NJ Half Marathon (1:27)

I knew that the Long Branch half marathon in New Jersey was not going to be a personal best.  I had traveled across the country last week, I was not on any time zone and honestly didn’t feel the greatest throughout the week of training.  (Not to mention I had lived off of diner red velvet cake for the last week…).  I’ve always found I learn more from “bad” races then good ones.  They humble me and this one certainly did.

Anyways the Long Branch half started at 6:45 am.  That is a really early start for a late April half marathon.  We left my house around 5 am and got to the race around 6 am.  With about 45 minutes to go, I lined up at the porta potty and got to the start.  I actually didn’t have any issues with that.  Though there was a lot of traffic, I still made it in time with a few minutes to spare.

Which gave me time to chat with Adam and Layla of course.


They first called the hand cyclist off and then the first corral.  They gave no warning for the first coral and no one was really ready…it was just go…I counted at least 5 people (including myself) who hadn’t synched their garmins.

I synched mine about .1 into the course.  Sometimes when I start a race the feeling of pain and not feeling good goes away.  Unfortantely that was not the case here and I started the race and quickly realized it was not going to be a good race for me.

That being said I ran the first mile in 6:10 which was too aggressive.  It was a blur and I watched as a few girls took the lead in front.  It stinks when you know your best time could compete with that but it was not my day and that’s how it goes.  The clock read above a 7 minute mile when I passed so I knew something didn’t line up.  I felt like I was in the twilight zone the first mile, tired and not ready to go.

During mile 2 I debated if I should keep trying to push a pace I didn’t have.  I had come to terms with it wasn’t going to be my race.  I started to slow down to something more comfortable.  My body was already screaming at me and if I proceeded to run a 6:10 mile, I knew I would bonk and bonk hard.  The second mile I ran in 6:16 and began to slow down.

The third and fourth mile went by rather quickly respectfully.  Honestly, I felt awful and I just wanted to keep running because it meant the race would be over sooner.  A young girl yelled “I didn’t know there were girl runners too” and I yelled back…YEAH GIRL RUNNERS…She was adorable.  Also during the point some guy told me not to talk because it burns calories…but I didn’t listen to the advice (6:31, 6:41).

Around mile 5 I decided that a 1:27 half marathon would be a rather reasonable goal.  I took some water at mile 5 and told myself 8 more miles and realistically about an hour left to go.

Mile 6, I saw the relay shoot and it made the mile go by faster.  That’s all I really remember.

Mile 7 and 8 were also a blur.  When you feel like dirt you tend to find every excuse to make the miles go by faster.  Since I was alone for a good portion of the later miles, I did just that.  I stared off into space…I zoned out…I did just about anything to pass the time (While running of course).  I counted down every second to get closer to the finish.

Mile 9 was reassuring because someone shouted “you are almost there”.  Four miles in a half marathon (in my opinion) is not really almost there but we entered the city area.  I came to realize the city was a little bit run down and that kept me amused (6:50).  I think I gave myself every possible excuse to try and stay focused in the race.

When I began seeing 6:5X miles it was a little bit upsetting but I kept reminding myself it wasn’t my day.  Mile 10 I ran in 6:59.  I know for a fact if I had raced above a 7 minute mile half, I would have been pretty upset.  I know it’s silly but I would have.  I also know if I continued to run below 6:30 pace in the beginning my later miles would have been above 7 minutes.

I saw Danielle and Laura on the side somewhere in there too.  I promptly told them I felt awful.  The last mile was on the boardwalk.  The wind wasn’t bad at all when I crossed through.  It was a little cross breeze but nothing too miserable.   I chatted with a guy towards the end.  Finally someone who was as chatty as me!  Sadly, we only had a half mile to go at this point.

Nj half race
Finishing the race

I crossed the finish line and immediately went down the chute.  One thing I did really like about this race is that they gave you a solid 100 feet to stop.  They didn’t have medals right as your crossed the finish line and people breathing down your neck.  You had .05 to walk down to them.

Final thoughts: 

I’m not upset with this race.  I’ve had a seriesof very good races the last few months and I cannot be upset with a 1:27 half marathon.  I know I’m capable of much more but I know the stars did not align for me.  This is 4 minutes above my best time so while it’s a solid race, it’s not a great race.  I made the best of my personal conditions and kept going.  I am keeping my chin up towards the Broad Street 10 miler though.

Questions for you:

What did you learn from your last “bad” race?

Would you rather run consistently slower or run very hard and then bonk?

I had a college race that I remember bonking hard  at a 6k and I hope to never repeat that.  (Realistically I probably will but I hope not).

No Training Week 3

I’m halfway through my lower mileage of resting and recovering period.  What does that mean?

I’ve scrapped a lot of easy miles and am just doing important miles.  IE: I’m running less easy and even less junk miles.  I won’t lie that mentally I wonder if I’m ready for a marathon…but then I realized “derp the marathon is in October and it’s April”, nothing I do really matters right now…except staying injury free.  The marathon is in 23 weeks and I plan to start beginning to train at 20 weeks out.

A question I get rather frequently is if I struggle with trusting myself, trusting my training and believing in myself.  I have always been “labeled” as a very care free runner.  I am very care free and I’m not afraid to take multiple rest days.  That has all come from injuries and realizing I would rather take a day off versus 2 months.

That being said I do struggle.  I do often question myself.  The days I take a rest day, I wonder if I really need one.  I think part of running is truly believing in yourself.  Another piece is still realizing that each race and run is not going to make or break you.

I say this as I’m running the NJ half marathon today (or ran since it started at 6:45).  I know I’m not ready to outdo my PR from earlier in the month.  I do know that I still did PR at Atlantic City.  If I ran a 1:30 today, my PR still stands…this race does not make or break me.  Bombing this race (or any other race) does not take away from my PR’s or when I begin training for my full marathon.

Training this week:

Monday: OFF (fly home)  
Tuesday: 13 miles easy untimed P90X ab ripper and arm workout
Wednesday: OFF  
Thursday: 12 miles tempo Nike Core crunch
Friday: OFF Nike Core crunch
Saturday: Shakeout Easy run with Laura and Heather  
Sunday: NJ Half Marathon  


As you can see, something I have been doing is a bit more strength work.  I have made it a goal to be relatively conistent with more strength and core work.  I think it shows a little bit because I’ve been running as strong as last year on less miles.  Despite not making it a regular habit to post about, I do strive to do 15 minute core sessions (whether it’s P90X or Nike Training Club) 3-4 times a week.

So yeah that is all I have for training updates this week.

Questions for you:

How early out do you begin training for a marathon (or any race)?

Do you struggle with trusting yourself?

Seattle Trip

My trip to Seattle was awesome.  My oldest brother Doug and his wife Lindsay live out there so it was nice to visit and stay with them.  Although I’ve been here a few times, I haven’t been since high school.  I feel like as I get older, I appreciate travel more and more.

Some random adventures:

Since I was in Seattle I also had to see the Oiselle HQ.  I was so excited to meet everyone and go for a short run.  Sarah, JJ and I ended up walking to get coffee afterwords.  After nearly getting hit by a car I was able to model some street style.


Going Around Green Lake
Going Around HQ

The man was clearly just jealous of my party pants.

Bring the party with my party pants.
Bring the party with my party pants.

With my family we did the typical tourist stuff. 


We went and visited the Space Needle.  I have been before but not since 2006.  It was nice to go up and enjoy the view.



We went to Pikes Place and the market.  Recommended by Sarah Mac, I had to try one of the donuts.  It did not disappoint.  I also saw there is a 5k next weekend around Green Lakes that is donut themed.  (incase you didn’t know, donuts are my second favorite sweet…behind whipped cream…).

My sister in law and I.
My sister in law and I.

As I said on Monday, I had to go to the first Starbucks.  We stood in line (like a normal starbucks), ordered coffee and waited for the coffee.  The line was longer but it’s tourist attraction.  I wanted to try their exclusive brew.

It was really good, bold and rich so I grabbed a bag for home.

Other than the typical tourist stuff, we just relaxed and hung out with family.  My brother’s child is getting so big.  She is just too cute.

Writing a guest post for the LOLZ.
Writing a guest post for the LOLZ.

We even decorated some eggs for Easter!


Question for you: Have you been to Seattle?

Earth Day 5k (19:04)

When I found out that there was a 5k,10k,15k and half marathon near my oldest brothers house in Seattle I thought it would be fun to do a race in a new area.  Although I would like to say I found it, dad was the one who emailed me and said he was signing up.  I originally signed up for the 10k but getting to the race on Saturday I realized I wanted to downgrade to the 5k.  I hadn’t done a 5k in January and I thought it would be nice to see where I was at with that.

I knew with the random mileage and running I had been doing lately that this wasn’t going to PR.  I also knew that the jet lag was going to tire me out.  Both were true.  Regardless I thought it would be a lot of fun to do anyways.  I wasn’t worried about PRing or being stressed.

The race didn’t have a chip and it was an old school start that we all started together.  It actually gave me the most amusement I’ve ever had at the beginning of a race.  The race director noticed the long line for the womans rest room line.  He literally said “if this isn’t an emergancy and you are just using the rest room for precaution, there are some porta stations mid race”.  I laughed uncontrollably at it.  (I don’t even know why).

Anyways the race started and we were off.  The first mile felt like it took forever.  I remember looking at my watch at .26, .44, .67 .89 and finally when it beeped at 1 mile.  At that point I knew it was a race that was going to feel like it was taking forever…and it did.  Mentally it felt about 5 times longer than a half marathon.  I’m so glad I didn’t sign up for anything longer (6:06)


The second mile had a random hill that I had absolutely no idea was even in the course.  It was a very flat course on some trails except for this one random hill.  You literally turned a corner and it was like bam up the hill we go.

With all the turns and the hill my second mile was about 5 seconds slower.  I honestly thought it was going to be much slower then that but I was lucky and it wasn’t.   It went by quicker mentally at least.  (6:11)

The final mile I was very focused on getting under 19 minutes  (Which didn’t happen).  I really wanted to power through and I thought I was on pace.  It was going to be extremely close.  We had a 180 turn and as I came across the final .2 I saw the clock tick just over 19 minutes.  Close but no cigar.

My oldest brother Doug running pushing his daughter.
My oldest brother Doug running pushing his daughter.

In all honesty this was a lot better then I had thought I would do.  I was realistically unsure (jet lagged, tired and the last 5k I ran was in January) how I would do.  I knew I would be upset if I couldn’t hold the same pace I’ve run in my halves the last few times (ie: faster than 6:21 pace).

Take aways: For the terrain and course (trails, gravel) I’m happy.  I am hoping in a month or two I’ll be in the lower 18s.  I think with a good course and good day I could be around my PR (18:35).

Questions for you:

Have you ever done a spur of the moment race?

How many states have you raced in?

For me I’ve raced in: Virginia, New York, North Carolina (cross country), Vermont (cross country), New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, Maryland and now Washington.  I think that is all of them…unless you count DC.

New Crystal Diner (Toms River)

New Crystal Diner (Toms River, NJ)


A few weeks ago, we wanted to go out to eat somewhere new.  Not only did we want to go to a new restaurant but a new area in general.  Though Tom’s River and Seaside Heights (made famous by Snooki and the MTV Jersey Shore) is only 30 minutes away, we had yet to find ourselves there.  Since we have been to most of the rest of the state, we decided to head east.

We opted to drive out there and find a diner to try.  Lucky for us, there are plenty.  The nice thing about finding new diners in NJ is you have to drive.  Chances are if you drive 10 minutes down any road you’ll find one.

New Crystal Diner Atmosphere:  A

The outside of the New Crystal Diner is big, metallic, and shiny. You cannot miss it driving by. The inside of the New Crystal Diner is one large room.  It’s what you imagine when you picture “diner.”  It’s big, red booths and tables.  We were lucky to grab a booth by the window.

New Crystal Diner Coffee: B

The coffee at the new Crystal Diner was hot, and they had plenty of different sweeteners as well as cream.  The lady couldn’t do whipped cream for me (sad), but it wasn’t bad coffee.  It was a normal coffee.  It wasn’t remarkably good or bad.  It wasn’t burnt or watery.  I only “took off points” because they couldn’t put whipped cream on it when I know they had some for dessert. I’m not sure what the deal was, but I’ll never know. 

Another diner, another cup of coffee
Another diner, another cup of coffee
A hipster shot of coffee with the light reflecting in the cup.
A hipster shot of coffee with the light reflecting in the cup.

New Crystal Diner Food: A

The menu at the New Crystal Diner is extensive.  There were ten full pages of different foods ranging from breakfast to seafood to an entire page of different salads…as you can see, the list was endless.   I think this could have been the diner with the most extensive menu that we have been too.  I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was such an extensive and overwhelming menu.

I opted for the Greek Salad with chicken and no anchovies.  It wasn’t more than 5 minutes, and they brought the food out.  I’m not joking when I say 5 minutes.  It was the fastest restaurant food I’ve ever received.  (Faster than Waffle House).  My husband joked that maybe they had already made it and we were waiting for us to come.  It was amazing.


The salad at the New Crystal Diner was good.  In my personal opinion, it’s the toppings and dressings that make a salad.  If you eat dry lettuce, it will be gross.  The Greek salad contained everything I liked: feta cheese, grape leaves, lots of pita bread, tomatoes, chicken, Their Greek dressing was a home mix of oil and vinegar.  Honestly, this was the fastest and one of the best salads I’ve had.  I don’t even think I could have prepared it that quickly at home if I was being timed.

New Crystal Diner Dessert: B

The New Crystal Diner had plenty of dessert at the front, but I wasn’t in the mood for anything substantial.  I drank some of my husband’s milkshake, which was pretty good.  It wasn’t the best milkshake I have ever had nor was it the worst. It would recommend it, but I wouldn’t say it was the best milkshake you’ve had or it will change your life.


New Crystal Diner Cost: $$

For two meals, two coffees and a milkshake it was 40 dollars.

Overall Opinion:

Would I Come Back to New Crystal Diner (Toms River)?

It was a delicious meal, and I could not believe how fast the food came out.  I was extremely impressed because it wasn’t as if we were the only ones in the restaurant either.   The only complaint was the whipped cream for the coffee, but other than that the experience at the New Crystal Diner was positive. Next time I’ll probably try one of their many desserts or cakes.  I don’t have any complaints, and I’m glad to check another diner off my NJ list.

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:

What is the fastest that you have ever been brought out food?

What are your favorite salad, toppings?

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