me caledonia state park
Base Building Week 6: Bonus Rest Days

Last week started off well, but the day after Christmas I woke up not feeling the best. No big deal and after a couple of unanticipated rest days, I was able to feel a lot better. Funny how rest works?

Monday: 10 miles to the top of Caledonia
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes with my father in law
Wednesday: 20-minute walk
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: 12X400s Averaging 6:10 pace with 400 jog in between
Sunday: Easy

Thoughts:

Last week, I had hoped to run 2 workouts and have a solid training week but my body needed the rest.  I’ve posted a dozen times, but it’s important to listen your body. It wouldn’t have been quality runs so there wasn’t a point.  Resting isn’t something that bothers me anymore, if you need it…you need it and life moves on.

Monday was my favorite run. My husband and I ran to the top of Caledonia State Park in central PA.  Then ran back down.  It was beautiful and already had a lot of snow.  It was about 1000 elevation gain in total.

On Sunday, I planned to run but I woke up after minimal sleep and felt like garbage. After already taking 2 rest days off, I thought I made sense to add a third and make it a down week. A run on Sunday wouldn’t have been productive anyway.

Workout: 12x400s averaging 6:10 pace with 400 jog in between

I was debating between week 3 of my lonely 5ks but because I plan to run a 5k on New Years Day, 400s seemed like a better option. The weather on Saturday was perfect and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Posts from the Week:

Fitbit Ionic Review

2018 in Running

Next Week:

I’m looking forward to doing a local 5k on New Years Day as well as getting back into training. January is a busy month for me, thankfully, because with the cold and lack of sunlight, it’s typically one of my least favorite.

Questions for you:

How were your Holidays?

Do you have any New Years plans?

Four seasons diner mayfair pa
Four Seasons Diner (Mayfair, Pa)

Four Seasons Diner (Mayfair, PA)

Recently I went to the Four Seasons Diner in North Philadephia and Mayfair, Pa.  I was in the area, and I’ve heard the Four Seasons Diner is excellent as far as Philadelphia restaurants go. After going to diners for almost 4 years, the closest diners I haven’t been too are in Pa or even De.  (Which to be fair, Pa is only 15 minutes from my house, and Delaware is 30 minutes).

Four seasons diner mayfair pa

Anyway, I arrived at the Four Seasons Diner around dinner time. There was plenty of parking, and it wasn’t too crowded. My party and I quickly got a booth.

Four Seasons Diner (Mayfair) Atmosphere: A
The outside of the Four Seasons Diner is one long building next to a McDonalds with plenty of parking. The inside is lit up with neon signs. There are many booths, tables, and appeared a bar as well.  I appreciated that the booths were very personal and you weren’t sitting on top of anyone.  There was also a large salad bar in the back.

Four seasons diner mayfair pa

How many diners do you know with a fish tank? I think in the 250+ I’ve been too, I’ve seen a fish tank 5 times at most.

Four seasons diner mayfair pa

Four Seasons Diner (Mayfair) Coffee: B
The coffee was excellent and the waiter refilled it often. There wasn’t anything unique or unusual about it but it was good.

Four seasons diner mayfair pa

Four Seasons Diner (Mayfair) Food: A
The Four Seasons Diner menu has every option you could want or need. There were even some unique breakfast,  lunch and dinner options I’ve never seen at a diner before like creole! I can appreciate a restaurant with a salad bar too. I was in a pork chop mood, so I ordered that. It came with an overwhelming amount of food.  I had run that day but still found myself unable to finish everything.

I started with the matzah ball soup and salad bar.  The soup was good and I rarely see matzah ball soup have strips of chicken in it too.

Four seasons diner mayfair pa

The salad bar at the Four Seasons Diner had a lot of options. It’s one of the better salad bars I’ve seen. There were several different kinds of greens, the usual salad toppings, three-bean salad, beets, artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms and pickled vegetables, cornbread, and even grape leaves.  You can tell I like beets, artichokes, and Italian dressing.

Four seasons diner mayfair pa

My entrée came with pork chops, applesauce, and a baked potato. The pork chops were cooked well, and they weren’t too rubbery. They were some of the better diner pork chops I’ve had. The applesauce and baked potato were typical of a baked potato and nothing unusual about them.

Four seasons diner mayfair pa

Four Seasons Diner (Mayfair) Service: A
Our waiter was one of the most friendly waiters we’ve had.  He refilled our beverages often, plus our food came out fast. I couldn’t have asked for better service.

Four Seasons Diner (Mayfair) Cost:  $
For my meal and coffee, it was $15.  That is a lot of food.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back to the Four Seasons Diner (Mayfair)?
I enjoyed the Four Seasons Diner (Mayfair), and if I’m in the area again, I’ve be back. I was surprised by how great the food was and it’s one of my more favorite diners in the Philadelphia area.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Service: A
Cost: $8-15
Four Seasons Diner (Mayfair) Overall: A 

You can see more diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite salad bar option?
Do you like pork chops?

Bridgeton Family Diner
Bridgeton Family Diner

Bridgeton Family Diner (Bridgeton, NJ)

A couple of weeks ago, Angela and I decided to go to the Bridgeton Family Diner. Initially, we had other plans, but things fell through, so the Bridgeton Family Diner seemed like a good option.

I have driven by the Bridgeton Family Diner once before on my way to the Golden Pigeon. I remembered it was directly in the middle of a Uhaul center.

Bridgeton Family Diner

Bridgeton Family Diner Atmosphere: B
We arrived at the Bridgeton Family Diner around lunchtime. The outside is clean and modern. The front has an overhead that almost leads me to believe it was once something else.

The inside is modern and clean. It was around the holidays, and they were festive and decorated. We sat in a booth towards the back.

Coffee: A
The coffee at the Bridgeton Family Diner was excellent and the waitress added plenty of whipped cream. In fact, there might have been more whipped cream than coffee which okay in my books.  It was brewed hot and fresh, and we both had plenty of refills.

Bridgeton Family Diner

Bridgeton Family Diner Food: A
The Bridgeton Family Diner has plenty of options, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I wasn’t that hungry when we arrived, so I decided to order a salad. I haven’t ordered a diner salad in a few months but went with a Greek salad with chicken.

Bridgeton Family Diner

It was one of the most massive salads I’ve had at a diner ever. It had plenty of toppings, including grape leaves, olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers. A unique addition was artichoke hearts which I like! I believe it was supposed to come with anchovies with they might have forgotten.  Instead of pita bread, it came with garlic which was good. In all, it was one of the better diner salads I’ve had.

Bridgeton Family Diner

Service: A
The waitress was friendly, and the food came out fast. I have no complaints.Cost: $
For my coffee and salad, it was $14.

Overall Thoughts/Summary of the Bridgeton Family Diner: 
I liked the Bridgeton Family Diner, and it was a pleasant surprise down in Bridgeton. I would go back.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Food: A
Service: A
Cost: $8-20
Overall: A

You Can See all 223 Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
Do you like anchovies?
What are your favorite salad, toppings?

Fitbit Iconic Review

As most people know, I’ve been searching for a new watch to update my Garmin 220. I’m basically 4-5 watch updates behind with Garmin at this point. I use my GPS for workouts, long runs, and races, but I typically leave it at home for easy runs.

I like going by effort and being honest, a 9:03 mile versus a 9:30 mile doesn’t mean much to me on an easy run.  So finding a watch that has the functionality of a 220, but is nice enough to wear all day has been a challenge. I’ve had to give up a few features in the Fitbit Iconic, which doesn’t make it a perfect fit but it’s a good watch for life.

I bought the Fitbit Iconic and don’t have any relation or partnership with any GPS brand.

Personally, I’ve been looking for a watch with all of these qualities:

  • GPS function (distance, time, pace, elevation)
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Less Sporty Exterior look to wear daily
  • Interval timer and ability to log workouts

To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a watch that has all of those qualities that isn’t $400+.  I don’t use my GPS for every run or workout, but I do use it for measuring mileage in new spots, and for races, and workouts.  I’m not a stranger to either Fitbit or Garmin, as I’ve had both.

GPS:

The primary reason I went with the Iconic versus the Surge, is the built-in GPS.  The older Fitbit models like the Charge 2, lacked accurate GPS. A few years ago, I ran Broad Street 10 miler, and Fitbit said I ran 8.7 miles. The race is literally a straight line down Broad Street.  The Fitbit Iconic is by far the best GPS, Fitbit has come out with.

The GPS connects quickly, and I’ve used it in many places with no delay or lag.

I’ve compared the Ionic’s GPS against the Garmin 220, and my husband’s Garmin D2 and it’s always been within .05. I’m also into elevation and climbing (especially with hiking), and it’s just as accurate.  For a daily run, walk, or hike, the GPS in Fitbit is fairly accurate.  It’s by far Fitbit’s most accurate GPD, and it’s as good as any model of Garmin I’ve used.

The only complaint with the running and fitness logs, is there is no history unless you use Strava. I don’t use Strava, and I don’t foresee myself using it either. This would become more of an issue since I can’t look back a year, from now and see what I did.

Battery Life:

The Fitbit Ionic claims to have over four days of battery life. I’ve used it for over a month now, and I’ve had success with that.  I like to charge the watch every 2-3 days to keep it full. It also claims 10 hours of GPS life, and I find my daily runs don’t take up much of the battery.

Display:

The Ionic’s display is easy to read, even in lower light. I find the Fitbit easier ro read than any Garmin watch.

There are three physical buttons as well as a touchscreen front. The display screen stays off unless you tap the touchscreen or move your wrist.

As mentioned the screen is easy to read which is a huge plus for me.  I want a watch I can use daily for the actual time.  Plus I can see progress towards a goal such as steps and calories (which isn’t something I care much about).  But seeing progress is always nice. 

If you swipe up on the home screen, you can get recent notifications from texting or third party apps.  It’s easy to control which notifications you receive. I like to only receive texts, but if you want twitter, facebook, and whatever else, you can.

 

Music:

To use the music feature of any smartwatch you need Bluetooth headphones. I run with my phone anyway, so this isn’t a feature I look much into.  You can use any Bluetooth headphone you prefer.  Fitbit sells their own headphones, but any will do.

One of the many apps the Ionic comes with is Pandora app.  It also has 2.5GB  of storage for music.  Isn’t that most than the original iPods?

Apps and Notifications:

One of the big draws of the Iconic is the ability to load apps like weather, Pandora, and even Starbucks. This isn’t a feature I use but makes it more comparable to the Garmin 645 with music or the Garmin Vivoactive.

You can also get texts through the phone but can’t respond. I do like the ability to see a text while out. Sometimes it can important, sometimes not, but I do appreciate it.

Wrist-Based Heart-Rate Tracking:

I like to know my heart rate, but the feature isn’t a “make or break” for me.  My heart rate was consistent with that of the Garmin Vivosport.  The 220 doesn’t have the feature.  My resting heart rate as well during workouts was about the same through the two devices.

 

Fitbit App:

In my opinion, the Fitbit App is much more focused on overall health. Garmin Connect, is great for running and that’s it. The Fitbit app is more user-friendly option too. Daily stats are easy to find too. You can see steps, sleep, flights of stairs climbed, calories, and water.  I think it’s a lot easier for someone who wanst ovrall health versus just “how far did I run”. I wish Garmin had a better app with easy to see and use features.

So What Features Is Fitbit Lacking?

Interval Tracking: I like doing 400s, 800s, mile repeats, and any interval tracking. The Iconic doesn’t do it. The lack of this feature is why it cannot become my primary running watch.

History: I know I’m one of the few, but I’m not a strava member. I would prefer to have a watch that you were able to look back at runs throughout time.

Conclusion:

I like Fitbit more for everyday watch wearing.  It’s a watch I can wear around the clock. It’s a great eatch to measure easy runs or even races you just want mile markers, but if you are looking for a “just” running watch, it wouldn’t be the first watch I would recommend.

Two major issues make it not a perfect watch for me, or even most competitive runner.

  • The absence of laps and the ability to program workouts
  • The availability of history only on Strava

If Fitbit added both of these features, it would compete with Garmin and other GPS runner focused watches.

That being said, I’ll continue to use my Fitbit Iconic. I like the app better, daily use, and the look if far better than Garmin.  I’ll continue to use my old 220 for workouts and races until there is a Garmin I like enough to buy that isn’t $500.  I like the rose gold 645 with music, but I can’t justify the price for what I need in a watch.

Questions for you:

Have you used Fitbit?

Which watch are you using? 

under armour copper mountain race me running
2018 in Running

If you don’t feel like reading a quick summary is as followed: I ran fewer miles, didn’t stress, set 2 PRs, and ran things I never thought I would.  Two intense trail races? Another marathon? Sure why not…

Here we go…

January:

I planned to run a 5k to kick in the new year, but I didn’t because it was cold. I don’t remember the exact temperature, but it was somewhere between 0-10 degrees. My best race in January was the Distance Series 15 miler in VA.  I averaged about 6:35 pace for 15 miles which is significantly faster than anything I’ve run towards the latter half of the year.

me running distance series va beach

It was a low key month as far as races, but the East Coast was cold and miserable for most of the month.

February:

February was my best of the month for running of the year.  I finally PRed in a half marathon.  It took over two years to get back to a PR, but I ran almost a minute faster than my previous.  As far as training went, every race I ran in February, just felt good.  I can’t believe it’s almost been 11 months since then and I hope I’m able to get back there again.Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

March:

I had a lot of fun training in March. When people ask my best performance of the year, I don’t think it’s my half or marathon PR. I actually think it was when I ran the Adrenaline Run in 18:29 in NJ, then drove 6 hours and ran the Shamrock Half in 1:23 in VA the next day. I wasn’t expecting to run that well, but I just felt good.  It was my fastest time at Shamrock but also the best weather.

shamrock half marathon va beach me running

April:

In 2017, I ran the April Fools race, and it was my last race before burning out. It was a culmination of too many things pulling me too many directions, so I took a mental and physical break. My goal for 2018, was to come back and win the April Fools Half. I’ve won the race before, but I wanted to win again. Of course, you can’t control who shows up, but it was one of my top five favorite running moments of the year. The weather was windy and rainy, and I also collided with a pedestrian, but I did what I wanted.  Here is the recap. 

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

May:

May was a quiet month as far as running. I ran less, I just kind of bebopped along with nothing crazy either way. I ran Broad Street in 1:03 which I was pleased with. Not my fastest or slowest. I got to see my family and have fun.  May started a long shift in mindset towards the end of the year that running became a lot of the “focus” in my life.  Yes, I ran, but I chose other things before running on more than one occasion.  While I don’t blog about my personal life with the military, it has been a busy later half. Some weeks, it takes more mental and physical time than my actual job, and that’s ok.

broad street 10 miler

In May, I also ran the Cape May 10k, a race I had wanted to run for years.  Sadly I felt like garbage the entire race, and it was one of the “worst” races I ran all year. I’ve run workouts faster, but it was fun to hang out with friends, and I enjoy Cape May.  A photo of me finishing what I consider my worst race of the year, but still smiling because it’s just running and it was a really good day anyway.

me running cape may 10k

June:

I didn’t race much in June. My favorite was a five miler in Atlantic City. It ended on the beach but was a lot of fun. I barely won and if it had been 6 miles, I would not. Atlantic City races are my favorite. Not because I love gambling or AC, but I think the races are all well put together and I just enjoy the time there. bungalow beach 5 miler atlantic city

July:

In July, I decided to run the Copper Mountain 25k, and I am so proud of myself for doing so. It was one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences I’ve had. I’ve never run a trail race of that magnitude before.  It started at 9000 feet and climbed all the way to 12,000 feet. It was one of the reasons I decided to run another marathon. I hadn’t spent that much time on my feet in a long time, and I knew after that, I could do it again! It was one of my favorite race moments of the entire year.

under armour copper mountain race me running

August:

I had so much fun at Copper Mountain, I ran the Killington 25k. Killington was a much more challenging and rocky course. It was lower elevation, but the rockiness and technical uphill and downhill made for more hiking than running. I was just as proud of my accomplishment there too. I ran Killington in 3:20 which is the longest I’ve ever spent running.

underarmour killington 25k

September:

September started my “official” marathon training. Official is very loose because I didn’t follow a plan and ran when I ran. I knew I needed to get long runs in, but I also knew I wanted to get more shorter workouts and races in. I ran the Boothbay Harborfest Half Marathon which is the hilliest half I’ve done.  It was one of the best half marathons I had in the fall despite being minutes slower than every Spring half. (Every? Yes, after checking every LOL).

Boothbay harborfest half marathon

My husband, father-in-law, and I all ran the Air Force half marathon. I ran much slower than the year before, but it was one of the hottest races, and they ended up shutting down the race early for safety. I got some of my favorite race photos from the race, so I came out with something.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

October:

October continued my running.  While training for New York, I never really felt like I got back into shape. I was in shape, but I wasn’t in the same shape as the Spring. I ran the Atlantic City half in 1:27 and felt good about that.  atlantic city half marathon me running

November:

November was about the marathon. I ran a 3:07 which I’m proud of.  It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I was granted the very last (YAY for being the caboose) spot in the sub-elite corral. I got to watch the professionals warm up, hang out with them, and just relax. Then I ran a 7 minute PR. I never felt like I was in the best shape ever for the marathon, but I did feel like I was in “good shape.”  I wasn’t in the same fitness as the winter and while it’s a 7 minute PR, I know I’m capable of doing more when I want too and when I get back to faster fitness.

New York City marathon me running

December:

December has been about building back fitness. It’s taken me a lot longer to come back (coming back from nothing is apparently more difficult than injury), but I’m okay with it. Some seasons are better than other. In December, I also ran my 50th half marathon in Baltimore. It was one of the least safe races I’ve done, and I took the race out too fast for how I felt but that’s ok, I had a great time.

me running race 13.1 baltimore

As the end of the year approaches, I reflect on how good of the year 2018 was for running. Running will never be my life’s focus, but I’m glad to have a good year filled with more good races than bad, and new PRs too.

I look forward to what 2019 will bring. I don’t have any huge goals right now because I don’t know where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, and where life will take me in 2019. My goal for running is always to stay healthy, injury free, and just enjoy it.

Questions for you:

How was your year of racing and training?

What was your favorite race? Least favorite race? 

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