2017 Goals

Now that I’ve finally gotten settled in Alabama, I thought it’s a good time to write out my 2017 goals.  Thinking out loud, it’s better late then never to write down yearly goals

I recapped 2016 here and despite an injury, I PRed in almost every distance.  However, most of those PRs were in the first two months of the year so my PRs are almost a year old. 

So What are My Plans for 2017?

Right now, I don’t have any spring marathon plans.  After running a 20 miler last fall, I realized my body and mind were not ready for marathon training.  I have not completely ruled out a marathon again for the fall but I’ll revisit that topic in 6 months. To be realistic, my chances of running a marathon in 2017 are probably slim too.

My major goal race this year is: April Fools Half Marathon:

It’s not far from home and I enjoy the race.  (I ran it in 2014 and 2016…I would have run it in 2015 but I got married that weekend).  While it’s one of the smaller races I plan to run this year, I like the timing, the atmosphere and the race is well put together. I have nothing but positive things to say about the race which is why I chose it for my Spring Goal Race.

Last year at the April Fools Half in the 50 MPH wind
Last year at the April Fools Half in the 50 MPH wind

But If you follow this blog then you know I love racing.  One race per 6 months doesn’t cut it for me.  The rest of the races will be tuneups.  I will still run hard but I won’t taper for them.  Maybe by some miracle, I’ll PR but honestly probably not.  I like running races for the social aspect and because I enjoy racing versus doing workouts. I don’t run 10,000 races per year expecting to PR…I run 10,000 races a year (or about 40), for the sense of community, atmosphere and seeing friends. Plus, I can. It’s something both my husband and I enjoy doing.

Is running a bunch of races more expensive than doing a workout at home? 

Of course! For me, the experiences outweigh the cost and it’s something I’m willing to pay.  Running is a hobby and racing is something I enjoy.  I like the atmosphere, seeing other runners achieve their goals and being surrounded by people enjoying the same hobby.  We choose to spend money on things we enjoy.  My husband and I both enjoy running and that is one thing we spend money on.

Some races will be done on tired legs or with the intention to do a tempo. 

Some will be raced at “how I feel” on untapered legs. 

There will be more local races added to the schedule but for now this is what we’ve come up:

Tune Up Races:

2/4 Double Bridges 15k (Pensacola)

2/12 Mercedes Half Marathon (Birmingham)

The race falls two months after the Dallas half marathon and will be a good way to feel out how my legs are doing and responding to my coach and new work outs.  It will be a key race to determine the next phase of training for Atlantic City.

3/16 Shamrock Half Marathon (Virginia Beach): Most likely, I will not run as hard as possible but it’s one of my all time favorite races so every year I’m healthy…my runderwear toe the line.

4/1 Phillies 5k (Philadephia)

5/1 Broad Street 10 Miler (Philadelphia)

Of course I’ll hop into local 5ks to support schools and local causes.  I like running local 5ks and it’s about getting out there and being part of a community.  Many people I see at those races are people I’ve helped with shoes, athletes that have come into the store or causes that are important to me.

Those are the major races I have for the next few months.

Questions for you:

Which races are you doing this year?

What is one of your 2017 goals? 

adidas Supernova Shoe Review

The adidas Supernova is a brand new shoe from adidas.  It replaced the Adidas Glide.  I never ran in the Glide, but I have run in the Energy Boost which I liked.  Boost is the material that adidas chooses to construct their shoes out of.  It’s a much more “bouncy” shoe, and it reminds me a lot of Newtons (which for anyone who read my blog in 2010-2012, I almost exclusively ran in).

Fit:
Like with the energy boost and almost all of the adidas line, adidas fit narrow.  The shoe is seamless so if you have wider feet (like myself), then it will stretch to fix your foot.  However, it does run narrow.  In most models of shoes, I wear a 10 wide.  In the adidas Supernova, I wear a 10.  The 10.5 was too long, and the shoe does not exist in wide.  It fit pretty well, but if there were a wide, I would have gone that route.

adidas supernova shoe review

A huge plus is that the shoe is seamless.  You don’t have to worry about the shoe rubbing bunions, or if you have a high instep, it won’t rub there either.

Ride:
The boost material in adidas shoes makes them much more bouncy and responsive.  The heel is well cushioned where the forefront of the shoe has less boost and is more responsive.  With every step, I felt propelled off the ground as the boost material responded.

The Supernova Glide is a great option for those who want a lightweight but want to stay in the adidas line.  Especially for someone currently training in the Energy Boost and wanting a lighter shoe to race or do speed work in.

Another bonus about adidas is they use Continental tire rubber at the bottom of their shoes.  There is more traction than several other brands. It was my shoe of choice when running outside in any conditions with possible ice.

adidas supernova shoe review

Similar Shoes:

Brooks Launch, Asics Nimbus, ON Cloud Surfer, Saucony Ride

My Current Rotation:
Brooks Ghost 9 (easy runs, long runs)
Saucony Ride 9 (easy runs, long runs)
adidas Supernova
Saucony Type A (speed work)

I like the adidas Supernova a lot, I just wish it came in wide!

Questions for you:
Have you run in adidas before?
What is your favorite running shoe?

 

Birmingham MLK Drum Run 5k (18:40)

Last weekend I had the itch to race.  My husband and I discovered a 5k in Birmingham.  Since I just moved to Montgomery, I had no idea about the race community, area, terrain or anything else.  But a race is a race, right?

As long as there is a time, the course is fairly accurate, and there is just more than my husband and I running, I can’t complain.

We arrived in downtown Birmingham around 7 am and did a quick warm up.  I was coming off a tough training week and knew it wouldn’t be a PR.  My legs were stiff, but the plan was to give it what I had for the day.  My coach and I wanted a solid effort for where I was in training.

My husband and I made it to the start line where several high school marching bands were playing.  (It would sense with the race title “Drum Run”.)  The bands all sounded great and it was such a unique start.  I lined up and by the time I knew it we were off.

Birmingham mlk 5k
Photo from Just4Running.com

During the 200 meters, a lead pack quickly formed ahead which included two clearly fast elites,  my husband, another female, and a few others.  I found myself in the no mans chase pack of one.  It was evident the two elites were going to jog there way to a 16 something 5k which is what ultimately happened.  They looked effortless as they pulled away.

The first mile went over a few small rolling hills in the downtown and I crossed the first mile in 6:07.  Since my legs were heavy, plus the course wasn’t entirely flat, I was happy.

I could see the lead female in front.  I felt as though I was catching her. By the second mile, the lead pack was also strung out.  There were the two elites who were now out of sight, my husband and then a larger pack of 3 people including the woman.  I passed the larger pack around the halfway point.  The second mile had less hill but more turns. I ran the tangents well.  I crossed the second mile in 5:54 and felt better.  My legs were stiff, but I felt like they were loosening up.I was pleasantly surprised with a sub 6-minute mile.

I ran the final mile alone.  I could see my husband about a minute ahead and LOLed at the idea of catching him.  There were a few small rolling hills throughout the downtown.  Even when he isn’t training for 5ks (like now), he can still gut out a faster 5k.   I counted down the last mile… by every quarter of a mile.  I wasn’t fading, but I was ready to be done.  I crossed the third mile in 5:58 and gutted down to the finish line.

Birmingham mlk 5k

The final portion of the race was downhill, and I just powered to the end.  With the downhill, my final kick was 5:16.  If only all races had a nice downhill finish. Even though I cut the tangents well, the course was a little long, and I finished in 18:40.  I was fourth overall and the first woman.

Birmingham mlk 5k

Thoughts:

I am pleased with how the race went.  When you race often, you can’t expect a PR and each race has a goal.  My goal for the MLK 5k was to get a quick workout on my legs and to explore a new city.  Both of which I did.

Questions for you:

What how was your weekend?

Have you ever raced on tired legs?

Training: 10 Degrees and 70 Degrees

Another week of training down and what an interesting weather week it was!  Sunday started off with a run in 10 degrees, and by the end of the week, it was 70. The south is obviously a bit warmer, but it’s been unseasonably warm here all week.  Most of my runs were done in 60 degrees, and by mid-afternoon, it was up to 70+.  It was definitely a shock from last weeks 10 degrees.

Sunday: Easy 7 miles (untimed)
Monday: Workout: 6X800s
Tuesday: Easy 7 miles (8:27) 15 minutes core
Wednesday: Midweek Long Run (11.2 @ 8:27)  

 

Thursday: AM: 8 miles (8:35)
PM: 4 miles (8:42)
Friday: Easy 8 miles (8:40)
Saturday: MLK 5k (18:40)


Thoughts:

After getting to Alabama on Sunday and acclimating, my legs were stiff.  Being cooped up in a car for 3 days is never pleasant, and my legs were tight for most of the week.

Workout: 6X800s (average 3:05)

The goal was to run much faster than 3:05, however, the track is actually located near a runway.  (I can’t make this stuff up!)

To give you an idea of the wind from the planes, when the planes were taking off my 800 was 3:20 (6:40 pace) and I was working hard!  Luckily, they weren’t taking off for all of the workout, and I could get a few quality 800s in as well as well as some “wind resistance training”.  It’s impossible to know the plane schedule and takeoff/landing times, so there is no point in trying to find the “best time” to workout.  If the planes hinder me too much, I’ll go elsewhere, but that is the price of living on base.

Even though some of the 800s were significantly slower than anticipated, I’m not upset.  My legs were stiff, and you have to factor in the wind (or whatever element you’re dealing with).

Easy Runs:

The rest of my runs were done in the morning with my husband.  I’ve been running around 5:30 am in the dark.  I haven’t adjusted well to central time, and I’m waking up at 4:30 am.  It’s nice to have someone to run with though!

MLK 5k: (18:40)

On Saturday, my husband and I ran the Birmingham MLK Drum Run.  Even though the course was a little long, it was well put together.  The goal of the race was to get a good workout in after a tough week of training.  I knew my body was tired and it wasn’t a PR race.

When I toed the line, my legs were stiff.  My splits were 6:07, 5:54 and 5:57.  I gave it everything I had for the day which ended up being 18:40, on a slightly long course and I am happy with the result.  I wasn’t expecting a PR, but I do know when I’m tapered I’m capable of it.

In summary, I’m happy with the week of training.  It was a quality week, and I don’t have any complaints.

Running Related Post from the week: Tips for Running through Winter

Questions for you:

How was your week of training?

Are you off work today? 

Route 248 “Diner” (Easton, PA)

A while ago, I visited the Route 248 diner in Easton, PA.  Right before I moved to Alabama, I went to several out of state diners (like yesterday’s review at the Gateway Diner).  While my primary goal is to go every NJ diner, PA diners are often closer to me.  Plus I drive through PA frequently.

I arrived at the 248 Diner around 4 pm on a Saturday, and they were packed.  A packed diner is always a good sign that people like it.  The waitress informed me they had several large parties.

Atmosphere: B
The Route 248 Diner is clean, and it’s a nice atmosphere, but it reminds me more of a steakhouse, not a diner.  In fact, with the exception of the name, nothing even screams diner. There are plenty of big screen TVs, tables and a lounge with a bar.

Coffee: B
The coffee was fresh, but there was nothing unusual or unique.  It was boring and I forgot to take a photo.

Service: B
It was clear the bigger tables took precedence and everything about the service was slow. The waitress was very friendly but barely came to the table. When I went to pay at the front, there was a line of 8 people!  It actually took me about 15 minutes to stand in line and pay.

Food: B
The food at the Route 248 Diner is catered more towards a steakhouse as well.  They had several new dishes and I opted for their brand new salmon avocado salad.  It had avocado, bleu cheese, pico de gallo, feta and onions.

It was a good combination, and it was delicious.  There were plenty of greens, and the lettuce wasn’t white as many lettuce based salads are. Route 248 Diner

The salad, thankfully, came with dinner rolls with cinnamon butter. Personally, I prefer bread with my salads.  The cinnamon butter was unique and I liked it.Route 248 Diner

Cost: $
For my coffee and salad, the cost was $20.  I’ve had more and less expensive dishes so I can’t complain.

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Service: B
Food: B
Cost: $12-20
Overall: B

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back?
The Route 248 Diner wasn’t bad, but it isn’t a diner.  In fact, I honestly don’t know that it had any qualities that make it a diner.  That being said, it’s a good restaurant and the food is good.

Other Recent PA Diners:

Trivet Diner (Allentown)

Jumbars (Bethlehem)

Questions for you:
Do you generally like restaurant dinner rolls?
Is butter a carb?

The Gateway Diner (Albany, NY)

A few weeks ago, I was driving through Albany, New York.  While driving through, we were hungry so a quick google search led us to the Gateway Diner.

Atmosphere: B
The outside of the Gateway Diner has lots of lights.  It resembles a space ship or disco club.

The inside looks like it could be updated and it honestly seems like it’s right out of the 90s. It wasn’t bad; it just needed an update.  It’s an unusual combination from the outside to the inside.  Disco club outside and very 1990s inside.

Coffee: C 
The coffee was luke warm at best.  The whipped cream stayed intact on top of the beverage and didn’t melt.  I like hot coffee.  One of the biggest ways for me to dislike coffee is if it’s not hot.  Coffee is made to be either hot or cold.The Gateway Diner

Service: C 
The hostess took our drink orders and then forgot to bring them back.  After asking the waitress for coffee twice, she brought the coffee out.  Most of the staff was very nice, just forgetful.  We also went extended periods without seeing anyone, which was surprising because there weren’t many parties in the diner. Throughout our entire meal, there was never more than three parties in the Gateway Diner.

Food: B
The Gateway Diner has several options but surprisingly, not a lot of breakfast options.  I decided to order the sirloin off the specials menu.  It was a thin steak that came with three sides.  I chose a soup, french fries, and beets.

I ordered the cream of corn chowder.  I’m not sure if I have ever had cream of corn chowder before then.  There was plenty of corn plus it was hot.  I wish my coffee had been that hot.The Gateway Diner

The steak was tough, but the broth made it good.  I hate to say the steak relied on the broth but I think without it, I would be dousing my meal with ketchup.  The beets were great.  I enjoyed the French fries as well.  They were crispy and not overly greasy.The Gateway Diner

Gateway Diner

Overall my meal was pretty typical of a diner.  It wasn’t a fancy 5-star restaurant but it was a good meal.

Price: $
For my entree and coffee, the cost was $15 which was a great deal for the amount of food I received.  It wasn’t the freshest, but there was a lot of food.

Summary/Would I come back? 
I liked the Gateway Diner, and it was a good meal.  The service was slow as well as lukewarm coffee but it was inexpensive, and there was plenty of food.  If I’m in the area again, I will go back.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: C
Service: C
Food: B
Cost: $10-15
Overall: B
Questions for you:
Do you like beets? 
What temperature do you like your coffee?

Tips for Running through the Winter

I originally began writing this post when I thought I would be living through a New Jersey winter.  Now I’m sitting here in Alabama, and it’s close to 70 degrees outside in January.  As long time readers know I’ve been through many different temperatures during winter.

I went to college and worked in Upstate NY where there is often 2 feet of snow, but nothing closes.  It ranged from -30 to 30. 

Digging my car out was fun
Digging my car out was fun

I’ve lived in Virginia and New Jersey where a few inches generally shuts down everything. 

And now I live in Alabama where today the high is 70 degrees (but last week it was 25).  So my 2017 winter will be a combination of a couple of states from New Jersey to Alabama. 

With anything, it’s important to run and train smartly.  If you ever feel unsafe, run inside or rest.  There is never shame in that.  (In college, I slipped and fell on ice.  It resulted in a fractured humorous, and I wasn’t even running outside…I was just walking!)

Another fun fact about winter training is that all of my PRs now are currently from winter races.

February 2015 Phoenix Marathon: 3:14,59

January 2016: Carlsbad Half Marathon 1:22.57

February 2016: Flower Show 5k (18:13) 

So thinking out loud, I’ve created a few tips to running through the winter.   

First and most importantly: Don’t be afraid to adjust your workout:

A few years ago, I was visiting friends in Rochester the weekend of my last long run. Rochester ended up getting a massive blizzard and running outside was unimaginable.  (You know it’s a problem when things in Rochester close!).

I ran my last 20 mile run on the treadmill (see why I don’t hate the treadmill).  It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t desirable either.  Running outside would have been unsafe and hazardous.  If I hadn’t felt good on the treadmill, I probably would have skipped the run altogether.  Luckily, I felt fine.

Prevent Sliding with Yak Trax:

You will be amazed at what a difference Yac Trax make while running outdoors.  You’ll be able to grip the ground and ice much easier and stay safe.  I cannot stress how awesome they are (no they aren’t paying me to tell you).

Don’t Forget: Main Roads are Plowed First: 

The main roads are going to be plowed before local roads and sidewalks.  Who knows, your sidewalk may never be plowed.  Being smart with how and where you run is important.  Always run on the opposite side of traffic and don’t run down the middle of the road.

snow storm after

Some local are often cleared quickly too: 

My high school was located in a neighborhood, and the roads to and from the school were cleared quickly.  During winter storms I could often run a 1-2 mile loop around my high school.  Boring?  Yes, but if you like outdoors then that was your best bet.

Wind Protection:

Even when the temperatures are brutal outside, the wind factor can play a bigger role. Layering appropriately is important.  It’s not just about “wearing as many layers as possible”. Runners World has a great “what to wear” calculator here.

I recently learned that Vaseline can be an excellent protection against the cold and wind. It’s waterproof and helps block the wind too.  I don’t know how I didn’t know that!

Rain Protection:

You can prepare for the snow but don’t forget about the rain. In my opinion, winter rain is one of the toughest elements to run through.  It’s important to appropriately layer.  My personal favorite jacket is from Gore-Tex.  I’ve run through 30-degree torrential downpours, and my long sleeve underneath has stayed completely dry.  While it is pricey, it’s worth the cost if you are running outdoors in the winter.

broad street 10 miler 1

With that, winter running can be an enjoyable experience.  Training through the winter can set you up for Spring PRs.

Relevant Posts: 

How to Race in Inclement Weather 

Why I don’t hate the Treadmill

Questions for you:

What are some tips you have to train through the winter?

How cold is it where you are?