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?

 

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Runners World Half Marathon (1:24.52)

The Runners World Half Marathon is one of the hardest half marathons I do.  Oddly enough, even after running the 5k before, I seem to run one of my faster times, and I’ve run two of my top 10 half marathon times there.

This year, my dad decided to run as well.  We relaxed and had a relatively easy morning.

Around 7 am, we walked to the start.  I found the half-mile walk to be warm up enough.  Between the 5k, warmup, cooldown and exploring downtown Bethlehem, I had put close to 13 miles on my legs the day before.  I didn’t need any extra miles before the race.

After going to the bathroom a few times, I found my way to start corral.  I was still wearing my leggings.  As I tried to pull them off, they got stuck on my shoes, I fell, and my shoes came off.  All of this two minutes before the race went off.  I had already made a fool of myself.  As I’m fumbling, the announcer called for us to move up and the 1:50 pacer moved in front of me.

It all worked out, and I quickly made it to the appropriate place and started next to my friend Rosie.  The course had a few changes around the start this year, and we looped around the steel mill area.  It was tough to see the mile 12 marker before crossing mile 1, but I put it out of sight.

I hit the first mile in 6:30.  There was a huge pack of people in front of me, followed by just me.  I laughed at myself in what I nicknamed: “The chase pack of 1”.  I was hoping I would not be running the entire race alone, but whatever happened…happened.

Runners world half festival me

During the second mile, I began catching the pack.  It included my friend Rosie, five other women and a few males.  I wasn’t counting the men because it didn’t matter to me.  I didn’t know who was beyond that pack, but I decided to leech onto to the pack.  During the second mile, I felt like the kid trying to fit in with the cool kids but was just lagging.  The title of high school gym class.

The third mile brought all of the women running together and the men spread out.  We quickly formed a lady pack, and ultimately about five us ran nearly the entire race together.  I have run very few races with a pack of people for the whole race.  It’s intimidating, nerve-wracking, and scary.  We hit the 5k in 19:33.

The middle miles (between 4-10)  is where the course gets moderate and challenging.  We climbed several uphills as well as downhills.  The next few miles ticked off quickly and running together made it go by much quicker.  It was evident which runners were stronger in downhills and uphills due to how the pace would vary.  We were never more than a couple of seconds apart.

I believe around mile 5; someone shouted top females are coming through.  It was at that point I realized, holy $hit, any 5 of us could win right now.  To be honest, I kind of shut myself out.  I thought, if it came down to the final mile, I wouldn’t have it in me.  I also thought I might get dropped in the later miles anyway.  I didn’t have confidence in myself.  I was cruising at a pace, I wasn’t trained to be at but running surprises you.  Sometimes you have a magic gear that appears when you least expect it.

I hit the 10k in 40:23 and I was both surprised and excited.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel during the half marathon.  The year before, I had run a 1:24.17 and two years prior a 1:28.  I told myself anything faster than a month ago at the Air Force Half Marathon; I would be pleased with.

After the 10k, I was still running in the same pack of women.  No one had left our pack, and we were all appearing to run strong.  I began to realize just how painful this finish would be.  Not everyone could be a podium finisher.  It was intimidating to know that in that group, only one person would win and only three would place.  Winning was not the most important thing to me, I just had never been in that situation, and it was weird to think about.

Around mile 8, my favorite event of the entire weekend happened.  Our lady pack passed a young kid in a Batman costume.  He was trying his hardest to high five the runners.  To that point, we hadn’t wasted any excess energy.  We were running in a tight pack and cutting all tangents.  As we passed this young kid, our pack went into a single file line and each side fived the kid.  It was if we had planned the entire thing.

Mile 8 and 9, climbed a couple more hills but nothing of note.

I hit the 10-mile point in 1:04.25.  At that point, I realized it was just three of us.  Myself, Rosie, and another female from Philadelphia who had outkicked me last year.  I knew her well and knew she was the best downhill runner I’ve ever seen.  Which was not good news because the last three miles of the race are more downhill.  They aren’t total downhill, but there is more downhill than up.

At one point during mile 11, I was leading the entire race.  I laughed a bit, and of course, a video crew was filming the race there.  I waved to the camera like a fangirl and carried on.  We crushed mile 11 in 6:18.  I just kept telling myself 2 miles to go.

In the final two miles, Rosie and I separated ourselves from the pack.  I could not believe it.  I was a contender to win, and so was my good friend and neighbor Rosie.  We hit mile 12 in 6:20 and it began a power sprint.  She floored it into a gear I did not have that day and started separating herself from me.  Around mile 12.5, I knew I couldn’t catch her, but I didn’t want to give up second.  I gritted my teeth and just focused on the finish.  I saw Rosie finish just up ahead and by the time I knew it, I was crossing the finish 10 seconds later.

Runners world half festival me

I crossed in 1:24.52 and as second female overall.  I could not believe it.  I had surprised myself in time and placing. Not my fastest course time, but my highest placing and my most competitive race.  It taught me a lot about running in a pack and not second-guessing yourself and your ability.

They announced the top three females, and it was great to stand on the podium again with Rosie.  I could not be happier for her as she is an incredible athlete and forwent a marathon this season (she’s run under three before) to train for that.

Runners world half festival me

After that, I went and cheered for my dad who ran a great race as well.

In all, I’m happy with another successful weekend of racing at the Runners World Festival.  The festival is such a fun experience, and I was telling a few people, even if I don’t run or race well, it’s just fun.  Typically the weather at the race is beautiful, and the vibes from the race are so enjoyable.  It’s hard not to enjoy yourself and that’s why I’ll continue to go back.

Finally, the winner of the RW tote giveaway from the festival is Gina.  Shoot me an email at fueledbylolz (at) gmail and I’ll get you all squared away!

Questions for you:

What is the hilliest race you’ve done?

Have you ever run with a pack of people?

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

 

Progression:

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?

How to Beat Race Day Nerves

It’s not a secret that I like to race a lot.  In fact, I’ve written posts about how to “race well,” or even “racing my way to fitness”.  It works well for me as I typically train very easy throughout the week.

Since I race so frequently, racing doesn’t make me as nervous anymore.  I get more nervous before a workout than I do before a race.  Thinking out loud, I suppose that has come with both time and just racing a lot.

A few weeks ago, a reader asked me how I beat race nerves and if I would be open to writing a post about it.

The short answer is: race until you’re not as nervous anymore. 

I’m sure you wanted the long answer though.

Here are a few strategies I use to Beat Race Day Nerves:

Before the Race:

Visualize:

This is more something to do before the actual race.  The day before I plan to race (if I plan too), I like to visualize goals and success.  It’s actually something I picked up in collegiate swimming. Running is 90% mental, and if you believe you’ll do well, you’ve already won most of the battle.

Look Back at Your Training Logs:

Look at those workouts you didn’t think you would crush but you did.  This is motivational for bigger races, when you are tapering, or bored.  There is always “that run” during a training cycle that you didn’t think you’d make it through but you did.  Remember that one, versus the ones that you didn’t feel great during.

At the Race:

Stay Distracted:

For some people that are listening to music, for others (like me), that is talking nonstop until the race starts.  If we meet at a race, know that I am 100% cool with chatting up until the gun goes off.  Stay distracted and relaxed.

Get Away from the Start Line:

During shorter races such as a 5k, this is easy because I need to warm up.  I don’t warm up before half marathons (my top 5 half marathons have had zero warmup…maybe some walking).  Getting away from the start line allows you to stay relaxed and not think about it as much.

 

Remember This:

Races are typically the morning of your day.  It’s not more than a few hours of your morning, and when it’s done, you move on.  You are still the same person whether you PR or PW (personal worst).  Your family, friends, and everyone else still loves you.  Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the sport that we don’t think about the big picture.  Before every race, I just think: good or bad, whatever happens…happens and there is no need to stress about it.

You are still the same person whether you PR or PW (personal worst).  Your family, friends, and everyone else still loves you.  Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the sport that we don’t think about the big picture.  Before every race, I just think: good or bad, whatever happens…happens and there is no need to stress about it.

Racing is supposed to be exciting and fun.  You should look forward to it not dread it.  If you dread it, there is no point in doing it right?

Related Posts:

Who Cares Where You Run?

Care Free Training

How to Bounce Back from a Bad Race

Questions for you:

Do you race a lot?

How do you beat race day (or any day) nerves?

Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)

Last weekend I decided to run the Heroes to Hero 5k.  The race goes to a great cause, and I’ve always wanted to run.  Usually, it’s the same weekend as the Runners World Festival but this year, it worked out I was able to do both.

After a busy couple of days at work, I found myself exhausted.  I woke up Saturday morning extremely unmotivated.  It was spitting rain, and I was tired.  My husband was getting over whatever was going around so equally as unmotivated.  Together we were two excited to race peas in a pod.

We got to the race around 7:30 am.  The race started at 9 am, however, it was a point to point and the last bus left at 8:30.  I’ve never done a point to point bused 5k, so I wasn’t sure even how to warm up.  Ultimately, I ran 3 miles boarded the bus and got to the start.  I can’t say it was my favorite warm-up process, but I made it to the start successfully.  Usually, I like to warm up much closer to the beginning and not sit around for another half an hour.

After getting to the start, I talked to several people including our store owner and another staff member.  By the time I knew it, we were off.

During the first mile, my body felt stiff from waiting.  I didn’t feel bad, but I definitely did not feel good either. The ground was slick, and I just wanted to focus on feeling relaxed.  I went to the race to run as fast as I could for the day.  I wasn’t sure what that was, but I wanted to give it my full effort for the day.  I crossed the first mile in 6:05 which I was pleasantly surprised with.  Definitely one of my faster miles recently.

During the second mile, I continued to focus on progressing through the mile.  I could see the first place woman ahead, but I didn’t think I would be able to pass her.  Around the halfway point, my husband glided by me.  While he wasn’t “all out” racing, he was running harder than usual.  I hit the second mile in 6:04 and was even more pleased.  I couldn’t believe it.

During the third mile, I felt as if I was finally warming up.  I never felt bad. However, I felt relaxed.  Typically in 5ks, I feel like I’m holding on for dear life during the last mile, however, on Saturday I didn’t feel like that.  I wasn’t tired, but I also couldn’t move my legs any faster.

heroes to hero 5k

I ran a 6:01 last mile and finished in 18:41 and as second woman overall.  I was pleasantly surprised with my time.  My huge goal was to progress in the 5k, and I did just that.  I was 19 seconds faster than my previous fastest 5k a few weeks ago.

Progression:

8/20 Run the Runway 5k (20:54)
8/27 Philadelphia Airport 5k (19:45)
9/10 Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
9/23 Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)
9/30 Dragon Run (19:06)
10/1
Run for Recovery (19:12)
10/14 Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)

Question for you:
Do you like to point to point courses?
To be honest, I prefer somewhere I can start/finish near my car.

Training: Traveling and Hot Half Marathon

Last week was quite the interesting week.  Yay for some sort of excitement of training right?

As most people know from Instagram, I ran the Crawlin Crab half marathon.  I’ll go into more detail, but it wasn’t on my radar this year until last week.  I’ve always wanted to do it.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes
Friday: Rest
Saturday: East 45 minutes
Sunday: Crawlin’ Crab 13.1 (1:32.30)+2 miles

Total: 50-53 miles

My weekday runs were just that, easy, and uneventful.  If I had known that I would be running a half that Sunday, I would have probably run less each day or had an extra rest day because the half added a lot more mileage to my week.

Crawlin’ Crab 13.1: 1:32.30

On paper, this looks like a personal worst.  It’s over 5 minutes slower than what I ran just three weeks ago at the Air Force Half on an easier course.  However, at the start, the weather was 75 degrees and 95% humidity.  I felt as though I was swimming.

As I mentioned, I didn’t plan to run the Crawlin’ Crab, but when my husband’s plans changed, I was left with a weekend with nothing to do so I drove back to hometown to see my parents.  I had always wanted to do Crawlin’ Crab, so I toed the line of the half.  Having the hardest week, thus far in my training, plus the weather, made it easy to determine it wouldn’t be a fast race for me.  Everyone suffered from the weather, and even though I was swimming, I placed 4th female and 9th overall.

In all, I’m happy with the week of training.  It’s not what I expected, but the Crawlin Crab felt more like a workout versus a hard race.   I was more happy to meet my goal of having fun and seeing several friends.

Progression (I’ve decided to just keep the last 5 weeks to keep it less cluttered):
Week 6: 45 miles (1 workout)
Week 7: 40 miles (13.1 miles workout)
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)

Posts of the Week:
September Training
Why I Don’t Post Paces Online

Questions for you:
Did you race this weekend?  There were a lot of good ones!
What was your best workout?

September Workouts: I am Actually Training

September was the first month in a long time I felt like “running me”.  Not me in peak shape, or me ready to conquer a goal race, but just LOLZ that actually runs.

The other day, I had a conversation with someone on base and they said: “wow Hollie I’ve never seen you in running clothes before”.  But, the blogging world says the complete opposite or: “wow, Hollie do you ever comb your hair”.

It’s a funny thing, priorities change and running is always there.  With that, here is my log for the month:

Miles Run: 150-160
Paces: 5:55-10:30-mostly untimed
Shortest Run: 2 mile cooldown
Longest Run: Air Force Half Marathon
Rest Days: 4
Workouts: 1 (45-minute tempo run)

Races:
Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
Air Force Half Marathon (1:27.28)
Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)
Dragon Run (19:06)
Favorite Race:
Air Force Half Marathon

Thoughts:

I’m slowly building up my mileage.  Most older readers know me as someone as who typically runs anywhere from 60-80 miles when I’m in peak shape and primed for a PR.  I’ve been working my way up there but have stayed in the 40s for the last month.  It’s been a good spot for me right now to balance everything between life and running.  If everything progresses as it has, I do plan to continue increasing my mileage into the 50s next month.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio me running

Other than that, I’m feeling good about my mileage.  Knock on wood, I’m healthy and injury free.  My plan for October is simple: to continue building my mileage and frequently racing as workouts.

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj me cupcake

Running Posts from the Month:
Why a Running Streak Does Not Work for Me
Techniques to Help Recover Faster
Staying Fit During the Off Season
How to Build a Running Base and Stay Healthy
Altra Escalante Shoe Review

Questions for you:
How was your month of September?