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.

 

Running Mantras…They’re Not Just for Running!

Happy Wednesday my peeps!  Hope everyone is having a great week so far! Today started off on a high note, as my running partner and I got into the Army Ten Miler on October 8th!  I have run this race in the past (you can read about it here) and it’s hands down one of my favorites.

Lately, I have been killing it at work!  In the mantra department that is 😉 I said this gem to my boss last week and he loved it.

It’s so true though. Not just in running but in life.  Even if you go a little out of your way to say thank you or to lend a helping hand, people remember that. Those five extra seconds you spent doing something gains interest over time and pays off exponentially.

I also said this one today, both during my run and at work.

Many times in life, both on the race course and off, we will say we don’t “feel” like doing something. But are you really going to let your emotions rule your life? Being tired is temporary.  Plus if you wait until you “feel” like it, you’ll never actually do it.

And now my personal fav….

Very true.  And this is exactly why I don’t beat myself up too much when I don’t get a chance to clean the house. Because you know…priorities. 😛

So tell me, any mantras you love?

Last Week’s Food and Fitness

Hey gang!  Did anyone else have a case of the Mondays today?  My little guy Tadd did.

Mondays, for me at least, mark the very beginning of the week. Not Sunday. Monday is the day my new training and meal plan kicks in.  When I develop training plans for my clients, the first day listed is always Monday. Here is what last week looked like for me:

Monday- Sooo right now I’m not training for anything (for shame!!) so I have been sticking to 3-4 miles during the week. Monday was an easy 4 mile loop, tackling a huge hill from the start. How huge you ask? So huge I cannot talk while running up it. Sucks the wind right out of me!

Tuesday- A quick weight lifting routine from “Quick Strength Training for Runners“. I am almost done with the full 8 week program and plan to do a review.

Wednesday- 4 mile loop…with the hill at the end so it’s a downhill haha.

Thursday- Easy 3 miles. Probably should have ran more because that night I ate entirely too much at Woodberry Kitchen.

Friday- REST DAY!! Another meal out with the family at a local Chinese restaurant, Sonny Lee’s. So. freakin’. Good.

Saturday- Because of the heavy rain we were having here in MD, I opted to take RPM45, a spin class, at Brick Bodies. It was a good sweat session, even though in my opinion nothing gets the heart pumping like running. I guess I didn’t have enough salt in my diet because after class I was craving a salty snack so badly!  So I opted for brie and crackers. Fancy!

And I guess that wasn’t enough, because for dinner later I had pizza from Whole Foods. I guess since it’s from Whole Foods it’s healthy, right?

Sunday- I ran a glorious 6.38 miles and felt like I was flying! I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day, even the fur moms! I gave a whole new definition to “tummy time” with our cat Liger. Whenever I lay down on the couch, he jumps right up and lays on my belly haha.

So tell me, did you have a good week in fitness and food last week? Enjoy the great week ahead!

 

 

Enjoying the Journey

Those who know me, know that I listen to Joel Osteen every morning on my way to work.  I absolutely love his inspirational messages and it’s a great way to start the day.  Today the topic was enjoying the journey.  Joel told the story of a famous pro-football player who, after many years of hard work and dedication, finally won the super bowl. You would think at that moment he would have felt invincible.  I mean this is what the man has dreamed of for years! But in that moment, he kind of felt like, is this it? Yes, he was happy but he thought it would mean more.

Funny, because I can say the same about crossing the finish line at my races.  After I crossed the finish line at Marine Corps Marathon this fall, did I fall down dramatically on my knees, with my arms raised in the air in glory like in the movies? Not even close! Of course I was happy and extremely proud, but those feelings quickly pass. Actually, when I think back I cannot remember any particular highlights from my finishes.  What I do remember however, are those small moments during my training…the journey. It’s those moments that bring fulfillment. A few examples of this would be:

  • Stopping in the Nature Center on NCR Trail in the middle of a long run. Why was this memorable?  Well lets just say this guide came out of nowhere and held a looonngg snake in front of my face asking if I wanted to hold it.  I quickly bolted out and had everyone roaring with laughter.  I did stick around for a minute and the guide and I got into an interesting conversation about snakes in the local area. It was definitely a funny and enlightening experience!
  • Appreciating mother nature during a run.  I very rarely run on a treadmill. I love taking in the beauty of mother nature; running in freshly fallen snow, hopping in large rain puddles, seeing the beautiful stars on a clear (and early) morning, seeing all the baby foxes and deer.
  • Small accomplishments within a run such as finally running up a monster hill or hitting a certain pace and remembering how strong I felt.
  • The social aspect.  It means so much to me when my boyfriend comes and spectates my races. I remember how I felt when I would see him. Or when random friendships are created from hanging out before the start of a race when everyone is on the shuttle bus trying to wake up. Or when talking and laughing with my running partner during a cold and dark run. Or Coaching someone and seeing their progress.

Friends, there will always be “the next thing.”  And there’s nothing wrong with setting goals and accomplishing them.  But just don’t forget to appreciate everything in-between.

I saw the quote below at a conference I attended this past fall.

Quote

“I am not any good at (blank), yet.” By adding the simple word “yet”, you are creating the journey. You are setting forth a goal and then writing out the steps to get there.  The word “yet” adds that excitement and element of a challenge!

So, what are you not any good at, yet? 😉

Goals for 2017

Hi guys!  Hope everyone had a wonderful New Year!  I like to spend New Years Eve partying it up….in sweatpants, drinking champagne, stuffing myself silly with pasta, and in bed by 9 pm. #winning

But once January 2nd rolls around, I get antsy. What do I want to accomplish this year? Did I accomplish what I wanted to last year?!  I NEED ANSWERS PEOPLE! 😉

So today I sat down to come up with a fun yet challenging goal list for 2017.

#1- Break 1 hour and 9 minutes at the Parkway Classic Ten Miler.

I ran this race in 2010 and scored a personal record (PR) in a huge way. I ran ten miles in 1:09:48, averaging 6:59 min/mile pace. For the ten mile distance, the fastest I have ever run was 1:13:00. How the crap did I run three minutes faster?! I want to get back to that. I know I can! I’ll definitely be posting my training over the next few months.

#2- Continue to grow the blog.

For yeearrrsss I really wanted to start a blog. I wanted to share my passion for running with the world! So I am glad that in 2016 I finally committed to starting a blog.  But in 2017, I would really like to ramp it up with fun challenges and content. Even learn some cool blogging tools! Yes, I am an old millennial LOL

#3- Take a cooking class.

My boyfriend and I really enjoy cooking. I enjoy the eating part just as much if not more 😉 We wanted to go in 2016, but time slipped away so this year I am committing to taking a class. There are two cooking schools here in Baltimore, Schola and Baltimore Chef Shop. Heard good things about both, so really it’ll just come down to our schedule and the cuisine being cooked.

#4- Read at least 7 books.

Every year I participate in the Good Reads Reading Challenge. Last year I read 6 books. I know what you’re thinking….slow down scholar! Well I am going to knock your socks off when I read SEVEN whole books! For my first book of 2017, I have chosen to read The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan. Yeah, how about that for some light reading? LOL!

#5- Take a fashion illustration class.

You guys…..I have no creative outlets.  There I said it.  God help me when my children come to me asking for help with their diorama. I lack serious artistic abilities.  I am pretty sure I got straight C’s in Art all throughout school. Well now is the time to redeem myself! I seriously LOVE fashion and Project Runway. Fashion illustration is definitely something I am drawn too (no pun intended).  I’ll be sure to post my artwork to the blog.  My only request is that you laugh to yourself 🙂

Well that’s it folks!  What are your goals for 2017? Please share in the comments section.