Hiking the Stairway to Heaven

During the summer, my husband and I enjoy hiking in Northern, NJ.  The fall is also nice, but we tend to go more in the summer.  We have more free time as well.

Last week, we decided to head to the “Staircase to Heaven” on the Appalachian Trail.  We’ve hiked several portions including in New York at Bear Mountain.  The Staircase to Heaven is supposed to have one of the best views in all of the state.  Spoiler: It did not disappoint!

stairway to heaven nj

There are several portions of the trail you can park to get to the top. There is about a 2-mile hike/walk, followed by a steep 1.5 mile hike. It’s a longer hike, but it’s scenic.  The closer spot is close to the mountain, where you you have about a 1.5 mile steep and rocky hike to get to the top.  Since we were later and assumed the closer lot was filled, we parked further away and hiked 3.5 miles to the top.

stairway to heaven nj

After an extremely rocky hike, we made it to the top, and the view was fantastic.  So far, it’s definitely one of my favorite views in New Jersey.

stairway to heaven nj

After making it to the top, we decided to explore the Appalachian trail a little further and found a water fall.

staircase to heaven njIt was perfect because the weather was so hot, so it was nice to take a refreshing dip in the stream.  Thank goodness running clothes are basically like bathing suits and dry quickly.  Ha!

staircase to heaven nj

Afer that we took the hike back to our car.  It seemed to go much quicker this time, thankfully.

Other Hiking Posts:

Getting Lost at Bear Mountain and Revisiting (not getting lost)

Seeing a Bear While Hiking

Hiking the Hollywood Sign (LA)

We are hoping to get another hike in before the end of the summer so we will see.  Tristate locals: do you have any recommendations of hikes? 

Questions for you:

Do you like hiking?  Where is your favorite?

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Workout Log and Rambles

Another week of boring running in the books…

That’s one-way to start a post right?  If you live on the East Coast, you know last week was extremely hot and humid.  I would love to tell you I missed seriously training in the weather, but I didn’t.  Training in the 90s doesn’t appeal to me.

On a life standpoint, I do feel like the heat really takes it out of me. During the last few years, I used to be fine in the heat, but this summer I’m exhausted almost every single day I come home!  I’m thinking about joining the local neighborhood swim club for the month of August, just so I can soak up some Vitamin D while being lazy in the evening.  (That should go in a training log right?)

To be honest, each week I contemplate not writing a training or workout log.  I’m not exciting, I’m basically running easy, and nothing is ever eventful.  Heck, I’m not even cross training much right now.  I feel like maybe I should even give up for a while on the runner and healthy living and blogger track.  It doesn’t help that many runners only post training on Instagram anyway now.

But here I am, still blogging.  Which is probably where I will stay. I’m still busy with work, volunteering, and life.   This post probably takes about 30 minutes at the most so somehow I keep writing it. Plus it’s not like I’m running while eating breakfast…

Enough of my rambles:

Monday: 30 minutes running
Tuesday: 1-hour AlterG (75% body weight)
Wednesday: 30 minutes easy
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 30 minutes easy
Saturday: 1 hour AlterG (75% body weight)
Sunday: 30 minutes easy

I could tell you that cross training is important and doing strength good will keep you injury free, blah blah blah.  I know these things, but right now I’m not prioritizing any of it.  As I mentioned on Thursday, I’m trying to do something active most days.

Don’t get me wrong, I am loving life, but running is just not a priority right now.  

Posts from the Week: 
More Hiking and Running
Flying around NYC
Brooks Ghost 10 Shoe Review
Staying Fit while Not Training

Questions for you:
Why do you blog?  I ask myself this often.  In the last 6 years, I think there are still maybe 2 bloggers I follow that still blog.  It’s not my full time, and I’m not even that exciting.
How was your week of training?

Clinton Station Diner

Recently I went to the Clinton Station Diner in Clinton.  The Clinton Station Diner was actually on the Food Network a few years ago.  They also have a hamburger challenge that you and several friends can eat 50-100 pounds of hamburger and win a few thousand dollars.

Clinton Station Diner burgers

Because it was on TV and I’ve heard the Clinton Station Diner is good, it’s been on my bucket list for awhile.  It’s only about an hour from my house but the timing never works out.  When I finally went a few weeks ago, I was glad I did.

Atmosphere: A
You can see the Clinton Station Diner from the highway.  It is a remodeled train station which is definitely unique.

The diner itself has two sections: the main dining area as well as an old train car.  We sat in the main dining area which was well kept and clean.  The trolley car area can be seen from the highway.  I hope we get to sit there next time!

Service: A
The server at the Clinton Station Diner was friendly and refilled our beverages often. The food also came out quickly.  In all, the service was great and I have no complaints.

Coffee: B
My coffee was brewed hot each time and the whipped cream was fine.  There was nothing unique about it but it was good.

Clinton Station Diner

Food: A
Since the Clinton Station Diner has been on the Food Network for their burgers, I wanted to order one.  Although they have plenty of different options from breakfast to dinner, I opted for a burger.  I finally decided on the German burger which came with sauerkraut cheese as well as a homemade sauce.  I also ordered a side of their famous beets.

The burger was definitely one of the better burgers I’ve had.  To be fair, I went through a period of my life (maybe 15 years?), that I wasn’t a fan of the consistency and texture of burgers.  In the last few months, I’ve had a change of tune.Clinton Station Diner

The Clinton Station Diner also prides themselves on their homemade beets and I must admit, they were ideal.  It was clear they were fresh and well seasoned.  They are my favorite restaurant beets to date.

Clinton Station Diner
Not my best photo but still great.

Dessert: C
We got a milkshake to split and I was surprised that the milkshake didn’t come with whipped cream or cherry.  It tasted fine but it definitely wasn’t anything unique or special.  Even the presentation wasn’t great!  It wasn’t to the same standards of the rest of the meal.   It wasn’t a bad milkshake, just extremely boring.Clinton Station Diner

Cost: $
For my coffee, milkshake, beets, and the burger the cost was $23.  I was actually pleasantly surprised with how cheap it was!

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the Clinton Station Diner a lot and I’ll be back.  Next time, I’ll probably get a different dessert.  (Mom, I think you would really like this one 😉

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Dessert: C
Cost: $8-15
Overall: B
 

Diners Closeby I’ve been:
Flemington-Raritan
Spinning Wheel
Readington Diner

 Questions for you:
Do you like beets?
Are there any restaurants on your to do list?

Staying Fit While not Training

Recently, I’ve been running about 20-30 miles a week.  I’m not training for anything and depending on my schedule, many of my miles are indoors.  This week when I have the most time, of course, it’s been over 90 degrees most days. That is fine, I’m not a pace oriented person and the only time I’ve charged my Garmin in the last few months was for hiking.

Thinking out loud, I’ve been running for just about 6 years now.  Usually, you can find me training for something, racing a few times a month, or injured. Right now, I’m doing none of those things. I rarely just take “me” time, and I never burned out until April.

Most weeks, though, I’m just busy.  As a blogger, it can be tough to find: “stuff to talk about” when you are working for most of the time.

As I mentioned, I’ve just been busy.  This summer has been extremely enjoyable and not much of that has to do with running.  Recently, I went flying around NYC with my husband but we’ve done a lot of fun and unique stuff.

What I have been trying to do is get about 30 minutes of exercise in most days of the week.  Whether that is running, going to a class, or just taking a walk with my husband, I want to get some sort of fitness in!

As athletes we often feel as though we have to be “hardcore training” or doing absolutely nothing and resting.  I’m all for rest days, and I believe resting in general is undervalued but it doesn’t have to be the all or noting concept.

Usually 30 minutes of activity is better than none.  Of course, there are exceptions (if you are tired, sick, injured, etc.) but it’s all about balance.

Here are just a few things I’ve been trying to incorporate into my week:

  • Planning Ahead: Right now, I don’t always know what will pop up in my day or even week. I can plan ahead and know at least on weekends, I can get a longer run or activity in.
  • Staying Flexible: As I mentioned, I don’t always know whether I’ll be able to have time to run until halfway through the day. I try to keep clean exercise gear in my car.  If it means running inside, running on the AlterG treadmill, or running when it’s hot, that is fine.  It’s also fine when there just isn’t enough time in the day.  I try not to make that a habit but I don’t get bent out of shape when there isn’t time to workout.
  • Catch up on TV and Run Indoors: Yes, I have a few guilty TV pleasures (including America’s Got Talent). If I can get everything done throughout the day, I dedicate the time to watching TV and running.  The run goes by quickly, and I actually get to run.
  • Focus on Eating Better: Since I’m not running as much, eating better is a priority. When I do eat better, I feel as though I have more energy and can accomplish more too.  Like fitness, it’s not all or nothing but I have been focus and prioritize on eating better.  I’m not strict or counting calories but I try and grab an apple versus a bag of cookies.  I’ll save the desserts for the diner.

Running and fitness doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  You can stay active without training for anything.  Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to being a little less busy and picking out a goal race, but that time isn’t now.

Other Related Posts: 
Quick Core Ideas for Runners
NonRunning Workout Ideas

Questions for you:
How do you stay active with a busy schedule?
Are you training for anything now?

Brooks Ghost 10 Shoe Review

In the Spring, I ran in the Brooks Ghost 9, and it was one of my favorite shoes of 2017.  I ended up running the entire 300-400 miles, and it was replaced in my rotation with other models including the Glycerin 14 and Launch 4.

To be honest, the Brooks Ghost 10 was one of my most anticipated updated shoes!  Brooks is not paying to me review their shoes.

Working in the running store, I can tell you the Brooks Ghost is one of the most consistent shoes on the market. If you like the 1…you’ll probably like the 2 and the 5 and the 10. I like the Ghost 9, and I also like the Ghost 10.

Most of the update from the 9 to 10 is in the midsole.  The Ghost 10 introduces a new two-piece midsole design.  It makes it more fluid for running and able to accommodate many different foot strikes evenly (IE: whether you run heel to toe, on your toes on somewhere in the middle).

The updated Ghost 10 also has less seems with minimal stitching and overlays. For someone with wider feet, like myself, nothing rubs.  If you have bunions or a wider forefront, you’ll probably appreciate this as well.

Fit:

The Ghost has a narrow heel and wide toe box which is the ideal shape for many people’s feet.  It hugs the arches appropriately and for the most part, fits true to size.  It’s been hard finding shoes that do fit true to size recently, plus everyone’s foot shape is slightly different (including your left and right foot).

Finding a shoe that accommodates both feet can be a challenge.  The Ghost has plenty of space.  I wore a regular size 10 in the Ghost 9 and wear a regular size 10 in the Ghost 10.

Ride:

With the included new two piece and fluid midsole, the shoe is much more responsive to where you need the cushion.  For many people, they benefit from a much softer heel.  For myself, I benefit from a much softer and well-cushioned forefront.

How can the shoe be so adaptive to so many foot types? Brooks uses a unique Cushion Material called “BioMoGo DNA foam.”  It’s essential, like memory foam.  It molds to your feet and cushions you where you need it. Out of any brand, the cushioning is the most adaptable to your stride.   It’s soft, light weight and well cushioned.

It’s soft, light weight and well cushioned.  I’ve run speed workouts but also long runs in the Ghost.  Ideally, I like to do my easy runs and long runs in the shoe though.  Since I’m not running a lot, I do the majority of it in the Brooks Ghost 10 right now.

In summary, I like the Brooks Ghost and think it’s a great shoe.  The updates from the Ghost 9 to the Ghost 10 have only enhanced the fit.

Current Rotation:
Brooks Ghost 10 (any run)
Brooks Glycerin 15 (Review to come! any run)
Hoka Bondi 5

Other Shoe Related Posts:
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:
Five Secrets about Buying Running Shoes
How to Find the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes
How to Get the Most Shopping at a Running Specialty Store

Question for you:

What is your favorite running shoe?  Has it changed through the years? 

 

Flying through the Hudson Exclusion and NYC

As many readers know, my husband is a pilot.  While I haven’t mentioned it much recently, we go on shorter, private, flights together.  No, we don’t own an airplane but since my husband has his General Aviation license, we are able to rent certain aircraft as well.

So with that, last weekend we decided to go flying!

The pilot himself

And of course, it would not be complete without an awkward Instagram stories selfie.me selfie private flying

My husband and I have flown several times together.  He flies, I take photos and hope I don’t puke (which yes, has happened).  Sometimes, we just fly down to on our favorite restaurants: Georges Place in Cape May.  Other times, we fly to North Jersey like Pompton Plains. Last weekend, we decided to do a flight from Berlin, NJ to Oxford, CT.  It was our longest private flight together.

South jersey
Southern New Jersey

While planning the trip, we ran into a few Snafus.  President Trump was in Northern NJ which puts flight restrictions into the air.  There are certain places you can’t fly as well as other places you must fly at a certain altitude.  Depending on who is in town, it can shut down a lot of private flying.  Since Trump frequently visits Bedminster, NJ it has shut down a lot of weekend flights.

If you break any of the rules that are put in place, your plane can be escorted out by an F-16 or shot down. Last weekend, most of Western NJ was shut down but we were able to find a cut through to CT by way of the Hudson.  There were plenty of military aircraft patrolling NYC.

As we flew up, it was neat to be able to fly over Mcguire AFB and see all of the planes lined up. While they look tiny, I can assure you they are not.

mcguire AFB

Comparison: standing in front of a single engine of one of those planes last year.

Standing next to one of the engines

After that, we headed right up to Northern, NY and to NYC.  I didn’t expect how close we would be able to get to the buildings.  It was incredible and truly breath taking.new york city private flying

It eventually led to a selfie next to the new World Trade Center Building.

new york city by flight new york city by flight

private flying nyc me selfie

After that, we headed up to Oxford, CT.  We chose the airport because we knew there was a nice restaurant there and we could grab a bite to eat and fly back!

The trip back was just as beautiful.  The sun was slowly setting, so we were able to see a gorgeous sunset along the Hudson.

reentering the hudson
reentering the Hudson
ellis island and the statue of liberty
Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
statue of liberty
Lady Liberty Herself

Jersey City Area:

Sandy Hook and Jersey Shore 

sunset new jersey flight

The total flying time was about 3 hours and it went perfectly.  We had a great time flying and saw a lot of great views.

Other Flying Related Posts:
Flying to Cape May
Flying to Pompton Plains

Questions for you:
Have you ever flown in a small aircraft?
Have you been to NYC?  

Workouts: More Hiking and Running

This week was similar to last week. I’ve been running when I can, but not forcing anything.  In case you missed it, last month I mentioned I was going to be busy through most of July and August.  Since I wasn’t training for anything, it didn’t make sense to force myself to cram longer runs, workouts, and training into my day.

Running is a great sport, and one of my favorite hobbies but it’s not worth adding an extra layer of stress into my life right now by training for something too.

Fitness is important to me, so I do try and give myself 30 minutes for most days to get some sort of exercise in.

Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: AlterG 60 minutes
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: 4 miles
Sunday: Hike Stairway to Heaven

On Saturday, I felt as though I was on top of the world.  My run felt amazing, and I almost felt like my old (running) self.  It’s been nearly 3 months since I’ve trained for anything (Cue: where the did the time go, comment).  I burned out for  6 weeks, and then when I started to run more, I needed to put running on the backburner when I prioritized other things.

Most of the outdoor runs were boring.  I enjoy running on the AlterG.  Since it’s been so hot, I feel as though I can run at any time without worrying about the weather.  Its hot inside, but without humidity.

The hike to the “Stairway to Heaven” was stunning and I’m glad my husband and I were able to experience it.  I’ll recap the entire weekend soon, but to say it was one of my favorite weekends is an understatement.

I’m hoping in the fall things will settle down and I’ll be able to run more in the coming weeks. As far as life goes, the next few weeks will be able to tell me how much time I’ll be able to dedicate to training.

Posts from the Week:

27 Facts about Me

Staying Prepared on Long Days

 Questions for you:

What was your best workout last week?

Do you like hiking?