Fountainbleau Diner

Fountainbleau Diner
Last week, the owner of New Jersey Isn’t Boring, and I met up at the Fountainbleau Diner in Piscataway Township, NJ. It was one that neither of us had been too, so it made sense.  She is also going to every diner in New Jersey, but been to quite a few more.  We got to the FountainBleau Diner on a weekday for lunch and it was moderately busy but not overwhelming.

We got to the FountainBleau Diner on a weekday for lunch and it was moderately busy but not overwhelming.

Atmosphere: A
The diner itself has a cobblestone exterior and the interior is old school with plenty of mirrors.  There were a lot of mirors and it made the space appear bigger.  It felt like the “What Not to Wear 360 Mirror” but it was cool.

It was clean and nice.

Fountainbleau diner

Service: A
The waitress was friendly and funny.  Any waitress that cracks a few jokes is a winner in my books.  You can’t beat that and she brought plenty of refills.  Our food came out quickly and I have no complaints.

Coffee: B
There was nothing unusual or unique about it but it wasn’t bad either.  I haven’t had any amazing coffee lately but I haven’t had bad coffee either. I enjoyed the coffee and there was a good amount of whipped cream.

Fountainbleau diner

Food: A
The Fountainbleau diner has several options but it’s not overwhelming.  The diner actually has a smaller menu with “only” 4 pages.  I’ve been to some diners with 10-15 filled pages.

What is overwhelming is the amount of lunch specials they have for $8.51.  It took me a few minutes to decide what I wanted.  I decided to go for the Chicken Souvlaki.  I had ordered it a few weeks Sage Diner and I liked it.  It might be one of my new favorite lunch staples.

The special came with soup and I decided to order a salad instead of fries.  Lentil soup is one of my favorite soups and it was thick and full of lentils.  It had huge chunks of celery and I liked it.

Fountainbleau diner

The chicken Souvlaki was much different than the previous diner.  It was stuffed with tzatziki sauce, lettuce, grilled chicken and onions. It wasn’t too greasy and I enjoyed it.  While I forgot to

While I forgot to photo of the salad, it was a typical side salad.  There was nothing unusual.  Next time I think I’ll just order a greek salad too.  Even ordering a full Greek salad, two meals would be cheaper than a single meal at several other diners.

Fountainbleau diner

Cost: $
This was one of my cheapest meals to date.  For my entire meal including the coffee and side salad upgrade, it was $10.

Overall/Would I come back?
I really enjoyed the Fountainbleau diner. The food as very inexpensive as well as large portions. I would go back.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Service: A
Food: A
Price: $7-10
Overall: B

Questions for you:
What’s the cheapest meal you’ve had?
What is your favorite soup? 

Rock n Roll Philadelphia (1:27.37)

Last year, Rock n Roll Philadelphia was several weeks later due to the Pope coming to town.  The weather was brisk and perfect, and I ran a solid 1:25.45.  The weather was perfect, so I knew this year wouldn’t be a course PR.  Plus coming off an injury and a half marathon two weeks, I didn’t expect to be close to that time. I was okay with that.

I was lucky to get a ride over with my boss.  Two days before the race I had no idea how I even would get to the race.  He wasn’t racing the half marathon but placed second overall at the 5k the day before.  After arriving at the start, I chatted with a few people and hung around.
I didn’t warm up for the race as it was hot enough.  During the drive over I realized I had forgotten my watch.  There wasn’t much I could do and honestly I had to suck up racing without a watch. I was irritated, but it was either race without a watch or miss the race.
As I lined up in my corral, I was overwhelmed with a bunch of familiar faces like my coworker Colleen and the famous running blogger, Michele.
The race went off and during the first mile, I felt extremely boxed in.  I felt like I was running slow because I couldn’t get around people (and people couldn’t get around me).  We were packed in like sardines.  When I hit the first mile in 6:38, I was shocked.  That was much faster than Virginia Beach, plus, I didn’t take into account I had crossed the start line 10 seconds later.
The second mile began to spread out.  The second and third mile, take you back towards the starting line.  I like this aspect of the race a lot because the spectators are there cheering you on, and it’s a full crowd.  It’s hard not to feel motivated!

We rounded the third mile and went down Spring Garden.  The section is about a mile out and back with an 180-degree turn.  As I ran the fourth mile, I saw the elites going the opposite direction.  It’s always humbling to see them glide by effortlessly.

I rounded the 180 turn and didn’t take it well.  I’m bad at turns and tend to take them too wide, but I would rather do that than fall.  A couple of extra seconds is not worth falling.  I headed back the opposite direction.  As I was running, I saw several friends and coworkers running the opposite direction.  I had no idea the time or pace, but I hit mile 5 in 33:00 exactly (per the course clock).  I was surprisingly pleased.  I saw one of my good friends Anita and continued to Kelley Drive and around the river.

Rock n Roll Philadelphia

I’ve run the 8.4-mile loop around the Schuylkill a dozen times.  I know the loop well, and it’s a boring, unshaded loop around the Schukyill River.  Not that I care but starting that loop when you aren’t even halfway done is mind numbing.

I hit the 10k just under 41 minutes per clock time.  I was pleased.  The next few miles were just spent staying mentally engaged.  I knew if I lost focus, I would unknowingly slow down my pace.  It was hot and humid, and I sweat through my entire singlet.  I kept hoping the water stops would have Gatorade, but it was minimal.  In fact, there wasn’t much in the form of electrolytes for the entire race.  It was something I thought about during Virginia Beach as well.

I hit mile 10 in 1:05.30 and made it my goal to finish under 1:28.  I knew the last three miles would be tough.  There was no wind; it was heating up, and my clothing was soaken through. I kept reminding myself:

I set my 5k PR on this exact course, and I can race it well.

A man asked my goal, and I said 1:28 sounded reasonable.  He said that was his goal and asked if we could run together.  After a few exchanges, we realized we were at mile 11.

I saw a pack of 5 women in front as well as a man with a cast.  Honestly, I wanted to catch them all, and they kept me focused.  The last two miles is always tough because you can see Center City but it never seems to get any closer.

I hit mile 12, at just over 1:20 and I knew if I could maintain my pace I could break 1:28.  I saw the pack of 5 women, and I ran right by them.  If you know me, you know this hardly ever happens, and it’s a huge accomplishment.  In fact, it might be the only time I’ve outkicked anyone.

Typically I get passed in the final mile…like in Shamrock when I went from 7th place to 14th in the last half mile.

At the final stretch, another woman outkicked and passed me.  She kept me engaged up a minor uphill.  I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:27.37 and as 30th woman overall.  I was 10th in my age group.

Rock n Roll Philadelphia

I even got to cool down with Sarah D, who set a half marathon PR of 1:25 in the heat!

Rock n Roll Philadelphia

Thoughts:
I’m both pleased and surprised with my result.  To be honest, I was hoping to run between 1:28-1:32.  After not getting the best nights sleep as well as the weather.  I’m extremely happy with my time considering it was 2 minutes faster than two weeks ago, plus I was injury free.

rock n roll philadelphia

September in Philadelphia is unpredictable.  I thought it was extremely humid, but I’ve raced RnR Virginia Beach as well as the Remember the Alamo 13.2 which were both hotter and more humid.  It stinks because this course has potential to be extremely fast in the fall (like last year when 40+ athletes qualified for the Olympic Trials).

Questions for you:
What is the hottest you’ve run in?
Have you ever forgotten your watch or something important to a race? 

Goodbye Summer

Summer came roaring through and now in the blink of the eye it’s gone.

When people asked how my summer went, I can’t say it was my favorite summer. 

Thinking out loud, I didn’t necessarily have a bad summer, but being injured as well as my husband’s deployment didn’t make it “the best summer ever”.

hiking sunfish pond

And you know what? That’s fine, I made the best of it and I’m looking forward to a great fall.

Technically summer spans from June 20-now but we have had plenty of 90+ degree days out of that time frame too.

tim and I

By June 20, I was already over a month of injury recovery.  The month of June was relatively boring.  I worked a lot, volunteered and hiked a ton.

What did I do in June? 

Night out at Zahav

Products I Love over the Summer

Four Reasons Runners Should Get in the Pool <- I swam😉

How can I forget that I met Jon and Jenna?
How can I forget that I met Jon and Jenna?
How about July? 

I turned 26

A Day in the (Boring) Life…

I got my Blood Drawn with InsideTracker

Ran my First Race Back

My husband and I flew

flying

Finally August and September: 

This summer, I hiked more than ever.  I found it to be relaxing.  I felt like I could conquer distance when I couldn’t run.  It was a reminder my body could do other things besides running.

hiking bear mountain

My ankle never hurt to hike, and it was a great way to spend time with my husband and go to several new diners.

Here is some hiking I did this summer:
Hiking Hemlock Falls
Getting Lost in Bear Mountain
Bear Mountain Part 2
Hiking around Sunfish Pond
That Time I Saw a Bear While Hiking

I had a few struggles both physically (thanks, injury) to mentally (thanks anxiety), but honestly, I’m coming through as a stronger person.  A stronger woman, wife, sister and daughter.

Something I learned this summer, is it’s okay to ask for help.  I’ve always given myself the title of being “independent.”  During my mid-20s, and this summer more than ever, I’ve learned it’s okay to ask for help and not do it all.

In summary, it was my favorite summer but it wasn’t bad either.  I learned a lot about myself and grew as a person.

Questions for you:

Can you believe summer is over?

What was your best memory this summer?

Saucony Zealot ISO 2 Review

A few weeks ago I decided to try the Saucony Zealot ISO 2.  The Saucony Zealot was one of my favorite shoes last year.

Saucony Zealot ISO 2 Shoe Review

The Saucony Zealot ISO 2 came out a couple of months ago but due to injury, I was cautious to try anything new.  My injury took over the blog for a while, but since this is a running blog, it affected my ability to train and try new shoes (not that running is everything).

So once I felt comfortable to experiment with new shoes, I decided to try the Zealot.  I was both curious and excited to see what the newest update had to offer.  At work, our Saucony rep told us it was going through significant changes, so I was also nervous.  It was only the second model, so the shoe doesn’t have anything consistent behind it.

Saucony is not paying to promote their shoes and remember what works for me, might not work for you.  See: why online running shoe reviews are (mostly) worthless.

Fit:

The Saucony Zealot ISO 2 still uses the ISO and sock-like upper fit which I like.  It fits similar to the first model. However, it is much smaller.  In the Saucony Zealot ISO, I wore a size 9.5.  However, when I put the 9.5 in the ISO 2, I immediately thought it was both too tight and too narrow.  Sizing is never a big issue, and I went with the size 10.  When comparing, it appears the Zealot 2 has a much more narrow toe box.  After getting a more appropriate size 10, I liked the fit, and it felt much better on my foot.

Ride:

The previous Zealot was firmer and lower to the ground.  I liked to use the shoe for “faster” paced runs.  The Zealot ISO 2 includes the Saucony Everrun material which makes it feel less like the Kinvara and more like the Triumph.  For me, that is a good thing since the Triumph is one of my all-time favorite running shoes.  There is much more cushion and more “shoe” to the Saucony Zealot ISO 2.  If you like more of a shoe, then you’ll like the update.

Saucony Zealot ISO 2 Shoe Review

Conclusion: 

Even though the shoe is drastically different, I like the update.  I was in need of either a new pair of Saucony Triumphs or something comparable to replace them in my shoe rotation.  I think the Saucony Zealot ISO 2 fits that and I’ll continue to use them.  They are significantly more shoe and cushion than the debut edition but for me, that is not a bad thing.

Pros:

  • Light weight but cushioned
  • Same price

Cons:

  • Update is drastically different and more cushioned
  • Fit is more narrow

Saucony Zealot ISO 2 Shoe Review

Similar models: Saucony Kinvara, Saucony Triumph ISO 2, Saucony Ride

My personal shoe rotation: Saucony Zealot ISO 2, Hoka Clifton 3 and Brooks Launch 3

Questions for you:

What is your all time favorite running shoe?
Do you get nervous for shoe updates? 

Training: Little Things and RnR Philly (1:27.37)

Last week was a great training week for me.  While I did log higher mileage, I also spent time doing little things such as PT, recovering and resting.  Each being important to keeping me healthy.

Monday: Easy run with Meghan Deep Tissue Massage
Tuesday: OFF PT/ART appointment
Wednesday: Easy Run
Thursday: Easy Run PT/ART appointment
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Easy run with my friend Katie
Sunday: RnR Philly (1:27.37)+3 mile cool down

Thoughts:

Where to begin? I’m beginning to put in the mileage again.  While I’m not doing workouts, I’m running about 50-60 miles per week and racing once.  That’s a huge progression, and I can now say I’m 100% injury free.  I’ve raced two halves and had a 16-mile day with no issues.  Do I feel in shape?  No, but my bones don’t hurt.

I’m proud to continue getting my PT/ART, and it has made all the difference.  While it is expensive, I do believe going to Dr. Kemenosh and his team is helping me stay healthy as I increase my mileage.  My foot hasn’t hurt but then again, neither has anything else.

Rock N Roll Philadelphia: 1:27.37

rock n roll philadelphia

I’ll have a longer recap sometime this week, but I’m pleasantly surprised with how the race went.  I told myself I would be very happy with anything faster than RnR Virginia Beach.

The weather forecasted a hot, humid day.  Honestly, it’s one of the better days I’ve raced this year so while the weather was tough, but not unbearable.  I forgot my watch at home and just ran by how I felt.  I don’t let the watch tell me to speed up/slow down anyways, but I do like to know my pace.  I never felt “good” during the race, but I never felt awful either.  The short recap is, I was pretty consistent, and I was proud of how I ran.

rock n roll philadelphia

I’m looking forward to getting into shorter races for the next month.  My next half marathon is potentially the Runners World Half.  While it’s a much tougher course, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do on in cooler weather and with another month of training under my belt.  For now, I’ll continue to race 5ks.

Questions for you:
Do you race well in the heat?
What was your best workout last week?

Sage Diner (Eastern Shore, VA)

Recently I went to the Sage Diner with my parents on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  This Sage Diner is not to be confused with the Sage Diner in Mount Laurel.  Coincidentally, my parents went too a few years ago. I drive down the Eastern Shore (from New Jersey to my hometown of Virginia Beach) regularly, but I haven’t been to a lot if diners on the Eastern Shore.

Atmosphere: B
The sage diner is located right on Route 13 and has a huge sign located outside, so it’s hard to miss.  There are several locations.

The building reminds me of a local family is owned business  It’s a casual brick building with a sign that says Sage Diner.  The inside is a large square room with several booths and tables as well as a bar.  There is nothing unique about it but does have a cute small town feel to it.

Coffee: B
The waitress brewed a fresh pot and it was brewed hot. There was nothing unique about the coffee and there were a few grounds inside.  Other then that, it wasn’t too bad.

Sage Diner Virginia

Service: B
Our waitress was very friendly but she got several parts of our order wrong including my parents soup as well as my pudding.  She blamed it comically on “being senile”. (Her words not mine).

She was friendly and treated us as if she had known us for years.

Food: B
The Sage diner has a huge dinner menu.  They have the basic breakfast staples such as eggs and pancakes but nothing unusual.  I decided to try the special, “The chicken souvlaki.”  To be honest I had no idea what would come out!

Sage Diner Virginia

I assumed there would be chicken but after that…I had no idea.  The chicken souvlaki had grilled chicken with roasted vegetables and a very thick and heavy oil.  To be honest, there was so much oil it turned into a soup at the bottom of my plate.  The meal itself was good though.  I enjoyed the roasted vegetables and chicken.  It oddly enough reminded me of a grilled fajita on a pita (diner rhyming?).

Sage Diner Virginia

It also came with a side salad which was a perfect compliment.  The menu stated the special came pudding, however, the waitress forgot and by the time she remembered it was time to go.

In summary, I enjoyed my food and it was typical of a diner.

Cost: $
For my special and coffee, the cost was $13.  It was a lot of food for not a lot of money so I can’t complain.

Summary/Would I come back?
I enjoyed the Sage Diner and it’s a great stop on the Eastern Shore.  If you are heading through the Eastern Shore, I would recommend stopping.

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: B
Cost: $10-15
Overall: B

Questions for you:
Have you ordered anything off a menu having no idea what to expect?
Have you ever traveled down route 13 on the Eastern Shore?

How to Find the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes

 How to Find Perfect Running Shoes

One of the most important decisions you can make as a runner is choosing the right pair of running shoes.

It’s important to spend both time and money to pick out the best shoes for you.  Without proper running shoes, you won’t be running for very long.  While you can choose a shoe off of the shelf, it’s important to get properly fitted by an expert.

How to find the perfect running shoe

Thinking out loud, proper running shoes are going to prevent many injuries such as shin splints and plantar fasciitis.  They are going help you run faster and further because aches will be the last thing you’re thinking about.

So how do you find the best running shoes?

First, it’s important to realize there is no “best-running shoe.”  Each running shoe is designed for a different foot type.  What works for me, might not work for you or your friend.  Reading internet shoe reviews isn’t going to help you find a shoe that will help you.  Every foot is different, including your left and right.

Second, go to a running specialty store. Employees at running speciality stores go through training to figure out which shoes work for which feet.  They can tell you within a matter of minutes which shoe will work for you.  A process that can take you hours will be cut into minutes.  Employees at running stores also have a wealth of knowledge about the sport of running including local events and races.  They are runners themselves and will know local races or even doctors or podiatrists.

You should plan to spend time in the store because the employee will ask you several questions, take a look at your feet, gait and running form.  Don’t get to the store 5 minutes before closing time and expect to have time to be fitted.

So what should you expect?

First, the employee will ask you several questions such as:

  • What are you using the shoes for?
  • Every day walking? Training? Racing? Gym classes?  There is no right or “good” answer!
  • Do you have any aches or pains? Do you have blisters or black toenails? Do you have shin splints or knee pain? Pain in your hips or back? Let the employee know everything and anything…but please don’t show me an open wound.
  • What kind running are you doing?
  • How often you run?
  • Where do you run? What kind of surface are you running on? Grass? Sidewalk? The treadmill?
  • Are you training for race or event

Those are just a few questions you might encounter about your personal activity.

Then the employee will look at the shape of your feet as well as the arch.  It’s extremely common for someone to have two different sized feet.  They will look to see if you pronate,supinate or have a neutral gait.  Determining your foot type is the most important part of finding the right running shoes.

Next, the employee will measure your foot. Keep in mind, your foot size changes and grows.  After having children, most women gain a half size.  Even if you’ve been the same size for years, your foot might have gotten longer or wider.

Another thing to keep in mind is running shoes should be 1/2 to a full size bigger than your casual shoe size.  There are very few exceptions to this rule.  When you workout, your feet swell.  If you are losing toenails, chances are your shoes are too small.  Blisters also form at the top of your feet because of improper sizing.  As someone who works in a speciality store, about 75% of athletes who come in are wearing the wrong size shoe.

After the employee is done proding you with questions, they’ll bring a few options that are best fits for you.  They’ll have you try them on and run around in them.   From there you will decide how you like the shoe.  Do you prefer a soft shoe? Firm? Light weight or heavier? Only you can decide what feels right.

Make sure you are ready to run.  Standing awkwardly in the shoe for one second isn’t going to decide whether you like the shoe or not.  You should run in each pair of shoes.  Trust the employee they have chosen appropriate shoes for you.  The employee’s job isn’t too bring out the wrong shoes.

After making your final decision make sure to test your shoes at home too.  If you develop pain, they may not be the right shoes. Most specialty stores have a policy to allow you to exchange the shoes even if you have run in them.  For instance, the store I work at allows you to exchange shoes for up to two weeks.  If they don’t work out, we want to know and for you to find something that does!

Since I work in a speciality running store, I do believe getting fit for a pair of shoes is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a runner.  There is no right or wrong answer for the best pair of running shoes, but there is a right or wrong answer for the best pair for you.

Other Posts You Might be Interested In:
There is No Perfect Running Shoe
There Difference Between Runners and Non-Runners
Why Running Shoe Reviews are (Mostly) Worthless
Why You Should Rotate Running Shoes

Questions for you:
What are your current pair of running shoes?
Have you ever been fit for a pair of running shoes?