New Balance 880v9 Shoe Review

New Balance 880v9 Shoe Review

It’s funny; I thought I had written a review of the New Balance 880v9. I’ve been running in the shoe for a few months now, but when I looked back at previous blog posts, I realized I have not.

Before last year, I didn’t run a lot in New Balance. For whatever reason, New Balance didn’t feel that comfortable to me. Recently, however, I’ve found myself enjoying a lot of New Balance shoes, including the New Balance 1080v9 and the New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel.

The New Balance 880 is one of the most popular neutral shoes out there. The updated New Balance 880v9 is equally as good.

The New Balance 880v8 got a big update with looks and feel so the NB 880v9 didn’t get a drastic of an update. If you like version 8, chances are version 9 will feel similar.

New Balance 880v9 Shoe Review

New Balance 880v9 Quick Stats:

Weight: 8.9 ounces

Heel-to-Toe Drop: 10 mm

New Balance 880v9 Fit

If you’ve never worn the New Balance 880, it fits true to size. There is plenty of room to spread your toes. Typically I wear between a women’s 10-11 wide, and the 10.5 fits well.  The upper is seamless so that if you have bunions or wider forefront, it fits well.

The New Balance 880v9 continues to use the engineered mesh upper, which allows your feet room to breath. This year, the 880 has less structure in the toe box, so your feet have more room. You always want your toes to have plenty of space.  The general rule of running shoes is you want a secure fit in the midfoot and heel, but plenty of space in the toe box.

New Balance 880v9 Shoe Review

New Balance 880v9 Ride:

The Ride of the New Balance  880v9 hasn’t changed much since the New Balance 880v8. If you like the New Balance 880 series, you will probably appreciate the v9. New Balance still uses their “TRUFUSE foam midsole” The “TRUFUSE” combines or fuses the New Balance foams: “Abzorb” and “Acteva.”

The bottom layer, Abzorb, is thicker with a higher compression resistance. It’s designed to absorb shock better. The top layer, Acteva, is 12% lighter than EVA and provides cushion without weight. Throughout the last few years, New Balance shoes, especially the New Balance 880, has gotten lighter and “less clunky.”

What does this mean?

The New Balance 880 is a lightweight and responsive shoe. You’re able to do easy runs or faster runs. For me, it fits well into a daily run shoe. I like the New Balance Fuelcell Rebel for speed work, and a bit more cushion like the New Balance 1080v9 for recovery runs.

New Balance 880v9 Conclusion:

The New Balance 880 has remained similar from v8 to v9. If you’ve liked previous versions, you’re likely to appreciate the 9th version too. It reminds me of the staple running shoe; you know won’t change much. You can rely on it.

Current Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: Hoka Bondi 6,  Hoka Mach 2,

Speed Work: New Balance FuelCell Rebel, Reebok Float Ride Runfast ProNike Streak Lt,

Long Runs: New Balance FuelCell Rebel, Mizuno R2Hoka Cavu 2

Races:  Reebok Run fast Pro

You can see all current shoe reviews here.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked all about hydration.

In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Questions for you:

What is one of your running shoe staples?

Have you run in New Balance before? 



1812 Challenge (2:09.40/7:09 pace)

1812 Challenge (2:09.40/7:09 pace)

18.12 Challenge

My husband and I decided to fly to the 1812 Challenge. We’ve never done anything like that before, and truthfully I didn’t know how it would affect my race wise. We rarely get a long span of days together, so the weekend was more about having fun. It wasn’t about the flight or the race but having an enjoyable weekend together.

The flight to Watertown went without issue. We arrived the day before and picked up our packets for the 1812 Challenge around 3 pm. There is a half marathon, 18.12 Challenge, and 5k.

I wanted to use the 18.12 Challenge is my last long run before the Big Cottonwood Marathon. I haven’t felt that confident with running the previous 16 months, and I didn’t know what to expect.

Why was it called the 1812 Challenge Race? The 1812 challenge is a nod to the War of 1812 and the significant military presence in Fort Drum.  Runners can choose to run either 18.12 miles, 13.1, or a 5k. There is something for everyone.

The morning of, I arrived at the race around 7, walked around a bit and before I knew it we were off. I didn’t feel the need to warm up because 18 miles is a long way to go. I planned to run by feel but make sure I didn’t take it out too fast. The ultimate goal was to feel strong at the end, which I thought would be around 7:30 pace.

The half marathon and 18.12 challenge go off together. I found myself in a pack of 7 women and also a few men. Out of the first pack, I was 7 out of 7.

The first four miles all head out together. During the first mile, two of my gels fell out of my pocket.

My first lesson of the day: don’t stuff my gels in my pockets. I’ve done it before in other shorts, but these are the shorts for that.

The second lesson of the day: is with the new updates on the Coros watch. I didn’t start it properly and ended up running about a mile without a watch. I pressed the manual button and got on track after the first mile.

Better to get that out of the way now, than the marathon.

We hit the second mile in 7:18. I thought it was probably too fast for my current fitness but I just kind of plugged along. I wasn’t sure who was running the half marathon and who was running the 18.12 challenge. The six women in front of me could have done either. My goal wasn’t to win, and I didn’t even know it was in the cards. (Last year the race was won by a woman running 6:24 pace).

I hit mile 3 in 7:33, which felt doable. I grabbed Gatorade at the water stop. I take Gatorade/electrolytes at every stop that I don’t have a gel (for any race 10 miles and above).

Around mile 5, the half marathons and 18.12 challengers split. To my surprise, only one other woman went towards the 18.12 challenge race.  Like anyone, I know the importance of not judging any racer, but I was shocked. The other woman was slightly in front of me, and we just proceeded on. I hit mile 5 in 7:40, which was slower than I was hoping. I thought, is the end? Am I fading? I took one gel (the only one that didn’t fall out) and just continued.

Around mile 6, I found myself in a mini pack of myself, the other women, and a male. It was windy, and there were a few small elevation gains, but it was beautiful.

The next three miles of the 18.12 challenge were just me, focused on getting to mile 9 where they said there were be Gu packets. After 2 of mine falling out of my pocket, I knew it was a stop I shouldn’t miss. Could I finish 18.12 race miles without any more fuel? Probably. Would it be pleasant? No. I hit mile 6-9 all in 7:22.

We ran on several quiet main roads just looking at (and smelling LOL) the farmland. At mile 9, there was a stop, and I thought it was where we would find gels. When I asked, they said that was a different stop. Immediately, I began to worry there might not be a a stop with gels. Would I be out of luck?

The next mile of the 18.12 challenge race felt like it took forever. We had a slight headwind, and all I could think about was: would there be gels? I felt regret for not going back and picking mine up.

Around mile 10-11, we met back up with half marathoners. I quickly realized we would be on the same roads for most of the rest of the race. I didn’t mind, but it would be congested at water stations.  At the next water stop, they had gels. Wahoo! I have never been more excited for an aid station. I grabbed two and a cup of water.

I looked down like I had drawn lottery cards: which flavors did I get? Strawberry banana and cameral? The caramel had caffeine, so I decided that would be my next gel. Unfortunately, my hands were slightly sticky, and I couldn’t get it open. So I just decided to take the strawberry banana and worry about the other gel later.

It was also around mile 10, I realized I didn’t really “feel that bad,” and the race was going by fast. I was surprised because I was already halfway done. I was still running with the mini-pack of three people.

The next few miles of the 18.12 challenge race went by faster. I didn’t feel like I picked it up, but around mile 13, I realized it was just myself and the other male. The female wasn’t with us anymore. I thought to myself: there might be someone far ahead or I might be winning.  I have no idea, but it would be so cool to win. I’ve won several races but not many in the last year and it’s always a fun experience.

I know one thing about my running, is I don’t have a kick. If I was going to win, I had to be pretty far ahead in the last mile. There have been many times someone has outkicked me. If you are next to me in the last mile, you will probably outkick me.

Around mile 14, I found myself running alone. I was weaving around half marathoners, but the roads were open and there was plenty of space. At mile 15, we had a few small inclines, and I just focused on climbing. I still had energy in the tank, which is exactly how I wanted to feel.

I took what was left of the last gel and just focused on the end. I told myself: a 5k to go. You have done this many times. I saw one of my college teammates around 17 which was awesome.

I made the mistake of glancing back behind me and seeing a woman in all black gaining on me. The woman I was previously running with was also wearing all black. I thought for sure it was the same woman. I thought to myself: Hollie you’ve been doing well if you are winning you don’t want to let someone outkick you in the final mile.

That’s when I found another gear. I was already hurting, but man did I hurt more the last mile. I was just focused on the end. When I passed my husband, he said later; he had never seen me look that determined in a race. My last mile was 6:50, and I crossed in 2:09.40.

me running winning 18.12 challenge

We crossed with the half marathoners, and I had no idea if I had won or not. The volunteers weren’t even sure. About 15 minutes later, I looked at results, and it had me as the first woman. Then later, I realized the woman I “thought I saw” was someone else. Nothing like that, to light a fire under your butt. HA!

The 18.12 Challenge Race was my best race of this training cycle. My goal was to finish strong and not make it a positive split, for positive people race. I did that and finished stronger than I thought possible.  I’m happy we decided to come up and run.

me running winning 18.12 challenge

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.  This week is all about fueling. 

Questions for you:

Do you have a good kick?

Have you ever done an obscure race distance? 


August Training

August Training

My oh my, where did August go?

But seriously, I guess the fastest way to get through the summer is training for a marathon. I think the 2019 summer flew by faster than any other. Technically, summer doesn’t end up late September, and I’m running a “summer” marathon next week. But unofficially, it’s pumpkin spice time.


Miles Run: Around 220 
Range of Paces: 6:07-11:15-timed
Rest Days: 5
Longest Run: 20 miles (Mt. Sneffels Half Marathon+7).
Shortest Run: 2 miles
Swimming: 3X (6000 meters total)


Philly 10k (42:15)

Mt. Sneffels Half Marathon (1:33.58)

Asbury Park Sheehan Classic 5k (20:04)


I had a solid month or training. I finally feel as though I gained “some sort of fitness.” Of any of my marathon training months, this was the best. That being said, I’m not anywhere close to where my previous fitness level was. I feel like I’m ready to run my marathon. I don’t know what the day will bring. It’s a downhill course, (my PR at NYCM is hilly), but I also ran the Pheonix Marathon (which was downhill), and my legs didn’t love that.

I’ve done more downhill miles in preparation. I’m also not in as good of shape as NYCM. So whatever happens, happens. My goal has always been to make it to the start and finish line healthy. I don’t have a time goal but a goal to finish healthy.

I wanted to swim more, but I didn’t have the time nor the energy. After my marathon, I’m looking forward to resting and getting in the pool more.

Other then that, it was a good month of both life and running. I might not be running close to PRs, but I’m healthy and injury-free, which is a lot more than I can say for several Augusts.


Exploring Box Canyon Falls (Ouray, Co)

Exploring Ridgway State Park (Colorado)

Hiking Cheesequake State Park

Shoe Reviews:

Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 Shoe Review

Brooks Ghost 12 Shoe Review

Hoka One One Rincon Shoe Review

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.  This week is all about fueling. 

Questions for you:

How was your month of training?

Do you have a goal race this fall? 

Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon (Gunnison National Park)

Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon (Gunnison National Park)

While in Colorado, my husband and I wanted to be outside as much as possible. We found the Green Mountain in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. It’s far off the beaten path, and you are driving an extra hour down dirt roads and no service zones to get there. But is it worth it? Yes. Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon is a great 3-4 hour hike. We took our time, and it took us about 4 hours round trip. We stopped for a while to admire the views, especially at the summit of Green Mountain and Exclamation Point.

Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon (Gunnison National Park)

The North Rim of The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located near Crawford, Colorado. The South Rim is located near Montrose, Colorado. Between the two rims is nearly a 2-hour drive.

One of the most beautiful views of the trail, Exclamation Point, is worth it and not as far. To be honest, it rivals the views of the Grand Canyon. You basically follow the rim of Black Canyon, so the entire 7 miles (3.5 out and back) is worth it. After visiting Exclamation Point, I believe it’s closer to 8 miles round trip.

Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon (Gunnison National Park)

We started around noon from the North Rim Ranger Station. It costs $15 to enter Gunnison National Park.

The first miles are peaceful. Since the Green Mountain Trail is so far off the beaten path, there aren’t a lot of hikers. We saw about four parties the entire time we were out. Some spots are shaded and hidden from the sun.

Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon (Gunnison National Park)

Around mile 1.5 is the view of Exclamation Point. In my opinion, it’s the best view of the park. You are up close and personal with views of the canyon. I mean it’s named after an exclamation mark! At Exclamation Point there is one big lollipop trail, so it doesn’t matter which direction you choose at Exclamation Point. They will both lead back to the main trail.

Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon (Gunnison National Park)

Looking down at Exclamation Point

There is another Overlook that is worth a short stop. It’s just called Overlook which seems boring compared to Exclamation Point. Maybe it will be named after another punctuation mark like a question mark or quotation mark.

Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon (Gunnison National Park)

As you head back to the North Vista Trail, the paths get sandy and muddy. It’s not a hike I would be likely to do after a lot of rain.


Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon (Gunnison National Park)Somewhere between 3.25-3.6, the trail begins to incline, and there are switchbacks. This is the steepest part of the path and where most of the 800 feet of elevation are gained.  Once you reach the top, the trail circles the Summit of Green Mountain. I kept thinking, “are we there yet,” only to realize we were doing another lollipop and you have 360 degrees of views of Black Canyon and Green Mountain. It doesn’t have the same close-up feel of Exclamation Point, but you can see a good 50 miles over Gunnison State Park, Black Canyon, the San Juans, Gunnison River, and Green Mountain.

Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon (Gunnison National Park)

Then you head back the way you came. I would love to explore more trails in Gunnison National Park.

View this post on Instagram

Lost WiFi but didn’t get lost.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

You Can See All Hikes Here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to Gunnison National Park?

What is one of your favorite hikes?

Big Cottonwood Week 14: Peak Week and 18.12 Races

Big Cottonwood Week 14: Peak Week and 18.12 Races

Big Cottonwood Marathon Training Week 14:

Week 14 was the last “big week” before simmering down to taper and the Big Cottonwood Marathon. I can’t believe it’s already been three months of training and getting ready for the race.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 70 minutes
Wednesday: AM: 5X1000 meters averaging 6:40 pace, Total mileage 10
PM: 6 miles easy downhill (treadmill)
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: 18.12 Race

Week 1: Hello Humidity
Week 2: Half Marathons and Workouts 57 mpw
Week 3: Travel and More Travel 53 MPW
Week 4: Training: Beach Runs and Long Runs 52 MPW
Week 5: Training: Workouts and 10ks 46.5 MPW
Week 6: Firecracker 5ks 47 MPW
Week 7: Swim Races and Running for Toilets 56 MPW
Week 8: It’s Very Hot 58 MPW
Week 9: Tetris Runner 56 MPW
Week 10: Long Week and Personal 5ks 54 MPW
Week 11:: Quality Miles
Week 12:  Altitude and Half Marathons
Week 13: Cutback Week and Philly 10k
Week 14: Peak Week and 18.12 Race


This week flew by, and it’s nice to get a rhythm and routine back. I mentioned last week, I missed swimming, and I’m looking forward to getting back to it when I’m not running high mileage and exhausted.

Workout Wednesday: 5X1000 6:40 pace

I didn’t feel good at all during this workout. My legs were stiff, and I couldn’t seem to loosen them up. We all have those workouts, and I was glad to get it done and move on.



1812 Challenge:

I went into the 1812 Challenge, hoping to run roughly 7:30 miles for 18.12 miles and finish strong. I wanted to use the race as my last long run before the marathon. I did that and even better.

All of my miles after 14 were around 7: 00-minute pace and my last mile was 6:51.  I was not expecting to win, so it was a great feeling. The race itself was far from perfect, and I forgot to stop my watch, and 2 (out of 3) of my gels fell out of my pocket.

Next week begins slowly cutting down miles and relaxing before Big Cottonwood in 2 weeks.

Posts from the Week:

Hoka Clifton 6 Shoe Review

Exploring Ridgway State Park (Colorado)

Philly 10k (42:15)

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.  This week is all about fueling. 

Questions for you:

What’s your favorite workout?

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