Cupids Chase 5k (20:32)

Last year, the Cupids Chase 5k was one of my best and favorite races all year. Everything just went well for me. It’s always difficult coming back to a race that you do well, knowing you’re not in that sort of fitness, but that’s life.

My parents were in town, so my dad decided to run. We arrived at the race around 9 am, signed up, and talked to a bunch of friends.  Since it was a local race, it was nice to catch up with a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while.Cupids Chase 5k moorestown

We lined off and with no warning, there was a go and we were off. During the first mile, I ran with a local, and we split about a 6:20.  We’ve run together in a few races but not recently. Around .5, there was a huge ice patch across the course. I ran all the way around through the cold, wet, grass. It definitely cost me a few seconds but I wasn’t willing to risk it.

I hit the turnaround at 9:45 and thought, wow this will be pretty good. It was extremely windy around the turnaround and I just told myself, everyone is doing this. You can’t outrun the wind. The course was out and back, and I took the turn wider than I anticipated. Then I ran the second mile in 6:30.  By this point, I was running alone. I like out and backs because I can see and cheer for all of my friends.

Cupids chase 5k race moorestown

The final mile went back over the ice patch, which I seemed to take the longest route possible to go around it. Once again, I went up and around, through muddy, wet grass. My feet got wet with partially unfrozen mud. Not a big deal. There was a section around mile 2.5 that got extremely windy again, and I thought I was running backward. Somehow, I continued to inch forward.

Cupids chase 5k race moorestown

Instead of just heading back to the start, we turned left and did a short out and back which made the course about .1 long. We did the same thing last year, but the halfway cones were about 1.5 not 1.55.

As I crossed the finish line, the shoot was deflating because of wind. When I saw the clock well over 20 minutes, I was kind of bummed.

Cupids chase 5k race moorestown

Am I ecstatic about a 20:32? Not really but it is what it is.  I know I haven’t put in the work to be faster, but I’m hoping for a consistent few months to do so. It was great to see so many locals and friends.

Thank you Patrick Rodeo for the wonderful photography!

Questions for you:

Did you do a Valentine’s Themed Race?

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

As runners, we all want to run more and stay healthy.  I used to have the firm belief of more=better.  Over the last year and a half, my personal life has gotten much busier. I don’t have the time to dedicate for more and more and more. And that’s okay!  Plus, more is not always better.  I’m doing less than many earlier years and I’ve PRed in both the half and full marathon.

When you begin running, it’s important to increase slowly. I’ve increased mileage too fast, only to pay the price with an injury.

After my post about my personal struggles with injury, a few people asked, how can you increase mileage and stay healthy?

Please remember, I’m not the “be all end all” of advice, and it’s important to remember what works for you might not work for everyone.  This is just what has worked for me.

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

How to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy:

Slow and Steady Wins the Race:

If you increase your mileage too quickly, you will get injured and be sidelined.  Follow the 10% increase in mileage.  If you ran 40 miles last, adding 10% will give you 44.

I wasn’t always great with this, and I believe it’s what led to one of my fractures. After 2016, my mileage dropped, and I’ve stayed more healthy.

Decrease with your Increase

This step has multiple parts

Part 1: Recovery Week:

Every few weeks, it’s important to take a recovery week.  It’s the golden rule, but your body must rest and recover to build muscle, speed, and endurance.  Personally, I like to add 1-2 more rest days and drop 1 or both of my speed workouts.  If you continue to increase all of the time, your body will break from an overuse injury.

Over the last three months of training, I’ve had something pop up at least once a week, sometimes twice.  Sudden events have forced a rest day due to “not enough time”. By that, I mean I chose sleep so I can give 100% in other areas in my life.  Most days, it isn’t worth it to me to get 5 hours of sleep, so I can wake up for a run. I’m miserable for the rest of the day.

Part 2: Decrease Your Speed with Increased Mileage

Reducing speed is an important but overlooked fact.  You can’t run the same speed while running 10 miles a week and running 100.  Sprinting a 100-mile week will result in massive fatigue, exhaustion and ultimately injury.

While I didn’t run 100-mile weeks, too much speed is the reason for my first stress fracture.  I ran all of my runs too fast, and my body broke. I was running about 50 miles a week, and more fatigued than when I used to run 70-80.  Now, I rarely even time my easy days. I run with friends, or on a known route. I’ll run 10-minute miles, or 8…it really doesn’t matter as long as my body feels as though it’s easy.

If you are worried about pace for an easy run, remember, no one cares. Your ego shouldn’t be the deciding factor for running, but it definitely shouldn’t be your deciding factor for an easy run.  For most easy runs, I leave my GPS watch at home. Did I run 3.1 miles or 3.2?  9:04 pace or 9:06?  The world will never know…

Know your Limits

Injuries don’t typically come out of nowhere.  Know your personal weak spots. Running is a lifelong process, and it takes months to build a strong base.

You don’t build fitness in a day, and you don’t lose it either.

Don’t rush the process because you’ll be sidelined with a minor or major injury.  If you feel a small ache or pain, keep a mental note about it. Make sure it doesn’t increase or become worse.

Questions for you:
How many miles do you run weekly?
How do you stay injury free and healthy?

January Training

January Training

January and February always feel like the longest months to me. Thankfully, one down and the shorter one to go. I’ve been open with training, and while I’m running, doing workouts, and occasionally racing, I’m not chasing PRs and not in any peak shape.  I haven’t been able to be as consistent as I would like. That’s okay!  I’m not upset about it. We can’t always be in the best shape ever and always chasing PRs.

Miles Run: About 200
Range of Paces: 6:17-11:30-untimed
Rest Days: 6
Races:
Resolution Run 5k (19:44)
Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:29.44)
Workouts: 6

Thoughts:

January wasn’t a bad month, just busy.  In the last few years, I’ve come to realize I appreciate a nice vacation in January or February. I don’t love winter and like getting somewhere warmer.

The first half of the month wasn’t bad weather wise. The cold weather was there but it’s been much colder the second half. I’ll run outdoors in 15 degrees but the single digit temperatures usually have me inside.

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Sun and easy run. 🌞🏃‍♀️

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

For our vacation, this year we decided to go back to California. Instead of staying near San Diego, we drove up 101 and to San Francisco. We hiked so many different spots and saw plenty of new locations and places.

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Hiked so high, almost touched the sky.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

We added the Carlsbad half marathon in there too. I knew I wasn’t in the “best shape” ever but wanted to give the race my all. Dehydration ultimately got to me, but I was happy to log a 1:29.44.

Other than that, training has been grinding when I can. In February, I would like up my miles and log more quality sessions and progress towards getting back into shape. I’m also going to reintroduce some weights, planks, and body weight exercises into my routine. It’s been so long since I’ve made an effort there.

I’m looking forward to hopefully increasing fitness in February. I know I have a long way to go but I can’t wait to finally get back at it.

Posts from the month:

2018 in Blogging
2018 in Running

Running: 

Tips to get Your Workout Done Early
A History with Injuries
One Year with Collagen
Why Train for Shorter Distances?
Don’t Just Survive Running in Winter Months…Enjoy Them
Tips to Get Your Workout Done Early

Shoe Reviews:

Brooks Ricochet Shoe Review
Nike Streak Lt 4 Shoe Review
Saucony Triumph ISO 5 Shoe Review

Hiking:

Walking the Manasquan Reservoir
Hiking Calavera Hills Community Park
Hiking to the Headley Overlook at Mahlon Dickerson

Whoa ,I had more posts than I anticipated!  I guess I blogged a lot.

Questions for you:

How was your month of January?

What is your favorite month of the year? 

Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Recently I received a question about running and working out in the morning.   I haven’t always been a “morning runner,” but since graduating college, I’m a morning runner 99% of the time.  There are only a handful of times a year that I run in the afternoon. (In 2019, there were 4..and I count NYCM that started late). If I don’t run before 9 am, chances are I don’t run.  Of course, it doesn’t include races, although I did wish they all started before 9.  Keep in mind, there is no best time to workout. Do what works for you and forget about the rest.

I will be the first to tell you it’s much easier to run in the morning during the summer.  In the summer, it gets light earlier, and it’s warmer.  You don’t feel as though you’re ripping blankets off to go for a run in the dark and cold.  For me, with a constant change of schedule, it’s better for me to get the run done earlier.Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Here are a Few Ways I Wake Up to Workout:

Turn Off Technology: 

I am known to turn my technology off around 9-9:30 pm.  I might go to bed a little later, but I stop fiddling with the computer, texting, etc.  It allows me to wind down and actually get to bed.  Tweeting at the pillowcase keeps me wide awake.  I started doing that sometime in 2013, and I’ve found it’s much easier to fall asleep. Did I miss your stellar 9 pm Instagram post? Maybe…but I’ll see it in the morning.

Set an Alarm (or 2 or 10):

I’ve adjusted to waking up between 5-5:30 am most mornings.  To be honest, at this point it doesn’t phase me.  However, it didn’t use to be like that, and I needed an alarm to pull me out of bed.  I always recommend setting the alarm.

Check the Weather the Night Before:

Mentally I like to have an idea if I’ll be running inside or outside.  Or if it’s going to be snowing, pouring rain, or windy.  Not all surprises are good ones.

Make Sure. You Have Appropriate Gear Clean:

Many bloggers will tell you to lay your clothing out, and I think that is fantastic advice, however, for me if I have appropriate gear cleaned and findable, I consider it a good day.  My life and gym clothes are not always ever “social media flat lay photo ready”.  Usually, it’s in my drawer, and I’m mindlessly grabbing things to put on. Sorry, I don’t match… I really don’t care.

Phone a Friend:

Meet someone for a workout. There have been several times that I wouldn’t have worked out if I wasn’t meeting a friend. Don’t underestimate the power of numbers.

Consistency is Key:

Sometimes we want to change but aren’t willing to give it time.  Give your new routine for at least 2 weeks.  If after two weeks, it’s not for you, find something that is!

Finally, remember this…there is no right or wrong time to workout. If you prefer a lunch or evening workout, that’s cool!  Don’t stress about it and choose that best time that fits into your needs.

Questions for you:
What time do you like to workout?
Do you have any methods to wake up in the morning?

A History of Injuries

A History of Injuries

One of the most requested posts is about my history with injuries.

I haven’t always stayed injury free, and I have several injuries throughout the years. Before recently, my blog could have alternative names such as fueledbyInjuries or InjuriesNlolz.

Many of my injuries were because I overtrained or ran easy runs too fast.

Over time, I’ve learned that you can’t outrun an injury. Life doesn’t work like that. If you are worried, rest. Resting a few days often saves you from resting a few weeks, months, or even years. You don’t gain fitness in a day and you definitely don’t lose it either.

When I first started running in 2010, I had many years of haphazard running.  It took a lot of trial and error and learning from experience to determine what works best for me. As with anything, I learn best when I do something and make mistakes along the way.

You can read my full running story here (or in one of the headings above).

In summary, I began running in July 2010.  I ran off and on and was still a member of on my collegiate swim team.  Swim season lasted from September until late February, so there was no running during that time.  During the off-season, we were allowed to work out as we pleased, so eventually, I picked up running.

run for the hill of it

Here is my History with Injuries:

My first serious running injury:

Tibial Stress Fracture (July 2011-September 2011)

How it happened:
I ran every day for an hour on the treadmill.  I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to train fast every single day.  I thought to race faster you must train faster.  So every day I made the goal to beat the previous day’s mileage for 1 hour.  I never ran for more than an hour, but I ran seven days a week. I was running between 7-7:15 pace for an hour.

Ultimately I was far more exhausted from running 50 miles then I am now.  My body broke at a road race on my 21st birthday. Midway through a run-swim-run race, my body broke, My tibia fractured and I was done.

I learned more about myself than any other injury.  To be honest, I needed that injury to realize that training was idiotic and not right.  My tibial stress fracture shaped my training to include a lot more easy miles. I don’t time my easy runs anymore, and I don’t GAF whether the pace is 10 minutes or 8 minutes.

Happy 21st birthday to me with my non detected tibia SF

Cyst: August 2012-October 2012:

How it happened:
During September 2012, I developed a cyst in the arch of my foot.  The doctors still don’t know exactly how it formed it could have developed anywhere in my body (I’m so thankful it wasn’t my brain).

They don’t believe it was running related, but it prevented me from running.  I was able to run with minimal pain until the cyst became large enough to rip the muscle from my bone. After tearing the muscle off my metatarsal, it halted running completely.

After recovering for two months and a shot to reduce the swelling, I came back and ran my fastest college cross country race.

 

Fractured Elbow (August 2013):

How it happened: 

While cooling down at a road race in August 2013, I was hit by a cyclist.  I was knocked to the ground, and it fractured my elbow.  I was devastated, but after a week, I was able to run slowly.

I decreased mileage, but it ended up being the most nonserious elbow fracture I could have.  At the time, the decline in mileage was terrifying because I was training for my first marathon, NYCM.

It taught me; you have to roll with the punches. A few days of rest does not impact fitness.

When I got my sling off

Second Metatarsal Fracture (August 2014)

How it happened:
Fast forward to moving to Texas and then New Jersey. In August of 2014, I got a second metatarsal fracture. In hindsight, I believe I upped my mileage too quickly.  Even though I was running easy, I think my mileage went up too fast.  At the time, I was training for my second marathon, Wineglass.  I healed by race day, but it would have been dumb to run a marathon on a newly recovered stress fracture.  To be honest, I don’t think my heart was ready to race another marathon, and it was a good out.

I chose this photo because I think I ran a hard track mile and then the next day ran a 20 miler for the marathon. #dumb

Bum Butt (February 2015-March 2015)

How it happened:
I tweaked something running my second marathon and kept running.  Around mile 18, my butt started to throb.  By the end of the marathon, my whole left side was in pain.  Should I have finished the race?  Probably not…Did I PR? Yes…

I didn’t heal as fast as I should have because I continued to run after the marathon.  I took two weeks off (which helped) but then I ran too hard too fast.  Looking back, I made good progress and then threw it all away running again.  This is something I’m 100% kicking myself for…even though I had an excellent time at Shamrock 2015.  If I had taken a month off, I wouldn’t have had two months to deal with the issues.

Ankle Fracture June 2016:

How it Happened:
This was the only injury I’m not entirely sure what I did. Did I tweak my ankle running on trails? Did I run too much? I don’t know. In June of 2016, something felt off. I couldn’t pinpoint it, and it almost felt like plantar fasciitis on the outside of my foot. An X-ray confirmed I had a minor fracture. The fracture healed with time off but it worried something else was not right. Test results found my calcium, vitamin D, and blood levels were fine.

One thing my ankle fracture taught me was I liked hiking. After healing, I spent a good portion of the summer hiking and enjoying the outdoors that way.

There are many times I look back at my training and think: If I had taken a few more days off, or if I had realized that ache was a minor bone pain….but each is a lesson to move on.  I have learned that running in pain isn’t worth it to me.

You cannot outrun injury, and it will catch up to you.

I tell any runner, new or old; there is no shame in rest and easy days. I am to the point in life and running that it will never be my sole purpose in life. Resting and staying healthy is more important to me than running every day.

Question for you: Have you had a running injury before?

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