Early in the month, I went up to the Route 1 diner in Lawrenceville, NJ. I actually didn’t know this diner existed until recently, which is unfortunate because it’s only 30 minutes from me and 30 minutes from the base!
I got there on a Friday night, and they were packed. The owner had me sit at the bar until a table cleared up.
The Route 1 Diner appears like a cross between a diner and restaurant (as the name indicates). The exterior is a typical building (versus a big metallic, shiny one) but the interior is all diner with a full-length bar, multiple booths, and table. We sat near the drink fill-up station for servers, and I didn’t quite appreciate servers always reaching around us to fill up drinks. Oh well!
The coffee was piping hot, and the owner refilled it often. I have no complaints.
I believe the service should be categorized into two parts. The owner seemed to play a role in our experience because if it was just the waitress, the score would have been lower. It took over 20 minutes to just take our order. I watched our server go to almost every other table except ours taking orders, refilling drinks, and bringing food. Once we did order, our food was our quickly, and for that I was happy.
The Route 1 Diner has almost everything you can imagine from breakfast, lunch, specials and most dinner options. I opted to order the stuffed shells.
The meal came with a bread basket which included cheesy bread. Normal bread baskets are boring but including cheesy and cinnamon bread is a win in my books.
My meal also came with a salad which was relatively green as far as diner salads go.
I am not a huge pasta fan but stuffed shells or lasagna or two I do like. The food at the Route 1 Diner was good. The dish was a bit smaller than anticipated, but it wasn’t bad. It was definitely hot, and I nearly burnt my tongue eating it.
I decided to order a cupcake. The waitress asked if I wanted a “minion cupcake” or “Elmo”…I said Elmo because why not. She came back with a minion cupcake, plopped it on the table and said it was all they had. To be honest, nothing about the cupcake was pleasing.
The presentation looked sad, the cupcake itself wasn’t that great, and the waitress didn’t even come back beforehand saying “well all we had is this”. I didn’t even finish the dessert which is rare for me (in fact it’s only happened at the Red Lion Diner and Sage Diner).
For my coffee, shells, and cupcake the cost was $18.
While I didn’t have the worst experience at the Route 1 Diner, I didn’t have the best either. The owner was friendly and probably the only reason I would come back.
Atmosphere: B Coffee: A Service: A Food: B Dessert: D Cost: $8-20 Overall: C
A half marathon takes longer mentally to process than a 5k race recap. So here we are almost a week after my first half marathon since April. In case you don’t feel like reading, I had a good experience with the Air Force Half Marathon.
It was probably one of my best half marathons in the last year, despite not being my fastest, not that I was expecting a PR or anything close. This particular recap has a lot more reflection, and a short recap too.
In the last year I’ve run several half marathons: Rnr Philadelphia (1:27.37) Runners World Half (1:24.17) probably my best race performance albeit not my fastest Beat 539 Half (1:25:28) Philadelphia Half (1:27.44) Dallas Half (1:23.44)
Half marathons are my bread and butter. Unfortunately, the last year never showed the hard work I put into running. Last winter, I was in 1:21-1:22 shape, but I never raced like I was. As I got slower throughout the spring, it ultimately led to my hiatus (which I needed both mentally and physically).
When my husband was selected to run the Air Force Marathon for his command (Air Mobility Command) several months ago, it was in the back of my mind that maybe I would run the half. The summer flew by, and I found myself having done little running. Finally, in August, I had more time and decided I would start easing into running. In order to make it to the start of the Air Force half healthy, I forwent running one of my favorite halves: RnR Va Beach a few weeks prior (2 half marathons in doable when I’m training appropriately…but that fitness is not there right now).
We left the Thursday before. We stopped at my inlaws house in central PA and headed to Dayton, Ohio that Friday. Looking back, we should have left earlier and been in Dayton that Friday. As we got to Wright Patterson, there was traffic, and we nearly missed picking up packets and my husband’s uniform. When I say we were one of the last people to pick things up, it was close. We also ended up walking about 2 miles between 7-8:30pm.
Nothing about that is ideal for a morning race, but my only goal was to support my husband and enjoy 13.1 miles. Whatever happened to me, happened to me.
The morning was uneventful, and we made it to the start by 6:30 (for his 7:30…my 8:30 start). He went to the special Air Force tent, did whatever he does to warm up, and my mother in law and myself headed to the start to spectate.
Not without running over to the start and taking a selfie with him. (There were no corrals, and everything for this massive race is self-seeded, so I didn’t impact anyone’s race).
The marathoners went off, I relaxed for an hour, and per usual randomly chatted with people. I felt no need to warm up considering it was my longest run by 3 miles since April.
Before I knew it, it was my turn to head to the start! I went to the start, and we were off. I had no goal but to finish, and let my body do what it wanted to do. Typically I’ve run my first half back from a break or injury between 1:30-1:33 so that’s what I expected.
The first mile was packed and a blur. I saw several females in front and plenty of males. I hit in a 6:44 and was both surprised and pumped.
Then next few miles, I grabbed Gatorade, and it felt hot. I started running with several men who were also competing in the MAJCOM challenge. One thing I can count on with the Air Force, is they are usually as chatty as I am. We were all just talking for 3 miles about everything from life, to work, to moving. Our miles ranged in pace from 6:29-6:40 and clicked off quickly. We passed 2 women and several other men too. I was feeling strong and confident, but I also knew this wasn’t a 5k and I had a long way to go. I was unpredictable after mile 10.
We hit the halfway point in exactly 43 minutes. The course had zero (and I mean zero) shade, and it was already above 70 degrees and humid. I was glad I wore a hat and sunglasses. My legs weren’t feeling bad or fatigued, but the heat was starting to affect me.
Around mile 9, we climbed an overpass, and I wasn’t expecting any climbs or any hills at all. I hadn’t done research but mentally had assumed all Air Force races must take place on flat runways and flat bases. That thought process didn’t really have any basis and was in fact, foolish.
The last four miles of the Air Force half is harder part of the course. I looked ahead at the hill and saw one female, and just tunnel focused on passing her and staring at the top. I did both, caught my breath, and continued. That was my slowest mile, in 6:46.
At the 10 mile point, I told myself: the half marathons are your bread and butter. All that’s left is the 5k butter. The 5k I haven’t run in the months. The 5k I’m known in my best fitness to hammer and pass people. I wasn’t going to let it break me, and I felt too good. I hit the 10 mile in 1:07 and told myself a 1:27 is in your wheelhouse today.
Despite not researching the next three miles were hilly, I was determination to get there. You enter back onto to Wright Patterson Base around mile 12. They begin the finishers shoot at mile 12. Mile 12. I told myself I wouldn’t even care if the course was short. I knew it wouldn’t be, but my legs would be cool with less running.
Being in a mile long finishers shoot is soul crushing. You are alone, spectators around, and you’re struggling. Maybe you aren’t struggling so you look strong, but I was as I should be. One woman outkicked me in the last half mile. Too bad, she won our age group and was the fourth female. I didn’t have the kick to catch her.
I crossed the finish in 1:27.28 and fifth female overall. It far exceeded the expectation I had for the race. Not my fastest half but not my slowest either, but definitely one of my most fun. The heat affected the half marathons but definitely affected the full marathoners much more. My husband ran a 3:15 and my father in law squeezed into BQ in a 3:58.
I would love to run the Air Force Half again when I’m in better fitness because I do believe it’s a course I would excel at. I have a feeling we will probably be back, but T might be competing for a different MAJCOM command.
I’ve recovered moderately well from the half, and for the next five weeks, I’ll focus on 5ks, followed by the Runners World Half.
Questions for you: Do you typically talk during races? I’m a talker during halves and fulls…not 5ks
Last week was my longest half marathon in a while and I’ve been spending a lot more time on recovery. Plus, as I continue to build mileage, I’ve been focusing more on recovery too. Most people know but I’m injury prone, so I can’t get away with not focusing on recovery. At this point, I don’t even try too.
Someone once told me that days off save seasons and I think it’s some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten. Thinking out loud, now I apply them every time I have an injury scare. Believe me, I’ve gone to my PT convinced I have a stress fracture, only for him to say…no your leg is just tight.
Here are a Few Techniques to Help Recover Faster:
We all know you should but how many people actually stretch after runs or night. Probably not many of us.
I’m a big fan of ART. It flushes out acid from your legs and muscles quicker and you recover faster. I’ve always recovered faster when I opted to get a deep tissue massage or ART. If you are local, I highly recommend Dr. Kemenosh and his staff (and no they aren’t paying me to tell you that). They have helped me in multiple situations from fixing my hip/piriformis after my last marathon to loosening up my calves, and even feet.
Upping my Protein:
I’m not saying I have steak every meal but adding extra protein: including more eggs, greek yogurt, and lean meat has helped muscles recover faster. I’m not a nutritionist or dietician and don’t claim to be, I’ve just found it’s been working.
This is an obvious one, but more sleep allows the muscles to repair. We know sleep is important, but there are so many distractions that make it difficult to get to bed. I try and log off the internet around 9 pm. Sometimes I read, sometimes I go straight to bed.
Rest and Easy Runs:
This week most of my easy runs have been in the 9-10 minute pace which is fine. There is no point in racing training runs, that is when injuries are caused. If you struggle with not being able to run slower, I highly recommend leaving the watch at home.
Recovery from anything, whether it’s a race or hard training cycle takes time. Just like training, there is no secret that does it all at once.
All of my runs, minus the race, were easy. I can’t say I felt amazing and ready to run, but I also didn’t feel bad or injured. I booked an appointment with my Chiro/ART doctor on Wednesday just to get everything loosened up before the half.
Air Force Half Marathon:
I didn’t have any expectations for the race. I wanted to run as my body allowed and go from there. My primary goal with any race is to finish healthy. After so much rest and no runs over 10 miles since the Atlantic City half marathon, I thought it would be a good goal. Most of my “first half marathons” back are between 1:30-1:32 and I thought I would be happy with that.
A lot of additional stress and small factors played into the weekend. First, my husband was the primary reason for us going to the Air Force Marathon. He competed for his command (AMC) in the race. His race didn’t go as he hoped or training indicated, but he was happy to finish healthy. Due to traffic, we were nearly the last people picking up packets and his uniform. Packet pickup closed at 8 pm, and we weren’t even sure we would be able to make it. We didn’t check into our hotel and settle down until around 9 pm which is a lot later than usual.
Due to traffic getting into Dayton, we were nearly the last people picking up packets and his uniform. Packet pickup closed at 8 pm, and we weren’t even sure we would be able to make it. We didn’t check into our hotel and settle down until around 9 pm which is a lot later than usual. We walked a lot between 7-8:30 pm the night before, which wasn’t ideal.
The course was a lot harder than anticipated too. At 7 am, the weather was great! But as it got later, the temperatures and humidity crept up, and there was zero shade on course, plus it was a much hillier than anticipated course. I thought I was running a flat course, but little did I know (because I didn’t research anything for the half…).
I’ll have a full race recap (probably late in the week), but I am happy with my race. My splits were consistent between 6:30-6:45 due to hills. Considering I haven’t done any speed but a few 5ks, I can’t complain at all.
I’m happy with how my fitness is progressing. My next half marathon will probably be the Runners World Half in late October again. It gives me 5 more weeks to build fitness and go from there. For now, I’ll continue with 5ks through the rest of September and early October.
On August 21st, Cyd of New Jersey Isn’t Boring, and myself went to the Galloway Diner. How do I know that precise date? We also went and watched the Eclipse. I took a photo that I’m proud of, which you can see here. Around lunch time at the Galloway Diner, it wasn’t crowded at all. Out of all of the diners I’ve been too, this is one of the biggest.
It’s a stereotypical NJ diner. The outside is chrome, and the inside has multiple booths, tables, and a full sized bar. It’s beautiful and open, so you don’t feel like you’re sitting on top of anyone. As I mentioned, it’s one of the biggest diners I’ve ever been too or even seen!
The coffee was hot and brewed fresh. The waitress also refilled out beverages often. It came from my favorite coffee roaster: Lacas. I have no complaints.
It was the hosts first day, and she did a great job. She was friendly, and I never would have guessed it was her first day on the job. The waitress was friendly and gave us several recommendations. However, the food was much slower to come out than anticipated.
The Galloway diner has several pages including a specials page. I had eaten a few hours earlier and wasn’t running much at the time, so I opted for something lighter. I decided to order the Greek salad with salmon which was a great size, and the presentation was excellent. I will say it’s one of the largest pieces of salad salmon I’ve received. Definitely one of the better diner salads I’ve had. It had everything I liked and nothing I didn’t. The waitress even asked if I wanted anchovies which rarely happens.
I will say it’s one of the largest pieces of salad salmon I’ve received. Definitely one of the better diner salads I’ve had. It had everything I liked and nothing I didn’t. The waitress even asked if I wanted anchovies which rarely happens. I’m a huge anchovy fan!
I decided to take a black and white cookie to go, and it was great. The cookie was soft with plenty of frosting. It was one of the best cookies I’ve had! Of course, I forgot to take a photo of the actual cookie.
For my coffee, salad with salmon and cookie, the cost was $22. It was a bit more pricey than I anticipated but it wasn’t bad.
Overall Summary/Would I Come Back?
I enjoyed the Galloway Diner, and I would go back. The waitress was friendly, and there was plenty of space. While it’s a bit more pricey for a diner, I don’t have any complaints.
Summary: Atmosphere: A Service: B Coffee: A Food: A Service: B Food: A Cost: $10-20 Overall: B
Some off seasons I work hard to keep a base and stay fit. Some off seasons, I don’t. This year, I didn’t and I can definitely feel the difference. I have no regrets about that and fitness will come back. Last week, a reader, Mike, asked about keeping a base in the off season.
Everyone needs a break in their running. Running year round can result in injury or like me: burnout. Feeling completely out of shape isn’t the most pleasent way to begin running again, and there are ways to cross train and get the most from an off season. Ultimately, the off season should be used to rest and recover.
Here are a Few Methods I’ve Used to Keep Fitness:
Create a Schedule or Plan:
Like when you are running, it’s important to create a plan. Whether you want make a goal to run 2-3 times a week, cross train, or whatever, just make a plan. When you aren’t training for anything, it becomes easy to just not do anything. Believe me, from late April until early June, I took a week of rest which turned into 2 months. I worked out sometimes, but not enough to keep any base fitness. I was fine with that though!
Create a Realistic Plan:
Sure you could dedicate the amount you currently dedicate to running, but it’s an off season. Thinking out loud, you aren’t supposed to go hard, you are supposed to relax and enjoy other things. I typically recommend about half the time you would dedicate to running but make the plan realistic for you. Find new hobbies you enjoy, do new things, or heck do nothing at all.
Do New Things:
If all you do during your running off season is run or run fewer miles, it’s not really an off season.
Here are some other examples of other great fitness options:
Strenght Training: Some off seasons I get into it, some off seasons I don’t. I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable in it but you can get great strength training advice from those who are or a certified coach.
Swimming: If you read LOLZ blog long ago, you might remember I swam far before I ran. Swimming is a great full body workout. Let’s be honest, it’s more fun in the summer and outdoors but it’s just as good in the winter too.
Yoga: Yoga is becoming trendy. Especially hot yoga, now that it’s getting colder.
Spinning and Cycling: I’ve done a few spin classes before. I don’t need (or want) to invest in a road bike and fun spin classes are good enough for me. Plus normally they have top 40s music, which I like.
Group Classes: Personally, I like group classes in strength and cardio because I feel like it’s more fun, I actually do core and strength, and I like pop music.
Cardio Machines: Most runners like cardio marchines as much as they like the treadmill. I like them because I can catch up on Netflix, TV shows, or just be mindless for an hour and still get a good workout in. Sometimes, I catch up on the social media too. You can go nuts and raise your heart rate if you want, but gym equipment is all about what you put into it. If you slowly pedal an elliptical, you won’t get as good of a workout as if you go crazy pretending you are racing the elliptical user next to you.
Finally and Just as Important as Working Out: Don’t Forget about your Diet.
When you aren’t burning as many calories, you don’t need to eat as much. This is something I’ve always personally struggled with and I typically gain anywhere from 5-10 pounds. I did from April until now too. You should not deprive yourself but you probably don’t need to eat 5 cookies after a strength session. It’s all about balance.
Keeping a base has it’s place, just like everything else in the fitness world. I am a firm beliver, that it’s important to take a fair amount of rest so your body will be ready for the next training cycle.
Due to various things, my husband and I are doing quite a bit of traveling over the next few months. Before we leave for another trip this weekend, I wanted it to blog about our car buying trip over Labor Day weekend.
Last week, we drove down to Winston-Salem to look at a new (used) car. As most people know, my husband is fixing a 1987 944 Porche. What I don’t post much of, is he also has a collector 1989 BMW 328. Together with my car, it makes up our three daily drivers. Both of the 80s vehicles are fun but when you have two daily drivers that are coming up on 30 years old, things break…a lot. It’s never anything he can’t handle (he’s rebuilt the transmission, done things to engine…hell if I know), but regardless between the 3 vehicles, there are never 2 continuously reliable cars in the household.
As you can guess, my husband is very much into cars so he knew exactly what he wanted. Unoratently, the closest vehicle was in Winston-Salem so that’s where we went. We had no issues with Flow BMW, purchased the 2015 228i (manual) and it was shipped back to our house in less than a week.
Honestly, it’s whatever he wanted. He has supported me for random things and I want to buy and I can only do the same.
All of that being said, it led to a fun road trip to North Carolina. Heck, we were almost back in Alabama!
Anyway, while down there we decided to go for a hike on the Greybeard trail. To be honest, it was one of my favorite trails to date. We got lost a couple of time and went off the beaten path, so it was about 10 miles round trip for us. We stopped at the falls, as well as the “Walkers Knob” which I thought was called “Walkers Nook”…ha.
We had never hiked the Blue Ridge Mountains before, but we are definitely hoping to get back there again.
Here are a few photos but if you ever get down to the Asheville area, I recommend it. It took us about 5.5 hours to do the entire 10 miles.
At the top. I can truly say the view was one of the best I’ve ever seen.