Week 4: Bonus Rest Day

Last week I took two rest days instead of one.  As I said in post about not showing, I have no regrets.  My body needed the extra rest and coincidently I’ve found myself in a much better place this week.  My legs have felt a lot better and I’m recovered from the head cold.

I had hoped to have a rest week the first week of June but when your body says no…it says no.

Looking back my mileage the last three weeks has been:

54 miles

56 miles 

60 miles

So on top of being sick, it’s clear to why my body was tired. I added an extra rest day and went from there.

It looks like my body is starting to absorb the mileage and get back into shape so I gave no complaints about that.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 10.5 miles easy Strength
Wednesday: 10.8 miles easy Core
Thursday: 10.4 miles easy
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 10 miles with coworkers
Sunday: Veterans Day 5k (long course), 20:30

 

I did notice I’ve gotten into a “10 mile” rut. I’ve been running for time versus mileage. This has meant I’ve been running similar distances (within the mile). It was great to run different paths and it has kept me from getting to stale.

I fell off the wagon this week with doing my core and strength training. I was a lot busier than I anticipated.   After Wednesday I will be a lot less busy.

I don’t have a lot of interesting facts about my training. Heck, I don’t even have that great of photos.  Next week is my last week of base building. Then I’ll progress into some speed workouts.

My training next week will be similar to this week. I’m also signed up for the Scott Coffee 8k next Saturday. I like the 8k distance a lot (I haven’t raced one in a while!) I plan to use that race as a base to see where my fitness is. I’m really excited to see how it goes.

Questions for you:

Have you raced an 8k before?

How was your week of training?

Union Plaza Diner (Union)

Union Plaza Diner (Union, NJ)

I’ve been working and remodeling my diner page on the blog as well.  It now includes a map with pins of the diners I’ve been to in NJ.  Let me know what you think!

Last month I was in Union County, NJ. The Union Plaza Diner is my first diner review in Union County. I was lucky that Christine was able to meet up for an early grandma dinner. We originally planned to meet at the Union Plaza Diner at 6 pm, but ultimately ended up meeting at 4:45.  Early grandma dinner for the win! Located on route 22, the Union Plaza Diner is easy to get too.

Christine and I

Union Plaza Diner Atmosphere: B
I wouldn’t expect a diner to be crowded at 4:45 pm and it wasn’t, but the Union Plaza Diner was reasonably busy. 4 pm is the senior dinner crowd, and 6 pm is the youths!

We sat in the first booth.  My side faced the bakery and cake section as well as the bar. The one interesting factor was how tiny the booths are! My husband and I could barely fit into one side of the booth!

Union Plaza Diner Coffee: A
The Union Plaza Diner coffee was delicious, and I have no complaints. The waitress gave plenty of refills as well as whipped cream every single time. The whipped cream was made fresh in house, so you know I’m a fan! The actual coffee was good too.

Union Plaza Coffee

Union Plaza Diner Food: A
The more diners I review, the more amazed I am by the selection of food. The Union Plaza diner had over 300 menu items, including many dinner specials. That is probably the most of any diner I’ve been too. It took us 20 minutes to decide what we wanted. I wish I had gone with their signature salad, but I saw the Greek salad in real life and ordered that. I topped it with chicken and pita bread.

Union Plaza Diner

As you can see from the photo, they gave an entire chicken breast for the salad. The Greek salad had the normal toppings (including anchovies which I love!). It also came with four grape leaves! The massive chicken breast took over the salad. While the pita bread was a little crispy for my liking, I have no complaints. It was one of the best and most filling salads to date.  Plus the presentation was fabulous.

Union Plaza Diner Cost: $
For my salad and coffee at the Union Plaza Diner, it was 16 dollars.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back to the Union Plaza Diner (Union)?
The Union Plaza diner was a good stop. I want to come back because it’s so good. When I do, I’ll opt to sit at a bigger table.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Food: A
Price: $10-20
Overall: A

You can see all the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is the smallest restaurant you’ve ever been in?
Have you ever tried grape leaves?

An Unregretable DNS

Last weekend I ran the Historic Fairview 5k.  I did pretty well but physically something was off.  In all honesty I just felt tired and my legs felt heavy.  The rest of the day I was more tired than usual after a race.  During work on Sunday I felt decent but when I got home, I began to feel sick.  Around 7, I got a migraine and was extremely congested.

I went to bed at 8:15.  I woke up on Memorial Day feeling more tired and sick.  I realized I had a head cold.  I was tired, groggy and sneezing more than talking.

Should I run?  Should I not run? 

One of my favorite races last year was on Memorial Day. It’s a local 5k where they give out wooden awards.  The course is in a beautiful woodsy location and normally shaded. I had a lot of fun last year.

From last year.
From last year.

I knew I liked the race so much I actually signed up for it last week. Normally I try not to sign up for many races until absolutely necessary. This is such a great race that I was sure I wanted to run.

On Monday morning I woke up feeling exhausted and sick. I debated if I would “sweat it out” and run anyways. I was signed up and I knew I would finish the race. Maybe (in the .01% chance) I would surprise myself…the glimmer of hope!

The question became: Should I run while exhausted and probably getting over a head cold? Heck, my legs didn’t even feel great either!

…But Liz and I were planning to warm up before the together.

…But I knew the course was flat, fast and fun.

…But I had already payed for the race.

Ultimately there were no updates on my social media accounts. There were no races to be run and I texted Liz and said I had to bail out on the race.

Did it stink and was it a hard decision?

It was a much harder decision than I would like to admit. There is no benefit of running a 5k that I didn’t feel anywhere close to good. I could finish the race…but I would be more miserable and probably would have delayed healing.

It was a 20 dollar 1 hour nap. While I’m glad it wasn’t a bigger race, I don’t have any regrets about not showing up. I’m lucky it wasn’t a race I was training longer for or even a race that I had traveled too. Even if it was, my health is always the most important to me.

The final thing I thought about was how fortunate I am that my life, career and well being doesn’t revolve around running.  I am not an elite athlete and my race choices are not analyzed.  Unlike Hall, no one cares if LOLZ decides to race that day or not (only I really care).  I’m not all over flotrack because I skipped a race (and thank goodness of that).

Just like running in general, a DNS or DNF doesn’t define you. 

It’s always more important to put your health and well being in front of hobbies and events. Running is life long if you allow it to be.

Question for you: Do you race when sick?

The Racing Flat.

As most readers know, I like to train in heavier and more cushioned shoes. When I do speed work, I’ll train in my flats but other then that I prefer the heavier shoes.  Since I’m doing higher mileage, I like the extra cushion and weight to keep me healthy.  It makes me feel more comfortable while training.  This is obviously not the everyone’s taste in running shoes but it is mine.

One of my coworkers always says: “Running shoe cushion is like money and you can never have enough money”. Isn’t that the truth?

Right now my high cushioned shoe of choice is the Saucony Triumph. After having an issue with the Asics Nimbus 17, I’ve found the triumph to be a great training shoe for me (I’m on shoe number 2).

This post, however, is about racing flats!

I don’t race in the same shoes I train in.

I think racing in a different shoe comes from beginning to run in college.  In college we raced in spikes.  A spike is just a a very light weight shoe with spikes at the bottom. Since most of college was on cross country courses, the spikes served to grip on dirt better.

It’s similar to a soccer cleat.  You can’t run on pavement in spikes or the spikes will wear down and break.

Throwback to college racing
Throwback to college racing

When I entered the world of road racing, I also went after a light weight shoe. It just seemed normal to me.  The average weight of my trainers have been about 10 ounces. The average weight of my flats have been about 5 ounces.

The first flat I ever purchased was the Nike Waffle. It was the exact platform of the spike I used to race in (but without the spike plate in).

4 years ago with my first flat.
4 years ago with my first (muddy) flat.

I’ve run every distance from a 1 mile race to my first marathon. To be honest, I raced my marathon in that shoe because I didn’t know any better. While I didn’t get injured from it, I will never do that again.  Most people (myself included) need more cushion during a marathon.

Hashtag so dumb.
Hashtag so dumb.

After realizing I liked a little bit more cushion in my racing flat I graduated to the Nike Streak LT racer (I’ve gone through several models of both 1 and 2). The shoe is much softer and only weighs an ounce more then the waffle flat. I raced my last full marathon in that shoe and had no issues.  You can see at the bottom there is a little bit more cushion to it.

Just crossing the finishing line like a bird...with my flats.
Just crossing the finishing line like a bird…with my flats.

I’ve never had any issues with it and it’s a great weight flat.  It’s one I recommend for anyone who likes more cushion but a very light weight shoe to race.

streaklt

This Spring I decided to try a completely new racing flat all together.

Maybe it was because I’ve been injured for so long or maybe it’s because I decided to live life on the edge.

My friend Austin and I in our matching Saucony A6s.  Bright colored twinning!
My friend Austin and I in our matching Saucony A6s. Bright colored twinning!

Either way I’ve raced the last few 5ks in the Saucony A6 and honestly I really like them.  I haven’t had the opportunity to race anything longer in them but I plan too.

So now that I’ve given a bit of my personal background, why racing flats?

A lighter shoe improves turn over. With less weight on your feet, it’s easier to run and increase your turnover. Think about it, less weight (to an extent…) produces faster times.  Carrying an extra few ounces thousands of strides really adds up.

Disadvantages of Flats:

  • You are more prone to injury: since there is little to no cushion in a flat, you are more susceptible to injury.  Think about those who train solely in Nike frees or minimalist shoes…that is why it’s a bad idea to train in flats.
  •  It also takes longer to recover because your feet are taking more of a pounding from the pavement. I’ve always found myself more sore after racing in flats.

How to go about racing in flats:
Honestly I tell people the same thing whether it’s kids going to their first XC race, customers at work, blog readers or whomever…you have to work into them.  

Don’t go run a 5k, half or run marathon in new shoes. 

I recommend first trying a few SHORT training runs and seeing how they work. First try a mile, then 2 miles…then race a 5k. Once you have raced a few 5ks try longer distances. It’s not something I would just jump right into. Not only are they a brand new shoe but it’s a drastically different shoe than what most people train in!  If you go from never running in a flat to racing, you have a high chance of getting injured.

I love the feeling of racing in a different and lighter shoe.  I have no plans to change that!

If you have anymore questions feel free to ask away.  I really enjoy the benefits of racing in flats.  I do alway feel faster and stronger.

Questions for you:

Do you race in flats?

What advice would you give someone beginning to race in flats? 

Historic Fairview 5k (19:47) 

My husband and I decided to sign up for this race on a whim.  When we looked online, we noticed that there were 13 race participants signed up!  The race ended up having about 50 people in it.  We thought it would still be a lot of fun so went anyways. 

The race started at 9 am and we arrived at 8:15.  On our way, a police car began following us.  We were worried we had done something wrong but he was actually headed to the race as well.

After getting there, we warmed up and headed over to the start.  When they said the race started at 9, I believe they meant the race events started at 9.  At 9 am, they started a dance warm up routine.  Then at at 9:05, the local high school marching band marched a lap around the race.

Around 9:15, the National Anthem was played and we were finally off.  

Four men (including my husband) darted off in the lead.  I found myself forever alone.  During the first 400 yards a small kid came cruising by me.  He was no more than 10, running in basketball shoes and probably running a 5:30 pace.  I chuckled as he passed me effortlessly, caught up to the leaders, got winded and began to fade.  I nearly went into cardiac arrest laughing to myself.

The first mile felt like it took forever.  There were a lot of turns, I felt awful and the back of my throat was clogged.  I knew I was not feeling good.  I ran the first mile in 6:30.

During the second mile, I noticed I was in 4th overall.  There were a few race spectators and one even asked if I could be his girlfriend.  I felt honored! Around the halfway point the superintendent of the local school district caught up to me.  I had no idea who he was.  I told him he looked familiar.  It wasn’t until a kid pointed to him later and said “that’s the superintendent” that I figured it out.

There were a lot of turns on the course and neither of us could see anyone ahead.  He was extremely friendly and it was nice to talk to someone during the race.  Just before 2 miles, we got stopped by a car.  I guess they forgot to close off half the course to drivers.  I ran the second mile in 6:25.

The final mile was just focused on not getting lost and finishing.  I felt better then the start of the race but not great.  We powered through and ultimately ran the last mile in 6:20.  There was a small child (around 6 years old) that came out of nowhere and sprinted with me to the finish.  I was cheering him on saying “you can beat me”.

I finished the race in 19:47 and 7th overall (first woman).  I was proud of Tim for running 18:05 and finishing second overall.  Due to his schedule he hasn’t been able to do a lot of consistent running lately.

Picking up the coolest trophy ever.
Picking up the coolest trophy ever.

Thoughts: This was my fastest 5k so far this summer but I felt the worst.  I guess that’s a good sign for my fitness.  My body is starting to absorb the speed workouts (IE: races).  Hopefully soon I break through this plateau! I have no complaints and I’m glad to do another 5k.

Edit to add: Since Saturday, I’ve come down with a minor head cold.  That makes sense of why I never felt great during the race.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been stopped during a race (for cars, trains, whatever)? 

What is the biggest trophy you have ever received?

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