Visiting the Grand Canyon

After visiting Utah, my husband and I drove back towards Colorado. One thing we wanted to do was see the Grand Canyon. While it was a little bit out of our way, being so close it was hard to say no.   Where we stayed in Utah, it made the most sense to go to the North Rim.  I’ve always wanted to go the Grand Canyon, I mean who doesn’t?

The first and possibly most crucial stop we made, was when we saw the wild Buffalo.  I have always wanted to see them, and it was cool to see them in person.  No, I had no intentions of getting any closer than that, as who knows with wild creatures.

grand canyon north rim

After driving about 20 miles into the park, we came up to the lodging area and the actual canyon.  We had been warned the lodging was not open but that was fine by us because it was much quieter at the North Rim versus the South.  In fact, there were maybe about 20 people there.

grand canyon north rim

It was honestly breathtaking to just look out and see nothing but the canyon for miles.  It was also terrifying to look down and know you were over a mile high.

grand canyon north rim

The daredevil and clumsy person in me, said that was far enough.

grand canyon north rim

grand canyon north rim

grand canyon north rim

My husband was a little bit more adventurous.

grand canyon north rim

In total, we spent about 2 hours just walking around.  Like with Zion and the Grand Canyon, we wanted to see the Grand Canyon, but we also wanted to do other things too.  It is definitely somewhere we could (and eventually plan too) spend more time at.grand canyon north rim

After the Grand Canyon, we took to the road for the day and drove over to the Four Corners Monument.  It’s where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico all meet.  It’s definitely a bucket list item.

Like many monuments, you stand in line for a chance to take a photo there.  Or look at it, whatever you want to do.  I decided to lay there.  Keep in mind it is a $5 fee that goes towards the Navajo Nation, which isn’t included with Park passes.

Posts from Vacation:
Hiking: 
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder
Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon

Running: 
Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40)
Two Weeks of Training: Easy Miles Out West

Diners: 
Sams 3 Diner (Denver)
New Castle Diner (Colorado)
King Chefs Diner (Colorado Springs)

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon or Four Corners?
What is your favorite monument you’ve been too?

 

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Training: Taper and Philly Half

Last week was spent tapering and getting ready for the Philadelphia half marathon.  Most people know how that went from Instagram, but I’ll write a race recap later this week.

Monday: Easy 30 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 30 minutes
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 30 minutes
Saturday: Philadelphia Half (1:27.57)
Sunday: OFF

 

Training Runs:

During the week, runs felt harder than they should.  By Wednesday, I knew my body was not recovering as fast I hoped.

I mentioned two weeks that I got food poisoning but I didn’t go into much detail.  To be honest, I thought it would go away within 24 hours, but it hasn’t and can take up to 70 days to fully vacate the body.

14 days ago, I was violently puking and couldn’t leave the couch (minus to get looked at). While I’m allowed to run, longer runs might irritate my stomach.  So far, I’ve found longer, faster, runs (IE: the half) have not been pleasant.  Everything else has been ok, I just find myself more tired all of the time.  Luckily, I don’t have any more half marathons on the radar until 2018.

Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:27.57):

I have so much reflective stuff to say about this race.  I started the race running with my husband (who ran a 1:24.59), my good friend Erin, and runner Alana.  Around mile 4, I knew my stomach and my legs didn’t have it.  It’s hard to let people you know you “you should be able to hang with” go, but sometimes that is how it works.

Around mile 6, I felt as though I was going to puke, and started scanning for porta potties.  Then, I saw no less than 10 of my friends cheering, people who come into the store, and just people I knew. Somehow, I held off until between mile 9-10.  I dashed into a bathroom.  It’s one of two races I’ve stopped and the only race I’ve puked.  To be honest, I don’t think I lost that much time, maybe a minute at most.

I powered to the finish in 1:27.57.  Not my slowest or fastest half marathon but I’m proud to finish.  I know I’m in better shape, but you must race for how you feel that day.

I’m looking forward to doing shorter races until my body heals which haven’t irritated my stomach as much.

Posts of the week:
Exploring Bryce Canyon
Brooks Levitate Show Review
Blueberry Challenge XC 5k (20:01)
Haddonfield Road Race (19:59)

Questions for you:
Have you ever had food poisoning?
What does a taper week for you look like?

King Chefs Diner (Colorado Springs)

While driving through Colorado Springs, I knew there was one diner I wanted to go too: The King Chef Diner.  It had been on the Food Network before!

Atmosphere: A
It’s a small, purple, castle located on the main road.  If you aren’t familiar with it, you’ll wonder what you are driving by.  That being said, it’s one of the best atmospheres out there!

King Chef Diner Colorado Springs Outside

The inside sits 13, and everyone must sit at the bar.  You can watch the chef in the back or talk to the waitress.  Everyone speaks to everyone, and you immediately meet new friends.  It’s clear that it’s a local favorite.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh, with plenty of whipped cream.  I have no complaints.

Service: A
For the entire diner, there is one waitress and one cook.  Which makes sense because it’s so small!  Our waitress was extremely friendly, knew almost everyone, and our food came out quickly.

Food: A
The King Chef diner is open for breakfast and lunch (not dinner), and you can order anything at anytime.  The King Chef diner has unique options such as a burrito that appeared on the Food Network.  Since the burrito was on the Food Network, I knew immediately what I needed to order. If you are looking for something healthy, you probably won’t find it there.

The portions are huge. The burrito had a flour tortilla stuffed with: two scrambled eggs, sausage, grilled onions, hash browns & shredded cheese. I choose to top mine with their signature green chili!  It was spicy (which I like!).  It was one of the best burritos I have ever had.  I had watched the Food Network episode so I knew to come hungry.  My husband and I had also run earlier and I even I struggled to finish the burrito.

King Chef Diner Colorado Springs

Cost: $
For the coffee and burrito, the cost was $13.  Most people would get two meals out ofit.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:

I enjoyed the King Chef Diner, and I would go back anytime I’m in Colorado Springs.  It’s definitely a unique experience!

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Service: A
Cost: $6-12
Overall: A

Other Diners I went on the Trip:

Sams 3 (Denver)

New Castle Diner (New Castle, Co)

Questions for you:
What is the smallest restaurant you’ve been too?
Have you ever been to a restaurant on the Food Network?

Corner Post Diner (Brick)

Last week I went to the Corner Post Diner in Brick, NJ.  I have wanted to go to the Corner Post Diner for a while.  The menu at the Corner Post has a lot of fun and unique options including 150 omelets.

Atmosphere: A
The Corner Post Diner is literally a corner restaurant in an outdoor shopping mall.  It’s the corner…and the post.

Unknowing to me, I went during their “roaring 20s” theme month. The inside was completely decorated.  I’ve been to restaurant themed nights before, and the Corner Post Diner did it well.

Corner Post Diner Brick NJ

Coffee: B
The coffee was decent.  It was hot, but I could have used more.

Corner Post Diner Brick NJ

Service: C
Our waiter was friendly but didn’t come back for long periods.  We were left without drink refills for most of the time, and our food was a bit slower coming out.  The waiter was friendly though.

Food: A
The Corner Post Diner has everything a diner has.  It has a huge list of breakfast options (including 150 omelet choices), lunch, and dinner.  Since I was getting over food poisoning, I opted to get something a bit less exciting.

When they mentioned the soup of the day was split pea, I knew what I wanted.  I went with their soup and sandwich option.  The split pea was good and nice and hot (lukewarm soup is the worst).

Corner Post Diner Brick NJ

I ordered the half BLT which was good as well.  Everything was cooked well, and I had no complaints.

Corner Post Diner Brick NJ

On a side note, the Corner Post Diner menu was interesting.  It was a large wooden menu with jokes and LOL written in the posts.  How can I hate that?

Corner Post Diner Brick NJ

Cost: $
For my soup, sandwich, and coffee, the cost was $10, so I can’t complain about that.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the Corner Post Diner and had a positive experience there.  I could have used more drink refills, but other than that, it was a good experience.

Atmosphere: A
Service: C
Coffee: B
Food” A
Cost: $8-10

Closeby Diners I’ve Been:
See all Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to a restaurant themed night?
What is your favorite type of soup?

Exploring Bryce Canyon and Zion Park

It’s taken me a little longer to catch up on blog posts about our vacation.  Between assimilating back into real life NJ, being sick, and preparation for the Philadelphia marathon weekend, it’s been busy.

Anyway, one of the best days my husband and I had was at Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.

We knew we wanted to go to both but timing wise, it wasn’t going to work out to spend a lot of time at both. We decided to drive through Bryce Canyon and look out and then spend a little more time in Zion National Park.   They aren’t too far apart, so you are able to do both.

Personally, we could both spend a lot of time in either.  They are two gorgeous parks!  Hopefully, sometime in the future, we will be able to go back and explore.

Bryce Canyon: 

While visiting Bryce Canyon, we went out to Rainbow point and walked around.  There is a 10-mile hike you can do and look over the Hoodoo Ampethetiar.  If we had more time, we would have done it!

The park itself is easily driveable.  It’s about an 18-mile drive to the tip of Rainbow Point, and there are several spots and opportunities for photos.

Made it to Bryce Canyon for incredible views of the Hoodoos and Rainbow point.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

Zion National Park:

Like Bryce Canyon, we could spend days in Zion National Park.  Before arriving, we planned to do a longer hike but quickly realized timing would not allow us too.

We still wanted to get back to Colorado and spend a few days there too!  When we arrived at the park, it was crowded and it was hard to even find parking.  By the time we were able to park and get out of the car, it was nearly 1 pm.

We could have begun the hike but it was a lengthy one and I didn’t want to be hiking at dark.  You had to take a bus to a certain location, then start, then take the bus back.  It was just a lot and if you’ve ever seen me hiking hangry…well…my husband would have left me there. Hiking in Zion National Park

So we just decided to explore and climb up to our own rock.  We didn’t have an exact trail or route but it was more fun that way.  We pulled over at a random spot and just hiked.  Even with hundreds of people inside the park, we didn’t run into anyone.

Hiking in Zion National Park
Sitting in a rock seat

Hiking away from everyone was much better for us anyway.  If you ever go to Zion National Park, don’t be afraid to just stop and explore. Hiking in Zion National Park

You don’t need a trail or destination.  And yes, we actually made it up an entire rock.  You can see the main road in the background.

To be honest, both Bryce and Zion were two of my favorite spots.  Eventually, my husband and I plan to go back.  You could spend days, weeks, and even months just exploring.

road trip through colorado

Posts from Vacation:
Hiking: 
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder

Running: 
Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40)
Two Weeks of Training: Easy Miles Out West

Diners: 
Sams 3 Diner (Denver)
New Castle Diner (Colorado)

Questions for you:

Where is your favorite place to hike?

Have you ever been to Zion or Bryce Canyon? 

 

Brooks Levitate Shoe Review

Brooks spent a lot of time promoting the brand new shoe: The Brooks Levitate.  They built the social media hype, grabbed people’s attention, and drew people in.  It has been one of the most highly anticipated shoes of 2017.

Brooks Levitate Shoe review

We brought it into my work, and when we first got them, it didn’t wow me.  I tried it on, and it felt good, but not like the greatest shoe ever.  I knew I wanted to purchase a pair at some point but had to work through a couple of other pairs first.

Fit:

Typically I wear between a size 10-10.5 (wide) in running shoes.  I found the size 10 to fit the best, but I would love to see the Levitate come in wide.  Like the Brooks Launch, the regular width fits comfortably, but the wide would fit better.

The upper is seamless, which I’ve mentioned in several shoe reviews.  It allows for those with a wider foot to fit more comfortably, and less irritation all around.  Many running shoes are now designed to fit more like a slipper.  Brooks Levitate Shoe review

Ride:

When I first tried the Brooks Levivate on, I noticed how heavy it is compared to other models of Brooks shoes.  I was not expecting the firm sole or just the overall weight.  If you are usually Brooks fan, you will notice the difference of cushioning.  The Levitate is much firmer than both the Brooks Ghost and Brooks Glycerin.  It’s also much heavier than the Brooks Launch.  For women, it comes in at a dense 9.7 ounces.

Thinking out loud, A big draw to the Brooks Levitate is that it’s an 8 mm drop.  Most Brooks Running shoes are between 10-12 mm, and they haven’t had a good 8 mm shoe.  It’s similar to the Saucony Ride, albeit much heavier.

For me, it took about 5 runs for me to like the shoe.  I bought the shoe, so at $150 my wallet says: “I’ll like it”, but at first it wasn’t my favorite shoe.  A good shoe?  Yes, but I like both the Brooks Ghost and Glycerin better.  After about 5 runs, I grew to like it much more.  It is much more responsive, and I feel the ground more.  It cushions well.

In all, I do like the Brooks Levitate.  It’s not my favorite, nor least favorite shoe but it’s been a solid trainer so far.  I’ve run about 100 miles on the shoe, with my longest being about 10 and it’s held up well.

My Current Rotation:
Brooks Ghost 10 (easy runs, daily runs)
Saucony Freedom (easy runs, long runs)
Nike Zoom Fly (workouts) Review to come
Saucony Type A/Endorphin (Races)

Questions for you:
Have you tried a brand new shoe recently?
What is your favorite running shoe?

Blueberry Challenge XC 5k (20:01)

On Sunday, I ran the Blueberry Hill Challenge 5k.  Even though I had raced on Saturday, I opted to run.  For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to run this particular race. This year when I had the opportunity I took it.  After racing the day before, I knew it wouldn’t be fast and opted to use it as a fun workout.  The race benefited local Veterans, and as someone with many military ties, I wanted to run for a great cause.

I got to the race around 8 am, warmed up the entire course, and made it back to the start at 8:55.  I was glad I warmed up on the course, so I knew what the “challenge was.”  The course was a mixture of trail and pavement, a lot of hills, plus climbing up stairs around mile 2.5.  I heard it was tough but understanding something is tough versus experiencing it, is two entirely different things.

At 9 am, we were off.  The first mile is net downhill.   It’s a narrow, winding trail, and I felt like I was back running a cross-country race.  There were several people around, including another woman.  We hit the first mile in 6:12 and while it was faster than I anticipated.  I knew what goes down must go up and so I wasn’t looking forward to the next two miles of climbing back.

During the second mile, we were running uphill, as well as through a section of woods that was covered with leaves.  The covering made it challenging to see roots and possible things that could cause you to fall, or create injury.  I told myself: Just take it easy…no need to roll or sprain an ankle.  I was running by myself with a few people in front, so I just focused on the ground.  I hit the second mile in 6:35.

The goal of the third mile was to continue to stay strong.  I knew there were stairs to climb and the course was also still going uphill.  At that point, I was running next to a young kid wearing spikes.  I usually win for “most noisy runner” but every time we would hit the pavement for a second, you would hear the spikes click.  We got to the staircase, and I just floored it.  I figured I would be tired anyway.  My strategy for hills is run fast up because of you’ll be exhausted either way.  After the hill, I found myself as the fourth person overall which I was happy with.

The staircase causes the mile to feel a lot longer than it is.  I felt as though I should almost be done, but we still had over half a mile.  I began pushing a little too early, and by the time I knew it, it was only mile 2.75 and I felt exhausted.  I just pushed towards the end and crossed in 20:01.

Like the day before, the goal was 20 minutes, and it all evened out.  On a difficult cross country course, I am happy with that.  In all, I had a great time and would do the race each year it works out.  It’s by no means a fast course, but it’s a lot of fun.

Questions for you:

Have you run up stairs before?  What are your techniques?

Do you like trails or pavement better?