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Training: Achy Bums and Easy Weeks

Training: Achy Bums and Easy Weeks

Last week, I took it much easier for a few reasons.  As most people know, I fell at the April Fools half marathon a week ago.  While it was still a good race, it left my tailbone sore.  It’s not broken but it does ache.

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 20 minute run
Wednesday: 30 minute run
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 30 minutes
Saturday: Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: 6 mile tempo run (10 miles total)

Thoughts:

I was signed up to do a 5 mile race this weekend that I DNSed.  To be honest, I have no doubt I could have finished well.  The weather was ideal to run but I didn’t want to push my tailbone too quickly.  I am disappointed, however, I think I made the smarter decision.

I did a 6-mile tempo instead.  My miles ranged from 6:55-7:12.  It was nice for something a bit faster.

 

Tailbone Issue:

It’s a hard problem to explain.  My tailbone aches, especially when I sit.  In fact, my doctor told me standing actually puts far less pressure on it and the more I stand the better…I am not standing 24 hours a day.  I bought a donut pillow to sit on which removes the pressure off of my butt too.  I can walk and run normally (my gait does change at all), but I can feel the ache whether I’m running or not.

I’m hoping to jump into a local race next week to get some speed before Broad Street.  The last month hasn’t gone, “exactly” how I would like.  I’m in shape, but I’m not in the same shape as when I set my half marathon PR.  I’m fine with that.  The next few months, I want to stay healthy and work on shorter distances anyway.

Posts of the Week:

Benefits of Massages for Runners

April Fools Half Marathon

Questions for you:

Have you ever fallen on your tailbone?

How was your week of training?

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Northvale Diner

Northvale Diner

Recently I found myself in Northern NJ at the Northvale Diner.  By that, I mean the Northvale Diner is one of the most Northern diners I’ve been too.  The State Line Diner is just as far North but a little further west.

northvale diner

Anyway, I arrived at dinner time, and the Northvale Diner wasn’t crowded.  I was excited because I was hungry.

Atmosphere: A

The Northvale Diner is a typical Nj diner.  You walk into the building next to a giant dessert case.  Immediately I saw the red velvet mini cakes which called my name.

The diner itself has plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.  It’s modern, clean, and open.   It’s a nice clean restaurant, and you don’t feel like you’re sitting on top of anyone.

Coffee: A
The coffee is Lacas Coffee from South Jersey!  I was surprised because Lacas is brewed over 100 miles away, but I didn’t complain.  The coffee itself was good, and the waiter brought plenty of refills.

northvale diner

Food: A
The Northvale Diner has a lot more unique and upscale options than many diners. There are salmon burgers, goat cheese salads, and many other modern and upscale options.

northvale diner

For an appetizer, I ordered one of my favorite appetizers: The Mezze platter.  It came with four types of hummus, pita bread, olives, and grape leaves.  I thought it could use a bit more pita bread but other than that it was good.  The sundried tomato hummus was my favorite!

I decided to order the tuna burger which came with sweet potato fries.  I don’t know the last time I ate a tuna burger!  The tuna burger was cooked perfectly.  I appreciated how crispy the fries were too.

northvale diner

Dessert: A
After walking in next to the dessert case, the red velvet cake caught my eye.  I ordered the red velvet cake with vanilla ice cream.  As most people know, red velvet cake is my favorite, and I have high expectations for it!

northvale diner

The red velvet cake was delicious, and the frosting was thick but still sugary.  One of my favorite cakes so far!  I appreciated how much frosting was on the cake.

Service: A
The waiter was friendly, and the food came out quickly.  I have no complaints there.

Cost: $
For my burger, coffee, appetizer, and dessert, the cost was $30.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the Northvale Diner, and it was one of my favorite diners so far.  If I’m up in the area again, I’ll be back!

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Dessert: A
Service: A
Overall: A
Price: $15-20

You can see all of the diners I’ve been too here.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite appetizer?

Have you ever had a tuna burger?

April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.08)

April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.08)

The April Fools Half race is typically one of my favorite races of the year. I PRed in 2014, won in 2015, and as most people know last year wasn’t my day.  Even though last year wasn’t my day, I enjoyed how well the race was put together and seeing friends.

Moving forward, not running well in 2017 meant I was hoping to run better in 2018. I wanted redemption (for myself).  As the race drew closer, I found myself having similar burn out symptoms as 2017.  A few weeks ago, I took several days off and focused on rest and recovery.  It was what I needed, and when the race drew closer, I felt more ready.

Like many racers this past weekend (People that ran Boston are awesome!), the conditions were not pleasant. It was spitting rain, and extremely windy. For me, I would rather it rain or not rain.  The change in weather made it difficult to prepare for.

Racing in torrential downpours is different than running in a dry 45 degree.  While driving down, I noticed we were going to deal with direct headwind and tailwind.  In 2016, it year it was Gail force winds, but crosswinds.  You never got a direct headwind, just sidewind down the shore.  It wasn’t pleasant, but it was better than racing through a headwind. This year it looked like you would run fast going out, then get your face smacked with the wind coming back.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

And that’s exactly what happened.

I was between 5 different outfits depending on if the rain held off but ultimately decided to wear my Goretex jacket and shorts. I was happy I did.  Between my half marathon and Boston, it’s amazing to me, how many people are embarrassed to race in a jacket.  Race smart, and put some clothes on.

We got to the start around 6:45, chatted with friends, then lined up at 8.  By the time I knew it, we were off!  When the race started, I immediately found myself running alone. I remained alone for the entire race. I was within 15 seconds of one male, but for the most part, I ran alone.

The first few miles went by quickly. We had a significant tailwind.  I ran between 6:15-6:17 and hit the first 5k in 19:26. I felt good and better than I have in a while. Of course, the wind helped, but mentally I felt good.

The next few miles left the boardwalk.  I began counting down the miles.  It’s never good when you start counting down the miles at mile 5.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

I hit the 10k in a wind-aided 38:13. It was just under PR pace.  I’m not one to take my races out fast, and the pace was faster than my PR at Phoenix.  I didn’t suddenly think, today I would PR because I knew the headwind would be nasty.  I did, however, feel good. ]

At 6.55 miles in, we turned around, and that is pretty much where all of the “race action” happened.

Immediately, into hitting the wind, I thought omg this will be rough.  We were running into an unblocked 35 mph headwind.  Which we did for the remainder of the race.  You could see the waves crashing on the shore and birds basically going backward.  At some points, I would stop dead in my tracks.  I had no one to draft off of, no one to commiserate with, just me and my thoughts (which mostly consisted of 4 letter words).

I knew it was important to run for the conditions and forget about pace. I ran mile 7 in 6:27.  The next two miles were two of the hardest miles I’ve run in my life (behind mile 16 of the New York City Marathon).  The wind was blowing straight in your face.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

We were tucked along the shore, and the buildings didn’t provide a lot of protection.  I began passing racers going the opposite direction who were cheering.  I recognized many and tried to cheer, but it was difficult to hear anything over the wind blasting in your face.  I ran mile 8 in 7:15 and mile 9 in 6:58.  Two of my slowest half marathon miles in a long time, but I didn’t care.  I knew what the conditions were.

At mile 9, I told myself okay 4 miles to go.  We entered the unprotected boardwalk.  The shore was right there, and along the coast it gets windy.  I’ve never run in 35 mph headwind for a race, let alone along the waterfront.  Before the race, I had thought maybe a jacket was too much, but at mile 9 I was happy with it.  I had purposely only put 2 pins on my bib in case I wanted to delayer, but I was cold the last 4 miles.

I kept plugging along, and the miles slowly started ticking away.  My legs felt great, but the headwind was still there.  The miles went by without a lot of excitement.

Around mile 12, a woman darted across the boardwalk.  The boardwalk is wooden, and with the rain the boardwalk was slick.  The slickness is what caused me to wear the more cushioned Nike Zoom Fly, versus a racing flat.  Coincidently, I chose the shoe so I wouldn’t slip and fall.

When the cyclist saw the women, he told her to get off the course.  I, not as nicely, said to move. She didn’t, and within a second we collided and were both on the ground.  I fell directly onto my tailbone.  There was nothing more the cyclist or myself could have done to prevent that. It stunk, but it happened.

I layed there, on the ground at mile 12 of the race I desperately wanted to finish strong. The adrenaline kicked in, and before I knew it, I was up again. My adrenaline was pumping, just telling myself I had 7 more minutes of running.  At that point, nothing hurt.  The cyclist asked me if I was okay and I said yes.  All I could think about was finishing the race.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

The last mile was tough, to begin with.  It’s a straight line, down the boardwalk.  It was windy, I had just fallen, and wanted the race to be done.  Finally, I saw the finish.

Like 2015, they weren’t able to inflate the blow up this year due to the wind.  Then I saw  I was going to break the tape.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

Every emotion came out.  The previous night’s makeup was running from the rain, I was smiling, and I crossed the finish line in 1:26.08.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

After the race, I was asked about my back.  I chose not to cool down, because of my tailbone. I talked with friends, including my good friend and local runner Erin.

I did get an X-ray which didn’t find anything broken.  In my personal experience, x-rays have never shown small fractures but if anything, I know it’s not shattered.  I’ve never hurt my tailbone before! That being said, I’m still cautious.  Due to where I hit, I got a few other tests done including a spinal tap to make sure nothing around my brain was bleeding (which it isn’t).

While 1:26.08 is “only” 9 seconds faster than the previous year: the weather was much more difficult (the weather was almost ideal last year), but most importantly, I crossed mentally feeling good.

Questions for you:
Did you race last weekend?  How was it?
Have you ever fallen during a race?

Benefits of Massages for Runners

Benefits of Massages for Runners

Since college, I’ve gotten massages with the sole purpose to help my running and stay as injury free as possible. Many people have wondered why, when there is a plethora of sticks, foam rollers, and other gadgets you can use.  Thinking out loud, no matter how many foam rollers I use, including the R8, they don’t get as deep as a professional.

Benefits of Massages for Runners

What Kind of Massages are Best for Runners?

Deep Tissue:

This is my personal favorite type.  It’s what most people think when they think “massage”.  A deep tissue massage that works the entire body or can focus on specific tight spots.  Due to how I run, I get very tight calves frequently.  In turn, this pulls down on my plantar fascia.  When I feel a bout of plantar fascitis beginning, I get a deep tissue massage on my calves.  This usually takes care of it.

Personally, I try to get a deep tissue massage once a month.  While pricey (usually between $60-100, depending on where you live), I’ve found it has saved me a lot of muscular injuries.

Active Release Technique (ART):

ART is relatively new to me and I began getting ART from Dr. Kemenosh and his associates after my second marathon.  ART is designed to break up scar tissue from an injury or issue and improve mobility.

ART  is better for if  you have a specific injury  that has resulted in scar tissue.  For me, I became more familiar with it, was when I pulled something in my butt during my second marathon.  Since there are so many layers of fascia in your glutes, ART was better to break it up.  Dr. Kemonosh has fixed many different issues I’ve had from tight calves, to IT band issues, to the orginal butt issue.    As I’m recovering from my fall and tailbone injury, they are helping to speed the process up.

At Home Foam Rollers:

There are a lot of new and fancy foam rollers on the market now.  From the heavy duty R8 to the basic massage stick.  Self-massage will offer many of the same benefits, however, if you are like me you’ll never be able to go as deep into the knots as a professional.  They are great proactive tools.

When Should You Get a Massage?

I made the mistake early on, to get a massage within 48 hours of a race.  I felt stiff and my legs had definetely not recovered.  For me, it usually takes a full 48-72 hours to recover from a deep tissue massage.  I don’t plan any hard workouts, races, or fast runs until then.  If I have a race that weekend, I’ll try and schedule a massage either Tuesday or Wednesday.

I usually like to wait a day or two after a race because my legs are sore and tender as well.  After my last

Think of massage as a workout where deep pressure can cause some muscle soreness. You don’t want to layer too many sources of muscle soreness so it’s best to wait 1-2 days after a hard workout or race to get your massage.

Questions for you: 

Do you get massages?

What kind of proactive things do you do for running?

Training: Good Weather and Bad Weather

Training: Good Weather and Bad Weather

Last week went moderately well.  The goal was to finish the April Fools half marathon on Sunday.  As most people know from last year, it’s the race that broke me mentally.  It wasn’t the race, or one reason, but a series of events that you can read more here.

Anyway, the week itself was good.  Going into the race, the weather didn’t look great.  It wasn’t as bad as the Shamrock in 2016 or the Broad Street Run, but it wasn’t great weather.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 12x400s averaging 88 seconds
Thursday: Easy run with Skip
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Easy run
Sunday: April Fools Half (1:26.08)

12x400s averaging 88 seconds with 400 easy jog in between

I haven’t been doing a lot of workouts, lately, but that was one of the better workouts I’ve had.  The weather was good, and I felt strong.  Not much more to say.  I felt as though I finally started to feel “good”.

April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.08)

On paper, it looks as if I ran 9 seconds faster than last year and 4 minutes slower than my recent PR.  The race had a headwind and tailwind.  Since the race is on the Oceanfront, the wind is magnitude. It was the hardest headwind I’ve ever battled.  There were so many times I wanted to give up from the wind but didn’t.  Some of the miles in the wind were around 7:15.  My effort was there, and it was a strong race for me.

As many people know, a pedestrian darted across the boardwalk around mile 12.  The cyclist told her to get out of the way, I (not as nicely) yelled to get out of the way, but she ignored everything.  The wind and slick boardwalk made it impossible for me to move that quickly out of her way.

We collided.

I fell completely on my butt and laid there for a few seconds.  In a matter of 5 seconds, I decided I was going to finish, got up, and ran.  it was a race that broke me mentally last year, and I wanted to finish. When I first got up, my adrenaline was pumping.  I wasn’t in any noticeable pain and I ran normally to the finish.   After I finished, and let my body cool down (I didn’t run at all…cool down meaning awkwardly stand and talk, and change clothing).  I also took a few minutes to process what happened.  To be honest, I’m not 100% proud that I wasn’t more cautious about finishing the race.  Looking back, I think I still would have got up and finished but I am not going to say it was the smartest thing to do.

Later in the day, my tailbone hurt.  It’s bruised and hurts more to sit.  It doesn’t radiate anywhere and only hurts in one location.  If I don’t have any noticeable improvement by Wednesday, I’ll get an Xray.

Other then that, I feel good about the week.  I’ve been focusing on rest and recovery.  I’ve been working on “doing the little things” such as sleep and resting, and I do believe it’s helping.

Posts from the Week:

Three Years of Marriage

ON Cloud Shoe Review

Questions for you:

How has the weather been around you?  

Talk of the Towne Diner

Talk of the Towne Diner

After the Adrenaline 5k, I headed down to Virginia.  I knew I needed to get food for the drive and took it as the perfect chance to further my dinering.

I found a diner in Salem County, the “Talk of the Towne Diner.”  When I stopped around lunchtime on a Saturday, it wasn’t too crowded, and I was quickly seated.  Since I had just raced, I was hungry.

talk of the towne diner new jersey

Atmosphere: B
The Talk of the Towne looks like many South Jersey Diners with a cobblestone exterior and multiple rooms. Inside there are plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.

There was also a full salad bar as well as a “hot foods breakfast bar” which looked like it might be for a catering event or party.

talk of the towne diner new jersey

Coffee: A
The Talk of the Towne Diner served the local Lacas coffee which is one of my favorite coffees.  The waitress brought plenty of refills, and I had no complaints.  It was one of the better coffees I have had in a while.

talk of the towne diner salem county

Food: A
The Talke of the Town has everything a diner usually has.  There are plenty of breakfast options, as well as a full salad bar, lunch, and dinner options.  There aren’t too many unique options at the Talk of the Town Diner, but there also isn’t anything it’s missing either.

talk of the towne diner salem county

I opted for one of their skillets which came with eggs, potatoes, sausage, and vegetables.  When the skillet came out, it was sizzling and hot, it actually reminded me of something I would get a Mexican restaurant.

talk of the towne diner salem county

I also decided to get a cinnamon bun which was great.

The Talk of the Towne was definitely one of the most surprising diners, food wise.  It was much better than I anticipated and I was very pleased.

Service: A
The waitress was extremely friendly, and the food came out within 15 minutes.  To be honest, I could not have asked for a more pleasant experience.

Cost:
For more meal, cinnamon bun, and coffee, the cost was $20.

Overall thoughts/would I come back:
I liked the Talk of the Towne Diner and would go back again.  It’s a great stop if you are near the Delaware Memorial Bridge and need a quick bite to eat or break from the roads.

 
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Service: A
Cost: $8-12
Overall: A

See all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite post-race food?
Do you like cinnamon buns? Where is your favorite?

Three Years of Marriage

Three Years of Marriage

Today, April 12th, my husband and I celebrate 3 years of being married.  It’s funny how fast time flies.  Over the past few years, I’ve had a lot of new readers.  So while older readers might remember when we got married, others do not!  I thought it would be fun to share our story of how we met, lived in Texas, and now have spent the last four years in NJ.

Tim and I met at across-country scrimmage race between our colleges in 2011. Tim won the scrimmage race for men, and I won the scrimmage race for females.  During the fall of 2011, I was a senior year in college, and coming off my first running severe injury: a tibial stress fracture.

After the scrimmage, we talked and went on a run a few weeks later.  The season was pretty much over, and Tim was getting ready for his competitive ski season.  I was much slower and since he was just running “to stay in shape,” a slower pace didn’t matter to him.  Our first few runs were cold, easy, runs in the late fall.  When I say cold, I mean it was already below 20 degrees in Potsdam,  NY.

Eventually, after several runs, we hung out outside of running.  The fall semester went by and by the time we knew it, it was time to go back home! Over the semester break, Tim visited for New Years and ran two local VA Beach road races.

I blogged before Tim, and I dated, and even posted about the races.In the spring, we started “officially dating”.  I think I even mentioned on the blog: OMG you guys, a new boy in my life”  (just kidding).  I don’t even know how it came up through blogging…I don’t think Tim even knew or cared that I blogged and that was okay by me.

A college date of making bread.

In May of 2012, we graduated and decided to try doing a long distance relationship. 

Our options at that point were to try and do a distance relationship or stop dating.  Tim went to pilot training school in Texas, and I began working in Oswego, NY.

The first few months of being apart were difficult. We hadn’t been dating long, but we went from seeing each other to not talking more than a few times a week.  By November, we were able to see each other for the first time since June.  Living alone and working in Oswego, NY taught me a lot about myself and being independent.  I will never trade that time.

My first visit to Texas

After Thanksgiving, we saw each other again for Christmas, then again in March and in May. It was a lot easier than the first few months.  After nearly a year, we made the decision,  I would move to Texas, and we would live together. As much as I enjoyed my job at Oswego, I wanted to continue my relationship with Tim.  Since he was in the Air Force, he did not have the option to move up North.

Winning a growler at a half marathon in Texas

Living in Texas was tough and wasn’t as glamorous as I thought it would be.  It was the first time I lived with significant other, I was miles away from anyone I knew, and realistically 200 miles away from any big towns.  Tim was also busy with school, and I felt isolated.  When he graduated, we would be moving to New Jersey.  Neither of us knew anything about NJ (except people drive very quickly on the turnpike).

When we found out, we were moving to NJ

On April 1st, 2014 (Yes April Fools Day), he proposed.  It wasn’t on social media or some big ritzy event but it was perfect for us.  We got married about a year later on April 12th, 2015.

Engaged now…let’s go to a diner

Married Life:

Life over the last 3 years hasn’t always been easy.  Since Tim is in the military, he is gone…a lot.  He has been gone about half of our marriage, and I believe 6 deployments, but they all blend together.  That being said, we make the best of the time we do have together.

A few people have asked, when he is deployed he is 100% gone.  When he is back in NJ, he may or may not be around on local trips.  It is isn’t a balance of being gone versus being at home.  When he is home, he still goes to work and still flies.  For instance, right now he is home, but last week went on a week-long trip. 

First dance

Getting home from a deployment.  (The plane he flies is in the background)

Working at a local running store, makes my hours difficult sometimes too.  Even when he is home, there have been months that we have had no days off together.  I’ve asked off from work, only to have his plans change and now I have a free day off, but he isn’t working.  Usually, it’s hard to plan anything.

A few years ago, we used to spend our limited free at home, watching TV, or doing nothing.  Then we realized that just wasn’t us.  We decided to try other things, and that is eventually how we got into exploring NJ and going on fun hikes around the state.  We don’t hike fast, and aren’t “pro hikers,” but we do enjoy it and spending time together.

Ramapo State Forest hike

In December 2016, he found out he had to go to school in Montgomery, Alabama for 8 weeks.  I decided to go down with him, and it was such a fun and rewarding experience.  I met so many people down in Alabama, and Tim ran his first marathon in 70-80 degree heat where he broke 3:00.

After that, we moved back to NJ and have continued to live here.  We genuinely like NJ a lot and everything it has to offer from the wide variety of South Jersey, North Jersey, the shore, diners, and everything in between.

private flying around NJ/NY

While I don’t share a lot of personal and marriage details outside of running, I could not imagine spending this crazy adventure with anyone else.

Questions for you:
How did you and your significant other meet?
Have you moved around a lot?

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