Brooklawn Diner (Gloucester City)

The Brooklawn Diner (Gloucester City)

Last month, my parents and I drove by a metallic diner in Gloucester City.  The Brooklawn Diner looked great from the outside, so we were excited to try it out!  We planned to go to a different diner, but we saw this one along our route and decided to try it out.

Brooklawn Diner Atmosphere: A 

The outside of the Brooklawn Diner is a typical metallic and shiny building.  The reason we decided to stop was that the exterior was so inviting!  The inside of the Brooklawn Diner is nice as well with blue hologram lights and the diner is lined with booths and tables.  You can’t get a classier diner then that!   

Brooklawn Diner Service: A-

The service started somewhat shaky, but the waitress opened up at the end.  She made sure we were all taken care of.  Another random thing I found extremely welcoming was the hostess pulled out my chair for me.  That earned a lot of bonus points!

Brooklawn Diner Coffee: A 

The coffee at the Brooklawn Diner was a local brew from the Melrose Diner.  It was good.  It wasn’t anything unique or crazy, but I have no complaints and the waitress gave plenty if refills.

brooklawn diner coffee

Brooklawn Diner Food: F 

The Brooklawn Diner menu has a lot of different options from breakfast to full dinners.  There isn’t anything unusual or unique but it has the entire typical diner fare.

This time I ordered a greek salad. It was surprising that the diner didn’t have pita bread at all.  I think this might be the first diner I’ve been too that lacked it. In my personal opinion, a salad that is marketed towards a meal should include bread.

I asked for rye bread instead and received a piece of unbuttered, cold, straight out of the package rye bread.  The piece of salmon was also tiny.

brooklawn diner salad

If I was only rating my food, I would have given the diner a C.  However, my mom found a piece of black hair in her hash.

Brooklawn Diner Price: $

For five people, the bill at the Brooklawn Diner came out to $60.  The Brooklawn Diner ended up removing mom’s meal because of the hash incident.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 

Honestly probably not.  The staff was friendly at the Brooklawn Diner, but the food was boring and bland.  Plus who wants a hairy meal surprise?

Summary: 
Atmosphere: A 
Service: A-
Coffee: A
Food: F
Price: $8-12
Overall: C

You can see all of the diner reviews here.

Questions for you: 
Have you ever found a piece of hair in your food?
Should bread come with meals?

 

JCC 5k (19:15)

Following my near PR on Saturday, I decided to race again on Sunday.  I’ve been doing a lot of back to back races lately because they are great speed workouts. I know that every race won’t be a PR, but it’s nice to get out there.

This local 5k was about a mile from my new home and it benefitted a great cause.  It was hard to pass up, plus my boss was planning to be there.  I woke up a little earlier than I would have liked, but it gave me plenty of time to relax and get to the start.  It took me all of 5 minutes to get there even while being stopped by all 6 stop lights. I would have just run, but I’m high maintenance and need a lot of things at a race.  I didn’t want to run carrying a bag.

I arrived at 8 am.  My boss and I warmed up together and got to the start around 8:55.  It was dreary weather with a bit of rain and slick pavement. The race was delayed about 15 minutes, and I went immediately to sit back in my car with the seat warmers.

Once we lined up around 9:15, we were officially off.  It was a very fast start with many people taking it out too fast.  I found myself as the first women overall and 7/8th overall.  The race went straight onto a crowded but closed road.  I found myself running with a pack of 3 dudes. I felt like I was hidden away.  I wanted to pass the pack but because of how narrow our lane was, it was impossible.  We hit the first mile in 6:09 and ran into the neighborhood.

jcc 5k

As we entered a neighborhood, the pack began to separate.  I charged the downhill and never looked back.  At that point, I found myself in 5th place overall. The second mile was boring.  There was nothing to write home about.  I hit the second mile in 6:27.

Similar to an injury and second guessing your recovery, I always second guess myself during the third mile. I feel like I might crash and burn.  Recently, I broke through a plateau but that time drop hasn’t been with the first mile.  Breaking through my plateau has been on the third mile…instead of running a 6:5x mile, I’m now running <6:20.  That’s an entire 30 seconds!

Anyways, when I begin to positive split, I begin to wonder if I’ll add another 20 seconds or more. I second guess myself, my training, and racing 5ks.

During the third mile, I focused on the finish line.  It was an out and back course, so I knew exactly what to expect on the course.  I knew there was an uphill to the downhill from the first mile. I also knew that we went back in the crowded street and on a slick parking lot.  I was lucky because no one was too close to me, so I didn’t have to worry about being boxed in on the main road.  I charged up the last mile, made a LOLZy comment to the volunteer (who I knew well) and charged the finish line.  I finished the third mile in 6:14 which I was happy with.

The last .1 deserves its own paragraph because it was the most dangerous part of the race.  We were on a slick parking lot, and I nearly took another nasty spill.  My boss yelled, go that way and before I knew it my balance was off. I caught myself but for a split second I saw my knee and stitches flash in front of me.  I powered through to the end and crossed the finish in 19:15.

jcc 5k 1

Thoughts: 

It was a solid effort and run for me.  I am euphoric with the race.  Before October, this was the pace I was running on an exceptionally good day, and now I’m racing it consistently the day after a previous 5k.  Since I ran the day before, it wasn’t going to be a PR but more of a workout.  To be honest, I expected between 19:30-19:45, so this was a great surprise!  I’m excited to continue racing.

Questions for you:
Do you like running in the rain?
What is your least favorite mile of a 5k?

Bone Run 3.05m (18:11)

Last weekend I ran the Bone Run in Vineland, NJ. Where I live is parallel to Philadelphia and considered South Jersey. I drove another 45 minutes South.  Is the Vineland considered Super South to North Jersey residents?

My friend Jen recommended the race and said it was scenic and well put together. I decided to go because it’s one area of Southern NJ that I have never been too.  I enjoy about racing and discovering new places to run. The race took place in Parkin Park which is gorgeous and I’ll be back to run there. I arrived to the race around 8 am, warmed up and got to the start at 8:55. I noticed a lot of fast males and females. I was excited to race a competitive 5k.

The race went off right at 9 am. The course began on the road but quickly moved to a single track dirt path. It made it almost impossible to pass people, and I was stuck behind several people. I think being stuck was a good thing because it prevented me from taking the race out too quickly. The first mile went up and around the lake. It was beautiful, and the dirt surface felt nice. I hit the first mile in 5:58.

bone run race

At the start of the second mile, I counted six females in front of me. I passed a pack of three women early into the second mile. I felt strong, and I didn’t feel as if I was fading. Generally during the second mile I feel as if I’m beginning to slow down.  When I hit the second mile in 6:01, I felt incredibly confident. As I passed another woman, I felt strong. It was motivating. Midway through the race and mile, I got tucked into another pack of men. It was hard because the course was extremely narrow so no one could pass anyone. I also was trying to keep my mind focused because there were several roots on the path and I didn’t want to fall. I hit the second mile in 6:01.

During the third mile, I was getting both extremely excited and motivated. I felt great, I wasn’t fading, and I was still passing people.  It was a Christmas miracle (Christmas in October?) I passed two more females and found myself as second women overall. I was beaming as I ran the last mile and felt like I was running in the twilight zone.

I was becoming more and more confident that I could hold this pace and possibly turbo charge into a 5k PR. During this race, I wasn’t just “holding on” but pushing out of my comfort zone.  I wasn’t fading but increasing my turnover!  I ran the last mile with a pack of two other men.   We rounded a corner and to my surprise the finish line came up a lot quicker than a 5k did. As we rounded the corner, I saw the finish clock in the 17s. My watch beeped 3 miles and too soon later, I crossed the finish line.  The course was short.

I finished the last mile in 6:02 and crossed the finish line in 18:11. My watch read 3.05 miles. Now to some they might round up for this course, but I know I’m not in 18:11 shape.  Sure I could claim this as my PR but it’s not.

bone run 5k

Thoughts:

We complain about courses being too long but don’t acknowledge when they are too short.

After finishing, a range of emotions went through my head like: Will I reach my 5k PR pace again?  What if this is just a fluke?  Why couldn’t it have been a few yards longer?  I’m confident if it was the right distance I would have Pred on Saturday. I was feeling strong at the end, not fading. My last .05 was a “5:48” pace because I wanted a PR more than I wanted a giant mug of coffee.

I will say despite being a short course it was motivational to see on a good day, I’m ready to PR in the 5k. I strung three, 6-minute miles together.  Who knows when the next good day will be but I’m ready for the PR. It’s nothing to get too upset about but it is frustrating, and I won’t claim it as a PR.  If a short course is the worst to damper my day, then I would say I’m doing okay.

Questions for you:

Have you run a short course before?

I think this might be the first official short course that I can remember.

What was the last confidence booster activity you did? Running, life….whatever.

Training: Rest Days and Bone Runs

This was another good training week for me. Lately, I feel like my training is finally coming together. I believe it’s the combination of breaking through a plateau as well as the cooler weather. It’s nice not to run through summer degree heat.

I spent the first half of the week recovering from the Runners World 5k and 13.1. Something I noticed was that I did recover unusually fast from the half marathon. I did get a deep tissue massage on Monday evening and that flushed out a lot of typical soreness. It’s also motivating to recover so quickly because I feel as if I have a lot more to give in the half marathon.   I’m running RnR Philadephia on October 31, so I’m interested to see how that goes.

On another note, I think the grid view is much easier to read, and I can expand upon things below.

Monday: Easy run and Nike Training Club Core
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 4X1 Mile repeats and 15 mins Plyometrics
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy run and Nike Training Club Core
Saturday: Bone Run 3.05 miles 18:11 (a short course 5k)
Sunday: JCC 5k (19:15)
Total:  56 miles

Workout Wednesday: 4X1 mile hill repeats with 90 seconds rest (6:37, 6:12, 6:26, 6:14)

Because of the races the previous week my body was more tired. I worked hard for what I had energy wise for the day. The workout was only a few seconds slower than last week.  I’m happy with the workout.

I’ve begun to add plyometrics to my routine weekly. I’ve been doing research about the benefits of plyometrics for running shorter distances and building strength. Since the 5k uses a lot of strength and fast twitch muscles, I’ve been trying to build more fast twitch and speed.

Recently I read articles from Competitor about the benefits of plyometrics. One activity I’ve noticed to increase my turnover is skipping and 5 minutes of fast jump roping. If you asked me a few months ago if I would be jumping rope…I would have laughed! I’ve focused on building more strength, and I feel stronger because of it.

Saturday: Bone Run

While I’m a little bummed that this wasn’t a full 5k, I’m happy with my effort.  It would have been extremely close to a Pr.  My PR is exactly a 6:00 minute pace and my splits were 5:58, 6:01, 6:02.   It was a great confidence booster, though.

bone run 5k

JCC 5k (19:15)

Today’s race was only a mile from my house and benefitted a really good cause.  I decided to head down there. It was raining the entire time and I focused on not slipping.  I’m happy with my splits (6:09, 6:27, 6:14).  It was a solid workout for me.

Next week: 

I’m running RnR Philadelphia on Saturday and I’m very curious to see where my fitness is in the half marathon.  It’s a busy week with work, so it will probably be another lower week of mileage.  I plan to continue doing core and plyometrics since I do think that has benefited my running a lot.

Total miles: 56 miles
Total workout miles: 10.2

Questions for you:
Have you ever tried plyometrics?

Liberty Diner 2 (Bordentown)

Liberty Diner 2 Bordentown, NJ

A few weeks ago, the famous website owner of New Jersey Isn’t Boring met for dinner at the Liberty Diner 2. She is the only person who appreciates diners as much as I do. The website New Jersey isn’t Boring is how I find all of my diners. She works hard on the site and it’s been great to see it grow! If you ever in the Garden State and are looking for a diner, good truck, event or whatever…it’s your best bet!

Anyways, I knew it was going to be good because I made it to the Liberty diner with no issues. I was early, I remembered cash (since half of the diners don’t take credit card) and I didn’t get lost! So much winning!

Once we entered the Liberty Diner 2 (Bordentown), we immediately noticed how quiet it was. I almost felt as if I had to whisper.  It was also clear it was a very “locals place”.  I think our waitress knew every customer except for us.

Liberty Diner 2 Atmosphere: A
The Liberty Diner 2 is spotless and a picturesque diner. The inside is retro with pink decor, marble countertops and booths lining the restaurant. I half expected our waitress to come out in Roller skates.  It wasn’t empty and it wasn’t crowded either.

Liberty Diner 2 Service: A

The waitress at the Liberty Diner 2 was friendly.  She refilled the coffee when we needed it and brought large waters as well.  Despite my salad missing dressing, she was friendly and attentive.  It was clear she had a lot of regulars that she knew well.  I always think it’s a good sign when half of the restaurant is filled with regulars.

Liberty Diner 2 Coffee: A
There was more whipped cream than actual coffee. I had trouble drinking my coffee without the whipped cream spilling everywhere. That’s not a problem, though. The brewed coffee was weak, but the whipped cream made it delicious. Since it was night time, I didn’t need strong coffee to begin with.  I will say out of the 70+ diners I’ve been too in the Garden State, the whipped cream was one of the best.

Liberty Two Diner coffee

Liberty Diner 2 Food: C
The Liberty Diner 2 had a small menu and there weren’t a lot of options. They had a few diner staples but nothing too unique or special. They didn’t even have my dates’ favorite soup: Matzah Ball. I’ve been too very few diners without Matzah ball soup personally.

Nothing on the menu spoke to me, so I ordered my staple: A large Greek salad with chicken. The salad was smaller and with a lot of white lettuce.  I will say, however, there was plenty of cheese, and they left the anchovies on. It was not my favorite salad or anywhere close, but it wasn’t bad either. As you can see, it wasn’t the biggest salad and I went home and ate a second dinner.

Baby "large" greek salad
Baby “large” greek salad

Liberty Diner 2 Cost: $$
For my coffee and salad at the Liberty Diner 2, the price was 14.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back to the Liberty Diner 2 (Bordentown)?
I probably won’t be back to the Liberty Diner 2 (Bordentown) since there are quite a few diners on 130 I like much better. My company was great and we had a good time chatting.  It wasn’t necessarily good or bad, but it was boring.  There are places I would prefer to go before the Liberty Diner 2.  I guess that makes for a boring review too.  😉

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: C
Cost:$8-12
Overall: C

You can see all diner reviews here

Questions for you:
Do you like restaurants with background music?
What is the most retro restaurant you’ve been too? 

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