Training: A Need for Speed?

First, Happy Halloween! 

Second, to training! Last week was a solid week for me.  I recovered well from the base half marathon and wasn’t too sore.

My training is currently going through a lot of changes.  This is the first week (after my ankle fracture) that I’m finally able to add workouts that aren’t races.

Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: 12X2 minutes Hard
Wednesday: Easy Run
Thursday: Easy Run
Friday: Easy Run
Saturday: Bone Run (3.05 miles)18:08
Sunday: Rest
Total: 60 miles


Easy runs are always just as easy.  Nothing much to say about them…

12X2 mins Hard:

The goal of this workout was to get faster leg turnover.  Since it was earlier in the week, I didn’t feel 100% fresh doing it, but it did feel good to integrate speed into my running.  I ran on the roads around my house (versus a track).

Bone Run (3.05) 18:08

Bone run me running

I raced the Bone Run last year, so I knew it was short.  Despite being USATF certified, the course doesn’t match up 100% with the certification.  I could pretend that I ran an 18:08 5k, but there is no point in lying to myself (and of course readers).  Hopefully, I’ll be there soon.  I’m more annoyed they said the problem would be fixed and it was not.

The course itself is in a nature park on a trail.  It’s more cross country than road, and despite it being short, I was happy with my effort.  I ran a 5:53, 5:58 and 6:09 mile.  A good portion was single lane track which makes it difficult to get speed or pass. I’m anxious to run a flat, fast, road 5k to see where my speed is, but there aren’t many soon.

Other than that I’m happy with how the week went. I’m nervous but excited to start adding more speed workouts and hopefully begin working towards PRs again. I feel as if I’m recovered from my ankle and now getting back into shape and towards PRs.  Typing that out makes me nervous too.

Posts from the week:
Thoughts During a 20 miler
You know You’re a Runner When
Beat 539 Half Marathon (1:25:28)

Questions for you:

Do you like trail/cross country style races?

What is your favorite workout? 

River Star Diner (Hacketstown)

River Star Diner (Hacketstown)

Recently I went to the River Star Diner in Hackettstown, NJ.  Before going Hacketstown was an area of New Jersey I hadn’t been too. I’d heard from a friend; it’s a pretty small town. When driving through, I didn’t realize how hilly and beautiful the area was.  There are several different parks, and plenty of runners and cyclists out.

Trying new diners and hiking has allowed me to see so many different areas of the state.

River Star Diner Atmosphere: A
The River Star Diner is located along a small creek.  If you are lucky enough to get a window seat, you can see birds and small animals frolicking in the water. The inside is typical of an average small-town diner, but it’s great you can look outside.

river star diner
Image from LehighValley Live

When we arrived, the parking lot was full. However, there was plenty of seating at the River Star Diner available.  I think they could use a bigger parking lot. Even when every parking spot in a diner is filled, there always seems to be room.

River Star Diner Coffee: B
The coffee at the River Star Diner was good, but it was nothing unusual or unique.  I don’t have any complaints or anything unique or exciting about it. River Star Diner

River Star Diner Service: A

Despite the River Star Diner being relatively crowded, our waitress was great.  Our food was brought out quickly, and we had plenty of refills and food.

River Star Diner Food: B
River Star DinerThe River Star Diner menu is about ten pages, and nothing is left out.

At the River Star Diner, I ordered the scrambled eggs, bacon, french toast, and a side bagel.  It’s a pretty standard; home-cooked diner meal. River Star Diner

The eggs were cooked well.  The bacon was crispy, and I liked the french toast.  I can’t remember the last time I ordered French toast before, but River Star used thick bread.  Thin bread might be healthier, but thick bread tastes better.

I’ve mentioned before that I think North Jersey bagels are better than South Jersey.  I try to get one whenever I’m up there.  The bagel was delicious, and I left feeling both full and satisfied.

Cost: $
For my meal and coffee, the cost was $12.  It was one of my cheaper diner meals.

Summary/Would I Come Back to the River Star Diner (Hacketstown)?
I enjoyed the River Star Diner (Hacketstown), and the view was unique and fun. If you can, request to sit by the River Star Diner window!  I don’t have any complaints and it’s one of the better diners I’ve been too.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Service: A
Food: B
Cost: $10-15
Overall: B

You can see all of the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Which restaurant you’ve been too has the best view?
Where are your favorite bagels from?

Beat 539 half marathon me running
Beat 539 Half Marathon (1:25:28)

Last Saturday I ran the base half marathon which was also called the “Beat 539 half marathon”.  The full marathon runs along Route 539 and if you have to run faster than 5 hours for 19 miles.

The full is USATF certified, and on a good weather day, it’s a fast course (minimal wind, blocked road, flat).  Since there were several races that weekend: (Atlantic City as well as the Perfect 10 Miler), all of the races had a small turnout.  There were about 200 people who ran the half marathon and 100 that ran the full.

My dad came up as well last weekend to visit.  Together we drove to Lakehurst base for the start of the half.  Since it was on base, the entire car was searched back to front.  (Even though we were both military).  When we got there, we headed to the fitness center where the other runners were.  Around 7:30, everyone headed outside.  I had no idea why and by the time I knew it, we were the only ones in the building.

I didn’t want to head outside, but I also didn’t want to be the only ones inside. It was pouring rain, 40 degrees and windy. Once I went outside, I realized everyone was walking close to a mile (yes a mile) to the start line.

Beat 539 half marathon start
Before we knew we were getting delayed

After getting to the start line in the pouring rain, the race was postponed.  There was flooding along the course due to the storm and the race director informed us there were sections that were completely flooded over.  By 8:30, I was freezing, miserable and not even wanting to run. For those who don’t know, I don’t run well in the rain.  I would rather run when it’s 100 degrees than when it’s 40 degrees and rainy.

Unfortunately this year alone I’ve run Shamrock half marathon, Broad Street 10 miler and this race in the pouring 40-degree rain.  So life is trying to make me love the rain.  Due to my luck, I bought a Gortex jacket and haven’t looked back.

To the race: once we started at 8:41, I was cold and miserable.  I wasn’t warmed up, and I didn’t feel good.  My goal was to run 6:40-6:50 the first half and try and hammer down after that.  Due to weather, I wouldn’t be disappointed if that didn’t happen.

I felt stiff during the first two miles.  My legs were tired; I was shivering, and I was just trying to warm up.  I was running in a pack of about four people.  There was one male leader ahead followed by my pack.  The course went through a few rolling hills, and I ran a 6:40 then 6:43.

Around mile 3, I found myself with one other male.  We were running alone with the first male way far ahead.  It was the last time I would run with anyone.  Around mile 4 I left him and ran the entire race all by myself.  That’s what happens with small races, though.

From mile 4-6, we were running on a couple different runways and roads.  It was a lot of side wind and not much view.  It was boring, lonely and honestly mentally challenging.  There were no spectators except several military personal passing out water every other mile.

I noticed cones going in the opposite direction, and I was excited.  It meant that there was an out and back portion and I would get to see other runners.  Out and back courses typically motivate me and seeing other runners motivate me too.  I’m a talkative runner and people cheer for me; I cheer for them too.  Out and back courses generally pump me up.

As I headed around mile 6, we entered a soft muddy ground.  I assumed this would be the portion that was flooded over and caused the delayed start.  The next mile was muddy were soft.  My feet sunk in but it wasn’t flooded (yet).  Then I saw the flooded section.  There was no way around it, and I just closed my eyes, cursed about 20 vulgar words under my breath and charged straight through.  It was about ankle deep.

There was another flooded section, and I charged through that too.  After that, I mentally regrouped.  I hit the halfway point in 43:40.

My A goal at the halfway was to drop the hammer and negative split the race.

My B goal was to maintain the same pace and be under 1:28.

My C goal was to finish because and not have a situation like Shamrock earlier this year.  As you can see, that race haunts me. 

And then for me, the race began.  The second half of the race went by much faster than the first.  I ran mile 7 in 6:16 and I began feeling confident.  I felt as if I had finally warmed up.  Mile 8 and 9 were both at 6:16 too.  Since I was running the race entirely by myself, there isn’t a lot to say.  I could see the overall male about 30 seconds in front of me.  I wanted to catch him!

During mile 11, we rounded a turn, and I could see the finish line.  Since the base is open (Lakehurst is a flight base so there are very few trees and you can see for miles), I could see the finish line 2 miles away.

The finish line is at the moment of the famous Hindenburg disaster.  Before the race, I actually did not realize that happened in New Jersey.  The blimp hanger is huge (over 300 feet tall and 900 in length), so you can see that for a lot of the race.

hindenburg disaster
Image via Weird New Jersey

It felt like we were almost done, but anyone running a half marathon can tell you, 2 miles is a long way.  I guess I was overly motivated and ran a 6:07 11th mile.

As we rounded a turn into mile 12, it hit me.  It began hailing, and there was a significant headwind.  It was blowing me backward as I tried to progress forwards.  Except mile 16 at the NYCM, it was one of the hardest miles I’ve run.  It was windy, hailing and I could see the finish line.  It just wasn’t coming any closer.

Base half marathon me running

My effort was still high but due to the wind, I ran the last mile in 6:40.   Finally, I crossed the finish in 1:25.29.  I quickly grabbed warmed clothing and changed afterward.


After racing Runners World 5k and Half last weekend, I wasn’t expecting to be faster.  With the weather, I got everything I wanted out of the race.  If you are looking for a flat, fast marathon, I recommend it.

Questions for you:
Rain: Love it or hate it?
What is the smallest race you’ve run?  How about the biggest?
I think the Run from the Sun half in Watertown, NY was a little smaller but this is one of the smallest halves I’ve run. 

Have you ever had a delayed race start? 


Thoughts During a 20 Miler

A few weeks ago, I ran my first 20 miler in almost two years.  The last 20 miles I ran was during the Phoenix Marathon in February of 2015.

Thoughts during a 20 miler

After deciding marathons weren’t for me and taking 18 months to enjoy 5ks, I entertained the idea of the marathon (see past tense there).  Heck, at this rate I might entertain the idea until I’m 70.

So two weeks ago now, I set out with my friend, Angela to attempt 20 miles.  Our only goal was to get 20 miles done.  Thinking out loud, there was no pace or time goal.  Heck, I could slog 20-minute miles for the last few and be happy it was done.  Luckily, Angela was the same way (or at least pretended).  Angela is currently training for the Philly full in just under one month.

So with that…we were off!

The first few miles went by easily.  Of course they did, I’ve run 3 miles in almost all of my training runs.  We caught up chatting, amusing about life and our day.  It was humid but not too bad.  17 more didn’t feel too bad.

Around mile 3, I bumped my watch and set the mile markers off.  From mile 3 until the end, I didn’t know what our pace was…my only reasoning for even having a Garmin was for it to beep the majestic 20 miles!

Mile 4, I began to realize we still had 16 to go.  Omg…16…

Mile 5, I passed by my old house.  Luckily I didn’t see my previous landlords.  I think running by gave me some sort of weird energy to run faster.

At mile 6, I said: “we must be at mile 6 because I always need a bathroom stop”.  I drink so much water in the morning; I almost always have to go to the bathroom around 6 miles.  I don’t want even to think about running when pregnant…I probably won’t. I will stop every half mile.

Mile 7 and 8, made me realize we still had a long way to go.  I began questioning myself.  Would I make it to 20?  Despite taking a rest day, I still felt achy.

At mile 10, I realized: “Oh my stars,” we haven’t even gotten to the “hard part” yet.  The first 10 miles are supposed to be easy….right?  Well easy to some I guess…

Mile 11, 12 and 13 all went around a giant river.  It was easier to stay motivated because there were several friendly faces out.  Part of the path was blocked off because they were chopping down a tree.

How dare they chop down trees and block the path for runners?  What are they thinking…the nerve.

At mile 13.1, I felt accomplished. We ran a half marathon.  Is the running done?

We could quit now…minus we were no closer than 6 miles from my house with no cell phone.  Not the smartest idea to make a giant loop with no cell phone….then again running 20 miles is also not the smartest idea.

At miles 14 and 15, I began focusing.  It began the countdown of “Only 6 miles to go…only 5”.  We hit “Jakes Place” (the playground that is benefited from the race I recently did) around mile 16.

Four miles…you can do this.

Angela is much more well trained than I, and she glided effortlessly.  OMFG, why can’t I have your 20-mile perfection?

Right, because I’ve chosen to run 5ks for the last two years…

Mile 17 entered the neighborhood with multi-million dollar houses.  I wonder if I can get a few chauffeurs just to drive me home.

Only 5k left…you can do this…I remember saying to Angela: “so much happens in a 5k…let alone running 17 miles beforehand”.

During Mile 18, I began looking for the Turkey Squad.  Several turkeys hide and linger in my neighborhood.  My goal is to avoid them.  I petrified of geese and turkeys.  The absolute last thing I want to do is see them at mile 18…or 19…or ever.

Mile 19: They came out of nowhere.  The turkey squad was there.  I do not have time for turkeys, especially at mile 19.  I had no energy anyways, but the extra energy I did have was spent crossing the road and staying as far away as possible.

The last mile was the final countdown.  I was in the twilight zone.  By this point, we knew “only ten more minutes”.  Only 9…only 8.5…7.5…

Then all of a sudden, we found ourselves at 19.8.  While I’m not typically a “to the Garmin” person, I needed the trivial .2 to complete my oh so accurate GPS 20 miler anyways.  After circling a culdesac, we finished.

While I felt accomplished, I didn’t feel like I was ready or wanting to run a marathon.  Honestly, I don’t think I would have been able to run much further.

At least we look happy?
At least we look happy?

While it was a fun run and it was great to catch up with friends, it did seal the deal that I’m not training for another marathon soon.  I’m enjoying much shorter events.

Question for you: What was the last long run you did?


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