited with Angela and it feels so good. 25 degree running…well not so much

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

I’ll start with a training log post since that is easiest.

Week 1: 

Monday 10/23 Rest
Tuesday: 10/24 60 minutes in Denver
Wednesday: 10/25 90 minutes in Denver
Thursday: 10/26 60 minutes in Denver
Friday: 10/27 90 minutes easy with Angela
Saturday: 10/28 Haunted Half 5k (19:40)
Sunday: 10/29 60 minutes trails/soft surface

With views like this, it's hard to hate Monday.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

Week 2: 

Monday: 10/29 90 minutes Mount Carmel, Utah
Tuesday: 10/30 75 minutes Kanab, Utah
Wednesday: 10/31 60 minutes Cortez, Colorado
Thursday: 11/1 90 minutes Montrose
Friday: 11/2 90 minutes Colorado Springs
Saturday: 11/3 60 minutes Denver
Sunday: Rest

As you can see, I ran a lot and almost all was above 5000 feet elevation.  I didn’t worry about pace, time, or distance.  There were some runs that I averaged well above a 10 minute mile and that was okay.  The only speed work I did was running the 5k with Hungry Runner Girl.  I could have raced this weekend but didn’t sign up. That ended up being a good thing as a got food poisoning on the way home.  Plus, with six races last month, I needed a break,

I’m leaving the trip feeling healthy and with a stronger base.  My training log was relatively boring, I ran easy in a new spot.  We didn;t focus on mileage and pace because, at altitude, it’s very different than sea level.

For those who wondered, the vacation wasn’t to: “go out and run.”  My husband likes the west, and with a deployment coming up, he had some vacation time to use up.  We had such an enjoyable time, and I’m so thankful we were able to go out, relax, and just enjoy the company.

Posts from the last two weeks:
October Training
How to Save Money on Races
Runners World Festivities Recap
Runners World 5k Recap (18:46)
Runners World Half Marathon (1:24.52)

Questions for you:
Have you taken a vacation recently?  Where too?
Where is your favorite spot to run?


October Training

Training in October went well.  I’m happy with how things are ticking along.  Well, I’m not in peak fitness right now, I do feel as though I’m beginning to turn a corner from my break.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

Mileage: 215-230
Range of paces: 5:54-13:30-untimed
Shortest run: 2 miles with Runners World Crew
Longest Run: 13.1 miles
Highest Mileage Day: 16.1 Runners World Half
Workouts: 2
Both were 6.5-mile tempo runs

heroes to hero 5k

Races: 6
Run for Recovery (19:12)
Crawlin Crab Half (1:32.29)
Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)
Runners World Festival 5k (18:46)
Runners World Half Marathon (1:24.52)
Haunted Half 5k (19:40)

This month I don’t have a favorite race as each was special to me in a different way.  

Runners world half festival me


I’ve been slowly ticking away at both races and mileage.  At the beginning of the month, my fastest 5k since returning was 18:59, and in October I ran an 18:41.  While I’m not close to my PR yet (the last 30 seconds is the hardest), I am much closer than where I started in August.

Half marathon wise, I’m extremely pleased with the Runners World Half, and I could not have asked for a better race there.

What will November Bring?

November will begin fine-tuning my diet and working on the smaller things.  As most people know, I’ve been traveling for close to the last 2 weeks.  It’s been the time of my life, and I’ve been running, but I haven’t been working on diet and nutrition, and LOL at lifting weights and the smaller things too.  When I get back, I’ll begin fine-tuning the little stuff which will help get closer to PRs.

Running Related Posts from the Month:
How to Save Money on Races
Who Cares Where You Run?
Care Free Training

Shoe Reviews:
Hoka Clifton 4 Review

Questions for you:
How was your month of training?
What are your goals for November?