Polar bear 5k atlanta me running
Polar Bear 5k (18:42)

My husband and I wanted to get out of town for the weekend. We have been to Atlanta before, and since it was only a 2.5-hour drive from Montgomery, we opted to drive out there. Along the way, we discovered a few 5ks and decided to run the Polar Bear 5k. When we arrived at the race on Saturday morning, we quickly realized how big the race was. Over 1000+ people were running. To be honest, I thought it was going to be a 200-300 person race but the more, the better.

After warming up on the course, I noticed it was a flatter Atlanta course. I’ve run a few races in Atlanta (One before blogging and the Haunted Hustle 5k), and this was definitely the flattest. Was it flat? No, but it was flat for Atlanta. I wasn’t concerned as I had a workout anyways.

I had a workout for the day, and the goal was to run 2X5k at 6:45 pace. That did not happen. I ran the race as the first 5k, and it was faster than my coach wanted.

The race started at 8:30 am, and it was congested. I nearly fell over a young child. It was impossible to start any closer to the front, but I wasn’t really concerned. During the first half mile, I ran in a huge pack. In fact, the entire race was a giant pack of people, and you ran almost elbow to elbow with others. Somewhere around .66, a woman shouted, “you’re almost halfway there, ” and I responded with, we aren’t even a third there. I crossed the first mile in 6:00 exactly.

During the second mile, I was able to get my bearings of how many men and women were ahead. I noticed there were a few women in front of me, but I was towards the front. I saw my husband in the chase pack, and I was happy he seemed to be doing ok. I passed a couple of women and by the time I knew it, I crossed mile 2 in 5:55.

The third mile was just focused on finishing. By the mile 3, I found myself as first woman overall and we were running near the walkers who were all cheering. We climbed a small hill followed by a downhill. I crossed the third mile in 5:58.

The last portion of the race made a huge U and finished in the parking lot. I lost a lot of momentum with the U finish, but I crossed in 18:42. My garmin said the course was a bit long but who knows.

Thoughts:

I’ve run several 18:30-18:45 5ks (including the 5k in Birmingham 2 weeks ago) in the last few months. In November, I raced the Medford Lakes turkey trot in 18:30. It was a flat, fast course on a beautiful day and I felt awesome. On Sunday, I raced the Polar Bear 5k in 18:42 on a more challenging course and I didn’t feel great. I know I’m making improvements but haven’t had a race where I’m tapered and it all clicked. That will have to wait as I’ll be tapering for a few half marathons in the Spring.

Questions for you:

What is the biggest race you’ve run?

How do you stay motivated during a plateau?

me running sunrise
Training last Week: Travel and 5k (18:42)

Training last week clicked off well. I ran what I needed to and got the mileage in.  I don’t have any complaints about the week.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes (9:20 pace) Core
Tuesday: Easy 7 miles (8:40)
Wednesday: Workout Core
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes (9:05 pace)
Friday: Easy 60 minutes Core
Saturday: Workout: Polar Bear 5k (18:42)
Sunday Easy Mercedes Course Preview
Total: 59  miles

Easy Runs:

My easy runs were slower than usual last week but it was also humid. Most of the days last week were either running in 100% humidity or the rain. I didn’t feel bad or injured, but the heat change was noticeable.

Wednesdays Workout:
4X60 seconds (average 6:00)
1X10 minutes (6:33)
1X3 minutes (5:56)
4X60 seconds (average 6:10)

The workout was definetely different and a nice change. Something I do like about my coach is that he doesn’t give the same workouts weekly. I’m not doing 10x400s each week hoping to see improvmeent, or worse comparing myself when I don’t.

As far as execution, it was one of my better workouts in the last few weeks.
Polar Bear 5k (18:42):

My husband and I decided to take a road trip last weekend. We went to Atlanta and then Birmingham. We have been to Altanta a few times, so we stayed away from the touristy things. We stumbled upon a 5k and when we went there, I was shocked! It was a 1000+ person 5k and we weren’t expecting that. I had a workout that day of 2X5k at 6:45 pace.

I ran the first 5k at 5:58 and the second at 6:50. It was a lot faster than planned.

My splits were 6:00, 5:55 and 5:58. I ran a smart race and I’m happy with it. It was a moderately difficult course and I’ll have a recap soon.

This workout is more mentally challening than anything.  The second 5k is always extremely difficult to get out there. It takes a lot of mental pep talk after a race to get back and run hard by yourself again (I’ve done this workout a couple times: Haddonfield Road Race and Run for Jack). I didn’t want to interfere with racers and I ended up running part of the workout in a hilly neighborhood.

We swung by Birmingham on the way back and did the last Mercedes Course Preview Run.  While the Merecedes half won’t be a goal race for me, it was nice to check out the course.  I didn’t realize it was as hilly as it is.

In summary, it was a good week. The next two weeks are bigger race weeks for me with the Double Bridges 15k in Pensacola next weekend and the Mercedes Half Marathon the following.

Running Related Posts from the Week:
How to Run with a Significant Other
Running Books I’m Reading

Questions for you:
What is the biggest race you’ve ever done?
How was your week of workouts?

Gus’s Diner (Manalapan)

Gus’s Diner (Manalapan)

A few weeks ago, I decided to try Gus’s Diner in Manalapan.  There aren’t a lot of diners in Central Jersey, and Gus’s Diner is one of the few I haven’t been too.  I arrived for dinner on a weekday, and it wasn’t too crowded.

Gus’s Diner (Manalapan) Atmosphere: B 
Gus’s Diner is modern and clean.  The front door is confusing, and we walked around the entire building before actually figuring out how to get in the restaurant.  After walking over several pieces of construction board, we made it into Gus’s Diner.

Gus's Diner

The inside of Gus’s Diner is a lot bigger than I imagined.  There weren’t a lot of parties inside, so we had plenty of space.

Gus's Diner

Gus’s Diner Coffee: C
The coffee at Gus’s Diner was average. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t amazing either. I don’t have much to say.  They did give whipped cream in a dish instead directly on top.  For some reason, I always find this comical.

Gus's Diner coffee

Gus’s Diner Food: C
There is virtually any regular option you could want at a diner with an entire page of specials.  If you want a stereotypical diner, Gus’s Diner menu is it.  I ordered the hummus appetizer special which came with pita bread.  

Then I decided to order the broiled scallops special with a sweet potato and broccoli.  It also came with a salad and dessert.  In summary, it was a lot of food.

The hummus appetizer was boring.  I don’t know if it was the way it was plated, but the appetizer was unappetizing and boring.  It looked like they took a container of boxed hummus, placed it on a plate, and put a few pieces of pita bread on it.  It was a waste of money. It wasn’t bad, but I would have instead tried something else.  It looked like they didn’t care or try.

Gus's Diner

The scallops were from a frozen container and heated back up.  They didn’t taste bad, but they were also dull.  Same with the broccoli and sweet potato.  I had to request butter for the sweet potato.  Since the scallops were dry, I added butter on those too.  Butter makes everything taste better. Gus's Diner

The special at Gus’s Diner came with pudding, so I chose the bread pudding (my favorite noncake dessert).  It was drenched with honey, but it was good.  I enjoyed the crispy crust too.  Out of the entire meal, the bread pudding was my favorite, but nothing stuck out to me.  Was the food terrible?  No.  Was it edible?  Yes.  Would I seek out the diner based on food?  Probably not.

Gus's Diner

It wasn’t a bad meal at Gus’s Diner but just boring.  It felt like I could have made something similar at home.

Gus’s Diner Price: $$
For the coffee, scallops, and the appetizer it was $29.  It was pricey, but next time I won’t order the appetizer.

Gus’s Diner (Manalapan) Overall: C
I have a meh feeling about Gus’s Diner.  It’s not a terrible diner, but it’s not a diner I would go out of my way to go too.  If you are looking for a stereotypical New Jersey Diner, Gus’s Diner is it.

Summary: 
Atmosphere: C
Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: C
Price: $8-20
Overall: C

You can see all of the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Do you ever order off of the specials menu? 

how to run with a significant other
How to Run with a Significant Other

How to Run with a Significant Other

As most people know, my husband and I met through running.  It’s a hobby we both share.  You read the full story here.  We both ran long before we knew each other.

He is a faster runner and there are very few periods that we run the same pace, but it is enjoyable to share that time with him.  Running allows us to share uninterrupted time together.  During the day, it’s hard to find uninterrupted moments.

Since coming to Alabama, we’ve been running a lot more together.  While it usually involves being out the door at 5:30 am, it’s an hour we can spend together.

Many readers have asked: How do you run with a significant other?  Or Could you share some tips to make running with a spouse more enjoyable?

Keep in mind, running together is not always sunshine and butterflies.  I can remember a significant moment in our running relationship.  It was our first long run together.  I’m a very chatty runner and if you’ve run with me (or even raced), you know I’m yapping all the way.  My husband, however, is much quieter when he runs.  This took us a few runs to figure out.

We started off doing a 15 mile run in San Antonio, Texas.  All of a sudden he was running a few steps in front of me and silent.  I began getting irrationally upset.  Why were we even running together?  It was just silence.  I continued to get more and more upset until finally I snapped and said:

“I’m tired of this dude running.  Men just run single file in a straight line and not talking.  Women don’t do that”.

I didn’t know his running habits, and he didn’t fully understand mine.  Since then, we’ve had no more escalated running arguments, but my point is: it’s important to know any trainer partner’s habits.

So How do you Run with a Significant Other?

The short answer: We both put on running shoes and move one foot in front of the other.

The long answer of how to run with a Significant Other:

We run easier mileage together.  I’ll speed up my pace 10-15 seconds per mile, and he slows down a bit.  We agree to try and meet halfway.

We don’t do hard efforts together because our workout paces are not the same.  He is a faster runner and also has different goals.  (I like 5k-13.1 while he likes 5k-10k).

Occasionally he will do a tempo run with me, but that is the extent of workouts together.

Run with a Significant Other with Racing:

We both like going to races.  In my 2017 goals, I wrote how I planned to use a lot of races as workouts.  For us, going to races is quality time we spend together as well.  We like to sign up for races together.

The important part is we don’t race together.  We will warm-up and cool down together, but when the clock goes off, we race to our own standards.  The majority of the time, we do not stay together.

Racing for you is important because if one person is faster, it will create problems to stay on the course together.  Part of being with a fellow runner is that you can’t expect to stay together or feel the same every race.  Does it stink to be dropped by your husband or a training partner during a race?  Of course, but that is the nature of the sport.  We support each other, good or bad race.

There are some important things to remember to when you run with a Significant Other:

Ultimately someone might feel better on a particular day.  That’s okay, and there is no reason to feel upset by it.  With any running partner, it’s important to remember that running is for you.

Running and working out can be a great addition to any relationship, but your ability to run the same paces (or not) does define a relationship.

Meet in the middle.  Chances are you aren’t running the same pace or training for the same thing.  Don’t be selfish and meet halfway with paces and mileage.

Don’t Be a Sore Winner or Loser.  There is no point to “racing” your significant other because heck neither of you is bumping each other out of overall awards.

Running with a significant other can be a fun and pleasant experience.  I know my husband and I are extremely lucky we get to share that with each other.

Know each other’s habits.  It will make the run easier and it’s essential if you want to run with your significant other.

Finally, don’t force or guilt them into running with you. Don’t take anything personally, sometimes they don’t want to run.

Questions for you:

Do you Run with a Significant Other? 

Have you ever run a race with someone?

running books
Running Books I’m Reading

Since relocating to Alabama, I’ve had a lot of time to catch up on various books I’ve wanted to read.  Personally, I like to read nonfiction, and as a runner, I enjoy reading running-related books.  When I have time, I like reading biographies as well, but that is a post for another day.

Of course, most runners have read “Born to Run” but here the books I’ve read in the last few weeks.  I’m not being paid to promote any of these books.  All of these are short, easy reads.

Mock Olympian:

mock Olympian book

The Mock Olympian is about a  man who decided to race in every summer Olympic city between the years of 2012 – 2016.  He went from partying in college to racing.  It’s an inspirational story with witty humor and challenges any runner has probably faced.

You can also follow Micheal on Twitter here.  He tweets plenty of updates and witty posts.

Running to Leadville:

running to leadville book

This was written by a very good friend of mine, Brian.  Running to Leadville is a story about a runner who finds himself and his love of running, only to lose nearly everything.

While the primary focus is running, there is a lot of personal life and the daily struggles as well as love and romance too.

November Project:

I received a signed copy of the November Project book during the Runner’s World Race Festival Weekend.

November Project
November Project, Brogan, said: “Be Serious” and I was just awkward…

I also was able to attend my first November Project workout there and was sore for days after (that could be because I also raced a 5k and half marathon ;).

Anyways, with my downtime, I was able to read the book, and I wish I had sooner!  The book itself is hilarious and short, easy, fun and engaging read.  It talks about how November Project was founded, workouts and you can do and basically convinces you to #justshowup.

Road to Sparta:

Road to Sparta Dean Karnazes.

The Road to Sparta is the story of how the marathon was created and 153-mile run from Athens to Sparta.  Dean Karnazes, himself, honors Pheidppides by running the entire journey.

What I found fascinating is that Karnazes doesn’t use any of the modern sports nutrition like gels or gu.  He fuels himself for this 153 mile run on figs and olives.

I also met Dean at the Runners World Festival and was lucky enough to be part of his book launch.  In fact, he said I was the first person’s book he signed!  We were able to listen to him talk first hand about recreating the entire journey and the struggles he faced.  I *almost* want to do a longer run (long being 15 miles) using only olives or figs to fuel.

Road to Sparta Dean Karnazes.

So now that I’ve finished those four, I’m looking for any more recommendations.  If you choose to read any of them let me know, they are all great and exciting reads.

Questions for you:

Have you read any interesting books lately?

What is your favorite way to fuel a long run?

 

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