Jersey Diner

The Jersey Diner in New Jersey?  

A few weeks ago, Cyd of New Jersey Isn’t Boring, and I met at the Jersey diner.  Amazingly enough, this diner isn’t far from me yet I hadn’t been before.  When she first told me about it, I was shocked it was one I haven’t been too.

Atmosphere: A

The diner itself is picture perfect NJ diner.  It is after all called, the Jersey Diner! The outside is a shiny metallic building, and inside is filled with booths, tables, and a long bar.  It’s everything you picture from a diner.

Jersey Diner

Jersey Diner
So shiny…

Service: A

I’ve been extremely lucky with waiters and waitresses lately, and this was no exception.  Our waitress was extremely friendly, and I have no complaints.  She was one of the kindest and friendliness servers I’ve had to date.

Coffee: A

The coffee was excellent, and I have no complaints.  The waitress added a lot of whipped cream, possibly more than actual coffee.  Let’s be honest; we all know that was okay by me.

Jersey Diner

Food: A

The Jersey diner has a lot of unusual foods and a lot of Mexican food.  I haven’t seen a lot of diners with that.  I decided to order a gyro quesadilla.  The quesadilla came with gyro, feta cheese, onions and French fries.  The quesadilla itself was good but messy. Jersey Diner

 It was filled with feta cheese and chicken that seemed to spill everywhere.

The French fries were nice and soft.  Personally, I like soft, large fries versus small crispy ones.  These fit the bill.  It also came with soup, and I ordered the beef barley.  It was good but nothing out of the ordinary.

Jersey Diner

Dessert: A
We had been sitting right next to the dessert case so it was hard not to stare.  I ultimately decided to get a “puff pastry” which is something I’ve never had before.  It was like a giant pastry filled with frosting and whipped cream so for me it was perfect.  This was one of my favorite “noncake” desserts to date.

Jersey Diner

Price: $

For my quesadilla, coffee, and pastry the cost was $14.  The pastry was only $2.99, I could not believe it.


The diner was good and a very stereotypical diner.  The puff pastry was one of the best desserts I’ve had, and I will be back.

Atmosphere: A

Coffee: A

Service: A

Food: A

Dessert: A

Overall: A

Questions for you: 

What is your favorite type of cake?

Do you like quesadillas? 

Runners World Festival Half Marathon (1:24.17)

The recap for the actual race begins the night before. A couple two doors down fought the entire night.  From about 11 pm to 5 am, they screamed at each other and slammed doors.  I’m not sure if I was more frustrated or impressed by their fighting stamina. I woke up around 4:45 to another fight and couldn’t fall back asleep.  I was glad this wasn’t going on during a goal race and just decided to wake up.

After waking up and relaxing, I walked to the race at 7.  Runners World changed the bag check this year, and it was over half a mile, away.  By the time Ty and I realized this, it was too late for me.  I couldn’t drop a bag off, go to the restroom and get to the race on time.  I also didn’t care to be delayered that far in advance before the race or run in my racing flats to the start.  So I took a risk and stashed my bag in the bushes.  It’s not something I advise, but I made it to the start on time.  (Yes, I thought about what a poor decision that was for half of the race.  My shoes and cell phone are both replaceable, but it would have been a costly replacement).

The race went off right at 8. After the November Project workout as well as 5k the day before, I didn’t have high hopes for an amazing time.  Plus, I’m not in the fitness I would like after my ankle injury. Last year I ran a 1:28 and my goal was to run faster than that.

The only thing I remembered about the course from last year was it was hilly for the first 10 miles, and the last three were downhill.  It’s a tough and challenging course, but it’s set up pretty well.  

The first mile went by fast.  I was running in a pack of people, and we hit the first mile in 6:22.  I thought it would be one of my fastest miles since it was downhill.

I noticed three women in front of me, and I focused on them.  One of the women was the overall winner of the 5k the day before.  The second mile went downhill.  I passed a few men and hit the second mile in 6:27.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

During the third mile, we climbed, and I ran close to another woman.  She passed me on the uphill, and I would pass her on the downhill.  She had such great form climbing the hills, and I tried to mimic her.  It was like she was climbing hundreds of feet effortlessly. I was in awe, and we hit the third mile in 6:33.

The fourth and fifth mile went by without any notice.  I was bouncing around and running with a pack.  I guessed I was moving places anywhere from 3-5th.  There was a pretty large pack of us! I ran mile 4 at 6:31 and mile 5 at 6:30.

I knew mile 6 was going to be a steep climb and it didn’t disappoint.  I focused on making it to the halfway point.  I ran a 6:49 mile but I wasn’t fading, and the pack did about the same.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

Finally, around the halfway point, someone shouted 3,4,5th female.  There was a potential podium finisher in our pack (which actually it was another woman who outkicked us all!).  It didn’t necessarily motivate me to run any harder, but it was nice to know where we were.  I realized at the halfway point; I didn’t feel too bad.  I wasn’t fading, and my splits were direct responses to hills. I had a feeling I might finish well.

I hit the halfway point in 42:34.  It would equate to a 1:25.08 half.  I made the goal of breaking 1:26 which wasn’t based on anything but feeling good.

I knew one of my friends was passing water out around mile 8 so I just focused on that.  By this point, I was running in the same pack consisting of myself, two women and a male.  It kept me motivated and pushed me to keep moving.  After a turn around mile 9, I also noticed there were about four other women 10 seconds behind.

I hit the ten-mile point in about 1:05 and I desperately wanted to break 1:26.  This was when I began pushing the pace.  I knew the last 5k was a lot of downhill, so I was going to take advantage of it. I rarely have downhill advantage over any racer, but I began pushing and broke away from the females.  The male and I progressed together.

Around mile 11, we went over the bridge and a new woman passed me like I was standing still.  I knew at that very moment; she had clutched 3rd.  I did not have the leg turnover or speed and I knew if it came down to the last .1, she would easily outkick me.  I did, however, attempt to keep up and mile 11 was the fastest mile I’ve ever run during a half marathon (5:58).  It was also partially downhill.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

The final two miles were spent by myself.  I just focused on the end.  The last mile is the same last mile the 5k uses.  I just kept wanting to see the finishers line.  Around mile 13, I saw Erica Sara and her son which motivated me.

I crossed the finish line in 1:24.17 and I was both ecstatic and shocked.  That is my third fastest half marathon (Behind my PR at Carlsbad and Atlantic City 2014).  I still cannot believe I ran that well given the circumstances and I do believe it sets me up for a great rest of the year.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

Course Elevation Profile: 

Runners World half marathon elevation profile


Runners world festival half marathon splits


I’m extremely proud of this time.  It’s my third fastest half in non-ideal circumstances.  I’m excited to see where the rest of fall and winter takes me.

Other Runers World Festival Posts: 
Runners World Festival Activities
5k (18:41)

Questions for you:
Do you run downhills or uphills better?
When was the last time you surprised yourself?

Runners World Festival 5k (18:41)

I went into the Runners World 5k in nonideal conditions.  As I mentioned in my training log, we did a November Project workout the day before and my legs did not feel fresh.  I don’t regret doing the workout but it was more strenuous than I would have preferred.

While warming up, my legs felt November Project.  More specifically, my quads felt fatigued.  It almost felt as if I had raced the day before.  I reminded myself: I’ve done back to back races before and done well, so I tried to get myself into that mentality.

Since I ran the 5k last year, I knew the course.  I knew it was challenging and it was one of the more hilly 5ks I’ve done. I knew I wouldn’t PR, but I was looking to run hard.

At the start line, there were a lot of fast women.  I was excited and nervous.  The air horn went off and all of a sudden we were off.  It was a crowded first 400 meters, and I was elbow to elbow with a lot of people.  I saw five ladies take off like missiles and I knew they were much faster.  I placed third last year but suspected that was not happening (and it didn’t!)

The first mile felt like it took a lot longer than it should.  I was running in a large pack and we ran a 6:16.

Honestly, I was extremely discouraged.

I thought my race was done.  My goal was to be around 18:56 (the time I ran last year).  I spent the next mile sulking and wondering what went wrong but I also tried to regroup and refocus.  Often times, things seem 100 times worse when you are in the moment.  During mile 2, I saw my Runners World Festival team partner, Jason, who was killing it.  He also ran the 5k/10k and half.

As went over the bridge,  I saw a lot of familiar faces which motivated me and allowed to refocus and change my attitude.  It’s a running race, not life or death.  I ran the second mile in 5:45.  Looking back, the elevation profile makes complete sense with splits.  My time makes sense, but nothing makes sense when you are actually running.

After hitting the second mile in 12:01, I made it my goal to power to the end.

I wanted a course PR, and I knew if I didn’t run a 6:30ish mile I could do that.  So I focused on the end.  I also knew the final mile had a small uphill too.  I remember the second place woman passing me effortlessly there last year.  There weren’t any females around me, but there were plenty of men. Runners World Festival

After the hill, I cruised down and towards the finishers shoot.  Around 2.9, I saw the clock ticking 17:30.  I stared at the 3-mile clock until I passed it.  Then I stared at the finishers clock.  I didn’t want to view the clocks, but I couldn’t look away from them either.

Finishing the 5k

Thanks Ty for the photo

I heard them announce me name as: “All the way on her toes, Hollie, crosses as fourth place female”.  I laughed because I am, after all, FueledbyLOLZ…I can only laugh in real life.


I’m extremely pleased with the race.  I was faster than last year even though I was much more sore from November project.  It’s my fastest time on an accurate course (I ran an 18:58 two weeks ago, and a 6 min paced 3.3 miles three weeks ago).  Plus the course is difficult. I am proud of myself for regrouping and refocusing in the race.

Elevation Profile:

Runners World 5k elevation profile

Other Runners World Festival Posts: 
Activities during the Runners World Festival
Training Log

Question for you: Have you ever mentally checked out of a race or activity? 

Runner’s World Festival

I’m not sure where I wanted to start my Runners World Festival Recap.

Do I start with the races? The events? The food? As luck would have it, I’m haven’t finished writing the race recaps so events it is!  I thought about adding the events and food together, but it was too long.  So more posts for you.

As you might recall, I was an influencer for the Runner’s World Festival last year, and I was invited back again this year too.  When they asked, I was extremely excited.  I had already planned to come up for at least the half marathon.

Thinking out loud, To be honest, the entire weekend is one of my favorite events of the year!

The Crowd…

The Energy…

The Runners World Staff…

Plus Bethlehem is only about 60 miles from my house (but anywhere from 1.5-2.5 drive because of Philadelphia traffic).  I arrived at Bethlehem the Thursday before the race.  We went to a BBQ hosted by Runner’s World with plenty of delicious food.

We were then split up into teams to compete in the “Altra” Olympics.  (Altra is the shoe company that sponsors the Runners World Festival).

My partner, this time, was Jason from SaltyRuns.  I already knew Jason well and we chatted back in May.  He gave me advice on my most recent fracture.  Jason is a great guy, and his blog is extremely informative about running related topics: anywhere from shoes to injuries to marathoning!

We had a fun task to create our own country flag, complete with a name and motto.  Being the cleaver people we are we chose:

“Salty Lolz,” Run Hard, Laugh Harder.  

Jason and I

To be honest, I’m not all that creative, and I was extremely proud of this.

After that, we retired for the night and were up bright and early for a Pop-up November Project.  Before Friday, I had never done a November Project Workout.  I kind of knew about it (read: I knew it was hard and intense).  I was nervous to do a workout!

November Project

So I was trying something new and strenuous) before race day.

Fellow blogger, Ty and I
Fellow blogger, Ty and I
November Project Super Secret Meeting Runners World
Creeping on the famous ladies from “Super Secret Meeting” (It’s hilarious if you’ve never watched their videos)

A new workout was not in the actual game plan and I will say, I was sore for the rest of the weekend. It was a great workout and there is a Philadelphia Chapter.  I think I’ll save it for the weeks I’m not racing.

November Project
November Project, Brogan, said: “Be Serious” and I was just awkward…

I don’t regret doing it and it was a lot of fun.  I can see why it draws hundreds in the Boston area.

After the November Project,  we had a gait analysis from Altra founder, Golden.  He helped with form and had great advice for techniques when you’re tired. Of course, he talked about his running shoe brand, Altra too.  We carry Altras at work, so it was beneficial knowledge for me to have for work too.

Altra Founder Golden

For those who don’t know, Altra is a “zero drop” foot shaped shoe brand.  Last year, I reviewed the Altra Paradigm.  This year I’m currently trying out a pair of Altra Torin 2.5s.

Altra Founder Golden

We had an excellent lunch using recipes from “Run Fast, Eat Slow.”  I’m sure most in the Running World are familiar with Shalane’s new book. We were given a copy, and I’ve made a few recipes at home myself that I do like.

The beet hummus and pita chips are delicious...
The beet hummus and pita chips are delicious…

We also got to be part of the new launch for Dean Karnazes book: Road to Sparta.  It was so new; I was the first person he signed the book for.  I’ve dug into the book already myself. Karnazes recreates the very first journey and the birth of the marathon.  To recreate it, he even goes without modern day sports nutrition (energy gels, Gatorade, etc. basically ).  He was telling us how he lived on figs and olives throughout the entire process.  He basically ran and ate figs for 26 hours straight (in costume too!).  I would definitely recommend picking up a copy.  I’m just over halfway through, and I’ve enjoyed it!

Back to meeting Dean: 

Road to Sparta Dean Karnazes.

I pretty much sounded like a gargled mess.  Typical of me since I am incredibly awkward in real life…  (You have to own it though).

Road to Sparta Dean Karnazes.

After lunch, we were off on our own.  To be honest, it was only 1 pm, and I was exhausted.  It was nice to relax and prepare for the races.  As I mentioned on Instagram, I ran an 18:41 5k and 1:24.17 half marathon.  I was surprised with the half marathon time since it was a hilly course and I had raced the day before.

Questions for you:

Have you ever done a November Project Workout?

Have you ever met a writer or celebrity?  Are you as awkward as I am? 

Training Last Week: November Project and Runner’s World Festival

The majority of last week was spent running easy and getting ready for the Runners World Festival.  While I knew, both courses were difficult, and I’m not in shape to PR yet, I wanted to feel somewhat fresh.  All of that was thrown out of the window when we did a new workout the day before.  Honestly, it was fun, and I’m okay with that.

Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: Easy Run
Wednesday: Easy Run with Montana before she moved
Thursday: Rest
Friday: November Project
Saturday: Runners World Festival 5k (18:41)
Sunday Runners World Festival 13.1 (1:24.17)

Easy Runs:
As usual, there is nothing much to say about easy runs.  There was nothing particularly good or bad about them.  Soon, I think I’ll be ready to add an additional speed workout back into my routine.  I’ve been running healthy for over two months, and my base is just about back.

November Project:
Any runner has likely heard of November project.  I had beforehand, but I had never done a workout before. I knew it was intense and it didn’t disappoint.  There was a Pop Up in Bethlehem at the Runner’s World Festival.  All of the Runners World Influencers were asked to attend, and it was great to meet a lot of people. We had to climb the Steel stack stairs, do push-ups and dips and a lot of core work.  It was a lot of fun, and I don’t regret going, but I was definitely sore for the races!

November Project
Climbing the Steel Stack Stairs

Runners World Festival 5k: 18:41
I’ll have a full recap this week, but I’m happy with the time.  The course is hilly, and after November project I have no complaints.  My splits were 6:16, 5:45 and 6:02. I placed fourth woman overall.

Runners World Festival 13.1 (1:24.17)

Runners World Half Marathon
Thanks to Erica Sara for this photo

The half marathon was honestly my biggest shock of the weekend.  My hopeful goal was to be faster than the 1:28 I ran in 2015.  I couldn’t believe when I crossed the finish line in 1:24.  I never felt good during the race (tired legs and lack of sleep) but I never felt bad either.

I’m really happy with how this week went and I have zero complaints.  I had a great time at the Runners World Festival and two great races.  This week will probably be filled with Runners World Festival race recaps and behind the scenes recaps too.

Posts from last week:
Fall Running Products I’m Enjoying
LunarGlide 8 Review
6 Weeks of Deployment Later…

Questions for you:
Do you do better at hilly race courses or flat?
I’m beginning to think I run better on hilly half marathon courses.  This was my third fastest half marathon behind Carlsbad and Atlantic City (2014).  Carlsbad was a rolling hilly (to me) course too.
How was your week of training? 

Mark Twain Diner

A couple of weeks ago, I met my friend Devon at the Mark Twain Diner.  I had heard it was a good diner and I was looking forward to trying it out.  After taking the Garden State Parkway with minimal traffic, we arrived at 5:30.  The diner was crowded, but there was still plenty of spots available.

Atmosphere: A
The Mark Twain Diner is open, and there are several different rooms including an entire bar and lounge area.  It’s much bigger than it looks from the outside.  The outside is a typical building.  It’s not a “retro metallic style” diner, but it was clean.

Mark Twain Diner

Service: A
The waiter was funny and refilled everything we needed.  Occasionally the manager jumped in and helped too.  It was evident the staff worked well together, and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Coffee: A
The coffee was good.  They brewed a hot pot, and I don’t have any complaints.  It was fresh.  It always cracks me up when they serve the whipped cream on the side, but I’ve seen that a couple of times at various diners.  I always appreciate logo coffee mugs too.

Mark Twain Diner

Food: B
There are plenty of options at the Mark Twain Diner.  It’s typical of what you see at a big menu diner.  There were about eight pages of menu items.  I hadn’t had a salad in over a week, so both Devon and I got matching salads.  Hashtag twinning?

Since the salad came with soup, I ordered for the Manhatten Clam Chowder.  I haven’t had red clam chowder in a while.  There was a lot of clam meat which is rare (often it feels like there is more potato than clam).  There was a little kick to it too.  It was some of the better clam chowders I’ve had.

Mark Twain Diner

The Greek salad came with lots of greens, tomatoes, anchovies, olives and feta.  It didn’t come with any pita bread which is unusual for a Greek salad.  Entrée salads should always come with bread.  Oh well, I ordered a side of pita as well as salmon which was good.  In all, the food was good.  I’m a strong believer entree salads should have both a meat and bread so it is always disappointing when they don’t.

Spinning Wheel Diner
Cost; $$

For my coffee and salad, the cost was $22.  It’s one of the pricer meals, and the salad wasn’t as big as similar salads that have cost that much.  It was decent quality food, so it wasn’t a huge turnoff.

Would I come back/Summary:
I enjoyed the Mark Twain Diner, and it was one of the better diners I’ve been too.  While it was pricy, the food and service were high quality.  It isn’t a diner I would make a special trip too, but it’s not bad either.  I had such a great time with Devon which is all that matters anyways!

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Cost; $10-25
Overall: B

Questions for you:
Have you had Manhatten Clam Chowder?
Do you like anchovies?


6 Weeks of Deployment Later…

It’s already been six weeks since my husband was deployed.  This isn’t the first deployment we’ve been through, and so far, this hasn’t been the hardest and not the easiest either.

You might recall, during the very first, I got my 2nd metatarsal stress fracture a week later.  I wasn’t running, and I was living in the secluded sticks on New Jersey.  We made it successfully through that period, and when the going gets “rough,” I think about the first deployment.


Thinking out loud, When people think of deployments, they think of a long 8+ month or longer deal.  Every branch of the military has a different schedule with deployments.  Some branches are 8+ months, but others deploy shorter and more frequently.  I dealt with eight-month deployments as a child, and now I deal with shorter more frequent ones.

Many people might find these easier, however, it can be hard to get into a routine.  As any military spouse will tell you, “it makes the time you have worth it.”  And it does!


Over the last six weeks, my work has picked up due to marathons, cross country, and actual fall weather.   People want to get out and run! I’ve been able to stay busy.  I won’t say it makes it any easier to come to a quiet house, but it does make time go by faster.

I also won’t tell you it’s been picture perfect because it hasn’t and that is probably what led to this post.

The first five weeks went well. 

I kept busy with work…

I made plans with friends…

I was in a very positive mindset…


And then last week one small thing, triggered another small thing and another and another.  Suddenly, I had ten small things which felt like a mountain.  It wasn’t anything serious: for instance, the garage stopped working, the power went out, I wasn’t able to attend something I wanted, my mail got soaked and ruined, the internet stopped working and all on top of not enough sleep.  Each issue by themselves is small and minor but as they build up my anxiety also builds.

Which I’ve mentioned before, I’m no stranger to anxiety. 

This week, I took a step back, and trouble shot each problem individually. Sometimes I feel as though, anyone (military or not), get’s overwhelmed but the minor things building up.  Each issue by themselves was not anything terrible, but adding them all together resulted in a hard week.

Last week, I found myself slipping back into a negative mindset and instead of looking towards what went right, I was looking at what went wrong.

It wasn’t doing me any favors. Staying positive and looking towards the positive has helped me tremendously.  With the exception of last week, this deployment and fall are flying by.  Pretty soon, we will be into November and Thanksgiving, and hopefully, they’ll be back.

positive outcome anxiety

Questions for you:

How do you look towards the positives when things aren’t going your way?

Military Spouses: How long was your last deployment?