Six Life Lessons from the Marathon

Hey party people! As you can probably tell with my last few posts, the new year has me feeling reflective. Especially with this bomb cyclone going on, it’s easy enough to stay inside and curl up with a hot cocoa and relax under a warm blanket.  Ahhhhhh that sounds amazing right about now! As I discussed in my last post, my goal this year is to run marathon #11.

When you are setting goals for yourself, it’s important to know why you want to accomplish that goal. So why do I want to run a marathon in 2018 after taking 2017 off from running 26.2 miles? Easy. For me, the marathon is more of a mental challenge than any of the other distances. Yes, I think all the distances present their own challenges, but NOTHING will challenge you like the marathon does.

Here are 6 life lessons that the marathon will teach you.

#1- You have to do things you don’t want to do in order to get what you want.

I think this really holds true with EVERYTHING in life.  Think about it. You think to yourself, “it would be so awesome to vacation in Napa Valley.” So you have this grand vision of yourself drinking amazing wine and eating the most delicious food. Great! That can become a reality. But you have to do the things that aren’t so pleasant in order to make that dream vacation happen such as researching flights, comparing prices, figuring out an itinerary, making dinner reservations, flying, etc. Same holds true with the marathon. You have to wake up super early. You have to run 20 miles on a Saturday. You have to stay in on some Friday nights. But guess what? If you don’t do those things, you’ll never run the marathon. I’ll say it again, you have to do things you don’t want to do in order to get what you want.

#2- You can handle it.

When you run a marathon, you are redefining “hard.” The marathon is the single hardest thing I have done in my life. When you are at mile 20, everything hurts and your brain is telling you to quit. But you don’t.  Because you have worked too hard for this to quit! At this point in the marathon, it really is mind over matter. So if you go through anything hard in your life after running a marathon (e.g. loss of a loved one, divorce, illness) you can remember how you felt at mile 20 and say, “I can handle this.” You just know that on the other side of that pain is something greater.

#3- You need a purpose.

Too many people wake up and live the same way day in and day out. Almost like they are just going through the motions. They stop growing personally and professionally. I am not saying you have to set out to be the next President of the United States. But you need something that gets you out of bed every morning and makes you strive to be your best. It could be anything from being a great parent to teaching. The marathon gives you purpose every day. You know why you are out there running in crappy weather and what you are working toward.

#4- You don’t have to go at it alone.

So many of us feel like the road to success is a lonely one. You automatically assume that no one wants to help you or worse, that everyone is against you. That’s simply not true. You might show up to the start line of a marathon alone, but you are among many that are about to embark on the same journey!  You can just feel the energy in the air! Think about those random spectators at a race. They aren’t out there booing you or telling you to go home. They are cheering you on, and they don’t even know your name!  How amazing is that?! And what about the volunteers? They wake up bright and early to get to the race to support you with whatever you need. Again, they want you to succeed. Life is the same. How many times have you seen a random act of kindness? Or saw your team at work supporting someone going through a hard time? Always remember that you have the love and support of many.

#5- You need to keep moving forward.

A marathon is run in many steps, not one giant leap. It takes time, patience, and consistency to get to where you want to go. Even if it’s one tiny step forward, that’s progress. Same is true in life. You aren’t going to be Picasso after your very first painting. I love the quote, “The expert in anything was once a beginner.” You have to keep moving forward and keep doing the work. Your time will come.

#6- You need to be consistent.

When I first started running, do you know how many times I tried to run around the block and didn’t make it? It was a lot. Ask my neighbors 😛 But I kept at it almost every day.  It wasn’t like I tried it once and was like, “Oh well didn’t make it! Guess I’m not a runner!” I was consistent. I am a believer that every failure is one step closer to a success. You just get back up and try again. Think about when babies are trying to learn how to walk.  How many times do they fall down? A ton! But does a baby ever say, “Well I just fell, guess I’ll never be able to walk!” This is a trick question. Babies don’t talk 😉 But NO!  They just get back up and try again until they get it. As the quote goes, “it’s impossible until it is done.”

So tell me, what lessons has the marathon taught you?

Goals for 2018

Hey gang!  Instead of a What I’m Feelin’ Friday post, I wanted to talk about my goals for 2018. How about what I’m feelin’ today is kicking butt and taking names in 2018? 😛

So here are my goals for 2018…

Goal #1: Get my personal training certification

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw my post about getting my personal training certification this year through National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Why am I doing this? To keep elevating my level of expertise in health and fitness to better serve my coaching clients. I actually debated getting this certification back in 2008 and leaving my full-time job to be a trainer. Do I regret not doing it then? No. Because I am doing it now and that’s all that matters.

Goal #2: Keep growing my business

In 2018, I really want to ramp up the growth and look at multiple ways to bring in income. And just keep working on my ultimate goal. It’s just like running. You eventually run a marathon by taking hundreds of thousands of steps forward. You don’t run a marathon in a single leap. It’s easy to get discouraged when it feels like your taking a long time to get there. But you just keep moving forward and eventually you’ll get there.

Goal #3: Read 10 books

Join the Reading Challenge!

I have been participating in the Good Reads Reading Challenge since 2012. It’s a fun way to stay motivated and look back on what you have read, what were your favorite books, and think about the lessons you have learned from those books. I crushed last years challenge by reading 17 books when I set out to read 7. To help me read more, I’m debating on getting a subscription to Audible. I tried the free trial years ago and really enjoyed it. But remember I am a podcast junkie and that’s all I listen to on my commute. So it’s like, do I spend the $15/month when I listen to free content already? Am I just being cheap? LOL

Goal #4: Learn more about branding and marketing

This one will also help with goal #2. Ever since I have been watching Shark Tank, I have always been fascinated with branding and marketing. I feel like marketing can be the secret sauce to a simple business idea. How about this, I download some branding and marketing books on Audible. That will also help me accomplish goal #3! Hahahaha!

Goal #5: Run a marathon

So this isn’t a new goal, but last year I did not run a marathon. I was feeling a bit burnt out and wanted to shift my focus to other things in life.  Truth be told, I was afraid I wouldn’t miss it. The long training runs every Saturday, the pain you felt during the race, etc. But I definitely do miss it!  Nothing compares to the marathon. I am going to enter the lottery on January 15th for the New York City Marathon but if I don’t get into that race, I will run the Philadelphia marathon. Woohoo!!

That’s all for now!  So tell me, what are your goals for 2018?

2017: A Year in Review

Happy New Year!  Hope everyone had a great first day of 2018. I started out my day with a very cold run on a trail around a lake and came home to a yummy breakfast of eggs, sausage, and toast courtesy of my boyfriend. Then we just spent the day lounging around.  It was perfection!

Before I talk about my 2018 goals, I want to do a year in review for 2017. Last year I blogged about my 2017 goals.  Did I accomplish them all? Mostly.  And I am okay with that!

Goal #1 of 2017: Break 1 hour and 9 minutes at the Parkway Classic Ten Miler

Accomplished?: No. I ran a 1 hour and 14 minutes but I am still so proud of my time!  I did the best I could and had a great day during the race and after. After the race my boyfriend and I headed to Hank’s Oyster Bar for their yummy fried fish sandwich, then headed to Bluprint Chocolatiers for some of the yummiest chocolate EVER, and went to Port City Brewing to continue the celebration!  You can read more about my race day recap here.


Goal #2 of 2017: Continue to grow the blog

Accomplished?: Yes!

Here is a snapshot of users that visited the blog in the past year. Each dot on the chart represents the month.  The big spike was due to my announcement of my clothing line. I know there is a ton of room to keep growing, and that’s what I intend on doing in 2018.


Goal #3 of 2017: Take a cooking class

Accomplished?: Womp Womp lol. No. We didn’t even get near a cooking school!  No sweat though.  Just adding it to the bucket list for 2018!


Goal #4 of 2017: Read at least 7 books.

Accomplished?: Heck to the yeah!!! I read 17 books in 2017. I am seeing a theme here 😉 My four most favorite were:

  1. “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines- This book is funny and inspiring. Chip and Joanna do not sugar coat their humble beginnings, which is refreshing in an Instagram world where we only see someone’s highlight reel.
  2. “The Kind Worth Killing” by Peter Swanson- Umm talk about a murder mystery with some serious twists and turns!  I could NOT put this one down!  I was left wondering the following day what was going to happen in the next chapter.
  3. “The Girl Who Wrote in Silk” by Kelli Estes- This is a great tale of two stories from two different women who are standing up to do what they think is right. This story is so vividly told and I loved imagining each scene. I can still remember them as if I saw them happening in real life.
  4. “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls- This non-fiction story about a girl living in poverty with parents that do not conform to society’s norms will send you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It’s heartwarming and heart-wrenching, but it’ll make you think twice about how you feel about homelessness and raising children. Definitely my favorite book of 2017.

Goal #5 of 2017: Take a fashion illustration class

Accomplished?: Yes! Doesn’t mean I was any good haha! I took the fashion illustration class online through Brit & Co. I really love their online platform and have taken several of their classes. Here is what I came up with….

Hmm okay so the hair can use a little work 😛 But not a bad first attempt! Have I made a second attempt? No. Will I? Meh the jury is still out. I liked it, didn’t love it. But I still think about other outfits/scenes I’d like to draw.  We will see what 2018 brings!

All in all another successful year. Looking forward to an even more successful 2018!

So tell me, how was your 2017? Any big accomplishments? Any bucket list items scratched off?

What I’m Feelin’ Friday #1

Hey gang!! Happy Friday!!! I am going to start a segment here on the blog called, “What I’m Feelin’ Friday.” There are always a TON of products or services that make my life better as a runner/overall human being and I want to share them with the you!  I am all for things that will improve my quality of life and save time. If any of the items I mention provide a monetary kick back to me, I will let you know by putting this “(<–Referral Link)” next to the hyperlink. If there’s nothing, then I am sharing out of the kindness of my heart. Awwww 😉

So here’s what I’m feelin’….

#1 Apple Juice Infused Dried Cherries from Whole Foods

These things are addictive! I love how tart they are and go perfectly in trail mix or oatmeal. And according to Women’s Running Magazine, cherries are especially good for runners because they help reduce inflammation and contain melatonin to help you sleep.  You can find these gems in the trail mix/bulk food section at Whole Foods.

#2 What To Eat Notepad

I .HATE. MEAL PLANNING! But it’s critical if you want to save time and money at the grocery store. I found this cute magnetic notepad at World Market during my Santa Barbara trip but you can find it here on Amazon. I love that I can easily see what days I don’t need to cook so that way I am not throwing out leftovers.

#3 Clarisonic Brush Mia 2

Photo taken from www.clarisonic.com

Okay I know what you’re thinking. What the heck does this have to do with running?! Have you ever come home from a nice, sweaty workout and you make a nice post-workout meal, you take the dog for a walk, then you scroll through See Holly Run’s Instagram account, only to realize you haven’t washed your face in hours?! I’m guilty as charged. Because of these bad habits, my face was consistently breaking out.

I’m not even joking, the day a friend lent me her Clarisonic brush (<–Referral Link) was a day that would change my life forever!  I know that sounds completely nuts but within 1 use my skin was MUCH clearer and brighter. Over the next few days, my skin became the softest I can ever remember it being!!

After my friend and I’s agreed upon trial period, I gave my friend her Clarisonic brush back and immediately my face started breaking out again. Luckily About Faces Spa was having a sale and I got Clare (our beloved nickname for the brush) at a discounted rate. Rejoice!  My skin is clear again!

Hope everyone has a FANTASTIC weekend!  Tell me, what are you feelin’ this week? 🙂

 

 

How to Run in the Rain (It’s not that obvious…)

Happy Monday everyone! Hope all your running/fitness has been going awesome! It’s quite the rainy Monday here in Maryland. When I woke up this morning and heard the pouring down rain, my immediate thought was to take my run inside on the treadmill.  After a few minutes, I changed my mind and decided to challenge myself today by putting myself in an uncomfortable situation (running in the rain) and working on getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. As humans, we tend to HATE anything remotely uncomfortable and stay in our comfort zone. But adventure and the feeling of truly being alive happens outside of our comfort zone. Running in the rain is uncomfortable, but it is fun if you do it right!

Here are my tips on how to run in the rain and love it!

Before Your Run

1. Assess the situation. Listen to your local weather authority.  If there are any warnings, probably not the best idea to put your life at risk. Today during my run, it was 70 degrees with steady rain. A safe situation to run in. Do not go out if it’s hurricane conditions outside!  Do yoga instead 🙂

2. Gather all the necessary gear. You could theoretically go out in your normal gear. But that’ll result in chafing and blisters. You will need the following, including but not limited to:

-Rain jacket
-Body Glide (or any anti-chafing ointment)
-Hat or visor
-Newspaper
-Towel

3. Place your after run essentials, like a towel and newspaper, by the door that you’ll enter through after your run.  That way you are not walking through the house soaking wet to get everything you need.

4. Put on anti-chafing ointment prior to putting on your gear. You will get wet.  There is no getting around that. Before putting on your shoes/socks, put anti-chafing ointment all over your feet to avoid blisters.  Also, put the ointment anywhere clothes or skin may rub like under sports bra straps or in-between your thighs.

5. Now put on your gear. You will need a baseball hat or visor to keep the pouring rain out of your face so you can breathe comfortably. If you wear an armband for your phone, put it on prior to putting on your rain jacket. This adds an extra layer of protection and will prevent your phone from getting wet.

During Your Run

6. Watch your footing! But be sure to jump in those puddles. It’s like being a kid again! 🙂 But those paint lines on the roads can be slippery when wet, so be sure to tread slowly over them or skip over them if possible.  Also look out for those leaves! They can be slippery too.

After Your Run

7. Hang dry all your gear on a drying rack. Take care of your gear and it will take care of you!

8. Stuff your shoes with newspaper. Yes I know that sounds odd but you need to dry your shoes ASAP. Newspaper absorbs all the moisture from your shoes and is cheap. Do not put your shoes in the dryer!  The heat breaks down the material in the sole and changes the shape/structure of the other materials.

Shoes with newspaper

That’s all for now! What are you waiting for?! Go out there and be a kid again! 🙂

What other weather elements have you run in? Snow? Heat?

How are you doing on those pushups for #hollyshundred? 😉

The Only 2 Strength Training Exercises You’ll Ever Need

Happy Monday Gang! Hope everyone had a relaxing fall weekend! Even though the weather is still saying summer 🙁 I am holding off on all things pumpkin until the weather dips into the 50s. Last year I started having pumpkin in early September and by the time Halloween rolled around, I was sick of it! Must. not. give. in!

Anyway, after my last race I have not been following any sort of training plan. In case you missed it, you can read my Charles 12 race review here.  It’s kind of nice to do just whatever I feel and relax, but I can only take about 2 weeks of that. The type-A, goal setter in me starts to panic haha. With all my races behind me for the year, now is a good time to focus on other stuff that keeps me in shape and healthy for the spring race season.

Like my clients, I am pressed for time and simply cannot afford to work out an hour and a half every day. But you can be smart and pair exercising with the stuff you are already doing every day. Oh, multitasking. It can be a thing of beauty! By doing workouts while watching Netflix or cooking a healthy dinner, you aren’t trying to “find” extra time, you are simply spending the time you have wisely. We all have only 24 hours in a day. As one of my favorite Rocky quotes goes, “Time, you know, takes everybody out, it’s undefeated.”

So if someone asked what exercises should they do, if they could only do 2 exercises the rest of their life, I would tell them pushups and squats. Why? Simply put, these 2 exercises give you the most bang for your buck.  They are both total body workouts so they work various muscle groups including our core.  No need to waste time doing hundreds or crunches when you can get similar results plus more with squats and pushups. Plus they are convenient and you can do them anywhere!

So in the spirit of challenging oneself, I am doing the 100 pushup challenge!!!

Pushup lady

To learn more about the challenge, read the details on the main site. I took the initial test a few days ago and busted out 10 pushups.  Woot! Today started day 1 of week 1.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress each week of the 6 week challenge!

I did this program about 4 years ago, and by the end I was doing about 35 pushups.  It’s not 100 but I think 35 is pretty dang good.  Plus I felt and looked stronger!

After week 6, I’ll be onto the 200 squat challenge. Oh yeah!

Will you join me? Use the hashtag #hollyshundred on Instagram and Facebook to show us what you got!! Be sure to follow my page See Holly Run on Facebook for all the updates.  

You guys rock!

 

 

Running Adventures in Stone Harbor, NJ

Hey gang! I have been MIA from the blog for a bit enjoying my time with my boyfriend and his family in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. It was my first time on the Jersey Shore but it won’t be my last! I love to travel and generally explore, but there is something to be said for not having an itinerary and just relaxing with your toes in the sand.

I still woke up every morning between 6 am and 7 am, and was out the door ready to run by 7:30 am. The first few days, I kept it simple by running along the main drags; First Avenue, Second Avenue, and Third Avenue. Second Avenue has a great bike lane that is also runner friendly. The speed limit for vehicles is 25 MPH. If you have been on Coastal Highway in Ocean City, Maryland, you know that’s pretty darn safe.  Coastal Highway is basically the ocean version of Frogger.

Also, fun fact: Stone Harbor is a part of Seven Mile Island. I had no clue until I got there.  It made estimating my running route a whole lot easier 😛

I absolutely loved running down the main drags and checking out all the mini-mansions and adorable vintage shore homes. My last morning in Stone Harbor, I felt really exhausted. Music trivia the night before was intense! 😛 I planned on just doing an easy 3 miler. That was the plan, at least, until curiosity got the best of me.  I have mentioned before that summer is the perfect time to change up your running routine and explore new routes. I ran past our rental and straight toward the southern most point of the island to grab some cool pictures of the beach. I paused my GPS watch, not caring about the fact I wasn’t “training hard” or “running seriously.” I stopped for a few minutes and took in the beautiful view right in front of me.

Beach

After taking a moment to be grateful for the trip, I started to head back to the house when a hidden trail off the side of the beach caught my eye. I saw some other walkers and runners head down the path. My curiosity got the best of me and decided to see what was on the trail.  It was a short trail, maybe a quarter of a mile? And the extra effort was so worth it because there was so much untouched shoreline with wildlife and more stunning views.

I am so glad I listened to my gut and continue to break out of that same running route rut!

So tell me, how have you gotten out of that same running route rut this summer?

Keep checking in this weekend for an exciting announcement!!!! Be sure to follow me on instagram @seehollyrun and on Facebook.

Girls Trip to Santa Barbara, CA: Day 2

Hey gang! Happy hump day! Maryland is currently (and feels like forever will be…) in a heat wave this week.  I hope everyone is practicing safe running 😉 Typically, I hate to carry anything while I run.  But I’ve stopped fighting it and decided to carry a small water bottle on my runs.  What a lifesaver! If I can do it, you can do it.

So onto the long awaited day 2 recap of the girls trip to Santa Barbara! I already miss it 🙁

That morning I woke up early and decided to go for a run along the coastline. Generally when I am running on vacation, I am not worried about my pace.  I take it slow and enjoy my surroundings.  I couldn’t help but notice all the beautiful landscaping on the side of the roads. In Maryland, we typically have free furniture on the side of the road 😛

I mean, who wouldn’t want to run by this every morning?!

flowers

After my run, my cousin and I headed to the breakfast at the hotel restaurant and fueled up for our first paddleboarding lessons! This has been on our bucket list for years and it is nice to have it finally crossed off.  I would HIGHLY recommend Cal Coast Adventures as the tour company.  Conner, our guide, was very encouraging and fun.  We paddled all around the harbor and saw some tiny sting rays.  Then we got brave and paddled under the pier, which I definitely ran into a few times before I made it through. We ventured out to some of the boats that were anchored off the shore and we found a sea lion just chilling on the back of a boat like he owned it haha.  After we returned to shore, my cousin and I definitely agreed we would do it again.  Yay for accomplishing some life goals!

After out paddleboarding adventure, we worked up quite the appetite and headed back to the Funk Zone to a pizza place called Lucky Penny.  If you find yourself in Santa Barbara, you NEED to go here. Immediately. We ordered the house market salad, The Parker pizza, frosè, and watermelon beer. We were in heaven!!!

After indulging, we needed to walk off all that food. We decided to walk around and just explore.  We came upon an arts and crafts fair right along the shoreline that had some beautiful jewelry. After some shopping we wandered over to Stearns Wharf to watch everyone catch some fish and enjoy the sunshine. The views from the pier captured the beauty of Santa Barbara perfectly!

After some wandering around, we decided what good is going to a beach town if you don’t sit on the beach?!  We headed back to the hotel, changed into our swimsuits, and off we went to the beach!

We stayed on the beach for a few hours and before we knew it, it was time to get ready for dinner.  We headed to Cadiz on State Street for some yummy tapas, that were apparently so yummy that we forgot to take pictures.  After dinner we just walked around State Street and enjoyed the evening people watching 🙂

That wraps up day 2!  Stay tuned for the day 3 recap with more delicious food!

The Road Less Traveled

Hey Gang!  Hope the first few days of summer have been good to you!  I don’t know what it is about summer, but it’s like every day I crave ice cream. Not every other day, but every day. I have been good the past week and avoiding my cravings, but I think tomorrow I may have to indulge. 😉

So last week I discussed 4 ways to revive your running this summer.  One of the ways was to change your route.  Well this past Saturday, I did just that. I had 8 miles to run and typically I do the same out and back. But that morning I walked out my front door and I just was not feeling that route. So I figured, meh I’ll do my normal 6 mile route and randomly add 2 miles somewhere.  The type A personality in me felt a slight panic but I forged ahead. Well, I am so glad I did because I discovered a small part of my town that still holds on to its rich history.

I ran back in a very tiny neighborhood, where I discovered Emory Grove. It’s a small camp site for Christians that started in 1868. Apparently back then, people who lived in Baltimore city would ride the train and live in the cottages all summer long and practice their faith.  Women and children would stay there all summer, while the men usually took the train back to Baltimore daily for work.

While I was running back in the neighborhood, the groundskeeper said I was free to run through the camp site.  My first thought was 1) are you really the groundskeeper? and 2) I don’t feel like being murdered today. I politely declined.

Here is a photo of the cottages courtesy of the Emory Grove website. How cute is that?!

Then I ran down another side road and discovered another random building. What was a cinder block building with “No Pedestrians!!” signs doing back in a neighborhood with historic homes?! I smell a new Netflix series people 😉

So tell me, what adventures have you had so far this summer?  

 

4 Ways to Revive Your Running This Summer

Hey gang!  Long time, no update!  I know, I know.  You all have been sitting on the edge of your seats!  Well the wait is over!  Today I want to talk about ways to revive your running this summer.  A lot of you are just starting or are about to start training for a fall race.  Right now, everything will be just glorious!  But by the time September rolls around, you may dread running the same 5 mile loop every.damn.day.

Here are some of my top ways to avoid burnout and keep running fun!

#1- Change your route.

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I went to his parent’s place in Chester County PA. He just got a new road bike so we were both itching for some quality exercise and been wanting to explore the Chester Valley Trail. Neither of us have explored this rail trail before. I think this trail wins as my new favorite!  It was so refreshing to run in a new place and really appreciate the surroundings.  I even saw a newborn deer!! Mama was close by so I kept it moving. LOL.

Even if you can’t get to a new running destination immediately, just change the direction of your normal route.  You’ll be surprised at how different it will feel!

#2- Join a social/fun run.

‘Tis the season for running stores to have weekday fun runs to pubs and bars. Why not join others in the agony of running in the heat but taste the glory of a cold beer after the run? Charm City Run has some fun events scheduled this summer. I am hoping to join in on the Pub Dog run in Columbia later this summer 🙂

#3- Create a new playlist.

Summer is all about concerts. So why not incorporate the new summer hits into your playlist? I tend to listen to the same songs over and over again. Is there someone else out there that does the same thing?!  Here is my latest favorite.  I’ll be listening to that for the rest of the summer on repeat 😛

#4- Follow a summer fitness challenge and invite others to join.

Runners are creatures of habits.  We tend to eat the same foods, run the same pace, not stray far from our routines. Participating in a summer fitness challenge can get you out of your routine and hold you accountable to a goal. My favorite is the 100 Pushup Challenge. Do I ever get near 100?  Heck to the no. Most I ever did was 35. But the pushup is arguably one of the most effective exercises since it activates biceps, triceps, shoulders, core, quads, and chest. Last time I completed the challenge, I felt significantly stronger and it helped my endurance since I was able to maintain good posture longer on a run.

So that’s it folks! Which one of these will you do this summer?  Feel free to add other ideas to the comments.