Marietta Diner

While visiting Atlanta, I wanted to check out a new diner.  It’s for the blog right?When asking for recommendations, the Marietta Diner kept popping up, so I decided to check it out.  After running the

When asking for recommendations, the Marietta Diner kept popping up, so I decided to check it out.  After running the Polar Bear 5k, I arrived around 11 am.  Every parking space was filled, and I thought it might be a long wait because there were several parties waiting outside. Luckily, they had a small booth for two, and we were immediately sat.

Atmosphere: A
The Marietta Diner has the stereotypical shiny and metallic exterior.  It’s all chrome.  The inside is massive, and it’s one of the biggest diners I’ve ever been too.  It is clean, and despite being busy, no one was sitting on top of each other.

Service: A
The waitress was kind.  She refilled our drinks, and our food was brought out quickly.  Even though it was so busy, we were in and out of the Marietta Diner within an hour.  The speed was impressive!

Coffee: B
Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia The coffee was good, but there was nothing unique about it.  I could have used a larger cup.  Luckily there was plenty of whipped cream.

Food: B
The Marietta Diner has every option you can imagine in a diner.  It would fit right in in New Jersey.  Someone mentioned their Greek food was good so I decided to order a Greek omelet.  I was surprised the Greek Omelet didn’t come with Gyro, so I added that too.

Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia

The omelet came with hash browns and a biscuit.  The biscuit was delicious.  There was nothing unique about the hashbrowns.  The Omelet itself was good except I found they didn’t add a lot of Gyro meat.  I thought they had forgotten it at first! The food was good but I do wish there was more gyro meat in the omelet.

Dessert: A
The dessert case looked like one of the best dessert cases of any diner. I’m not usually a person who orders dessert at lunch, but I could not pass up their red velvet roll.  There was a lot of frosting and the cake was moist.  The red velvet roll was great, and despite leaving stuffed, I was glad I ordered it.

Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia

Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia

Cost: $$
For my coffee, omelet (with Gyro) and red velvet roll it was $29. They charged $5 for the limited amount of Gyro meat I received which was not worth it.

Overall/Would I come back?
I liked the Marietta Diner, but their menu is overpriced.  When I go back to Atlanta, I might go somewhere else. To pay nearly $20 for an omelet is worth it to me personally.  I would stop in for cake.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: B
Food: B
Dessert: A
Cost:$15-20
Overall: B

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of Omelet?
What’s your favorite post-race treat?

Saucony Freedom ISO Shoe Review

While living in Alabama, I committed one a runner sin.  I was underprepared shoe wise for 6 weeks.  While I could have gotten a pair of shoes I’ve already run in, I decided to try the Saucony Freedom.  Before leaving, I had tried them on at work. They seemed like they would be a good shoe for me.

This is the first model so there is nothing to compare it too.  I have run in multiple other Saucony shoes including the Kinvara, Zealot ISO 1 and 2, Ride 9 and Triumph ISO 1 and 2.

The Freedom uses Saucony’s signature Everrun material.  It is the first of the line to use the Everrun at the forefront of the shoe.  What does this mean for me? As someone who strikes extremely far to the front, there is plenty of cushion up there too.  There are actually very few shoes with a full length cushioning in the forefront too (most shoes have a lot of cushioning in the heel and it tapers to the front).

Fit:

Just like the Saucony Triumph and Zealot, the Freedom uses the ISO fit.  It fits more like slipper than an actual shoe.  I find the ISO fits my foot better but the shoe does run short.  Typically I wear a size 10 but I found the 10.5 to be the best fit.  I even contemplated doing an 11 or a men’s size 9 because I could use more width.  I would recommend going up at least a half size if not more.

Ride:

This was definitely interesting.  I could feel the extra cushion in the forefront immediately.  My first run in the shoe was an easy 7 miler.  It felt comfortable the moment I put it in on.  It was soft, yet responsive and the extra cushion for my metatarsals was immediately noticed.

me running

Pros:

  • More cushion in the forefront
  • Light weight

Cons:

  • Sizing
  • Cost ($160 makes it one of the most costly neutral shoes on the market)

Similar options:

There aren’t a lot of options with extra cushion in the front.  Both the Saucony Kinvara and Zealot ISO 2 have a 4mm drop and are the closest by far.  The Asics Nimbus or adidas Energy Boost has a good amount of cushioning in the front as well.

Current Shoe Rotation: 
Saucony Freedom ISO (long runs, daily runs)
Brooks Ghost (any run)
Brooks Launch (shorter runs, speed work)
Saucony Type A (speed work)

Questions for you:
Where do you wear out a shoe first?
Which shoes are you currently running in?

 

Mercedes Half Marathon (1:27.01)

If you want the short recap I can tell you the following:

I was getting over a cold, it was the most humid half marathon I’ve done, and it wasn’t a goal half marathon.

But why have 20 words when you can have 1000? 

As I mentioned in my training log, initially the Mercedes half marathon was meant to be a goal race.  After looking at other options, my coach and I decided to target the Double Bridge 15k.  What was not exactly public knowledge, was my husband was training for the full marathon.  Since we were driving back to New Jersey afterward, one of us had to be in somewhat good driving condition.  Too bad, of the two of us, he still felt 10 times better post race.

Targeting the Double Bridge 15k the week before ended up being the right move for me.  I was feeling better that day, and despite being windy, the weather was much better.  I came down with a minor cold a few days before the Mercedes Half.  It felt as though I was breathing through a straw.

With that all of that said, we got to the race start around 6:30 am for the 7:03 start.  We chatted with my friend Miles.  My husband located bathrooms and we were able to go and drop off our bags.  The race director began with a countdown followed by a frantic “go go go.”  It felt as though we were starting a local 5k, not a major (and incredibly competitive) race.  The full and half ran the same course.  Both miles and my husband were running the full, so we all started together.

Since we had run part of the preview run, I knew the course well.  The first mile was flat and I found myself trying to get into a rhythm.  People were running by me already, and I felt discouraged.  I hit the first mile in 6:34 and didn’t feel good about it. I thought: “this is going to be a long race.”Run Mercedes Half Marathon me

The second and third mile were more hilly.  Runners were going by me left and right.  Negative thoughts immediately crept in my head.

Had I taken the race out too fast?

Was I just bad running hills?

Do I not handle heat well anymore?

I hit both miles in 6:27 and felt a little better about it.  I changed my mindset to running my own race.  All I thought was, LOLZ you can make it to the end.  Nothing can surpass the regression miles of Shamrock 2016 (or so I thought).

The next few miles were a bit of a blur.  Both mile 4 and 5 went by without any major excitement.  I grabbed the course Powerade at every stop.  I ran both miles by myself in 6:42.  In a half marathon, I usually take whichever electrolyte fluids they have, and I was thankful for Powerade at every stop.

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me

By the halfway point, I was overheated.  I wasn’t in danger, but I also knew, it wasn’t my day.  It was hot, my body wasn’t feeling great, and my coach had it marked as a workout, to begin with.  Why was I freaking out for a race, I knew wouldn’t be a PR?   

With that, I just focused on each mile I was in.  The middle miles ran through Highland Park.  It was hilly, and it felt like we just kept climbing.  I ran my slowest mile (7:01) followed by my fastest mile (6:22) down the hill.  By the time I knew it, we were at mile 10.  I caught my friend Dani, who was running the full marathon.  We ended up running the last 3 miles together which made the time go by faster.

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me

Mile 11 and 12 entered back into the city of Birmingham.  We ran right by my hotel, and I visualized napping and eating hotel stale hotel pastries.  I ran both miles in 6:44.

There was some headwind, but it was circulating hot and humid air.  The half and full marathon divided and runners were sent to opposite sides of the road based on their distance.  Dani and I were still running “together,” just separated by a median.  During this time, a group was holding cups, and I thought they were holding more powerade.  I had seen someone up ahead grab it and so when they offered me the cup I didn’t turn it down.

Only to realize I had grabbed beer.  I wasn’t terribly upset, but I didn’t drink the entire cup and proceeded to the final mile.  It was more shocking because it was not what I was expecting.

Just after the 12th mile, I noticed someone on the ground surrounded by medics.  It was scary to run by, but the medical staff had everything under control.  During that time, I looked up and noticed a woman within .1 of me.  For the last mile, I focused on a woman in front of me.  I was outkicked in the final .1 at the Double Bridges race the week before (for the win) and I didn’t want it to happen again.

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me
This face says: I might be having a $hit race, but I will not be out kicked in the final .1

Despite being exhausted, I powered to the end.  I crossed the last mile in 6:37 and the finish in 1:27.01.

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me
and then apparently I immediately chuckled and checked my Garmin

Thoughts:

It’s hard to feel satisfied with this time when I know I’m in better fitness.  I’ve been stuck in a plateau since October (Runners World Half).  While I ran Dallas in 1:23.44, I was fully tapered for that and training indicated I should have PRed.

Unfortatently, I have also dealt with weather or my body doesn’t feel good on race day.  These are the periods that make training difficult.  I’m not devastated or even upset about the Mercedes Half Marathon. I gave it everything I had for the day.  I am, however, longingly hoping for PRs that I’ve been working hard for.

As I mentioned, my husband ran his first marathon at Mercedes in a time of 2:59.45.  He met his goal to break 3 hours in nonideal weather conditions.  He’ll have a full recap next week. 

tim-and-i-1

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to Alabama? 
Have you drank beer during a race? 

I actually did at Shamrock last year (on purpose).

Love Yourself

Valentines Day is a time to celebrate love. 

Whether it’s love for….

…a significant other

…your family and friends

…a pet

But most importantly: Love for yourself

Thinking out loud, as someone in their mid-twenties, I can tell you I didn’t always love myself.  In college, in suffered from anxiety and over committing to everything.  I compared myself to everyone and everything. I didn’t appreciate things about myself that looking back I wish I would have!  This doesn’t just include sports but life as well.   I never took the time to step back and reflect with what I loved about myself.

Valentines Day is a beautiful celebration of love.  You cannot possibly love others if you don't love yourself.  

Here are a few ways to embrace and love yourself:

Show gratitude for who you are now. As humans, we are always growing and learning more about ourselves.  We are striving to do better and to be better.  Take time to reflect on where you are now and how far you have come.  Never discount the small achievements.

Do something everyday that makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming but do something each day that you know will make you happy.  Is that reading a few blogs?  Is that painting?  Is it running?  Make sure to make a little bit of time for just you each day.

Give yourself an honest chance. If you believe you will fail, you will.  Believe in yourself.  It’s that simple.  This is one of the biggest lessons I learned and am still learning.  To have success, you must believe you will.

Distance yourself from things that make you unhappy. One thing I’ve learned in the last few years is life is too short to do things that make you unhappy.  That could be things, people or activities but if you are constantly around things making you miserable, you cannot love and appreciate yourself.

Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?  Confidence is key.

Valentines Day doesn’t have to be a Hallmark holiday or celebration of giving or receiving gifts.  It’s a celebration of love whether it is loving yourself, your family and friends or significant other.

We all have someone to love, and it starts with ourselves.

Question for you: How do you love yourself? 

 

Training: Heat and Moving

Monday: 55 minutes easy
Tuesday: 60 minutes easy
Wednesday: Workout: 4X1 mile and 4X400s
Thursday: Easy 55 minutes
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Easy 45 minutes
Sunday: Mercedes Half Marathon (1:27.01)

Most of my week was spent preparing to move back to New Jersey.  Even though it was only 5 weeks, there were a lot of loose ends to tie up the final week.  Plus packing is hard no matter how long you’ve lived somewhere.

Workout Wednesday:

4X1 mile (6:38, 6:42, 6:27, 6:27)

4X400 (1:30)

I can’t say this workout went extremely well, but I got it done.  My body was still sore from the Double Bridges 15k.  All four of my 400s were run at exactly 1:30 and that was unplanned.  Consistency is key…I guess.

My goal when I first found out we were moving was training and PRing at the Mercedes half marathon.  The focus changed once I was settled to training and racing hard at the Double Bridges 15k.  I’m glad I did that as the weather was better that day, plus my legs felt better than they did at Mercedes.  The weather at the Mercedes half marathon was extremely hot.  At the

At the start, it was 65 degrees and 93% humidity.  By the end, it was well above 70.  It was *supposed* to pour rain which would clear that up…sadly it did not.  Out of every half marathon I’ve done, including RnR Virginia Beach, it was the worst for heat.

The race itself, wasn’t about me, though.  Even before the race start, I knew it would be a rough and challenging race.  My gut didn’t lie.  I finished in 1:27.01, which in the heat I’m happy with.

But my focus of the race that day wasn’t my own race.  It was to support, cheer and watch my husband, as he ran his first full marathon of 2:59.45.


Upwards and onwards.  We are currently in route back to New Jersey.  I don’t have any major races until Shamrock on March 18th.

Questions for you: 

What is the hottest weather you’ve ever run?

What is the hardest thing to pack?

I would say hangers, they are awkward and don’t fit anywhere.

 

Oregon Diner (Philadelphia)

Before leaving for Alabama, I found myself at the Oregon Diner in Philadelphia (How many states can reference in one line?).  I originally found it because there are huge signs for the Oregon Diner near the Walt Whitman Bridge.  Sometimes finding diners based on their signage can be a gamble but overall I enjoyed my trip to the Oregon Diner.

When we arrived, it was late.  Dinner around 8 pm is super late for me.  I wasn’t starving, but I knew if I didn’t eat I would wake around 2 am starving.

Atmosphere: A

The Oregon Diner is huge.  The outside has plenty of parking and could probably hold at least 200 people.

The inside has three rooms with plenty of booths and tables as well as a full bar.  Each room has its own personality.  We sat in a corner booth.

Service: A
Our waitress was hilarious and friendly.  It was clear she was a local favorite and had been working there for years. She was definitely in the top tier of waiters we’ve had.

Coffee: A
The Oregon Diner brewed hot and fresh local Lacas coffee.  The waitress also added more whipped cream than coffee.  It was the best combination.

Oregon Diner Philadelphia

Food: A

The menu at the Oregon Diner is one of the biggest of any diner I’ve been too.  There are over 200 menu items and 20 pages.  Since I wasn’t too hungry, I ordered the pickled beets salad with salmon.

Oregon Diner Philadelphia

The salad itself was a normal size, but the piece of salmon was huge.  I have not had a salad with salmon that is bigger than the salad itself.  It was one of the better salads I’ve had, and I was full afterward.  I have no complaints.

Cost: $
For the coffee and salad, the cost was $17.  For the amount of food, especially the amount of the salmon, it was a great deal. 

Overall Summary/Would I Come Back?

I enjoyed the Oregon Diner and had a great experience.  Plus it’s closeby so I will definitely be back.  There are a bunch of menu items I want to try.  If you are ever in the local area, I would recommend it (and invite me too).

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $10-20

Overall: A
Questions for you:
Do you like beets?

Double Bridge 15k (58:41)

Last weekend, my husband and I raced the Pensacola Double Bridges 15k.  We heard from various people that it was a fun, well put together race.  I hadn’t raced a 15k in a long time. They are more common in Upstate NY while 10 milers are more common in New Jersey.

Due to our schedule, we weren’t able to leave Montgomery until 5:30 pm.  We arrived in Pensacola around 9 pm, checked into our hotel and immediately went to bed.   I woke up around 4:30 am, got ready and headed to the shuttle by 5:30.  The only race I’ve also used a shuttle was the Phoenix Full marathon.  Since my hotel was essentially at the end of the race, the shuttle drove us the 15k backward.  Once we arrived, we realized how cold it was.  Originally the weather was supposed to be 55, but it turned to 38 and windy.

The hour before the race there was little to no shelter from the wind.  Even through my layers and jacket, I was both miserable and freezing.  If I had known about the start conditions, I probably would have driven to the start, sat in my car and taken a taxi back after the race to get my car.  It would have been a pain, but I wouldn’t have been cold.

The restroom lines were long, and I found myself in line 5 mins before the start.  I was lucky my husband dropped my bag off, and I sprinted into the corral less than 30 seconds before race start. It was nowhere near ideal, but I made it to the start.  Out of any race, this one cut it the closest.

Because my adrenaline was pumping from nearly missing the start, the first mile went by quickly.  I was running in a pack of people including my husband.  His plan was to take it “easy” the first half and then finish strong the second.  We hit the first mile in 6:17.

During the second mile, the pack began to spread out  I got my bearings of the area, and I found myself 5th woman overall.  I passed a couple of women and grabbed water.  I was hoping for Gatorade, but it was water only.  I crossed the second mile in 6:24.

Double Bridge 15k me running

We entered “3 Mile Bridge” which is exactly as the name indicates.  A three-mile long bridge.  You could see the first “hill” up ahead.  Since there are no tunnels, the bridge hill is what allows Navy ships to pass through, so it was pretty steep.  I crossed the third mile in 6:20.

I wasn’t feeling bad during the race, but I definitely didn’t feel amazing either.  To be honest, I had hoped I would feel amazing and have a magical race.  I didn’t feel awful, but I did not feel as though, I had cut miles and tapered.  My calves were extremely stiff.

Double Bridge 15k me running

My husband was still several feet in front of me.  As we climbed the bridge hill, I knew exactly what he would do. He was going to power up the crest of the hill and surge downhill and leave me.  He did just that, and I was proud because I knew he was going to have a great race.  I found myself alone with two women directly ahead. I ran mile 4 in 6:27 and passed the remaining two women.

The fifth mile was boring.  It was the last mile of 3-mile bridge, and I was running alone.  Just me, staring out over the water looking for manatees.  It was windy but not bad, and I ran it in 6:18.

As we entered onto land, my body began to feel worse.  I became and more stiff.  Typically in the 10-13.1 mile distance,  I end up feeling better towards the end.  I’m not a fast race starter, and I’m not a runner who “counts down” miles.  So when I didn’t feel great at mile 6, I knew immediately it was going to be a pain train finish.

Double Bridge 15k me running

We passed the 5k race start, and they were chanting “first lady”.  All I could think was WTF, how did this happen.  I thought there must have been a couple of women out of my line of sight.  I had looked at race results from the previous years, and female overall had sometimes won in 55.  Despite feeling stiff, I tried to focus on the finish.  I crossed mile 7 in 6:23.

The second bridge also brought a drastic banked turn which felt extremely uncomfortable.  I can run uphill, and I can run downhill but running up banked hill always seems to shred my legs.  It did in the Philadelphia half marathon, and it did during the Double Bridges 15k.  That mile hurt, a lot. I crossed mile 8 in 6:28 and thought: “just one mile to go.”

During the final mile, a police motorcyclist approached me and told me to show my bib so he could radio to the front.  My bib was directly on my top but because it was windy, it was hard to read the numbers.  I honestly didn’t have any energy at all, and the police officer weaving in and out because he could not see my bib was the last thing I wanted to entertain.  I just wanted to finish.  I knew the second place woman was quickly approaching.

Double Bridge 15k me running

She caught me around mile 9, and I tried desperately to hold on.  I didn’t feel great, and my legs were stiff.  I had led the race for the last 5 miles and wanted to hang on.  Unfortunately, even with powering my strongest, it didn’t happen.  She outkicked me in 9.2 out of a 9.3 race and broke the tape.  I finished the last .3 in a 5:50 pace. I won’t pretend as though I’m satisfied to be outkicked in the final strides of a race, but she was faster that day.  I gave that race everything I had!

Double Bridge 15k me running

Thoughts:

There were a lot of minor issues that happened during the race.  I’m happy with it and how I performed under the conditions but I was hoping for a faster time which I do believe I’m capable of.  I ran Broad Street at a 6:11 pace.

While the race went pretty well under the cold conditions, I don’t believe it yet shows where my fitness is.  My calves were stiff the entire race and didn’t feel as though they had their usual “pep”.  Luckily, the Double Bridge Run was just one of many races in my 2017 Goals.

Questions for you:

Have you run over a bridge before?

Have you been to Pensacola?