Pups first Race!

My pup, Lilly-May is signed up for her first race! If this is any indication that you think I’ll live vicariously through my children you are wrong, I will live through my dog.

Last year, the furry bundle of energy Lilly-May came into my life and little did she know it but she would soon be my running buddy.


She was an adorable puppy!

I feel bad that she can’t be given the open fields of a farm that her breed is specifically made for (chasing cattle) so instead I allow her to chase me AKA: run with me.

Lately the both of us have been in a running rutt so to help her and me  we’re is signed up for 3 upcoming 5k races (Aug 8th, 15th, and 22nd)!
lost dog 5k series

Lost Dog 5k’s are run by a local Pacers Running Store and its held annualy 4 Fridays in August at the Bluemont Trail in Arlington, VA.  Runners and pups have to both be registered and receive a timing race chip at the start of each race.  Once finished with the race there is a the post-race party for a complimentary human beverages held at Stray Cat Café.  The race benefits Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation which is awesome knowing that our race registration is going to help animals just like Lilly-May was once rescued by a similar foundation (FARM). 

Last week Lilly-May and I missed the first scheduled race of the series because she was still recovering from a serious dog illness the week before.  After a few weeks off and a lot of rest later Lilly-May is cleared to hit the road again.  Tonight I know Lilly-May will be excited to meet some new dog friends and race her very first 5k!


Here are the winners of each pups weight group last week:  I think its funny that they post the pups times.

lost dog aug 1 results

Lilly doesn’t know it yet but I shouldn’t be racing the night before a planned long run tomorrow am (ahhem 10 miles). We will do this first 5k for fun and see how distracted she is to the finish line. Wish us luck!


Do you run with your pup? run any races with your pup? have any races coming up this weekend?

Hope you have a great weekend!

Posted in race it, Running with Dogs | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Things to Run on

Happy Wednesday!

Humpday is here and that means only two more days of hard work until the weekend!  Yours truly would like to share the best of the best advice or interesting or random reads I read through this week and thought I’d share.

  1. What about that long run? Break it down and I don’t mean like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in this “I’ve had to rely on my “stay in the mile” mantra a bit more lately than I usually do. Maybe it’s the heat, or the stress of life that makes the hard workouts feel harder, but this is a good one. You get out of the mile, it can be a downward spiral. On mile 2 of an 8 mile tempo, you DO NOT want to be thinking, “OMG, I have 6 miles left of this”. I’ve had to break it down to stay in the 1/2 mile. Break it down people. Stay in the moment, stay in the mile.” -Katie, at MsFitRunner Training for 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials with Coach Mark Hadly
  2. slow downSlow down partner…it’s not a race! “One of the biggest challenges as a coach is convincing athletes to slow down on their recovery runs. People want to push, want to rush the acquisition of fitness or recovery from an injury. They get about two weeks out of this approach, three if they’re lucky. Think I’m being dramatic? Just read a few running blogs and look for the trend. People celebrate the return from an injury or pick a goal race, pop up their mileage way beyond the 10% rule, start hammering workouts and low and behold, just don’t know what happened when they are totally out again three weeks later.” advice from Running Coach at runnerunderpressure
  3. 5d9a0c993194e578a246a7eb49d50998Take it in strides…but really…we all have to start somewhere.“Finish off an easy run, then add in about four to eight bursts of about 20 seconds of speed. After each, you want to simply walk or jog very lightly back to the beginning to let your heart rate recover all the way back down before starting the next one. I also like strides as a way to ease your body back into speed work if you’ve had a break from it, whether from injury or from an off-season recovery cycle. They teach your legs to move quickly again without stressing your system. After a few weeks of strides, you can start progressing into real speed work.” -Coach Amanda, at MissZippy1 read more about her stride guide here.
  4. The heck with the Iphone6 release date the next best technology runners should care about is going to be a vibrating foam roller  “While foam rollers can help the body stay loose, adding vibration with the intensity and frequency of The VYPER takes the whole experience to another level”-yeah I bet the experience will be better…
  5. Next time you get the eye brow raise from a non-runner friend just say you’re improving your cardiovascular-mortality risk by 50 percent.  ” In the Journal of the American College of Cardiology says that running for just five to 10 minutes a day, at even a slow pace, could reduce your risk of early death from all causes, and specifically cardiovascular disease. Study revealed runners had 30 percent and 45 percent lower adjusted risks of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively, with a three-year life expectancy benefit. They also note that the most “persistent” runners—i.e. those who kept up with their running routine for an average of about six years—saw the most benefit, with all-cause mortality risk cut by 29 percent and cardiovascular-mortality risk slashed by 50 percent.” – Published in Be Well Philly here
  6. tumblr_m3d0u40qtF1r54wkvo1_250Caught Daydreaming? Go right ahead my friend and say you are constructively envisioning your future.  “How often do you daydream or even allow yourself to get bored? It’s far too easy to scan Twitter or Facebook, flip through Netflix, or catch up on my RSS feeds. If I’m unoccupied I feel guilty. But it turns out there’s a lot of value in letting our minds just wander. Daniel Goleman calls this “open awareness” and says when our minds wander we’re free to: constructively envision our future—essential for planning and goal setting, reflect on our thoughts and actions—central to living intentionally, make fresh and creative associations between ideas—key to problem solving, I often feel unproductive in these moments. But that’s the point. Our brains aren’t designed to go nonstop. When we drop things into neutral ideas flow on their own, memories sort themselves out, and we give ourselves a chance to rest.” Published by Michael Hyatt here
  7. Running app overload…Following up from my last weekly recap today I read an article about the “10 best running apps” with top 3 being  #1. Runkeeper #2. Run with Map My Run #3. Runtastic and random running app I’ve never heard about is at #9 Zombies, Run! -“is a run tracker app that gamifies your exercise routine by adding a zombie apocalypse narrative to your workouts.”  I might just have to download that Zombie app!
  8. If this is not inspiring… I can’t help you…Starting today a British 26-year-old woman, Amy Hughes,  is hoping to run #1 of #53 marathons to beat the world record for consecutive marathons by attempting to run 53 marathons in 53 days.  Amy hopes to raise money for the children’s brain tumour charity the Isabelle Lottie Foundation during the challenge.  Talk about a cool girl I hope her the very best!  Check out her website here to donate.  If you are curious the current record stands at 17 marathons in 17 days for women.

Thoughts? read anything interesting on another blog, in the news, or wherever lately?

Posted in Running | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

11 weeks until Marine Corps Marathon

MCM 14
One of my favorite things to say to people when they say there is a 40% chance of rain is there is a 60% chance of no rain…or if you think “I’m too tired for this run,” remember “I’ll have more energy afterwards and feel very accomplished.” Being optimistic at times can seem far-fetched but in the end there is always a bright side to everything. That is sort of how this week played out for me at least.  Setting up a schedule worked for me last week and I managed to get in most of my planned runs this past week while also adjusting the schedule a little bit due to things that came up.

So this is what running feels like. last weeks results are in…20140805-080702-29222088.jpg

Monday: 2-4 Miles Slow at MAF Heart Rate
Result: 3 Miles…not sure exactly watch stopped and I finished around total 28:00 running minutes.

Tuesday: 4-5 Miles Hills at MAF Heart Rate
Result: No Running, Just couldn’t fit it into my schedule that day.

Wednesday: No Running, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Class
Result: No Class-didn’t get a chance to go. Instead Overall ran 3.73 miles, Average Pace 8:46 /mile, and total running time 32:42

Thursday: 4 Miles Slow at MAF Heart Rate
Result: No Running – Due to not running Tuesday I ran Wednesday and my legs were pretty tired so didn’t want to push my legs too much before my Long Run Friday.

Friday: 10 Miles Slow at 9:00/mile pace
Result: Overall ran 11.36 miles, Average Pace 9:16 /mile, and total running time 1:45:10.
I started using runmeter to track my running and connect socially via twitter with other runners. It speaks tweets to me while I’m running which was pretty cool and inspiring. I don’t know if I’ll use it all the time but I plan to try to use it for most of my longer runs.
here are the detailed results of my 10 miler. I learned during this run that running on empty is just plain dumb. I thought I could manage getting by with two water bottles and no GU’s for 10 miles. By mile 5 I was starving and regretted not eating breakfast or packing any sort of food for the run. Next long run I’m going to eat before and bring a GU.

Saturday: 3 Miles Slow at MAF Heart Rate
Result: No running-rest

Sunday: 5 Miles Slow at MAF Heart Rate
Result: No running-rest

Easy Does it…I’m still on the path that leads not to temptation but to running more often than not. What I mean is I’m taking running more seriously, but I’m going to hold back on pushing the milage up in the weeks ahead and also on signing up for any more races until I get situated in this new routine and schedule. In the past the idea of having a race lined up every other week kept me motivated but I learned last year that running a lot of races resulted in needing more recovery time for tired legs. With 11 weeks until race day I decided shouldn’t risk cushioning any more “rest” days for a random race when every day leading up the race day at this point needs to be handled with care.

The Break down…Next weeks plan.
Week 2 Marathon Training:
Monday: Off
Tuesday: 5 miles and strides at the end
Wednesday: Off or Crosstrain
Thursday: 5 miles and strides at the end
Friday: Lost dog 5k with my dog Lilly-May (for fun)
Saturday: 10 miles easy
Sunday: 3 miles easy

Final running thoughts on this last week…It’s perfectly normal to move workouts around in the first few weeks of training because part of marathon training requires figuring out what days work best to do certain runs, what days do, and sometimes you can’t control that thunderstorm that decided to show up right before you head out. Point being I’ve reached a point of reality where it’s not the end of the world not completing a planned run…there is always tomorrow or letting the “plan” stay in the past and move forward!

Lastly, lesson learned last week was do not leave your lunch on the coffee table at my house…it might get devoured by my dog.  here was my lunch I made after my long run that I never ate…Lilly said it was “grrrrrrrrreat…ruff ruff”


Do you use runmeter or any other running applications, do you like them? Has your pet ever helped themselves to your meal…tell me about it!

Posted in Marathon Training Summer 2014, Running | Tagged | 5 Comments

12 Weeks until Marine Corps Marathon

Its been a painful start back to training and to be truthful I have not been sticking to any schedule. In planning for this Marathon over this past month I told myself 1) Start training this week but if you don’t that’s ok because you at least 2) have to start 12 weeks out from race day to be safe. Like all “back up plans” I relied heavily on pushing off any identification of officially starting training because mentally it made me feel better. Then the Marine Corps Marathon a few days ago started posting 100 days left, 99 days left, and I swear my heart rate escalated a little bit. I know they are only being motivational but crap putting the countdown into days has really put it into perspective. Way to go Marine Corps Marathon facebook account your Marketing is working on me…

So this is what running feels like…Yesterday I said ok July 28th its Monday, my least favorite day of the week, so punch me in the face I’m starting Marathon Training. Not even a minute into training my automatic pause (happens at intersections or when I stop running) froze my garmin watch. I almost turned around assuming the world is against me running again. Realizing that is not enough justification for getting dressed and out the door I just decided to heck with pace/miles i’m going to do this loop and call it a day. Lucky for me I do not have Arlington/DC mile loops figured out yet so I don’t know how far I went, how long I went, how fast I went…I just went. It felt great, it was motivational, and I’m feeling back in the swing of things. a little part of me said..I WIN MONDAY.

Easy Does it…At this point, my body needs time to adapt to training changes and adding too much mileage or intensity before I’m ready is the number one cause of ALL MY PAST RUNNING injuries. I’m going to gradually add the daily miles but focus a lot on recovery time so my legs handle more as training demands longer runs in the coming months. I’m planning to allow plenty of time after my runs to stretch, foam roll, ice, refuel, and get an adequate nights rest afterward.

The Break down…I have not officially started with my coach however, based on her initial advice to me I’m going to keep this easy building base mileage idea. Simply put – get out and run gradually adding mileage on each week. I’m applying advice I learned from my coach this past winter and with Charm City Run Coaches advice over the years and what I was told through Runners World Challenge last year to get me through this week. At this point I should know what I need to do…but I’m terrible at taking my own advice so I’m pulling ideas from all my knowledgeable avenues.

I thought I’d share a little tid bit from Runners World Challenge when it comes to marathon goal setting and setting a Personal Record “PR” (see below). This year, as a starting point I figure fall somewhere in the middle 3:30 and 3:45 marathon. They are very similar aside from total weekly mileage being slightly different. I added the Break 4:00 for those who may be curious. If Runners World Challenge does not shut down the below link you are welcome to check out the break 3:30 plan – its aggressive!

Ideal candidates: Runners who want to break 3:30 in the marathon.
Weekly routine: 1 day of rest, 6 days of running
Weekly mileage: 36-60 miles
Long runs: start at 10 miles; peak at 23 miles
Speed work: strides, tempo runs, Yasso 800s, marathon goal-pace runs (MP)

Ideal candidates: Runners who want to break 3:45 in the marathon.
Weekly routine: 1 day of rest, 6 days of running
Weekly mileage: 31-60 miles
Long runs: start at 10 miles; peak at 23 miles
Speed work: tempo runs, Yasso 800s, marathon goal-pace runs (MP)

Ideal candidates: Runners who want to break 4:00 in the marathon.
Weekly routine: 2 days of rest, 5 days of running
Weekly mileage: 26-50 miles
Long runs: start at 10 miles; peak at 22 miles
Speed work: strides, tempo runs, Yasso 800s, marathon goal-pace runs (MP)

A little less intimidating is my plan…Week 1 Marathon Training:
Goals MAF and Base Building
Monday: 2-4 Miles Slow at MAF Heart Rate
Tuesday: 4-5 Miles Hills at MAF Heart Rate
Wednesday: No Running, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Class
Thursday: 4 Miles Slow at MAF Heart Rate
Friday: 10 Miles Slow at 9:00/mile pace.
Saturday: 3 Miles Slow at MAF Heart Rate
Sunday: 5 Miles Slow at MAF Heart Rate

Please don’t try this at home, at work, at the gym…ever…This wouldn’t be an adequate post if I can’t inform you of a new trend I hope does not catch on ever “cute ways to wear socks

 Thank you everyone who commented, shared, or reached out to me after my last post.  Your support is what keeps me going!

xoxo – Holly

Posted in Marathon Training Summer 2014, Running | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Running Rut

Be it as it may I can willingly and honestly admit I’ve been in a running rut. It’s not that I do not miss running or racing because I miss it so much. It’s that I feel like I’m stuck because I’ve allowed myself to get to this point of what is best termed: OUT OF SHAPE.   Instead of turning the negative into positives lately I’ve been in a negative downhill battle with running and I never thought I’d also conclude this, but I’ve lost a bit of confidence in the sport. As if I couldn’t be even more hard on myself I’ve set expectations to reach specific goals and from the outside looking in I’m a little afraid of myself and all the pressure that comes with goal setting.

 About three months ago I also went through a break up with my boyfriend of almost four years which was difficult. In years past, similar life changing events like the pressure of a new job, new city, or even a break up etc. would have pushed me to reach my goals even more.  I have a funny way of turning those emotions into fuel to burn on runs and running helps me think through things thus providing a healthy outlet for such life changing events. This time was different and instead of running to move forward I have been busy  traveling, decorating my new apartment, and spending time with family and friends.   I never thought after going through that kind of a break up would push me to other fun outlets besides running but I guess life has a funny way of working out.

I went to Las Vegas!

I went to Las Vegas!

I’ve been happy in all aspects of life since moving from Baltimore, Md back to Arlington, Va except I feel like my desire to run has fallen by the wayside. To get back on track I recently I reached out to my coach for some assistance because I need structure, a plan, and extra attention to get me to the starting line of the Marine Corps Marathon this year. I know myself and I personally I need a coach to provide a marathon training schedule to help me progressively get back into running shape so I do not develop injuries. I also know that I should modify my goals this year and relieve a little pressure that may be weighing me down mentally. It’s healthy to have a list of goals, but I’ve let that list get the best of me lately. I essentially need to focus on what is important and that is getting back in shape and letting my heart carry me out for a run not the voices in my head.

Looking to find that motivation and determination I had last year running the marine corps marathon.

Looking to find that motivation and determination I had last year running the marine corps marathon.

 I might just define the past few months as pushing the reset button on running and starting over.  I have approximately 15 weeks until the Marine Corps Marathon and I’m hoping to get myself back on track and back in shape. I’ll likely goal set 7 weeks out (September) from race date (October 26) based on where my fitness level is at that point. I expect to continue to struggle just like years past with balancing marathon training and making appropriate social decision over the course of training, but I’m hoping to have a better grasp on it. I’m only human and its time I have a little fun with the sport, find my passion for it again, and share with you my uphill and downhill battles.

 Wish me luck!

This is how I’m going to get out of my rut.  How do you get out of a running rut?

Posted in How To's, Marathon Training Summer 2014, race it | 7 Comments