Distance Series 15 Miler (1:39.46)

Last weekend I ran my first race in almost two months. It wasn’t that I wanted to avoid races. However, races haven’t happened near me.  They have gotten canceled due to storms or just don’t exist. Or the limited that have occurred haven’t fit in my schedule.

Last weekend, I drove to visit my parents. I knew the Distance Series was happening, but I decided to play it by ear.  I’ve run several before, however, not in the last few years. When I lived in VA, I was a member of Tidewater Striders…now I just call myself a Satelite Strider.

I decided if the weather was decent (above 10), I would sign up. As the days drew closer, the weather was looking amazing. It was dreamy.

My dad and I got to the race a lot earlier than we anticipated.  We found ourselves at Fort Monroe a solid 75 minutes before race start. I had no plans to do a warm-up and was able to catch up with friends the entire time.  I rarely do a warmup before half marathons, and since 15 miles was my longest run in a while, I didn’t find it necessary.  I was just going to use the first few miles to warm up.

At 8:55, racers made our way to the start. There was both a 10 miler and a 15 miler. I chose the 15 miler. Even though 15 miles would be my longest run in over a year and my longest race since my marathon 3 years ago. I thought it would be a good challenge for me.  I had no goals and told anyone who asked it was a half marathon with a bonus round.  I had zero clue how the race would go.  I knew I was in decent shape, but how decent was the question.

The course itself is 3 loops around Fort Monroe. If the weather is ideal (like it was when we raced), then it’s beautiful. If there is a lot of wind, then it can be extremely unpleasant. If you asked me to race there in the 20s and a windy day, I would laugh.  I might get blown into the River.  You would never escape the wind since you are running the outer loop of an island. Luckily, the weather was ideal.

I started the race in a large pack consisting of myself, legend Steve, good friend Andrew, and a couple of other local runners. All of them had workouts, and my goal was to finish strong. I knew based on their respected plans, I wouldn’t have people to run with the entire time, but I was going to make the best of the pack while it lasted.

Ultimately we ran the first four miles together. We were talking, catching up and hanging out. Let it be known this is probably the only time I will “hang out” with those guys, as Steve is tapering for the Rocky Racoon and Andrew is getting ready for another marathon.  I’ll take it. The miles went 6:50, 6:46, 6:42, and 6:46. They felt effortless, and by the time I knew it, Steve and Andrew said they were going into their workout.

The other woman and I left the pack. She was doing running the 10 miler and doing a marathon paced workout. She asked if I wanted to join her and I said sure. We ran a 6:36, 6:38, and 6:46 mile. I could tell I was beginning to get antsy and I was raring to go.

So I kicked it into the next gear. I hit mile 8 in 6:33 and felt good. I was surprised and thought, today is the day you need. I ran mile 9 in 6:29 and mile 10 in 6:33. At mile 10 they directed 10 Milers to the finish, and I went into lap 3.

I chuckled to myself because I’ve done a few workouts in my neighborhood doing several laps around the same loop. My 70-year neighbors comment “it’s like watching “real life Nascar” and that’s how I felt.

Between mile 10-11, I began passing people who were on a previous lap. There was some weaving but nothing unmanageable and I thrive off of seeing other runners. I ran mile 10 in 6:31 and mile 11 in 6:25. I couldn’t believe how good I felt.

At mile 12, I grabbed Gatorade and told myself 3 more miles. I knew after 13.1 anything could happen. The half is the longest distance I’ve raced in several years. I’ve run 14 miles in the last few months but not 15 and no races above 13.1. I just hoped I would continue to feel good.  I tried to remind myself it’s unnecessary to run 26.2 miles while training for a marathon and this was the same mentality.

I hit the half around 1:27. I felt strong, and I also felt weird. The last half I ran, the Philadelphia Half marathon I ran in 1:27.57.  I felt like utter garbage and even stopped. Granted I was coming off food poisoning. At 13.1 at the Distance Series, I felt like a million bucks and I was excited.

I passed a few friends on their second loop and gave a couple of high fives. I reminded myself, you now have less than 12 minutes. You can do it.  For some reason, when I feel as though I have 12 minutes left in a race, I tend to get over whatever mid miles mental block I have.

I focused on the guy in front of me who was about 30 seconds ahead. I wanted so badly to catch him. In 2017, I gave up a lot of races because I didn’t have a kick or energy towards the finish. I wanted to start 2018 racing with a new year, new me mentality.

me running distance series va beach

I began cranking, and I ran mile 14 in 6:33. There was a little cross breeze. The final mile faces the finish line. You can see the building in the distance although it doesn’t feel as though it ever gets much closer.

I just ran. I ran as hard as my legs would turn over.  I didn’t waste extra energy. I put all of the energy towards the forward motion of what I was there to do. I passed a lot of people on their second loop as well as the guy I had. Even watching. My last mile was my fastest by far, and I ran a 6:06.

I crossed the finish as the first woman in 1:39.45 and 6:34 overall pace. I was extremely pleased. I hadn’t expected to feel that good, but I have no complaints. It feels good to start 2018 on a good racing foot. I feel as though I gained a lot of my running confidence back.  A couple people have asked but I am not training for a marathon.  It was fun to get out of my comfort zone for a longer race and I felt good doing it, but there is a lot more running, training, and commitment involved with a marathon.

Questions for you:

What is the longest race distance you’ve run?

What are some fun “nontraditional” distances you’ve run?

 

me running fall nj
Training: I ran a race!

This week I finally ran a race, and I went big…go big or go home right?

Actually, that is terrible advice for running, but here we are.me running fall nj

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: 6X800s with 2 mins rest
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 45 minutes
Saturday: Tidewater Striders 15 Miler
Sunday:  Easy 45 minutes

Thoughts:

A while ago, I had planned to drive back home to visit my parents in late January.  January is one of my least favorite months of the year because it’s normally cold (which half of this month was), there isn’t a whole lot to “look forward too,” post-holiday blues and just overall meh.  This year with my husband deployed, I knew if I didn’t have something to “look forward too,” such as going home for a weekend, it would be even tougher.

My running for the week was great.  My easy runs were boring and easy and my workouts and hard runs went well.

Tuesday: 6X800s (6:05 pace)

I had crammed a few workouts shortly together, so my legs felt fatigued.  Much of the week was busy, plus I wanted an extra day of easy running between my workout and racing.  I’m glad I did my workout on Tuesday, but it did mean doing it on fatigued legs.  It wasn’t my best workout, but it went well for the day.  Lately, I’ve been doing workouts on the road, and while they are a bit slower than the track or treadmill, there are more elements of an actual race (like wind, bumps in the ground), so I have preferred it.

Race: Distance Series 15 Miler (1:39.46) (6:35 pace)

I have so much to say about the race.  I’ll have a race recap sometime throughout the week.  I hadn’t run more than a half marathon race since my full marathon 3 years ago.  I had no idea what to expect and how to race it.  Ultimately I thought of it as a half marathon with a bonus round.

My strategy was run hard and see where I’m at fitness-wise.  I was hoping to be under 1:45, but truthfully I didn’t do a lot of research about that time goal.  I started in a pack with my good friends Steve and Andrew, and when they started a workout I went with another female, and we ran until mile 7-8.  After mile 8, I ran most of the race alone but there was always something to look at.  I kept my eyes focused on the next person ahead and ultimately passed a few people towards the end.  I ran the last mile in 6:07 which I am incredibly pleased with.  I’ve been working on my kick, so this was great motivation.  I’m happy with the race and it gives me a good baseline of where my fitness is.

Posts from the Week:

New Balance 880 Shoe Review

Why There is No Best Running Shoe 

Questions for you:

What is the longest race you’ve run?

What is your favorite month of the year?  Least favorite?

Rustic mill diner cranford
Rustic Mill Diner (Cranford)

Rustic Mill Diner (Cranford, NJ)

Recently my good friend and website owner, Cyd, went to the Rustic Mill Diner in Cranford, NJ.  I had never been to Cranford before, and truth be told I had it confused with “Cranbury” which is about 30 minutes away.  No big deal as I still made it there in time.

Downtown Cranford, is cute.  It’s walkable with lots of parking.  It reminds me of a lot of Soth Jersey downtowns.  The Rustic Mill Diner is located on the outskirts with plenty of parking.

Rustic mill diner cranford

Rustic Mill Diner Atmosphere: B
The Rustic Mill Diner looks like any other diner.  While the Rustic Mill Diner is not a big, metallic, shiny, diner, it does have plenty of space and it clean and modern.  The inside is a little bit outdated and has a lot of “empty space.”  For instance, most of the bakery case was empty.  As a dessert lover, I do enjoy the visual appeal of cake!

Rustic Mill Diner Coffee: C
I found the coffee at the Rustic Mill Diner to be lackluster.  While it was warm, I could have used plenty more refills.  What did save the coffee was the amount of whipped cream the waitress added.

Rustic mill diner cranford

Rustic Mill Diner Food: C
The Rustic Mill Diner menu has plenty of options.  Everything you could want or need in the diner menu is there.  Since we were going to get ice cream at A la Mode afterward, I tried to order something light.

A few of the Rustic Mill Diner menu options that looked interesting:

  • Triple deckers served with french fries or cup of soup
  • Kabob platters served over your choice of pasta
  • French toast dipped in egg batter and served with home fries
  • The chicken salad and chicken sandwiches

I noticed they had split pea soup as a menu special, so I immediately ordered that as an appetizer.  The soup was delicious and much creamier than many split pea soups I’ve had before.  Split pea is my favorite soup.

Rustic mill diner cranford

At the Rustic Mill Diner, I ordered their “famous” Greek salad.  I’ve had plenty of Greek salads with salmon, so I felt as though I have something to compare it too.  The portion was smaller than many diners.  What interested me, was it said it came with pita bread, but it was like pita bread slivers.  It was disappointing.  The Greek salad did contain interesting and unique toppings such as celery. Was it a lousy salad?  No, but it wasn’t my favorite either.

Rustic mill diner cranford

Service: D
For the most part, the waitress seemed like she had better placed to be.  She rarely came to our table, and when she did, she didn’t seem to be in a great mood.  I had to ask several times for more coffee and drink refills.

Rustic Mill Diner Cost: $$
For my soup, salad, and coffee at the Rustic Mill Diner, the cost was $20.  That was…a lot.

Overall Thoughts/Summary of the Rustic Mill Diner: 
I didn’t hate the Rustic Mill Diner, but it was lackluster.  If I do go back to the Rustic Mill Diner, I’ll probably order something else.

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: C
Food: C
Service: D
Cost: $10-20
Overall: C

See All 167 Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
What is the best salad you’ve ever had?
D0 you like anchovies?  It’s common in Greek Salads… I do. 

Why There is No Best Running Shoe
Why There is No Best Running Shoe

The best shoe doesn’t exist. 

It’s not the Nike 4% and it’s not the Brooks Leviviate.

Also, pumpkin spice lattes and unicorn frappucinos are not the best coffee…

But each of those has great marketing.

It’s no secret that every human is different, and thus, we have different feet.  Even your own two feet might be drastically different and that is okay.  Thinking out loud, that is why there are so many different shoes.

Why There is No Best Running Shoe

What works for me, might not work for you, and it certainly won’t work for everyone.  ‘

Some people thrive on minimal shoes, and other’s (like myself) thrive on maximum cushioned shoes.

Some need a lot of stability, and some need none. Stability and pronation is just one factor. A person’s foot shape has a lot to do with shoe selection too.

Each brand and style is cut a little different, and while most brands have both a narrow and wide option (some even double-wide), it’s important to realize you might wear a different size than you think.  I wear anywhere between a 9.5 wide to a size 11 depending on the cut of the actual shoe.

So then: “Why is There No Best Shoe”? 

The best shoe for you, depends on a few factors:

  • Foot shape
  • Personal gait cycle
  • What someone is doing in the shoes and their goals

Every running shoe is the best for someone.  Similarly, every running shoe is the worst for someone. 

A good pair of running shoes will cost you between $100-$120.  The cost isn’t because you are being ripped off, but because companies develop technology that cost that much to create, plus labor costs, etc.  There are plenty of shoes that cost more and even a few shoes that are a little less (for instance the Nike Pegasus).  Costing more does not make them a better shoe.

There are also plenty of ways to find sales on shoes such as older models or discontinued styles.  You might have to sacrifice the shape of the shoe matching your foot or older shoes tend to last less time.

As someone who works in a running store, I also tell people the best way to get a good shoe (for you) is to go get fitted for an appropriate pair.  Most local running stores employ people who run and know running.  The employees also tend to know the local area and can be a great resource.

For instance, on paper, I love a neutral high cushioned shoe.  If I were to shop online, I would think a shoe like the adidas ultra boost or Asics Nimbus would be a great option.  However, with the width of my foot, they never feel that great.  Getting fit for a pair of shoes, the first time I realized just how wide my feet are!

Running shoes are expensive, but it’s the most expensive part of the sport.  Once you find your shoe, you can find out when sales and deals are.  I always recommend signing up for your local running stores emails because they often have the best deals of any place! 

Questions for you:

What is your favorite running shoe?

What are shoes you’ve tried and have not worked?

New Balance 880v7 shoe review
New Balance 880 Shoe Review

I haven’t run in many New Balance Shoes since college.  Since working at a running store the last few years, I’ve tried New Balance shoes on, but I’ve never run a significant amount of mileage in them.  The only New Balance shoe I’ve tried in the past few years is the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante.

New Balance 880v7 shoe review

After a couple hundred miles, I realized it wasn’t enough cushion for me and looked cute so I made it a kick around shoe.  The 880v7 sells well at our store and it’s a comfortable shoe. Since I’ve been enjoying various models and brands lately, I thought it would be the perfect time to come back to the brand.  The 880 is a neutral shoe and lift weight shoe.  It’s the 7th version, but I haven’t run in any of the previous versions.

I’m not sponsored by New Balance, nor are they paying me to write this. My opinions are my own. 

Fit:

I haven’t run in previous models but based on trying previous versions I can tell the 880v7 is wider. The shoe itself comes in both wide and double wide.

Like many current styles of running shoes, the 880v7 has a seamless upper which accommodates bunions and wider feet.  New Balance is usually known to fit more full feet and to be honest, I find this to be one of the widest neutral shoes out there.  I usually wear 10-10.5 wide in shoes, and in the 880v7 I wear a 10 in the 880.

New Balance 880v7 shoe review

Ride:

The New Balance 880v7 has standard cushioning.  It’s not a minimal shoe or a high cushion shoe but somewhere in the middle.  It’s great for training for the mile or marathon, in fact recently Emma Coburn said it was one of her favorite shoes!  It must be good right?

The cushioning technology is called TRUFUSE which is softer than many other brands.  It has a 10 mm drop and weighs 9.2 ounces for women.  It feels a lot more cushioned than it is, and not as flat as many New Balance shoes.

New Balance 880v7 shoe review

I’ve run anywhere from 2-10 miles in the shoe and it feels good at both the beginning at the end of the run.  Compared to other brands, it does feel a little heavier on my foot. That’s not a bad thing.

Runs I’ve enjoyed the most for soft services such as trails and compacted snow.

Summary:

Right now, the 880v7 is in my rotation as a shoe for an everyday run.  I usually keep it to my days around an hour, but there isn’t a reason for that.

So far I’ve put just over 100 miles on the shoe, and it’s been good to me.  New Balance, themselves, have done a lot of fantastic updates with their shoes recently and definitely different from that stereotypical, “all white leather shoe” which they still make too.

Current Rotation:

Daily Runs: Brooks Glycerin 15, Hoka Clifton 4, Saucony Ride 10, and New Balance 880V7

Speed Work: Nike Zoom Fly, Altra Escalante

Racing: Saucony Type A or Endorphin

Questions for you:

What brand of shoe are you running the most in?

What is your favorite shoe?

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