Training: Sickness and Cut Back Week

Another week of training down.  This week is different from usual because I picked up a virus on Thursday.  This meant a lot of R&R and sleep.  I miss two runs and a workout, but that’s how life goes.

Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: Easy Run
Wednesday: 6X1 miles (average 6:19)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Long Run with Julie

Summary: 

Easy runs were just that, easy.  I ran early.  It was great except I got caught in the pouring rain during the last mile on both Monday and Tuesday.  I thought I had beaten the storm, but sadly, I did not.

Workout Wednesday: 6×1 mile hill repeats with 90 seconds rest (average 6:19)

This is my fastest mile average by 13 seconds.  It felt like a hard workout, but I do feel as if I’m building a lot of fitness.  It was rainy and windy, but I had a great workout.  Sometimes I loathe hill repeats, and sometimes I’m excited to get back to them.  It depends on my mood of the week.  Last week I was excited to run fast, and I had my best mile repeat workout in a while.

mile repeats

On Thursday, I needed a rest day.   Around 2 pm, I found myself exhausted and getting sick.  It felt as if I woke up from a long run for three days straight.  Honestly, it was awful and the worst sickness I’ve had in a long time.  On Saturday, I felt better but not enough to run.  It was an unexpected rest/cut back week.

I promised my friends and coworkers; I would run with them on Sunday, and luckily I felt good enough to do that.  To be honest, I had been looking forward to the run all week, so I was glad I felt better.  She had a workout for her marathon of 3-mile warmup and 11 miles at race pace.  We crushed the goal even with wind and hills. We had a good run and after feeling exhausted and lethargic for a few days, it was nice to get out there.  I felt a lot better after running.

via instagram
via Instagram

Thoughts:

This week was not what we planned but looking at my training log; it’s okay.  I haven’t had a cutback week since before Carlsbad half marathon (shame on me).  I haven’t rested that long for a while, and my body needed it.  It’s actually perfect timing for my Spring races because I still have three weeks until Shamrock half marathon.  To be honest, once I get back into the routine, it probably won’t affect me.  Will I remember this 3-day break in a month?  The answer is no.

I can’t say I’m starting next week 100% fresh because I still feel under the weather but hopefully in a few more days I will feel better. My guess is I’ll feel back to my awkward self by Wednesday.

Questions for you:
Do you workout when you’re sick?
I usually don’t because I’m miserable, and I just want to nap.
What was your favorite workout of the week?

Vincentown Diner (Revisited)

Vincentown Diner (Vincentown, NJ)

The Vincentown Diner was one of the very first diners; I  went to when we moved to the state.  It was also one of the first I reviewed.  Now nearly two years and 85 diners later, I decided to review it once more.  I’ve been to the Vincentown Diner over 30 times and tried many food menu items.  In the past few years, I’ve gotten to remember some of the staff and hosts.

Vincentown Diner Atmosphere: B
The atmosphere of Vincentown is modern and upscale.  It has more of a restaurant vibe than a diner.  It’s clean and polished.  The restaurant consists of a bar, multiple booths, and a dimly lit second room which I assume is for larger parties.

Vincentown Diner Service: D
There are a couple of issues with the Vincentown Diner.  One is with service.  The servers always seem rude, standoffish, or belittling.  If it was a one-time case, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I’ve been over 30 times and have found several occasions to be this way.  Last time, the waitresses were standing awkwardly behind us gossiping about who was dating who.

Vincentown Diner Coffee: B
The coffee is always piping hot because they use an expresso machine.  I like the coffee a lot, and it comes in a fairly large cup.  Interestingly enough, the Vincentown a Diner charges 75 cents for adding whipped cream.  It’s the only diner I’ve come across that does this.  The funny thing, the whipped cream they use is the off brand in a canister.  I’m pretty sure two refills pays for their entire can.  It’s an extra expense, but they bring out an off brand canister and add it.

Vincentown coffee

Vincentown Diner Food: A
The big positive is, I’ve never had a bad meal at Vincentown.  The food is fresh and local, and I can appreciate that. Their menu is smaller than most diners and also features a seasonal menu.  Some of my favorite items have been on the seasonal menu.   The Vincentown Diner menu has unique items like chicken cordon bleu, organic eggs, crab cakes, and mile high meatloaf. The Vincentown Diner menu also has the regular diner items like french toast, prime rib, and chicken breast. While the food is good, the portions usually are smaller.

The last item I tried was the bacon wrapped tenderloin.  It came over mashed potatoes with corn and black beans.  It was delicious, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I’ve had most things on their menu from salads to pancakes, to eggs and their dinners.  My favorites tend to be the dinners and their seasonal specials.

Vincentown Sausage

Vincentown Diner Dessert: B
Similar to the menu, the Vincentown Diner is continuously changing its dessert menu.  This can be a problem, however, because many of my favorite desserts are only served for a month out of the year.  My favorite dessert at the Vincentown Diner is the red velvet cake.  The Vincentown Diner red velvet cake has a hint of raspberry, which makes it make unique from any red velvet cake I’ve had.

Vincentown Red Velvet cake

Vincentown Diner Cost: $$$
The Vincentown Diner is the most expensive diner I’ve been too thus far.  The food is local and fresh, but I do believe it’s overpriced.  Most Vincentown Diner menu items cost upwards of $20.  Most times I go to Vincentown Diner, it costs upward of $30.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back to the Vincentown Diner?
I’ve been back to the Vincentown Diner several times, but I do wish their employees were more polite.  I do believe if their cost wasn’t so steep and the employees were more friendly, they might have won the best diner in NJ.  I don’t go to the Vincetown Diner nearly as often anymore (possibly once a month) because of the lack of employee friendliness.

Atmosphere: B
Service: D
Coffee: B
Food: A
Dessert: B
Cost: $20+
Overall: B

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
Has the employee friendliness ever stopped you from going to a restaurant? 

From a 20:20 5k to an 18:13

It’s hard to believe this time last year I was getting ready for my second full marathon.  It’s the last marathon I’ve run.

Last year after completing the Phoenix full marathon, I felt like I failed.  Despite PRing, I finished the race injured.  Thinking out loud, I didn’t enjoy marathon training, and I didn’t enjoy the race.  The race was put together well, but it was not right for me.

What was there left to enjoy? For me, the marathon negatives outweighed the positives, and I decided I was done with the distance for a while.

Running the distance I wanted was the best decision I made for myself.

Last May I began my journey of running mostly 5ks.  The first 5k I ran was at a local high school, and I ran a 20:20.  It was disappointing, but it gave me a truthful baseline.  Sometimes, the truth hurts.  Getting the baseline was not only physically painful but mentally painful too.  It was hard to come to terms with the fact that I was running that pace.  Before marathon training, I never ran above a 20 minute 5k. The first step in achieving a goal is being honest with yourself, and that was where I was.

Goals are not attainable if they aren’t realistic.

My friend Austin and I at that race
My friend Austin and I at that race

Between May and now I’ve consistently trained.  I don’t have a secret and to be honest, no athlete should!  If you have a secret of “how you got fast overnight”, generally it’s not legal.

Last May I mentioned I was going to race a lot and I did.  Did I think I would PR at every race?  No, absolutely not.

So I took a break from marathons and got healthy and then ran a bunch of races. I wanted to focus on shorter races, and I wanted to gain leg speed back.  I thrive on racing, so I decided to do what made me happy, which was more racing.  Racing as frequently as I did, allowed me to improve as rapidly as I did.  It’s easy to see I was doing more speed work than ever before.

I attribute better fitness to a few things:

  • Consistency in my training and easy runs
  • The amount of racing and speed workouts

Each race I learned something about my running.

Each race was a stepping stone to the fitness I’m at now.

Each race was considered a workout for a larger goal of PRing.  It’s not realistic to think I could go from running a 20+ minute 5k to a PR.

Click to tweet: Consistency leads to progression which leads to PRs.

Last weekend I ran another PR of 18:13.  That is just over 2 minutes faster than where I started last May.  It is 9 seconds faster than my PR in a dress on January 1st.  It’s also 40 seconds quicker than a PR that stood for over two years.

flower show cannon

Now that I’ve Pred in everything from the 5k to half, where does this lead me?

Right now I will finish the Spring racing season with a few more shorter distances.  If I can stay healthy throughout Spring and Summer, I might give the full marathon another shot.  A lot can change both mentally and physically in the next few months, but I haven’t ruled racing another full marathon out.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite race distance?

What are you consistently working at right now?

Flower Show 5k (18:13)

Last Sunday I participated in the Flower Show 5k.  To be honest, I signed up for the race because there was a promise of “flower cannons” at every mile.  I had no idea what that meant, and it intrigued me! The weather was beautiful, so I chose to take advantage of it.  The race started at 8:30 am which was perfect for me.  I was going to do a workout over the weekend, but the race looked fun, so I hopped into it.

My husband and I arrived at 7:30, warmed up around the Schuylkill River and headed to the start. We saw a few friends doing their long run during our warmup but other than that, the warm-up was uneventful. At 8:30, the race was off.  They threw a few flower pedals, and that was the extent of the “flower cannon”.  To be honest, I was disappointed.

flower show cannon
I was laughing at a little kid on the side. So ready to race…

During the first mile, I found myself as the second woman to a friend of mine.  I trailed about 15 seconds behind.  The course was out and back directly next to the highway.  I hit the first mile in 5:52.

During the second mile, I was surprised I maintained my speed.  In the last few faster 5ks, my first mile is below 6 minutes and the second is not.  I passed a few males.  At the halfway point I began catching the first place woman.  After we turned around several racers running the opposite direction cheered us on.  I hit the second mile in 5:57.

Since I had done a mini workout the day before, my goal was to run under 19 minutes for the race.  After the turnaround, I realized I was close to my PR from last month.  I had not expected to feel that good!

During the third mile, I caught the first woman.  I gave all of my energy, and we rounded a final loop where I saw the clock was in the low 17s.  I still had .2 to go and hit the third mile shortly after in 5:52. Staring at a clock for nearly a quarter of a mile is rough.

I watched as my husband crossed the finish line.  There was one other male in between us as well as a nearby cyclist.  By the time I looked up, I realized I got to run through and “break” a mini tape.  I quickly rose my hands and ran right through.  It was a blur. I crossed the finish in 18:13 by both gun and chip time.

First and Second Place
First and Second Place

Afterward, they gave me a bouquet of flowers and the overall winners took a photo together.  It was awesome that both my husband were part of that.  He was second male overall and got a bouquet as well.  We cooled down around the Schuylkill and headed home after.

Overall winners
Overall winners

Thoughts:

  • I was not expecting to PR in February at all.  I had a hard training week before which made the PR more surprising.
  • Reflecting on the last ten months, I’ve made a 2-minute improvement from my baseline fitness. It’s hard to believe the first 5k I ran in early May was a 20:20.
  • It’s nice to see my fitness coming together.  I’m 14 seconds from breaking into the 17 range, but a 14-second improvement is a long way to go for any race distance.  I’m happy to see how far my fitness has come, and I know I still have more to go.

Questions for you:
When was the last time you surprised yourself
Have you ever been to a flower show or expo?

Training: 77 miles, 5k PR and Flower Cannons

 Training:

Monday: Easy run
Tuesday: Easy run
Wednesday: 6.5-mile tempo (average 6:33)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy Run
Saturday: 11 mile Progression Run
Sunday: Run into Spring 5k (18:13 PR)
 Total:  77 miles

Where to begin?

My easy runs are just that, easy.  Since easy runs make up the bulk of my running, there is never a whole heck of a lot to say.  I barely run with a watch, and I don’t care about the pace. Due to the weather last week, I didn’t race.  I didn’t substitute a race for treadmill workout either.  This left me with no workouts for an entire week.  It left me with a week of easy running and honestly it felt nice.

Workout Wednesday: 4-mile cooldown, 6.5-mile tempo (6:33 pace), 5-mile cooldown

The workout couldn’t have gone better.  My neighborhood is hilly, so my first mile was 6:54.  The rest of the miles were between 6:20-6:35 and the average was 6:33.  I felt smooth the entire time, and I felt as if I could have gone much longer.  It’s my fastest tempo on that route.  I haven’t done a tempo run in a few weeks, and it was fun to see an improvement.

wednesday workout

Insert boring rest on Thursday and easy running on Friday. 

Saturday:

I had a longer progression 11 run on Saturday.  The first 5 miles were easy, and the last six slowly began dropping the pace.  I started between 9-9:30 pace and dropped down to 7:00.  I felt great and, to be honest, felt as if I could keep going!  One thing I need to work on is fast finishes in races, so I am starting to add progression runs into training.

Sunday’s race:

I signed up for the Flower Show 5k for a few reasons.  The weather was nice last weekend, I like flowers and on the race registration said: “flower cannons would be shot every mile”.  Unfortunately, that did not happen, and there were no flower cannons.  I had been excited for the “flower cannon” all week, and I don’t know why there were none.  It was disappointing!  The race itself went well.  I was pleasantly surprised to PR because of my mini workout the day before.  It was one of best-executed 5ks split races, and I ran 5:52, 5:57 and 5:52.  A 10 second PR is awesome, let alone for a 5k!

I even won flowers
This looks like a bad prom pose….ha

Thoughts:

My mileage lately has had a bump.  Two months ago, I was running 65 miles per week, and now I’m above 70.  This week was higher than normal, but my body feels as though it’s finally able to handle added speed workout and progressions into SOME (not all) easy runs.  My workouts and race were both executed perfectly so I would call it a successful week.  I call anything injury free success, though 😉

Questions for you:
What is your favorite running workout? 
How was your weekend?

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