Merchantville Diner

Merchantville Diner

While my parents were in town, we decided to hit up my final diner in Camden County. Considering diners come and go, it’s my last diner in Camden County for now.

The Merchantville Diner is a cute diner located in the downtown. Like many downtown restaurants, it’s a storefront and attached to other buildings.

Atmosphere: A
The Merchantville Diner has a small, downtown feel. It’s not a large, metallic, shiny diner but it’s a little cute, spacious diner. Even though the diner isn’t large, you never feel like you are sitting on top of anyone.

The inside has about 30 seats including several booths, tables, and a full-length bar. It actually had a back that seats several more parties. It’s a lot bigger than you would think.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh. Plus, it’s locally brewed lacas coffee! (Lacas is only a few miles down the road!).

Merchantville Diner

Food: B
The Merchantville Diner has a small menu. You would find a lot of healthy or specialty options, but you’ll find many of the diner classics including breakfast, sandwiches, and even a few dinner specials.

I decided to order my favorite omelet: Nova lox and onion. It came with hashbrowns, and toast (I chose rye).

Merchantville Diner

My omelet was massive with plenty of nova lox and onions. The rye toast was excellent, and I appreciated that my plate wasn’t mounded with hash browns. In all my meal was excellent.

Service: A
The waitress was great and she refilled our beverages, plus the food came out quickly. We were in and out within 30 minutes.

Cost: $
For my omelet and coffee, the cost was $12.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
The Merchantville Diner was tremendous, and I have no complaints. There wasn’t a lot of information online, so I didn’t know what to expect. I will be back!

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Service: A
Cost: $5-12
Overall: A

You can see all 244 Diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite omelet?
What’s your favorite local restaurant?


Vital Protein Collagen Water Review

Vital Protein Collagen Water Review

As many people know, I’m a Vital Proteins Ambassador and have been using Vital Proteins Collagen for over a year now.  Vital Proteins sends me products to try, and I share my favorites or answer questions people have.

One of the most common questions I get is: Which is best?

Unflavored peptides?


Beauty Greens?

Like most anything, it depends on your goals. Any quality Collagen can benefit most people.  I like to have it after a run because it’s easy, portable, and I can get protein in.

I’ve written several posts of how it’s personally helped me, including:

Why Collagen Post Run?
Hair and Nail Benefits of Collagen
Skin Benefits from Collagen
Top Benefits of Collagen

Before we Dive into More Different Products, a Few Things About All Vital Protein Products:

  • Free from artificial ingredients and sweeteners.
  • Contain All Real Food

Recently, I had the privilege to try their new Collagen Water Flavors. I appreciate that the Collagen is easy, packable, and transportable. If I do a race, or decide to run somewhere away from my house, I don’t have to worry about a source of protein afterward. I can just rehydrate with a collagen water.

Before I talk about all of the flavors, here are a few benefits of the collagen water:

  • 10 Grams of Collagen.  I’ve blogged about before, but collagen supports healthy hair, skin, bones, and joints.
  • It’s made with whole food ingredients and real fruit juice.

Vital Proteins Collagen water

They Now Have 5 Different Flavors:

The Orginal:

The original has the taste of lemon water. It’s refreshing but light and doesn’t feel overpowered in any way. Each serving contains 10g of collagen and 1g of sugar from the juice of real fruit. Refresh your wellness routine with ease, courtesy of collagen.

Vital Proteins Collagen water

Blackberry Hibiscus:

This is my favorite flavor. If you like blackberry or fruit drinks, this is a good one to try. The blackberry is mild, and it has a sweet taste to it.

Vital Proteins Collagen water

Lemon Ginger:

Of all of the flavors, the lemon ginger has the most zest. If you like something with a little bit of zest or zing, this is your flavor.

Vital Proteins Collagen water

Blueberry Mint:

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to think the first time I heard of the flavor. Blueberry+mint seems like an interesting and unique combination. After trying it, I can admit I’m a fan. I think it pairs well and it’s a sweet, refreshing flavor.

Vital Proteins Collagen water

Strawberry Lemon:

This reminds me of the staple of most flavors. Who doesn’t love a good strawberry and lemon flavored what option? It tastes exactly like the both combined without being overpowering of either. I don’t enjoy strong lemon drinks.

Vital Proteins Collagen water

I like each of the flavors for different reasons, and I would grab any of them. My favorite is the Blackberry Hibiscus.

Thank you Vital Proteins for allowing me to try the new flavors.

Questions for you:

What do you have post workout?

Have you tried Vital Proteins before? 


Hoka One One Bondi 6 Shoe Review

Like the Clifton, the Bondi was one of Hoka’s first shoes. When you think of Hoka, you think of maximum cushion and something like the Bondi.

If you’ve never run in Hoka before, the Bondi is a lot of shoe. In fact, the Hoka Bondi is probably the most shoe in the industry. The 6th version doesn’t bring a lot of changes like previous versions. Throughout the last few versions, Hoka has made the Bondi much firmer. There is a big difference in feel of the cushioning. If you like a softer, marshmallow type of shoe: go with the Clifton, if you like a firmer cushioning go with Bondi.

I am team Bondi, as well as Mach, and Cavu, which all are much firmer. (I still like the Clifton, I would just choose the others before).

Hoka One One Bondi 6 Shoe Review


Hoka has started to fit big throughout the last year. Not big enough I would go down a size, but big enough that you will have more space. You can’t go wrong with a bigger shoe. You can have plenty of problems when the shoe is too small.

I usually wear between a 10-11 wide in running shoes, and 10.5 regular width is fine. (The Bondi does come in wides which is awesome!).

The major update in the Bondi 6 is a better upper. The mesh has been redesigned to allow more breathability as well durability.  (so hopefully your toes don’t poke through the top). Plus as your feet sweat, they will be able to breathe.

Hoka One One Bondi 6 Shoe Review


Explaining how a Hoka feels before someone has tried it on is next to impossible. If you’ve never worn Hoka before, they use Meta-rocker technology which allows you to roll forward.

The Meta-Rocker is designed with a lower heel to toe drop to create a fulcrum effect. Think of it like a rocking chair.

If you’ve worn the Bondi before, the update in the ride is minimal. If you ran well in the 5, you should run well in the 6. Since the 4 to 5, was a more significant jump, Hoka kept this version very similar.

The Bondi 6 is one of my favorite shoes for recovery and easy days. Days I don’t care about pace. Since there is so much cushion to them if you are looking for an easy day, recovery day, walking shoe, these are going to keep your legs and feet happy. While the shoe isn’t a stable shoe, it’s got a wide base, so it is going to provide some stability. You feel like you are well cushioned from the start, middle, and end of the run. Sometimes after a run in the Bondi, I think…did I even run?

Hoka One One Bondi 6 Shoe Review


The Bondi is an excellent choice for recovery or easy days. It’s also a great choice if you work somewhere where you are standing all day long. I feel like out of any shoe I’ve ever reviewed (Yes, any), if I needed a shoe I could be in for hours or days, it would be this shoe. If for some reason I was running for 10 hours, I would choose this shoe.  It’s not the fastest shoe out there, but not designed to be either.

Current Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: Hoka, Bondi 6, Hoka Mach 2Brooks Glycerin 17,

Speed Work: Reebok Float Ride Runfast ProNike Streak Lt,

Long Runs: Hoka Cavu 2

Races: Nike Fly, Reebok Run fast Pro

You can see all current shoe reviews here.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked about the differences between social media runners and running specialty.  In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Questions for you:

Have you tried a Hoka shoe?

What is your favorite recovery shoe? 

Movie Madness 13.1 Recap (That turned into 14 miles)

Movie Madness 13.1 Recap (That turned into 14 miles)

The Movie Madness 13.1 was my 54th half marathon and the first one I ever got lost.

My plans the week before changed multiples times. Instead of doing a long run on the same roads I’ve been running on, I decided to take a short road trip to Harrisburg, NJ. I’ve driven through Harrisburg a few times, but I’ve never spent much time there. It’s a cool city and also the state capital of Pa.

Anyway, the half marathon was $60 when I registered two days before. I didn’t expect roads to be closed or the race be anything more than a no frills race. My goal was to get a strong long run. I wasn’t tapered, nor was I  in a mindset to run my hardest ever. In fact, there was only race day pickup, and you could register the day of!

I arrived at the start around 7:15 am, picked up my number and just relaxed.

The race started 2 minutes early, and we were off at 7:58. Immediately I found myself as third person and first female. I was running with two men and a lead cyclist. I thought I could maybe keep up the other two men but wasn’t sure.

The first mile goes around the stadium. I just felt like I was relaxed and right, where I wanted to be. We hit the first mile in 7:08, and it felt comfortable.

The next mile went over a grated pedestrian bridge. It made it hard to get a groove and wasn’t closed to people just walking. We crossed a major road, which thankfully there were police directing traffic. We made a 180 turn where there was a water stop (no electrolytes).

By now, one male leader was out ahead, followed by another, and then me. We went over a long bridge, and I hit mile 2 in 6:52, which felt comfortable, but I ran alone for the rest of the time.

Around mile 2.5, we got to the end of the bridge, and a volunteer motioned me to go left (and I did). I began running through a neighborhood street which had no race signs, and I couldn’t see much ahead. After about a half mile of seeing no one else, I asked someone doing their lawn if they had seen any other runners and they said no. So I decided to run back to the bridge. With my confusion and stop, I hit the third mile in 7:22.

When I got back to the bridge, a different volunteer was there, and the rest of the runners had gone through the small tunnel and back across the bridge. I looked and could see the other runners I was running with. When I started running over the bridge, I was running with more people and thought: well, at least I can’t get lost now. My watch hit 4 miles in 7:08 and I just kept chugging along.

The next few miles went through the park, and I was in a daze. I was essentially running a long, hard, run by myself but motivated by the race setting. The next few miles, I ran between 7:04-7:08 pace, which is where I wanted to be.  I was running alone and passing people.  As I reached (my) mile 7, I saw the leaders coming back. I counted they must be about 5 minutes in front of me.

As I approached the turnaround, I tried to count the women ahead of me.  There were two more. We turned around, and I headed back towards the start. At the turnaround, I realized it must be about 6.55 miles, and it was going to be “an out and back.” I was determined to retrace my steps and not get lost again.

Around mile, 9, I grabbed water from a volunteer. I passed the two women and found myself back as first woman overall. By this time, it was getting hot, humid, and I could tell I hadn’t fueled well. I needed Gatorade or something with electrolytes. Since I calculated I would be running four more miles, I knew it would be a long 4 miles.

We went back over the bridge, and it felt like the longest mile. I was running alone, and on the bridge, there was no shade or cloud cover. I ran a 7:03 going over and then 7:19 back.

As I came back over the bridge and onto the path, three geese nearly flew into me. Some construction workers were laughing and then yelled: “you don’t think that’s funny”? I wanted to yell something back but ultimately bit my tongue. No, I don’t think almost getting hit by incoming geese is funny.

I grabbed water around mile 12 and did the final u-turn to get back to the stadium. I knew I still had about 2 miles to go. We recrossed the pedestrian bridge. With the elevation change and u-turn, I ran 7:19 and hit mile 13 right at the stadium. There was an easy way to get back to the start and run 13.1. I could just run the opposite direction, but I figured it would be frowned upon. I began making the long mile around the stadium.

I was still running alone. I saw a few people cheering, which motivated me. I ran a 7:04 and crossed the finish line in 1:39.56 as my watched beeped exactly 14 miles.


I could be mad that I ended up getting lost but my goal was to run 15 miles for the day with 13 at a hard effort. I wasn’t in race mode. I ran the race as hard as I had for the day. By about 10 miles, I was underfueled with electrolytes, running alone, and not out to PR. I’m happy with my effort, and it was nice to get a long run in elsewhere.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked about why running shoes are so expensive.  Each week in the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Questions for you:

Have you ever gotten lost in a race?

Have you ever been to Harrisburg? 


Training Log: Because I’m Training for Something!

Training Log: Because I’m Training for Something!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you might know I was selected to run the Big Cottonwood Marathon (Yes, MARATHON). A week ago, training for a marathon wasn’t my plan for the summer. I wanted to get speed and get back into shape, but I didn’t have any huge goals in mind. I applied for the Team Hylands Big Cottonwood Team because it sounded like an awesome experience. I never thought I would be selected.

Big Cottonwood is the exact opposite marathon experience of what I’ve been used too. I’ve run NYCM twice, and it’s crowded and hilly. Both of my better marathon times have come from NYCM (3:17, 3:07) despite it being one of the toughest courses out there. The second marathon I ran, Phoenix, was downhill enough that it doesn’t count towards an OTQ but you can still Boston Qualify. I ran a 3:14 there, and at the time was a PR. It wasn’t close to the 3:10 I wanted and my quads were on fire from the downhill.

Am I entirely sure I will excel at a new downhill course? I don’t know, but I am excited to have a big race on the books.

I’m not in the same shape as last spring, summer, or fall, so my goal is to get back into shape. I would be ecstatic to run about the same time as NYCM, knowing it wouldn’t translate into the same fitness as a 3:07 at NYCM. I’m most excited to train for something.  I’ll have a post about it at some point, but I’m going to wait a couple more weeks to start “training.”  I want a shorter training cycle with 2-3 20 miles. I don’t want to focus much on doing anything past 20 miles because in the humid summer, that is unpleasant. I would rather take shorter quality miles, than longer, slogging through the humidity miles.

That was a long intro to my training log, right?

Monday: Easy 60 minutes/3000 meter swim
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 12X400 averaging 6:20 pace
Thursday: 3000-meter swim
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Movie Madness Half Marathon (14 Mile at 7:10 pace)
Sunday: Easy 60 minutes/3000 meter swim



Besides marathon training, I guess. As always, my easy runs are just that, easy.

Workout Wednesday: 12X400 averaging 6:20 pace with 90 seconds recovery

I do my workouts on roads. I like it better, and most tracks aren’t open except very early or very late. So I do them all on roads. When school is done for the summer, I might get on the track.  The workout was a little faster than last week, which is progress.


I still plan to swim throughout the summer. I’m enjoying the cross training, and even though I’m marathon training soon, I think the extra cross training is going to keep me healthy.

Movie Madness Half Marathon: 14 Miles (7:10 average):

After my weekend plans changed, I decided to skip town and run the Movie Madness Half Marathon in Harrisburg. You can’t beat a $60 half marathon these days. The short story is, I was misdirected around mile 3 and ended up running 14 miles instead of 13.1 While yes, it stinks to get lost and run longer, my goal for the race was to get quality miles in. I wasn’t in a “race mode,” and I didn’t go to the half marathon to run my “fastest” ever.  It was fun to get a long run done elsewhere and enjoy myself.

Anyway, that was my most exciting training log for a while, because I’m going to start training for something.

Posts from the Week:

Exploring Tyler State Park (Newtown, PA)

Reebok Floatride Run Fast

Cape May 10k (42:35)

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked about why running shoes are so expensive.  Each week in the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Questions for you:

Have you run the Big Cottonwood Marathon? Have you run a downhill marathon? Any tips? 

Are you training for something this summer?

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